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I have to start by saying that no NBA player, or perhaps person, has had a more difficult time in the pandemic than Karl-Anthony Towns. After losing several family members to COVID-19 in 2020, including his beloved mother, KAT announced in a very emotionally grasping tweet that he tested positive for the virus on Friday. Wishing you all the best, KAT.
His positive test led to the Wolves-Grizzlies game being postponed, one of three Friday contests that are being rescheduled to a later date. Warriors-Suns was another and the third one was the Pistons-Wizards meeting which has a bit more to it. ESPN’s Tim Bontemps reported Friday that six Wizards players tested positive leading to the postponement of Washington’s games on Sunday and Monday, too. Teams need a minimum of eight players required to play a game, and the Wizards, Suns and Wolves didn’t meet that requirement.
But while many players quarantine due to league protocols, Mavs forward Kristaps Porzingis, notched a double-double against the Bucks with 15 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks. He had a chance to give Dallas a lead in the final moments but bricked a 3-pointer off the glass with Luka Doncic watching. Welcome back, KP.
Andre Drummond had 33 points and 23 rebounds in the Cavs win over the Knicks. He's a productive player and the anchor of the Cavs top-5 defense. But what is Cleveland going to do with him after acquiring Jarrett Allen? I think we all know the answer to that one.
Here’s the best and the worst from around the association on Friday night.
Zach LaVine - Did you know Zach LaVine is the third leading scorer in the NBA through a month of action with 27.7 points a game? If you roster him or are a Bulls fan, you probably knew that. But if not, you learned something new today and should pass it along to a friend. LaVine’s onslaught to the 2020-21 season continued on Friday night when he lit up the Thunder with 35 points, seven rebounds, six assists and a steal in 43 minutes. Chicago lost the game, but the seventh year guard shot 11-of-19 from the floor and made eight threes. He’s now totaled 80 points, 14 rebounds, 13 assists and a Stephen Curry-like 18 3-pointers in his last two games. The only downside is the Bulls lose both of those outings (Bradley Beal can relate). His ADP was 35 in Yahoo leagues this year but he’s putting up top-25 numbers and deserves some recognition for what he’s doing. LaVine is no longer just a dunker.
Luguentz Dort - Better known as Lu Dort, the sophomore defensive stud had a career-high six steals against the Bulls in a 127-125 OT win on Friday night. He scored 21 points with eight rebounds and a block, too, marking the second time this season he’s scored over 20 in a game. Dort’s performance also made him one of two players in franchise history to record 20 points, five rebounds and five steals in a game before turning 22, according to Stat Muse. The other guy is former MVP and two-time champ Kevin Durant. So now we know what Dort will become in a few years. Only partly joking. But he’s sitting on waivers in 75% of Yahoo leagues and should be rostered in all standard-to-deep leagues.
Immanuel Quickley - The rookie out of Kentucky received high praise from Tom Thibodeau for his preseason play, and it’s starting to carry over to the games that count. Quickley had a career-high 23 points with five rebounds, four assists, a steal and a block on Friday. He shot 9-of-17 from the field and 3-of-7 from distance in 28 minutes, though the Knicks lost to the Cavs 106-103. But there’s more good news. The combo guard player more minutes than starter Elfrid Payton who had nine points and three boards in 20 minutes has been on the decline as of late. Quickley has also played at least 22 minutes in three straight games, and it’s only a matter of time before Thibs moves him into the starting lineup. IQ is only rostered in 6% of Yahoo leagues and should be picked up in deep leagues.
Cedi Osman - Don’t look now, or maybe you should, but Cedi Osman has scored in double-figures in nine of the Cavs’ 13 games this season and has become a must-add player in fantasy basketball. On Friday night vs the Knicks, he dropped season-highs with 25 points and five threes in the win, hitting 10-of-20 field goal attempts. His 40 minutes were also a season high, and he chipped in three boards, five assists and two steals to seal his night off. The only knock I have on the Turkish forward is his poor shooting till this point, 35% on FGs and 30% from three. Those numbers need to rise if the 25-year-old wants to retain his role whenever Kevin Love (calf) comes back for Cleveland. Osman is still available in 75% of Yahoo leagues.
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Trae Young - Hawks franchise star Trae Young is shooting just 42% this season including an uncharacteristic 30% from deep, and that trend continued on Friday night against the Jazz. ‘Ice Trae’ went ice cold, going 1-of-11 from the floor with no made threes and four points in 24 minutes. He had seven assists, four rebounds, a steal and a block but it was the second time he failed to score in double-digits this season, and the Hawks have now lost five of their last six games. And though Trae won’t have many games like this, he currently ranks 94th in 9-cat after having an ADP of 10.
Terrence Ross - The Magic got smoked by the Celtics on Friday night 124-97 and Terrence Ross didn’t do much to close the gap. He managed to score just six points in 25 minutes, making three of his 11 shots, none of which were triples. Ross was off to such a hot start over the first two weeks of the season when he averaged 20.7 points and three 3-pointers in seven games. Since then he’s cooled off in a major way, scoring just five, 11, four and six points in the last four contests with one 3-pointer. It’s no surprise that he’s been dropped by 9% of fantasy managers in the last week.
Eric Bledsoe - Bledsoe came off the bench for the first time in 10 games and though he was a game-time decision, I’m guessing it had nothing to do with his eye injury. He played 21 minutes against the Lakers on Friday, finishing with seven points, one rebound, three assists and three turnovers in the loss. Through the first few weeks of the season, he’s averaging just 11.8 points which is his lowest mark since 2012-13 when he averaged 8.5 points in his final season with the Clippers. The veteran guard has been below-average in first year with the Pelicans and is a part of a young and talented backcourt that features Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and rookie Kira Lewis Jr. The benching could be a permanent move if Stan Van Gundy decides to give his youngsters the keys to the car moving forward.