Dose: Let It Fly Young Man

Jared Johnson

Nightly Notables

Devin Booker did all he possibly could to try and give his Suns a win on Friday, erupting for a career-high 70 points on 21-of-40 shooting to go with four triples, eight boards, six dimes, three steals, one block and five turnovers in 45 minutes. Unfortunately, the ridiculous scoring binge was not enough to propel Phoenix to victory, but still, Booker put himself in some elite company with this performance. Per, Booker became just the fourth player in NBA history to reach the 70-point plateau, joining the ranks of Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain (shout out to Wilt the Stilt who is the only guy with multiple 70-plus-point outings), David Robinson and David Thompson; and at just 20 years old Booker became the youngest player to ever do so. The 70 points also set a Phoenix franchise record, and Booker now owns the record for the most points scored in a single game amongst active players. It’s kind of shocking when you realize the Suns’ sharpshooter accomplished this feat despite only netting four 3-pointers (three less than what Kobe had during his 81-point game), but maybe what’s more impressive is that he popped off for 51 of his 70 points during the second half of action while posting a ridiculous 56.3 usage rate. Booker also got to the charity stripe a season-high (and league-high) 26 times, knocking down 24 of them to give him a sterling true shooting percentage of 68.0 on the evening. Here’s a look at his shot chart from his historic night:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Isaiah Thomas helped the Celtics survive Booker’s onslaught, going 10-of-20 from the field and 11-of-11 from the charity stripe on his way to 34 points, two boards, seven assists, three triples and two turnovers. IT4 was asked to do a bit more on the offensive end with Avery Bradley (illness) watching from the sidelines, and it’ll be more of the same on Sunday vs. Miami if Bradley is again out.

Nikola Jokic put up a monster 30-point, 17-board double-double during Friday’s 125-117 win over Indiana, adding five dimes, one 3-pointer, one steal and four turnovers in 34 minutes. He had a slow start to the year, but the 22-year-old should hit the ground running next season with a clearly defined role and no real competition for minutes.

James Harden produced a massive double-double during Friday’s 117-107 win over New Orleans, racking up 38 points (12-of-24 FGs, 9-of-11 FTs), 17 dimes, seven boards, five triples, two steals, one block and just three turnovers in 38 minutes. The MVP candidate has made it clear he has no intention of taking any time off for rest purposes as the regular-season winds down, so his owners can expect the ridiculous stat lines to continue without interruption.

Anthony Davis racked up 33 points (14-of-24 FGs, 5-of-6 FTs), 16 boards, three steals, one assist, one block and one in 41 minutes during Friday’s loss to Houston, while DeMarcus Cousins chipped in 29 points, six boards, four dimes, five triples, four swats, one steal and three turnovers in 30 minutes. Jrue Holiday also had a nice game with 18 points, nine dimes, four 3-pointers, three steals, two blocks and one turnover in 38 minutes. New Orleans’ Big Three is starting to get used to playing together, and over the past few weeks, they’ve all been flirting with early-round value.

Jordan Clarkson could not be stopped during Friday’s 130-119 overtime win over the Wolves, popping off for a career-high 35 points to go with five dimes, two boards, one turnover and eight trey-bombs (also a career-high) in 47 minutes. He’s been on quite the tear as of late, pumping out averages of 21.0 points, 4.6 dimes, 2.6 triples and 2.3 turnovers per contest, which has been good enough for mid-round value in standard 9-cat leagues. With Lou Williams no longer on the roster to mess with Clarkson’s minutes, and the Lakers keying in on player development, Clarkson is primed for a very strong finish to the 2016-17 season.

Ricky Rubio produced his 19th double-double of the year, scoring 19 points on 5-of-13 shooting (8-of-8 from the stripe) to go with 15 dimes, one 3-pointer, three boards, three steals, one block and just two turnovers in 43 minutes. He’s been flirting with top-20 value since the break and is showing no signs of slowing down.

Dario Saric helped the 76ers edge out the Bulls during Friday’s 117-107 victory, netting a career-high 32 points on 12-of-19 shooting (6-of-8 from the stripe) to go with 10 boards, two assists, two triples, one steal and four turnovers in 34 minutes. He’s been a top-50 stud since the break, and despite Embiid being a more talented player, I’m beginning to feel like Saric deserves Rookie of the Year honors considering Embiid barely managed to make it through 31 games this season. 

Jimmy Butler busted loose for 36 points, 11 assists, seven rebounds and three steals during Friday’s loss to Philly. While the Bulls have been mediocre at best this season, it’s been to no fault of Jimmy Buckets, who has been a steady first-round stud all year long. In fact, he’s been particularly hot over the past four games, operating with a top-3 evaluation behind averages of 28.0 points, 9.0 assists, 6.5 boards, 2.3 steals, 1.0 block and just 0.5 turnovers per contest on 50.7 percent shooting from the field and 84.8 percent from the charity stripe. With Dwyane Wade (elbow) set to watch the rest of the season from the sidelines, Butler is due for some amazing stat lines.

Giannis Antetokounmpo tallied 34 points, 13 boards, five assists, two steals, three blocks, one 3-pointer and one turnover during Friday’s 100-97 win over the Hawks. This was The Greek Freak’s eighth 30-10 game of the year, a feat that he failed to accomplish through his first three years in the league. What. A. Beast.

Elfrid Payton triple-doubled on Friday with 15 points (5-of-11 FGs, 3-of-5 FTs), 11 rebounds, 10 assists, one 3-pointer and three turnovers in 29 minutes. Despite having one of the grossest jumpers in the league, Payton has emerged as a top-45 guy since the break with averages of 11.8 points, 7.6 boards, 7.3 dimes, 1.1 steals and just 2.6 turnovers per contest on 51.3 percent shooting from the field and 76.8 percent from the charity stripe. 

Stephen Curry abused the Kings to the tune of 27 points, 12 assists, seven boards, six steals, five triples and three turnovers in 33 minutes. This is pretty much what I expect from a two-time MVP going up against one of the worst teams in the league.

On the Radar

Terrence Ross drained five more triples during Friday’s 115-87 win over Detroit, adding 18 points, four boards, two assists, one steal, one block and zero turnovers in just 21 minutes of play. He’s been a steady top-100 talent since joining the Magic with averages of 12.3 points, 1.9 triples, 1.2 steals and 1.4 turnovers per game, so he’s worth owning in most leagues.

Monta Ellis scored 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting Friday, to go with three triples, four boards, one assist, one steal and zero turnovers through 31 minutes of floor time. Ellis replaced C.J. Miles in the starting five to begin the second half of action, but it’s unclear if that’s a lineup switch that will stick, or if Nate McMillan simply wanted to bring Miles off the bench after halftime due to foul trouble. Either way, Ellis has been trending up over the past seven games with averages of 10.7 points, 1.1 triples, 2.3 dimes, 1.6 steals and just 0.9 turnovers per game on 43.7 percent shooting. His next cold streak could be just around the corner, but if you’re in a deep league and need some low-end help in dimes, triples and steals, Ellis could be worth a look.

Alex Len produced 11 points, six boards, two assists, two blocks and one turnover through 26 minutes as a starter. He’s about as inconsistent as they come, but with a clear path to minutes as Phoenix’s starting center, he should be able to do enough to warrant a roster spot in deep leagues as a shot blocking specialist.

Jordan Crawford scored 12 points on 4-of-10 shooting to go with two triples, one rebound, two assists, one steal and two turnovers in 18 minutes. He’s been averaging 2.6 triples per contest on 50.5 percent shooting since joining the Pelicans, so he’s certainly worth owning as a 3-point specialist.

Skal Labissiere flirted with a triple-double in 27 minutes off the bench Friday, scoring 10 points on 5-of-11 shooting to go with 10 boards, eight dimes, one block and two turnovers. Over the past seven, Labissiere has seen his minutes rise to 24.2 a night and he’s responded with averages of 13.6 points, 7.4 boards, 1.7 assists, 0.7 blocks and 1.6 turnovers per contest on 58.0 percent shooting, which has been good enough for late-round value in standard 9-cat leagues. Consistency is likely going to be an issue for the rookie, but he should have plenty of opportunity for playing time as the Kings tank their way to the end of the season. In my opinion, Labissiere isn’t quite there as a standard league guy, but he could be worth a gamble in deeper leagues.

Bobby Portis double-doubled in 22 minutes off the bench during Friday’s 117-107 loss to Philly, tallying 17 points, 11 rebounds, one assist, one 3-pointer, two blocks and one turnover. While it was nice to see him turn in a useful stat line, I can’t discount the fact that he did this against one of the weaker defenses in the league, and to this point in his career, he’s been woefully inconsistent. Portis is worth monitoring in deeper leagues, but I’ll need to see him do this again before recommending him as an add in standard formats.

K.J. McDaniels scored 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting (2-of-2 from the line) to go with two boards, one assist, one steal, one block and one turnover in 26 minutes off the bench. McDaniels has been a sneaky top-100 guy over the past four games with averages of 11.3 points, 1.3 treys, 0.8 steals and 0.8 swats per contest on 54.8 percent shooting, so he’s worth monitoring as a potential deep league 3-and-D guy.

Marco Belinelli produced 22 points, three triples, three boards, two assists and one turnover in 32 minutes off the bench on Friday. He’s been hot over the past four with averages of 14.8 points, 2.0 trey-bombs and just 0.8 turnovers per game on 45.7 percent shooting, so he’s certainly someone to consider throwing out there as a 3-point streamer.

Injury Tracker

Paul Millsap (knee) spent his fourth straight game on the sidelines Friday night, and it’s unclear if he’ll be ready for Sunday’s game against the Nets. However, given the opponent, the Hawks may want to take it easy on Millsap and let him spend one more game on the sidelines. Unfortunately, if your league doesn’t offer an IR-spot, owners in win-now situations may need to strongly consider sending Millsap to the waiver wire.

Hassan Whiteside (ankle) said he plans to play Sunday vs. Boston. He was forced out of the Thursday’s game during the closing minutes after rolling his ankle, but it sounds like he’s had enough time off to be good to go for Sunday’s game.

Joel Embiid underwent arthroscopic knee surgery to repair a slight tear in his left meniscus on Friday and while an official timetable for his return has not yet been set, chances are he’ll be good to go for next year’s training camp. Embiid is an incredibly fun guy to watch/own, but unfortunately, his injury history presents some major red flags. Despite having a minutes limit for the entire year and sitting out back-to-back sets, Embiid’s body still broke down after just 31 games, and let’s not forget that he already spent the first two years of his career watching from the sidelines as he rehabbed from multiple foot fractures. Foot and knee injuries for seven footers are nothing to shrug at, so despite Embiid’s massive upside, I just don’t think I’ll be rolling the dice on him next season. I guess what I’m saying is, no, I do not #TrustTheProcess. 

Dion Waiters (ankle) is progressing in the right direction, but he remains without a timetable to return. He’s not worth hanging onto in leagues without an IR-spot.

Tyreke Evans, Darren Collison and Anthony Tolliver were all rested on Friday, which resulted in Ty Lawson moving into the starting five where he finished with 20 points (8-of-9 FGs, 2-of-4 FTs), two triples, two assists, one steal and two turnovers in 24 minutes. Lawson will head back to the bench for Sunday’s game against the Clippers, so there’s not much incentive to grab him after this semi-productive performance. Evans did say on Friday that his knee feels “better than ever,” but the minutes restriction and random rest days will make him too annoying to own in standard leagues.

Kevin Durant (knee) was spotted doing full court sprints during Friday morning’s shootaround, in addition to going through some dribbling and shooting drills. He’s still unlikely to get back to the court in any meaningful capacity during the final few weeks of the fantasy season, but it’s looking like he’ll be good to go when the postseason hits.

Danilo Gallinari (left knee bone bruise) returned from a four-game absence and produced 21 points (2-of-12 FGs, 17-of-18 FTs), 11 rebounds, two assists, one steal, two blocks and one turnover in 35 minutes. With The Rooster back in action, Mason Plumlee returned to the second unit and finished with nine points, two boards, one assist, two steals and one turnover in just 16 minutes. Plumlee, Will Barton and Jamal Murray all figure to take a hit with Wilson Chandler and Gallinari back in the fold.

Jeff Green (back spasms) missed his second game in a row on Friday and he should be considered questionable for Monday’s game in Toronto. If he’s out again, Mario Hezonja will continue to pick up most of his minutes.

Cristiano Felicio (bruised tailbone) spent his second straight game on the sidelines Friday and he should be considered questionable Sunday’s game in Milwaukee.

Jahlil Okafor (knee soreness) did not play Friday and it wouldn’t be shocking to see him miss Sunday’s game in Indiana as well. Okafor has been having issues with his surgically repaired right knee for most of the year, so if not an outright shutdown, I do see plenty of random rest days in his future. Richaun Holmes will continue to start for however long Okafor is out, with Shawn Long and Dario Saric backing him up at the five-spot. Okafor doesn’t offer enough upside to warrant a hold in most settings.

T.J. Warren (left foot contusion) and Ronnie Price (left leg) did not play Friday and they should be considered questionable for Sunday’s game in Charlotte. If they’re out, Derrick Jones Jr. (who returned from a one-game absence on Friday) will get another start, and Devin Booker’s usage rate will be in the ridiculous range.

Omer Asik (illness, talent) is unlikely to play again this season.

Derrick Favors (knee) will not play Saturday vs. the Clippers, which will be his ninth straight game on the sidelines, and he remains without an official timetable to return. He’s been a disaster this season, and at this juncture in the fantasy season, he’s probably best left on the waiver wire in most leagues. Shelvin Mack (ankle) is questionable for Saturday’s game, but whether he plays or not will not make a difference in fantasy hoops.

Andre Iguodala (hip) returned from a one-game absence and put up nine points, three assists, one board and zero turnovers in 27 minutes. He’s been a sneaky top-60 guy in 9-cat leagues over the past month with averages of 9.1 points, 4.1 boards, 3.4 dimes, 1.4 steals and 1.1 turnovers per game, but he’s more of a deep league guy.

Glenn Robinson III (left calf strain) will spend the next two weeks on the sidelines, so he’s safe to leave on the waiver wire in all leagues.

Avery Bradley (stomach illness) did not play Friday and he should be considered questionable for Sunday’s game against the Heat. Bradley was forced to spend Friday night in the hospital as a precaution to keep him hydrated, but with another two days off with no travel, I think he has a decent chance of returning to action vs. Miami. If this stomach bug only ends up being a one-game thing, Jaylen Brown will return to the bench and Marcus Smart’s minutes will likely return to the 20s.

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