• Adrian Wojnarowski went on Colin Cowherd’s radio show and said he likes Russell Westbrook’s chances of staying in Oklahoma City.

    “I, I, I like Oklahoma City’s chances to keep Russell Westbrook. I really do. I don’t think he’s dying to leave there,” proclaimed Woj.  It sounds like Oklahoma City is going to try to keep him but you’ll notice that Woj never really addressed the issue of Westbrook getting an extension or giving a promise that he will indeed stay — because absent that promise if you’re Sam Presti you have to trade him.

    That said, the Thunder have never stuck to a script (see getting rid of James Harden so they could keep Kendrick Perkins), so maybe they’re crazy enough to play it out.

    Woj adds a number of reasons that Westbrook would want to stay and we’re fans of the idea too.

    Let Westbrook rise from the ashes of the Kevin Durant decision and destroy major cities.  Let him make like Uma Thurman against an NBA house filled with Crazy 88s and in the end just maybe he can climb up into the Western Conference Finals for a showdown at the House of Blue Leaves.

    The Warriors have given us a Goliath and we need a David that is certifiably insane enough to believe he can dice them up.  All of the karma and #narrative and anti-Kevin Durant sentiment will have parked itself at Oracle Arena, right before the Warriors remove their heart and soul for a zip code across the bay, and he will have the entire basketball world on a string with the delight of a revenge series.

    Yes, the Cavs and LeBron James are the first team we have to talk about when discussing who can beat the Warriors.  But Vegas re-installed the Warriors as theoretic -200 favorites right after the Finals ended if they were to tip it up again.  That was before the Warriors got Durant.

    You’d like to think the Cavs can find a way around the Kevin Love contract situation and that their pieces can hold up, but they have some mileage issues and injury concerns up and down the lineup.

    In this conversation it seems we need a perfectly constructed team to mold itself around a perfect basketball weapon.

    Woj’s pitch has some merit — Victor Oladipo and Steven Adams are a very good start to figuring out the puzzle.  You’re checking boxes in the Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green conversations.  If they could find a player built in the mold of a Willie Cauley-Stein to cover Durant then I believe we’re having a conversation about the Thunder and the Warriors.

    And that’s hard to do right now.

    But it all starts with Westbrook and there’s no better setting for this drama than OKC.  The Warriors would inevitably downplay any correlation between the past and the present, but basketball is a game about narrative. “Kevin, how do you feel about Russell leading what used to be your guys’ team to the Western Conference Finals.”

    “I’m happy for him and we’re just focused on winning the next game.”

    Over and over and over and over again.

    Pardon me for grasping at straws but I’m just trying to fit in with NBA decision-makers at this point.  There are only a small handful of players with both the talent and mental composition to hold the slingshot.  Kawhi Leonard. Russell Westbrook. Karl Anthony-Towns. That’s it.

    So if Woj and the NBA powers that be want to maintain Oklahoma City as a sort of spirit animal for those of us wanting real competition in the playoffs, we’ll have the popcorn ready.

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.