There are just way too many injuries in 2016 already. That continued on Tuesday with Derrick Rose suffering a strained patellar tendon, Carmelo Anthony spraining his right ankle, Rodney Stuckey aggravating his right foot injury, Marcin Gortat might have a knee infection, Pau Gasol saying he has a sprained shoulder and a sore Achilles, Kobe Bryant tweaking his Achilles again, and even Jimmy Butler said he sprained his ankle. He’s fine because he’s Jimmy Butler a.k.a Jimmy Minutes a.k.a. Jimmy G. Buckets. Let’s start with the Bulls for this eight-game night.
Derrick Rose has a knee injury, so that’s not good. Rose did downplay the knee injury and said he doesn’t think he’ll need an MRI. Of course, there really is no such thing as a minor knee injury for Rose, so it would be a surprise to see him suit up for Thursday’s game against the 76ers. He’s not a must-own player in nine-cat leagues.
On the other hand, Gasol and Butler are elite at their position. Gasol said he hurt his shoulder and Achilles on Saturday against the Wizards and there’s a chance he rests on Thursday. Considering his age at 35, Gasol will probably be very careful. That means, Free Bobby Portis and a little bit of Taj Gibson. Butler was outstanding on Tuesday with 30 points, eight rebounds, six assists, one block and two 3-pointers. A small ankle sprain won’t keep Jimmy down. Jimmy is sweet on you, and your fantasy team.
Besides the injuries, Tony Snell had a fluke-tastic 17-point game in 30 minutes while Portis was scoreless in four minutes. He’s not a pickup unless Gasol is ruled out. Doug McDemott also saw his minutes drop to six.
The Bucks got a monster game out of Giannis Antetokounmpo in the win, scoring 29 points with 10 rebounds, five assists, one steal, one block and no turnovers on 10-of-14 from the field. He was not having a good start to 2016 and only made 40.4 percent from the field in his previous games this calendar year, so hopefully he can stay hot and keep attacking like he did. He’s still more of a top-50 kind of guy going forward.
Not much else was of interest. Although, John Henson and Greg Monroe playing together for a whopping 11 minutes is pretty big. In fact, before Tuesday the two guys played together for just 10 minutes all season. It’s obviously going to need to happen every night and the matchup did dictate a bigger lineup against the Bulls. Henson was great with eight points, three boards and five blocks. He’s a better block specialist than Roy Hibbert.
Khris Middleton was great (16 points, six boards, nine assists, one block and two 3-pointers) while Michael Carter-Williams (11 points, four rebounds, six assists and three steals) was not.
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Three 6 Latvia Spits Hot Fire (BOS 114 at NY 120)
The big news from the Knicks game was Carmelo Anthony spraining his ankle. It was a very odd injury as he rolled his right ankle and basically bumped into a ref. X-rays were negative, and it’s tough to tell how long he’ll be out. Still, Melo is probably out for Wednesday. So who stepped up?
Derrick Williams played 17.3 minutes in the second half, finishing with 15 points, 10 rebounds, and two turnover in 29 total minutes. He fits the mold as a guy who can play both forward spots like Melo, so maybe he slots right into his minutes. Still, he’s not someone you would grab in fantasy unless Melo is ruled out for several games. Lance Thomas would also benefit after playing 12.3 minutes in the second half, finishing with seven points, four rebounds, two assists and three turnovers in 23 minutes. If push comes to shove, I’d rather have Lance over D-Will.
The rookies were the other big news from this win. Kristaps Porzingis scored 26 points with six rebounds, two assists, two steals, two blocks and three 3-pointers. He’s a potential fantasy superstar. Jerian Grant was also effective with 16 points, one rebound, eight assists, one steal, one block and one 3-pointer on 5-of-6 from the field. He’ll have to do it again to be an add unless you have something to cut.
Isaiah Thomas was a stud again with 34 points and eight dimes. He should be an early-round guy, so not much analysis needed there.
The interesting thing going forward was coach Brad Stevens going small in the second half with Marcus Smart starting for Kelly Olynyk. KO played just 11 minutes, so he loses a lot of appeal. Of course, the Celtics bigs are such a mess, so steering clear makes a lot of sense because of the headache factor. Smart is a borderline add after his line of six points, six boards, four assists and one 3-pointer in 25 minutes.
Sun Down (PHX 97 at IND 116)
The Suns were gutted on Tuesday with Brandon Knight (illness) out and Ronnie Price (toe) missing another game. That led to Archie Goodwin getting his first start of the year, finishing with 12 points, two rebounds, two assists, one steal and two blocks in 31 minutes. Goodwin has been a decent defender in his career, but his offensive game just hasn’t come around. It seems like Ronnie Price will be out for a few more, so we’ll be seeing Goodwin in the rotation. Plus, maybe the Suns are extra careful with Knight in March and April, so he’s a stash in super deep leagues. Lorenzo Brown was on a 10-day deal and posted seven points, two rebounds, five assists, one steal, one trey and five turnovers. He’s not a stash obviously.
The story of the month for the Suns has been Devin Booker. That continued on Monday with a terrific 14-point second half, finishing with 19 points, two rebounds, two assists, one block, one 3-pointer and four turnovers on 8-of-12 from the field. Booker did not do much scoring on his own earlier in the season and he was really just a guy scoring in transition and when it didn’t count. Lately, he’s really shown an ability to create and break down defenses. He’s going to be a very valuable piece for fantasy owners going forward and could flirt with top-60 value once he really starts to click. He has quite the arsenal.
The frontcourt was also in bad shape because Alex Len (hand) is not going to play on the three-game road trip. That led to Markieff Morris getting out of the doghouse for his first considerable playing time in over a month with 27 minutes, scoring 16 points with nine rebounds, one assist, one steal and three turnovers. The Suns will be playing him in the next two games and are probably doing so with the hope he’ll have trade value. If he is traded, it’s still likely going to be to a place that will use him as a backup, so the stash appeal isn’t too high.
The Suns continue to trust Mirza Teletovic at the five. The former Net scored 19 points with five rebounds, two assists and five 3-pointers in 30 minutes. Because the Suns are always going to be playing from behind, he should be playing several minutes in the second half. He’s someone worth owning right now based on how much his coach trusts him at multiple positions.
Besides those guys, there isn’t much of note. Jon Leuer is really trending down and played just 17 minutes without foul trouble in the starting lineup — cutting him for Mirza makes sense. Tyson Chandler is basically useless in fantasy for low per-minute output, which was even worse on Tuesday with one point, six rebounds, three assists, and one steal.
Lastly, there are the small forwards. P.J. Tucker was busy with 35 minutes before fouling out, making 1-of-8 from the field for five points with 10 rebounds, five assists and one steal. Those are basically the types of lines he’ll have, but he’s still worth owning in standard leagues. T.J Warren played 32 minutes, making 4-of-14 from the field for 10 points with four rebounds, four assists, one steal and one 3-pointer. Warren did play at shooting guard for a few minutes tonight, so that might help his value. Plus, there seems to be a decent chance Tucker gets traded. If you want to see what the lineup combos looked like, here ya go.
Yikes for the starters last night.
There wasn’t much of interest on the Pacers side. Monta Ellis did sit out of practice on Monday for his knee issue, but he looked good with 14 points, seven assists, four steals and one 3-pointer. After a rough start to the year, he’s playing a lot better right now and health is really the only concern. He’s figured out how to play with guys like Paul George.
Speaking of George, he had a solid game despite just 27 minutes, scoring 21 points with seven rebounds, one assist, two steals, two blocks and one 3-pointer. He’ll be better than his awful December and worse than his wonderful November. George Hill is also trending up again with 20 points, three rebounds, five assists and four 3-pointers. He’s been great in the corners this year and still has some buy-low appeal.
The Pacers do seem like they’re going more with the big lineup lately as they started Lavoy Allen and Ian Mahinmi again. Against a team like Phoenix, you’d think they would have gone smaller. Does this mean they’re a little shy about putting the oft-injured C.J. Miles in the starting lineup? Maybe. Whatever the case, Miles had a very nice game with 19 points, eight rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block and four 3-pointers. He’s still a fine hold in standard leagues.
Love Jones (HOU 107 at MEM 91)
Terrence Jones was tremendous on Tuesday, scoring 20 points with four rebounds, three assists, three steals, one block and three 3-pointers in 30 minutes. He clearly outplayed Clint Capela (one point, seven rebounds, one assist and one block) and the Rockets have really cooled on Montrezl Harrell (no stats in two minutes). That begs the question: Jones is still on the block, right? Well, maybe not. It’s pretty clear they are going to need him. Donatas Motiejunas (back) is out for a long time, Harrell is too raw and there is still some concern Dwight can’t stay healthy. If they do deal TJ, it would have to be for someone who can play minutes at both the four and the five. He has monster upside, so I’d pick him up almost anywhere to see what happens. Yes, you should cut Capela for him, if that wasn’t obvious.
Besides him, not much else happened. Dwight had 17 and 14 while James Harden scored 25 points with five boards, five assists and four 3-pointers.
It was ugly on the Memphis side. Mario Chalmers got another start for Mike Conley (Achilles), scoring 10 points with three rebounds, nine assists, three steals and one 3-pointer. It seems like Conley could be out for another 1-2 games, so Chalmers is worth a look in deeper leagues until we see Conley get back out there — that’s assuming you have something to cut. It’s also worth mentioning Conley said on Sunday he was planning to play on Tuesday, so he had some sort of setback on his timetable.
Matt Barnes (thumb) was also out for this game which put both Tony Allen (17 points, seven rebounds, four assists, two steals and two 3-pointers in 32 minutes) and Courtney Lee (16 points, three rebounds, one assist, one steal and three 3-pointers in 37 minutes) in the starting lineup. Barnes was probable for this game up until Tuesday afternoon, so he shouldn’t be out for long. Allen’s output in steals still makes him someone worth a look in standard leagues right now.
Zach Randolph started the second half, playing 33 minutes with 10 points, nine rebounds and two turnovers. He still isn’t doing enough to be considered as a strong asset in standard leagues.
Jeff Green did not play at all in the second half. The Grizzlies didn’t report an injury and coach Dave Joerger said it wasn’t a disciplinary reason. Translation: Green got benched.
Tony Touch ( SA 109 at DET 99)
There wasn’t much of interest as the Spurs took care of business thanks to Tony Parker’s season-high 31 points with four rebounds, three assists, one steal and one 3-pointer in 32 minutes. He’s coming off a six-point Monday, so he’s still not a pickup in shallower leagues.
The only other interesting thing here is LaMarcus Aldridge had a big game with 22 points, 13 rebounds, one assist and one steal in 36 minutes. Believe it or not, Monday and Tuesday marked the first time all season he put up 20-10 lines in consecutive games. Crazy. While he is trending up, he’s still more of a top 40-50 guy going forward. Tim Duncan was also excellent with 14 points, nine boards, three assists, four steals and two blocks. He should still be a mid-round guy going forward even with the rest. Kawhi Leonard had a bad game with seven points, five boards, one assist, one steal and one block. He’s fine. Danny Green wasn’t great with a 6-5-5 line with two treys. We talked about him on the pod (link on the bottom).
For Detroit, there wasn’t much happening here besides Kentavious Caldwell-Pope dropping 25 points, three rebounds, two assists, three steals and four treys. He’s playing well and his owners shouldn’t sell him high unless it’s a deal for a top-50 guy. Marcus Morris was awful in his return with four points, five rebounds and three assists in 28 minutes. He’s OK, but not a must-own guy in 10-team leagues. Andre Drummond double-doubled. Related: Water is wet.
We Got the ‘Bazz (OKC 101 at MIN 96)
For the Wolves, Nikola Pekovic rested on Tuesday and Kevin Garnett should be resting on Wednesday. That helped Gorgui Dieng get minutes at both power forward and center on Tuesday, blocking six shots with two points, six rebounds, two assists and one steal in 32 minutes. His per-minute numbers at power forward are not as great as they are at center, so Pek missing games should help him. Obviously Dieng should be owned in all leagues. To round out the bigs, Karl-Anthony Towns was fine with 14 points, 10 rebounds and one assist while Nemanja Bjelica got his most playing time since Nov. 12, logging 27 minutes with six points, four rebounds, one assist, three steals and a two 3-pointers. Not bad, but not worth grabbing in most leagues yet.
The backcourt guy of note was Zach LaVine, who scored 21 points with nine rebounds, four assist and three 3-pointers in 27 minutes. Yes, this was a great game, but he did not play a second next to Ricky Rubio in the loss. Rubio had a bad game in 21 minutes with three points, two rebounds, six assists, one steal and one 3-pointer. I don’t think LaVine is the greatest pickup right now because he will need to play in multiple positions for consistent value. Rubio and LaVine have not played next to each other at all in the last four games.
The other player of note here is Shabazz Muhammad with another 20-point game. He’s been very good for DFS in his last five, averaging 17.0 points, 2.8 boards, 1.2 assists, 0.2 steals and 1.0 treys on 54.5 percent from the field. ‘Bazz doesn’t really do enough to be an attractive add in standard leagues just yet, but I’d add him in a points league.
Nothing else really needs to be said about Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, right? They both were great with KD dropping 30 points, seven rebounds, three assists, one steal and two treys while Westy had 22 points, seven rebounds, 11 assists, three steals, two treys and seven turnovers. Enes Kanter was also good with 18 points, four boards and one steal on 8-of-10 from the field. No need to adjust his outlook from this, though. His upside is too low.
Bye Pelican Bye (NO 95 at LAL 91)
The Pelicans are out of it, right? They are 11-26, they lost to the Dallas backups last week and now they lost to the Lakers. Yes, Anthony Davis (back) didn't play, but that's no excuse. This was another major subject on the pod and it's becoming more and more likely they will just take it easy this year. Generally speaking, selling Pelicans makes sense.
On Tuesday, Ryan Anderson played 42 minutes with 15 points, seven rebounds, two assists, one block and one 3-pointer. He should be very good going forward, but a trade would hurt him. Jrue Holiday took a step back from a 29-point game over the weekend, scoring 14 points with five rebounds, four assists and no turnovers. He should be close to an early-round guy as long as he's healthy. The same can be said for Tyreke Evans and his oft-injured knees. On Tuesday, he scored 21 points with five rebounds, four assists, one steal and three 3-pointers.
Omer Asik continues to start and he scored one point in 18 minutes, adding 13 rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block. No way he should be added in almost any league. Alexis Ajinca is the better player and he did play 22 minutes with 10 points, 10 boards, two assists and one block. If you want to stash someone in a deep league, it's probably him.
As mentioned at the top of this column, Kobe Bryant could not finish this game due to an Achilles injury. That means he's way more likely to rest going forward, so he is someone to cut in a shallow league or even a standard league. There will be a ton of DNPs because the last thing the Lakers and Kobe want is another season-ending injury.
D'Angelo Russell also made his return with 13 points, four rebounds, three assists and two 3-pointers. He's playing a lot better and he could be a helpful piece going forward, especially with Kobe hurting. Lou Williams (19 points on 4-of-14 from the field with four rebounds and eight assists) and Jordan Clarkson (18 points, seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and one 3-pointer) were OK with sub-par shooting lines.
Chandler Parsons Project (CLE 110 at DAL 107 in OT)
I’m way over the word-count target, so let’s keep it quick here. Really the only noteworthy fantasy story from this game is Chandler Parsons going off with 25 points, eight rebounds, one assist, two steals and three 3-pointers. He should be a lot better than he’s been and maybe he can keep it going. He should be a top 50-75 guy going forward.
News and Notes from Tuesday
Marcin Gortat (knee) is really the big news of the day. He may have suffered an infection from diving on the court on Saturday and already missed one game. He was in the hospital and it’s still unknown on the details. His fantasy owners should be very nervous right now because he could be out for a bit. If you have something to cut, give Nene or Drew Gooden a look. They are not worth owning in standard leagues, though.
Draymond Green could be rested on Wednesday and Thursday. The Warriors probably don’t need Draymond against the Nuggets and Lakers, so that might be why he’s being rested. If he is out, that should mean more minutes for high-usage Marreese Speights, which makes him a DFS option. The Warriors will still go small a lot while they will likely play Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli at all of the center minutes. Doctor A and I talked about the Warriors being rested going forward in the pod below. Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston could rest more, too.
DeAndre Jordan (illness) is questionable on Wednesday. He should play to keep his 360-game consecutive game streak alive.
Kenneth Faried (personal) is back for Wednesday. With Faried back, one thing to watch will be if the Nuggets use two-center lineups. Chances are they won’t, but maybe they will. Jusuf Nurkic played next to both Nikola Jokic and Joffrey Lauvergne over the weekend.
Omri Casspi (back) is on track to play on Wednesday against the Pelicans. That should mean less run for Ben McLemore, Marco Belinelli and Kosta Koufos.
I wrote a column about the Magic on Tuesday, so check that out here.
Here is Tuesday's podcast!