As soon we got Chandler Parsons and Gordon Hayward back into our lives on Sunday, Jonas Valanciunas was a late scratch with a knee contusion and Larry Nance suffered a concussion after three minutes. It wasn’t all bad though, as we saw career nights from Devin Booker (39 points) and Harrison Barnes (34 points) and we get to look forward to the return of Darren Collison for the Kings this week. For NBA news and fantasy advice, click here to follow me on Twitter!
Jazz 114, Knicks 109
Gordon Hayward (finger) made his long-awaited return on Sunday and looked solid with 28 points on 6-of-17 shooting, and the Jazz didn’t exactly ease him into the rotation with 36 minutes. He was a top-55 option in standard leagues last season despite an inefficient campaign, so a top-40 finish could be in the cards with a strong supporting cast. Joe Johnson (10 points with two treys) moved back to the bench and played 24 minutes, so it’s time for his owners to evaluate other options. Rudy Gobert finished with 13 points and eight rebounds with a few blocks and has never looked better, but I wish I could say the same for Derrick Favors (13 points, six rebounds in 27 minutes). He just doesn’t look healthy right now and you have to wonder if his knee is bothering him. I’m not looking to buy low until he gives me a reason. Rodney Hood (18-6-4-2) and George Hill (23-9-2-2) were both dominant in the win, but there has never been a better time to sell high than right now — they will still have nice value, but the Hayward return limits their ceiling.
Kristaps Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony scored 28 points apiece in the loss, while Derrick Rose had his second strong performance in a row with 18 points and eight assists. I’m not a believer in Rose at all but he’s worth owning until the wheels fall off. Courtney Lee is still doing just enough to be owned with 10 points, six rebounds and a pair of steals and 3-pointers, but I want to go back to Porzingis for a bit. After the Knicks forgot about him in their loss to Houston when he finished with three points on four shots, he has a combined 33 field goal attempts in his last two games with averages of 27.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.5 treys and 1.0 block in 33 minutes per. The Knicks just need to keep feeding him.
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Blazers 100, Grizzlies 94
C.J. McCollum scored 16 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter to give the Blazers their second consecutive win. He added six 3-pointers with a full line, and so far he’s more than living up to his early-round price. Damian Lillard (19 points, seven assists) injured the knuckle of his left index finger during the win and was dealing with some swelling after the game, but for now it doesn’t sound like he’s in danger of missing time. Lillard was averaging 34.2 points per game prior to Sunday as he makes his case for the MVP Award. The rest of the Blazers were pretty quiet, but Moe Harkless posted another gem with 18 points on 8-of-15 FGs with seven rebounds, one steal, two blocks and two treys in 34 minutes. He’s been inconsistent, but his averages of 10.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.7 blocks, 0.7 steals and 1.1 treys are good enough for ninth-round value in standards. He’s averaging more than 30 minutes per night as well.
Marc Gasol led the Grizzlies with 21 points, while Mike Conley played through soreness in his Achilles on his way to 16 points and seven assists — he’s fine. The big story of the night was the return of Chandler Parsons, and while he was held scoreless on 0-of-8 shooting, the good news is that he played 22 minutes and he was happy with the way his knee responded. As you can see below, Parsons was coming off knee surgery last season as well and started very slow, but ultimately found his groove.
Before the break: 12.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 0.6 steals, 1.5 treys on 48.2 FG%.
After the break: 17.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.3 steals, 2.4 treys on 51.7 FG%
Kings 96, Raptors 91
The Kings snapped a four-game losing streak and got Rudy Gay (ribs) back in the lineup on the same night. Gay looked healthy and finished with a team-high 23 points, while DeMarcus Cousins posted 22 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and three blocks. Ty Lawson missed all six of his shots and finished with five points and 11 assists, but the good news for the Kings is that Darren Collison will be returning from his suspension on Tuesday vs. the Pelicans. Collison averaged 14.0 points, 4.3 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.2 treys while sharing the backcourt with Rajon Rondo last season, and he should slide into the starting lineup right away. He’s a must-start player and Lawson’s owners can move on if they haven’t already.
DeMarre Carroll didn’t need to “change his shoes” on Sunday, but he was brutal again and finished with four points on 1-of-8 FGs in 22 minutes. He hasn’t been good since he left Atlanta and while I’m sure the knee is to blame, his fantasy owners should move on. DeMar DeRozan (23 points) was held under 30 points for the first time this season, while Kyle Lowry double-doubled with 15 and 10. Jonas Valanciunas was a late scratch with a left knee contusion, and while he said he had some swelling in his knee, thankfully the Raptors are listing him as day-to-day. J-Val did mention that the injury was getting worse throughout the week, so he could miss a bit of action. There are no real winners in fantasy with J-Val sidelined, as Jakob Poeltl started and fouled out in just 18 minutes with six points and four rebounds, while Lucas Nogueira entered the rotation and had seven points, five rebounds and one block in 21 minutes.
Mavericks 86, Bucks 75
It’s a little ironic that Harrison Barnes went off for a career-high 34 points on the same night that Chandler Parsons finished scoreless for his new team. Regardless, Harry B has been sensational for Dallas and added eight rebounds, two assists, two steals and two treys to give his team their first win of the season. Barnes is flirting with top-50 value right now and I don’t see a need to sell high given how much freedom he has — he’s playing 38.6 minutes per game. Andrew Bogut (personal) returned and grabbed 16 rebounds with not much else, but it was disappointing to see Dwight Powell get only 10 minutes with Dirk Nowitzki (Achilles) out. Powell’s just a stash for the stretch run. Wesley Matthews finished with nine points on 3-of-17 shooting, knocking his field goal percentage down to 27.6 percent on the season. He’s not helping your team.
Giannis Antetokounmpo got into some early foul trouble and still posted a 11-7-3-2-2-1 line in 26 minutes. He also had five turnovers, but he’s comfortably returning top-10 value right now. Jabari Parker and Greg Monroe were the only other Bucks who had a pulse on Sunday, as Parker finished with 16 points with seven rebounds, while Monroe double-doubled with 14 and 12 with a few steals.
Nuggets 123, Celtics 107
Coach Michael Malone threatened a lineup change prior to Sunday, but instead of a major shakeup, he simply inserted Gary Harris into his rightful spot in the first unit at the expense of Jamal Murray. Harris is still on a minutes limit, but looked great with 12 points and a full line in just 22 minutes. Make sure he’s not available in you league because the SG spot is his the rest of the way. Nikola Jokic finished with nine points and five rebounds in 22 minutes and remains a nice buy-low target, while Jusuf Nurkic finally slowed down with a 4-6-2-1-1 line in 13 minutes. Malone’s rotations are unpredictable, but Nurk is going to be just fine.
Emmanuel Mudiay outscored the Celtics in the first quarter by himself with 24 points in the period, finishing with 30 points, eight rebounds, two assists, one block, one steal and three treys. He did have seven turnovers, but this was the response Malone was looking for when he threatened lineup changes. Despite the strong performance, Mudiay is still a volatile fantasy asset. Wilson Chandler has scored 19 and 21 points in his previous two games and had 22 points with five rebounds and two treys Sunday, but he left the game with hamstring tightness and did not return. If we get some good news on his status Monday, it’s time to pick him up.
Jae Crowder (left ankle sprain) expects to return "in a week or two” and Al Horford (concussion) is targeting a return on Wednesday vs. Washington. Jaylen Brown (4-4-3) got another start, but only played 21 minutes and was benched at the half in favor of Marcus Smart (13-5-2). If you picked him up, he deserves another chance. Avery Bradley is still playing unbelievable with 14 points, 11 rebounds and six assists, while Isaiah Thomas went off for 30 points and five dimes.
Lakers 119, Suns 108
D’Angelo Russell scored 11 with six assists and two treys, but the only thing holding him back right now is his FG percentage — he was 2-of-11 on Sunday and was shooting 37.8 percent in his previous six. He’s a stud and will eventually figure it out. Julius Randle’s ascension continued with 18 points, five rebounds, four assists and one steal, and may have to to play a bit more this week with Larry Nance suffering a concussion. Nick Young (22 points, seven rebounds and three treys) and Lou Williams (14 points, six assists and two steals) have been trading big games and are both worth owning while they’re hot (Young just if you need triples), while Jordan Clarkson dropped 18 points in 30 minutes off the bench.
Devin Booker went off for a career-high 39 points with seven assists and three treys just two nights after going for 38 points vs. the Pelicans. Booker played an average of 43 minutes in those games, while Brandon Knight (two points in 17 minutes) is becoming an afterthought. Booker is the future of the Suns and is the best fantasy asset apart from Eric Bledsoe (19 points). T.J. Warren is third on that list and finished with 22 points, six rebounds, three assists, two steals and two treys. He’s been the ultimate steal of fantasy drafts so far and is currently returning second-round value.