We Can Rebuild Him
Jabari Parker looked healthy in his regular-season debut on Friday, going 4-of-7 from the field and 4-of-6 from the charity stripe on his way to 12 points and three rebounds over 15 minutes. Parker didn’t show any hesitation attacking the rack, was very aggressive in seeking out his own shot (30.8 usage rate), and he also put his bounciness on display while attempting to posterize Enes Kanter on a drive to the hoop. The Bucks ran an intriguing Eric Bledsoe-Tony Snell-Khris Middleton-Jabari Parker-Giannis Antetokounmpo five-man unit, which posted an impressive 82.0 defensive rating, and that Jabari-Giannis frontcourt should be fun to watch this season as it’s an absolute matchup nightmare for the opposing team. As impressive as Parker was, the severe minutes limit does stand out, and I’m not sure how quickly they’ll allow his minutes to escalate given he’s coming off his second ACL tear over a three-year span. He also probably won’t be playing in back-to-back sets this season, but the good news there is that Milwaukee only has three more back-to-backs this season (two this month, one in March and none in April). I do see the minutes limit being an issue, but he’s supremely talented and worth owning in most leagues now that he’s back on the court. I just wouldn’t expect much more than late-round value, and consistency will likely be an issue (just look at Isaiah Thomas and Zach LaVine).
Giannis Antetokounmpo was impressive in the 92-90 win over New York, tallying 29 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, one 3-pointer, three steals, two swats and two turnovers in 37 minutes. He played some excellent defense against Kristaps Porzingis (17 points on 6-of-15 shooting), and also had a phenomenal sequence to close out the game, altering Enes Kanter’s final shot, pulling down the board and then running back to the other end to hit a game-winning layup over the outstretched owns of Kanter and Porzingis. Just another night in Milwaukee.
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Night of the 40s
Three players hit the 40-point mark on Friday night, but I’d say Anthony Davis had the most impressive performance with 43 points (17-of-34 FGs, 6-of-8 FTs), 10 rebounds, three trey-bombs, three steals, one block and five turnovers in 38 minutes. Over the past three games sans DeMarcus Cousins (Achilles), The Brow seen his usage rate spike to 35.9 (up from 28.1) and he’s responded with averages of 30.3 points, 13.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.7 triples, 2.0 steals, 2.7 swats and 4.3 turnovers per contest on 46.3% shooting from the field and 80.0% from the stripe. As long as he can stay healthy, he’ll be an absolute monster to close out the year.
Kemba Walker also breached the 40-point plateau, scoring 41 points on 11-of-22 shooting to go with nine dimes, three boards, five triples and four turnovers in 42 minutes. He also was a perfect 14-of-14 from the charity stripe to give him a sterling 72.8 true shooting percentage on the evening to accompany his 32.6 usage rate. I don’t see him getting moved at the deadline.
Donovan Mitchell was the third member of the 40-point club on Friday night, netting an even 40 on his way to seven triples, five rebounds, six assists, two steals and two turnovers in 33 minutes of floor time. Donny Mitch seemingly couldn’t miss in this one, going 14-of-19 from the field and 5-of-5 from the stripe for an insane 94.3 true shooting percentage, and perhaps the most impressive part of this robust stat-line was that the 40 points weren’t even a career-high for the rookie (he popped off for 41 points back on December 1). Additionally, Mitchell became just the fourth rookie over the past 35 seasons to post multiple 40-point games, joining the ranks of Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson and Blake Griffin (and yes, all those guys came home with the Rookie of the Year award). At this point, it doesn’t even matter that Ben Simmons is a #fakerookie, Mitchell is the obvious pick for Rookie of the Year.
Greg Monroe inks deal with Boston
Greg Monroe signed a one-year deal worth $5 million with the Celtics on Friday, reportedly passing up a shot at guaranteed minutes and a starting spot in New Orleans for the opportunity to go on a deep post-season run with Boston. This obviously isn’t an ideal landing spot for Monroe, as he’ll now be competing for minutes with Al Horford, Daniel Theis and Aron Baynes, and a lot of his rest-of-season outlook will depend on whether or not he can establish himself as a starter with the Celtics. He could also be moving in and out of the starting five a lot based on the matchup, as this has been a common theme for Brad Stevens coached teams, but if you were stashing him ahead of the deadline you might as well stick with him and see what happens in Boston. Just don’t be afraid to send him back to the wire if he puts up some stinkers with inconsistent minutes.
On the Radar
Terry Rozier was phenomenal in another start sans Kyrie Irving (quad) on Friday, registering a career-high 31 points on 11-of-18 shooting (3-of-4 from the stripe) to go with seven boards, six triples, two assists, two steals and two turnovers in 36 minutes. He’s been absolutely crushing it over the past two games with Irving and Marcus Smart (hand) unavailable, churning out averages of 24.0 points, 9.0 boards, 6.0 dimes, 4.5 triples, 2.0 steals, 1.0 block and 2.0 turnovers per contest on 53.1% shooting, so he’ll essentially be a must-play option if Irving again sits on Sunday against the Blazers. Even if Irving gets back on Sunday, Rozier is in line for some extended minutes with Smart out another two weeks, so he’s on the radar in deep leagues.
Jarrett Allen netted a career-high 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting (4-of-6 from the line) to go with five rebounds, two steals and one block in 24 minutes. He looks locked in as Brooklyn’s starting five-man, and as long as he’s earning around 25 minutes a night, he’s fully capable of producing standard league. He should be a steady source of boards and blocks in addition to boosting your field goal percentage (he pretty much only dunks), so he’s worth owning in most leagues.
Josh Jackson scored 20 points on 7-of-18 shooting (5-of-5 from the line) to go with four boards, two steals, one 3-pointer and one turnover over 29 minutes as a starter on Friday. This was his third consecutive game with at least 20 points, and he’s been trending up over the past few weeks with averages of 15.3 points, 5.0 boards, 0.9 steals, 1.0 trey and 1.4 turnovers per game on 40.0% shooting. He should be flirting with around 30 minutes a night moving forward with Devin Booker spending more time at the point and Isaiah Canaan (leg) done for the year, so if you’re okay with some up-and-down shooting nights, he’s worth a look. In points leagues, I’d consider Jackson must-own.
Dragan Bender came through with 16 points (5-of-10 FGs, 2-of-2 FTs), nine rebounds, five assists, four 3-pointers, one block and two turnovers in 28 minutes off the bench. Bender has shown flashes this season, but he hasn’t been able to consistently string together good games, so I’ll need to see him do it a few more times before recommending him as an add in most 12-team leagues. He’s on the radar, though.
Taurean Prince busted out of his shooting funk on Friday with 31 points (9-of-17 FGs, 8-of-8 FTs), eight rebounds, five 3-pointers, two assists, three steals and two turnovers in 31 minutes. Prince had been dismal over the past month, which may have prompted someone in your league to drop him, so go scoop him up if he’s available. Sure, he’s been inconsistent, but he’s staring at nothing but opportunity in Atlanta and with occasional lines like this one he’s worth owning in most leagues.
Fred VanVleet had another impressive game off the Raptors’ bench on Friday, tallying 16 points (6-of-12 FGs, 1-of-1 FTs), five rebounds, three triples and one turnover in 21 minutes. He’s been rolling over the past month with averages of 12.3 points, 2.3 assists, 2.1 trey-bombs, 0.8 steals and just 0.8 turnovers per contest on 50.5% shooting, so give him a look if those numbers are appealing.
Rajon Rondo dished out 13 assists in Friday’s win, to go with seven points (3-of-10 FGs, 0-of-1 FTs), seven rebounds, one 3-pointer, four steals and three turnovers in 34 minutes. With Jameer Nelson no longer around, Rondo should have an easier time seeing his minutes in the 30s, so if you’re okay with some lame shooting he’s someone to consider swooping up in deep leagues for those seeking some dimes and steals.
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 18 points on 5-of-10 shooting (6-of-6 from the stripe) to go with two 3-pointers, two rebounds, two assists and two turnovers in 33 minutes. He doesn’t do much aside from score and hit triples, but he also doesn’t really hurt you anywhere and has been a steady late-round guy all year long. He should be owned in most leagues.
Bogdan Bogdanovic handed out six dimes in 29 minutes to go with 12 points, four 3-poitners, three rebounds, three steals and one turnover in Friday’s loss to the Dubs. He’s been a mid-round guy for a month now with averages of 13.2 points, 3.7 assists, 1.9 triples, 0.9 steals and 1.7 turnovers per game on 46.9% shooting from the field and 91.7% from the stripe, so he should be owned in way more than just 28% of Yahoo! Leagues.
Josh Hart replaced Tyler Ennis in the starting five on Friday and finished with 15 points (5-of-8 FGs, 2-of-4 FTs), 14 rebounds, three 3-pointers, two assists, one steal and zero turnovers in 35 minutes. He’s been hit-or-miss this season, but with Lonzo Ball (knee) out Sunday vs. the Thunder, he could be someone to consider streaming this weekend.
Bam Adebayo took advantage of some increased opportunity with Hassan Whiteside (illness) exiting Friday’s game early, finishing with 15 points (5-of-9 FGs, 5-of-10 FTs), 13 rebounds and six assists over 29 minutes. Whiteside’s name has been popping up in the rumor mill lately, so Adebayo might be someone to consider stashing in deep leagues. While far from a perfect statistic, Adebayo’s per-36 numbers of 12.3 points, 9.0 boards, 2.8 dimes, 1.1 steals and 1.1 blocks are certainly intriguing.
Kevin Love will not undergo surgery to repair his broken left hand, and his timetable has been set at eight weeks. If he’s able to meet that eight-week timeline, that would put him back on the court with just two weeks left during the regular season, so he’s done for the fantasy season in most leagues. Jae Crowder and Tristan Thompson will continue to start in his absence with more shots falling to LeBron James, Isaiah Thomas and Dwyane Wade. Speaking of Wade, he missed Friday’s practice to attend to the funeral of his former agent, but he should be back out there on Saturday against the Rockets.
Austin Rivers (ankle, heel) is planning to return to the court for next Friday’s game in Detroit. His outlook isn’t great at the moment with Lou Williams and Avery Bradley on the roster, but if Williams is traded that would open up a lot of minutes for Rivers. He’s someone to consider stashing in deep leagues.
The Bulls are hopeful that Lauri Markkanen (just had a baby) will be able to return to the team for Monday’s game against the Kings. That means he won’t play Saturday against the Clippers, which should translate to big minutes for Bobby Portis.
Kris Dunn (concussion) will miss the final two games of Chicago’s road trip, and he remains without an official timetable to return. He’s obviously dealing with a very serious concussion, and there’s zero incentive for the Bulls to rush him back to the court, so there’s really no telling when he’ll be back. There’s no set timeline when dealing with concussions, Myles Turner missed two weeks earlier in the year, and so did Al Horford during the 2016-17 season (he also sat out two games this season with a concussion) and Carlos Delfino missed about two months back in 2010 (he’s actually the reason why the league has a concussion protocol procedure). Unfortunately, he’s way too good to cut, so owners just need to remain patient.
Malcolm Brogdon was diagnosed with a partially torn left quadricep, and he will miss the next 6-8 weeks of action. That timetable puts him out for the fantasy hoops season in most leagues, so check your playoff schedule to see if he’s even worth hanging onto. Tony Snell will be Milwaukee’s starting two-man moving forward, and there will be more minutes for Sterling Brown and Matthew Dellavedova; but none of that means all that much in fantasy hoops.
Hassan Whiteside exited Friday’s game with an illness and did not return, finishing with four points, nine boards and three swats over 18 minutes. The Heat won’t have a shootaround on Saturday with it being the second game of a back-to-back set, so Whiteside is headed for a game-time call. If he sits, Kelly Olynyk and Bam Adebayo will split most of his minutes.
Kyrie Irving (quad) missed his second game in a row on Friday, but I’d expect him to get back out there for Sunday’s game against Portland.
Marcus Smart (anger issues) is still about 10-14 days away from a return. He should be cut in most leagues.
C.J. Miles (knee) missed his third game in a row on Friday and he should be considered questionable for Sunday’s game against the Grizzlies.
Alex Len (ankle) did not play Friday and should be considered questionable for Sunday’s game against Charlotte. I seriously do not understand what people see in this guy.
Nikola Vucevic (hand) and Jonathan Isaac (ankle) practiced on Friday, but head coach Frank Vogel said they’re both “a ways away from playing again.” I’m not very high on Isaac at all, but Vucevic should be owned everywhere. His return isn’t imminent, but he should be back shortly after the All-Star break at the latest.
Aaron Gordon (hip) is questionable to play Saturday against the Wizards. If he’s out again, Marreese Speights will have another opportunity to start with Mario Hezonja seeing some extended minutes with the second unit.
Willie Cauley-Stein (knee) returned from a two-game absence, posting 13 points, six boards, three dimes, two steals, one block and one turnover in 36 minutes.
Malachi Richardson (ankle) missed his third game in a row on Friday and he should be considered questionable for Saturday’s game against the Mavericks.
Jordan Bell (ankle) will miss at least another two weeks of action, he belongs on the waiver wire in most leagues. Andre Iguodala was rested on Friday but he should be back out there for Saturday’s game in Denver. David West (personal) missed Friday’s game and he won’t play Saturday either.
Brandon Paul (back) is questionable to play Saturday against the Jazz.
J.J. Barea (oblique) practiced on Friday, so he’s on track to get back out there for Saturday’s game vs. Sacramento.
Cody Zeller (knee) returned from a two-month absence on Friday, going 2-of-6 from the field and 1-of-2 from the stripe on his way to five points, three rebounds, one assist, one steal and two turnovers in 16 minutes. He’s not worth owning in most formats.
Kevon Looney (illness) returned from a one-game absence on Friday, posting four points and three boards in nine minutes off the bench. Meh.