Ethan Norof

NBA Fantasy Mailbag

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Mailbag: Enter the Zubac

Saturday, March 11, 2017


Question 1: Willy Hernangomez or Alan Williams for the rest of the season?

 

This is an excellent question.

 

The young big men have surprised with their production, and it’s clear that each should play a consistent role for the remainder of the season. With both guys playing with plenty of incentive to perform—Hernangomez for the permanent starting center job and Williams for his upcoming free agency—and their respective organizations giving them plenty of room to show their worth, it’s no surprise they’ve become must-own assets as we approach the fantasy playoffs.

 

Hernangomez has regularly displayed his talent and is averaging 10.5 points, 10.0 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocks on 58.7% shooting in six games as New York’s starting center and Williams has really taken advantage of his new opportunity, posting 14.5 points, 10.3 boards, 1.0 steal and 1.1 blocks on 58.3% from the field over his last eight contests. 

 

I would be happy to welcome both onto my roster if that’s the scenario we’re working with, but if forced to choose just one, it’d be hard to pass on getting extra saucy.

 

Question 2: Should I hold Frank Kaminsky or replace him with either Ivica Zubac or Robin Lopez?

 

Marvin Williams is playing well, Cody Zeller is finally healthy and Kaminsky isn’t expected to return until late March at the earliest. But it’s hard to let go of a player who was previously so productive, averaging 18.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.8 blocks, 1.2 turnovers and 2.7 3-pointers over 10 games as the starting center. I get that, and it’s important to recognize value, but what Kaminsky did for you previously isn’t helping you now and taking DNP’s at this stage of the season is not a luxury that most can enjoy.

 

Successful fantasy GMs have to be proactive—that often means moving on a little early before it becomes too late—and that’s not necessarily an easy process. But with Magic Johnson hinting that Zubac is about to see bigger minutes, Zu’s fantasy-friendly game and Kaminsky facing the potential to miss more time than expected, swooping Zubac is the move to make.

 

Question 3: Kyle Korver or Jamal Murray for the rest of the season?

 

J.R. Smith is back in action and Korver has gone cold over his last four games, averaging 8.0 points and 2.5 3-pointers—fueled by a five-triple outing—on just 11-of-34 (32.4%) shooting. Meanwhile, Mike Malone has been voluntarily vocal about his desire to play Murray, who has averaged 9.9 points, 2.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.5 treys and 1.1 turnovers on 38.8% from the floor, and his role should only continue to grow down the stretch. With Korver on a visible downward arc and Murray’s role expected to grow, gambling on the rookie feels better than relying on a veteran with such a capped ceiling.

 

Question 4: Is it safe to drop Thaddeus Young or Willy Hernangomez for Ivica Zubac?

 

Young is clearly not comfortable with his left wrist injury, and even Nate McMillan admitted that Thad wouldn’t be healthy until whenever Indiana’s offseason begins. Unfortunately, that means a previously valuable contributor is no longer a must-have asset, leaving him expendable for higher upside targets—like Zubac—in competitive standard formats. 

 

As far as Zubac, he has become a must-have stash in anticipation of a larger breakout coming soon to a basketball court near you.

 

Question 5: Is Ty Lawson worth a roster spot with the legal issues surrounding him?

 

It sounds like Lawson’s legal issues—whatever they may or may not be—could prevent him from finishing the season as anticipated, but the question of whether or not he’s worth a roster spot is a valid one regardless.

 

After a recent four-game stretch that saw the point guard chip in modest contributions in points (14.5 points) and assists (7.3), Lawson’s playing time has trended down and Dave Joerger figures to mix in more of the youth as the Kings fall further from the Western Conference playoff picture. It certainly doesn’t feel like Lawson is a part of any kind of uncertain future that Sacramento could face, and keeping him on your fantasy roster is a move that would result in not winning first place. 



Follow Ethan Norof on Twitter @Ethan_Norof for more fantasy basketball analysis, advice and all things Los Angeles Lakers.
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