Loading scores...
Basketball Daily Dose

Cavs, Pistons looking to move pricey big men

by Raphielle Johnson
Updated On: February 16, 2021, 12:57 pm ET

The big news on Monday came off the court, as it was reported that both Cleveland and Detroit are ready to move on from frontcourt veterans who aren’t in the respective teams’ long-term plans. That will open up additional minutes to young players, which will certainly have an impact when it comes to fantasy values. This edition of the Daily Dose begins with the Cavaliers, who acquired their center of the future in the James Harden trade.

Monday’s Scores
Bulls 120, Pacers 112 (OT)
Wizards 131, Rockets 119
Knicks 123, Hawks 112
Jazz 134, 76ers 123
Warriors 129, Cavaliers 98
Clippers 125, Heat 118
Nets 136, Kings 125

Drummond’s days in Cleveland appear to be numbered: Since the Cavaliers acquired Jarrett Allen from the Nets in the four-team deal centered around James Harden, it appeared obvious that the team was set to move on from Andre Drummond. He will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and it did not appear that Drummond was in the franchise’s long-term plans. On Monday it was reported that both sides have agreed that Drummond will not play, as the Cavaliers are searching for a trade partner. The decision comes as no surprise, but Draymond Green hit the nail on the head during his postgame press conference when he questioned why a franchise can take this approach while a player can be fined for demanding a trade.

For those who have him rostered, this is a big hit to take in the rebounding and defensive stat categories. Drummond’s averaging 17.5 points, 13.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks per game, while shooting 47.4% from the field. The free throw percentage (59.7%) has been an issue throughout his career, but it has been understood that you’re punting that category when it comes to Drummond.

Allen is now the starter, and in Monday’s loss to the Warriors he played 29 minutes and tallied 13 points, 14 rebounds, one assist, one steal and two blocked shots. Allen is providing sixth-round value in both 8- and 9-cat formats, and that was with him coming off of the bench on most nights. Look for the young center to move up the rankings with more consistent playing time. JaVale McGee played 17 minutes off the bench, tallying seven points and four rebounds before fouling out. With Cleveland moving on from Drummond, it’s fair to wonder if they’ll look to find a trade partner for McGee as well.

Cedi Osman (17/10/2/2 with three 3-pointers in 35 minutes) has been in a slump recently, but Monday’s effort was a step in the right direction for him. He’s currently rostered in 11% of Yahoo leagues, and this may be a good time to take a gamble on him.

Same goes for Griffin in Detroit: Blake Griffin has likely made his last appearance in a Pistons uniform, as it was reported on Monday that he won’t play while the team decides what to do with him. His situation is a bit different from Drummond’s, as Griffin is making nearly $36.6 million this season with a player option worth close to $39 million for the 2021-22 campaign. Finding a trade partner under those circumstances, especially when taking Griffin’s medical history into consideration, will likely be difficult.

This development frees up additional playing time for rookie Saddiq Bey, who was named the Eastern Conference’s Player of the Week on Monday. In four games he averaged 17.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.8 steals and 4.0 3-pointers per, while shooting 71.4% from both the field and the foul line. Bey is currently rostered in just 32% of Yahoo leagues, and that percentage should skyrocket in the coming days. Fellow rookie Isaiah Stewart may experience a slight increase in minutes, but he’s stuck behind Mason Plumlee so don’t expect too much there.

Irving, Harden shine with Durant out: With Kevin Durant set to miss at least Brooklyn’s next two games due to a hamstring injury, the Nets are left to rely on Kyrie Irving and James Harden offensively. Talk about an embarrassment of riches. Both stars shined brightly Monday night, with Irving (40/4/3/2 with nine 3-pointers) and Harden (29/13/14/1 block with six 3-pointers) combining to score 69 points. Harden did commit seven turnovers, but we’ve been down this road with him before. There are going to be high-turnover nights, but the assist tally more than makes up for that.

Bruce Brown, Joe Harris and Jeff Green rounded out the starting lineup for the Nets, with the latter replacing Durant in the starting lineup. Green played 24 minutes, accounting for 13 points, two assists, one block and two 3-pointers. Sitting just outside of the top-100 in 9-cat, Green is still rostered in just 29% of Yahoo leagues. He’s worth streaming until Durant is cleared to return.

Also of note was the presence of DeAndre Jordan, who played 27 minutes after missing Saturday’s win over the Warriors due to personal reasons. He posted a line of 10 points, eight rebounds and four assists, shooting 4-of-6 from the field and 2-of-3 from the foul line. We’ll see how Jordan’s minutes are handled Tuesday night (at Phoenix) in what will be the second game of a back-to-back.

Norvel Pelle was waived after the game, and the expectation is that the Nets will be signing Andre Roberson for additional defensive help on the wing. That won’t change anything from a fantasy standpoint, as Roberson has rarely been a player worth rostering.

Editor’s Note: Drafting is only half the battle! Get an edge on your competition with our NBA Season Tools that are packed with rankings, projections, a trade evaluator, start/sit tools and much more. And don't forget to use promo code HOOPS10 to get 10% off. Click here to learn more!

No Embiid due to back issue: Philadelphia played without Joel Embiid, as his run of eight straight appearances came to an end due to a back injury. On most occasions it has been Dwight Howard who filled the void, but Doc Rivers kept the veteran center on the bench. Howard still played 26 minutes, tallying 14 points, 12 rebounds and one blocked shot, so fantasy managers who quickly grabbed him off of the waiver wire were rewarded. Mike Scott was moved into the starting lineup, but he had a rather ordinary night in the loss to the Jazz. Shooting 2-of-3 from the field, Scott finished with six points, one rebound and two 3-pointers in 17 minutes. There’s no reason to have him rostered.

What that approach did do was give Ben Simmons more room to operate in the paint, and he certainly took advantage. Shooting 15-of-26 from the field and 12-of-13 from the foul line, Simmons tallied 42 points (a career-high), nine rebounds, 12 assists, one steal and one blocked shot in 38 minutes. It would be wise to plug Simmons into DFS lineups whenever Embiid sits. Tobias Harris (36/10/2/2 with three 3-pointers in 37 minutes) shot 14-of-24 from the field and 5-of-5 from the foul line, while not committing a single turnover. For the season Harris, who had a Yahoo ADP of 62, has been a top-25 player in 9-cat. As many hoped during the preseason, reuniting with Rivers has done wonders for Harris thus far.

Morris catches fire for depleted Clippers: Already without Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the Clippers found themselves down two more starters for Monday’s game vs. Miami. Nicolas Batum was held out due to a migraine headache, and Patrick Beverley was inactive due to this being the second game of a back-to-back. Due to those absences Marcus Morris and Terance Mann made spot starts, with the former having his best game of the season as the Clippers beat the Heat. Morris shot 11-of-15 from the field and 4-of-4 from the foul line, tallying 32 points, three rebounds, two assists, one steal and six 3-pointers in just 26 minutes.

Batum's return will likely move Morris back to the bench, but he’s still hovering just outside of the top-100 in 9-cat. Morris is rostered in just 36% of Yahoo leagues, and it would be wise to hold onto him for the time being. As for Mann, he finished with a respectable line of 15 points, seven rebounds, three assists and one 3-pointer in 37 minutes. He doesn’t offer much in the way of fantasy value on most nights, so there isn’t much reason to view Mann as anything more than a streaming option whenever the Clippers are as depleted as they were on Monday.

Ivica Zubac (22/8/1/1) and Amir Coffey (15/3/2/1 with five 3-pointers in 32 minutes) were productive off the bench, with the former offering late-round appeal in most leagues.

Randle puts on an All-Star worthy performance: The Knicks have played better basketball than many anticipated before the season began, and the improved play of Julius Randle is a big reason why. He was outstanding in Monday’s win over the Hawks, going off for 44 points (14-of-22 FGs, 9-of-12 FTs), nine rebounds, five assists and seven 3-pointers in 41 minutes. For the season he has been a top-50 player in both 8- and 9-cat formats, providing third-round value in the former and fourth-round value in the latter. Given how well Randle has played, could he be in line to make the first All-Star Game appearance of his career? His teammates certainly believe that he’s deserving, as they indicated while interrupting his postgame interview. Randle’s motivation has nothing to do with the midseason classic, however.

“I just felt like I kind of let the team down last year. I felt like I didn’t have my best performance,” Randle said after the win. “I knew what I had to do. A lot of people may have written me off. A lot of people may have had their doubts or whatever in me. And that was just motivation, that was fuel. For me it was just coming back a better player and a better teammate than I was last year.”

Making his second straight start for the injured Mitchell Robinson, Nerlens Noel accounted for six points, four rebounds, two assists, two steals and three blocks in 27 minutes. Still rostered in just 58% of Yahoo leagues, Noel is a must-add even with the low scoring numbers. Immanuel Quickley (16/2/5 with four 3-pointers in 22 minutes) played well off the bench, and the partnership between he and Derrick Rose (8/3/3/2 blocks in 21 minutes) continues to develop. New York is now 3-1 since acquiring Rose from the Pistons, and his presence has helped both Quickley and Obi Toppin. This is looking like a good move by lead executive Leon Rose.

Bulls welcome back Carter Jr.: Wendell Carter Jr. made his long-awaited return to the Bulls rotation Monday night, starting and playing 21 minutes in the win over Indiana. Shooting 4-of-7 from the field and 3-of-4 from the foul line, he accumulated 11 points, nine rebounds, one assist, one steal and four turnovers. Bulls coach Billy Donovan didn’t not say explicitly that Carter was on a minutes restriction, but he did make it clear that he and the team would monitor the center’s minutes closely.

“It’s not like he’s had a big buildup, so (I) don’t see him playing extended minutes,” Donovan said before the game. "It’s something we’ll have to work toward. We’ll see how he does, how he responds. I imagine some of the conditioning will be a little bit of a challenge just because, with that thigh injury, he hasn’t been able to maintain the level of cardiovascular conditioning we would have liked.” Chicago has three more games this week, including a Friday/Saturday back-to-back. Given how severe the thigh bruise was, and his medical history, it feels likely that Carter will miss one of those games.

With Carter back in the fold, Daniel Gafford (DNP-CD) falls completely out of the rotation while Thaddeus Young played the majority of the backup center minutes. Young finished with 13 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two steals in 30 minutes, and he’s a must-roster in standard leagues. Young is currently providing seventh-round value in both 8- and 9-cat formats. His value will likely take a hit once Lauri Markkanen is cleared to play, but that isn’t expected to happen for a few more weeks. There was also a Luke Kornet sighting Monday night, as he played nine minutes, but there’s no reason for fantasy managers to consider picking him up.

Pick up McConnell while you still can: Doug McDermott was held out of Monday’s overtime loss to the Bulls due to a sore right knee, which meant a rare start (his first as a Pacer) for point guard T.J. McConnell. Interestingly enough, while McConnell had a very good night scoring-wise (19 points on 8-of-9 shooting) he accounted for just three assists. That’s his lowest tally since January 4, when McConnell had just two in an overtime win over the Pelicans. The overall stat line is one that many fantasy managers would be fine with, as McConnell was also responsible for four rebounds, three steals, two blocks and one 3-pointer in 42 minutes of action.

Even if McDermott is cleared to play Wednesday night against the Timberwolves, McConnell is worth grabbing off of the waiver wire. Despite being a top-100 player in both 8- and 9-cat formats, he’s currently rostered in just 37% of Yahoo leagues. With McConnell starting, the Pacers didn’t get much from their bench beyond Jeremy Lamb (12/5/2/1 with two 3-pointers in 25 minutes). Aaron Holiday had a rough night, shooting 1-of-6 from the field and finishing with four points, one rebound, one steal and one blocked shot in 18 minutes. Domantas Sabonis (25/10/5/1/4) and Malcolm Brogdon (23/15/5/1 with one 3-pointer) both posted double-doubles, but the former was also responsible for a career-high eight turnovers. That isn’t the norm for Sabonis, so fantasy managers shouldn’t be too worried there.

Whiteside blows up in place of injured Holmes: Sacramento played without starting center Richaun Holmes on Monday, as he was ruled out due to a sore right knee. The resulting void in the lineup was filled by guard Cory Joseph, who had his best game of the season. Joseph shot 10-of-13 from the field, finishing with 22 points, two rebounds, five assists and two 3-pointers in 31 minutes. But the big star for the Kings in their loss to the Nets was Hassan Whiteside, who showed why so many fantasy managers have hung onto him in spite of his inconsistent playing time. In 24 minutes Whiteside, who’s rostered in 59% of Yahoo leagues, tallied 26 points, 16 rebounds, one assist and five blocked shots.

Holmes is expected back for Thursday’s game vs. Miami, so Whiteside’s value will take a hit. But nights like this one show why it’s worthwhile to hang onto him. Marvin Bagley (19/7/1 block with one 3-pointers0 played 21 minutes in his return after missing two games due to a sore calf. Bagley being a starter makes him worth rostering, but the value provided hasn’t been great unfortunately.

Westbrook plays in both ends of back-to-back: Monday’s game between the Rockets and Wizards garnered a lot of attention due to the fact that this was John Wall’s first game back in the nation’s capital since the trade. And rightfully so, given Wall’s impact on the franchise. He played 35 minutes in Houston’s loss, accounting for 29 points, three rebounds, 11 assists, one steal, one block and one 3-pointer. Meanwhile, Bradley Beal put up 37 points, eight rebounds, three assists, three steals and three 3-pointers in 36 minutes. The league’s leading scorer, Beal is providing first-round value in both 8- and 9-cat formats. He’s well on his way to being named a starter in next month’s All-Star Game, after being snubbed last season.

But the game was notable for another reason as far as the Wizards were concerned: Russell Westbrook played in both ends of a back-to-back for the first time this season. After playing 29 minutes in Sunday’s win over the Celtics, Westbrook played 33 minutes and finished with 16 points, 13 rebounds and 15 assists. He was also responsible for five turnovers, which is the reason why Westbrook is far more valuable in 8-cat leagues than in 9-cat. While he’s a top-100 player in 8-cat, the veteran point guard sits outside of the top-200 in 9-cat.

Davis Bertans (18/4/2/2 with five 3-pointers) shot 6-of-8 from the field, shooting at least 50% for just the second time this month and fifth time this season. Given how long he’s been mired in a slump, it’s tough to conclude that Bertans has turned a corner. But it was good to see a few shots fall for the veteran forward Monday night. Lastly, Moe Wagner (15/3/1/4/1 with two 3-pointers) had another good outing and is worthy of a long look in deep leagues. He is currently rostered in just 6% of Yahoo leagues, so fantasy managers in need of center help should still be able to grab Wagner off of the waiver wire. 

Some Notable Stat Lines

Jordan Clarkson: 40 points (13-of-20 FGs, 6-of-7 FTs), one assist, two steals and eight 3-pointers in 29 minutes vs. Philadelphia.

Stephen Curry: 36 points (13-of-19 FGs, 3-of-3 FTs), two rebounds, six assists and seven 3-pointers in 30 minutes vs. Cleveland.

Zach LaVine: 30 points (11-of-25 FGs, 4-of-6 FTs), nine rebounds, three assists and four 3-pointers in 39 minutes vs. Indiana.

Jimmy Butler: 30 points (10-of-19 FGs, 10-of-10 FTs), 10 rebounds, 10 assists and two steals in 38 minutes vs. the Clippers.

Bam Adebayo: 27 points (12-of-15 FGs, 3-of-5 FTs), 12 rebounds, seven assists, one steal and two blocks in 36 minutes vs. the Clippers.

David Nwaba: 19 points (7-of-10 FGs, 5-of-7 FTs), 11 rebounds, one assists, two steals and one block in 41 minutes vs. Washington.

Clint Capela: 15 points (7-of-11 FGs, 1-of-2 FTs), 18 rebounds, one assist, one steal and two blocks in 36 minutes vs. New York.

Raphielle Johnson
Raphielle has been writing about college sports for more than a decade for multiple outlets, including NBC Sports. Focuses have included game recaps, columns, features and recruiting stories. A native of the Northeast, he now calls Pac-12 country home. Raphielle can be followed on Twitter @raphiellej.