The trade deadline was very underwhelming today, but there’s still a lot to talk about and you should be on the lookout for my NBA Roundtable column on Friday morning when me and the Rotoworld hoops crew discuss the deadline's winners and losers. There are six games to cover and so many fantasy implications, so let’s get right to it. Click here to follow me on Twitter!
Cavaliers 119, Knicks 104
LeBron James triple-doubled with 18 points, 15 assists, 13 rebounds and three blocks, Kyrie Irving poured in 23 points with six assists and Tristan Thompson racked up 10 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks. Those are the only three must-own guys in Cleveland with Kevin Love (knee) out several weeks, but Kyle Korver and Channing Frye also have some appeal for owners in need of 3-pointers. Korver hit six triples on his way to 20 points, while Frye chipped in 14 points, four rebounds and a pair of blocks and steals.
The Knicks stood pat at the deadline because Phil Jackson doesn’t know how to win or tank, so Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose will sport a Knicks uniform for at least a few more months. Rose scored 13 points with four assists, while Melo scored 20 points with five assists, five rebounds and two triples. The Knicks are 12th in the East, so the shut-down watch for Rose and Melo will begin in mid-March. Sell for 80 cents on the dollar now. Courtney Lee had his “Flu Game” and scored 25 points with six rebounds, five assists and three triples, but he’s been sneaky good for a while now with top-65 value over the last month. He’s an easy sell-high candidate, but he has very little name value.
Charmin ultra-soft center Joakim Noah (hamstring) is going to be out a while, so Willy Hernangomez made another start and is a awesome pickup in standard leagues. The rookie center posted 11 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and two blocks, and his outlook is getting better by the day with the Knicks going nowhere. The big concern for the Knicks is that Kristaps Porzingis left the game with an ankle sprain after 16 minutes, and he was spotted in a walking boot after the game. Coach Hornacek said he suffered “a mild ankle sprain,” but expect the Knicks to run some tests on him Friday morning. The Knicks won’t let him play at less than 100 percent, especially since this is the same right foot that had Achilles problems.
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Pistons 114, Hornets 108
The Pistons weren’t able to move Reggie Jackson at the deadline, but they probably regret not trading him for a washing machine after he scored four points on 1-of-6 shooting in 20 minutes. Meanwhile, Ish Smith outplayed him again with five points and 16 assists in 33 minutes. The Pistons are better when Smith is running the offense and coach Stan Van Gundy even admitted it last week, so I’d rather own Smith right now and a lineup change could be in the cards. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Andre Drummond were also popular names at the deadline, but their value is safe for the rest of the season. KCP had himself a game with 33 points, nine rebounds and seven 3-pointers, while Drummond double-doubled in 26 minutes. Tobias Harris scored 25 points off the bench with four triples and joins Drummond and KCP as the only must-own players in Detroit.
Kemba Walker dropped 34 points with seven rebounds, six assists, two steals and three triples, and it looks like the rest during the All-Star break is going to be huge for him. Nicolas Batum (18 points) is the only other Hornet you can rely on every night, while Marvin Williams (13 points, seven rebounds) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (12 points, 14 rebounds, two steals, two blocks) are low-end assets. Don’t expect more lines like that from MKG and keep in mind that he’s only hit one triple on the season. Frank Kaminsky added 17 points and three triples, but could be irrelevant as soon as Cody Zeller (quad) returns. Zeller’s timetable is still up in the air, so keep streaming Frank the Tank for now.
Rockets 129, Pelicans 99
James Harden scored 13 points with 14 assists, Ryan Anderson notched 17 points with three triples, Patrick Beverley racked up 12 rebounds, five assists and four steals and Eric Gordon hit four triples on his way to 19 points. However, Lou Williams stole the show in his Houston debut, hitting seven 3-pointers and finishing with 27 points in 25 minutes. It looks like he will have a similar role to the one that he had in Los Angeles and coach Mike D’Antoni called him the “seventh man,” so it looks like he will able to hold his value on his new team. Nene started over Clint Capela simply due to the matchup with DeMarcus Cousins, but Capela still produced with 15 points, eight rebounds and three blocks in 19 minutes. He should be back in the first unit next time out.
The Pelicans were destroyed on Thursday night, but the fantasy owners of Cousins and Anthony Davis can breathe easy as it looks their value will be just fine. Boogie finished with 27 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, one triple, five steals and four blocks in 35 minutes, while The Brow scored 29 points with nine rebounds, two steals and two blocks. The Pelicans are going for the No. 8 seed in the West, so the biggest fantasy implication of the Cousins trade is that the shut-down risk for both Boogie and Davis is all but gone. Jrue Holiday had a rough night with six points on 3-of-12 shooting, but the shot attempts were there and I wouldn’t press the panic button by any means. He’s been an early-round value for weeks. Solomon Hill and E’Twaun Moore combined for nine points in the first unit and are not on the standard-league radar, while Tim Frazier was disappointing with two points and five assists in 23 minutes. Omri Casspi was going to be my favorite flier in New Orleans and finished with 12 points and two triples in 24 minutes, but he broke his thumb and is expected to miss several weeks.
Blazers 112, Magic 103
Guys, Nurk Alert is officially back! As some of you know, I was on Jusuf Nurkic’s hype train during the offseason, so it’s good to see him finally make some noise in fantasy. He moved into the starting lineup on Thursday and posted a monster line with 12 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocks in 34 minutes. I wasn’t expecting that kind of workload this early and you should stop what you’re doing and add him in all formats. He said after the game that this was the most fun he’s had in two years, so it’s amazing how far a little confidence can go.
Al-Farouq Aminu (knee) was out, but the usual suspects for the Blazers were solid with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum combining to score 55 points. Moe Harkless has been trending up for over a week and had a strong line of 12 points, six boards, three blocks, one steal and one triple, so add him if he’s still on the wire — he was a top-75 player earlier this season.
Nikola Vucevic scored 25 points with nine rebounds for the Magic, and his owners should be relieved that he wasn’t moved at the deadline. He should be the best fantasy asset in Orlando moving forward, followed by Evan Fournier (20 points, five rebounds, two assists). Aaron Gordon started at power forward and had nine points with nine rebounds, two assists and two blocks, and I still think he has a lot to offer down the stretch on the rebuilding Magic. Elfrid Payton is still annoying to own and finished with nine points and three assists in 23 minutes, but I was encouraged by the debut of Terrence Ross. While the swingman hit just 4-of-17 shots, he got a ton of usage and played 33 minutes in the starting lineup, finishing with 13 points, five rebounds, one assists, three steals and two triples. He’s certainly worth taking a flier on in standard leagues and you have to love the shot attempts.
Kings 116, Nuggets 100
Part of the reason why the Kings traded DeMarcus Cousins was to keep their top-10 protected pick owed to Chicago, but they can’t even tank properly and had one of their best performances of the season. Willie Cauley-Stein looks like the big winner of the Cousins trade and finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds and one block in 35 minutes. I’d be shocked if this didn’t end up being his best line of the season, so while he should be added, keep your expectations realistic. Tyreke Evans had a strong debut with 15 points, four rebounds, three assists, one steal and one triple, but the Kings will probably keep his minutes in the 25-28 range for now. Still, he should absolutely be owned. Outside of WCS and Evans, Darren Collison is the only other must-own player in Sacramento, and he finished with 15 points and 10 assists in 32 minutes.
I’m not a Buddy Hield guy at all, but the Kings love him and he played better than I was expecting with 16 points, six boards, one assist, one steal and a triple in 26 minutes. I’d like to see him do it again before adding him, though. Ty Lawson (eight points, six assists) and Ben McLemore (10 points) look more like deep-league assets, but dynasty owners should consider taking a flier on Skal Labissiere. The rookie was very active in 14 minutes, scoring 12 points with three rebounds, two assists and one steal. Expect his role to grow and note that he has a very fantasy-friendly game.
As for the Nuggets, they are completely healthy again, but Emmanuel Mudiay and Darrell Arthur were both healthy scratches as coach Malone shook up his rotation. Jamal Murray scored zero points and flopped with his chance as the backup PG, so it’s unclear if the move will stick. Regardless, Mudiay is safe to drop.
Gary Harris (23 points) and Will Barton (16 points) were both solid, while the owners of Wilson Chandler (18 points, 10 rebounds) and Danilo Gallinari (15 points) should be relieved that they weren’t moved at the deadline. Nikola Jokic was benched by Malone and finished with four points and 10 rebounds in 26 minutes, as Malone said after the game that the Kings scored “easily” on him and that he has to play better. Jokic was a +5 and Mason Plumlee was a -21, so I’m not sure what game Malone was watching. The Joker will bounce back.
Warriors 123, Clippers 113
The Warriors won their 10th straight game against the Clippers and dropped an incredible 50 points in the third quarter alone. Kevin Durant returned from an injury scare to his left hand after X-rays came back negative, finishing with 25 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists. Stephen Curry added 35 points, six triples, five assists and four steals, Klay Thompson scored 18 points with two triples and four assists and Draymond Green scored six points with six rebounds, four assists and two steals — he was in foul trouble all night.
Blake Griffin scored 12 points with eight assists on 3-of-13 shooting, DeAndre Jordan added 17 points and 11 rebounds and Austin Rivers scored 19 points with four triples. Coach Doc Rivers called Chris Paul (hand) “iffy” for Friday’s game vs. the Spurs, but hinted that he will return no later than Sunday’s game vs. the Hornets. It’s probably too late to sell high on Rivers, but expect every starter to take a hit with CP3 on the way back. It’s also safe to drop Raymond Felton and Jamal Crawford who combined to score 32 points in the loss.