Basketball Pickups: Gary Trent Jr. shines in return

With Friday's loss to Orlando, Toronto trails Atlanta by seven games in the loss column in the race for the final Play-In Tournament slot. Given that RJ Barrett is away from the team following the death of his brother, Scottie Barnes, and Jakob Poeltl sidelined due to injury, the chances of the Raptors cracking the top 10 in the East are incredibly slim. While some low-rostered players will emerge during the "silly season," Gary Trent Jr. could be of increased value in the short term.

Rostered in 49% of Yahoo leagues, Trent returned to the lineup on Friday after missing two games with a strained groin. Not under any restrictions, he played 32 minutes against the Magic, tallying 31 points, four rebounds, one steal, and seven 3-pointers. Trent was efficient, not committing a turnover while shooting 10-of-17 from the field and 4-of-5 from the foul line. The concern is a potential shutdown, with the Raptors trending in the wrong direction, as noted above. However, Trent could be a player who offers solid value at the beginning of the fantasy playoffs. Friday was a reminder of what he's capable of offensively.

Managers looking for a Raptor who may face a lower risk of being shut down should consider Jontay Porter (16%). A top-50 player over the past week in 9-cat formats, he missed all four of his shots and went scoreless against the Magic. However, he provided four rebounds, four assists, three steals, and two blocked shots in 26 minutes. Porter did reach double figures in the two games prior, so the scoring potential is there, but the assists and defensive stats are where he has been most valuable among low-rostered big men.

Let's look at a few more of Friday's top pickups:

Simone Fontecchio (43%)

Fontecchio gets another mention in this column, and with good reason, as he led the Pistons in scoring in Friday's loss to the Heat. Shooting 9-of-16 from the field and 1-of-2 from the foul line, he tallied 24 points with six rebounds, one steal, and five 3-pointers in 34 minutes. Fontecchio's value moving forward depends on the availability of Ausar Thompson, who has missed Detroit's last three games due to illness. For now, Fontecchio should be rostered in more standard leagues, and he'll have value in deeper formats after Thompson is cleared to return.

Vasilije Micic (38%)

Two nights after he scored 25 points in a win over Memphis, Micic put up 21 in Friday's loss to the Suns. The 30-year-old rookie shot 7-of-12 from the field and 7-of-9 from the foul line, and three assists and one blocked shot supplemented the point total. Before Friday, Micic recorded seven or more assists in three straight games, with 25 dimes countered by just five turnovers. While LaMelo Ball (ankle) has not been officially ruled out for the remainder of the season, it's fair to ask whether or not it would make sense for him to play. Micic will have solid value as long as he's in the starting lineup, and there are no viable candidates to replace him with Ball sidelined.

Caleb Martin (20%)

Martin had a good night in Detroit, finishing with 18 points, eight rebounds, six assists, two steals, and one 3-pointer in 33 minutes. Over the past two weeks, he has provided 7th-round per-game value in 9-cat formats while averaging 29.0 minutes off the bench. With the Heat facing the Pistons again on Sunday, it makes sense to hop onto the Martin bandwagon, even if it's only for one game.

Taylor Hendricks (8%) and Brice Sensabaugh (4%)

For the first time this season, the Jazz started all three first-round picks in the same game. Point guard Keyonte George has been on the fantasy radar for a while, but Hendricks and Sensabaugh could emerge as solid "silly season" options, especially with Lauri Markkanen still sidelined. In his first game back from a toe injury that sidelined him for three games, Hendricks racked up 10 rebounds and three blocked shots. Limited to 19 minutes, he scored just three points on 1-of-7 shooting, but the rebounds and blocks were too good to ignore.

As for Sensabaugh, he tallied 14 points, four rebounds, and two assists in 28 minutes. Utah trails Golden State by six games in the loss column for the final Play-In spot, so they're in a similar position to Toronto. That should ensure the rookies ample playing time down the stretch, raising their fantasy potential.