• Welcome to Wednesday’s Daily Dish!  An even dozen games took place tonight, and Zion Williamson managed to impress even though he was restricted to 18 minutes.  How can your team be improved as we head into the second half of the regular season?  Here are a few suggestions.

    Adds of the Night

    Reggie Jackson, G, Detroit Pistons – 19 minutes, 22 points, three rebounds, four assists, two steals, three 3-pointers, 8-of-14 FG

    So much for a minutes restriction hampering his productivity.  Prior to Wednesday’s game against the Kings, Jackson had missed three months with a stress reaction in his lower back.  One can point to Andre Drummond and Bruce Brown being absent as a reason for the explosion, but the truth is that Jackson is going to get more minutes as time goes along.  He averaged 15.4 points for Detroit last season along with 2.1 triples and 4.2 assists. A single performance shouldn’t lead you to cut a quality player, but he won’t stay at 16% Yahoo ownership for long.

    Jerami Grant, F, Denver Nuggets – 35 minutes, 17 points, seven rebounds, one assist, three steals, two blocks, two 3-pointers, 7-for-17 FG

    Earlier in the day, Nuggets head coach Michael Malone called Paul Millsap “a ways off” from returning to games.  Millsap last played on January 6 and was arguably struggling even before then. In his absence, Grant has registered double digit points in seven of eight contests.  He also has at least one steal in six such games and at least one block in five of those. Grant has averaged 4.8 rebounds as well. It’s a pretty solid package for someone with a fairly low 24% Yahoo ownership.  He may not stay valuable forever, but the Millsap news makes Grant an intriguing medium-term acquisition.

    Drop Zone

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

    Derrick Jones, Jr.

    Wednesday marked the third straight disappointing game for Jones.  While he was never on the radar in shallow leagues, Jones showed some upside for Erik Spoelstra and the Heat earlier in January.  He scored 37 combined points while adding 13 total rebounds during the games of January 5 against the Blazers and January 8 versus the Pacers.  Since then, his minutes have diminished somewhat while the production, including shot blocking, has declined.  He only has 9% ownership in Yahoo now and even that figure should drop shortly.  At least Jones seems to have recovered from the eye injuries sustained on Monday while playing against the Kings.

    Jae Crowder

    This choice might seem too easy, but Crowder is still 26% owned in Yahoo as I write this sentence.  He came into Wednesday shooting only 22.2% over the last two weeks and proceeded to go 1-for-8 from the field.  While the rebounds and steals haven’t disappeared, averaging only 18 minutes over the last pair of contests is not exactly a positive sign.  It’s true that the Celtics blew out the Grizzlies in this one. Nevertheless, Taylor Jenkins has not been afraid to use Kyle Anderson, Solomon Hill, or Brandon Clarke off the bench.  That has certainly diluted Crowder’s value as a starting forward.

     

    Injury Report

    Patrick McCaw broke his nose on Wednesday but the severity of the injury was not known.

    Enes Kanter injured his thigh during the fourth quarter against the Grizzlies and his availability for Friday could be in doubt.

    J.J. Redick (left hamstring strain) scored 10 points in 22 minutes.

    Jayson Tatum hurt his groin during Wednesday’s game, but Brad Stevens didn’t expect it to be too serious.

    Josh Hart (left ankle soreness) scored 10 points in 25 minutes.

    Derrick Rose tweaked his ankle on Wednesday but managed to play through it, scoring 22 points in the process.

    Draymond Green missed Monday due to illness but played 25 minutes on Wednesday.

    Jrue Holiday (left elbow tricep strain) played 35 minutes against the Spurs.

    Aaron Holiday (sore right thumb) scored seven points in 19 minutes.

    Derrick Favors (lower back soreness) had a double-double in 23 minutes of action.

    Josh Richardson suffered a left hamstring strain and left the game after four minutes.

    Glenn Robinson III (right ankle sprain) played 25 minutes and scored 10 points.

    Jaylen Brown (right ankle sprain) did not play against the Grizzlies.

    Austin Rivers (right thumb sprain) scored 11 points in 21 minutes.

    Michael Porter Jr. suffered a back injury during warmups and did not play.

    Andre Drummond (lip laceration) was unable to participate in Wednesday’s contest.

    Steven Adams (left ankle sprain) did not face the Magic.

    Nerlens Noel (left ankle soreness) played 30 minutes in a spot start.

    Alex Len (lower back pain) played 20 minutes against the Clippers.

    Jimmy Butler (right hip soreness) returned from a one-game absence and played 34 minutes.

    Patrick Beverley (sore right groin) was held out of Wednesday’s game.

    Kawhi Leonard missed the second half of a back-to-back with left knee soreness.

    Rudy Gay (illness) played nine minutes but did not score.

    DeAndre’ Bembry (personal) did not play on Wednesday.

    Anjezs Pasecniks (sprained left ankle) missed a second straight game.

     

    Wild Wild Williamson

    Basketball fans had to wait over three months for first overall pick Zion Williamson to make his NBA debut after he underwent right knee surgery.  His first half against the Spurs wasn’t overwhelming, but that could be expected as Alvin Gentry ramped up his minutes over time. Despite San Antonio narrowly beating the Pelicans, Zion scored 17 points in a matter of three minutes during the fourth quarter to give Gregg Popovich headaches down the stretch.  He ended with 22 points, seven rebounds, and five assists while sinking four triples in the process. Williamson did commit five turnovers, but that’s a pretty fantastic overall line in 18 minutes of play. Even if there are bumps along the way, this is going to be an electrifying ride.

    Collins Crushes It

    With Trae Young out due to a right thigh contusion, John Collins stepped up to replace his offense.  De’Andre Hunter and Kevin Huerter both shot the ball poorly for the Hawks, but the big man helped make up for that.  Collins went 6-for-6 at the foul line and 3-for-6 from behind the arc on the way to 33 points. Of his 16 rebounds, seven came on the offensive end.  Collins even tacked on two assists, three steals, and a block. It’s too bad for his owners that plus/minus isn’t a fantasy stat, because his +24 led all players in the game.  His 54.5% shooting from the floor led all Hawks and helped Atlanta come from behind to win.

Fantasy News

  • Dragan Bender
    PF, Golden State Warriors

    Dragan Bender put up a goose egg (0-for-4 FGs) in 25 minutes vs. the Kings on Tuesday, adding just five rebounds, one assist and one steal.

    Bender once again played an encouraging amount of minutes in just his second game with Golden State. And while he shouldn't be expected to go crazy this early on a new team, this performance is disappointing. For a young player still thought to have decent upside, it's looking like he won't be able to make nearly as much of his opportunity as Marquese Chriss has.

  • Andrew Wiggins
    SF, Golden State Warriors

    Andrew Wiggins scored 16 points (6-of-14 FGs, 4-of-4 FTs) but did little else (one assist) in a 94-112 loss to the Kings on Tuesday.

    Wiggins' Warriors six-game tenure has been a mixed bag to this point. Unfortunately, that may be the case for the rest of the season, as the Warriors will likely have inconsistent rosters with Stephen Curry (left hand fracture) and Draymond Green (right pelvic contusion) in and out of the lineup. Hold onto Wiggins and hope we see more of those early-season performances.

  • Damion Lee
    SG, Golden State Warriors

    Damion Lee contributed across the board in Tuesday's loss to the Kings as he posted 14 points (4-of-9 FGs), six rebounds, four assists, one steal, one block and three 3-pointers in 30 minutes.

    Lee has been a solid fantasy option in 12-team leagues for a while now, but a recent surge in steals has him sitting as a four-round player in 8-cat leagues and a third-round player in 9-cat leagues over the last two weeks. Stephen Curry (left hand fracture) returns in three games, so Lee's production will likely take a small hit.

  • Buddy Hield
    SG, Sacramento Kings

    Buddy Hield hit five 3-pointers as part of a 19-point (6-of-15 FGs), six-rebound, two-assist, one-steal performance in a 112-94 road victory over the Warriors on Tuesday.

    Hield, since exiting the starting lineup, has easily been an early-round player. He may not keep up such high shooting percentages and therefore will likely see a drop in threes and points as well. However, regardless of his role, Hield has solidified himself as a reliable top-35 player going forward.

  • Kent Bazemore
    SG, Sacramento Kings

    Kent Bazemore provided a little of everything, including nine points (2-of-4 FGs, 3-of-8 FTs), 10 rebounds, one assist, two steals, one block and two 3-pointers in 31 minutes in a win over the Warriors on Tuesday.

    Bazemore's role appears to be growing. And if he's given the 28 minutes per game like he's played over his last four games, he's worth an add. In that small sample, Bazemore easily ranks in the fourth round (fifth round in 8-cat leagues). Harrison Barnes continued his hot stretch with 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting with two rebounds, one assist and two 3-pointers in 38 minutes.

  • Harry Giles III
    PF, Sacramento Kings

    Harry Giles nearly double-doubled again, this time with 13 points (5-of-9 FGs, 3-of-6 FTs), nine rebounds, four assists and a steal in 24 minutes in a win over the Warriors on Tuesday.

    Giles has put together two solid games in a row now. It's hard to get too excited about his prospects this season, though. Giles will likely lose his starting role and meaningful minutes once the Kings' frontcourt gets healthier or even as Alex Len gets more comfortable in Sacramento. Nemanja Bjelica struggled in this one, providing just one point (0-of-5 FGs), three rebounds and five assists in 27 minutes. He should bounce back on Thursday against the Thunder.

  • LeBron James
    SF, Los Angeles Lakers

    LeBron James was looking spry on Tuesday in putting up a season-high 40 points on 17-of-27 shooting with eight rebounds, six assists, one block and five 3-pointers in 34 minutes in a win over the Pelicans on Tuesday.

    James looked like he had something extra in his step as Zion Williamson visited the Lakers in Staples Center for the first time. LeBron's defensive stats and free throw percentage have dipped lately, but there's little reason to think that he won't be a top-20 player for the rest of the season. Anthony Davis also came up big in this one despite banging his arm late in the game. He produced 21 points, 14 boards, three dimes, a steal and six blocks in 36 minutes.

  • Danny Green
    SG, Los Angeles Lakers

    After an early trip to the locker room, Danny Green (laceration) returned and had a true throwback performance with 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting with five 3-pointers, five rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block in 31 minutes as the Lakers beat the Pelicans 118-109 on Tuesday.

    If only Green could do this consistently again, he'd be an early-round draft pick once more. Alas, he struggles to do enough across the board to earn a spot on most fantasy teams. Green is worth a dart throw whenever you need a little bit of everything.

  • Markieff Morris
    PF, Los Angeles Lakers

    Markieff Morris came off the bench to play 15 minutes in his Lakers debut on Tuesday, recording four points (1-of-3 shooting), one rebound and one block.

    Morris' value will likely take a big hit with the Lakers, but he's certainly capable of putting up standard league value if he can regularly exceed 20 minutes per game. Keep an eye on how his role unfolds.

  • Brandon Ingram
    SF, New Orleans Pelicans

    Brandon Ingram scored a team-high 34 points (12-of-20 FGs, 7-of-8 FTs) with seven boards, four dimes, two swipes and three triples in 37 minutes in a 109-118 loss to the Lakers on Tuesday.

    There was valid concern that Ingram's production would drop off once Zion entered the rotation. But to this point, Ingram's overall value has stayed largely the same, as his improved efficiency has helped to offset a small decline in counting stats.