The NBA schedule makers basically gave folks the night off last night, with just two games on the slate to keep the natives from getting restless. It’s a good time to catch your breath in advance of the 13-game Big Wednesday, and for me the timing couldn’t be better since I spent the greater portion of yesterday stuck in airports.
So here’s a quick breakdown of last night’s two games, and I’ll see you guys tomorrow for the 13-game Bruski Breakdown including a bit of good news that I’ll save for then.
For real-time NBA updates and fantasy information, you can click here to follow me on Twitter.
It was sort of funny watching the contrarians swarm to declare that Josh Smith wasn’t as bad as the narrative goes, only to see Josh Smith’s old team play about as well as the narrative could have gone.
As it would go last night in San Antonio, Brandon Jennings took a bad inbounds pass the other direction and banked in an 11-footer to send the Pistons to 6-0 since Smith was sent packing with pay.
Sometimes, you don’t have to think too hard to get to the end result.
The move to axe Smith has predictably freed up the team to be more productive in fantasy leagues, with Andre Drummond posting numbers like last night’s 20 and 17 with two steals and one block, and Greg Monroe went for 17 and 11 with three assists and two steals. Neither player is eclipsing mid-round value since the trade just yet, so the buy low window is open for both.
Jennings (13 points, 5-of-18 FGs, seven assists, one steal, one block, one three) on the other hand, is on fire with top-15 value since the trade and that’s not going to continue, but it speaks to what we were discussing last week about his game – both good and bad – having more room to breathe without Smith stinking up the joint. It won’t be comfortable, but a savvy owner could target Jennings as a guy with mid-round upside in a trade and probably turn a profit.
The bench brigade of D.J. Augustin and Jodie Meeks has also benefited, with Augustin getting the headlines last night in a 19-point, five-assist effort and Meeks turning in 13 points with three rebounds and three assists but no treys. While Augustin will flash the scoring, 3-point shooting and assist numbers from time-to-time, he’s a deep league asset at best while Meeks is a must-own player in all standard formats.
Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $300,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Wednesday's NBA games. It's $25 to join and first prize is $30,000. Starts at 7pm ET on Wednesday. Here's the FanDuel link.
The Spurs are a mere 21-15 this season and everybody is freaking out, despite the fact they haven’t really played with a full deck all season. Kawhi Leonard (hand) could return in two weeks according to the latest report, and that’s music to many of our ears, but the story of last night was how they gave the game away at the foul line late.
There were no surprises in the box score. Tony Parker (hamstring) got back into the starting lineup and was on a minutes limit according to assistant coach Ime Udoka after the game. He finished with three points and two assists in 13 minutes, while Cory Joseph (27 minutes, seven points, four rebounds, four assists, one block) carried the load at the point. Tiago Splitter went for 10 and seven with one steal and one block, but he needs to keep that up to be worth the risk.
Danny Green hasn’t been breaking Twitter or anything lately but he had a solid night with 13 points, six boards, three assists, two steals, one block and three treys. I mentioned it a few weeks back but there is no problem whatsoever with the shape of his numbers and owners shouldn’t worry too much about this year being a fluke.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
The Suns continued to play well on the road and dropped the Bucks, with Markieff Morris providing the big double-double at 26 and 10 with two threes and a steal, and Isaiah Thomas scoring 19 points off the bench on 5-of-8 shooting with four rebounds, two threes and 7-of-8 makes from the foul line.
Alex Len may not have a consistent role right now and it could conceivably be that way for a while, but last night’s five blocks to go with nine points and eight boards was just the most recent sign that he’s a must-own player. Upside like that doesn’t grow on trees.
The Bucks are playing .500 ball and they didn’t have the firepower to keep up with the Suns last night, but their fantasy prospects have certainly improved over the last two weeks since Jabari Parker’s season-ending knee injury. No player is exhibiting that more than Giannis Antetokounmpo, who scored 16 points with 12 boards and one block in 34 minutes. Playing closer to the basket he’s enjoying more big man stats, but mostly he’s being forced to be assertive and he’s in the midst of the breakout that seemed like it was destined for next year.
Larry Sanders got back on the court and spoke ominously to reporters after the game, leaving only one possible impression and that’s that the guy is all messed up. Hopefully whatever he’s going through isn’t tragic, but the main takeaway is that he’s going to need some time to figure things out but that he’s definitely not 100% done with NBA hoops, as prior reports would indicate. Otherwise, why even show up. For what it’s worth I added him in a deeper, 12-team big money league because I could afford the stash.
Brandon Knight went big with 26 points and a very full stat line, continuing to be the early round guy that hopefully folks didn’t fade. John Henson managed 13 points, six boards, three assists and one block in his 24 minutes. Yes, Sanders’ return could mess with him but Henson has enough upside to justify a roster spot in 12-team standard formats.
For tonight’s injury news check out our injury page.