The App is Back! Don’t forget to download the NBC Sports EDGE app to receive real-time player news, mobile alerts and track your favorite players. Plus, now you can check out articles and player cards. Get it here!
The Week Ahead: Week 5
2 Games: SAS
3 Games: ATL, BKN, CHA, CLE, HOU, MEM, MIL, PHI, POR, UTA
4 Games: BOS, CHI, DAL, DEN, DET, IND, LAL, LAC, MIA, MIN, NOP, NY, OKC, ORL, PHX, SAC, TOR, WAS
Down Goes Hunter
On Sunday it was announced that De’Andre Hunter will require wrist surgery to repair a tendon in his right wrist and he’s expected to miss roughly the next two months of action. This is incredibly unfortunate news for Hunter, who never really got going this season and now is set to miss significant time for the second year in a row, so he’s a drop almost everywhere.
Kevin Huerter has been starting sans Hunter, and I’d expect that to continue, so he’s worth a look in most leagues. He’ll be hit-or-miss, but he owns averages of 17.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 3.0 triples and just 1.3 turnovers per game on 58.3% shooting over his past three starts. Those numbers are buoyed by a 28-point performance in which he shot 11-of-18 from the floor, but in his past two outings, he’s combined for just 13 points on 6-of-16 shooting without many peripheral stats.
Cam Reddish should also see some increased opportunity off the bench, and while he hasn’t been very good at all over his past two games – combining to go 2-of-14 from the floor for a total of 12 points, nine rebounds, two assists, one block and one turnover – he’s probably worth hanging onto to see if he can turn things around.
The primary beneficiaries in the starting lineup figure to be John Collins, who gets roughly a 4.3-point usage bump sans Hunter, and perhaps this will finally get Bogdan Bogdanovic going. Much like last season, Bogdanovic has gotten off to a slow and inconsistent start this year, but he might be ready to start rolling with one less shot-creator to fight for touches with. After all, his explosion last season directly coincided with Hunter going down, so he might be a guy to try and buy-low on before he sees a regression to the mean.
I’m also curious to see if Hunter going down will help get Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot more consistent minutes in the rotation, but he’s more of a guy to watch from the waiver wire.
Clint Capela Looks Springy – Trending Up
Clint Capela had one of his better games of the season on Sunday, registering his third straight double-double (and his seventh of the season) with 12 points, 13 rebounds, two assists, two steals and three turnovers across 32 minutes. He’s gotten off to a bit of a slow start this year, which is understandable considering that he missed all of training camp and nearly the entire preseason while recovering from a PRP injection in his left Achilles tendon, but he looked to have some extra bounce last night as he wrecked people at the rim.
He’s another guy who might benefit a bit with Hunter out of the mix, as he should now see a slight increase in his pick-and-roll plays, but what really needs to happen for him to realize his top-20 upside is he needs to start sending away shots like he was last season. He might not be able to get to 2.0 swats per game like he did last season, which set a new career-high for him, but I seriously doubt he’ll finish the 2021-22 season with just 1.1 swats a night – which would be his worst shot-blocking numbers since his rookie season.
Let’s take a look at Capela’s shot-blocking numbers over the past four years:
There’s just no way that Capela doesn’t see a regression to the mean here. He’s in his NBA prime at 27 years old, and he looked particularly springy on Sunday evening, so I see some big shot-swatting performances in his near future. He may be frustrating managers who took him with an early-round pick, though, so now would be a good time to try and buy-low before his inevitable explosion.
Dejounte Murray Has Arrived / Devin Vassell Time
Dejounte Murray became the first player ever in Spurs’ history to rack up multiple triple-doubles within the first 15 games of the season, as he finished Sunday’s tough loss to the Lakers with 22 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, two triples, three steals, one block and three turnovers in 38 minutes. I’ve been tooting the horn on the Murray hype train ever since he overtook Tony Parker for the starting point guard spot in San Antonio during his sophomore season, and while an ACL tear his junior year delayed his arrival, he’s now officially doing what I always thought he was capable of with top-20 numbers this season.
Not only is Murray hitting career-highs in every relevant category with 18.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, 8.0 assists, 1.3 triples, 2.1 steals, 0.5 swats and just 2.2 turnovers per game, but he’s also getting those numbers efficiently, converting 44.9% of his field goal attempts. His 69% shooting at the stripe may look unappealing, but not when you look at his totals: 20-of-29. He also shot 79.4% at the line his previous two seasons, so we should see a regression to the mean there, although he doesn’t really get to the line enough for these numbers to make much of a difference, anyway.
I’d also like to point out that I was touting Devin Vassell as a potential late-round target during draft season, and that prediction has gone quite well, as the second-year forward has been flirting with top-80 numbers with 12.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 2.1 triples, 1.2 steals, 0.7 swats and 0.9 turnovers per contest on 46.6% shooting. Despite this solid production, he’s still currently only rostered in 45% of Yahoo! Leagues, so make sure he’s not floating around on your waiver wire.
Editor’s Note: Play for FREE! Download the NBC Sports Predictor app, make picks and win huge, weekly jackpots. Get started here!
Coby White Set to Return
Coby White is set to make his 2021-22 regular-season debut on Monday, and I’m intrigued to see what he can do in Year-3, operating in a sixth man role for Chicago. The Bulls have gotten off to an impressive start this season, as they remain undefeated in their division and are currently sitting in the No. 3 seed out East with a record of 9-4, but a major weak point has been their lack of scoring in the second unit. The Bulls bench is averaging just 25.7 points per game, which ranks them in the bottom three, so White should have an ultra-green light to fire away in the second unit.
Now, I’m not expecting an immediate explosion, as White will need to round into form after missing all of training camp, the preseason and the first 13 games of the regular season while he recovered from shoulder surgery, but the potential is there for him to make some noise as a Sixth Man of the Year candidate.
He’s not an efficient scorer, and he won’t do much for you in the way of defensive stats, but White could still provide some value with the points, triples and dimes. I’d say he’s worth a speculative add in deep leagues, and someone worth putting on your watch list in standard settings.
Light Game Days
Tuesday – 3 games
GSW vs. BKN
PHI vs. UTA
SAS vs. LAC
Thursday – 6 games
GSW vs. CLE
WAS vs. MIA
LAC vs. MEM
SAS vs. MIN
PHI vs. DEN
TOR vs. UTA
Sunday – 5 games
DAL vs. LAC
LAL vs. DET
NYK vs. CHI
DEN vs. PHX
TOR vs. GSW
Patty Mills, Georges Niang, Terance Mann, Luke Kennard, Gary Payton II, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Deni Avdija, Doug McDermott, Jaden McDaniels, Jarred Vanderbilt, Bones Hyland, Monte Morris, Goran Dragic (pending FVV), Precious Achiuwa, Talen Horton-Tucker, Coby White.