First things first, I've been getting a lot of questions about what I think of Kyle Korver now that he's bound for Cleveland, so let me start with my own hot take on the Korver situation. Head coach Tyronn Lue said that Korver will begin his career with the Cavs as a reserve behind DeAndre Liggins, but I doubt that trend continues once Korver becomes familiarized with Cleveland’s system. He’s a career 42.9 percent 3-point bomber, and he’s going to be getting a ton of wide open looks playing alongside LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, so he should be an elite source of 3-pointers moving forward. I think he could flirt with averages of 12 points, three triples and two dimes per contest with ultra-efficient shooting, and he could be a sneaky mid-round guy if his minutes climb into the 30s. As for how this trade affects the Atlanta players, I think Kent Bazemore could see a boost with more consistent playing time, as will Thabo Sefolosha and Tim Hardaway Jr. Sefolosha is worth owning in most leagues for his elite contributions to the defensive categories, but because Hardaway Jr. is consistently inconsistent, he’s not worth much more than a speculative pickup in deep points leagues.
John Wall posted a monster 18-point, 18-assist double-double during Friday’s 112-105 victory over the Timberwolves, adding two steals, two boards and just three turnovers in 40 minutes of playing time. He ranks in the top-5 in assist percentage (44.9) and is top-7 in usage (30.5), and he’s also hitting career-highs in points (23.5), steals (2.3) and field goal percentage (46.5). Apparently, the offseason knee surgeries (yes surgeries, plural; both of his knees) were never anything we should have been concerned about because this young man is having a spectacular first-round season.
Giannis Antetokounmpo kept the ridiculous stat lines coming during Friday’s narrow 116-111 loss to the Knicks, registering 25 points, six rebounds, two assists, two 3-pointers, two steals, five blocks and five turnovers in 38 minutes. The Greek Freak came up with a clutch block on a Carmelo Anthony drive down the stretch, but also coughed up the rock during Milwaukee’s final few possessions, and that ultimately cost the Bucks the game. It’s a learning experience for the 22-year-old, but his owners could probably care less about Milwaukee’s win-loss record, as Mr. Alphabet currently ranks No. 2 overall in fantasy hoops.
Andrew Wiggins bounced back in a big way following Tuesday’s eight-point disaster, going 16-of-30 from the field and 8-of-10 from the charity stripe on his way to 41 points, one rebound, two assists, two steals, one triple and two turnovers in 39 minutes. Gorgui Dieng was also impressive during his 40 minutes of floor time, posting 15 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, two steals, one 3-pointer and one turnover. Dieng’s numbers may not jump off the page quite like Wiggins’, but he’s a far superior fantasy player due to his ability to bring multiple statistics to the box score other than scoring.
Evan Fournier struggled in his return to the starting five, going 4-of-13 from the field on his way to 10 points, nine boards, two assists, one steal and two turnovers in 35 minutes. With Fournier running with the starters, Jodie Meeks returned to the second unit and missed both of his shots in 14 minutes of playing time, ending his evening with just one rebound, one block and one turnover to his credit. Meeks showed us that he was still capable of playing basketball while Fournier was on the shelf, but with Don’t Google back in action, Meeks isn’t going to be worth owning anywhere.
Mike Conley led the charge during Friday’s stunning 128-119 overtime victory over the Warriors, going 10-of-19 from the field and 4-of-5 from the charity stripe on his way to 27 points, four rebounds, three 3-pointers, 12 assists, one steal and two turnovers in 41 minutes. He answered the call for Memphis every time the Grizzlies were in need of a clutch bucket, and he was obviously a significant factor in Memphis overcoming a 19-point fourth-quarter deficit. Conley is quietly having himself a top-30 season, posting career-highs in points (18.7), 3-pointers (2.3), and rebounds (3.6) to go with 5.7 assists, 1.2 steals and 2.2 turnovers per contest.
Stephen Curry scored 40 points on 15-of-27 shooting (5-of-5 from the line) in the losing effort to go with five 3-pointers, four boards, six assists, one steal, one block and four turnovers in 42 minutes. While the Dubs 31-6 start to the season has been very impressive, their tendency to wilt during the fourth quarter and squander big leads has been concerning with regards to their championship potential.
Josh Richardson attempted just six shots (connecting on two of them) during his 30 minutes of action on Friday, ending his evening with just six points, one rebound, one 3-pointer, two assist, two steals and no other statistics. Richardson has been woefully inconsistent this season, and his 39.5 percent shooting percentage is a major reason why he currently ranks outside the top-150 in standard leagues. Richardson is definitely worth owning in points leagues, but he’s a tough guy to stomach in standard 8-cat and 9-cat leagues when his shot isn’t falling.
On the Radar
T.J. McConnell got another start with Sergio Rodriguez (ankle) on the sidelines and handed out a career-high 17 dimes to go with four boards, two steals, nine points and just two turnovers in 37 minutes. Over the past three games as a starter, McConnell has worked his way into the mid-round equation with averages of 10.7 points, 11.0 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.0 triple and 2.0 turnovers per contest on 48.1 percent shooting, so he’s making a solid case for himself to remain the starter even when Rodriguez gets back to the court. If you need help in the point guard department, give McConnell a look.
Nerlens Noel saw a season-high 25 minutes off the 76ers’ bench, and responded with 13 points, eight boards, two assists, two steals, three blocks and zero turnovers. Whether it’s him or Jahlil Okafor (DNP-CD) that gets traded, Noel’s situation can only improve post-trade, and as a guy with top-50 upside, he’s worth stashing in all leagues.
James Johnson stuffed the stat sheet yet again during Friday’s loss to the Lakers, scoring 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting (2-of-4 from the line), to go with five boards, four 3-pointers, one assist, two steals, one block and three turnovers in 34 minutes. He’s become a fixture in Erik Spoelstra’s rotation, and that trend will assuredly hold with Justise Winslow (shoulder) likely done for the year, so Johnson is worth owning in all leagues. Over the past six games, he’s been posting mid-round value with averages of 16.3 points, 5.0 boards, 3.3 dimes, 1.3 steals, 1.3 blocks, 2.5 treys and 3.3 turnovers per contest on 50.8 percent shooting.
Caris LeVert had an impressive performance during Friday’s 116-108 loss to the Cavs, going 7-of-12 from the field and 3-of-3 from the charity stripe on his way to 19 points, four rebounds, five assists, two triples and one turnover in 27 minutes off the bench. Brooklyn traded away Thaddeus Young to nab LeVert with the No. 20 overall selection in the 2016 NBA draft, so they clearly think highly of this kid, and that should give head coach Kenny Atkinson some added incentive to unleash him during the second half of the season when player development becomes Brooklyn’s primary focus. LeVert has been inconsistent (as have his minutes), but lines like this give us a glimpse of his potential, so he’s someone to consider stashing away in deep leagues.
Aaron Gordon had another solid outing on Friday, scoring 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting (2-of-3 from the stripe), to go with six boards, two triples, one steal, two turnovers and a career-high seven dimes in 36 minutes. He’s been coming around over the past few weeks, owning averages of 16.7 points, 5.5 boards, 3.0 assists, 2.0 triples and 1.3 turnovers per game on 50.0 percent shooting, which has been good enough for mid-round value in standard 9-cat leagues. Air Gordon was quite terrible prior to going on this hot streak, but the upside has always been there, and maybe this is a sign that he’s ready to start busting out. Make sure he’s not floating around on your waiver wire.
Luol Deng (biceps) was back in the starting lineup following a one-game stint on the sidelines, and he was effective in his 30 minutes of floor time, going 8-of-12 from the field on his way to 19 points, 14 rebounds, two assists, three triples and three turnovers. He’s been posting mid-round value over the past month with averages of 10.7 points, 7.5 boards, 2.3 assists, 1.5 treys and just 0.9 turnovers per game on 47.8 percent shooting, so give him a look if those numbers are appealing to you.
Tony Allen did Tony Allen things during Friday’s comeback win over the Warriors, racking up 11 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, two turnovers and a season-high six steals in 48 minutes. The Grindfather has actually been more than a mere steals specialist over the past month, pumping out mid-round value in standard 9-cat leagues with averages of 11.6 points, 6.2 boards, 1.3 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.4 turnovers per game on 51.0 percent shooting. His elite contributions to the steals category makes him worth owning in most leagues, and he should definitely be owned in more than just 28 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Ty Lawson started alongside Darren Collison on Friday night, and he had a solid showing with 17 points (6-of-12 FGs, 5-of-6 FTs), four rebounds, six assists, one steal and two turnovers in 37 minutes. Collison also played well in the new starting unit, posting 20 points, five boards, two dimes and three triples in 35 minutes, so perhaps things can start trending in a positive direction for both players as they’re now able to play alongside one another rather than split minutes. Lawson’s production has fluctuated widely this season (along with his minutes), but if Dave Joerger sticks with this new starting five that could help Lawson work his way into the standard league equation. He’s worth a speculative add for PG-needy GMs.
Matthew Dellavedova (hamstring) did not play on Friday, and with zero positive updates on Delly’s rehab process thus far, I’m considering him doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Wizards. Malcolm Brogdon got another start and produced 10 points (4-of-9 FGs, 2-of-2 FTs), six boards, five assists and one turnover in 31 minutes. Through five games as a starter, Brogdon has put forth averages of 12.0 points, 5.8 boards, 6.8 assists, 0.6 triples, 0.2 steals and 1.6 turnovers per game on 41.1 percent shooting. That’s only been good enough for 13th round value in standard 9-cat leagues, so he’s more of a deep league guy.
Kevin Love (illness) and Kyrie Irving (hamstring) returned to action, which resulted in Channing Frye and Jordan McRae returning to the bench. Love double-doubled with 17 points, 13 rebounds, four trey-bombs, two dimes and four turnovers in 36 minutes; while Irving popped off for 32 points, three triples, three boards, four assists, two steals and zero turnovers in 36 minutes. They’ll be just fine moving forward.
Sergio Rodriguez (ankle) missed his third game in a row on Friday, and he should be considered questionable for Sunday’s game in Brooklyn.
Nicolas Batum (knee) is expected to miss the next 1-2 weeks of action, and his minutes will likely be divvied up between Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marco Belinelli and Jeremy Lamb. Both MKG and Belinelli are worth speculative adds in standard leagues, while Lamb is more of a wait-and-see guy in deep leagues.
Hassan Whiteside (eye) missed his fourth game in a row on Friday, which allowed Willie Reed to earn another start and he went off with 22 points, 12 rebounds, two assists and three blocks in 32 minutes. Reed was very impressive in two out of his three recent starts, but with reports that Whiteside could rejoin Miami in Los Angeles in time for Saturday’s game against the Clippers, Reed isn’t all that attractive of a pickup in standard formats.
Kristaps Porzingis (Achilles) returned from a three-game absence and put up 24 points, six boards, three triples, three blocks and one turnover in 30 minutes. He didn’t appear to be limited at all by the sore Achilles (which was never really a serious issue), so I’d be very surprised if he didn’t play Saturday vs. the Pacers.
Jeremy Lin (hamstring) spent his fifth consecutive game on the sidelines Friday, and he remains without an official timetable to return. If you’re in a standard league without an IR-spot and struggling in the standings, you should probably consider cutting him if you’ve already unsuccessfully explored his trade market. Spencer Dinwiddie got the start in Lin’s place on Friday night, but he wasn’t very impressive with just seven points, five boards, two assists and two turnovers in 18 minutes.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (hip) returned from a one-game absence and scored four points on 1-of-6 shooting (2-of-2 from the stripe) to go with four boards, one assist and two steals in 15 minutes. He’s not worth owning in standard leagues.
JaMychal Green (eye) returned from a one-game absence and registered four points, two boards, two assists, one steal, one 3-pointer and one turnover in 20 minutes. With averages of just 9.2 points, 7.5 boards, 0.8 steals, 0.6 blocks and 0.7 triples on the year, I wouldn’t call him a “must-own” guy in standard leagues.
Gerald Henderson (illness) returned from a three-game absence and produced 18 points, four boards, one assist, one block, two 3-pointers and one turnover in 29 minutes off the bench. He’s an inconsistent scorer and not worth your time in most settings.
Denzel Valentine (ankle) will not play Saturday vs. Toronto.
Patrick Patterson (knee) is questionable for Saturday’s game against the Bulls.
Rudy Gay, who had spent 10 of the previous 11 games on the sidelines with a hip injury got back on the court Friday night and racked up 18 points, seven boards, one assist and one 3-pointer in 33 minutes. He’s one of the most likely guys to get traded this season, and thus far he’s been linked to Miami, OKC, Houston and Indiana. With Houston sitting on a 27-9 record they may not want to disrupt their chemistry with a major roster shakeup, and Pat Riley seems like the kind of GM that would rather wait for a guy to hit free agency than unload assets for a half-year rental, so those two destinations seem unlikely. That leaves OKC and Indiana, which would not be ideal landing spots for Gay’s fantasy value. That’s not to say that those are the only possible destinations for Gay, but the point is, he could definitely land in a situation that is less-than-ideal for his fantasy value. That uncertainty about his future makes him a risky long-term asset, which is why I’d recommend selling high when he goes on his next hot streak.
Chris Paul (hamstring) returned from a four-game absence and double-doubled with 14 points (3-of-5 FGs, 7-of-8 FTs), 12 assists, six boards, three steals, one 3-pointer and three turnovers in 31 minutes. The hamstring did not appear to be an issue at all, so hopefully he’ll be fine moving forward.
Rodney Stuckey (hamstring) has not been cleared for full contact and remains without an official timetable to return. Why he’s even owned in 1% of Yahoo! Leagues is beyond me.
Kenneth Faried (back) and Nikola Jokic (illness) are questionable for Saturday’s game vs. OKC. If both those guys are out, Jusuf Nurkic would more than likely move back into the starting five, and he could see his minutes in the 30-range.