Fantasy Basketball Pickups: Jordan Hawkins goes off

By Raphielle Johnson

The Pelicans entered Saturday's game against Dallas severely shorthanded, as Brandon Ingram, CJ McCollum, Trey Murphy III, and Zion Williamson were all sidelined. Of course, the Mavericks were without Luka Doncic and Dereck Lively II, but the Pelicans are the focus for tonight's pickups. Those absences thrust Jordan Hawkins (3% rostered, Yahoo) and Dyson Daniels (6%) into the starting lineup, and Jose Alvarado (2%) took on an enhanced role despite remaining with the bench unit. Each played a role in New Orleans' win over the Mavericks.

Hawkins was the star of the show, as he dropped a line of 34 points (a career-high), five rebounds, four assists, two steals, and six 3-pointers in 37 minutes. The lottery pick out of UConn shot 11-of-19 from the field and 6-of-8 from the foul line, leading all scorers in points. Daniels, inserted into the lineup as the starting point guard, finished with 10 points, six rebounds, and seven assists, while Alvarado chipped in with 14 points, two rebounds, four assists, one steal, and three 3-pointers.

Alvarado's production wasn't on par with what we've seen from T.J. McConnell recently, but this was a solid night for a backup point guard asked to do a bit more than usual. Do any of these players have staying power in fantasy basketball? Once Ingram, McCollum, Murphy, and Williamson return, which should be on Monday when the Pelicans and Mavericks meet again, probably not.

While Daniels and Alvarado approach 20 minutes per game when the rotation is whole, they don't get the opportunities to provide consistent fantasy value. Hawkins plays less than those two, with his most recent opportunities to take on extended minutes coming either in blowouts or on nights when the Pelicans were shorthanded.

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

Brandin Podziemski (42%) and Jonathan Kuminga (41%)

Podziemski and Kuminga earned themselves more rotation minutes in the aftermath of Draymond Green's suspension, and both were productive in Saturday's loss to the Bucks. Starting for Stephen Curry, Podziemski recorded his first career double-double, finishing with 23 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, two steals, and three 3-pointers in 36 minutes. Kuminga played 30 minutes off the bench, tallying 28 points, three rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block, and two 3-pointers.

With Kevon Looney continuing to offer limited value, Kuminga shared the court with Dario Saric for lengthy stretches of Saturday's game. The wild card, especially for Kuminga, is the return of Green, as he could be on the court as soon as Monday in Memphis. One would hope that Kuminga would lose too many minutes, but we've seen him take significant hits in the past after it appeared that he was turning a corner in his growth.

Vince Williams Jr. (32%) and Xavier Tillman (36%)

Already playing without Ja Morant, the Grizzlies did not have Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr., or Desmond Bane for Saturday's game against the Knicks. Williams, who has played well over the last two weeks, posted a full line with 17 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, two steals, one block, and one 3-pointer. As for Tillman, he also recorded a solid stat line, playing 36 minutes and finishing with 12 points, five rebounds, five assists, six steals, and one block. Both will have staying power due to the injuries. And with Jake LaRavia suffering a sprained ankle during the first quarter, rookie GG Jackson (< 1%) made the most of his opportunity to play extended minutes, finishing with 20 points, six rebounds, one assist, two blocks, and two 3-pointers in 27 minutes.

Amen Thompson (10%) and Cam Whitmore (8%)

Dillon Brooks returned to the Rockets lineup on Saturday, but his minutes restriction kept the door open slightly for Whitmore. The rookie made the most of his opportunity, scoring 22 points with seven rebounds, one steal, one block, and two 3-pointers in 28 minutes. As for Thompson, he finished with his first double-double, amassing 10 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, and three steals in 25 minutes. Both played more than half of their minutes in the second half of a game that ended 145-113 in favor of the Celtics, so the stats should be taken with a grain of salt. However, in the case of Whitmore, he may be worth a look in deep leagues until Tari Eason is cleared to return from his left leg injury.

Miles McBride (1%)

Last but not least is McBride, who made his first start of the season in Saturday's win over Memphis due to the absence of Jalen Brunson. Logging 38 minutes, Deuce finished with 19 points, six rebounds, five assists, one steal, one block, and four 3-pointers in 38 minutes. His value moving forward depends on Brunson's availability, so fantasy managers should look for alternatives to McBride ahead of Monday's 11-game slate.