• Rajon Rondo had his introductory presser in Chicago on Thursday, and proclaimed the team to be Jimmy Butler’s team and said that the two of them and Dwyane Wade would be the “three alphas.”

    There have been reports of Butler and Rondo recruiting Wade to the team, though we’ve been around the block long enough to know that’s what teams are supposed to say and who knows — maybe it’s even true.

    We’re not sure whose team it is if we’re trying to ram this into some narrative-driven context, but what we do know is that all three players need the ball in their hands.  For Rondo, he needs it in his hands more than anybody and as he proved in the presser by saying he believe last year was one of his best seasons, his viewpoint on the game is both skewed and rigid.

    Last season he ran the Kings offense into the ground and into bad places, albeit with the occasional brilliant pass to make the highlight reels and keep 3/4 of the NBA universe believing that he had a bounce-back year.  For him to be effective as a ball-handler he has to learn how to make a move and get rid of it if the action isn’t there, which is increasingly the case because nobody respects his non-existent pull-up jumper.  Instead, he is going to force pick-and-pops (because the roll is only there if he forces the ball into a bad spot) … or he’s going to force the ball into bad spots.

    Wade, who also needs the ball in his hands to be effective, may decide that this is his team.  He has the hardware and recent playoff success to do that.  Or he may decide to let the young dog eat in Butler, who is more versatile than the other two but is also the guy you want with the ball in his hands.  Wade and Rondo aren’t great catch-and-shoot guys, and Butler is better than them at that so if you’re forced into this experiment that’s the way you probably want to go.

    Of course you’re going to try and stagger their minutes to reduce the excess ballhandling problem wherever you can, but you’re not getting too far with that even if it works.

    Another interesting wrinkle in the press conference was Rondo indicating he liked Fred Hoiberg’s flow offense.  Rondo loved George Karl’s flow offense because he demanded the ball in the backcourt and then ran his version of the ‘flow,’ which was just attacking in his preferred sets under no pressure of a ‘set play’ that might be ‘better suited going to somebody else.’

    Rondo is as stubborn as they come on the basketball court.  Eventually he won’t be able to force his way into alpha status on the court anymore.  It’s going to take some stars to tell him how it is.  Wade and Butler have some serious cachet in that regard.

    Can they tell Rondo to minimize his game and his influence for the betterment of their team?  An engaged Rondo on the defensive end, even if he’s not quick enough to hold up all that often, will at least close the flood gates.  And a Rondo that spots up in the corner (he wasn’t bad at that last year) and makes plays as a second or third option in the shot clock — that could actually be serviceable.

    But the smart money says that there is no chance of that happening and that the Bulls will be among the most interesting teams to watch for all the wrong reasons this season.

Fantasy News

  • Jacob Evans
    SG, Golden State Warriors

    Jacob Evans (concussion) will be absent from Monday's game against the Blazers.

    That makes three consecutive games that Evans has been forced to sit out. He has not been able to crack the Warriors depleted rotation for a consistent role this year, and it is safe to assume that it is not going to happen anytime soon. Evans is only worth owning in the deepest of fantasy leagues when he is healthy.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Abdel Nader
    SF, Oklahoma City Thunder

    Abdel Nader will miss Monday's showdown against the Rockets due to a left ankle sprain.

    That'll be Nader's fourth straight game on the sidelines. He's been receiving minutes in the mid-teens lately and does not make much of them. Best to not bother wasting your fantasy memory space on Nader.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Chandler Hutchison
    SF, Chicago Bulls

    Chandler Hutchison is probable to play against the Bucks on Monday due to a sore right shoulder.

    The injury has not cost him any games yet, although there were some concerns when it first arose back on Wednesday. You should feel comfortable including him in your lineup if you own him. Hutchison has been on a roll in the steals department lately.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Ryan Arcidiacono
    PG, Chicago Bulls

    Ryan Arcidiacono (right elbow discomfort) is probable to face the Bucks on Monday.

    Arcidiacono receives this designation all the time but does not seem to have any issue playing through it. You can assume he'll be out there on Monday, but he is not going to do much stats wise.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Jeremy Lamb
    SG, Indiana Pacers

    Jeremy Lamb was able to play through his bruised left hip on Monday against the Nuggets, but it led to horrendous results with zero points (0-of-7 FG), one rebound, one assist, one block.

    While it was nice to see Lamb play through the injury, this is not what we had in mind. Things will get tougher for Lamb once Victor Oladipo returns, but it is best to tackle that logjam once it becomes an issue at this point. For the time being, Lamb is worth having in your lineup in standard leagues.

  • Domantas Sabonis
    C, Indiana Pacers

    Domantas Sabonis had a great performance to lead the Pacers to victory over the Nuggets, notching 22 points (10-of-16 FG), 15 rebounds, 10 assists and five turnovers.

    The left knee soreness does not appear to be much of a factor right now for Sabonis, and it is a relief to see a swift bounce-back from the stinker he had against the Wolves on Friday. He played nearly 41 minutes against Nikola Jokic in this one and put up a nice imitation of the triple-double performances we've come to expect from the Serbian. Keep deploying Sabonis with confidence.

  • Malcolm Brogdon
    PG, Indiana Pacers

    Malcolm Brogdon continued his strong play on Sunday vs. the Nuggets, going for 22 points (8-of-17 FG, 4-of-4 FT), eight assists, three rebounds, two 3-pointers and two turnovers.

    Brogdon has been excellent since returning from strep throat and lower back soreness. He is resembling the early-season production that had him returning early-round value, and while that may be too much for Brogdon to do over an 82-game campaign, he is going to be a mid-round asset, even when Victor Oladipo rejoins the fold for the Pacers. Justin Holiday had a decent line off the bench, going for 14 points, four rebounds, three 3-pointers and one block. The Pacers have a number of options off the bench, making Holiday more of a 16-team play.

  • TJ Warren
    SF, Indiana Pacers

    TJ Warren had a solid outing on Sunday versus the Nuggets, totaling 22 points (7-of-13 FG, 8-of-8 FT), three rebounds, one assist and one block.

    Thank goodness Warren had a solid night from the field and free-throw line to keep this line productive. Then again, that is the rub with Warren, who makes his living as a mid to late-round player thanks to his healthy scoring average (18 PTS) in combination with his strong percentages (.509 FG) (.813 FT) for the season.

  • Michael Porter Jr.
    PF, Denver Nuggets

    Michael Porter Jr. put up 10 points with eight boards in 23 minutes of action in a loss to the Pacers on Sunday.

    Porter Jr. has been gaining some serious hype since he has started getting more minutes in the rotation. He has put up top-100 value over the past two weeks and should be picked up in all formats as he should see over 20 minutes per game for the remainder of the season.

  • Doug McDermott
    SF, Indiana Pacers

    Doug McDermott caught fire down the stretch on Sunday against the Nuggets, leading the Pacers' comeback with 24 points (9-of-10 FG), six 3-pointers, two rebounds and two assists.

    This was McDermott at his finest as a sharp-shooter from long range, but we also saw the emptiness he is known for as he did barely anything beyond the 24 points and six 3-pointers. He is still just a 3-point specialist on a deep Indiana roster. He was able to snatch some minutes from Jeremy Lamb tonight thanks to his hot streak.