February 27, 2020, 3:23 am
Welcome to Wednesday’s Daily Dish! Tonight’s slate of nine games shed some light on rotations around the league, especially for teams that were active at the trade deadline. Below are a few of my takeaways.
Adds of the Night
I try to recommend players available in the majority of standard leagues, so you may need to look elsewhere for more specific advice if playing in a shallower pool.
Furkan Korkmaz, G, Philadelphia 76ers – 25 minutes, 14 points, one rebound, two assists, one steal, four 3-pointers, 4-for-12 FG
Several years ago, I profiled Korkmaz as he prepared to enter the NBA Draft. It wasn’t easy to translate statistics from his native Turkey, but the offensive skill set was hard to question. The Sixers claimed him near the end of the first round in 2016 and Korkmaz opted to spend another season in his home country. While Korkmaz hit just a third of his shots in Wednesday’s loss to the Cavs, it’s encouraging that he continues to get opportunities. Ben Simmons won’t even be re-evaluated for two weeks, so if you need long-range shooting Korkmaz could help during your push to the playoffs. What’s more, he has made at least three triples going back to Saturday’s matchup with the Bucks. Don’t forget his crazy hot streak from February 7-9 when Korkmaz drained 13 threes in two games and went 25-for-34 from the floor in the process. His ownership in Yahoo has risen to 11%.
Royce O’Neale, F, Utah Jazz – 29 minutes, 14 points, four rebounds, one assist, three steals, two 3-pointers, 4-for-7 FG
Earlier in the day, the Jazz had apparently decided that O’Neale would enter the starting lineup at the expense of Mike Conley. In the end, it was Joe Ingles who became the odd man out. In any event, O’Neale’s defensive gifts have punched his ticket to the starting five, and owners in deeper leagues can profit from the thefts he generates. While 29 minutes don’t represent a huge leap from the 25 he logged off the bench on Monday, Wednesday was the first time he cracked double digit points since January 25. That fact might scare off prospective owners, but his peripheral stats including the three steals made for a useful overall line. He sits at just 4% Yahoo ownership, but a couple more solid nights should lead to more widespread recognition.
Here are a couple of players who could be worth cutting if you find a promising free agent.
Danuel House, Jr.
Even without Eric Gordon on the court, House had an unproductive 26 minutes against the Grizzlies. His four points and two rebounds were reminiscent of Saturday’s game against the Jazz. House ended with just three points, four rebounds, one assist and two steals in that one. In addition, Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni no longer allots him 30 or more minutes every night and House ended with just 19 last Friday versus the Warriors. House’s ownership has tumbled to 26% in Yahoo, and recent arrival Jeff Green clearly outproduced him in his 23 minutes on Wednesday.
Wagner was a fairly hot pickup when Thomas Bryant found himself on the shelf, but his value is very limited at this point. Bryant took a day of rest on Monday, which resulted in Wagner ending with eight points and 10 rebounds. On Wednesday, Scott Brooks granted him only 13 minutes with predictable results: four points and three rebounds with no other category contributions. Many owners have caught on in recognizing that per-minute value doesn’t deliver much the way Wagner is being deployed on most nights. He is now 11% owned in Yahoo and single digits aren’t far behind unless the Wizards’ coaching staff decides to alter the rotation.
Joel Embiid departed Wednesday’s game with a left shoulder sprain and will have an MRI on Thursday.
Luka Doncic briefly left with a left thumb injury before returning to play 37 total minutes.
Bam Adebayo (sprained right ankle) had a double-double in 33 minutes.
Willie Cauley-Stein (personal) missed facing the Spurs.
Trae Young (illness) ended with 37 points in 38 minutes.
Dewayne Dedmon (right elbow pain) missed the game against the Magic.
Elfrid Payton (sore right ankle) had nine assists in 27 minutes.
Wilson Chandler (personal) was held out of action.
Jimmy Butler (personal) returned after two missed games and played a solid 35 minutes versus the Wolves.
Kemba Walker (left knee soreness) was unable to play.
Eric Gordon (right knee contusion) was sidelined against the Grizzlies.
Frank Ntilikina (groin soreness) did not play.
Davis Bertans (sore right knee) played 30 minutes despite falling hard near the end of the game.
Malik Monk’s suspension for violating the league’s anti-drug policy kept him from playing against the Knicks.
Tatum on a Tear
At the heart of things, I write about fantasy basketball because it feels personal to me. Looking back, my Hoop Ball staff league draft wasn’t perfect (hello, Blake Griffin!) but I certainly feel fortunate to have nabbed Jayson Tatum in the fourth round. On Wednesday against the Jazz, Tatum was an efficient 13-for-20 from the field including 3-for-5 from downtown. His 33 points, 11 rebounds, and three assists led the Celtics to a 114-103 victory in Utah. Without Kemba Walker in the lineup, Tatum’s performance is even more critical to the Celtics as they try to secure second place in the Atlantic Division. The Duke product has averaged over 30 points per night during his last ten contests, essentially while shooting 50% both from the field and behind the arc. That’s certainly one way of rising to meet the occasion.
Over the weekend, I drove to Los Angeles to watch the first home appearance for Marcus Morris, Sr. as a member of the Clippers at Staples Center. The team looked disjointed as the recently acquired Morris and Reggie Jackson attempted to impress the crowd, but the former Knick appears to be much more comfortable over his last two games. After committing five turnovers and shooting 3-for-9 on field goals during that Saturday afternoon loss to the Kings, Morris has shown why the Clippers sent back a first round pick as part of the trade. On Wednesday, Morris hit four of his eight attempts from long range and ended with 18 points, five rebounds, three assists, and one block in the 102-92 win over the Suns. It will be hard to replicate the numbers he delivered in New York, but this performance was a positive sign. Of course, the forward’s greatest value should arrive during the postseason when he allows Paul George and Kawhi Leonard to operate with more space even against strong defenses.
April 4, 2020, 9:49 pmZach LaVinePG, Chicago Bulls
Pacers GM Chad Buchanan declined to interview for the Bulls' top basketball operations position.
Buchanan said he and his family are happy in Indianapolis and he is not interested in leaving. The Bulls are clearly moving fast with building their new front office after the announcement that GM Gar Forman and VP of Basketball Ops John Paxson are expected to move to different roles in the organization. A change in the front office and coaching staff could only be positive for fantasy purposes as the Bulls rank 29th in offensive rating this season. Hopefully a change would bring a more fantasy-friendly system with an emphasis on developing the younger talent on the roster.
Source: Shams Charania on Twitter
April 4, 2020, 9:09 pmLeBron JamesSF, Los Angeles Lakers
The NBA and ESPN are working together to televise a H-O-R-S-E competition with several high-profile players.
Woj reported that the details of this competition are still being finalized, but it sounds like players will shoot in isolation, most likely in their home gyms. This would be a much needed source of entertainment for everyone who loves the NBA and, with bragging rights on the line, we would likely see some stellar performances from the NBA's best players.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
April 4, 2020, 8:51 pmLauri MarkkanenPF, Chicago Bulls
According to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, Lauri Markkanen had been unhappy with the direction of the Bulls organization even before the league went on hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Markkanen was so displeased, in fact, that he went on to state that if the situation were to remain unchanged, he'd prefer to be elsewhere. The Bulls power forward was a fantasy mess in 2019-20 and some of that could be attributed to the coach and some of it, to his injuries. Still, his statements put the team in a rough spot. considering Markkanen has been widely regarded as a core piece of their future plans. The Bulls are already shaking things up though, making moves towards freshening things up in the front office. The Markkanen-Bulls relationship is a must-watch storyline, especially given his potential in fantasy hoops.
Source: Chicago Sun-Times.
April 4, 2020, 4:45 pmLeBron JamesSF, Los Angeles Lakers
Speaking on ESPN on Friday, Brian Windhorst said that there has been increasing pessimism about the NBA season resuming.
Windhorst noted that the league has begun to discuss the financial ramifications of shutting the league down, and we've seen reports about the league looking for players to take paycuts as a result of the season's uncertain future. The fact that the CBA in China was set to resume and then delayed again is an ominous sign with NBA markets nowhere near the apex of COVID-19.
April 3, 2020, 7:57 pmKobe BryantSG, Los Angeles Lakers
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett will be inducted into the 2020 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Formal announcements will be made on Saturday, but it appears to be a done deal. The three aforementioned players helped define and then redefine the sport during their primes, making the 2020 class one of the most star-studded since Michael Jordan was inducted. Bryant, especially, who was often compared to his "Airness" will be a bittersweet entrant as the NBA and the world is still dealing with his sudden passing.
Source: Shams Charania on Twitter
April 3, 2020, 1:44 pmZach LaVinePG, Chicago Bulls
Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the Bulls have begun their search for a top executive who will have full authority on basketball decisions.
Interviews will begin next week, with Toronto GM Bobby Webster and Denver GM Arturas Karnisovas on Chicago's wish list. Ownership will have discussions with current GM Gar Forman about his place in the organization moving forward, whlie VP of Basketball Ops John Paxson is expected to move to an advisory role with the franchise. The Bulls have been lost in the wilderness for some time now, and it's mildly surprising that it's taken them this long to hunt for someone to take the power out of GarPax's collective hands.
April 3, 2020, 12:57 pmMichael Porter Jr.PF, Denver Nuggets
Michael Porter Jr. said that his right ankle is now properly healed.
Porter missed six games with a right ankle injury, and though he was able to play in nine of Denver's last 10 games (the absence was a DNP-CD) before the hiatus, he admitted that his ankle was still bothering him and he was playing through pain. MPJ flashed tremendous potential when given the appropriate minutes but it's going to be hard for him to hold fantasy value outside of deeper formats when the Nuggets are fully healthy — he topped 15 minutes just three times in those nine games. The silver lining of the league's suspension is that hurt and injured players are getting the chance to heal up, Porter included.
Source: Denver Post
April 2, 2020, 2:40 pmKemba WalkerPG, Boston Celtics
Kemba Walker has been rehabbing his left knee while in quarantine, and says that it's "doing well."
Walker actually played in the Celtics' last three games before the season was shut down but has missed a total of eight games this season (plus one in preseason) due to left knee soreness. It's clearly a chronic issue at this point, and fantasy GMs just have to hope that this lengthy layoff will help Walker get back to full strength if and when the season resumes.
April 2, 2020, 2:32 pmMeyers LeonardC, Miami Heat
Meyers Leonard is still rehabbing his sprained left ankle and estimates that his recovery is at about 90%.
Leonard shed his walking boot at the end of February but it's been slow going, as he's still not recovered despite getting hurt on February 3. The NBA hiatus might've saved Leonard's season, but even when healthy there won't be any fantasy appeal here despite some strong runs earlier in the campaign.
Source: Anthony Chiang on Twitter
April 2, 2020, 2:28 pmNikola JokicC, Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets have announced that the person who tested positive for COVID-19 is now symptom-free.
The team never said who tested positive, only that it was a member of the organization. The Nuggets have completed their 14-day quarantine, so hopefully all involved are able to remain healthy moving forward.
Source: Mark Medina on Twitter