• Hello Hoop-Ballers! First off, if you are still with us at this point of the season, a congrats are in order. It is likely that you are still alive and kicking in your fantasy playoffs or close enough in Roto to taste the top prizes. Cheers!

    It was an uncharacteristically jam-packed Tuesday with an eight game slate, so we got to see over half the teams in the NBA jockey for playoff positioning or tank for the lottery. Since it was heavy, let’s ignore what you already know and get this down to brass tax. Today’s format will be more about the headlines than each game itself. You’ll catch on. Let’s get to Tuesday night’s action.

    Editor’s Note: Hoop Ball and RotoTracker have partnered up to give our podcast listeners and premium subscribers discounts on the best DFS tracking service in the industry. You want to win and this is what we use and what the pros use. Click Here to find out more.

    BOOGIE COUSINS LEADS PELS TO VICTORY WITH A MONSTER LINE

    Ever since the bizarre trade on February 19th, DeMarcus Cousins has seen an obvious decline in fantasy value. That can be attributed to a new system, new teammates and new usage. It takes a player time to get acclimated (unless your name is LeBron James or Kevin Durant). In spite of this, Boogie hasn’t fallen off too far since his days in Sacramento. Instead of performing at a first round value, he is now a top-25 player since joining the Pels.

    Last night was a little different.

    Boogie exploded on the scene for what was certainly his best performance to date for the Pelicans. He shot a monstrous 14-for-27 from the field and 8-for-9 from the line for 41 points with 17 boards, two assists, two steals, three blocks and five 3-pointers in 37 minutes. This will be one of his best lines for the Pels this season, so you can’t expect this every night. Enjoy it. As enigmatic as it has probably been to own Cousins this season, he is an otherworldly talent.

    When you pair multiple studs in the same frontcourt, it becomes a balancing act. We are used to the like Boogie had with Anthony Davis on a nightly basis. They changed bodies on Tuesday and Davis had a below-average game. The Brow shot 9-for-18 from the field for 19 points with 13 rebounds and no defensive stats. A 19 & 13 double-double is usually a great night for most fantasy players, but you expect the Brow to do more. It was Boogie’s night.

    Jrue Holiday has seen a noticeable decline as well, ranking outside the top-80 over the last month since Cousins’ arrival. He finished Tuesday’s game with 11 points (5-for-17 FGs), three boards, six assists and one steal in 41 minutes. He still gets his big lines in from time-to-time, but we aren’t seeing the same Jrue as we did in January.

    WHITESIDE LEADS HEAT TO 8TH PLACE, INJURES SHOOTING HAND

    The Heat got a much needed 112-97 win over the Suns, climbing to 8th place in the Eastern Conference playoff picture with 11 games remaining. However, that came at a huge cost when Hassan Whiteside injured his shooting hand late in the fourth quarter after he hit his hand on the backboard with just over two minutes left in the game. The Heat were up by 24 points at the time, which is throwing fans into a frenzy now that Whiteside is injured.

    Whiteside received 13 stitches on his hand after the game. The Heat have yet to make any call on his chances of playing in Thursday’s home game against the Raptors. As of Wednesday morning, Whiteside’s status is still up in the air. He suffered a similar injury two seasons ago and missed a three games because of the injury. If you own Whiteside and need a positive spin, the Heat are fighting for their playoff lives so you can bet he will do everything in his power to play as soon as possible.

    If Whiteside is ruled out multiple games, Willie Reed is an immediate grab. He was 4-for-5 from the field with 12 points and seven boards in 17 minutes. He has stepped up huge in Whiteside’s place before. If you need big man stats, run to the waiver wire if you hear that Whiteside is out.

    IBAKA AND ROLO ON BRINK OF SUSPENSION AFTER GETTING TOSSED TUESDAY

    The Raptors took down the Bulls in a 122-120 overtime finish on Tuesday. Despite all of the shiny stat lines, the lead story in this game was the fight between Robin Lopez and Serge Ibaka late in the third quarter. Both attempted punches and were quickly tossed from the game. As of Wednesday morning, no suspensions have been handed out yet, but they are very likely.

    Ibaka finished the game with 16 points, six boards, one assist and two 3-pointers in 26 minutes. Fortunately, the Raptors play three more games this week so Ibaka is a must-hold despite a one-game suspension. You aren’t dropping him.

    Lopez is a different story. While the Bulls also have three games for the rest of the week, his value is not high enough to warrant a “must-own” tag. I would not blame you for cutting ties for someone who plays three games. That’s not to say you should definitely drop him, but RoLo is not a guy that would cost you dearly if you were without him moving forward. As always, the choice is yours.

    Now that we got the fight out of the way, high level fantasy basketball happened in the Raptors-Bulls game. DeMar DeRozan was terrific, shooting 17-for-38 from the field and 7-for-11 from the line for 42 points with seven boards, eight assists, one steal, one block and one 3-pointer in 43 minutes. Without the services of Kyle Lowry, DeRozan is shouldering the load and took the most shots in Raptors history on Tuesday with 38 attempts. He has the keys to the car. Let him drive you home.

    Jimmy Butler led the Bulls with a monster line of his own, shooting 11-for-21 from the field and 12-for-14 from the line for 37 points with 10 boards, six assists, one steal, two blocks and three 3-pointers in 44 minutes. Although there was concern with Butler’s production late in the season in recent years, he put that to bed on Tuesday.

    Fantasy zombie Rajon Rondo is still alive and kicking for the Bulls. Rondo annoyingly turned in one of his best games of the season on Tuesday, shooting 9-for-16 from the field for 24 points with five boards, eight assists, four steals and four 3-pointers in 40 minutes. He is peaking at a very opportune time.

    Editor’s Note: We have a brand new APP for all of our FREE Hoop Ball podcasts. You can download it for your Apple devices here and for your Android devices here. ALSO, you can subscribe to our flagship show Fantasy NBA Today on iTunes right here and on Stitcher right here.

    BROLO HITS BUZZER-BEATER AS NETS UPSET PISTONS

    A few months ago the fantasy community was panicking about Brook Lopez being shutdown for the season. Here we are in late March, talking about how great BroLo is playing. It’s an unpredictable game. If you are still alive and held on to BroLo, pat yourself on the back.

    Depending on which way you look at it, Lopez was the hero on Tuesday after he nailed a jumper at the buzzer to lead the Nets to a 98-96 win over the Pistons. BroLo shot 13-for-24 from the field for 29 points with seven boards, one assist and three 3-pointers in 33 minutes. There will be rest days down the stretch, but the Nets play four games next week again.

    Caris Levert got hot, shooting 5-for-8 from the floor for 15 points with two boards, one assist, one steal and three 3-pointers in 25 minutes. He won’t shoot quite as well every game, but the Nets do have three games in four days starting on Thursday is you need a body. You could do worse.

    With Jeremy Lin’s (ankle) status questionable moving forward, Spencer Dinwiddie has been named the starter until Lin is back. Dinwiddie put up 10 points with eight boards, four assists and two blocks in 30 minutes on Tuesday. Without knowing how long Lin will sit, I would roll the dice on Dinwiddie.

    Lopez’s heroics overshadowed Tobias Harris, who tied the game with three seconds left on a clutch shot. Harris shot 10-for-15 from the field for 24 points with five boards, one assist, two steals and three blocks in 36 minutes on Tuesday. He has put Jon Leuer’s fantasy value out of its misery.

    It was Russian roulette with the Pistons point guards yet again on Tuesday. Ish Smith was the winning bet, posting a 16-7-4-3-1 line in 28 minutes. Reggie Jackson only saw the court for 20 minutes and scored seven points with two rebounds and two assists. If I have to take my pick, I stick with Jackson but this isn’t the time of year to be patient.

    That will do it for Wednesday’s Daily Dish. Check me out on Fantasy NBA Tonight ($) where I breakdown the happenings of Tuesday’s action in a live format where you, the readers and Hoop-Ballers, can ask me questions and we can converse back and forth. Also, be sure to follow me on Twitter, I’m @RiazD. Don’t forget to follow all of our breaking news and rumors @HoopBallTweets. Happy Hump Day!!

Fantasy News

  • Furkan Korkmaz
    SG, Philadelphia Sixers

    After an injury-plagued sophomore campaign for the Sixers, Furkan Korkmaz knows this season will be crucial for his future and he is hoping to make big strides this year.

    The one thing Korkmaz has going for him is his shooting ability and that is something the Sixers could surely utilize on this roster. It did not click last season, but Korkmaz will get another chance to prove his worth at some point this season. Still, it is hard to picture him coming out of the gate with a big role on opening night.

    Source: Sixers.com

  • Nikola Mirotic
    PF, Milwaukee Bucks

    On Sunday, Nikola Mirotic dropped 14 points on 6-of-14 shooting for Barcelona.

    Mirotic's opening appearance for his new EuroLeague club, Barcelona, resulted in a victory, and he did not have to work too hard for most of his buckets at the Supercopa Endesa versus Valencia. Mirotic should find quick success during his return to European basketball, but NBA fantasy players will surely be missing his presence stateside.

    Source: Eurohoops

  • Bruce Brown
    SG, Detroit Pistons

    Coach Dwane Casey spoke highly of Bruce Brown’s defensive play, calling him an ‘elite defender.’

    Brown remains in contention for a starting spot with the Pistons, but he is not a high-usage player, and the Pistons have stocked up with offensive threats such as Derrick Rose and the immortal Joe Johnson. It will be tough for Brown to rack up enough touches or minutes this season.

    Source: Pistons.com

  • Kevin Durant
    SF, Brooklyn Nets

    There is some optimism in league circles about Kevin Durant's (Achilles) chances of playing this season, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post.

    Looking back on Durant's decision to return during the Finals, the Nets may want to exude caution when considering KD's return to action. However, Durant is pursuing his rehab with a sense of purpose, and it would be great to see him get back on the court this season. We'll keep you posted when a real timeline on Durant's rehab emerges. This news does not make him a target on draft day for standard leagues.

    Source: New York Post

  • Larry Nance Jr.
    PF, Cleveland Cavaliers

    Larry Nance Jr. is the presumed favorite to start at PF heading into training camp according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.

    Fedor went on to speculate that Nance Jr. could see a lot of time at the four while Kevin Love starts at center and Tristan Thompson and John Henson compete for back up minutes behind those two. Any uptick in playing time would be a huge boost to the per-minute dynamo that Nance Jr is, and a starting role with a new coaching staff bodes well for that. He's trending in the right direction.

    Source: Cleveland.com

  • Kevin Knox
    SF, New York Knicks

    Coach Fizdale told the Knicks players that no starters have been determined and players had to earn their minutes.

    Kevin Knox will battle with veteran Marcus Morris for the starting small forward spot. Knox has been working on getting his body stronger to be able to take on more contact on drives to the basket. Last season as a rookie, he averaged 12.8 points on a putrid 37 percent from the field. Knox will look to get more looks closer to the basket and increase his field goal percentage to more respectable levels. Knox provided little else outside of points and rebounds last season and will need to improve his shooting and defense to be considered a standard-league player.

    Source: New York Post

  • Bol Bol
    C, Denver Nuggets

    According to Nick Kosmider of The Athletic, Bol Bol could spend his entire rookie season in the G-League.

    Bol Bol was not drafted to be an immediate impact player, but just fell too late fore the Nuggets liking. The 44th overall pick needs to bulk up and show that he could take the bumps and bruises before having his chance on the big stage.

    Source: Nick Kosmider of The Athletic

  • Kawhi Leonard
    SF, Los Angeles Clippers

    After speaking with Doc Rivers and Lawrence Frank, Dan Woike's takeaway is that Kawhi Leonard's "load management" will not be as strict as it was last year.

    It was reported in July that Kawhi said he wants to play all next season fully and approach load management on a game-to-game basis so this is further confirmation that he will most likely play more than the 60 games he played last year but surely won't play all 82 either. Kurt Helin of NBC Sports speculates that this could be for several reasons. One could be that Leonard can take on more now that he is a little healthier while he believes the Clippers might also limit his per-game minutes to help him play more games. The other idea is that because the Western Conference is so deep, the Clippers will not be able to get a good seed if Leonard sits too many games. Fantasy wise, Leonard finished last season seventh in per game value but 18th in total value since he played only 60 games. Near the top of the second round would be a great place to snag him if he plays around 70 games this season.

    Source: Dan Woike on Twitter

  • Malik Beasley
    SG, Denver Nuggets

    The Nuggets want to extend Malik Beasley and Juan Hernagomez before the October 21 deadline.

    The Nuggets already locked up one of their 2016 first-round picks (Jamal Murray) to a long-term deal and now want to do the same with their other two 2016 first-round picks, Hernangomez and Beasley. If not, the two will likely become restricted free-agents at the end of the season. Both players saw stretches of big minutes last season due to injuries but at full health, Beasley was around 20 minutes per game while Hernangomez was at around 10. Fantasy wise, neither player puts up big defensive stats but Beasley is a very efficient shooter with low turnovers, knocking down 2.0 triples per game last year, putting him near top-150 value at only 23.2 minutes per game. Hernangomez is a decent rebounder and knocked down 0.9 triples per game but he would need closer to 30 minutes per game to be a factor in standard leagues.

    Source: Denver Post

  • OG Anunoby
    SF, Toronto Raptors

    Coach Nick Nurse intends to put OG Anunoby "back out there in a primary role."

    With Kawhi Leonard vacating the starting small forward spot, Anunoby is the leading candidate to take the role. Before the arrival of Leonard, Anunoby started 62 games in his rookie season. Last season he started 6 out of 67 games, and missed the entire playoffs due to an emergency appendectomy. He averaged 7.0 points, 2.9 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.7 steals and 0.3 blocks over 20.2 minutes per game, while shooting 45.3 percent from the floor, 33.2 percent from 3-point range and 58.1 percent from the free-throw line. He can be picked up as a late round flier in drafts.

    Source: The Athletic