A lot can happen in 251 days. An entire MLB, NBA or NFL season can happen. You can learn how to speak a good portion of a language. You can fall in love (Awwwwww). You can watch literally everything on Netflix. You can watch every single NBA game from last season. Heck, you can Forest Gump it and walk across the country a couple times.
Well, that’s how long it took the 76ers to win a basketball game. The 76ers beat the Los Angeles Lakers 103-91 on Tuesday for their first win since March 25. As you could guess, it was a team effort.
The player of the game was Jerami Grant. He controlled the paint on defense, finishing with 14 points on 6-of-7 from the field, seven rebounds, four assists, one steal, four blocks and no turnovers. Grant started at power forward and he continues to thrive as a four instead of a three, which should help him get more minutes. In his last 10, Grant averaged 11.2 points, 5.0 boards, 1.4 assists, 0.8 steals, 1.9 blocks and 0.7 treys on 47.1 percent from the field and 71.4 percent from the line. That’s good for eighth-round value even though he had three mega duds mixed in there. He’s probably worth grabbing in 12-team leagues. He also stuffed Mamba!
Robert Covington is also a guy deserving of player of the game. He scored a game-high 23 points with five rebounds, four assists, two blocks and five 3-pointers. He is lighting it up from deep and obviously has to be owned everywhere. Although, I would be looking to sell high if possible. He suffered a minor injury late, too. RoCo should be fine, though.
Nerlens Noel also made his return from knee soreness and did what he’s supposed to do: Stop shooting jumpers. He had just two shots outside of three feet (both misses, of course) to finish with 14 points, nine rebounds, three assists and one steal. He made all five shots from inside of three feet, which has to continue (covered this in more detail on Tuesday afternoon). Noel’s knee soreness is a little concerning, so his owners might want to look to sell high in a couple more games.
Isaiah Canaan (12 points, three rebounds, five assists, one steal and four 3-pointers) and Jahlil Okafor (12 points, five boards, two assists and one block) were decent.
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As for the losers, Kobe Bryant was an interesting case. He scored 13 points in the first quarter, but fell apart after that. Bryant made just 7-of-26 from the field for 20 points with five rebounds, two assists, one steal, three turnovers and four 3-pointers. That shooting percentage dropped him to 30.1 percent from the field on the season. If you want to know what that looks like in a shot chart, here ya go:
If the Kool-Aid Pitcher and a basketball court had a baby, it would look like that. Oh yeah!. Anyway, plain and simple, he shouldn’t be owned in most leagues. Kobe is probably my second favorite player all time (after C.J. McCollum, obviously), but he’s done. (I was kidding about C.J.; I have way too many Jordans, you guys).
As for the other Lakers, there wasn’t much to it. Jordan Clarkson had a nice third quarter, finishing with 19 points, five rebounds, two assists and one 3-pointer. The more Kobe misses time, the more JC benefits. D’Angelo Russell looked good at times, scoring 12 points with four rebounds, four assists and one 3-pointer. He’s trending up a tad, but is more of a stash.
Wonder Wall (Wizards 97 @ Cavs 85)
It took waaaaaay too long, but John Wall finally busted out. He scored a season-high 35 points with four rebounds, 10 assists, five steals and three 3-pointers. Wall didn't really have a bad run on shot selection and it was really just a massive slump. He’s probably not going to live up to his ADP in nine-cat leagues, but he should wind up being a second or third-round guy.
Bradley Beal looked like he was off to a horrendous game, but he turned it on late to finish with 18 points, nine rebounds, six assists, one steal and one 3-pointer. He did make just 6-of-19 from the field, so it was a net negative as a scorer. He hasn’t hit his stride like he did to start the year, but the evidence is there that big things are coming with his shot selection and adding more dimes, steals and even boards. Panda should be eatin’ soon.
Marcin Gortat is back. He had his best game of the season with 15 points, 11 rebounds, one steal and four blocks on 7-of-10 from the field. If you bought low a week ago, you look like a genius.
Jared Dudley looks comfortable as a starter, scoring 12 points with two rebounds, three assists and two 3-pointers in 32 minutes. He could be a sneaky guy to own in 14-team leagues with Nene (calf) likely out for a bit — that bumped Kris Humphries to the backup five (nine minutes). Otto Porter had a bad game with six points, five boards, two assists and one block. He’s fine.
Kevin Love was basically the anti-Wall. The sky? Never mind. Anyway, Love finally fell off on Tuesday with eight points, eight boards, one steal and no turnovers. He was just 2-of-10 from the field after he was tearing it up with a 72.8 true shooting percentage in his previous six. It’s all good, but expect his numbers to dip once Kyrie Irving (knee) comes back.
LeBron James had a season-high nine turnovers with 24 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block. He was also just 8-of-20 from the field, but he’ll be fine. The bad J.R. Smith also showed up with 13 points, four rebounds, three assists, two steals, one block and three 3-pointers on 3-of-14 from the field. He should still be owned everywhere.
Timofey Mozgov was horrible with just nine minutes. He’s not worth owning almost anywhere. If his minutes are cut even more, Tristan Thompson (six points and 11 boards) would play more, but his upside is low in standard leagues.
Straight from Crooklyn better known as Brooklyn (Suns 91 @ Nets 94)
The Nets stole a win from the Suns after a very nice fourth quarter. Brook Lopez handled his business with 23 points, six rebounds, two assists and one block. He’s rolling. Thaddeus Young (eight points, four boards and two assists) and Jarrett Jack (11 points, four rebounds and eight assists) both kind of stunk, but they’re fine — Young should be especially good.
The Nets got a little creative with Jack and Shane Larkin each logging 30 minutes. They played next to each other for 12 minutes last night, which is almost half of their total before this game of 27 minutes. Larkin scored 11 points with five rebounds, eight assists, two steals, one block and one 3-pointer. The Nets probably want to trade Jack, so I don’t hate the idea of stashing Larkin in 18-team leagues.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was OK with eight points, nine boards and one assist. He made 4-of-5 from the field and continues to take good shots. Since he’s been semi-unleashed, RHJ has taken 68 percent of his shots in the paint. Basically, he won’t be hurting you in field goal percentage. He just won’t be helping you in points. He has a path for minutes and is worth owning in standard leagues.
Alex Len showed why we loved him so much in the preseason. He played 35 minutes with 13 points, 14 rebounds, two assists, two steals and three blocks. He has monster upside and I would pick him up almost anywhere to see what happens. If he can get 22-24 minutes when Tyson Chandler (hamstring) comes back, he’ll have close to top 100 value. Plus, who knows how long Ty will be out?
Markieff Morris was horrible yet again with six points, one rebound (?), three assists and three turnovers. I loved Morris last year and even more two years ago, but we’re 20 percent into the season and he’s still awful. I wouldn’t consider him a must-own player. Although, I wouldn’t drop him for garbage.
Besides that, not much doing. Brandon Knight scored 26 points with seven boards, four dimes and three treys. Also T.J. Warren (six points in 19 minutes) took a step back, as expected.
A Magician never reveals his secrets (Magic 96 @ Wolves 93)
It’s still a secret as what the plan is for the Magic rotation. Recently though, coach Scott Skiles seems to be figuring out what he wants to do. The main surprise here is that Andrew Nicholson is his new guy. Nicholson has seen his minutes hang around 25 in his previous four and he played a season-high 31 minutes on Tuesday. The Canadian scored 15 points with six rebounds and one turnover. He’s simply not a great player, so the odds are against him to really keep it going all year. Still, he is worth a look in 14-team leagues to see if Nicholson is the new Evan Fournier, who is coming back to Earth after scoring 12 points in 28 minutes. He might have a hip issue, too.
Nikola Vucevic seems safe now after a 18-point, 12-board game in 37 minutes. He’s being backed up by Jason Smith (four points in 11 minutes). Nicholson is “backing up” Channing Frye, who didn’t score in 17 minutes.
Tobias Harris (13 points, four rebounds, one assist, one steal and two 3-pointers) is playing small forward and is now being backed up by Aaron Gordon (seven points, two rebounds, two blocks and one 3-pointer). These two guys were playing power forward, but now Skiles shifted both to small forward. So weird. If you want to see what the Magic rotation looks like, here ya go:
Elfrid Payton (13 points, eight rebounds and five assists) and Victor Oladipo (13 points, four rebounds, four assists, three steals, two blocks and one 3-pointer) are basically the point guards with about four minutes next to each other. They’re fine. It is what it is, but I’m still too high on Aaron Gordon to cut him. The upside is just too attractive in steals, blocks, threes and a little bit of everything.
Once again, Karl-Anthony Towns had his turn of getting limited run. He had one of his worst games of the season, making 2-of-11 from the field for six points, six boards, one steal and two blocks. He played just 22 minutes and has been benched a ton lately. You’d think there is no chance KAT gets his minutes cut all season.
So that brings us to Gorgui Dieng. Coach Sam Mitchell has been giving Dieng about 4-10 minutes from KAT and they’re barely playing next to each other. In fact, Tuesday night was the very first time they were on the court together for the first half. They also played together in just two of the previous 10 games. In other words, both KAT and Dieng bot can't go off. All that said, Dieng had another nice game with 11 points, seven rebounds, one assist, one steal and three blocks in 29 minutes. He should be owned right now, but I would be doing all I could to sell high. If you’re betting on Dieng, you’re basically betting against KAT.
Ricky Rubio had a horrible return with three points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals. He’ll be better. He didn’t play next to Zach LaVine with the sophomore also struggling in 29 minutes, scoring 12 points, five rebounds, five assists, one steal and one block. LaVine should still be owned in all leagues until Rubio can show he’s healthy.
Nemanja Bjelica is starting to come around now, scoring three points with eight rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block and one 3-pointer in 24 minutes. He’s worth a look and should get minutes in the mid-20s.
Hi Pelican hi (Grizzlies 113 @ Pelicans 104)
Tyreke Evans hit the ground running in his debut with 20 points, five rebounds, 10 assists, one block and two 3-pointers in 31 minutes. First of all, what happened to the minutes cap? Secondly, that is awesome stuff right there. If I owned him, I’d let him build up some value before he gets hurt again. Evans should be awesome in coach Alvin Gentry’s system, though.
OK, so that brings us to who gets hurt with Evans back. Let’s take a look at what positions ‘Reke picked up his minutes:
You’ll notice most of his minutes come on the wings, which explains why Eric Gordon played just 20 minutes. You’d think the two of them would play next to each other quite a bit. Gordon has been pretty good and expect him to play a lot more tonight.
Jrue Holiday played 26 minutes with 12 points, one rebound, four assists, one steal and two 3-pointers. He won’t be playing on Wednesday, so take him out of your lineup.
On Tuesday, we saw Norris Cole played a ton with 23 minutes, 11 points, two rebounds, two assists and two 3-pointers on 3-of-12 from the field. Cole getting that much playing time was the big surprise of this rotation, which caused Ish Smith to plummet to 14 minutes. I would probably keep Ish on the roster for Wednesday, but he’s likely a cut candidate after that. Cole is worth a look in 16-team leagues. Although, Cole will have to play well because Smith was good.
Anthony Davis blocked nine shots with 17 points, 14 rebounds, two assists, two steals and one 3-pointer. We all know the drill. If he stays healthy, he’s a monster.
The Grizzlies got a sublime game out of Marc Gasol. Big Spain scored a career-high 38 points with 13 rebounds, six assists and four blocks. He’s good.
Besides that, not much happened. Mike Conley was awful with 11 points, three assists and one trey. His numbers really went up while Zach Randolph (14 points and six boards) was out. There’s no need to worry about Conley co-existing with Z-Bo yet.
Also Tony Allen only played 15 minutes, which probably won’t continue. Jeff Green played 31 minutes (six points and four boards) seems to be the most valuable wing, but he’s not a must-own guy.
Enter the Deron (Mavs 115 @ Blazers 112)
What is up with Deron Williams? He went off for a season-high 30 points with six rebounds, eight assists, two blocks (big ones too) and two 3-pointers in 45 minutes. He's putting up top-50 value, so we have to call him a sell-high player. He has a very good chance of being hurt.
Wesley Matthews (18 points, five boards, one assist, two steals and three 3-pointers) had a nice revenge game and could start to get it going after a slow start. Dirk Nowitzki was outstanding with 28 points, seven rebounds, six assists and two 3-pointers in 37 minutes. Those are some impressive games on the second half of a back-to-back set. Raymond Felton played 40 minutes because Chandler Parsons sat out for rest. Zaza Pachulia was great again with 14 points, 21 boards, one assist, one steal and one block. That was pretty much it. Besides Wes, I'd consider all of those guys sell-high players.
My guy C.J. McCollum did not shoot the ball well and killed his efficiency on the season, making 4-of-21 from the field for 11 points with four rebounds, five assists, one steal and three 3-pointers. He's had a couple bad ones in a row as a scorer, but he'll get it figured out. Damian Lillard played through a stomach ailment, scoring 25 points with eight rebounds, 10 assists, one steal and three 3-pointers. This guy seems like he'll never miss a game. Oh and C.J. had this:
Meyers Leonard started the second half and played his best game of the season, scoring 23 points with seven rebounds, one assist, one steal and four 3-pointers. It took him about six weeks, but Leonard has to be owned everywhere after this one. He should stick in the starting lineup even though he was pathetic on defense. Noah Vonleh played six minutes, so you know the deal from there.
Al-Farouq Aminu is in the doghouse right now. He played just 18 minutes because he is in some kind of slump. In his last four, he's made just 6-of-32 (18.8 percent) from the field. He's been awful, but the upside is too high to cut him. We never really thought the offense was going to be there anyway, so maybe he takes a step back in that regard.
So with Aminu down, that led to big lines from the other wings. Allen Crabbe scored a career-high 18 points with two rebounds, three assists and three 3-pointers in 35 minutes. Gerald Henderson was good with 20 points, four rebounds, one assist and two 3-pointers. If I wanted to add someone, it would be Crabbe in like 16-team leagues or even 14 if you really need treys.
Ed Davis (10 points and 11 boards) picked up more minutes than Mason Plumlee (three points and five boards), but it doesn't mean anything yet.
News and notes
We got a little bit of an update on the 76ers point guards. Tony Wroten is going to make it back possibly as soon as next week with coach Brett Brown saying his point guard will be ready in 8-10 days. If you’re in nine-cat, you can just leave him on the wire unless you’re punting FG% and TOs. In eight-cat, he could be worth a look.
Kendall Marshall is also not close to a debut, so he can remain on all wires. With Wroten coming back, that would take away from T.J. McConnell, Isaiah Canaan and basically everyone. He’s one of the highest-used players in the NBA and usually hangs around 30 for usage rate. That means less shots for Robert Covington, Nerlens Noel, Jerami Grant and basically everyone except Jahlil Okafor.
Chris Paul (rib muscle strain) is questionable for Wednesday. Based on some comments from Monday night, I’d guess he’s out for this one. That means more for Austin Rivers and Jamal Crawford. There will be plenty of updates today.
Nikola Pekovic is hopeful he can return to form once he’s back. I'm hopeful to win the lottery.
Donatas Motiejunas is getting closer. The Rockets seem serious about playing Clint Capela, so D-Mo isn’t a great add. This may also hurt Terrence Jones.
Gary Harris is doubtful for Wednesday. That means more Randy Foye, who has been awful. Jameer Nelson and Will Barton could step up.
Cody Zeller is going to start against the Warriors. Good luck. Anyway, the Hornets will be going small a lot here, so don’t get very excited about Zeller as a pickup with Al Jefferson (calf) out 2-3 weeks. Jeremy Lin is also questionable.