February 9, 2020, 3:32 am
The Nuggets reworked their bench at the trade deadline, with the departure of fan favorites Malik Beasley and Juancho Hernangomez opening up jobs for the taking. The players that they received in the four-team deal involving the Rockets, Hawks and Wolves don’t really fit the profiles of the players that Denver traded away, but the team gave their second unit a nice scoring boost by acquiring Jordan McRae.
The Nuggets didn’t surrender much in the deal, sending the recently acquired Shabazz Napier to Washington. Napier was going to be a big luxury as the team’s third point guard, but Denver has enough depth in Jamal Murray and Monte Morris to pass on Napier’s contributions to fill a different need among its reserves.
One of the main reasons that the Nuggets parted with Beasley, whose play last season kept the team afloat despite a rash of injuries, is that they were unlikely to be able to retain him in restricted free agency this summer, even as his role and play have diminished this season. That doesn’t figure to be as big of an issue with McRae, who is five years older than Beasley with less of a track record of success.
As for this season, however, it’s McRae who has been the more productive player. After appearing in 81 games (18 starts) last season, Beasley has appeared in 41 of the Nuggets’ games up to the deadline, averaging five fewer minutes per game to boot. His totals have predictably suffered but it’s the efficiency that bounced him out of the rotation, as Beasley went from .402 3-point shooting last year to just .360 this season. Overall, he’s fallen from .474 to .389, and while that could just be a temporary slump, the Nuggets wanted some steadier insurance from a scoring perspective, as well as a player that would cost them less to retain.
McRae has dealt with a few injuries this year but has been a solid bench scorer when healthy, averaging career-highs with 12.8 points, 1.4 3-pointers and 22.6 minutes per game. He’s shooting .420 from the field and .377 from behind the arc, and his numbers may actually steady out and improve once he arrives in Denver. McRae is shooting 41.7% on his catch-and-shoot threes this season, though they only comprise 18.9% of his total shots.
Contrast that with Beasley, who is getting almost 40% of his shots as catch-and-shoot triples. Limiting the amount of pull-up shots McRae takes, as well as the amount of work he does as a ball-handler, could see the efficiency gap widen further.
The Nuggets boast a deep bench with players who can excel in highly specific roles. Go-to bench scorer and floor-spacer is one archetype that they were missing, and while McRae, like Beasley before him, might not play every single night, the Nuggets will roll the dice on his ability to get hot in a hurry. It’s the one clear area where McRae has more to offer than Beasley, and he’s a specialist that can help swing games down the stretch.
It isn’t a perfect comparison and losing a promising player like Beasley stings, but that’s life in a cap league. For now, the Nuggets have added a player that brings a different dynamic to the table, as well as one that they have a better shot at keeping moving forward. It’s the sort of sacrifice that teams with title hopes tend to make.
February 21, 2020, 1:40 amDamion LeeSG, Golden State Warriors
Damion Lee went 4-for-12 from the field and 4-for-4 at the line to finish Thursday's game with 13 points, one 3-pointer, four rebounds, three assists and one steal.
Lee has been one of the hotter pickups since D'Angelo Russell was sent to the Wolves. However, some buyer's remorse might be setting in as Lee's .413 shooting from the field can dip thanks to the variance that comes along with him being a streaky shooter, making more suiting for FG-punting builds.
February 21, 2020, 1:36 amJuan Toscano-AndersonPF, Golden State Warriors
Juan Toscano-Anderson was a beneficiary of lengthy garbage time in Thursday's loss to the Rockets, recording a career-high 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting with seven rebounds, four assists, two steals and one block.
JTA played well, but as mentioned this game was long over even before the fans could form their conga line leading out of the arena. He's worth a watch list spot if you're playing in an 18-teamer or deeper, but expect him to fall off when Stephen Curry eventually returns.
February 21, 2020, 1:33 amAndrew WigginsSF, Golden State Warriors
Andrew Wiggins recorded a team-high 22 points on 10-of-17 shooting with three rebounds, two 3s, one steal and two blocks in a loss to the Rockets on Thursday.
There's not much more to add regarding Wiggins and the Warriors' sad state. On a positive note, Wiggins has managed to keep the peripherals going since joining the Dubs, something he should be able to sustain ROS.
February 21, 2020, 1:30 amDeMarre CarrollSF, Houston Rockets
DeMarre Carroll debuted for the Rockets on Thursday vs. the Warriors but was quiet in his 13 minutes off the bench with just two points (2-of-2 FTs), three rebounds and four assists.
Carroll was added more for playoff depth as a veteran shooter. He's not going to make noise in fantasy, so leave him on the wire.
February 21, 2020, 1:26 amJeff GreenSF, Houston Rockets
Jeff Green made his debut for the Rockets on Thursday and looked surprisingly spry given that he's 33 years young, chiming in with 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting with four 3s, four rebounds and one steal in 24 minutes.
Before you go rushing off to grab Green, note that there was so much garbage time in this one, you could have built a landfill. He was likely seeing extra run to get acclimated with his new team and system. Leave him on the wire for now. Green's extra time on the floor came at the expense of Danuel House, who played just 19 minutes and was able to tally 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting (three 3s) with three rebounds and one assist. House remains a standard-league hold at this time.
February 21, 2020, 1:21 amJames HardenPG, Houston Rockets
Coming out of the All-Star break, a refreshed and rested James Harden was back in tip-top form, leading the Rockets to a 135-105 stomping of the Warriors with 29 points (6-of-16 FGs, 14-of-15 FTs), 10 dimes and a fat stat line.
Harden was in full beast mode (beard mode?) in this one, handily dispatching with the Dubs with three rebounds, three treys, three steals and two blocks, while committing just one turnover. 2019-20 has been rockier than usual for Harden as he saw some unfamiliar territory with ups and downs. He's back and killing it, so clearly the ASB-rest may have been exactly what the doctor ordered.
February 21, 2020, 1:14 amKent BazemoreSG, Sacramento Kings
Kent Bazemore saw some quality run in Thursday's win over the Grizzlies, logging 23 minutes off the bench and dropping 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting with three rebounds, two 3s and one steal.
Bazemore is not an efficient scorer, so his .600 clip from the field tonight should be taken with a hefty grain of salt. He's been widely inconsistent for most of the season but is worth keeping an eye on in case he makes it a habit of playing well.
February 21, 2020, 1:10 amJabari ParkerPF, Sacramento Kings
Jabari Parker (right shoulder impingement) debuted for the Kings on Thursday but was unremarkable in his 15 minutes off the bench, tallying just four points, four rebounds and two assists.
While Parker is not a high-impact player in fantasy, we should expect to see those minutes rise as he gets his legs back. And given that Marvin Bagley III's timetable is in weeks, Parker may be worth a streamer once he's closer to 100 percent.
February 21, 2020, 1:05 amHarrison BarnesSF, Sacramento Kings
Harrison Barnes was unconscious as he went 7-for-11 from deep en route to his game-high 32 points in Thursday's 129-125 win over the Grizzlies.
Barnes was hot as hell, making 11-of-17 shots from the field, but chipped with just a sprinkling of peripherals outside of the 3-pointers, adding one rebound, one assist and one steal to the box. Even when he's on a tear, Barnes still is just a score-first (only) guy, who doesn't really diversify into the other categories. Still, it was a good night overall. Just don't expect him to be THIS good every night moving forward.
February 21, 2020, 1:00 amTyus JonesPG, Memphis Grizzlies
Tyus Jones made his 18 minutes on the floor count on Thursday, chipping in 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting with three rebounds, two 3s and six assists.
Jones is flying under the radar lately and should be on the radars of managers looking for a quality guard to stream. While he's not averaging 20 minutes per game, his per-36 minute numbers of 13.2 points, 8.6 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.2 3-pointers per game on .468 shooting from the field should be enough to convince you that he's worth the grab.