Doncic Does It Again

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Jared Johnson
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Another one for the record books…

Luka Doncic put a bow on his incredible November run with a 42-point performance in a 120-113 win over the Suns on Friday, adding nine rebounds, 11 assists, three triples, one steal and just two turnovers through 38 minutes of floor time. He got his points with remarkable efficiency, going 12-of-24 from the field and 15-of-18 from the charity stripe to give him a sterling 65.8 TS% to accompany his absurd 39.8 usage rate, and that improved efficiency has been a big reason why Doncic is posting first-round value this season.

He was the No. 2 ranked player in 9-cat leagues through the month of November with averages of 32.4 points, 10.3 boards, 10.4 dimes, 3.2 trey-bombs, 1.1 steals and 4.6 turnovers per game on 49.5% shooting from the field and 84% from the stripe, which put him in the company of Russell Westbrook and Oscar Robertson as the only other player to average a 30-point triple-double over a calendar month. The kid can’t even legally buy a beer yet, but he’s already one of the best players in the league.

Almost a 50-spot ends in one-point OT loss

Trae Young popped off for 49 points on 16-of-28 shooting in a brutal, one-point, overtime loss to the Pacers on Friday, adding eight triples, one rebound, six assists, two steals and nine turnovers across 43 minutes. Young went berserk with a 21-point fourth quarter to keep the Hawks in the game and send it to OT, but with Alex Len and DeAndre Bembry being the only other Atlanta players to reach double figures in the scoring department, the Hawks just didn’t have enough firepower to overcome the Pacers. The 49 points and eight triples both tied career-highs, but unfortunately, the end result was again a loss for Ice Trae (the Hawks lost by seven in Trae’s previous 49-point performance during the 2018-19 season).

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Hope you didn’t cut him

PJ Washington saw his minutes eclipse the 30-minute mark for the first time in two weeks on Friday, and he responded with 26 points (9-of-12 FGs, 5-of-7 FTs), five rebounds, three 3-pointers, there assists, four steals and one turnover across 35 minutes in a 110-107 win over the Pistons. Washington had been in an awful week-long rut with a series of single-digit scoring outings, but he showed signs of life with a 17-point performance right before Thanksgiving, and he kept it moving in the right direction on Friday. Like most rookies, there will be bumps along the road, but Washington has shown me enough that I’m going to be willing to hang tough through basically any low-point this season because I think he can be a monster after the All-Star break.

Could it really get worse? Probably…

After Draymond Green finished Friday’s blowout loss to the Heat with just six points, two rebounds, four assists and two turnovers across 19 minutes, Steve Kerr revealed that he’d like to keep Dray’s minutes in the 27-range with the Dubs being so terrible. That would be his lowest minute allotment since his sophomore season, and it seems obvious at this point that the Dubs will be tanking this season. That means Green will be in some serious risk of getting shut down down the stretch, and he’s been so bad to this point that he’s essentially untradeable. I own him in one league and am clinging to perhaps a false hope that he’ll randomly be good once Stephen Curry (hands) gets back, but that may be delusional wishful thinking at this point. What a nightmare it’s been owning Green this season.

Potential Pickups

Bismack Biyombo looked good in another start sans Cody Zeller (hip), scoring 13 points on 6-of-12 shooting (1-of-3 from the line) to go with nine boards, two assists, two blocks and three turnovers in 34 minutes. The Hornets have now won two straight with Bizzy B serving as the starting center, and the new starting lineup has posted a net rating of plus-33.7, so there’s a decent chance Biyombo will be able to hold onto his starting spot even upon Zeller’s return. Head coach James Borrego was hinting at a lineup change prior to Zeller going down, and with Zeller in the starting group, the Hornets have posted a minus-18.1 net rating. If you’re in a deep league and need a big, Biyombo could be your guy.

Aron Baynes (hip) returned from a five-game absence and produced 17 points (7-of-12 FGs, 1-of-2 FTs), seven rebounds, two triples, one assist and one turnover across 25 minutes. He’s been superb as a starter this season and Deandre Ayton (suspension) won’t be back for another eight games, so another two weeks to produce solid value. Make sure he’s not floating around on your waiver wire.

Derrick White dropped in a career-high five triples in another start on Friday, adding 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting to go with three rebounds, three assists and two turnovers across 28 minutes. Dejounte Murray is struggling, and the Spurs pulled off an impressive win over the Clippers, so the starting PG spot could be White’s to lose for the time being. He’s been miss more than hit this season, but he’s worth a look after this big game.

Robert Williams saw 17 minutes off the bench on Friday with Daniel Theis logging just seven minutes and produced six points (3-of-4 FGs), five rebounds, one assist, two steals, one block and two turnovers. Theis made a few egregious errors on defense that put him in Brad Stevens dog house, but he’ll likely be back with his regular workload on Sunday. However, this stat line shows what Williams is capable of when given the minutes, and if a few injuries ever open up the opportunity for him to flirt with 20-plus minutes a night he could be a monster. For now, he’s more of a stash in deep leagues.

Garrett Temple hit 4-of-8 shots on his way to 12 points, three 3-pointers, five rebounds, seven assists, one steal, one block and one turnover through 38 minutes as a starter. He’s going to continue to start and see quality minutes while Kyrie Irving (shoulder) and Caris LeVert (thumb) are on the sidelines, and while he’s not the most consistent guy, he has been in a nice groove as of late with averages of 14.2 points, 3.6 triples, 3.4 assists, 3.0 rebounds, 1.4 steals, 0.6 blocks and 1.4 turnovers per game on 49% shooting. Kyrie will again be joining LeVert on the sidelines for Sunday’s matchup with the Heat, so Temple could be someone to think about streaming this weekend.

Norman Powell netted a career-high 33 points on 12-of-18 shooting (4-of-4 from the stripe) to go with five triples, one assist, two steals, one block and two turnovers through 39 minutes as a starter. He’s been solid with Kyle Lowry (thumb) out, but there’s a decent chance Lowry will be back in action on Sunday, which will destroy Powell’s value. If K. Low doesn’t play Sunday, Powell will be someone to consider streaming, but his shelf life is running out.

Khem Birch hauled in 12 rebounds through 27 minutes as a starter, adding four points, one steal, three swats and two turnovers. The rebounds and blocks both accounted for season-highs, and he should be able to keep things going on Sunday with a favorable matchup against the Warriors. Nikola Vucevic (ankle) isn’t close, and Birch will be starting until he gets back, so he should be able to muster some low-end value in deep leagues as a shot blocking specialist.

Mo Bamba came through with 11 points (4-of-6 FGs, 2-of-2 FTs), seven rebounds, one 3-pointer, two blocks and three turnovers in just 17 minutes off the bench. Since Vooch hit the sidelines, Bamba has been averaging 8.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.4 triples, 2.2 swats and 2.2 turnovers per game on 53.1% shooting in 19.4 minutes a night, which has him flirting with top-100 value in 9-cat leagues. He’s still on a bit of a minutes limit, which limits his upside, but it’s been expanded enough with Vucevic out for him to hit value.

Markelle Fultz went 5-of-12 from the field and 4-of-5 from the stripe on his way to 15 points, one 3-pointer, four rebounds, three assists, one steal, one block and five turnovers through 30 minutes as a starter. The turnovers were unfortunate, but he was going up against a tough Toronto defense, and that typically hasn’t been much of an issue for him this season. He’s been quietly good this season and has really started to trend up over the past four games with averages of 14.8 points, 4.8 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.8 turnovers per game on 53.2% shooting from the field and 77.8% from the stripe while seeing 29.2 minutes a night. This is basically his rookie season, but he should only get better throughout the year, and his per-36 numbers of 16.6 points, 5.2 dimes, 2.0 steals and 2.3 turnovers per game gives us a glimpse of his upside. He’s worth owning in most leagues at this point.

Darius Garland arguably had his best game of the season on Friday, scoring 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting to go with five treys, one rebound, six assists and just one turnover across 35 minutes in a nine-point loss to Milwaukee. Garland is still quite raw, but his jumper is wet, and the No. 5 overall pick will continue to see nothing but opportunity in Cleveland. This was the second time in the past week he’s drilled five trey-bombs, and over that five-game span, he’s come through with averages of 16.0 points, 3.2 triples, 2.6 assists and 3.4 turnovers per game (turnovers are heightened due to his eight-turnover performance on Wednesday) on 48.3% shooting. It will likely be a bumpy ride, but Garland could be a fun guy to own over the second half of the season.

DeAndre Bembry saw 41 minutes off the bench in an overtime loss to the Pacers, finishing with 15 points (7-of-13 FGs, 1-of-1 FTs), 12 rebounds, two steals, one block and zero turnovers. He’s always been a beast when he can get the minutes, and should continue to see decent opportunity with Kevin Huerter (shoulder) out and Cam Reddish struggling. Over the past five he’s put in averages of 11.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 2.0 steals, 1.4 triples and just 1.0 turnover per game on 60% shooting, so he needs to be owned everywhere while he’s this hot.

Kelly Olynyk hit 6-of-9 shots on his way to 15 points, one 3-pointer, two rebounds, one assist, one steal and one turnover in 25 minutes. He’s really hit his stride over the past few weeks with averages of 12.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 2.1 triples, 1.0 steal and 1.9 turnovers per game on 63.3% shooting. The sky-high field goal percentage isn’t sustainable, but he’s been a steady late-round guy on the year as a whole, so his floor is fairly safe.

Josh Hart started the second half of Friday’s game with Kenrich Williams going down with an ankle injury and finished with 10 points (2-of-8 FGs, 4-of-6 FTs), four rebounds, two assists, two triples, one steal and three turnovers in 31 minutes. He’s been in somewhat of a shooting funk since returning from a two-week absence, which isn’t terribly surprising, but he was flirting with top-60 value prior to going down. He should be owned everywhere, and I’d give him a long leash.

Tim Hardaway Jr. hot streak continued on Friday as he drilled a season-high six triples on his way to 26 points (8-of-14 FGs, 4-of-4 FTs), three rebounds, two steals and two turnovers through 36 minutes as a starter. He’s getting a ton of wide-open looks playing alongside Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, and since entering the starting lineup, THJ has been churning out averages of 20.2 points, 4.0 triples, 2.8 assists, 1.6 steals and just 0.8 turnovers per game on 60% shooting. The starting spot is THJ’s to lose, and while he’s not going to shoot 60% for an entire season, he should be able to do enough with the points, triples and steals to warrant ownership. As I’m writing this, he’s only owned in 36% of Yahoo! Leagues, so make sure he’s not floating around on your waiver wire.

Despite being replaced by Rudy Gay in the starting unit, Jakob Poeltl still put up an effective stat line in 16 minutes off the bench with six points, six rebounds, four blocks and one turnover. He’s now sent away nine shots in his past two games, and he could return to the starting lineup for Sunday’s matchup with Andre Drummond in Detroit, so he’s worth a look in deep leagues.

Duncan Robinson scored 17 points on 5-of-7 shooting (2-of-3 from the line) to go with five 3-pointers, two rebounds, one assist and two turnovers in just 21 minutes of action. He’s been on a roll over the past few weeks with averages of 13.1 points, 3.4 triples, 1.3 steals and just 0.9 turnovers per game on 47.5% shooting, which has him flirting with sixth-round value in 9-cat leagues. It’s possible he could lose some minutes and value once Justise Winslow gets fully up to speed, but for now, he’s worth owning in most leagues.

Kris Dunn got the start with Chandler Hutchison (shoulder) out and hit 4-of-7 shots on his way to nine points, seven rebounds, two assists, one 3-pointer, two steals and an unfortunate five turnovers across 29 minutes. Hutchison will miss at least the next week of action, as will Otto Porter (foot), so Dunn might be flirting with 30 minutes a night until those two get back. He can be hit-or-miss, but he’s pretty consistent with the steals, which gives him some low-end appeal in deep leagues.

Justin Holiday snatched away a career-high six steals in 23 minutes off the bench, adding five points, one 3-pointer, six rebounds, one assist, one block and one turnover. He’s been a sneaky top-50 option over the past few weeks with averages of 9.8 points, 1.8 triples, 2.3 assists, 1.8 steals and 0.5 turnovers per game on 47.5% shooting, so he could be someone to consider streaming on Saturday.

Rodney Hood scored 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting (2-of-2 from the line) to go with three 3-pointers, one rebound, three assists, one steal and zero turnovers across 36 minutes. He’s been trending up over the past few weeks with averages of 12.5 points, 1.6 triples, 2.6 assists, 1.0 steal and 0.8 turnovers per game on 57.1% shooting, so give him a look if those numbers are appealing.

Injury Tracker

Kyrie Irving (shoulder) missed his eighth consecutive game on Friday, and with him still being limited to non-contact work, he won’t play on Sunday against the Heat either. Once he gets through a full-contact practice we’ll know he’s close, but in the meantime, Spencer Dinwiddie will be ballin’ out as Brooklyn’s starting PG.

DeAndre Jordan (ankle) returned from a two-game absence and produced eight points, 11 boards, one assist, one steal, one block and one turnover in 23 minutes off the bench. He’s fine.

Alvin Gentry said that Zion Williamson (knee) remains without an official timetable, and while he’s “dying to get back out there,” he’s still been limited to non-contact, partial weight-bearing work. He’s not expected back until mid-December, but if he’s not cleared for contact in the next few weeks, that timetable will be pushed back. That said, I think Williamson has a shot at being a top-20 player once he’s fully up to speed, so I still view him as a solid buy-low guy.

Marvin Bagley (thumb) still hasn’t been cleared for contact and will miss at least two more games. He’s been out five weeks and was originally given a 4-6 week timetable, so he has to be close at this point, and once he’s cleared to practice we’ll know he’s close. Get in your buy-low offers while you still can. Nemanja Bjelica will take a massive hit once he’s back, so Bjelica owners should see if there’s any market for him; as getting any top-75 player back would be insane value.

Trevor Ariza (personal) will not play Saturday, but he’s expected to return to the team for Monday’s matchup with the Bulls. No, he’s not worth owning.

Aaron Gordon (ankle) was back in the starting lineup following a three-game stint on the sidelines and finished with eight points (2-of-11 FGs, 3-of-4 FTs), eight rebounds, two assists, two steals, one block and zero turnovers across 32 minutes. He should be fine for Sunday’s game against the Warriors and should be able to bounce-back with a more efficient game given the matchup. Wes Iwundu, who had been starting sans AG, picked up a DNP-CD with Gordon back in action.

Al Horford (rest) and Kyle O’Quinn did not play Friday and while Horford will be fine for Saturday’s game vs. the Pacers, O’Quinn should be considered questionable. Horford’s return will likely shift Matisse Thybulle back to the second unit.

Josh Richardson (hamstring) also skipped Friday’s game, although he was able to go through shootaround, so maybe he’ll be able to get back out there on Saturday. If he is able to play, Furkan Korkmaz will return to the second unit.

Clint Capela (illness) is doubtful to play on Saturday against the Hawks. If he’s out again, Tyson Chandler will be looking at another start, with more minutes falling to PJ Tucker and Isaiah Hartenstein. Danuel House (illness) is also doubtful, and his absence will likely lead to another start for Ben McLemore.

D’Angelo Russell did not play Friday, although he was able to participate at shootaround without any protection on his sprained right thumb, and he’s scheduled to be re-evaluated on Saturday. Warriors’ reporter Anthony Slater hinted that D’Lo could be back for the upcoming four-game road trip, although I doubt he’ll play on Sunday in Orlando with that being the first leg of a back-to-back. Once he does get back to the court, Alec Burks and Ky Bowman will lose most of their appeal.

Jimmy Butler (illness) returned from a one-game absence and came through with 16 points (3-of-11 FGs, 10-of-12 FTs), five rebounds, six assists, two steals and one turnover through 28 minutes as a starter. With Butler back in the starting unit, Goran Dragic shifted back to a reserve role and finished with 20 points (9-of-13 FGs, 1-of-1 FTs), five rebounds, four assists, one 3-pointer, one steal and one turnover in 27 minutes.

Serge Ibaka (ankle) did not play Friday and he should be considered questionable for Sunday’s game against the Jazz. Chris Boucher and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson will continue to see extended minutes while Ibaka is out.

Kyle Lowry (thumb) did not play Friday, but I’d assume he’s close considering Nick Nurse said last week that Lowry was about a week away from getting back to the court. Perhaps he’ll be able to make it back out there for Sunday’s game, which would end Norman Powell’s run of relevancy in fantasy hoops.

Lonzo Ball missed his second straight game on Friday with a stomach bug and he should be considered questionable for Sunday. Derrick Favors missed his second straight game due to a personal issue (and his seventh consecutive game) and he too should be considered questionable for Sunday. If they’re out again, Jaxson Hayes will be looking at another start and there will be more minutes available for E’Twaun Moore and Josh Hart.

Kenrich Williams exited Friday’s game with a left ankle sprain and did not return, and given how much pain he was in, I’d be surprised to see him take the floor on Sunday. Josh Hart should benefit most sans Williams, and Nicolo Melli will have the opportunity for some more minutes.

Cody Zeller (hip) sat out his second consecutive game on Friday and he should be considered questionable for Saturday’s game in Milwaukee. If he’s out again, Bismack Biyombo will have another opportunity to start.

Avery Bradley (leg) missed his eighth consecutive game on Friday and he should be considered doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Mavericks. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will continue to start until he gets back.

Kyle Kuzma tweaked his ankle during Friday’s game, although he played through it and Frank Vogel called it a “mild sprain” after the game. It doesn’t sound like anything major, but it’s possible it could get worse overnight, so there’s a small chance he’ll need to miss Sunday’s game against the Mavericks. He hasn’t even really been worth owning this season, though.

Kyle Anderson (heel) contributed two rebounds, two assists and nothing else in 14 minutes off the bench in his return from a one-game absence on Friday.

Sterling Brown (right shoulder) did not play Friday and he should be considered doubtful for Saturday’s game against the Hornets. He’s irrelevant with Khris Middleton back, though.

George Hill (back) returned from a two-game absence and finished with 16 points, four triples, one rebound and four assists in 19 minutes off the bench. He’s been too hit-or-miss this season to trust in most settings.

Chandler Hutchison (right shoulder contusion) will miss at least the next week of action. Kris Dunn got the start in his place on Friday, while Shaquille Harrison picked up a DNP-CD. It looks like Dunn will benefit most while Hutchison and Otto Porter (foot) are out.

Rodney McGruder (hamstring) did not play Friday and he should be considered doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Wizards.

Ed Davis (leg) was back in action following a month-long layoff and finished with five rebounds, one assist, one steal and one turnover in 12 minutes off the bench.