February 4, 2021, 5:53 am
Welcome to Wednesday’s Daily Dish! Read on for my conclusions from the night’s ten games.
Adds of the Night
While player availability varies by league type and structure, I try not to provide any incredibly obvious choices here. Thaddeus Young was fantastic against the Knicks on Wednesday, but you are probably well acquainted with his recent renaissance.
Bobby Portis, F, Milwaukee Bucks – 17 minutes, 18 points, nine rebounds, three assists, three steals, one block, four 3-pointers, 7-for-13 FG
The Bucks have won two straight blowouts including Wednesday’s encounter with the Blazers, which has helped Portis remain productive despite averaging 20.5 minutes in that span. On Monday versus the Blazers he posted 21 points, eight boards, two assists, two steals and a block. Meanwhile, starting center Brook Lopez has posted averages of nine points and four rebounds over his last three games. Considering that underwhelming output, one wonders whether their roles will grow more similar. There may not be long-term appeal here, but Portis could be a profitable daily play if he can put up these numbers as a part-timer.
Deni Avdjia, F, Washington Wizards – 33 minutes, 13 points, four rebounds, one steal, three 3-pointers, 5-for-9 FG
After the game, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks complimented Avdija’s work ethic. It hasn’t been an easy rookie season, but the native of Israel has put a bout with COVID behind him and is showing a good deal of promise. On Wednesday Washington found itself without Russell Westbrook, so Avdija received the most playing time since December 27 when he was allotted 36 minutes. Avdija has only been added in 9% of ESPN leagues, but he has started every game for a team with every incentive to invest in its youth. The Wizards seem to be expanding his role to give him as much NBA experience as possible.
Here are a couple of players who could be worth cutting if you find a promising free agent.
Okoro is not widely rostered in standard leagues, but he has continued to start for the Cavs. In 28 minutes against the Clippers, he scored just two points on 1-for-5 shooting from the field while contributing two rebounds and two steals. Okoro has only hit double digit points in one of his last four appearances, partly because he’s shooting 29% from long range and also due to his mere seven field goal attempts per contest. The 1.2 thefts per game are his biggest selling point, but averaging 2.3 boards and 2.1 assists isn’t enough to justify deploying him in most situations.
Johnson has been part of the Suns’ starting lineup for some time, but it hasn’t exactly done wonders for his fantasy value. Johnson finds himself rostered in 11% of ESPN pools. He made a pair of threes in Wednesday’s 123-101 loss to the Pelicans but shot only 3-for-9 from the floor. Johnson ended with eight points, four rebounds and three assists in 26 minutes. The score may have been lopsided, but E’Twaun Moore and Langston Galloway ate into his playing time. He has made just 33% of his field goal attempts over the last three games, supplying one steal and no blocks over the last week. Even if you find yourself in a deep league, you may find a better all-around package in your league’s free agent pool.
D’Angelo Russell (right quad contusion) racked up 20 points in 31 minutes.
Naz Reid (right wrist sprain) pulled down 11 rebounds in 32 minutes.
Andre Drummond (sore lower back) scored 13 points in 22 minutes.
Otto Porter Jr. (back spasms) missed the matchup with the Knicks and may not travel for the next two games.
Nerlens Noel (sore left groin) played 20 minutes.
Avery Bradley left Wednesday’s game with a right calf strain after playing 13 minutes.
Shake Milton suffered a hyperextended knee but returned to the game against the Hornets.
Luguentz Dort played only nine minutes before exiting with left knee soreness.
Steven Adams (left calf tightness) managed 11 points in 29 minutes.
Devin Booker (left hamstring strain) ended with 25 points and four rebounds.
Abdel Nader (left ankle soreness) scored 11 points in 13 minutes.
Rudy Gay (left hip flexor tightness) was held out of action.
Myles Turner (right shoulder soreness) played a quiet 23 minutes.
Terry Rozier (right ankle sprain) did not play.
Payton Pritchard (knee) missed Wednesday’s contest but is considered day-to-day.
Raul Neto (left groin) was unable to play.
Russell Westbrook was rested on the second half of a back-to-back set.
Kemba Walker was also kept off the court after playing on Tuesday.
That’s not a misprint in the box score: Paul George really did make eight triples while missing only one of his 3-point attempts. A lot has been made about how much the Clippers traded away in order to acquire George, but he has really hit his stride this season. So far George has made 51% from the floor, 48% from long range and 91% from the stripe. Even though he is playing alongside Kawhi Leonard, George’s 24.4 points per game rank 16th in the league and this would rate as the second highest scoring season of his career. Leonard has never converted more than 46% from the field in a full season, so this is a fast start even for him. On Wednesday George scored 36 points, adding four rebounds and six assists while shooting 13-for-20 on field goal attempts. It was just short of his season high of 39 points set on January 3 and helped lead the Clippers to a 121-99 win over the Cavs.
Whether Tom Thibodeau is getting the most out of him or he has made adjustments in his second year as a Knick, Julius Randle is guiding New York to a big improvement from last season. At 10-13, the Knicks are just a half game out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. While several elements are involved, including a fine beginning to the career of Immanuel Quickley, diving into Randle’s statistics is revealing. He is playing roughly four minutes more per game compared to last season, but the 3-point percentage has jumped from 27.7% to 39.6%. Randle boasts 6.0 assists per game compared to only 3.1 in 2019-20. His free throw percentage of 80.5% dwarfs his career mark of 73.0% and the 10.9 rebounds per contest would be a career best. While Randle has played multiple seasons in which he has exceeded 50% from the field, this year’s 47.5% clip is still a step forward from his time under Mike Miller. The Knicks managed to escape with a 107-103 triumph over the Bulls on Wednesday thanks to Randle’s overall performance. That included 27 points on 11-for-20 shooting from the floor, six rebounds, six assists, two steals and five triples.