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With the NBA trade deadline having passed, the attention of many teams has turned to the buyout market. Marvin Williams, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Tyler Johnson and Dion Waiters have all hit the waiver wire since Thursday, with the latter two doing so on Sunday. Williams, who reached a buyout agreement with the Hornets, is expected to sign with the Bucks as soon as he clears waivers. But the biggest name being watched wasn’t even on the waiver wire, as he abruptly retired from the NBA this past summer.
Darren Collison, who was discussed in connection with the Lakers and Clippers, took in the Lakers game Thursday night and was expected to make a decision shortly thereafter. On Sunday it was reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that Collison has decided to remain retired. While the Clippers did make a big addition at the trade deadline, acquiring Marcus Morris from the Knicks, the Lakers stood pat. Per Wojnarowski the Lakers are expected to have an “exploratory conversation” with Waiters, who was waived by the Grizzlies, in the near future.
As for the happenings on the court Sunday, Morris, Andre Drummond (Cavaliers), Glenn Robinson III (76ers), Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala (Heat) were five of the players who made their first appearances with their new teams. Add in the monster lines put up by Trae Young, Ja Morant and Furkan Korkmaz, and Sunday did not lack for intrigue.
Celtics 112, Thunder 111 — Jaylen Brown (ankle), Gordon Hayward (foot) and Daniel Theis (ankle) all returned to the starting lineup Sunday, but the former experienced a setback of sorts. Dealing with a right ankle sprain, Brown rolled his left ankle and briefly left the game. He was ultimately able to play 34 minutes, finishing with 17 points, three rebounds, two assists and three 3-pointers, but his status for Boston’s final two games ahead of the All-Star Break is up in the air. Hayward played 35 minutes, tallying 13 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, one block and two 3-pointers, while Theis (13/11/5 with one three-pointer) played 30.
The returns of those three negatively impacts the fantasy value of Enes Kanter (four points, eight rebounds and one steal) and Grant Williams (three points, two rebounds and one three-pointer), who played 17 ad 14 minutes, respectively. Kanter is the more valuable of the two due to his productivity as a rebounder. Kemba Walker (27 points, four rebounds, one assist and four 3-pointers) and Jayson Tatum (26 points, 11, rebounds, one assist, one block and four 3-pointers) led the way offensively for the Celtics, with Marcus Smart (seven points, two assists, four steals and one three-pointer) making the defensive play that sealed the outcome in the final seconds.
All four of Oklahoma City’s double-figure scorers tallied at least 22 points on the day. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (six rebounds, four assists and three 3-pointers) and Danilo Gallinari (five rebounds, one assist and three 3-pointers) scored 24 points apiece, while Chris Paul (five rebounds, five assists, two steals and one three-pointer) and Dennis Schroder (seven rebounds, one assist, one steal, one block and three 3-pointers) scored 22 each. The fantasy value of all four remains safe, with Gallinari staying put after he and Miami could not come to an agreement on the contract extension that the forward wanted in order to sign off on a potential trade.
Steven Adams and Nerlens Noel both struggled Sunday. Adams missed his first six shots, finishing with four points, 11 rebounds, two assists and one blocked shot, while Noel accounted for five points and five rebounds. Noel is slightly more valuable in fantasy due to his production as a shot blocker, but he was unable to accumulate any defensive stats. Darius Bazley went down during the first quarter with a right knee sprain, and his absence meant more minutes for Terrance Ferguson (two rebounds, one assist). Neither Bazley nor Ferguson is worth rostering in standard leagues, and the same can be said for Luguentz Dort (three points, one rebound and one three-pointer).
Grizzlies 106, Wizards 99 — Ja Morant made some personal history in Memphis’ win, as he posted the first triple-double of his NBA career. Morant finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, one steal, one block and two 3-pointers in 35 minutes. He’s the fourth-youngest player in NBA history to post a 25-point triple-double, with Luka Doncic, LeBron James and Shareef Abdur-Rahim being the only ones younger than Morant at the time that they accomplished this feat. Morant turned the ball over three times Sunday night, with that area being what holds down his value in nine-category formats. While he’s provided sixth-round value in eight-cat over the last month, Morant has been a ninth-round player in nine-cat.
Interestingly enough there was a period during the second quarter in which Memphis went to a backcourt trio of Morant, Tyus Jones (13 points, two rebounds, three assists and one three-pointer in 19 minutes) and De'Anthony Melton (seven points, one rebound, one assist and one steal in 21 minutes. That trio had not been on the court together at all prior to Sunday’s game. Melton struggled offensively, as he shot 3-of-12 from the field and missed all six of his three-point attempts.
With Jae Crowder now a member of the Miami Heat Kyle Anderson moved into the starting lineup, and he finished with 16 points, five rebounds, two assists and one steal in 30 minutes. Slo-Mo now has some value in standard leagues, but not to the point where he’s a must-add. Jaren Jackson Jr. finished with a line of 14 points, 11 rebounds, one assist, one block and one three-pointer, while Jonas Valanciunas finished with eight points, 18 rebounds and two blocked shots. Brandon Clarke is worth a look with Crowder and Solomon Hill gone, and in 21 minutes he finished with nine points, six rebounds and one three-pointer.
Bradley Beal did the usual for Washington, leading the way offensively with 26 points to go along with four rebounds, three assists, two steals, one block and one three-pointer in 34 minutes. He shot just 10-of-25 from the field, but Washington’s lack of consistent scoring weapons puts a lot of pressure on Beal. Moritz Wagner (19/9/2 with one three-pointer) and Davis Bertans (15/6/1/1 with three 3-pointers) had productive nights off the bench, but rookie Rui Hachimura (12/11/1 with one three-pointer) was the only other starter to score in double figures.
Isaac Bonga (four points, two rebounds, one assist and one steal) and Ian Mahinmi (two points, five rebounds, one assist and two blocks) shot a combined 0-of-8 from the field, and Ish Smith finished with four points (2-of-8 FGs), four rebounds, five assists, one steal and one blocked shot. Shabazz Napier, who’s backing up Smith, also struggled as he shot 0-of-7 from the field and finished with six points, two rebounds and six assists in 21 minutes. Smith is worth rostering due to his move into the starting lineup, even with Sunday’s rough outing. Jerome Robinson made his Wizards debut and he played 16 minutes, accounting for five points, two rebounds, two assists and one three-pointer. There’s no need to pick him up right now, but later in the season he’ll be worth a look as the Wizards aren’t going to be a playoff team.
Hawks 140, Knicks 135 (2OT) — This game was wilder than many may have anticipated, as two overtimes were required to determine a winner. Trae Young posted a monster line of 48 points, 13 assists and six 3-pointers, with that production essentially nullifying the impact of the seven turnovers that he committed. Over the last month he’s put up first-round value in both eight- and nine-cat formats, despite averaging just over five turnovers per game (nine-cat stat, obviously). And Young has a new big man to work with in ball screen actions, as Dewayne Dedmon came off the bench in his return to Atlanta.
Dedmon played 33 minutes off the bench, accounting for 10 points (4-of-12 FGs), eight rebounds, five blocks and one three-pointer before fouling out. He also turned the ball over four times, but that’s the exception rather than the rule for a player who’s averaging 1.5 per game on the season. Dedmon’s arrival is bad news for Damian Jones and Bruno Fernando, despite the fact that the former was in the starting lineup. Jones played 15 minutes, going scoreless with four rebounds and one blocked shot, while Fernando tallied two points and four rebounds in nine minutes. Neither one should be rostered at this point.
John Collins (32 points, 16 rebounds, three assists, one block and one three-pointer), De'Andre Hunter (19/9/1/5 with three 3-pointers) and Kevin Huerter (16/3/6 with one block and two 3-pointers) all produced solid-to-excellent fantasy lines, while Jeff Teague chipped in with eight points, three rebounds, six assists and one steal in 27 minutes off the bench. With Huerter being rostered in 60 percent of Yahoo leagues and Hunter 19 percent, both should be picked up if available. As opposed to Jones and Fernando, Atlanta may be more inclined to go “all in” with their young wings as the team plays out the string.
New York is still awaiting the debut of the recently acquired Moe Harkless, who was held out due to illness. Allonzo Trier is also out due to illness, while Damyean Dotson was a DNP-CD after having to deal with an illness himself. Julius Randle led the way offensively for the Knicks, scoring 35 points with 18 rebounds, three assists, one steal and one blocked shot in 46 minutes. With Marcus Morris now a member of the Clippers, Randle’s in a position where he’ll likely get to shoot until his arm falls off. If you have him rostered and have a need to address elsewhere, he could fetch good value via trade due to the current state of the Knicks rotation.
Reggie Bullock (21 points, four rebounds, one assist, one steal and five 3-pointers) and Elfrid Payton (12/4/9/2/1) also scored in double figures, while RJ Barrett (5/4/3/1) and Taj Gibson (4/4/1) didn’t have much of an impact during their time on the floor. Among the reserves Wayne Ellington, who scored 15 points and made five 3-pointers, is a player to watch. Marc Berman of the New York Post reported that Ellington and agent Mark Bartelstein have discussed the possibility of approaching the Knicks in hopes of securing a buyout, but no decision has been made on that front. Ellington’s fantasy value nowhere near as high as Bullock’s, and that is unlikely to change anytime soon.
Bobby Portis (14/6/2 with two 3-pointers) had a decent night, while Mitchell Robinson (15 and 11 with three steals and three blocks) posted one of his best lines of the season. He played 35 minutes, due in part to the length of the game, but many continue to hold out hope that Robinson will get well into the 20s on a consistent basis after the All-Star break. Frank Ntilikina tallied nine points, two rebounds, eight assists and two steals with just one turnover, but he’s a non-factor in fantasy due to the inconsistent production.
76ers 118, Bulls 111 — Furkan Korkmaz is on a roll right now, as he has scored 30 points or more in back-to-back games for the first time in his career. He pumped in 31 off the bench Sunday, shooting 12-of-17 from the field, to go along with five rebounds, two assists, three steals and six blocked shots. While the additions of Glenn Robinson III (10 points and one rebound in 12 minutes) and Alec Burks (DNP-CD) are supposed to address Philadelphia’s need for more shooting around Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, Korkmaz appears to have taken matters into his own hands. What his role will be once GRIII and Burks are fully incorporated into the rotation remains to be seen, but Korkmaz is forcing Brett Brown to keep him in the mix with his hot shooting. At the very least stream him for Tuesday’s game against the Clippers, with the hope that he can keep this run going.
Embiid tallied 28 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, three steals, four blocks and one three-pointer in 31 minutes, while Simmons (19/10/10/4 with seven turnovers) and Tobias Harris (14/3/4 with two 3-pointers) also scored in double figures. If there’s a player to be worried about in the Sixers rotation it’s Al Horford, who had a rough go of it shooting the basketball. Horford missed all six of his shot attempts, going scoreless and finishing with seven rebounds, two assists and two blocks. Over the last two weeks he’s produced 15th-round value in eight-cat and 14th-round value in nine-cat. Horford as a “buy low” possibility? Given the recent struggles he likely qualifies, but many seem to be keeping the hope alive as he’s rostered in 91 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Zach LaVine, whose wayward three-point attempt late in the fourth quarter gave Simmons the rebound opportunity he needed to complete his triple-double, posted a stat line of 32 points (11-of-21 FGs, 5-of-6 FTs), one rebound, eight assists, three steals, one blocks and five 3-pointers. The issue for LaVine: turnovers, as he racked up a game-high nine. Over the last two weeks he’s produced at a fourth-round level in eight-cat, dropping down to sixth-round value in nine-cat because of the turnovers (3.5 tpg).
Four of Chicago’s five starters scored in double figures, with Luke Kornet (two rebounds, one block and four 3-pointers) scoring 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting and Thaddeus Young (10 rebounds and one steal) and Tomas Satoransky (four rebounds, seven assists, one steal and one three-pointer) adding 10 points apiece. The fifth starter, Chandler Hutchison, posted a line of five points, seven rebounds, four assists, one steal and one three-pointer in 31 minutes. He’s had better nights offensively, as Hutchison was just 2-of-9 from the field, and unless there’s a dire need for steals he isn’t worth considering in most leagues.
Cristiano Felicio can also be left on the waiver wire, despite the fact that he put up 13 points, seven rebounds and one steal in 19 minutes. No Daniel Gafford (DNP-CD) freed up some playing for Felicio, but he isn’t consistent enough to pick up even with the Bulls being limited in the post (Wendell Carter Jr. remains out with an ankle injury). Coby White played 26 minutes, shooting 3-of-10 from the field and finishing with six points, six rebounds and three assists.
Jazz 114, Rockets 113 — While Houston’s small-ball lineup didn’t churn out another win, as Bojan Bogdanovic’s three-pointer as time expired won the game for the Jazz, it did force Utah to make an adjustment to its defensive setup. Without a true center to defend, Rudy Gobert was given the task of defending Russell Westbrook due to his being a liability as a perimeter shooter. The problem for Gobert and the Jazz was that Westbrook didn’t settle, instead repeatedly looking to attack off the dribble. He shot 18-of-33 from the field and 2-of-4 from the foul line, finishing with 39 points, six rebounds, four assists, one steal, one block and one three-pointer in 38 minutes.
Opponents are going to have to make a choice when dealing with the new-look Rockets: either look to cut off driving lanes at the risk of giving up clean looks from three, or stay home and dare Houston to beat them off the dribble. Since 3 > 2 the latter choice may be the one that most teams take, which bodes well for those who have Westbrook rostered. James Harden posted a triple-double, scoring 28 points with 10 rebounds, 10 assists, one steal, two blocks and two 3-pointers, and he turned the ball over just once. In five games this month Harden’s averaging 3.3 turnovers per game, more than a full turnover less than his average in January (4.4 tpg).
Robert Covington (14 points, five rebounds, one steal, one block and four 3-pointers) and Danuel House (10 points, five rebounds, four steals and two 3-pointers) also scored in double figures, while P.J. Tucker (three rebounds, four assists and three 3-pointers) and Ben McLemore (three rebounds, one assist, two steals and three 3-pointers) scored nine points apiece. Tucker, whose corner three with 1.4 seconds remaining gave Houston a two-point lead, shot 3-of-3 from beyond the arc in what was a welcome development after he missed all four of his attempts in Friday’s 36-point loss to the Suns. The departure of Clint Capela and Houston’s reliance on smaller lineups has increased Tucker’s fantasy value, as long as he can take advantage of the catch-and-shoot opportunities that will be available to him.
Going back to Gobert, while he had some tough moments defensively he didn’t have an especially bad night overall. He played 37 minutes, finishing with 12 points (3-of-6 FGs, 6-of-8 FTs), 15 rebounds, one steal and one blocked shot. While his production has been down the last two weeks (late-round value in nine-cat), there shouldn’t be any concern as he has produced at a third-round level for the season as a whole. Jordan Clarkson was the offensive star for the Jazz, as he played 29 minutes off the bench and finished with 30 points, six rebounds, two assists and three 3-pointers. He has now scored 30 or more twice in Utah’s last five games, and over the last two weeks he’s provided ninth-round value in nine-cat. Clarkson is currently rostered in just 32 percent of Yahoo leagues. That number should jump ahead of the All-Star break.
Donovan Mitchell (24/5/6 with four 3-pointers) and Mike Conley (20/5/6 with two 3-pointers) also scored in double figures, while Bogdanovic produced eight points, two rebounds, four assists, and two 3-pointers. Joe Ingles attempted just two shots on the night and finished with three points, five rebounds, seven assists, one steal and one three-pointer in 33 minutes. He’s scored three points or fewer in three of his last four games, and his fantasy value has dipped significantly over the last two weeks. I still have faith in Ingles because of all that he can do to help the Jazz, as evidenced by the rebound and assist totals. But it would be understandable if others weren’t as patient with him.
Clippers 133, Cavaliers 92 — Cleveland made the wrong kind of history Sunday night, as their 41-point defeat stands as the worst home result in franchise history. The joy of seeing Drummond in a Cavaliers uniform for the first time subsided quickly, as the Clippers led by 15 after one and won each of the following three quarter as well. Drummond replaced Tristan Thompson in the starting lineup and played 29 minutes, finishing with 19 points (7-of-17 FGs, 3-of-7 FTs), 14 rebounds, three assists, two steals, one block and two (!) 3-pointers. Entering the game 1-of-21 from three for the season, the two triples that Drummond made Sunday represent a career-high. I wouldn’t expect a shift in Drummond’s offensive approach similar to that of LaMarcus Aldridge when it comes to the three-point shot, but it was fun to see him put up those shots.
Thompson’s fantasy value takes a serious hit with his move to the bench, as he played 19 minutes and finished with seven points, six rebounds, two assists and one three-pointer. With Drummond now in the fold and the Cavaliers going nowhere, you have to wonder if Thompson entertains the possibility of approaching the front office to discuss a buyout. His rebounding ability would be an asset to some playoff teams, and at this point it isn’t doing him much good (outside of his salary) to stay in Cleveland. Also impacted negatively by Drummond’s arrival is Larry Nance Jr., who finished with two points and four rebounds in 20 minutes. Now he’s sharing the floor with Thompson, which means fewer rebound opportunities for Nance.
Kevin Love (10/9/2/1 with two 3-pointers) and Collin Sexton (13/2/3/1 with one three-pointer) scored in double figures as did Kevin Porter Jr., who shot 8-of-14 from the field and tallied 17 points, four rebounds, three assists, one steal and one three-pointer in 28 minutes off the bench. Sexton, Porter and Darius Garland, who finished with six points, six assists and one steal in what was a bad night for him, are worth holding onto ahead of the All-Star break. Cleveland is going to want to get a long look at its young prospects with an eye towards the future, which bodes well for their fantasy opportunities.
The Clippers also had a new addition making his debut, as Marcus Morris started and played 22 minutes. He finished with 10 points, four rebounds, two assists and three steals, shooting 5-of-12 from the field and missing all four of his three-point attempts. L.A. was without Kawhi Leonard (rest) as it was the second game of a back-to-back, which meant a few more scoring opportunities for the team’s newest player. Morris will likely remain in the starting lineup when Leonard returns, as his catch-and shoot ability can help the Clippers’ first unit with spacing on the offensive end of the floor.
With Leonard out and Patrick Patterson (DNP-CD) not playing there were two changes to the starting lineup after Saturday’s blowout loss to the Timberwolves. Lou Williams filled the other vacant spot, playing 26 minutes and scoring a team-high 25 points (8-of-14 FGs, 8-of-10 FTs) with five rebounds, three assists, two steals and one three-pointer. Prior to Sunday Williams was in the midst of a slump, as he has shot 37.2% from the field over the last two weeks. Hopefully Sunday’s effort will serve as a much-needed catalyst for him ahead of the All-Star break.
Paul George added 22 points, six rebounds, four assists, one steal, one block and five 3-pointers, with Montrezl Harrell (19/9/3 with one block), Landry Shamet (11/4/3 with one block and three 3-pointers) and Amir Coffey (10/4/1/1/1) also scoring in double figures. Coffey played 25 minutes Sunday, due to the combination of Leonard being out and the game being a blowout. While he played well, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if he were a DNP-CD Tuesday night in Philadelphia. JaMychal Green’s fantasy value took a hit with the arrival of the aforementioned Morris, but he’s be a better play than Patterson in deeper leagues. In 24 minutes, he tallied six points, seven rebounds, three assists and one three-pointer.
Blazers 115, Heat 109 — Miami was once again without Jimmy Butler, who missed his second straight game due to a strained right shoulder, and Tyler Herro (right ankle soreness). Those absences freed up opportunities for the likes of Duncan Robinson and Derrick Jones Jr., and minutes for the recently acquired Andre Iguodala and Jae Crowder. Robinson came out hot, making his first four attempts from three, but he cooled off and would finish with 19 points, six rebounds, three assists, one steal and six 3-pointers in 38 minutes. Robinson’s fantasy value hinges on his ability to make threes, and over the last two weeks he’s averaging 4.6 per game. The fact that he’s contributing in other areas is good to see, and with Miami having two games on the slate this week Robinson represents a solid play in most leagues.
Jones made another start, playing 25 minutes and finishing with 11 points, three rebounds and two 3-pointers. But even with Butler out his fantasy value still takes a hit, as Crowder and Iguodala have immediately been placed in the rotation. Crowder played 35 minutes Sunday, tallying 18 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, two steals, one block and five 3-pointers. Iguodala, who had not played at all this season, played 23 minutes and accounted for two points, six rebounds, three assists, one steal and one blocked shot. Of the two Crowder is the better play now, as he doesn’t have to shake off any rust. For the long-term, no decision can be made until we see what the full Heat rotation looks like.
While Kendrick Nunn had a tough night shooting the basketball, scoring nine points on 4-of-18 shooting with four assists and one three-pointer, Goran Dragic put up a solid stat line in his 31 minutes. Dragic finished with 27 points, four rebounds, seven assists, one steal and five 3-pointers, raising his total to 14 threes over the course of his last four games. Bam Adebayo tallied 13 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and three blocks in 35 minutes, while Kelly Olynyk (6/3/2/1 with one three-pointer) didn’t do much in his 13 minutes on the court. Chris Silva also played 13 minutes, finishing with four points, four rebounds and two assists. Even with Meyers Leonard (sprained left ankle) having been ruled out for this five-game road trip, Olynyk should only be called upon in deeper leagues.
To no one’s surprise it was “Dame Time” in Portland, as Damian Lillard played 38 minutes and put up 33 points, four rebounds, eight assists, one steal, one block and six 3-pointers. He led six double-digit scorers, with Gary Trent Jr. (22 points, four rebounds, four steals and five 3-pointers) and Trevor Ariza (21/4/5/3/1 with two 3-pointers) being next in line. Trent’s fantasy value has been enhanced due to two injuries, as Anfernee Simons is in the team’s concussion protocol and Mario Hezonja played just five minutes due to a sprained left ankle. It would be wise to pick up Trent, at the very least to take advantage of Portland having two games to play this week.
Ariza, who’s rostered in just 21 percent of Yahoo leagues, is also worth picking up. He may not get into the 20s points-wise on a consistent basis, but he produces enough as a rebounder and defender to make up for that. Carmelo Anthony (15/6/2 with three 3-pointers), C.J. McCollum (13/4/3 with three 3-pointers) and Hassan Whiteside also scored in double figures, with the latter tallying 11 points, 17 rebounds, one steal and four blocked shots against his former team. Whiteside has provided first-round value this season, taking advantage of the starting role and minutes made available to him as Jusuf Nurkic continues to work his way back from the broken leg he suffered last spring.
Monday’s Schedule (all times Eastern)
Charlotte at Detroit, 7 PM
Brooklyn at Indiana, 7 PM
Atlanta at Orlando, 7 PM
Minnesota at Toronto, 7:30 PM
Sacramento at Milwaukee, 8 PM
Utah at Dallas, 8:30 PM
San Antonio at Denver, 9 PM
Miami at Golden State, 10:30 PM
Phoenix at LA Lakers, 10:30 PM