Nikola Jokic triple-doubled for the second straight night, Malcolm Brogdon got a promotion, Joel Embiid’s season is over after just 31 games, and Kevin Durant may not play again this season. Other than that it was a pretty quiet Wednesday (wink). Follow me on Twitter by clicking here.
There were 11 games last night and a lot of stuff to cover in a short amount of space, so I’ll just touch briefly on Embiid and Durant. I’m sad to see Embiid’s season end due to a knee injury and even more sad knowing he’s played in just 31 games over his two-year career after sitting out his entire first season. Hopefully he’s good to go by October, but I can’t give him Rookie of the Year for just 31 games played. Jahlil Okafor and Richaun Holmes should both be owned at this point. Durant could possibly play again before the playoffs, but if I own him, I’m dropping him, plain and simple. I doubt he plays more than one or two more regular-season games and the big winners here are Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. I like the idea of picking up Matt Barnes right now, while Andre Iguodala is also worth a look if you can live with a guy who produces without scoring.
Nuggets 110, Bucks 98 – It looked for a minute like Mason Plumlee was going to hurt Nikola Jokic, then Joker went off for a double-double and sweet line on Sunday, a 19-16-10 triple-double on Tuesday, and a 13-14-10 triple-double last night. If he finishes strong he’s going to possibly be taken in the first rounds of fantasy drafts next season, which is kind of awesome. Rotoworld was really high on him coming in and it’s nice to see him paying off for those of you who were patient (or just lucky on the waiver wire when someone dropped him). Jamal Murray started for Jameer Nelson (illness) and had 10 points, five assists and two 3-pointers, but Nelson should be back soon. And with Kenneth Faried out for the next week or so with a back injury, Jokic and Wilson Chandler should continue to ball out.
One of the stories lost in all the Embiid/Durant drama last night was that Malcolm Brogdon was starting over Matthew Dellavedova for the Bucks at PG and all I can say is, it’s about time! MB had 17 points, three assists, three steals and two 3-pointers in 34 minutes and you should run, not walk, to your waiver wire to get him. Khris Middleton played 31 minutes and had 21 points, five boards, five assists, two steals and three 3-pointers, and will be a great play over the rest of the season if he can stay healthy and avoid DNP’s as he makes his way back from his torn hamstring. Michael Beasley will miss a few games with a knee injury, which helps Middleton.
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Knicks 101, Magic 90 – Early reports had Kyle O’Quinn starting at center with Willy Hernangomez out with an ankle injury, but KOQ ended up coming off the bench with Kristaps Porzingis getting the late call at center. KP had missed the last two games with an ankle injury, but came through with 20 points, nine boards and two 3-pointers, while KOQ floundered with four points, seven boards, four assists and a block in just 19 minutes. Willy’s iffy for Friday, so we’ll have to see who the Knicks roll with at center if he can’t play. Lance Thomas made another start and had 11 points, five boards and two steals in 31 minutes, and is worth keeping an eye on if he continues to start while Willy H is out.
The Magic were a rough fantasy ride last night, as Aaron Gordon, Terrence Ross and Elfrid Payton all struggled. Payton was especially bad with two points on 1-of-4 shooting in 21 minutes. Evan Fournier was the only fun starter with 22 points, but he didn’t do much more. D.J. Augustin had 15 points, four boards and two 3-pointers off the bench, but he’s not ready to steal Payton’s job or minutes.
Wizards 105, Raptors 96 – The Wizards were weird last night, as Bradley Beal scored 23, John Wall had a 12 & 13 double-double on 4-of-12 shooting, while Otto Porter (19 minutes) and Marcin Gortat (18) didn’t play much. Bojan Bogdanovic went OFF with 27 points and six 3-pointers on 9-of-12 shooting, which is part of the reason Porter found himself on the bench for much of the night. Bogdanovic has played well in three straight, averaging 19.3 points and 4.0 3-pointers in them. I still don’t really trust him, but he’s clearly playing well enough to be picked up.
PF Serge Ibaka and SG DeMar DeRozan were great for the Raptors, PG Cory Joseph was serviceable in Kyle Lowry’s stead, and C Jonas Valanciunas had 11 rebounds while hitting just 3-of-12 shots. DeMarre Carroll bottomed out with zero points and four rebounds in 30 minutes, and it looks like it’s going to be a lost season for him. Norman Powell went off for 17 points in just 16 minutes off the bench, and could be in line for a bigger role with Carroll being such a disaster this season. Joseph is worth adding with Lowry out indefinitely after wrist surgery.
Hawks 100, Mavericks 95 – The Hawks starters played well as Paul Millsap double-doubled for the second straight game and Dwight Howard filled the stat sheet against the center-less Mavericks. You should always target centers who are playing against Dallas. Ersan Ilyasova hit 6-of-7 shots and four 3-pointers for 18 points and three steals in 26 minutes off the bench. The Hawks are digging Ghost Face Ilya and he’s worth a look in deeper leagues. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored just 10 off the bench and has taken a hit with Thabo Sefolosha back in the starting unit.
Yogi Ferrell started at PG and had 11 points and nine assists, making him still worth a look in all formats despite his recent struggles, while Seth Curry went off for 21 points, five 3-pointers and two steals. Dorian Finney-Smith started in place of Wesley Matthews (hip) and hit 2-of-9 shots for five points, while the Mavericks bench did next to nothing. There’s not much to learn here, other than that Ferrell is still worth a look and the Mavericks’ bench is not worth messing with in fantasy. Nerlens Noel was expected to start, but played just 16 quiet minutes off the bench after being late for the team plane. Look for him to join the starting lineup soon, which could send Curry to the bench. I still love owning Curry, either way.
Heat 125, Sixers 98 – Tyler Johnson went off to lead the Heat with 24 points, four assists, two steals and two 3-pointers off the bench, while starters Hassan Whiteside, Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters each scored 15 points. James Johnson broke out of a funk with 14 points and a full stat line on 6-of-11 shooting, and Wayne Ellington hit 6-of-9 3-pointers for 18 points and not much more. Josh Richardson played 24 minutes off the bench and had seven points, six boards, five assists, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer, but I still am not really back on board with him. But if you own him, just hang onto him and see if he shows signs of finishing up the season on a high note. I’m not messing with Ellington with Richardson and Waiters playing. Starter Rodney McGruder suffered a quad injury, which should also help Richardson if McGruder misses time.
For Philly, Jahlil Okafor only had six points, seven rebounds and five turnovers on 3-of-11 shooting, while Richaun Holmes hit 7-of-10 shots for 15 points, six boards, a steal and a block. I still think Okafor should be held, but Holmes is also to the point that he needs to be picked up in most leagues. T.J. McConnell bounced back with a solid 14-5-5-2 line, Robert Covington scored 19 and Dario Saric finally cooled off with 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting. I still love Saric. The Sixers’ bench all played solid minutes, but I don’t trust anyone not starting for Philly, except for Holmes. However, Gerald Henderson left with a hip injury tonight and Nik Stauskas started the second half for him. Stauskas had nine points in 26 minutes and is worth a look if Hendo misses time.