Week 16 Schedule
3 Games: NOP
2 Games: ATL, BOS, BRK, CHA, CHI, CLE, DEN, DET, GSW, HOU, IND, LAC, LAL, MEM, MIL, MIN, OKC, ORL, PHI, PHX, POR, SAC, SAN, TOR, UTA, WAS
1 Game: DAL, MIA, NYK
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Kristaps Porzingis had a solid outing for the Knicks on Sunday, tallying 21 points on 10-of-23 shooting to go with 13 boards, two assists, two swats, one 3-pointer and two turnovers during his 35 minutes on the court. Like most rookies, Porzingis will struggle with consistency, but when he’s on, he can fill it up like no one else. He had a usage rate of 33.1 in this one, and if Carmelo Anthony’s troublesome left knee forces him to miss any time down the stretch, Godzingis could be a stats monster in New York as the Knicks look to see what they’ve got with their No. 4 overall selection. It’s worth noting that Anthony hinted after the game that he may sit out more games in the future to rest his knee, and while he’s been fighting through the pain as of late, I would not be surprised at all if that pain suddenly becomes too much to bare if at any point the Knicks fallout of the playoff hunt. For what it’s worth, Carmelo will not sit out the All-Star game, and a recent MRI on his surgically repaired left knee came back clean, so at least there’s nothing structurally wrong there.
Jeff Teague was the only Hawk to shoot above 50 percent from the field during Sunday’s loss to the Magic, connecting on 10 of his 17 shot attempts on his way to 24 points, five boards, five assists, three 3-pointers, one steal and five turnovers in 35 minutes. Teague really struggled through the month of January, but he’s gotten things back on track this month, and over the past two weeks he’s been producing second-round value behind averages of 18.1 points, 5.4 assists, 1.8 three-pointers, 1.8 steals and 3.3 turnovers per game on 54.6 percent shooting from the field and 96.2 percent from the charity stripe. Dennis Schroder didn’t do much to push Teague for minutes in this one, going just 1-of-7 from the field during his 13 minutes on the court, and while the trade rumors have been swirling, I’m not really buying that the Hawks view Schroder as their starting point guard of the future. Teague’s fantasy value should be fine regardless of his uniform.
Victor Oladipo kept the good times rollin’ vs. Atlanta, scoring 19 points on 9-of-13 shooting to go with five boards, three assists, one 3-pointer, one steal, one block and three turnovers while playing 44.4 of the available 48 minutes. Dipo has been posting top-30 value over the past month, and as long as he’s starting, there’s no reason why he can’t keep up his current pace.
Evan Fournier got the start with Tobias Harris (ankle) on the sidelines, and made the most of the opportunity tallying 21 points, five rebounds, one assist, two steals, three 3-pointers and three turnovers in 43 minutes. He’s going to be the primary beneficiary if Harris is forced into an extended absence.
Rajon Rondo went off for 14 points, 15 assists, five boards, one 3-pointer, six steals and four turnovers through 39 minutes of action. He also shot 5-of-10 from the field and 3-of-4 from the line, and with Rondo playing so well this season, you got to wonder if he’s at all concerned that George Karl’s job is in jeopardy.
Hassan Whiteside registered 10 points and 10 rebounds in 17 minutes of action vs. the Clippers, but failed to block a shot for the first time since January 8, and just the third time all season. He also tweaked his left ankle during the game, and while he again spent the entire fourth quarter on the sidelines, the ankle tweak was not the culprit. This wasn’t the first time that head coach Erik Spoelstra decided to keep Hassan on the sidelines during crunch time, and when Whiteside spoke about the fourth quarter benching after the loss, there seemed to be an apparent tinge of frustration in his tone. “It was surprising. But ain't nothing I can do about it,” said Hassan. "I’m not talking to coach about it. We’ve talked about it so many times. Ain’t no reason to keep going to talk to him about it. I’m gonna just play.” Spoelstra hasn’t been afraid to yank around Whiteside’s minutes this season, although that doesn’t matter much as Hassan has proven that as long as he can get on the court for roughly 20 minutes, he’s fully capable of putting up gaudy stat lines.
On the Radar
Tyler Zeller produced 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting (5-of-5 from the line) in 22 minutes off the bench to go with seven rebounds, one assist, two swats and four turnovers. Zeller has actually played well over the past four games, owning averages of 13.8 points, 6.5 boards, 1.3 blocks and 2.3 turnover per game on 68.6 percent shooting which has been good enough for top-50 value in standard leagues. He’s not going to be a top-50 player to close out the season, but he’s someone to consider swooping up in deep leagues to see how long he can keep going at his current pace.
Willie Cauley-Stein scored 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting to go with four boards, one steal, one block and one turnover in 23 minutes. WCS has been playing some of the best ball of his career over the past month, owning averages of 7.9 points, 6.5 boards, 1.5 blocks and just 0.7 turnovers per game on 59.5 percent shooting from the field and 70.4 percent from the stripe. That’s been good enough for sixth-round value in standard 9-cat leagues, and if you’re searching for a field goal percentage booster who can give you a steady helping of boards and blocks, Willie is your man.
Evan Turner had another productive outing off the Celtics bench, registering 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting with four boards, nine assists, one block and four turnovers in 27 minutes. Turner has been playing some great ball this season, and should really be owned in more leagues for his ability to bring a little bit of everything to the stat sheet on any given night.
Jamal Crawford was a major component to the Clippers’ victory over the Heat on Sunday, scoring 11 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter alone to go with two assists, two 3-pointers, two assists, one rebound and one turnover through 34 minutes of action. Crawford is likely going to see his minutes in the high-30s moving forward with Austin Rivers (fractured hand) set to spend an extended amount of time on the shelf, but because he doesn’t do much in the way of defense, he’s nothing more than a late-round guy in standard settings.
Wesley Johnson had another quietly effective outing for the Clippers, tallying 10 points, seven boards, two steals and two 3-pointers in 18 minutes off the bench. He’s another member of team boring, but has actually managed to produce top-60 value over the past month due to his ability to rack up the treys, steals and swats. If you’re seeking some help in those categories, Wes is worth a look.
Marco Belinelli remained in the starting lineup on Sunday with both Rudy Gay (ankle) and Ben McLemore (wrist) unavailable, and he put up 16 points, four boards, two 3-pointers, two assists, one steal and one turnover through 38 minutes of action. He’s not much more than a 3-point specialist in deep leagues, but is certainly worth a look if you’ve got someone to cut.
Jimmy Butler (strained left knee) will miss Monday’s game vs. the Hornets, and is doubtful for Wednesday’s game vs. the Hawks. That gives Jimmy Buckets a maximum of one game for this upcoming week, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him simply shut things down in order to give himself an extra bit of rest heading into the All-Star break. Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol will do the heavy lifting on offense sans Butler, while there will be more opportunity for guys like Tony Snell and E’Twaun Moore. Moore has been playing very well in Butler’s absence, so he’s someone to consider swooping up in deep leagues for his short-term appeal.
Al Jefferson (knee surgery) has been cleared for non-contact work, but it’s unlikely he gets back on the court before the All-Star break. Once he does get back to the court, Cody Zeller’s value will take a massive hit.
An MRI taken on Austin Rivers’ left hand on Sunday revealed a fracture, and while an official timetable has not been set, Austin is likely going to spend at least the next 4-6 weeks on the sidelines. In case you were wondering, no, Rivers did not fracture his hand while throwing a punch, but rather on a layup attempt during Wednesday’s game vs. the Timberwolves. Jamal Crawford should have no problem earning playing time in the mid-30s for however long Rivers is out, while guys like Pablo Prigioni and Lance Stephenson will see an uptick in minutes.
Rudy Gay (ankle) did not play on Sunday, and should be considered questionable for Monday’s game vs. the Cavs. If he’s out, guys like Omri Casspi, Marco Belinelli, and Darren Collison will see some increased opportunity on offense. Ben McLemore (wrist) also did not play on Sunday, and it doesn’t seem likely he’ll be able to play Monday.
Kevin Love missed Saturday’s game vs. the Pelicans with a thigh contusion, and should be considered questionable for Monday’s game against Sacramento. If he’s out, Kyrie Irving, LeBron James and J.R. Smith will do more on offense with Tristan Thompson getting all the run he can handle.
Ish Smith sat out Saturday’s game vs. the Nets with an ankle injury, and he should be considered questionable for Monday’s game vs. the Clippers. If he’s out, T.J. McConnell will have another opportunity to start, and he’ll look to build off his 17-point, six-assist outing from Saturday.
Allen Crabbe (illness) is questionable to play Monday vs. Memphis, while Noah Vonleh (left ankle) is doubtful. Moe Harkless and Gerald Henderson stand to benefit if both Crabbe and Vonleh are again forced to the sidelines on Monday.
Kevin Martin (wrist) is questionable for Monday’s game vs. New Orleans. I think that there’s a slightly better chance that K-Mart plays in this one as the Wolves could look to showcase him to a team that is in dire need of a starting two-guard. If he does end up giving it a go, there will be less minutes available for Zach LaVine and Shabazz Muhammad.
Dennis Schroder suffered a chin laceration vs. the Magic that required five stiches to close, although it doesn’t seem likely the injury forced him to miss any time.
Pablo Prigioni played through a facial contusion on Sunday, but did nothing of importance during his 14 minutes off the bench. He belongs on the waiver wire in all leagues.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (ankle) is not close to making a return to the court.
Chris McCullough (knee) is expected to make his season debut Monday vs. Denver, which means nothing in most leagues.