February 23, 2020, 12:00 pm
We’re back from one of the best All-Star Weekend experiences in recent memory and I can confidently say I watched very little of the actual weekend. I was in St. Paul watching a fairly drab hockey game. Luckily, I was on the end where both goals were scored. Strong 2-0 finish for my boys in teal with one completely trash goal and an empty-netter. For the hockey fans who are reading this, I was present for Zach Parise’s 1,000th NHL game celebration. The Xcel Energy Center review: Food service was alarming, the food was fine. We get tacos at every stadium we go to now. Any place with flour tortillas and a frazzled line cook gets a demerit in our book. The merch wasn’t my favorite situation either, because I had to go talk to a human to find any selection of disappointing team pucks and that was an immediate disappointment.
For NBA purposes, I guess I should touch on this All-Star weekend. Skills challenge was not exciting because they just dribbled and passed once. Where’s the dramatic coursework? The 3-point contest was cool as always. I know the dunk contest is the main attraction on All-Star Saturday but watching shooters rain triples has always been my preference. It’s because shooting is the only thing I can do passably. I’m basically Steve Nash without the consistency in the shot or general passing ability. The actual game was supposedly the best we’ve had in ages but again, I would be insincere if I said I had watched a lot of it. I’ll watch the Bucks game on my phone before I go through the hype and drama of All-Star weekend. Sue me.
Week 19 Stream Table
Home games are in orange because basketballs are orange.
Road games are in blue because blue is not orange.
Green means heavy schedule because green means go.
Red means light schedule because red means stop.
Back to Backs
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Sun/Mon: MIN, WAS
Tue/Wed: BOS, CHA
Wed/Thu: NYK, PHI
Thu/Fri: OKC, SAC
Fri/Sat: ATL, BKN, CLE, MEM, MIA, ORL, PHX
Sat/Sun: HOU, LAL
Sun/Mon (of Week 20): DAL, MIL
Working the Wire
We haven’t had a lot of real basketball to inform our pickups this week, but we have seen a couple more games to see new faces in new places. I’m particularly excited about some situations in Minneapolis.
Seth Curry: What a huge game to highlight how much we need to be paying attention to Seth Curry. No Luka Doncic on Saturday night and Seth Curry balled out despite a loss. Curry is a lethal shooter and he should at the very least stick in the main rotation given his productivity and should be a 3-point specialist at the bottom of his value because he just needs to catch and shoot from the corner when Luka is running the offense.
Avery Bradley: Avery Bradley is sticking in the starting lineup pretty well right now and it was only a couple years ago in Boston that Bradley was an underrated mid-round value. He has scored in double-figures in eight of his last nine contests, dating back to the end of January. On this path, he’s raining 3-pointers and that seems like a sustainable practice for fantasy purposes. He just has to stand in the corner and wave at LeBron.
Reggie Jackson: A Reggie Jackson reintroduction because he’s on a new team and I just want to address what this might mean. It might mean that the Clippers are more injured than we thought. It might mean that they swung for this because Darren Collison didn’t unretire. Pat Beverley and Paul George are both missing time of late. I don’t think Jackson is going to be particularly fantasy-relevant without the 30-minute volume in Detroit, but his efficiency should take a nice bump.
Josh Okogie: As we’ll see as we progress through this piece, I just think the Wolves are a gold mine of fantasy goodness. They fit every bill: bad team, injured star, new pieces, younger players with breakout potential. It’s time for Okogie to do more and be more. If he continues to rack up steals at this rate and play this many minutes, he could be a decent top-100 option.
Malik Monk: Monk is scoring in bunches right now and bookended the break with two 25-point efforts. He is a shooter through and through so he’ll be a good points and triples producer as long as his shot is falling. This is one of those “run with him until he goes cold” moments. We started to see the downside in Saturday’s loss with a 15-point output that required 15 shots without any bonus stats to write home about.
Anfernee Simons: The math for the Blazers isn’t in their favor. They should get Dame Lillard back soon enough, but if they drop even a handful of games, it might be time to unleash Simons and give him 30 minutes a night. If that’s the case, it seems like he could be a late-round shooter and scoring guard for the stretch.
Cam Reddish: I think Cam Reddish is starting to play better. The tools are obviously there and he looked good coming out of the All-Star break. He’s doing a 3-and-D bit with about 1.5 triples and one steal a night. He’s going to keep letting them fly and e have to be excited about the improving percentages.
Josh Jackson: I’m officially interested in Jackson enough to put him in the meat of the article instead of an afterthought in the stream team. I think there’s something here and he’s shown some flashes especially since the games resumed on Thursday. I know that he hasn’t gotten quite the deployment and he hasn’t made good with a bigger role in the past, but it’s a new setting where he’s finally getting actual run. Keep an eye on it.
Jae Crowder: The shuffle at the trading deadline moved Jae Crowder to South Beach and he is thriving in a new environment. In just four games with his new squad he is putting up close to 17 points per contest on 54% shooting with more than three triples and six boards with tons of steals to boot. Are these numbers unsustainable? Almost definitely. Is he going to get better looks on a better team where Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler suck in a lot more defensive attention? Almost definitely. I just want to point out from the last edition that I was right about this. Obviously I say that and Derrick Jones is back in the starting lineup. He matched Crowder for minutes on Saturday.
James Johnson: He’s actually getting minutes in Minnesota and with Karl-Anthony Towns out with a fractured wrist for at least the next two weeks, so we should expect Johnson to continue to get run on a bad Wolves team. The sooting percentage has been particularly pathetic since moving to the Twin Cities, but he has produced all across the board and has been a menace defensively. We’re not that far removed from JJ being an underrated top-100 fantasy option.
P.J. Washington: Can someone explain why we’re doing this bit where we drop P.J. Washington? Everyone was all amped about him and then he got hurt and now we just don’t want to love him anymore? I understand that the shot isn’t falling and he hasn’t been hitting triples, but even this quieter run since coming back hasn’t been empty. For all of those concerned, he hit four 3-pointers in a rout against the Nets.
Nicolo Melli: I have been interested in Nicolo Melli all year to a fault. He hasn’t quite gotten to the level I had hoped for, but he’s a pretty good 3-point shooter who is creative offensively. Maybe we’re looking at a late-rund streamer, especially if the Pelicans fade out.
Naz Reid: Karl-Anthony Towns is toast for the next couple weeks and if Naz Reid is going to play 30 minutes every night, he’s a must-add option. He doesn’t have a lot of name cachet but he was pretty integral on a decent LSU team in college and can knock down the outside shot. He should be a pretty decent scorer with 3-point potential and some boards.
Ivica Zubac: If Zubac gets 20 minutes in a game, odds are he’s done something reasonably helpful. Either he’s grabbed a decent volume of boards or blocked a couple shots and that could be useful in a deep league where teams are looking to stream some big man stats.
Thon Maker: This is both a function of “Thon Maker should be picked up” and “Man, this group of centers is really bad.” I think it’s mostly the latter, because I’m just sick of Thon Maker’s lack of progression as a player. Remember when we were all excited about this international man of mystery and then he remained the same player for his whole career? He could be a 3-and-D big man with some blocked shots.
The Stream Team
PG: Brad Wanamaker – Kemba Walker is still dealing with some nagging injuries, and Wanamaker hasn’t been bad in 20-25 minutes. He’s recorded at least one steal in every game this month.
SG: Juan Toscano-Anderson – If you knew who this was, I think you probably need a hobby. This is a watch-list guy in deep formats who made good on 25 minutes in the blowout loss to Houston.
SF: Pat Connaughton – Little bit of a hometown play here but given where the Bucks are in the standings, don’t be surprised to see more guys get more rest. Connaughton is a useful player in real life and that could translate into some underrated production.
PF: Jeff Green – Be wary of the garbage time here as his debut with the Rockets got out of hand quickly on national television. He managed 17 points and hit four triples but much of that happened after the Warriors were cooked.
C: Cristiano Felicio – Total minutes play here. I don’t like the stat set much. Or the player, for that matter. We just know that Luke Kornet isn’t good either.
It’s been a couple weeks since we last had to muse about these teams. Unfortunately, All-Star weekend doesn’t always give many non-controversial tidbits for some snippy one-liners.
Atlanta Hawks: I want Cam Reddish to be good so that this team is exciting on the way to losing 55 games.
Brooklyn Nets: And then there were no Kyries.
Boston Celtics: “Doc Rivers wants Ray Allen to be at Kevin Garnett’s jersey retirement.” How critical.
Charlotte Hornets: Devonte’ Graham might be turning into a pumpkin.
Chicago Bulls: I think Jim Boylen has a game management issue. And a coaching credibility issue.
Cleveland Cavaliers: A college coach didn’t work in the NBA because he was too hard-headed about coaching them like his college kids and not the millionaires they are? I have never heard that story before.
Dallas Mavericks: I do think that Mark Cuban was probably right. I also think he’s about to lose another chunk of change for it.
Denver Nuggets: I just want everyone to know that Jordan Bone is not a made-up player.
Detroit Pistons: The Pistons are probably going to buy out one new player a week. I wonder if they stop before they get to Sekou Doumbouya or just tear it down to the ground all the way.
Golden State Warriors: Please come back and save my fantasy team, Steph. I don’t know why you’re coming back but this is all I’ve ever needed.
Houston Rockets: At least the Rockets keep bringing in more wing players to play center to take the load off of their locked in center rotation of P.J. Tucker and James Harden.
Indiana Pacers: I’m not happy that Oladipo will miss a marquee date with the Raptors. Take that, NBA. Raptors and Pacers is a marquee game! These are the games I specifically enjoy. We see too much Lakers and Clippers and Celtics on the television.
Los Angeles Clippers: The Clippers should go get DeMarcus Cousins just for the humor in it. He won’t have to change addresses.
Los Angeles Lakers: Maybe it makes me a bad person but I snickered at the DeMarcus Cousins turn of events after he said he was hoping to play in the postseason with the Lakers to promptly being given marching orders.
Memphis Grizzlies: I don’t know if we should commend the Grizzlies or collectively slap the bottom half of the Western Conference on the wrist.
Miami Heat: I want to be excited for Bam Adebayo in the Skills competition but to be honest, I just thought it was pretty lame. A couple dribbles, a couple layups, a pass and a triple.
Milwaukee Bucks: Khris Middleton is making shots at least at an average clip from every zone on the floor. He has to be one of the quietest All-Stars in the league and I love him for it.
Minnesota Timberwolves: I wonder if KAT is just reneging on his whole disdain for Minneapolis just for show or if he actually wants to come back and play for this team.
New Orleans Pelicans: Blah blah Zion is so good and we love him so much but it’s fascinating how different the way he looks and the way he plays is.
New York Knicks: I have nothing positive to say about the Knicks this week and I’m choosing not to be a beacon of negativity at all times. You’re welcome.
Oklahoma City Thunder: I just traded for Steven Adams in a league and I have mixed emotions about it. He, Andre Drummond, and Clint Capela are going to take turns bricking free throws at critical junctures for me.
Orlando Magic: When Aaron Gordon’s dunk contest press conference is the most dramatic thing to happen to the team, you know it’s been a humdrum season.
Philadelphia 76ers: “If you go out without a coat one time, you might be fine. If you go out without a coat every day, you’re going to catch a cold” – Kenny Smith, basically. Applies to this team.
Phoenix Suns: Devin Booker looked unhappy to be there the entire All-Star weekend. That also might just be his face.
Portland Trail Blazers: I can’t imagine the Blazers make this run without a healthy Dame Lillard. What a disappointing season.
Sacramento Kings: Buddy Hield has provided the peak to the Kings season (and maybe their last decade of playoff-less basketball).
San Antonio Spurs: The Spurs are another hard team to muse about every week. They don’t do anything specifically stupid and aren’t good enough to do something specifically impressive. Damn you Pop and your tight ship.
Toronto Raptors: Here’s an interesting debate: Would the Raptors be the title favorite if Kawhi had stayed given the performance of the rest of this team? Or would we not even be in this position in that case where the rest of the team puts in this Herculean showing.
Utah Jazz: Can you imagine how good this team would be if Mike Conley wasn’t just the worst this year?
Washington Wizards: Things that would signal incompetence in the nation’s capital. Scott Brooks still employed there. That’s it. That’s the end of the list. They need a lot of things to change but at a certain point, the coach is done.
How did you feel about All-Star weekend and how your team fares going through the second half? Let me know on Twitter here.
March 30, 2020, 9:00 pmLeBron JamesSF, Los Angeles Lakers
The New York Post's Marc Berman reports that the NBA's best-case scenario is looking like a late June to early July brief regular season restart with a one-site, 16-team playoff, possibly with each series a best-of-three.
He mentions that a league official said that nothing is off the table, so we're far away from anything definitive. There is still obviously a chance that the season gets cancelled, but the league is "very determined to have a champion". Don't expect anything to be determined for many weeks, if not months.
Source: The New York Post
March 30, 2020, 12:27 pmJohn WallPG, Washington Wizards
John Wall (Achilles) was participating in scrimmages with the Capital City Go-Go before the NBA suspended its season.
Wall was scrimmaging every three days or thereabouts, depending on the schedule, and was a regular presence at the team's practices. There's even video of him throwing down a nasty jam on rookie Garrison Mathews at the link below. Despite this notable step forward in his recovery, the Wizards have maintained that Wall will not return this season, even with the hiatus giving Wall an extra few months of recovery time.
Source: The Athletic
March 29, 2020, 9:45 pmTyler BeySG, College
University of Colorado shooting guard Tyler Bey declared for the 2020 NBA Draft on Sunday.
The junior is being regarded as an early second-round draft prospect for this summer. Bey has some potential as a fantasy asset based upon his ability to accumulate steals and blocks, but it's unclear what kind of a role he would carry as a rookie in the NBA. His odds to become a defensive ace, who also develops consistent range from deep, is what NBA squads will be calculating when they look at him on draft day.
Source: Tyler Bey on Twitter
March 29, 2020, 9:32 pmMarcus SmartPG, Boston Celtics
Marcus Smart announced that he has been cleared of COVID-19 since Friday.
It is good to see that Smart made a full recovery from the virus. Before this crisis hit the scene Smart was having a strong season with consistent mid-round value for the Celtics. With his secure role as a defensive anchor and his improved shooting from deep, he will continue to be a strong option whenever play resumes.
Source: Marcus Smart on Twitter
March 29, 2020, 8:02 pmReggie PerryPF, College
Mississippi State forward Reggie Perry declared for the 2020 NBA Draft on Sunday.
Perry said he will not be going back to college in the fall, and unlike in 2019 when he declared for the draft before withdrawing to return to college, he intends to sign with an agent this time around. He is shaping up to be a second-round selection and made some strong strides during his Sophmore campaign at Missippi State last season, averaging 17.4 points and 10.1 rebounds on .500 shooting from the field. He'll need to continue improving upon this year's free-throw percentage (.768) and prove he can shoot the NBA three-pointer (.324) to become a prospect for standard fantasy leagues next season.
Source: Jeff Goodman on Twitter
March 29, 2020, 7:21 pmKris DunnPG, Chicago Bulls
Jovan Buha of The Athletic writes that there have been multiple rumors connecting the Clippers with impending free agent Kris Dunn.
Dunn would only add to the Clippers' collection of outstanding defensive talent, though he may be hunting for a role closer to the starting lineup in a perfect world. He's currently shelved by a right MCL sprain that was initially expected to sideline him for the entire season. No matter where Dunn ends up, it's going to take a perfect set of circumstances for him to produce worthwhile numbers outside of the steals category.
Source: The Athletic
March 28, 2020, 10:21 pmMitchell RobinsonC, New York Knicks
Knicks owner James Dolan tested positive for Coronavirus on Saturday.
Dolan is in self-isolation and fortunately has "little to no symptoms". The Knicks' press release said that Dolan "continues to oversee business operations" which is hopefully, a good indicator that Dolan is feeling well.
Source: Marc Stein on Twitter
March 28, 2020, 9:30 pmPaul ReedSF, College
Paul Reed declared for the 2020 NBA Draft on Saturday.
The junior small forward out of Depaul was named to the All-Big East Second Team this past season while averaging 15.1 points, 10.7 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 2.6 blocks. Reed is likely to be drafted late in the first round. He was an efficient scorer in college (51.6 percent from the field in 2019-20) and if his shooting, rebounding and defensive stats translate to the NBA he could be a sneaky fantasy value. Keep an eye on Reed next season in case he is in a role where he can get minutes in the upper-20s.
Source: Paul Reed on Twitter
March 28, 2020, 7:57 pmZeke NnajiPF, College
According to CBS' Jon Rothstein, Arizona Wildcat power forward Zeke Nnaji will declare for the 2020 NBA draft.
Nnaji is a potential late first-round pick in the draft, given that it's a guard-heavy field and some teams may be in the market for some size. That said, it's far too early to make any hard predictions and draft boards remain fluid. With averages of 16.1 points and 8.6 rebounds per game on .570 shooting from the field, Nnaji has the base to be a fantasy-friendly big man, should he earn meaningful minutes on the team that eventually takes him.
Source: Jon Rothstein on Twitter
March 28, 2020, 7:50 pmAaron NesmithSF, College
Vanderbilt player Aaron Nesmith has announced that he will be entering the 2020 NBA Draft.
Nesmith, whose 2019-20 NCAA season was cut short by foot surgery, will be foregoing his junior year in order to join the draft. He's 6'6" and weighs in at 213 pounds. Playing small forward for Vanderbilt, Nesmith posted averages of 23 points and 4.9 rebounds while shooting 52 percent from beyond the arc in the 14 games he managed to play.