• The Wolves took care of business in their one-game homestand and head right back out on the road, this time against another Eastern Conference foe.

    It’s been a difficult season for the Atlanta Hawks. After slowly losing their core that won 60 games three years ago, the final nail in the coffin was Paul Millsap walking as a free agent.

    The Hawks were the darling of the east when they were led by Millsap, Al Horford, Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll, with young Kent Bazemore and Dennis Schroder coming off the bench.

    First Carroll walked and sought big money, then Horford followed suit the next offseason. Teague was traded after Horford left, opening the way for Schroder. Then Korver was traded at the deadline of the next season, and finally Millasp walked at the conclusion of the year.

    The Hawks’ win total has decreased every season since these moves have occurred, which is expected. This year has been the sharpest drop off though. They still have made the playoffs each of the past three years, but this year they are on pace to finish dead last in the entire league.

    Losing five starters in three years is tough, but when each player was carefully crafted and integrated into the style of play head coach Mike Budenholzer wants to employ, it makes their departure sting even more. Now Budenholzer is working with a young group of players who lack the polish of his former group.

    Despite the lost season the Hawks have plenty to look forward to in the future. They have the aforementioned Schroder along with promising young players like Taurean Prince and John Collins, both of whom look to be defensive studs in a few years.

    They also own three first round picks in next years’ draft. In addition to their own, which should be near the top, they own the rights to Houston’s pick and the Wolves’ pick. That’s as of right now as well. After the deadline they could be adding a couple more.

    As of this game though, the Wolves have a golden opportunity to wrap up a road win. They have struggled on the road versus their east counterparts, going 2-6 in the east coast road games so far. Against the worst team in the east they must take care of business, because on the horizon they face off with the Toronto Raptors.

    The Hawks are a good 3-point shooting team, ranking in the top-10 in percentage, but everywhere else they struggle. They aren’t efficient shooting the ball inside the arc, they turn the ball over often and they are the worst defensive rebounding team in the NBA.

    The Hawks show some signs of being a solid defensive team, and they have a lot of promise in that area long term, but for now they still remain inconsistent at best.

    With Butler back in the fold and the team at full strength, expect the Wolves to take care of business.

    Key Matchup:

    – Jeff Teague vs. Dennis Schroder

    These two players went at each other everyday for years in practice. Now they’re facing off as foes.

    Schroder is probably the best player on the Hawks at the moment. The talented 24-year-old guard leads the team in points and assists, but he has shown there is a lot to his game he needs to work on. His shooting numbers have fallen off this season, though seemingly more due to bad luck.

    He’s shooting just 29.5 percent from 3-point range, down from 34 percent last year and the worst since his rookie season, but he’s still shooting okay from the mid-range at 45.3 percent. Despite his poor 3-point percentage, he’s averaging 19.6 points per game and is a threat in the paint and off the dribble.

    Dennis has the speed advantage on Jeff and will likely utilize it a lot. He will, however, give plenty back on the defensive end. Schroder has arguably stepped back as a defender the past couple of seasons, though he’s up against the starters every night now as opposed to bench guards that he easily feasted on.

    Teague was extremely passive in the Wolves’ last game, so much so that he told Thibs to keep Tyus Jones in the game as the final quarter was winding down. The Wolves could use his aggressive approach in this game to make sure he gets his confidence back for their next game.

    Lineups:

    Jeff Teague – PG

    Jimmy Butler – SG

    Andrew Wiggins – SF

    Taj Gibson – PF

    Karl-Anthony Towns – C

    vs.

    Dennis Schroder – PG

    Kent Bazemore – SG

    Taurean Prince – SF

    Ersan Ilyasova – PF

    Miles Plumlee – C

    Injuries:

    DeAndre’ Bembry (groin) – OUT

    Where to Watch:

    7:30 ET/6:30 CT on Fox Sports North

Fantasy News

  • Mikal Bridges
    SF, Phoenix Suns

    Mikal Bridges led all Suns reserves in minutes (36) on Thursday and put up 14 points on 3-of-7 shooting, to go with six rebounds, three assists and three steals.

    He's simply outplaying Dario Saric (five points, five rebounds, one trey, one steal, 16 minutes) right now and the extra run on the floor is paying off dividends for managers who held onto Bridges during those lean games. Pick him up if he's been dropped in your league.

  • Devin Booker
    SG, Phoenix Suns

    Devin Booker was relatively quiet on Thursday, recording 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting with five rebounds, seven assists, two treys and six turnovers in 37 minutes.

    The turnovers were a stinger for his owners in 9-cat leagues and you can credit the Pelicans' feisty defense for more than a few of those. Count it as an off-night for Booker and move on. He should bounce-back to his top-30 form in no time.

  • Tyler Johnson
    PG-SG, Phoenix Suns

    Tyler Johnson started for Ricky Rubio (back) on Thursday and chipped in across the board with six points, five rebounds, four dimes, one trey, two steals and two blocks.

    It was a DFS gem coming from the low-end veteran guard. He is worth streaming while Rubio remains out, but that's the ceiling of his upside in fantasy at this stage of his career.

  • Kelly Oubre Jr.
    SF, Phoenix Suns

    Kelly Oubre Jr. produced a team-high 25 points on 7-of-17 shooting from the field and 9-of-9 shooting from the line with six boards, two 3s and four assists in Thursday's loss to the Pelicans.

    Oubre is holding steady as a top-70 play in 9-cat so far this season. His ceiling is somewhere within top-50 value, but as a hot commodity, may cost you an arm and a foot for his services.

  • Jrue Holiday
    PG, New Orleans Pelicans

    Jrue Holiday was one assist shy of a double-double on Thursday as he tallied 23 points (10-of-19 shooting), four rebounds, nine assists, one 3-pointer, three steals and one block.

    His ability to stuff the stat sheet is at the core of Holiday's fantasy appeal. It appears he's turned the corner from a slow start. Both he and Brandon Ingram are playing well right now, but Zion Williamson could throw a wrench into the vibe once he's back on the court. Now would be an ideal time to sell-high on Holiday if you want to exit your position.

  • E'Twaun Moore
    SG, New Orleans Pelicans

    E'Twaun Moore chipped in 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting with five rebounds, three 3s and two assists in 26 minutes in Thursday's win over the Suns.

    Moore has been on the radar in 14-team leagues or deeper for his scoring and 3-point shooting as of late. He will fade as the Pelicans get healthier, but feel free to ride out his run while it lasts.

  • JJ Redick
    SG, New Orleans Pelicans

    J.J. Redick caught fire in Thursday's win over the Suns, knocking down 5-of-8 shots from deep en route to his 26 points (10-of-14 shooting) with five rebounds, two assists and one steal.

    Redick definitely has some gas left in his tank, scoring 20 points or more in four of his last five games. He's been a top-120 play in 9-cat over the season, so consider selling high now.

  • Brandon Ingram
    SF, New Orleans Pelicans

    Brandon Ingram shook off a slow start in Thursday's 124-121 win over the Suns to finish with 28 points (9-of-19 shooting), eight rebounds, five assists, three 3s, one steal and two blocks in 33 minutes.

    Ingram is back to his early-season form and delivering across the board in impressive fashion. He appears on track to sustain his production, as is, but a returning Zion Williamson could muddle things for sure.

  • Lonzo Ball
    PG, New Orleans Pelicans

    Lonzo Ball (right adductor strain) played 19 minutes off the bench in his return to action on Thursday, posting eight points on 3-of-9 shooting with two 3s, one rebound and five assists.

    Considering it was Ball's first game back in over two weeks, it was not a bad showing. He should eventually return to the starting lineup and see his minutes restriction eased and then later lifted as he gets his legs back. For now, you can bench him until he's back at full strength. Good news is the wait might not be too long.

  • Skal Labissiere
    PF, Portland Trail Blazers

    Skal Labissiere had a huge night on Thursday with a season-high 22 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and five blocks as the Blazers lost 137-129 against the Bucks.

    Labissiere was huge partially due to Hassan Whiteside's absence, but we have to give him a lot of credit. Not only was it a season high in points for Skal, but also in rebounds and blocks. Additionally, he hit his first two 3-pointers of the season. It was an all-around gem from him and he should really be on radars going forward because of the lack of depth up front for the Blazers even when Whiteside is healthy.