• Welcome to Wednesday’s Daily Dish!  In the spirit of the new year, I want to thank all of you for reading.  I have covered hoops for several sites and played fantasy for years, but the last few months have formed my entrance to fantasy basketball writing.  It means a lot to have a platform for my observations.  I hope they have been and will be useful to you.

    Adds of the Night

    Shabazz Napier, G, Minnesota Timberwolves – 31 minutes, 22 points, six rebounds, three assists, one block, four 3-pointers, 7-of-13 FG

    Napier has just 6% ownership in Yahoo, mostly because of his place in the depth chart.  However, he is cashing in with Jeff Teague, Andrew Wiggins, and Treveon Graham all injured or ill in recent days.  Napier also missed most of November with a right hamstring strain, so he was absent during a critical time for establishing himself in the rotation.  With the Wolves back in action on Thursday, there are definitely worse streaming candidates out there.  

     

    D.J. Augustin, G, Orlando Magic –  31 minutes, 25 points, three rebounds, nine assists, two steals, two 3-pointers, 7-for-15 FG

    The Wizards are not exactly a strong defensive team, but Augustin was deserving of his 29% Yahoo ownership on Wednesday with a season-high 25 points.  He came into the night averaging 4.6 assists in 25.8 minutes per night but nearly got himself to a double-double with nine against Washington.  Like Napier, he is helping to fill an injury void with Aaron Gordon nursing an Achilles issue and Jonathan Isaac exiting this game with a knee issue.  While it would be wrong to call Augustin a prolific scorer, he has reached double digits quite often in December. He has also generated four steals in his last three contests.  Augustin is sitting at 90 percent for the season when it comes to free throw shooting, too. The Magic have a back-to-back set on Friday and Saturday in case your lineups have room for him.

     

    Drop Zone

    Here are a couple of players who could be worth cutting if you find a promising free agent.

    Rajon Rondo

    On Saturday in Portland, Rondo managed 15 points, three rebounds, and four assists in only 18 minutes.  Overall, though, he’s not getting enough opportunities from Frank Vogel to be trusted.  He went 0-for-4 from the field with a single assist in 15 minutes against the Suns on Wednesday.  He’s 20% owned in Yahoo probably due to reputation and a few big games he has delivered over the course of the season. Nevertheless, there are likely better options available to you even if you require dimes and steals.  The chance to profit from his 3-point shooting ability is more of a possibility than a certainty in the bench role he occupies as a member of the Lakers.

     

    Ersan Ilyasova

    Ilyasova had rocketed up to 15% ownership in Yahoo largely because Giannis Antetokounmpo missed December 27-28 with a back issue.  Ilyasova didn’t exceed 27 minutes in either of those contests but enjoyed three straight big games including the Bucks’ win over the Bulls on Monday.  Still, his track record didn’t indicate that he could sustain big performances in a reserve role. On Wednesday, he finished with seven points, five rebounds, and three assists in just 17 minutes.  No one is forcing you to get rid of him, but in standard leagues he’s more of a streamer than someone to own for the long haul. I certainly don’t blame anyone for having deployed him while he posted three consecutive double-doubles, though.

     

    Injury Report

    Bradley Beal (sore right leg) returned from a two-game absence and scored 27 points in 30 minutes of action.

    Frank Kaminsky (sore right knee) was unable to play against the Lakers.

    Noah Vonleh (left gluteal contusion) did not face the Bucks.

    Treveon Graham (illness) was unable to play.

    Jonathan Isaac left the game against the Wizards with a hyperextended left knee and will be re-evaluated on Thursday.

    Kevin Knox (illness) ended with five points and seven rebounds in 17 minutes.

    Damyean Dotson (back) was scoreless in 13 minutes.

    Wesley Matthews (right thigh contusion) did not play.

    Dennis Smith Jr. (left oblique strain) missed the matchup with the Blazers.

    Aaron Gordon (left Achilles soreness) was unable to play against the Wizards.

     

    Bullock’s Back

    Reggie Bullock finally made his Knicks debut against the Blazers.  He didn’t look out of place, draining three triples and scoring 11 points in only 15 minutes.  He also added two rebounds in the Knicks’ 117-93 victory.  Bullock had spinal fusion surgery in July but declared himself “150 percent healthy” prior to the game.  No, he wasn’t as dominant as teammate Mitchell Robinson, who went a perfect 11-for-11 from the field and scored 22 with eight rebounds.  Nevertheless, Bullock’s timely shots down the stretch stopped any chance of a Portland rally.  They also endeared Bullock to teammates, who mobbed him in the locker room after the final buzzer.  It’s probably too soon to think about adding him outside of the deepest leagues, but you may as well monitor Mike Miller’s rotations if the end of your bench is thin.  He has shot 39% from distance in his career.  Prior to his trade to the Lakers, he averaged 12.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 0.5 steals in a Pistons uniform last season.

     

    Greek Streak

    I was going to begin by mentioning that Giannis Antetokounmpo has posted a double-double in seven straight games after scoring 32 points and grabbing 17 rebounds against the Wolves.  Truth is, he has only missed a double-double in three appearances this season. That equals the number of the Greek Freak’s triple-doubles during this young season. Giannis is so consistent that I have compared him to a bowler who gets a strike or spare in every frame.  His average of 1.7 made threes is a big jump from 0.7 last season. His 3-point conversion rate has spiked from 25.6 percent to 32.7 percent as well. His scoring average rose from 27.7 to 30.3 points per game while his other category contributions have essentially stayed the same.  That’s just fine when those averages are 12.8 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 1.2 blocks, and 1.3 steals. Spurs fans probably aren’t looking forward to facing Antetokounmpo in two straight games after they play the Thunder on Thursday.

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