• The Lakers (16-29) host the Knicks (21-25) on Sunday for a rare Staples Center matinee.

    Los Angeles will once again get a painful reminder that they skipped Kristaps Porzingis in the 2015 NBA Draft, opting instead to draft D’Angelo Russell who is no longer with the franchise. Porzingis, dubbed the Unicorn because of his unique skill-set, is a 7-foot-3 player who can handle the ball, has tremendous shooting range and is a prolific shot blocker. The last time he visited Staples Center he showed the full array of his talents, accumulating 26 points, 12 rebounds and 7 blocked shots — each one a dagger to the hearts of Laker fans.

    With Carmelo Anthony shipped to Oklahoma City, Porzingis is now the focus of the Knicks’ offense and is having a breakout year, averaging 23.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.8 steals, 2.4 blocks and 1.8 3-pointers a game. The Lakers may have a difficult time matching up with him as he is far too athletic for Brook Lopez, the Lakers’ struggling center, and much too long for Julius Randle, their best big-man defender on the year and current starting center.

    The starting rosters and subsequent rotations will be an interesting chess game during this matchup. In the Knicks’ most recent game, a hard-fought 117-115 win against the Utah Jazz,  they started Enes Kanter at center and Porzingis at power forward, while the Lakers started Kyle Kuzma at power forward and Randle at center in their last win. The Lakers would be extremely under-sized if the two teams both maintained the same roster configuration.

    Los Angeles is coming off a particularly gutsy win against the Indina Pacers in which they overcame the deficit of three starters to earn a 99-86 win. The Lakers were buttressed by a transcendent performance from reserve guard Jordan Clarkson who tallied 33 points, seven rebounds and seven assists while converting 14-of-19 shots from the field. On a night where they needed, and received production from almost everyone on their roster, Larry Nance Jr.’s effort stood out as he added 10 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks while making all five of his field goal attempts.

    The Lakers will be short-handed again on Sunday as they will once again be without starting point guard Lonzo Ball. Friday’s victory was the first time the Lakers were able to win without him this season, going 0-for-8 in their previous attempts. They will need another heroic effort from their entire roster if they are to overcome Porzingis and the Knicks on Sunday.

    Key Stats

    • The Lakers allow 110.0 points per game (27th) compared to 105.3 points per game (12th) for the Knicks.
    • After their last masterful defensive performance, the Lakers defensive rating improved to 104.6 (8th) vs. 105.7 (15th) for New York. One telling statistic for the Lakers is that in their 16 wins their defensive rating is 96.0, highest for any team during victories. The Knicks have a defensive rating of 101.1 (23rd) in their wins.
    • Los Angeles commits 16.7 turnovers a game (29th) and is consequently tied for allowing the most points per game off their turnovers at 19.6 points per game. New York is slightly better, committing 15.4 turnovers per game (22nd) and allowing 18.0 points per game off of turnovers (25th).
    • The Lakers are by far the worst free throw shooting team in the league, converting a dismal 68.8 percent of their shots from the line compared to the Knicks who shoot 79.5 percent from the free throw line (6th). In the Lakers’ last victory, they had the ignominy of shooting the worst percentage of any team since the 1963-64 season in a win, going 2-of-14 (14.3 percent) in their otherwise impressive triumph. Their free shooting is so outrageously bad that it has Lakers’ coach Luke Walton considering meditation to remedy their woes.
    • Los Angeles shoots 33.0 percent from 3-point range (30th) compared to the Knicks who make 36.6 percent of their 3-point attempts (13th).

    Projected Starting Rosters

    Lakers

    Tyler Ennis (PG)

    Josh Hart (SG)

    Brandon Ingram (SF)

    Julius Randle (PF)

    Brook Lopez (C)

    Knicks

    Jarrett Jack (PG)

    Courtney Lee (SG)

    Tim Hardaway Jr. (SF)

    Kristaps Porzingis (PF)

    Enes Kanter (C)

    Injury Report

    Lakers 

    Lonzo Ball (knee) – OUT

    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Achilles) – GAME-TIME DECISION

    Brandon Ingram (ankle) – GAME-TIME DECISION

    Knicks

    No Injured Players

    Broadcast Information

    Time: 12:30 PM PST, 3:30 PM EST

    Television: SPECSN/SPECD, MSG, TSN4/5

    Radio: 710 AM ESPN / 1330 AM ESPN DEPORTES

Fantasy News

  • Damian Jones
    C, Atlanta Hawks

    Damian Jones was largely a blocks specialist in 2019-20, holding top-230 value in 9-category leagues while ranking only among the top 260 in 8-category.

    Jones actually posted similar numbers to his final season of 2018-19 with the Warriors, albeit in a larger sample size of 55 contests. He averaged 5.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.7 blocks, and 0.5 steals. Jones saw an uptick in free-throw percentage during 2019-20, which rose to 73.8 percent from 64.9 percent the season prior. However, his assists average dropped from 1.2 while his blocks average fell from a 2018-19 average of 1.0. The Hawks deployed too many big men for reserves like Jones to be particularly valuable, and the acquisition of Clint Capela could further complicate the situation going forward.

  • Gerald Green
    SG, Denver Nuggets

    Gerald Green (broken left foot) has been medically cleared to play but will not participate in games when the NBA restarts.

    Green missed all of 2019-20 but was traded to the Nuggets in February before being waived. Some teams were interested in signing Green in June, but he declined for family reasons. Green will be able to sign as a free agent in October but is unlikely to hold much fantasy appeal.

    Source: Marc Stein on Twitter

  • Vince Carter
    SG, Atlanta Hawks

    Vince Carter ranked within the top 350 in 9-category leagues during his final NBA season of 2019-20, averaging 5.0 points, 2.1 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.4 steals, and 0.4 blocks.

    Carter shot 35.2 percent from the floor, the second worst mark in his career, while he garnered a career-low 14.6 minutes per game. None of that should hurt his legacy as an eight-time All-Star and fan favorite. When Carter made his final career basket on March 12, his smile seemed to foreshadow an eventual retirement which came in late June. Carter averaged 16.7 points over his career but twice ended a season with an average of 27 points or greater.

  • Bruno Fernando
    PF, Atlanta Hawks

    Bruno Fernando finished the 2019-20 season as a top-370/380 player (8/9 cat.) while averaging 4.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.3 blocks, and 0.3 steals on 51.8 percent shooting from the field.

    The rookie out of Maryland didn't exactly finish strong, scoring just 1.6 points per game over five contests in March. The native of Angola found himself behind John Collins, De'Andre Hunter, and Dewayne Dedmon on the frontcourt depth chart. The Hawks also added Clint Capela who is under contract for three more seasons. Fernando's campaign did feature a few bright spots, especially when Dedmon missed time due to injury. However, Fernando would need a step up in playing time to become fantasy relevant in most leagues.

  • DeAndre' Bembry
    SF, Atlanta Hawks

    DeAndre' Bembry (abdominal pain/right hand surgery) missed the final 23 games of the 2019-20 season, finishing with top-225/240 (8/9-cat) fantasy value.

    Bembry has always been a player we've liked as a deep-league option and potential flier in shallower formats, but between injuries and the rise of younger forwards in Atlanta it looks like he might need a change of scenery to maximize his output. There was still some things to like about Bembry's campaign — 3.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.3 steals and 0.4 blocks in 21.3 mpg — but his poor free throw shooting (.542) and inability to stretch the floor (.231) really hurt his case for more minutes, despite a sneakily versatile skillset. Bembry should always maintain steals specialist appeal but he's only a deep-league target going forward unless something changes.

  • Brandon Goodwin
    PG, Atlanta Hawks

    Brandon Goodwin finished the 2019-20 campaign as a top-340/350 player (8/9-cat), averaging 6.1 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.4 steals and 0.8 triples in 12.7 minutes per contest.

    Goodwin did manage to have a career-best performance with 21 points against the Celtics in early February, but his fantasy appeal really only existed when Trae Young suffered a sprained ankle. Goodwin belongs in the league as a solid depth option but doesn't have a place on your fantasy rosters.

  • Treveon Graham
    SF, Atlanta Hawks

    Treveon Graham wrapped up the 2019-20 campaign outside the top-400.

    Graham started the season off as a starter for the Wolves, averaging 20.1 minutes across 33 games, but eventually missed time with some minor injuries and then fell out of favor with Minnesota reshaping its roster and leaning towards its youth. A trade to Atlanta was the end of his already-modest fantasy value, as he averaged just 12.1 minutes in his 22 games with the Hawks. Formerly viewed as a 3-and-D bench piece, Graham shot just .275 from beyond the arc after going .297 last season with Brooklyn. He shouldn't be on your fantasy radars for next year.

  • Skal Labissiere
    PF, Atlanta Hawks

    Skal Labissiere never suited up for the Hawks after a deadline trade.

    Labissiere was actually getting minutes for a banged up Blazers squad but was felled by a cartilage issue in his left knee and didn't play after December 28. Although his 3-point shooting tanked (23.1%), Skal did have a solid showing in limited minutes with 5.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 0.9 blocks and a .551 mark from the field in 17.2 minutes per contest. He finished right around the top-250 and will not be a consideration in most fantasy formats going forward, despite the modest bounce-back campaign.

  • Cam Reddish
    G-F, Atlanta Hawks

    Cam Reddish offered up a mixed bag in his first NBA season, finishing as a top-180/200 (8/9-cat) player despite a strong finish to the year.

    Reddish really struggled out of the gates but found his footing as the year progressed, holding top-100 value for about a month beginning in late January. Unsurprisingly, that came when his scoring numbers ballooned and his percentages crawled out of the gutter. All told, Reddish averaged 10.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.5 blocks and 1.4 3-pointers per game while shooting .384 from the field. The Hawks are pretty crowded on the wing so Reddish will need to establish himself both in the rotation and as a more efficient scorer if he's to be viewed as more than a late-round flier type next season.

  • Charlie Brown Jr.
    PF, Atlanta Hawks

    Charlie Brown ended up logging 10 appearances in his first NBA campaign.

    Brown only played 40 minutes in total, and finished with the sort of fantasy value you'd expect: right around the top-450. There's little fantasy appeal here.