Giannis Antetokounmpo flirted with a triple-double during Friday’s 114-102 trouncing of the Cavs, tallying 44 points, 14 rebounds, eight assists, two blocks and four turnovers across 38 minutes. The Greek Freak posted this gaudy stat line with freakish efficiency, going 14-of-19 from the field and 16-of-21 from the charity stripe for a sterling 77.9 true shooting percentage, and he saw his usage rate rise to 34.1 with Khris Middleton (finger) and Malcolm Brogdon (hamstring) unavailable. Antetokounmpo is now just one of two Milwaukee players to have ever posted multiple 40-10 games – the other guy to do it? Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Joel Embiid had a game's worth of stats by halftime (28 points, 14 boards, one 3-pointer, two assists, one steal, one block) and ended up finishing Friday’s game with 40 points, 21 rebounds (career-high), one triple, three assists, one steal, one block and six turnovers in 34 minutes. Despite this herculean effort from Embiid, the end result was the second straight loss for Philly, but it’s clear that Joel has enjoyed his time with Jimmy Butler (groin) off the floor. Over the past two games, he’s seen his usage rate spike to 35.2 and has come through with averages of 36.5 points, 19.0 rebounds, 4.5 dimes, 1.5 treys, 1.0 steal, 1.0 block and 6.0 turnovers per contest on 62.5% shooting from the field and 83.3% from the charity stripe. The 76ers may be losing games in real life, but Embiid owners are assuredly picking up Ws this week.
Almost a trade!
The Wizards, Suns and Grizzlies nearly agreed to a three-team trade that would have sent Trevor Ariza to Washington, but there was a miscommunication between Phoenix and Memphis regarding which Brooks (Dillon or MarShon) would be included, and the Suns declined to pull the trigger when they discovered the Grizzlies were unwilling to include Dillon.
However, the Suns will officially start holding Ariza out of games as they work towards a resolution, so the key takeaway here is that Mikal Bridges should be owned in way more than just 10% of Yahoo! Leagues, as he’ll be one of the primary beneficiaries upon Ariza’s departure.
For what it’s worth, the initial framework on the failed deal was as follows:
Phoenix sends Trevor Ariza to Washington
Washington sends Kelly Oubre to Memphis
Washington sends Austin Rivers to Phoenix
Memphis sends Wayne Selden to Phoenix
Memphis sends the wrong Brooks (MarShon) to Phoenix.
Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted late on Friday night that Washington and Phoenix were still trying to work out a deal, but it sounds like they’ll need to find a different third team to get involved to get this thing through. If Ariza does wind up in Washington, that’ll be bad news for Otto Porter.
On the Radar
Marvin Williams scored 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting (2-of-2 from the line) to go with five rebounds, four 3-pointers, one assist, one steal, one block and zero turnovers across 37 minutes. As per usual, Williams got off to a sluggish start this season, but he’s been trending up through the month of December with averages of 12.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.8 triples and just 0.2 turnovers per contest on 44.4% shooting, which has been good enough for top-55 value in 9-cat leagues. There’s no way he’ll finish the year as a top-60 player, but he could have some low-end value in deep leagues as a guy who does a little bit of everything without really hurting you anywhere. If you’ve got some dead weight on your roster, Williams could be worth a look.
Cody Zeller was nearly perfect against the Knicks, going 9-of-10 from the field, 1-of-1 from 3-point range and 2-of-3 from the charity stripe on his way to 21 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, two steals, one block and three turnovers in 37 minutes. He’s been ultra-efficient over the past month, connecting on 60.6% of his shots and 80.8% of his free throw attempts to go with averages of 10.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.8 swats and 1.2 turnovers per game, which has him flirting with sixth-round value in 9-cat leagues. The efficiency will drop off at some point, but if you’re in need of a big man at the moment, Zeller could be your guy.
Noah Vonleh flirted with a triple-double against the team that drafted him, tallying 15 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, two 3-pointers, one block and one turnover in 42 minutes during Friday’s overtime win over Charlotte. He’s having himself a career-year, and has been flirting with sixth-round value in 9-cat leagues over the past month behind averages of 9.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.9 dimes, 1.3 triples, 1.1 blocks and just 1.3 turnovers per game on 51% shooting. Vonleh had never been much of a factor in fantasy hoops prior to this season, but he’s also never played for a team quite as bad as the Knicks, so maybe what he’s been doing is semi-sustainable. He’s worth a look.
Emmanuel Mudiay poured in a career-high 34 points on 14-of-21 shooting (5-of-6 from the stripe) to go with eight dimes, three boards, one 3-pointer, two steals and three turnovers in 41 minutes. With Frank Ntilikina exiting this game with a sprained ankle, and Trey Burke (knee) still out, Mudiay was literally the only PG available for New York – so he could again see major minutes on Sunday if both those guys are unavailable. Mudiay might be my least favorite player in fantasy hoops, but he’s really come alive through the month of December with averages of 18.6 points, 5.7 assists, 3.6 boards, 1.6 triples and 2.9 turnovers per game while shooting at a respectable 46.2% clip, so yeah, he’s worth owning in most leagues at the moment.
Kevin Knox had another impressive outing, scoring 20 points on 7-of-15 shooting (3-of-6 from the line) to go with three 3-pointers, three rebounds, three assists, one steal, one block and zero turnovers across 42 minutes. He’s been en fuego since re-entering the starting lineup three games ago and has come through with averages of 21.7 points, 8.3 boards, 3.3 treys, 1.3 dimes, 1.0 block and just 0.3 turnovers per game on 43.6% shooting. The rookie should see plenty of opportunity in New York and offers a decent amount of upside, so he’s someone to think about swooping up.
Kevin Huerter had another solid outing on Friday, scoring 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting to go with five 3-pointers, two rebounds, three assists, three steals, one block and five turnovers through 31 minutes as a starter. He’s been remarkably efficient over the past two games, posting averages of 19.0 points, 4.5 treys, 2.0 assists, 2.0 steals, 1.0 block and an unfortunate 4.5 turnovers per contest on 61.9% shooting. Almost none of those numbers are sustainable, but he should continue to see big minutes and plenty of opportunity as a starter while Taurean Prince (ankle) is out, so he’s certainly on the radar in deep leagues.
Daniel Theis busted out of his two-game slump against the Hawks on Friday, recording 18 points (6-of-9 FGs, 4-of-4 FTs), seven rebounds, two 3-pointers, one assist, one block and zero turnovers in 21 minutes off the bench. Sure, the line comes with a bit of an asterisk as he did it against the lowly Hawks, but with Al Horford (knee) likely out again on Saturday, he’ll be a boom-or-bust DFS option against Detroit.
Alec Burks scored 12 points on 4-of-11 shooting (3-of-3 from the line) to go with nine rebounds, one 3-pointer, one assist, one steal and four turnovers through 27 minutes as a starter. Efficiency issues make Burks a tough guy to roster in category-based settings, but he’s a great guy to own in points formats.
Kelly Olynyk was unfazed by the return of Hassan Whiteside (personal), scoring 18 points on 5-of-9 shooting (4-of-5 from the line) to go with five rebounds, four 3-pointers, five assists, one steal, one block and two turnovers in 26 minutes off the bench. It was again Olynyk and Bam Adebayo (four points, nine boards, five assists, two blocks, two turnovers) on the floor to close out the game, with Whiteside watching from the sidelines, and the end result was an impressive win for Miami against one of the better teams out West. Olynyk has been ballin’ through the month of December, flirting with top-50 value behind averages of 14.9 points, 6.4 boards, 3.0 assists, 2.3 triples, 1.1 steals and 1.6 turnovers per game on 42.9% shooting, so he should be owned in more than 33% of Yahoo! Leagues.
Tyler Johnson had a nice bounce-back performance following Wednesday’s 1-of-7, three-point outing, recording 17 points on 5-of-12 shooting to go with five boards, four dimes, four treys, one steal and two turnovers in 31 minutes off the bench. Goran Dragic can’t seem to shake his knee injury, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up needed surgery at some point, so Johnson makes sense as a speculative grab; particularly if you’re a Dragic owner.
Nemanja Bjelica scored 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting (2-of-2 from the stripe) to go with four 3-pointers, three rebounds, one assist, one steal and zero turnovers in 22 minutes. Marvin Bagley went down with a knee injury and is looking at a long-term absence, so Bjelica should be able to see his minutes in the 30s more often while Bagley is out. Make sure he’s not floating around on your waiver wire.
Mason Plumlee put up six points, four boards, three assists, one steal, three blocks and two turnovers across 20 minutes as a starter. He’s not the most exciting guy to own, but he’ll be more involved in the rotation while Paul Millsap (toe) is sidelined, so he has some low-end value in deep leagues as a shot-blocking specialist.
Monte Morris drilled another two 3-pointers in 26 minutes off the bench on his way to 14 points, three rebounds, six assists and two steals. He’s been on a roll over the past five games with averages of 13.8 points, 4.6 assists, 2.2 triples, 1.6 steals and 1.2 turnovers per game on 51.8% shooting.
Rodions Kurucs couldn’t miss while earning his first career start against the Wizards, scoring 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting (4-of-4 from the stripe) to go with six rebounds, one 3-pointer and one assist over 30 minutes. If Allen Crabbe (knee) is out again on Sunday, Kurucs will be someone to think about streaming in deep leagues.