Well, that was a “fun” trade deadline.
If you went to bed Wednesday night hoping to see some trade news involving names like Kevin Love, Rajon Rondo, Carmelo Anthony, I’d like to extend my sincere condolences.
For the second straight year, the NBA trade deadline came and went with a whimper as the “biggest” names on the move were the likes of Spencer Hawes, Evan Turner, Danny Granger, Ramon Sessions, Andre Miller and Gary Neal. While those trades are causing more of a ripple on the fantasy landscape than a tidal wave, there are fantasy implications that our own Aaron Bruski has covered from every angle here.
Before moving on to Thursday’s game recaps, there is one injury nugget that popped up on deadline day. Just in case the owners of Derrick Favors needed another reason to hit refresh on his Rotoworld player blurb… Favors won’t be making the trip to Portland with a sprained right hip (which is a new, separate injury from his previous hip strain). He’s officially listed as day-to-day, but there is some worry that he could miss more than just Friday’s game. Enes Kanter will continue to start for the Jazz while Favors’ is out and will be a strong pickup if he’s available.
Miami Heat at Oklahoma City Thunder
LeBron James – It looks like all the “Kevin Durant for MVP” talk has lit a fire under King James. In last night’s potential finals preview, LeBron shot a ridiculous 15-of-22 from the field on his way towards putting up 33 points, seven rebounds, three assists and four steals. James exited the game in the fourth quarter after taking a shot to the face as he attempted a dunk, but the injury to his nose doesn’t seem to serious as he was jokingly comparing himself to a certain Batman villain on Instagram after the game. The Heat don’t play again until Sunday, so we’ll consider LeBron probable for Sunday’s game against the Bulls. LBJ is averaging 34.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 3.2 steals over his last five games and looks poised to make a late charge for MVP (and possibly fantasy’s top player). Let the games begin!
Dwyane Wade – Speaking of superheroes, it was nice to see the old Flash again Thursday night as Wade posted an impressive line of 24 points, seven rebounds, 10 dimes, and three steals in 37 minutes. Wade owners will have to stomach their fair share of DNPs as the Heat attempt to keep him health for the playoffs, but nights like Thursday will certainly help make up for that.
Chris Bosh – Not to be left out, the Heat’s third musketeer shot 6-of-9 from the field and 11-of-12 from the line Thursday night on his way towards finishing with 24 points, eight rebounds, three assists, three steals, and one block. Bosh had been struggling from the field to start the month, so his owners have to be pleased with his 65.3 percent field goal percentage over the Heat’s last five games.
Kevin Durant – While Russell Westbrook’s owners have to be ecstatic about his return, Kevin Durant’s most likely don’t share their sentiment. The man formerly known as The Servant (for one day) still put up a nice line of 28 points, eight boards, three assists, and two steals Thursday night, but those numbers are a bit shy of the absurd stats Durant was routinely posting while Westbrook was out. Fantasy owners can take solace in the fact that they still own fantasy’s top player, but expectations need to be tempered a bit now that Westbrook is back.
Serge Ibaka – Like Durant’s owners, Ibaka’s owners can’t be all that excited about Westbrook’s return to the court. Last night’s line of 14 points, eight boards, one assist and one block will mostly likely be a low water mark for the big man going forward, but he’s a long shot to be the Top Five player that he was in Westbrook’s absence.
Reggie Jackson – Continuing on the Westbrook theme… It was nice while it lasted, wasn’t it? Jackson still saw 37 minutes of action in Wednesday’s loss (so don’t go dropping him yet), but his line of 3-of-7 from the field for nine points, three rebounds, five dimes, two steals, and one block is probably more representative of what Jackson’s owners will get going forward. That’s a respectable line that warrants a roster spot in standard leagues, but Jackson’s most productive days this season are most likely behind him.
Russell Westbrook – Last, but not least… “Why Not?” is back! After missing 27 games with a knee injury, Westbrook played 26 minutes Thursday night and shot 4-of-12 for the field for 16 points, five rebounds, two assists, and three steals. Those numbers will only get better as Westbrook acclimates himself to game action and his owners can look forward to owning one of the better point guards in fantasy basketball as long as he stays healthy.
Denver Nuggets at Milwaukee Bucks
Randy Foye – In 40 minutes of action Thursday night, Foye scored 12 points on 5-of-12 shooting while adding two 3-pointers, 10 assists, one steal, and two blocks. This marked the second time in four games that Foye has posted double-digit assists and while his assist numbers will take a hit once Ty Lawson returns from a broken rib, he’ll continue to be a value player to own in standard leagues the rest of the way.
Wilson Chandler – Chandler shot 6-of-8 from the floor Thursday night and added 15 points, six rebounds, one assist, and three 3-pointers to the Nuggets win over Milwaukee. The 26-year-old is locked in right now and has provided his owners with 16.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 2.6 3-pointers per game during the month of February.
Kenneth Faried – The Manimal has been one of the most frustrating players to own this season, but Thursday night was a step in the right direction as Faried shot 11-of-14 from the field on his way towards posting 26 points, six boards, two assists, and one steal. He seems to (finally) be putting it all together and deserves to be owned in all standard leagues at this point.
Anthony Randolph – Did someone say frustrating? Randolph has been teasing fantasy owners for years and his move to the starting lineup Thursday night may bring us right back into that rinse and repeat cycle. In 28 minutes against the Bucks, Randolph put up eight points, three boards, three assists, and two steals to go with dreadful 3-of-11 shooting. Randolph has the potential to be a fantasy difference maker, but owners in standard leagues may want to wait to see a string of three or four good games before clicking the add button next to his name.
J.J. Hickson – Hickson posted his fifth double-double in eight games this month Thursday night as he shot 6-of-9 from the field with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and two steals. His poor free throw shooting (2-of-7 Thursday night and 54 percent on the season) is the only thing holding Hickson back at this point, but he’s still a player worth owning and starting in all formats right now.
Timofey Mozgov – Mozgov had one of his better games of the season Thursday night as he put up 14 points to go along with nine rebounds, one assist, and three blocks in 23 minutes. He’s seen his minutes rise to 23.8 per game over his last five games, so while he’s still more of a deep league/speculative add right now, the former lynchpin to the Carmelo Anthony trade is worth keeping an eye on in standard leagues.
Evan Fournier – Fournier played 27 minutes and handled the ball a decent amount alongside Randy Foye as Wilson Chandler shifted to small forward. Fournier only scored seven points to go along with five rebounds and three assists, but he can still provide owners with some decent value as long as Ty Lawson is out.
Caron Butler – Butler had his second strong game in a row Thursday night as he led the Bucks with 17 points to go along with his four rebounds, one assist, two blocks, one steal, and one 3-pointer. Butler’s value has a good chance of fluctuating with Larry Drew’s proverbial yo-yo, but he’s worth adding in most leagues right now.
John Henson – Speaking of Larry Drew, Henson’s owners shouldn’t put their Larry Drew voodoo doll away just yet. Larry Sanders’ injury hasn’t turned into the John Henson block party just yet as he’s still coming off the bench for the Bucks. He was still able to provide some value Thursday night with 12 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and one block, so Henson owners should remain patient, as there is a lot of upside here.
Ersan Ilyasova – Another day, another confusing performance from Ilyasova. He posted a decent line of 14 points, 11 boards, one assist, and one 3-pointer in 35 minutes Thursday night, but Ilyasova looked lost on defense and shot a woeful 5-of-14 from the field. Ilyasova is worth owning in most leagues, but a bottle of antacid is a worthy investment for his owners.
Giannis Antetokounmpo – Alphabet came off the bench Thursday night and played one of his best games of the season in putting up 11 points, four rebounds, four assists, two steals, three blocks, and one 3-pointer. He’s still at the mercy of Larry Drew’s rotation, but Antetokounmpo has a great deal of upside and is playing his way into being a solid standard league add if he can bring some consistency to the table.
Khris Middleton – Middleton started and played 28 minutes Thursday night, but struggled on his way to finishing 2-of-9 from the field for six points with one rebound and one assist. Middleton’s value will take a hit as long as Caron Butler is playing well, but Kevin Garnett very well may have been talking about Larry Drew’s rotation when he said, “Anything is posssssiiibbbbble!!”, so owners shouldn’t give up on Middleton just yet.
Zaza Pachulia – Further evidence that anything is possible in Milwaukee, Zaza started his fourth consecutive game Thursday and scored five points to go along with three boards and two assists. Pachulia’s upside is limited going forward and his value could regress to the deepest of league if John Henson is able to play his way into the starting lineup.
O.J. Mayo – After missing 10 games in what might go down as the longest absence due to the flu ever, Mayo played 23 minutes Thursday night and scored 11 points with three rebounds and one 3-pointer. Mayo’s presence on the court may have been due to Brandon Knight’s absence more than anything else, so fantasy owners shouldn’t be tripping over themselves to pick him up just yet.
Nate Wolters – With Knight out, Wolters starting at point guard and played 40 minutes Thursday night, while scoring 12 points to go along with two boards and five assists. Wolters is worth owning in most leagues due to his playing time, but his owners will want to keep a close eye on how newly acquired Ramon Sessions affects Wolters’ minutes.
Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors
James Harden – Harden scored 34 second half points Thursday night on his way to finished with 39 points, four rebounds, five assists, one steal, and three 3-pointers, but the bigger news is that he played with a hyperextended right elbow and is set to have an MRI on Friday. The Rockets don’t play again until Sunday, but Harden’s owners will want to keep a close watch on the Rotoworld blurbs for more on this situation.
Dwight Howard – While Howard struggled from the field Thursday night (3-of-11), he was able to put up a nice line of 11 points, 21 boards, three assists, and four blocks during the overtime loss. If his fantasy owners can deal with sub-par free throw shooting, Howard will be one of the best big men to own the rest of the way.
Chandler Parsons – Parsons’ name was flying around in Rajon Rondo rumors, but he made it through the deadline unscathed and scored 21 points with eight rebounds, five assists, one steal, one block, and three 3-pointers Thursday night. Needless to say, fantasy owners who were wise enough to draft or acquire Parsons this season are enjoying the ride.
Terrence Jones – The slumping Jones only saw 18 minutes Thursday night as he shot 1-of-7 from the field. He’s only averaging 6.8 points and 4.8 boards over his past five games, but Jones has shown too much this season to be kicked to the curb.
Jeremy Lin – Lin came off the bench Thursday, but still played 34 minutes on his way to a lackluster line of nine points, five boards, four assists, and one 3-pointer. Lin can be a frustrating player to own, but he’s still averaging almost 31 minutes per game this season and should be owned in all formats.
Patrick Beverley – Beverley started Thursday night and played strong defense, but his 1-of-6 effort from the field with two points, five boards, and three steals wasn’t his best fantasy output of the season. 37 minutes of playing time is nothing to scoff at, however, so Beverly owners shouldn’t be rushing to drop him just yet.
David Lee – Lee played a season-high 45 minutes in Thursday’s overtime win and put up a huge game with 28 points, 14 boards, two steals, and one block. He’s now put up three straight 20-10 nights and looks to be fully recovered from his shoulder injury.
Stephen Curry – Curry had another strong game with 25 points, two boards, six assists, two steals, and five 3-pointers Thursday night and continues to be one of the best fantasy basketball players to own (especially for owners in dire need of 3-pointers).
Klay Thompson – Thompson struggled Thursday night as he shot 6-of-18 from the field and didn’t make any 3-pointers (which is his main value to his fantasy owners). He did score 12 points to go along with three boards, one assists, and two steals, so his owners shouldn’t be panicking as things will get better for the third-year player.
Steve Blake – Blake played 18 minutes in his Warriors debut Thursday and scored three points with two boards, one assist, one block, and one 3-pointer. This will mostly likely be the norm for Blake going forward, so his owners can feel free to be quick with the drop button if better options are available.
Jermaine O’Neal – O’Neal played 37 minutes Thursday night and posted a line of two points, 10 boards, and two blocks (including one to seal the game against Chandler Parsons). Andrew Bogut may not play until after this weekend, but O’Neal’s fantasy value is still limited enough to keep him on waiver wires in all but the deepest of leagues.