Patience is a Virtue
Lauri Markkanen hit a game-winning layup during Friday’s 114-112 win over the Thunder, netting 24 points on 8-of-12 shooting (4-of-5 from the stripe) to go with seven rebounds, four 3-pointers, two assists, three steals, one block and two turnovers in 28 minutes. He did get whacked in his surgically repaired right elbow, which required a quick trip to the bench, but after getting checked up by the Bulls’ trainers he got right back out there and looked just fine. Markkanen has taken a big leap on the defensive side of the floor this season, and through his first three games he’s come through with averages of 18.3 points, 7.0 boards, 3.7 triples, 2.0 steals, 1.0 block and 1.7 turnovers per game on 40% shooting from the field and 80% from the stripe, which has been good enough for top-20 value in 9-cat leagues. The steals numbers will likely come down at some point, but the shooting percentages and scoring should go up, so it’s not unreasonable to think he could be a top-30 player in his second NBA season. Congrats if you got him at a discount on draft day.
& a game-winning bucket
— NBA TV (@NBATV) December 8, 2018
Meanwhile, rookie Wendell Carter Jr. had a tough time getting going against Steven Adams and finished with just six points (2-of-5 FGs, 2-of-3 FTs), two rebounds, two assists, one steal, two blocks and two turnovers in 21 minutes. He’s been hit-or-miss this season but has looked really good when he’s on his game, and I think he’ll be a strong second-half player. What he’s going through now could be described as “the rookie wall,” so savvy GMs may want to consider floating out a few buy-low offers.
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Deandre Ayton returned to the starting lineup on Friday and posted a 16-point, 11-board double-double to go with two assists, one block and three turnovers. He’s cooled down a bit through the first four games of December, and the constant blowouts have affected his minutes, but up-and-down production from rookies is pretty much the norm. He’s going to see nothing but opportunity in Phoenix, so now would be an ideal time to try and buy-low on the No. 1 overall pick.
$12 Ms & Strugglin’
Tyreke Evans went 2-of-8 from the field and 6-of-6 from the stripe on his way to 11 points, one 3-pointer, three rebounds, three assists, one steal and three turnovers through 23 minutes as a starter on Friday. Evans, who inked a one-year, $12 million deal with the Pacers this summer has been an absolute disaster in Indiana with measly averages of 10.6 points, 2.6 assists, 1.4 triples, 1.3 steals and 2.2 turnovers per game on 36.5% shooting, which has him ranking well outside the top-150 in 9-cat leagues. He really hasn’t done much as a starter, and while he probably won’t be this bad all year long, it’s tough to see him being dramatically better. Even with Victor Oladipo (knee) out and Evans starting, he’s still only receiving 24.4 minutes a night, and I’d say it’s high time to move on in most settings.
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Boring Three-Team Trade
The Cavaliers, Bucks and Wizards orchestrated one of the more boring three-team trades in recent memory on Friday, with Cleveland sending George Hill and Sam Dekker to Milwaukee in exchange for Matthew Dellavedova and John Henson; and then Washington got into the mix, acquiring Dekker from Milwaukee in exchange for Jason Smith. There aren’t any real pickups here, but Hill landing in with the Bucks isn’t great news for Malcolm Brogdon’s outlook.
On the Radar
Bam Adebayo started with Hassan Whiteside (personal) unavailable and finished with 22 points (6-of-9 FGs, 10-of-11 FTs), 10 rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block and zero turnovers across 32 minutes. Whiteside is likely to miss Saturday’s game as well, so Adebayo is worth grabbing in most scenarios; just don’t cut anyone with long-term upside.
Kyle O’Quinn double-doubled in 27 minutes off the bench with Domantas Sabonis (illness) watching from the sidelines, tallying 12 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, two steals and two swats. He’ll be someone to think about streaming on Saturday if Sabonis is again unavailable.
Mike Muscala saw some increased opportunity with Joel Embiid (rest) taking the night off, hitting 7-of-13 shots on his way to 18 points, four 3-pointers, three rebounds, two assists, one steal, three swats and two turnovers in 30 minutes off the bench. He’s been heating up over the past few weeks, posting averages of 9.2 points, 6.2 boards, 2.3 dimes, 1.8 treys, 1.2 blocks and just 0.7 turnovers per game on 40% shooting. He’s on the radar as a speculative grab in deeper formats.
Langston Galloway hit 5-of-15 shots on his way to 12 points, five rebounds, two 3-pointers, one assist, one steal and one turnover in 31 minutes off the bench. He might be able to consistently flirt with minutes in the 30s while Ish Smith (groin) is out, so he could be worth grabbing in deep leagues if you need some help in the 3-point department.
Juancho Hernangomez put up a 15-point, 10-rebound double-double to go with one 3-pointer, two assists, one steal, two blocks and zero turnovers across 37 minutes. He’s been flirting with top-60 value over the past 11 games, posting averages of 13.5 points, 7.1 boards, 2.1 triples, 1.2 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.5 swats and just 1.3 turnovers per game on 51.5% shooting from the field and 78.6% from the stripe and he should see some more shots falling his way while Paul Millsap (broken toe) is out. He should be owned in more than just 34% of Yahoo! Leagues.
Mason Plumlee came through with seven points, seven rebounds, two assists, two blocks and one turnover in 20 minutes off the bench, and he’s another guy who should benefit while Millsap is out. He was already trending up, registering averages of 8.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.4 dimes, 1.0 steal, 1.9 swats and 1.0 turnover per game on 60% shooting from the field and 52% from the stripe over the past seven games, which has been good enough for top-50 value when punting free throws. Give him a look if those numbers are appealing.
Malik Beasley had another solid outing on Friday, finishing with 16 points (5-of-13 FGs, 2-of-2 FTs), seven rebounds, four 3-pointers, two assists and one turnover in 33 minutes off the bench. He’s been consistently earning crunch time minutes with Gary Harris (hip) out, and over the past three games, he’s put in averages of 13.0 points, 4.3 boards, 3.0 treys, 1.3 dimes and just 0.7 turnovers per game on 51.9% shooting. The sky-high FG% isn’t sustainable, but he should continue to see some increased opportunity with the Nuggets’ banged up, putting him on the radar as a potential deep league streamer.
Malik Monk showed some signs of life on Friday, scoring 16 points on 5-of-12 shooting (3-of-3 from the stripe) to go with three 3-pointers, one assist and one block in 22 minutes off the bench. He’s slowly working his way back into the rotation, so deep leagues GMs will want to keep an eye on him, as he has the potential to produce when given the minutes. Though a flawed statistic, his per-36 numbers of 19.0 points, 3.1 triples, 3.7 dimes and 1.2 steals per game gives us a glimpse of his upside. He’ll be a hot pickup if Jeremy Lamb ever goes down with an injury.
Alec Burks scored an efficient 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting (3-of-4 from the line) to go with three 3-pointers, seven rebounds, nine assists, one steal and two turnovers in 38 minutes off the bench. He had been connecting on just 34% of his shots in his previous four outings, so it was nice to see him finally hit over 50% of his shots. Efficiency will likely remain an issue for Burks, but with Rodney Hood (foot) going down, he could be looking at big minutes on Saturday against the Wizards. He should be owned in points leagues and is on the radar as a potential deep league streamer with a favorable matchup against Washington.
Allen Crabbe drilled another three 3-pointers on his way to 11 points, four rebounds, one assist and two turnovers through 25 minutes as a starter. He’s not the most consistent guy out there, but he’s locked in as a starter and has posted averages of 11.9 points, 3.8 boards, 3.2 triples, 1.1 assists and 1.2 turnovers per game on 39.8% shooting over his past 11 games. He’s worth owning as a 3-point specialist if you can stomach the volatile shooting percentages.
JaMychal Green scored a season-high 24 points on 9-of-12 shooting (3-of-4 from the stripe) to go with eight rebounds, three 3-pointers, two steals and two turnovers in 28 minutes off the bench. He saw some increased opportunity with Jaren Jackson Jr. again in foul trouble, and he’s been in peak form over the past five games with averages of 16.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.2 triples, 1.8 steals and 2.4 turnovers per game on 60.4% shooting from the field and 73.3% from the stripe. That FG% is unsustainable, but he’s playing well enough right now to warrant ownership in most settings.
Tyler Johnson netted 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting to go with five rebounds, three assists, two 3-pointers and zero turnovers in 22 minutes off the bench. He might be able to flirt with minutes in the 30s on Saturday with Goran Dragic set to take the night off, so he’s on the radar as a streaming option.
Jakob Poeltl saw a season-high 24 minutes off the bench on Friday, scoring 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting (4-of-4 from the stripe) to go with eight rebounds, two assists, three swats and three turnovers. He was a disaster to begin the season, but has been trending up over the past six with averages of 10.7 points, 6.2 boards and 1.2 blocks per contest on 78.4% shooting (dunking?), so he might be able to emerge as a deep league, shot-blocking specialist if he’s able to consistently flirt with minutes in the 20s. He’s on the radar in deep leagues.
Troy Daniels got hot from beyond the arc on Friday, draining six 3-pointers on his way to 18 points and four rebounds in 32 minutes off the bench. He’s been drilling the trey-bombs (4.0) over the past three games with Devin Booker (hamstring) out, so he’s worth a look in deep leagues if you need some help in points and triples.
De’Anthony Melton played relatively well in his first career start, scoring 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting to go with three 3-pointers, three rebounds, four assists, one steal and four turnovers across 25 minutes. As long as he’s starting (and Devin Booker is out), he should be able to sustain some low-end value in deep leagues.
Richaun Holmes swatted away another two shots on his way to 11 points, four rebounds and two turnovers in 19 minutes off the bench. He’s been sending away 1.7 shots a night over his past 12 outings, which puts him on the radar as a shot-blocking specialist in deep leagues.
Mikal Bridges scored 12 points on 4-of-11 shooting, to go with three 3-pointers, two rebounds, three assists, two steals and zero turnovers in 35 minutes. He’s been very inconsistent this season, as he’s struggled to assert himself in the offense, but I think he could be quite good if something ever happens to Trevor Ariza. Keep your eye on him.
Paul Millsap broke a toe in his right foot during Friday’s game, and the Nuggets are expected to release an official timetable for his return once he returns to Denver for further evaluation by the medical staff. He’s obviously going to miss time here, which could result in Trey Lyles entering the starting lineup and there will be more opportunity for Juancho Hernangomez. Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic will do the heavy lifting on offense while Millsap is sidelined.
Hassan Whiteside (personal) did not play Friday and considering he’s still awaiting the birth of his first child, it seems unlikely that he’ll return to the team in time for Saturday’s game against the Clippers. Bam Adebayo got the start and that should hold on Saturday if Whiteside is out again.
Wayne Ellington (personal) did not play Friday and he’ll remain on the sidelines for Saturday’s game.
Goran Dragic (knee) returned from an eight-game absence and produced 11 points, 10 assists, one 3-pointer, three steals and three turnovers across 21 minutes. However, he will be rested on Saturday against the Clippers, which will result in more opportunity for guys like Dwyane Wade, Tyler Johnson and Justise Winslow.
Brandon Ingram (ankle) did not play Friday and he will miss Saturday’s game in Memphis as well. Josh Hart got the start in his place but didn’t do much with just seven points, five rebounds and nothing else over 36 minutes.
Khris Middleton (personal) struggled in his return from a one-game absence, going 4-of-14 from the field and 1-of-4 from the line on his way to 10 points, one 3-pointer, eight rebounds, one steal and two turnovers in 27 minutes. He fell victim to some tough Warriors’ defense, but the good news is he was on the floor during crunch time and he should be able to bounce back on Sunday in Toronto.
Ersan Ilyasova (concussion) returned from a two-game absence and posted two points, four rebounds, two assists, one steal and two turnovers in 13 minutes off the bench. He’s irrelevant.
John Wall (personal) did not practice Friday and it’s unclear if he’ll rejoin the team in time for Saturday’s game in Cleveland. If he’s out again, Austin Rivers should earn another start, and he’d be on the radar as a potential streamer.
Joel Embiid (rest) missed his first game of the year on Friday, but he should be fine for Monday’s rematch with the Pistons.
Draymond Green (toe) did not play Friday, but there’s a decent chance he’ll be able to get back out there for Monday’s matchup with Minnesota. Once he’s back, Andre Iguodala will return to the second unit and guys like Kevon Looney, Jordan Bell and Jonas Jerebko won’t play as much.
DeMarcus Cousins (Achilles) could start going through practices with the G-League, and he remains on track to get back to the court “sometime after Christmas.” I honestly think he’ll be more trouble than he’s worth this season, but there’s nothing wrong with stashing him away if you’ve got an open IR-spot.
Nikola Mirotic (illness) came off the bench in his return from a two-game absence and finished with four points (1-of-6 FGs, 2-of-2 FTs), two rebounds, one assist and three turnovers across 20 minutes. With how well Julius Randle has been playing, it could be tough for Mirotic to return to the starting five, although the Pelicans going 1-2 with Randle in the starting lineup does somewhat help Mirotic’s case.
C.J. McCollum (ankle) is probable to play Saturday against the Timberwolves. His return to the court will shift Seth Curry back to the second unit and Jake Layman could drop from the rotation entirely.
Domantas Sabonis (food poisoning) did not play Friday and should be considered questionable for Saturday’s game vs. Sacramento. Kyle O’Quinn will be the primary beneficiary while he’s out.
T.J. Warren (ankle) missed his fifth consecutive game on Friday and he should be considered questionable for Monday’s matchup with the Clippers. Josh Jackson has been the primary beneficiary with Warren on the sidelines.
Dennis Smith Jr. (wrist) is doubtful to play Saturday against the Rockets. If he’s out again, Luka Doncic will see some increased playmaking responsibilities, J.J. Barea will have the opportunity for more minutes and Harrison Barnes should see an uptick in usage.
Kris Dunn (knee) and Bobby Portis (knee) did not play Friday, but they have been full participants at recent practices and do appear to be close. Portis doesn’t have the best upside as he’ll be competing for the reserve minutes with Jabari Parker behind Lauri Markkanen, but Dunn should be owned everywhere at this point.
Ish Smith was diagnosed with a right adductor tear and he will miss the next 3-6 weeks of action. Jose Calderon should pick up some more minutes while he’s out, and there will be more opportunity for Langston Galloway, Bruce Brown and Khryi Thomas.
Stanely Johnson (knee) did not play Friday and should be considered questionable for Sunday’s game against the Pelicans.
Marvin Williams (shoulder) was back in the starting lineup following a one-game absence and came through with 14 points, 10 rebounds, three 3-pointers, two assists, one steal and one turnover in 33 minutes. He’s been hit-or-miss this season, so he’s really not much more than a low-end add in deep leagues.
Marvin Bagley (back) returned from a two-game stint on the sidelines and produced 17 points, one 3-pointer, one rebound, one assist, one steal, one block and two turnovers in 25 minutes off the bench.
Jeff Green (back) is probable to play Saturday against the Cavs.