December 24, 2020, 5:07 am
Just like the season, Wednesday’s Daily Dish is back! On Wednesday morning, I watched the Rockets/Thunder postponement in slow motion as news about the Rocket’s exposure to COVID-19 trickled in minute by minute. It’s an unfortunate reminder that, more than nine months after the league suspended play last season, most of the world is still grappling with a very real crisis. As for the rest of the night’s games, I have more than a few opinions to share.
Adds of the Night
While your league may be especially shallow, I try not to provide any incredibly obvious choices here.
Alec Burks, G, New York Knicks – 32 minutes, 22 points, four rebounds, three assists, one steal, one block, two 3-pointers, 6-for-12 FG
The New York Post actually predicted a strong season for Burks, and he delivered in spades versus the Pacers. While Reggie Bullock usurped his spot in the lineup, Burks played a quality game anyway. Only Julius Randle and a red-hot RJ Barrett attempted more field goals, while Obi Toppin made only three of his 12 shots from the floor. He holds just 4% ownership in ESPN and there’s a path to continued playing time, but don’t expect this output every game.
Jeff Teague, G, Boston Celtics – 25 minutes, 19 points, three rebounds, four assists, two steals, one block, four 3-pointers, 7-for-15 FG
Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart each played 38 minutes against the Bucks, but Teague still carved out a nice night. In Minnesota last season, Teague lost his starting spot to Jarrett Culver. He averaged just 20.8 minutes after being traded to the Hawks and probably needed a change of scenery. With the Celtics, he gets the potential combination of a solid spot in the rotation and a shot at a title. Teague holds just 6% ESPN ownership, so attainability shouldn’t be an issue outside deep leagues. It doesn’t hurt that he was perfect from distance in a one-point victory.
Here are a couple of players who could be worth cutting if you find a promising free agent.
Green got the start as the Sixers faced the Wizards but only played 18 minutes, shooting 1-for-6 from the field and missing all four of his 3-point attempts. Shake Milton came off the bench and scored 19 points in 30 solid minutes, while Furkan Korkmaz made three of his six attempts from long range in 20 minutes. While the former Laker is only owned in 5% of ESPN leagues, this wasn’t an encouraging debut in Philadelphia. Green is a 40% shooter behind the arc in his career, but last season that dipped to 36.7%. In the postseason, that figure dropped even further to 33.9%.
At the time of writing, Noel’s ownership recently rose two points to 7% overall. Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau never got the message, because Noel appeared for only nine minutes on Wednesday. His final line included two points, three rebounds, a steal, a block and two turnovers. By contrast, Noel played 18.5 minutes per contest last season with the Thunder. While no fantasy stud, the 1.5 swats and 1.0 steals per game were a valuable complement to the 7.4 points and 4.9 boards. He could be worth streaming if he received regular bench minutes, but until then you probably have better options.
Immanuel Quickley suffered a hip pointer in his NBA debut and did not return.
Cody Zeller fractured his left hand against the Cavs and left the game.
Kevin Huerter (right elbow soreness) scored 11 points in 27 minutes.
Cam Reddish (right ankle soreness) started and played 24 minutes.
Killian Tillie (right hamstring strain) missed Wednesday’s game.
Xavier Tillman (left patellar tendinitis) was unable to play.
TJ Warren (right foot plantar fasciitis) played an underwhelming 23 minutes.
Mitchell Robinson (right ankle sprain) was able to play 21 minutes.
DaQuan Jeffries (back soreness) was held out of action.
Dario Saric (right quad soreness) was ruled out before the Suns faced the Mavericks.
DJ Augustin (left calf strain) missed Wednesday’s game against the Celtics.
Tristan Thompson (strained right ankle) got the start for the Celtics.
Chris Paul (sore right ankle) had an underwhelming 28 minutes.
Abdel Nader (concussion) remains out.
Maxi Kleber (right knee effusion) had a solid 27 minutes.
Rodney Hood (left Achilles) played a modest 14 minutes.
Derrick Favors (right knee soreness) was able to play 16 minutes.
Brandon Goodwin (right elbow sprain) had three points and four assists in 13 minutes.
Anfernee Simons (hamstring soreness) was unable to play.
Terry Takes Off
Terry Rozier scored a career-high 42 points and shot an impressive 15-for-23 from the field, but it still wasn’t enough as the Cavs defeated the Hornets 121-114. In the process, Rozier buried a franchise record-tying 10 triples in 16 attempts. It was also the most threes scored by a player in the first game of a campaign. It’s no surprise that Rozier had his most efficient season in 2019-20 when the Hornets handed him 34.3 minutes per game compared to 22.7 minutes per contest in his final season with the Celtics. This season could be another leap ahead in his career.
Zion Willamson may have been the consensus first overall pick in 2019, but Ja Morant was a worthy Rookie of the Year after injuries sidelined Williamson for much of last season. Morant seems intent on proving that no sophomore slump is forthcoming for him in a shortened 2020-21 campaign. He’s not only productive, but also flashy. With under two minutes left in regulation on Wednesday, Morant sent the ball off the backboard and followed up with a dunk. Morant finished with a whopping 44 points on 18-for-27 shooting. He passed out nine assists, grabbed two rebounds, made two steals, and blocked a shot. Morant only made one triple, but it’s hard to quibble when he made two-thirds of his field-goal attempts and went 7-for-8 from the line.