• After a pretty disappointing performance against the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night, the Timberwolves have a quick turnaround versus the Pistons tonight in the newly opened Little Caesars Arena.

    The Detroit Pistons are an intriguing, mysterious team. On one hand, they have a nice collection of talent at nearly every position. Avery Bradley is an All-NBA defender. Tobias Harris is a good scorer and plays a well-rounded game. Andre Drummond is an elite rebounder, and can play good defense (though inconsistently). Reggie Jackson is a solid mid-tier point guard.

    On the other hand, they have never really been able to climb out of the fringe area of the Eastern Conference. They seem displeased with the contracts they handed out to Jackson and Drummond. They have good talent, but have yet to put it together after a number of years. Unfortunately, they lack the go-to star player it seems every true contender needs in this era.

    Detroit is fairly middle of the road in most areas of the game, they don’t particularly excel at any one aspect of the game and they don’t beat themselves. More talented teams shouldn’t have a problem topping them, but if a team makes some mistakes or comes out slow they can sneak up on you.

    The Timberwolves are a more talented team, but they looked out of sorts defensively last night against the Pacers without Jimmy Butler. With Butler out again tonight, the Wolves need to have a short memory and put forth a better effort.

    Offensively, the Wolves didn’t look quite at their best, especially against a poor defensive squad. There were still encouraging moments, Bjelica and Crawford were able to step up for stretches and keep the team competitive, and Towns still looks fine. At the moment, the offense isn’t the leading concern.

    The defense, on the other hand, was very poor. They cannot allow the Pistons to shoot as well as the Pacers did last night (66.7 percent, 77 percent in the second half) and hope to have a chance. With Butler out again, guys like Towns, Wiggins and Teague need to step up. Perhaps Muhammad is replaced in the lineup with a more defense focused player, though there is no clear option there.

    Key Matchup:

    – Karl-Anthony Towns vs. Andre Drummond

    – Taj Gibson vs. Tobias Harris

    The big centers in the middle will battle it out tonight in what should be an intriguing matchup. Towns can’t let himself get bullied for rebounds versus Drummond, though it will be no easy assignment as he is one of the top rebounders in the game.

    Like his games against Steven Adams and Rudy Gobert, it might be beneficial for Towns to step out and force Drummond to guard him on the perimeter. This can free up the lane a bit more.

    Offensively, Drummond isn’t much of a threat. He has ability to score, but he’s such a poor free throw shooter (career 38.4 percent) that sometimes the Pistons are hesitant to give him the ball consistently as teams just resort to fouling him. It’s possible Gorgui Dieng sees more time in this game to guard Drummond for this reason.

    In the other post position, Gibson will have the task of guarding Tobias Harris, who is very much a modern NBA “four”. Harris has the ability to play down low, but he can step away and make shots from the perimeter, off the dribble and off screens. He’s been the leading scorer for the Pistons this season.

    Gibson will have a mismatch offensively on him, it will be interesting to see if the Wolves exploit it. If Towns is able to hit some perimeter shots, it could give Gibson the space he needs in the paint.

    Lineups:

    Jeff Teague

    Andrew Wiggins

    Shabazz Muhammad

    Taj Gibson

    Karl-Anthony Towns

    vs.

    Reggie Jackson

    Avery Bradley

    Stanley Johnson

    Tobias Harris

    Andre Drummond

    Inactives:

    Jimmy Butler (illness) – OUT

    Justin Patton (foot) – OUT

    Reggie Bullock (suspended) – OUT

    Where to watch:

    7:00 ET/6:00 CT on Fox Sports North

Fantasy News

  • Henry Ellenson - F - New York Knicks

    Henry Ellenson plans to sign a 10-day contract with the Knicks.

    Ellenson has shown promise at times, but he has never really put together any fantasy-relevant stretches. Leave him on the wire for now, but it's not impossible to imagine a scenario where the tanking Knicks are missing or sitting a couple bigs, giving Ellenson some decent run.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Clint Capela - C - Houston Rockets

    Clint Capela (thumb) returned to practice on Tuesday with no limitations, which could determine his playing status for Thursday's game against the Lakers.

    Capela underwent surgery on January 17 and was initially given a 4-to-6 week timetable, so this would be at the early end of a return. The fact that he is returning to practice without any limitations is a great sign for owners, meaning a return is imminent. Watch out for the Rockets injury report on Wednesday.

    Source: Jonathan Feigen on Twitter

  • Jodie Meeks - G - Toronto Raptors

    Jodie Meeks is signing a 10-day contract with the Raptors, per Adrian Wojnarowski.

    Meeks was waived by the Bucks following the conclusion of his 25-game suspension for violating the league's anti-drug program. He hasn't played since last season with Washington and is unlikely to see much action with Toronto. He'll give the team some extra shooting when he does see the floor.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Jared Dudley - F - Brooklyn Nets

    Jared Dudley (left hamstring strain) was scheduled to be re-evaluated on Tuesday.

    Dudley has already made it known that he's planning to return right out of the All-Star break, so unless today's checkup revealed some kind of further issue we're expecting him to be ready for Brooklyn's two games this week. His biggest fantasy impact will be taking minutes from more intriguing players.

    Source: Greg Logan on Twitter

  • Caris LeVert - G - Brooklyn Nets

    Caris LeVert will undergo an evaluation from the Nets medical staff on Tuesday.

    There's no sign of any setbacks from LeVert but the team will obviously keep a close eye on him after he's returned from a dislocated foot. This shouldn't be anything more than routine maintenance, so fantasy owners don't need to worry about it.

    Source: Greg Logan on Twitter

  • Ray Spalding - F - Phoenix Suns

    The Suns are expected to sign Ray Spalding to a 10-day contract.

    Spalding was the 56th pick in last summer's draft but only appeared in one NBA game this season with the Mavs. He was waived at the trade deadline with Dallas taking on one more player than they sent away, and will look to make an impression in a crowded Phoenix rotation. His college numbers (12.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.7 blocks in 27.7 minutes per game) make him a name to file away in deep dynasty leagues.

    Source: Gina Mizell on Twitter

  • MarShon Brooks - G - Chicago Bulls

    Marshon Brooks has agreed to terms with the Guangdong Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association, according to Sportando.

    Brooks played 29 games for the Grizzlies this season averaging 6.6 points and he is expected to replace Malcolm Delaney. Leave him on the waiver wire.

    Source: Sportando

  • Kristaps Porzingis - F/C - Dallas Mavericks

    Mark Cuban said that Kristaps Porzingis won't play this season, even if the Mavs somehow are able to make the playoffs.

    The Mavs want to put their world-class training staff, led by Casey Smith, to work, strengthening Porzingis’ body the rest of this season and throughout the summer to hopefully prevent similar injuries in the future. And after all, given the amount of money the Mavs could be committing to KP this summer, a max salary of $158 million, there is no need to risk something happening to him in a season where making the playoffs seems unlikely. Kristaps remains a great stash in redraft leagues.

    Source: 247sports.com

  • LeBron James - F - Los Angeles Lakers

    Joe Vardon of The Athletic is reporting that the Lakers are "somehow a little concerned" about LeBron James.

    LeBron hasn’t been showing the same speed or overall movement lately and the team is concerned that he’s not fully recovered from the groin injury that cost him to miss a career-high 18 games. The Lakers are in the 10th place in the Western Conference, three games behind the Clippers for the eighth and final playoff spot and they will need LeBron to be healthy for the rest of the season. James is averaging 26.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 7.6 assists in 35 minutes per game, while his shooting percentage (51 percent), 3-point percentage (35 percent) and free-throw percentage (68 percent) are all down from last season. He is still returning borderline top-15 value in standard leagues and owners can only hope he doesn’t suffer a setback.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Michael Beasley - F - Los Angeles Clippers

    Ex-Lakers forward Michael Beasley is finalizing a deal to play with Guangdong Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association, according to Adrian Wojnarowski.

    Beasley returns to a league he is familiar with after an up and down season with the Lakers where he failed to produce consistently. It’s the smart thing to do since the Chinese team is offering him a lucrative deal and we wouldn’t expect to see him play again in the NBA, at least this season. Drop him if you haven’t already.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter