June 4, 2018, 12:42 am
Steve Kerr pushed all the right rotational buttons to get his team an early lead in Game 2 of the NBA Finals. When it came time to put the Cleveland Cavaliers away for good, though, it was the Golden State Warriors’ biggest star who answered the call. Steph Curry made a Finals record five 3-pointers in the fourth quarter on Sunday night, propelling the Warriors to a statement-making 122-101 victory over the Cavaliers and pulling them within two wins of a second consecutive title.
Golden State got several strong contributions from role players in Game 2. JaVale McGee, starting for the first time since the Warriors closed out the San Antonio Spurs, rewarded Kerr’s trust in him from the opening tip. He scored 12 points on perfect 6-of-6 shooting, including five dunks. Shaun Livingston didn’t miss a shot for the second straight game, finishing with 10 points and five rebounds. Jordan Bell made several splash plays on both ends of the floor in 10 minutes off the bench, while David West, splitting time with McGee, Bell and Kevon Looney up front, had three rebounds, two assists and three blocks – and hit a corner three in the final seconds of the third quarter, pushing the Warriors’ lead to 90-80 heading into the final stanza.
Cleveland, believe it or not, actually won the third quarter. Kevin Love scored 13 of his 22 points in the period, and George Hill was crucial to the Cavaliers finding their stride offensively. After consecutive scores by Love and LeBron James, Cleveland was suddenly down just five with 2:55 remaining. But Golden State answered almost immediately, as Klay Thompson raced down the floor, set his feet, took a pitch ahead from Bell and launched, netting three of his 20 total points – a number made more impressive given the fact that he almost missed this game due to injury altogether.
Thompson’s quick-hitting triple, seconds after a made basket, was hardly an isolated incident. The Warriors pushed the ball at every opportunity in Game 2, and clearly stressed the importance of ball and player movement in the half court. They made their first seven shots and went 13-of-15 on two-pointers in the first quarter, living in the paint as the Cavaliers struggled to keep up.
For the first three quarters, though, Cleveland, despite James failing to duplicate his all-time Game 1 performance, was somehow still within striking distance of Golden State. Curry changed that quickly once the fourth quarter began. He had 33 points, seven rebounds and eight assists, and set a second Finals record by draining nine 3-pointers in all. Curry’s eighth triple culiminated in a four-point play, but it was his seventh that will live in highlight-reel lore forever.
— NBA Spain (@NBAspain) June 4, 2018
Curry, who has yet to win Finals MVP despite owning two championship rings, made his last three with three minutes and 30 seconds left – after Ty Lue had already waved the white flag by pulling his starters. The circumstances that prompted that early surrender were hardly the fault of James, by the way. He scored 29 points, grabbed nine rebounds and doled out 13 assists in a game the Cavaliers shot 41.1 percent from the floor and 9-of-27 from three. James ended up making half of his 20 field goal attempts, but was met with far more resistance in the paint than he was in Game 1. Why? While Golden State’s increased physicality and engagement defensively played a factor, so did James’ discomfort with his jumper. He didn’t score from outside the paint in the first half, and didn’t even attempt his first 3-pointer until the opening minute of the third quarter.
When James has his outside shot going, he’s almost good enough to beat the Warriors by himself, as Game 1 and the controversies surrounding Cleveland’s loss made abundantly clear. But when he’s more playmaking battering ram than all-around offensive demigod, James, great as he was in Game 2, definitely needs more help.
He got some of it on Sunday night, but not nearly enough. Fortunately for the Cavaliers, they can count on shots falling at Quicken Loans Arena that didn’t over the first two games at Oracle. But defense travels more reliably, the thinking goes, and that’s a harsh reality for a Cleveland team that just allowed 57.3 percent shooting and a whopping 79 combined points to Curry, Kevin Durant (26 points, nine rebounds, seven assists on 10-of-14 FGs) and Thompson.
The Cavaliers have been here before, of course, but so have the Warriors – and never with Curry playing like he is right now. After two games, the bold line separating these teams seems darker than ever before. James has the powers to erase it, especially in Cleveland. But a far less shocking outcome, based on what transpired in Oakland, is that this series will be over before it has the chance to get back to the Bay.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT EDITIONJanuary 16, 2019, 9:54 pm
January 16, 2019, 9:15 pm
Christian Villere is joined by Sacramento Kings Beat Blogger for Hoop Ball, Jon Schifferle.
The fellas discuss much of the off-court news for the Kings including the extensions for the assistant coaches and Vlade’s conference call. Then they get into the hot play of Harry Giles and Marvin Bagley III and the Jeremy Lin rumors.
Go get yourself a copy/subscription at the HOOP BALL DRAFT GUIDE PURCHASE PAGE
January 16, 2019, 5:12 pm
Join tonight’s Beat the Expert contest on DraftKings! The top 20 entrants all take home $15, while second place gets a gift pack from Hawaiian Isles Kona Coffee and first place gets a Hoop Ball t-shirt! Get into the mix by clicking right here before spots run out!
Kyrie Irving ($8,900 FD, $8,600 DK) – Irving will return from a one-game absence tonight just in time to go up against the Toronto Raptors. Irving has been able to put up big numbers when the game has remained close and tonight I expect this one to be competitive, so look for Irving to exceed value tonight.
Derrick White ($6,100 FD, $5,800 DK) – White has been superb since coming back this season and has played especially well in the past three games. White and the Spurs face off against the Mavericks, who have been soft against guards this year.
Other good buys: Stephen Curry ($10,000 FD, $10,100 DK), Kyle Lowry ($7,200 FD, $7,200 DK).
James Harden ($14,000 FD, $13,000 DK) – Harden’s salary is reaching ridiculous heights but it’s easy to see why. To say Harden has been hot would be an understatement and you have to at least try to find a way to fit him into your lineup tonight.
Donovan Mitchell ($9,000 FD, $9,100 DK) – With all three point guards out for the Jazz, Mitchell has become the main ball handler and he has not disappointed. He dropped 33 or more in three straight games and in the fourth game scored 28. Tonight, Mitchell and the Jazz face off against the Clippers in a tasty matchup.
Other good buys: C.J. McCollum ($6,500 FD, $6,600 DK), Kyle Korver ($4,000 FD, $4,200 DK),
Kawhi Leonard ($9,800 FD, $9,600 DK) – As usual the small forward slate is stacked on DFS but out of all the superstars, I’m paying up for Leonard. Kawhi has been consistent as they come and has yet to really bust this year so he should be a lock to hit value tonight.
Royce O’Neale ($4,600 FD, $4,500 DK) – Another player who has benefited from the injuries to the Jazz has been O’Neale. He has produced when given minutes and should have plenty of opportunity to do so again tonight against the Clippers.
Other good buys: Danilo Gallinari ($7,400 FD, $7,100 DK), Rudy Gay ($5,500 FD, $5,300 DK)
Anthony Davis ($13,700 FD, $11,800 DK) – The only player who may be just as hot as Harden is Davis. The Brow has been putting up ridiculous stat lines and is fresh off of putting up 46 against the Clippers. Look for Davis to keep it going against the Warriors tonight.
Jaren Jackon ($6,600 FD, $5,600 DK) – Marc Gasol is currently listed as a game time decision today which means Jaren Jackson may be the main man in the middle tonight. If Gasol gets ruled out, I think Jackson makes for an excellent play against the Bucks tonight.
Other good buys: Black Griffin ($9,700 FD, $9,200 DK), P.J. Tucker ($4,900 FD, $4,700 DK).
Rudy Gobert ($9,900 FD, $8,500 DK) – Gobert has been dominating as of late, snatching 14 or more rebounds in each of his past five games. He should be able to take advantage of the matchup against the Clippers tonight.
Tristan Thompson ($6,400 FD, $6,200 DK) – Thompson is still coming back from his long layoff but in his last game was able to play 37 minutes and pull down 14 rebounds, which are the most in each category since his return. Thompson was consistently posting outrageous rebounding numbers before his injury and I’m confident he will return to that form and tonight may be the first of one of those nights.
Other good buys: Nikola Vucevic ($9,200 FD, $8,900 DK), Jusuf Nurkic ($8,800 FD, $7,900 DK).
A lot of the games tonight were blowouts and those tend to lead to misleading lines and fools-gold pickups. I’m going to filter through those and focus only on players with promising outlooks down the line. Tyreke Evans, IND (35% owned) Don’t let that ownership number fool you. He’s odds are unowned in most competitive leagues. […]January 16, 2019, 1:03 am
BATTLE FOR THE WEST: WARRIORS VS NUGGETSJanuary 15, 2019, 7:35 pm
It's a busier Tuesday than usual with plenty of storylines to talk throughJanuary 15, 2019, 4:54 pm
January 15, 2019, 2:04 pm
It’s been some time Hoop-Ballers, but so it goes around holiday time and trying to get back into the swing of things. Yes, well all have a lot of random crap and minutia going on in our lives and I could go on a massive rant-filled soliloquy about the cold or random basketball aggravations, but instead I want to attempt to reward your patience for any of you loyal Facepalm readers out there.
Editor’s Note: Check out this week’s Beat the Expert contest, running on Wednesday! The top-20 all take home $15 while first and second also get a Hoop Ball t-shirt and a gift pack from Hawaiian Isles Kona Coffee, as is customary. You can join up by clicking right here!
Today I’m going to lay out some of my 2nd half of the NBA season bold predictions for all 30 NBA teams. What I don’t do for you people, right? This way I can get the meandering thoughts out of my head and you can use my brain drippings to possibly maneuver toward fantasy glory. Bear in mind, these are ‘bold predictions’ which means there’s a very strong possibility of things going awry here. However, there’s a real chance that some of these could happen and could be the difference in making the playoffs or finding yourself sitting on the sideline. Besides it’s almost time for Hoop-Ball Playoff Jobber Hall of Fame season, which means that now is the time to start digging up potential candidates for future enshrinement.
So here we go folks, 2nd half bold predictions for every team. We’ll do this from East to West, because I’m obviously biased, and by each division.
Toronto Raptors – You’re going to want to hold onto your shares of Fred Van Vleet. Kyle Lowry is not getting any younger, has already missed a big chunk of time, owns a Usage Rate unseen since his pre-Raptors days, and tends to miss more games at the worst possible time for fantasy owners. Bad shooting is the only thing keeping FVV from being a top-100 player from here on out.
Philadelphia 76ers – Ben Simmons takes his 3-pointers per game average on the season from a Blutarsky to a Flounder. If you’re not an Animal House aficionado just understand that I believe at some point Simmons is going to have to try his hand from deep if the Sixers are going to want to seriously keep teams on their toes and will successfully knock them down when needed.
Boston Celtics – Scary Terry Rozier will be a top-100 player…in someone else’s jersey. Someone needs to go in that Boston rotation and Rozier needs a clear path to thrive. You’re better off being ahead of the trade rumors then behind them.
Brooklyn Nets – Caris LeVert makes a triumphant return after the All-Star break, but fails to break the top-150 the rest of the way. It’ll be a huge boost for the Nets but they’re going to be super cautious with their budding star, especially with the playoffs looking like a very real possibility.
New York Knicks – The best fantasy player on the Knicks after the All-Star break will be someone who is currently not on the team. I for one am hoping it’s Alexey Shved again. This is a guaranteed HBPJHOF spot.
Milwaukee Bucks – The Bucks starting five all finish the season as top-50 players. They are already so close to doing that, but think that if they want to keep their position in the East, they’ll have no choice but to continue that pace with a bench that hardly screams “offensive production.” I like for Malcolm Brogdon to continue his low-key breakout and for Brook Lopez to become the 3rd Curry brother.
Indiana Pacers – Victor Oladipo finishes the season outside of the top-50. Something isn’t right and my guess is that his shoulder is bothering him more than he’s letting on. The concerning part is the FT% which is down 6.5% from his career average. His per-game numbers remind me of a pre-injury Gordon Hayward and that was hovering around top-50 value. Any further injury or drop in steal rate means he’s not getting to that number.
Detroit Pistons – Reggie Bullock will win someone a fantasy championship. The Pistons have a good playoff schedule and Bullock is the only player worth a crap on this team not named Griffin or Drummond. During playoff time he faces a number teams in the bottom half of 3P%. If the Pistons have any hope left by late March it’ll be because of Bullock.
Chicago Bulls – The Bulls will have three top-50 players post All-Star break and the team will still not be worth a crap. LaVine, Dunn, and Markkanen and possibly Carter Jr. should theoretically be a nice core, but this team has a habit of ruining nice things so I’m going to bet that streak continues.
Cleveland Cavaliers – Kevin Love stops wearing a Cavaliers jersey, but isn’t traded. The Cavs are in such a crazy tank mode that I think that the Kevin Love situation becomes the new Kawhi situation and he’s shut down for the year. It’ll be worth Cleveland eating $25 million if it means netting them Zion. HBPJHOF Candidate: David Nwaba
Miami Heat – (Aside: Holy crap this division is pathetic). Hassan Whiteside is droppable in standard leagues. He’s already trending in that direction and I think we’ll be seeing more mystery injuries and illnesses in his future in favor of Bam.
Charlotte Hornets – Nic Batum isn’t going anywhere. He’ll finish the season as a top-75 player. Batum has been infuriating to own, but he’s been slowly working his way back and he started slow and finished strong last season as well.
Orlando Magic – March will be when you finally reap the benefits of your Mo Bamba and Jonathan Isaac patience. The Magic have a major decision to make with Nik Vucevic and need to get their heir apparent on the court. This is still a new Magic regime working through a rebuild, but Bamba and Isaac are their two hand chosen building blocks. It’ll happen post-deadline.
Washington Wizards – From here on out Bradley Beal is a top-10 fantasy player, Otto Porter is a top-30 player, Tomas Satoransky & Trevor Ariza are both top-75 players and the Washington Wizards finish the season with a flourish to steal a playoff spot. I can’t wait for all the John Wall subtweeting when this happens.
Atlanta Hawks – Taurean Prince will recover and lead the team in per-game value by the end of the season. There’s still a boatload of 8-cat value on this season and they’re still going to run themselves ragged. Prince is still the best bet to deliver on his all-around game.
Denver Nuggets – Nikola Jokic finishes the season as a top-10 player, but no other Nuggets player stays in the top-100. If Harden wasn’t being Harden then Jokic should really be getting more MVP cred. Problem is injuries, erratic play and an improved bench have all made the Nuggets other starters less needed for fantasy purposes.
Oklahoma City Thunder – Russell Westbrook will have three teammates outearn him in total value on the season. Russ is now only valuable in four categories which is nuts and it’s not going to get any better. It’s just too difficult to see age and all the aggressive basketball he’s played over the last three seasons not catching up to him.
Portland Trail Blazers – Seth Curry becomes relevant in 14-team leagues and possibly more. The Blazers had two great bench options the let walk to the Nets for virtually nothing in Shabazz Napier and Ed Davis. No one else has truly stepped up so far in their place. Curry can and should be the next man up.
Utah Jazz – The backcourt injuries were exactly what Donovan Mitchell needed to get going. He’ll finish the season as a top-40 player. We probably should have been more cautious about Mitchell, but felt like he could have made incremental gains from his rookie year. But at least now he’ll be freed up to salvage his value.
Minnesota Timberwolves – The biggest beneficiary of the post-Thibs world is Gorgui Dieng and he returns to being standard-league relevant the rest of the way. Dieng was one of the most well-rounded fantasy players not all that long ago and he still can be. Taj Gibson doesn’t need the minutes and Dieng can play alongside of Towns so much so that Towns has said how much he enjoys being on the floor with him. FREE GORGUI!
Houston Rockets – The chase for ’87 Jordan is going to be so much fun, but all those Beard points are going to cost Harden top-5 status from here on out as his assists and efficiency take a hit without Capela. I’m nitpicking, Harden is just nuts. I’m not bold predicting anything about Austin Rivers or the rest of Houston’s misfits.
San Antonio Spurs – I refuse to give up on my Jakob Poeltl dreams. He delivers top-150 value the rest of the way. I don’t have much here. The Spurs are great right now save for their road record and look like they’re running at full force again. Poeltl stepping up would just be a bit of icing for them.
New Orleans Pelicans – Elfrid Payton out-earns Julius Randle for the remainder of the season. The Elf just hasn’t been healthy and Jrue Holiday needs to play off the ball more. Once Mirotic gets his legs back Randle will slide back into the bench role from earlier in the season.
Dallas Mavericks – Handing the keys to Luka means that he starts to really hurt 9-cat owners. DSJ sounds like he’s on his way out and JJ Barea’s injury means that Doncic is the team’s only major ball handler. Efficiency could be a problem, his FT% is concerning, and his TOs could spike. This is coming from someone who thinks Luka is the 2nd coming. He’s still a 19-year old rookie after all.
Memphis Grizzlies – Jaren Jackson Jr. finishes the season with more value than Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. The Grizzlies are fading and face questions about Gasol’s future. Triple-J SZN will be electric. HBPJHOF Candidate: Shelvin Mack
Golden State Warriors – From the time Boogie steps back onto a court through the end of the season, the Dubs will produce five top-50 players and still infuriate fantasy owners. There’s going to be all the rest days. That five-game opening playoff week is a damn mirage.
Los Angeles Clippers – Danilo Gallinari plays in 80. Sometimes it just works out to roll the dice on an “injury prone” player. Injuries and non-injuries for both the most prone and healthy players are almost impossible to predict (see section James, LeBron). Gallo never lost his ability, he needed that injury luck on his side for once in his career. The Clippers are for real.
Los Angeles Lakers – Only two Lakers will finish the season in the top-100. LeBron James and a teammate that will be acquired at the trade deadline. It was nice knowing you Brandon Ingram.
Sacramento Kings – De’Aaron Fox’s 2019 ADP will be through the stratosphere. All it will take is a little more from deep and you won’t be able to wipe the drool from my face. I own him in a dynasty league and there might not be a single player that I enjoy owning more.
Phoenix Suns – RichaunHolmesRichaunHolmesRichaunHolmesRichaunHolmes…nah for real though, I think Josh Jackson salvages his dynasty value on another team. The Suns are a lousy franchise, but they lucked out with Oubre and that could make Jackson expendable. But really, RichaunHolmes.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK WHO HAS A PERSONAL VENDETTA AGAINST ME
Ah the five-game week. You beautiful little unicorn. You always bring a smile to my face. You don’t always appear often, but when you do, it’s blissful. Nothing says ‘here, have a free advantage over your opponent’ like when the NBA schedule Gods grant your players five-games in a week. No one has never been upset over a five-game week and if you are then your heart is black.
But a five-game week is only beneficial when your players actually play in all of them. It’s a kick in the nads when you lock a player in only to see them go down in the first game on any week, it’s even worse in a five-gamer.
SO DAMN YOU GARY HARRIS! Can you stop getting nicked up at the worst possible time? Half the league is already injured and it is not ideal for you to start following along with that trend with all the other limping sheep. You’re hurting your value and my fantasy teams which makes my blood boil and my ass chafe in this cold so get back on the court and start being the high percentage threat that made you worthy of an early pick to begin with!
YOU’RE PROBABLY THINKING THAT IN ADDITION TO A WIN THE VET FOUND HALF AN UNDIGEST SHOE, A SQUEAKY TOY, AND AN 84-CARAT DIAMOND LODGED IN ITS STOMACH. IT’S QUITE AMAZING WHAT CAN HAPPEN IN A WEEK IF YOUR DRAFT LOOKED LIKE THIS
Round 1 – James Harden
Round 2 – Donovan Mitchell
Round 3 – Bradley Beal
Round 4 – John Collins
Round 5 – Otto Porter Jr.
Round 6 – Jusuf Nurkic
Round 7 – De’Aaron Fox
Round 8 – Willie Cauley-Stein
Round 9 – Brook Lopez
Round 10 – Domantas Sabonis
Round 11 – Malcolm Brogdon
Round 12 – Montrezl Harrell
Round 13 – Richaun Holmes
Holy Moses those Sunday box scores from Harden and Beal. This is unquestionably going to be Beal’s big coming out party. The Wizards were just fine without Wall last year and they could be even better without him this year. Welcome back OPJ & Trez!
YOU’RE PROBABLY THINKING THAT YOU RAN INTO A RIGHTEOUS INFLICTION OF RETRIBUTION MANIFESTED BY AN APPROPRIATE AGENT, PERSONIFIED IN THIS CASE BY AN ‘ORRIBLE CUNT IF YOUR DRAFT LOOKED LIKE THIS
Round 1 – LeBron James
Round 2 – Victor Oladipo
Round 3 – Andre Drummond
Round 4 – Gary Harris
Round 5 – Gordon Hayward
Round 6 – Hassan Whiteside
Round 7 – Ricky Rubio
Round 8 – Tim Hardaway Jr.
Round 9 – Jeremy Lamb
Round 10 – Spencer Dinwiddie
Round 11 – Javale McGee
Round 12 – Larry Nance Jr.
Round 13 – Jae Crowder
Yet another miserable week for new and nagging injuries. THJ has just been lousy all year and I wonder if there isn’t a shutdown in his future. We’re really going to have to keep a close eye on Dipo. He’s not the revelation from last season and the Pacers are winning without that version of him. The team is going to take priority over fantasy owners so I don’t see how the Dipo of last season returns.
ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS
I’ll be looking at some mid to late-tier players who I’ll be keeping an eye on throughout the season on a week to week basis. Based on how their past few and upcoming few games go, I’ll decide whether or not I will be confidently holding and feeling strongly about (rock),or feeling a little bit flimsy or unsure of (paper) or will just be cutting altogether like a crew that just died in your arms tonight (scissors, obviously). These are the players we either drafted or picked up who can make or break our seasons and will be dissected most when we try to make moves to the top of the standings. Here are some more players in my thought process.
Tomas Satoransky – He’s been brutal shooting at times, but if he can keep it even somewhat close to 45% (his career mark is 48%) then his FLOOR is top-100. Just hold on tight.
Marvin Bagley III – He was trending toward being a top-100 player in the month of play prior to injuring his knee. The Kings may not hang onto their playoff spot, but they are going to make sure they don’t prevent their future from seeing full minutes together. I’m buying the stretch run potential.
Richaun Holmes – If I am reading NBA.com’s stats correctly, which I wouldn’t put it past myself to completely mangle, the Suns have played Deandre Ayton and Richaun Holmes together for exactly 0 minutes. It won’t shock you to know that Holmes’s best week in Phoenix corresponded to a 2-1 record and a stunner against the Nuggets. This should be his norm, not his outlier and if Igor Kokoskov can figure out a way to make him and Ayton work together we’d make him Coach of the Year. What else do they have to lose?
Harry Giles – I’m intrigued by the stats, not by the minutes. As long as Bagley stays healthy and Bjelica still has a role, I can’t possibly commit to a full buy. At least not yet.
Hassan Whiteside/Derrick Jones Jr. – As I’ve noted already that Hassan Whiteside is on very thin ice, but Derrick Jones Jr. may be a bit of a hidden gem. He’s been lost in the Heat’s messy rotation, but the per game stats are very enticing. If only we can get Erik Spoelstra to see the same thing we do and to get Spo to stop gazing lovingly at Dion Waiters like he’s turned into the dozen donuts he had for breakfast.
Tyus Jones – It’s difficult to envision Jones keeping his minutes once Derrick Rose makes a full return, but with Thibs gone, there’s a small chance that he does. That would be fantastic because he’s been very good in the time he’s been getting and Minnesota is only a fringe playoff team so why not? A Teague, Rose, Jones, Wiggins, and Towns lineup sounds like delightful insanity.
Taj Gibson – Speaking of Thibs, let’s all collectively move on from this odd infatuation with Taj Gibson. I have to imagine that Gibson’s minutes moving forward will have him resemble the player who was much closer to top-150 than he was to top-75.
Reggie Jackson – It seems like ages ago the Pistons saw him caddy for Russell Westbrook and thought “here’s a guy we can give $80 million.” Take away his free throw shooting and there isn’t a category you can feel comfortable knowing he excels at. His divorce from the Pistons may be coming, but his papers should already be signed from your teams.
Gordon Hayward – Again, this team, the caution, the front office stubbornness, I just can’t justify holding him anymore. Having him on your bench just means you have the luxury to do so. If you don’t then he’s someone to leave behind when chasing a hot name.
ADVENTURES IN DFS
- I didn’t get a chance to gloat about my recent 2nd place finish in the Hoop-Ball “Beat the Expert” contest on Draft Kings so…(deep breath)…KISS MY ASS EVERYONE I’M THE EXPERT AROUND HERE NOW GIVE ME MY KONA COFFEE! DON’T I SOUND LIKE SOMEONE WHO NEEDS MORE COFFEE GIVE ME ALL THE COFFEE AND YOUR DFS SOOOOOUUUUUUUULLLLLS AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
- I’ve been on a heater recently and it’s all thanks to James Harden. I was basically down to my last few dollars (again) when I said if I’m going to go down then I need to go down fighting. I came up with two rules. The first was less single entry GPPs, more cash games. The 2nd was do not fade James Harden under any circumstances. Those two rules have gotten me just about back to even on the year. Harden could cost all $50,000 and you couldn’t convince me to not roster him.
Editor’s Note II: Remember, you can shut Josh up by beating him this week. Reserve your entry here!
I mentioned Harden and Beal’s Sunday box scores because those games stole two categories from me in my 10-team H2H league that I’m barely treading water in. Harden and Beal combined for 19 rebounds and 27 assists on the day. I lost those categories by 2 and 10 respectively for a 6-3 defeat. Oh, and big shout out to Ben Simmons who had a 20+ rebound game while Embiid had only 8 that same day. Simmons better make good on my 3s prediction or I’m never forgiving his stat-padding ass.
Anytime you’ve got a good Bloody Sunday story. Reach out to me on Twitter @JoshMillman
and I’ll happily, and not so happily, commiserate with you.
Keep on keepin on Hoop-Ballers.
January 15, 2019, 11:42 am
Najee and Hunter read one of their newest reviews and dive into the Nets’ two latest games against the Raptors and Celtics. They discuss D’Angelo Russell’s incredible performance while also going over Dinwiddie’s slump and Kenny Atkinson’s coaching decisions.
Lastly the guys get into a heated discussion on whether or not they believe D’Angelo Russell should be an All-Star.
January 15, 2019, 1:45 am
Observations and analysis from the Portland Trail Blazers’ 115-107 loss to the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center on Monday night…
Believe it or not, it will be tough for the Blazers, on the second leg of a road back-to-back or not, to win going forward when C.J. McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic combine for just 12 points on 21 shot attempts. The former, frustrated from the opening tip by the Kings’ length and activity, went just 2-of-14 from the field, missing several makable shots along the way, including a dead layup in the second quarter. Nurkic, meanwhile, never found a groove after Sacramento, forcing three turnovers on pocket passes in the first quarter alone, shut down his ball-screen dance with Damian Lillard. He didn’t get his first touch on the block until late in the first half, either, when Terry Stotts seemed to remember Nurkic has been the linchpin of his team’s recent success.
Both McCollum and, to a lesser extent, Nurkic were net negatives against the Kings. Lillard had five turnovers in the first quarter. Portland shot 40.2 percent from the field and 10-of-31 from beyond the arc. If not for a second-half explosion from Lillard, who scored a game-high 35 points on 11-of-27 shooting and committed just one more turnover after the game’s first 12 minutes, and some solid play from Jake Layman, Evan Turner, and Meyers Leonard, this one would have been a laugher. As is, Portland should feel lucky it had a long-shot’s chance to win this game late in the fourth quarter.
According to Blazers beat writer Casey Holdahl, Stotts began making his way to the locker room before the first half was finished. What probably sparked his disgust was Al-Farouq Aminu, who caught a bounce pass in traffic from Nurkic, wasting an opportunity to get the last shot of the half by throwing up an awkward, flailing floater over Willie Cauley-Stein. Buddy Hield, on the other hand, played the clock to perfection, draining a pull-up 20-footer over the outstretched arms of McCollum and Nurkic just prior to the buzzer sounding.
Aminu, to be fair, doesn’t deserve all the blame for that gaffe, and neither does Nurkic. Lillard owns some of it, too, for his confounding decision to pitch the ball ahead to a posting-up Nurkic with 20 seconds on the game clock. It’s incumbent on all players to always maintain full awareness time and score, of course, but Portland’s floor general is tasked with managing that aspect of the game first and foremost. It was an odd end to a similarly odd first half on offense from both Lillard and his teammates.
Speaking of Stotts, his angst nearly boiled over early in the third quarter, when the notoriously mild-mannered coach was assessed a technical foul for arguing a non-call on a drive by McCollum. Moments later, Kings wing Iman Shumpert exchanged heated words with Stotts, furthering bad blood between he and the Blazers that first dripped early, when he took exception to a screen from Nurkic. Shumpert got into it with Lillard later in the third quarter, and was reportedly waiting for Nurkic outside Portland’s locker room following this discussion with Lillard and Turner on-court after the game.
Shump had some words for the Blazers after the game…
— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) January 15, 2019
Cooler heads prevailed, thankfully, but these antics are an escalation of tension stemming from Portland’s dramatic come-from-behind win in Sacramento earlier this month. Just imagine how intense it will be when these teams at Moda Center for the regular season finale, perhaps with major playoff implications on the line. Mark your calendar for April 10th.
Layman, more than any Blazer other than Lillard, deserves mention for his performance. Starting again for Moe Harkless, still battling left knee soreness, Layman scored 13 points for the second consecutive game, going 6-of-9 from the field to do it. The biggest difference between he and Harkless is supposed to be consistent three-point shooting, but Layman has yet to show off that side of his game since being re-inserted into the rotation and playing the best basketball of his career.
He did all of his damage at the rim on Monday instead, feasting on back cuts and designed sets for an array of highlight-reel finishes. While the majority of Layman’s buckets came without a dribble, his most impressive one showed just how dynamic he can be with the ball in his hands when making quick decisions despite that utter lack of functional handle. Other than Lillard and sometimes Nurkic, the Blazers don’t have a player who consistently puts pressure on the rim, either by finishing or creating the defensive vacuum effect that leads to scoring opportunities elsewhere. Will Layman always be able to find so much success as a cutter? No, but the mere threat of his speed and explosion in the halfcourt adds a dimension to Portland’s offense that even Harkless can’t match.
— NBC Sports Northwest (@NBCSNorthwest) January 15, 2019
Breaking news: De’Aaron Fox is an absolute jet. He might be the fastest player in the league end to end, and the Kings’ renaissance this season is a direct result of Dave Joerger embracing his young point guard’s natural gifts, overhauling his offensive philosophy to push the pace first and foremost. The Blazers know that, of course, but were still unable to contain Sacramento’s transition attack after made baskets. Fox created efficient offense for his team on five or six occasions in the first half courtesy of those straight-line sprints alone, often taking advantage of an unbalanced following attacks to the rim by Lillard.
Fox is one of the most explosive athletes in basketball; his tools will always be his greatest asset. But it’s his increased understanding of the mental side of the game – along with rapid skill progression – that’s made him an All-Star candidate at 21 years old, and has the Kings thinking they finally found their new franchise player. It’s truly frightening not only how good he is already, but how much he’s improved from year one to year two. Fox will be a thorn in Portland’s side for years to come.
Marvin Bagley III will be, too. The rookie missed the last meeting between these two teams, but made up for it in a big way on Monday, scoring 13 points and grabbing 11 rebounds off the bench. Frontcourt mate Harry Giles III was just as if not more impressive, making six of his seven shot attempts en route to 12 points and four rebounds in just 19 minutes of play. Bojan Bogdanovic scored 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting, getting wherever he wanted with the dribble and taking advantage when Portland dared defend him with a guard.
Those guys combined for 43 of Sacramento’s whopping 58 bench points, thoroughly out-shining their teammates in the starting lineup. Bogdanovic is getting closer and closer to a known commodity at this point – a big, playmaking guard with the chops to make tough shots from all over the floor and the confidence to take the last one with the game on the line. Bagley and Giles are comparative unknowns, which says more about their youth and potential than any damning long-term shortcoming that will keep them from becoming impact players. Both were fantastic against the Blazers, exhibiting the speed, quick-twitch leaping ability, and ball skills – often simultaneously, a good sign for a tandem that came into Monday’s action sporting a -17.7 net rating – that once made each of them presumptive number one overall draft picks.
One more Portland note: Stotts, with his team down seven and the fourth-quarter clock reading 1:14, brought in Layman for Aminu, creating a closing five of Lillard, McCollum, Turner, Layman, and Nurkic. It was a smart move. Portland needed points in a hurry, and getting them in a timely manner would have been made extra difficult by playing two non-shooters and a streaky one next to Lillard and McCollum. Keep an eye on this as the season progresses, assuming Layman continues playing well. Lillard’s frequent late-game heroics could come even more often if he’s afforded the presence of another shooter defenses must respect late in games.
Rodions Kurucs (5% owned) – Kurucs makes for a strong dynasty play and a scoring streamer option when the Nets are a bit shorthanded, but it looks like Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is nearing a return which puts a cloud over his short term value. Gerald Green (10% owned) – Give him a look if you’re in […]January 15, 2019, 12:42 am
Anthony Davis still reigns supreme, but a new challenger has emergedJanuary 14, 2019, 6:41 pm
We're headed across the pond, and the impact is significant!January 14, 2019, 3:05 pm
January 14, 2019, 5:20 am
Sunday brought us seven solid matchups with only one being a blowout. We had Kevin Knox show up with a career-high 31, Steph Curry dropped in 11 triples, while Ben Simmons double-doubled with 20 points and 22 boards. If you thought that was all, we had four guys make it into the 40-plus club tonight with Curry being one of them. Of the four guys one even logged a triple-double, nope not Jokic, not Curry, it was Bradley Beal… more on that later.
Knicks – Not easy on Sunday morning
The Sixers came into Madison Square Garden on Sunday morning and it didn’t feel easy at all. They left the matchup with a 108-105 win thanks to Ben Simmons’ near triple-double, led by his 22 boards, 20 points and nine assists. Simmons stuck to his bread and butter to finish the game 10-of-13 from the field, but the lack of steals or blocks hurt his total output. That’s okay though, as Joel Embiid filled in with six swats, 26 points and eight boards. The Sixers only ended up hitting six triples in the game, J.J. Redick hit three of those en route to 22 points and two assists. Jimmy Buckets also failed to collect any counters, finishing with 16 points, eight boards and two assists.
Hard to Knox their effort
The Knicks have their eyes set on the future, with Kevin Knox dropping in a career-high 31 on Sunday, the future became the present. Knox scored the 31 points in efficient fashion, hitting 12-of-23 shots with four triples, seven boards and two steals. With Enes Kanter still out after eating too many burgers (Coach Fiz says he’s got the flu and its not burger-related), Luke Kornet, a fellow rookie also balled out. Kornet delivered 23 points, three triples, five boards, five assists and a steal. The assists are awesome to get from a center and it’s his third game of the season with five dimes. Emmanuel Mudiay was the only other Knick to make it into double-figures with 19 points, four assists, four boards, a triple and a steal. He was short on a game tying triple as time expired.
I’ll take a Klaw-Filled-Up Box
Kawhi Leonard does not like to lose, and on Sunday he had to deliver to avoid a loss to the Wizards. The Raptors had to play a double-OT thriller before emerging victorious 140-138 in Washington. Kawhi led the way with a full box with 41 points, 11 boards, five assists, three triples, three steals and two blocks. Leonard hit over half of his shots, just like Pascal Siakam, who did his best to match the Finals MVP. Pascal scored 24 with 19 boards while adding in three steals and two blocks, just like Leonard. Siakam is not quite on Leonard’s level yet but he’s been better than him during stretches. Kyle Lowry was solid with 11 assists, 12 points, two steals and two triples. Danny Green had 16 points with three triples, two steals and two blocks… I likey.
I Otto be starting…
Otto Porter has been coming off the bench since returning from injury and delivered his finest game of the season on Sunday. Filling the box to the brim, he scored 27 points on five triples with eight boards, two steals, a block and an assist. Porter should move back into the starting five next week when the Wizards play a lone game against the Knicks in London. Not to be outdone, Bradley Beal logged his second 40-point triple-double of the season with 43 points, 15 assists, 10 boards, six triples, three steals and two blocks. The wildest thing is Beal was even more effective in his previous game on Friday thanks to a higher efficiency. He might just end up in the top-12 before everything is said and done. He currently sits at 16th but has been a top-10 option over the last month. But wait, there’s more! Both Trevor Ariza and Thomas Bryant filled up their boxes as well in this extended matchup. Ariza missed a triple-double by a board with 23 points, 10 assists, nine boards, four triples, a steal and a block, while Thomas Bryant brought it with 18 points, 11 boards, two blocks, two assists, a steal and a triple.
Let’s not miss any shots tonight?
The Bucks took care of business against the Hawks on Sunday 133-114, led by Eric Bledsoe. The team combined to shoot over 53 percent from the field and a primary beneficiary was Bledsoe who logged 10 dimes, 24 points, two triples, two steals, a block and two boards. Giannis had his 18th 30-point game (tied 2nd in the league) of the season with 33 points, three steals, six boards, four assists, a block and a triple. Giannis is amazing, and will only continue to improve as his deep-ball shot develops. Khris Middleton also got in on bashing the Hawks with a 17-point, 11-rebound double-double.
Let me Spell it out for you
Dewayne Dedmon is the best center on the Hawks roster, but he doesn’t fit their timeline. Dedmon was out on Sunday due to an ankle injury so rookie Omari Spellman drew the start at center. Spellman had some success early in the year when John Collins was out but recently he’s been buried, only playing during blowouts, which luckily for the Hawks happens weekly. On Sunday he delivered the best line out of all the Hawks with 13 points, four blocks, six boards, four triples and an assist. The Hawks should look to build for the future by trading away Dedmon to allow Spellman to develop alongside John Collins, they’ll still have Alex Len as a solid backup. Trae Young double-doubled with 26 points, 10 boards, four assists and a triple. Taurean Prince returned from his injury, logging 11 minutes for seven points and five boards.
The Most Magical Place on Earth
Not many folks expected the Magic to come off back-to-back games against the Celtics and Rockets with two wins but that’s exactly what they pulled off on Sunday in the 116-109 win. Led by Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon’s 22 points apiece, the Magic stunned the Rockets. Vooch added nine boards, six assists, a triple and a steal while Gordon pulled in eight boards with five assists, two steals and two triples. Both Evan Fournier and Terrance Ross caused havoc from the wings with 19 points and 17 points, respectively.
It’s Harden than it looks from deep
James Harden scored 38 points with 12 assists, nine boards and four steals on Sunday, good for the fifth best line of the night. He also hit 15-of-16 freebies from the line, unfortunately, it was the shots he didn’t hit that might haunt him in Orlando. Harden only hit 1-of-17 triples on the night, hurting his efficiency and robbing him of a performance that likely would have seen him score over 50. Austin Rivers continued his fantasy relevance with 25 points, and four triples. Clint Capela double-doubled with 17 points, 10 boards but failed to deliver any defensive stats.
Stephen Curry can get hot on a dime and on Sunday he turned it into the line of the night with 48 points, 11 triples, six boards, five assists, two blocks and a steal. He shot over 50 percent from the field and was perfect from the charity stripe. The Warriors beat Dallas 119-114, which explains how Curry found the opportunity to log 37 minutes in the game. Kevin Durant also filled up the box with 28 points, seven boards, five assists, two blocks, two triples and a steal. Durant and Curry are unfair and it’s only going to get worse as DeMarcus Cousins is due back next week. As a result of that Steve Kerr stopped staggering Durant and Curry’s minutes, it didn’t seem to matter tonight. Klay Thompson scored 16 with two triples while the rest of the warriors watched as their two super stars carried the night.
Luka of the draw
Harrison Barnes played well against his former team with 22 points, four triples and four boards, unfortunately that won’t be remembered as his last second turnover will be his main highlight in this game. Rest assured in the future Luka Doncic will rush into the frontcourt to get the ball instead of expecting Barnes to take care of business in the waning seconds of a game. Doncic was spectacular, with 26 points, five triples, five assists, six boards and a steal. He’s a top-50 value on the season and could finish in the top-40 without breaking much of a sweat. DeAndre Jordan double-doubled with 13 points, 14 boards. His free throw shooting has continued to trend down and he’s under 69 percent on the season. Expect this to fall to about 65 percent before the year wraps up.
It’s all fun and games till he posts you up.
Nikola Jokic is known as the Joker but if you’re a Blazer you’re not laughing after losing 113-116 in Denver. Jokic delivered a nearly flawless performance after the Blazers continually switched on screens, leaving undersized forwards trying to guard the most offensively gifted big in the game. Jokic made them pay, dropping 40 with 10 boards, eight assists and four triples. He shot over 65 percent from the field for the game. Jamal Murray had a bounce-back game, as he’s struggled since Gary Harris went down, scoring 24 points with four boards, three assists, a steal and a three. Paul Millsap highlighted that it takes time to come back from injury as his contributions were two-dimensional on Sunday with 11 points and six boards. He had no other stats.
Juicy Jusuf feels the squeeze
Jusuf Nurkic has been red-hot-and-rolling for the Blazers recently. He continued that trend on Sunday despite foul trouble, resulting in 25 minutes played. He scored 12 points with eight boards, four assists, three steals and a block. Damian Lillard led the Blazers with a team-high 26 points, seven assists, two triples, and four boards. C.J. McCollum did his part with 18 points, four triples and three assists. The Blazers will struggle to win if their three best players can’t shoot over 39 percent, and that’s exactly what the aforementioned players did tonight. Evan Turner and Jake Layman both scored 13 points and shot 80 percent or better.
Revenge is best served with mimosa brunch in Hollywood
The Cavs are the league’s worst team and the last team without double-digit wins. On Sunday they earned a win in L.A. 101-95, allowing Jordan Clarkson (nine points, two assists) to get his revenge. All jokes aside, the Cavs starting five played amazingly, with each player scoring in double-figures led by Cedi Osman’s 20 points, eight boards and two triples. Rodney Hood scored 18 with three boards, three assists, a steal and a triple while Alec Burks had a massive double-double with 13 boards, 17 points, four assists, a steal and two triples. Not to be forgotten Tristan Thompson delivered 15 points and 15 boards while swatting away two shots. Rookie Collin Sexton rounded out the starters with 17 points, three assists and a triple.
Take it to Hart
Josh Hart did a bit of everything on Sunday for the Lakers, scoring nine points with five boards, two blocks, a steal, an assist and a triple. He only hit 3-of-12 shots yet managed to secure the second-best line of the night for the Lakers. This should help highlight some of the issues at play for the Lakers while LeBron James and Rajon Rondo are out. Lonzo Ball played well thanks to his diverse skillset, scoring 13 points with eight boards, eight assists, two triples and two steals. Kyle Kuzma woke up in the final frame to salvage his night, finishing with 29 points, nine boards, four assists and two triples. He only hit 5-of-9 from the stripe. Brandon Ingram scored 22 points but failed to help out in the defensive categories.
Flashes in the pan or high-risk adds?January 14, 2019, 12:03 am
January 13, 2019, 10:29 pm
Welcome, Hoop Ball readers, to another edition of The Week Ahead!
Not much happened this week in the NBA aside from the continued domination from James Harden and the crazy Spurs-Thunder double overtime game. Due to the fact that this was a rather ordinary week in the NBA, I will use this section to give my predictions for the All Star Game rosters for both conferences. I will not factor in the emotional impact of guys like Dwyane Wade or Derrick Rose in making these rosters although both of those guys might make the cut. Let’s get to it.
Eastern Conference Starters
G- Kyrie Irving (22.7 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 6.4 APG, 1.6 SPG)
G- Kemba Walker (25.0 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 5.7 APG, 3.2 3PMPG)
F- Kawhi Leonard (27.5 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 3.2 APG, 1.9 SPG)
F- Giannis Antetokounmpo (26.7 PPG, 12.6 RPG, 5.9 APG, 1.3 SPG, 1.5 BPG)
F- Joel Embiid (26.9 PPG, 13.3 RPG, 3.4 APG, 2.0 BPG)
Eastern Conference Reserves
G- Victor Oladipo (19.8 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 5.2 APG, 1.7 SPG)
G- Bradley Beal (24.8 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 5.0 APG, 1.4 SPG)
F- Blake Griffin (25.6 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 5.3 APG)
F- Nikola Vucevic (20.1 PPG, 12.0 RPG, 3.7 APG, 1.0 SPG, 1.1 BPG)
F- Andre Drummond (16.8 PPG, 15.1 RPG, 1.6 SPG, 1.8 BPG)
WC- Ben Simmons (16.6 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 8.2 APG, 1.3 SPG)
WC- Kyle Lowry (14 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 9.6 APG, 1.5 SPG)
Honorable mentions: D’Angelo Russell, Zach LaVine, Jimmy Butler (In my opinion, locker room issues will keep him from making it)
Western Conference Starters
G- Stephen Curry (28.8 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 5.6 APG, 5.0 3PM PG)
G- James Harden (34.1 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 8.7 APG, 2.0 SPG, 4.9 3PMPG)
F- Paul George (26.7 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 3.9 APG, 2.2 SPG, 3.3 3PMPG)
F- LeBron James (27.3 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 7.1 APG)
F- Anthony Davis (28.9 PPG, 13.3 RPG, 4.4 APG, 1.7 SPG, 2.6 BPG)
Western Conference Reserves
G- Damian Lillard (25.8 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 6.1 APG)
G- Russell Westbrook (21.4 PPG, 10.9 RPG, 10.6 APG, 2.5 SPG)
F- Kevin Durant (28.2 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 6.1 APG)
F- Karl-Anthony Towns (22.4 PPG, 12.6 RPG, 2.0 BPG)
F- Nikola Jokic (19.2 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 7.5 APG, 1.4 SPG)
WC- DeMar DeRozan (22.0 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 6.4 APG)
WC- Clint Capela (17.6 PPG, 12.6 RPG, 1.9 BPG, 63% shooting)
Honorable Mentions: Devin Booker, Klay Thompson, Mike Conley, Jrue Holiday, Luka Doncic, Donovan Mitchell, Tobias Harris
Now here is an overview of the week ahead:
Weekly Schedule Breakdown
4 games: Celtics, Clippers, Grizzlies, Hornets, Pacers, Pistons, Spurs, Suns
3 games: 76ers, Bucks, Bulls, Cavs, Heat, Jazz, Kings, Lakers, Magic, Nets, Nuggets, Pelicans, Raptors, Rockets, Thunder, Trail Blazers, Warriors, Wolves
2 games: Hawks, Mavs
1 game: Knicks, Wizards
Best Schedule: Pacers (Suns, 76ers, Mavs, Hornets)
The Pacers are currently the 3rd seed in a top-heavy Eastern Conference and are only 3.5 games out of the 1st seed. They play one of the worst teams in the league to start the week in the Suns. Then, they play the team right below them in the standings, the 76ers, which could turn out to be an exciting matchup. They finish the week against the Hornets and Mavs, two teams that are borderline playoff teams in their respective conferences. This should be a huge week for the Pacers as all four games are at home as well. Start Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis with confidence as well as Myles Turner if he returns at some point in the week from his shoulder injury. Other guys such as Bojan Bogdanovic, Thaddeus Young, and Darren Collison should easily provide late-round value for the week.
Worst Schedule: Hawks (Thunder, Celtics)
The Hawks are in tank mode, so they fall under the bad-but-good schedule that the Knicks had a few weeks ago. They will likely lose both of these games despite both games being at home. They are playing against two of the top five defenses in the NBA in the Celtics and Thunder. Both of these games could either be blowout losses for the Hawks or close, low-scoring games. Either way, this week helps their tank mode race, but all players on their rosters aside from John Collins will likely have a shaky week. Do not start any Hawks aside from Collins with confidence as it is unlikely any of them play above deep league value.
Game of the Week: Warriors at Nuggets on Tuesday, January 15th at 9 PM ET
These two teams are half a game apart in the standings for the #1 seed in the Western Conference. This is written prior to their Sunday games so the Warriors could have the lead by the time you read this or the Nuggets could have a bigger lead. Either way, these are seemingly the two teams that will be fighting for the top seed in the West all season long and they are pretty evenly matched when at full strength. Although the Warriors obviously win the star power category, the Nuggets are deepest team in the West and overpower the Warriors bench significantly. It will be interesting to see how this game shakes out and how a playoff series between these two teams would be. Tune in on Tuesday night.
Waiver Wire Watch
JaMaychal Green – JaMychal Green is having the best season of his career despite coming off the bench behind Jaren Jackson Jr. He is averaging 10.7 points and 6.8 rebounds on 51.7% shooting. Over the past two weeks, he is putting up middle-round value with averages of 13.1 points and 8.1 rebounds on 60% shooting. Kyle Anderson just got hurt, so Green could be thrown some extra minutes. The Grizzlies have been playing matchup-based rotations, so Green has played more minutes than Jackson on some nights depending on who the opposing power forward is and how many fouls JJJ is racking up. He is more relevant on this Grizzlies team than he has ever been and his numbers are showing it. Pick him up if he is available in your league as he has middle-round potential with a solid floor going forward.
Kelly Oubre Jr. – Even without his impressive play over the past week, Oubre Jr. has put up late-round value over the entire season as he is inside the top-130. Over the past week, he is putting up top-25 value with averages of 22.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.3 steals on 52.2% shooting in 3 games played. The Suns are willing to play all of their young guys as many minutes as possible, so Oubre will surely get the opportunities to put up middle-round value at the very least. The Suns also play 4 games this week and his value is boosted as long as Devin Booker remains sidelined with a back injury. Pick Oubre up in your league if you have a free spot and expect middle-round value as long as Booker is out and late-round value once he returns.
Tyus Jones – With Robert Covington out and both main point guards (Derrick Rose and Jeff Teague) constantly injured, there are plenty minutes to go around in Minnesota. Tyus Jones has been a beneficiary of these minutes and has delivered over the past two weeks. He is putting up top-90 value in that span and is averaging 9.1 points and 7.1 assists across 26.8 minutes per game in 7 games played. He is a great stream in all games that Teague, Rose, or both are out due to injury. Pick him up if you have an extra roster spot and play him with confidence whenever Teague or Rose are sidelined.
Honorable mention: Jalen Brunson – J.J. Barea is out for the season with a torn Achilles, so this is a speculative add as all of Barea’s minutes could be headed his way. Also, being the backup to Dennis Smith Jr. has its perks as he is often injured as well. Brunson could end up bringing in late-round value if he sees minutes around 20 per game. If you have an extra roster spot, he is definitely worth a speculative add.
Kyle Anderson (ankle) is expected to miss 2-4 weeks with a grade-2 ankle sprain. Justin Holiday should be the beneficiary here which is music to fantasy owners’ ears. Holiday was putting up early middle-round value with the Bulls and has been awful for the Grizzlies so far. The Anderson injury is a blow to the Grizzlies, but Holiday owners who were thinking of dropping him should hang on to him.
J.J. Barea (torn Achilles) tore his Achilles on Friday night and is out for the season. He was merely an assist specialist in deep leagues, but you never like to see a guy go down with an injury like this. Jalen Bruson should see most of Barea’s minutes come his way for the remainder of the season and he is worth a speculative add.
Larry Nance Jr. (sprained right MCL) is going to miss 2-4 weeks with a sprained MCL. Kris Dunn missed way more time with this injury as his timetable was 4-6 weeks, which is good news for the Cavs and Nance. He has a mild sprain and this is an optimistic timetable for fantasy owners. Hang on to Nance even if you do not have an IR spot as he is contributing early middle-round value when he plays as long as Kevin Love is out.
Dillon Brooks (toe) underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right big toe and is out for the season. Between his injury and Kyle Anderson’s injury, Justin Holiday and Shelvin Mack should be the main beneficiaries and are great streams during the time that Anderson is sidelined. Brooks was not playing a lot of minutes this season since the Grizzlies signed Anderson and acquired Holiday, but he was still playing enough that other guys’ values are boosted in his absence. Give Holiday, Mack, and maybe even Garrett Temple a look if you have an extra spot.
Another week without a lot of significant injuries, so here is the list of guys who are day-to-day: Dewayne Dedmon, Kyrie Irving, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Jared Dudley, Allen Crabbe, Tony Parker, Bobby Portis, David Nwaba, Dennis Smith Jr., Gary Harris, Trey Lyles, Eric Gordon, Myles Turner, LeBron James, Hassan Whiteside, Jeff Teague, Derrick Rose, Robert Covington, Tim Hardaway Jr., Mitchell Robinson, Enes Kanter, Nerlens Noel, Alex Abrines, Mo Bamba, Devin Booker, Mo Harkless, Rudy Gay, Fred VanVleet
Check for updates on these guys throughout the week.
Thanks for reading this week’s edition of The Week Ahead!