The Stat Stuffers
James Harden guided the Rockets to a 118-108 win over the 76ers on Friday with a 44-point, 11-rebound, 11-assists triple-double, which marked the 14th 40-point triple-double of his career, and he added six triples, one steal, one block and five turnovers while he was out there. The only person in NBA history with more 40-point trip-dubs is Oscar Robertson with 22, but Harden still has a lot of his career left. He’s averaging 38.4 points per game and making it look easy, and he’s simply been in another stratosphere in fantasy hoops this season.
Ben Simmons came through with an impressive 29-point, 13-board, 11-dime triple-double of his own, also chipping in three steals, four swats and just three turnovers, but unfortunately for the 76ers, it was not enough to bring home the win.
Editor's Note: If you're on the hunt for rankings, projections, strategy and advice on how to dominate your drafts, check out the all-new Rotoworld NBA Draft Guide. Now mobile-optimized with a new look and feel, it's never been easier to take our award-winning advice with you to your drafts for that extra competitive edge! Click here to learn more!
Anthony Davis popped of for 46 points on 15-of-21 shooting in a 123-113 win over the Pelicans, to go with 13 rebounds, three triples, one assist, three steals, one block and three turnovers in 38 minutes. He was also a perfect 13-of-13 from the charity stripe, to give him an absurd 86.1 true shooting percentage, and he currently ranks No. 2 overall in fantasy hoops. I wonder how many folks drafted Karl-Anthony Towns (knee) over him due to health concerns?
Drummond on the Block
Adrian Wojnarowski dropped his first major trade nugget of the season on Friday with a report that the Pistons have begun to test the market on Andre Drummond, engaging with several teams and progressing to “serious talks” with the Atlanta Hawks. Drummond is expected to opt-out of his contract this summer to become an unrestricted free agent, and it’s unlikely he’d resign in Detroit, so they might as well see what they can get for him now rather than lose him for nothing during free agency.
The Hawks deal would reportedly include a 2020 first-round pick via Brooklyn and salary cap relief with expiring contracts (Chandler Parsons), but they’ll probably need to get another team involved or include one of their young blue-chip guys to move the needle for the Pistons. Nothing is imminent at the moment, but ownership from both sides have been involved in the discussions, so there’s something here. Even if Drummond doesn’t land in Atlanta, it seems likely that he’ll be moved at the deadline, but his value will be safe regardless of the letters on the front of his jersey.
With Drummond likely headed for an exit and Blake Griffin (knee) looking like he already should be shut down, Christian Wood should be stashed in all leagues. He’s been hit-or-miss this season, but without Drummond and Blake, Dwane Casey wouldn’t have much choice to give him ample minutes. His per-36 numbers this season are incredible: 21.0 points, 11.1 rebounds, 1.3 triples and 1.6 swats per contest.
The Pistons’ 2019 first-round pick, Sekou Doumbouya, could also be considered a potential stash in really deep leagues, as he came through with a 10-point, 11-rebound double-double across 27 minutes as a starter on Thursday. He’s still very raw, but if Detroit decides to blow this thing up this season, it would make sense to start giving the No. 15 pick developmental minutes.
Despite being without Jonathan Isaac (knee), the Magic were able to blowout the Heat on Friday to the tune of 20 points, and Terrence Ross came up big with 25 points, six triples, two rebounds and two steals in 25 minutes off the bench. It’s tough to say who will benefit most while Isaac is out, as he wasn’t a heavy usage guy and it’s not like his defensive numbers will be absorbed by someone else, but Ross should see some increased opportunity. Khem Birch got the start in his place but finished with just two points, one rebound, two assists and one block over 25 minutes.
Aaron Gordon (Achilles) returned from a two-game absence and finished with 16 points (7-of-14 FGs, 1-of-2 FTs), eight rebounds, one 3-pointer, three assists and one turnover in 31 minutes; and Nikola Vucevic ended his evening with 20 points (7-of-17 FGs, 4-of-4 FTs), 11 rebounds, seven assists, one block and two turnovers in 33 minutes. AG hasn’t been great this season, but maybe he’ll get going with Isaac out – and Vuc could see a marginal uptick in his rebounding numbers.
As for Isaac, he’s not even going to be re-evaluated until March, and might not even make it back to the court until the semi-finals of the fantasy playoffs, so it’s tough to justify stashing him. If your league doesn’t offer an IR-spot, he should be cut.
Dyin’ for Zion
Zion Williamson is reportedly fully recovered from the arthroscopic procedure he underwent on his right knee, and he’s got his playing weight down to where the Pelicans would like it to be, so, at this point, he just needs to get his conditioning back to be cleared to play. He was able to get through a full practice on Thursday, but the medical staff wants him to do that a few more times before he’s cleared. He does appear to be on track to make it back to the court this month, though, and I still view him as a solid buy-low guy.
The Rotoworld crew is not united on Zion, and I may be his biggest advocate, but this kid just reeks of generational talent. He’ll likely have a strict minutes limit and I seriously doubt he’ll be cleared for back-to-backs this year, but I think he could be a top-20 player once he’s fully up and running. He looked amazing during the preseason with averages of 23.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.5 steals per contest in just 27.3 minutes a night.
Jabari Parker (shoulder) returned from a three-game absence on Friday and finished four points, two rebounds, three assists and one steal in 15 minutes off the bench. John Collins exited the game with a back injury and did not return, so there’s a chance he’ll need to skip Saturday’s game against the Pacers, making Parker an attractive speculative add – particularly if you’re a Collins’ owner.
Kevin Huerter hit 7-of-17 shots on his way to 17 points, seven rebounds, five assists, three 3-pointers, one steal, one block and one turnover through 39 minutes as a starter in a narrow loss to the Celtics. The shooting hasn’t been pretty (38.8 FG), but the counting stats have been nice over the past eight games as he’s come through with averages of 14.1 points, 4.0 boards, 3.9 assists, 2.3 treys, 1.4 steals, 0.6 swats and 2.3 turnovers per contest. He should be owned in way more than 46% of Yahoo! Leagues.
Markelle Fultz ripped away a career-high six steals on his way to six points (2-of-7 FG, 2-of-2 FT), one rebound, three assists and two turnovers in 32 minutes. The scoring comes and goes with Fultz, but he’s been steady with the dimes (4.4) and steals (1.3) this season, which gives him some low-end value in deep leagues.
Ian Mahinmi blocked another three shots on Friday to go with three points (1-of-5 FG, 1-of-4 FT), two rebounds, three assists, one steal and one turnover through 26 minutes as a starter. He’s now sent away two or more shots in his past four games, giving him some low-end value as a shot blocking specialist in deep leagues.
Ish Smith scored 16 points on 6-of-14 shooting (2-of-2 from the line) to go with two rebounds, five assists, two 3-pointers, one steal and two turnovers in 33 minutes off the bench. He saw some extended minutes with Bradley Beal (leg) taking the night off and Isaiah Thomas getting ejected within the first two minutes of the game, but he has been in a nice groove over the past four with averages of 14.5 points, 4.3 assists, 1.5 triples, 1.3 steals and just 1.0 turnover per game on 42.6% shooting. IT2 made contact with an official, so he may face a suspension, which would make Smith an attractive streamer on Saturday.
Jordan McRae’s hot streak continued on Friday as he popped off for a season-high 35 points on 12-of-26 shooting (7-of-9 from the line) to go with four triples, five boards, four dimes, one block and two turnovers in 33 minutes off the bench. He’s been on a heater over the past four with averages of 24.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 4.0 trey-bombs, 1.0 steal and just 1.3 turnovers per game on 47.1% shooting from the field and 76% from the stripe, and he should continue to see ample opportunity while the main guys are banged up. Give him a look.
Garrison Matthews also had a solid game with 18 points (6-of-9 FG, 1-of-1 FT), five triples, two rebounds and one assist in 25 minutes off the bench. He’s now put together two solid games when Beal has been out, so keep him in mind as a potential deep league streamer the next time Beal misses a game.
Aron Baynes started alongside Deandre Ayton on Friday and finished with 20 points, 12 rebounds, two triples, two assists, one block and one turnover in 29 minutes. It’s unlikely the Baynes-Ayton frontcourt will be a regular thing, so it’s tough to see Baynes flirting with minutes in the 30s on most nights, but he could again see extended minutes on Sunday against Memphis’ more traditional frontcourt – which puts him on the radar as a potential speculative add if you’ve got someone to cut.