LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo now know the 14 reserves that they’ll be picking from after they divvy up the other eight starters when they pick teams for the All-Star Game next Thursday. The 14 reserves, seven from each conference, were revealed Thursday night with team success being the common bond between the majority of those choices. In the East, Kyle Lowry, Jimmy Butler, Ben Simmons, Khris Middleton, Bam Adebayo, Jayson Tatum and Domantas Sabonis received nods for the game with the last three being first-time selections. The West also has three first-timers in Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert and Brandon Ingram, and they join Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Damian Lillard and Nikola Jokic.
While the announcement of the reserves for the All-Star Game was the biggest news of the day, there were three more impactful pieces of news from a fantasy hoops standpoint. First and foremost, Mavericks forward Luka Doncic sprained his ankle during practice and could miss Friday’s game vs. the Rockets. How much time he could miss — if any — beyond that won't be known until after he undergoes an MRI, but pick up Jalen Brunson if you haven’t already done so. J.J. Barea should see an uptick in minutes, but it’s unlikely to be enough of a boost to make him a viable option in the short-term. Now if Doncic has to miss multiple games, that’s another story.
Also it was confirmed that Kings forward Marvin Bagley aggravated the left midfoot sprain that he suffered on December 26 and will be re-evaluated in three weeks. With Richaun Holmes still out with his shoulder injury, although the hope is that he’ll be back sometime next week, Nemanja Bjelica becomes even more valuable than he already is. Harry Giles will likely get more minutes, but he’s much more of a gamble than Bjelica fantasy-wise.
Lastly, three players involved in the late-game shoving match between the Grizzlies and Knicks were given one-game suspensions by the league: Knicks point guard Elfrid Payton for his shove of Jae Crowder that kicked everything off, and Grizzlies forwards Jaren Jackson Jr. and Marko Guduric for leaving the bench area.
Guduric’s one-game ban won’t have an impact in fantasy hoops, but the same can’t be said for Jackson Jr. He’s produced at close to a top-50 level this season, and in recent games has been better as a rim protector (2.6 bpg over the last two weeks). His absence opens up more opportunities for the likes of Crowder (who along with Knicks forward Marcus Morris was fined by the league), Brandon Clarke and Solomon Hill Friday night when the Grizzles visit New Orleans. Jonas Valanciunas, who’s ranked just outside of the top-50 in both eight- and nine-category formats, should see a bump in usage as well.
As for Payton, his absence likely moves Dennis Smith Jr. into the starting lineup. In theory that would also help Frank Ntilikina, but since we just found out about his groin issue Wednesday night that’s unlikely to be the case. And given how stingy Mike Miller has been with minutes for the Knicks younger players, even if Ntilikina were healthy it likely wouldn’t have mattered anyway. With that all cleared up, below is a look at Thursday’s six-game slate.
Raptors 115, Cavaliers 109 — Toronto played this one without Marc Gasol (hamstring), which meant a return to the starting lineup for Serge Ibaka. And he had a good night, scoring 26 points (10-of-14 FGs, 3-of-3 FTs) with four rebounds, one assist, one steal, one block and three 3-pointers in 33 minutes. With Gasol’s injury labeled as tightness as opposed to the strain that sidelined him for an extended period of time earlier this season, he’s likely day-to-day moving forward. Until he returns Ibaka is a must-play, while Chris Boucher (10 points, four rebounds and one block in 15 minutes) is only worthy of consideration in deeper leagues.
OG Anunoby (shoulder) and Patrick McCaw (broken nose) were both able to play Thursday, with the former starting and the latter playing 20 minutes off the bench. Anunoby finished with nine points, three rebounds, one assist and one three-pointer in 31 minutes, while McCaw posted a line of four points, three rebounds, one assist and one steal. Neither is worth rostering, even though both stand to have a slightly longer leash as the Raptors are still without Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (ankle).
Kyle Lowry posted a line of 23 points, five rebounds, five assists, four steals and two 3-pointers, with Pascal Siakam (19/5/2/4/1 and one three-pointer) and Norman Powell (16 points, five rebounds, one steal and three 3-pointers in 26 minutes off the bench) also scoring in double figures. Fred VanVleet shot 3-of-13 from the field (seven points), but he made up for the poor shooting by tallying seven rebounds, 12 assists, one steal and two 3-pointers.
Cleveland, which signed Marques Bolden to a 10-day contract just before the game, had no major injury issues to deal with Thursday. Kevin Porter Jr., who missed time with a knee injury and tweaked his right ankle during Tuesday’s game, played 29 minutes off the bench and tallied 13 points, three rebounds, one assist, one steal and two 3-pointers. Not the most impactful line, but I’d stash him ahead of the trade deadline. Even if Cleveland doesn’t move any of its veterans, the rookie out of USC stands to continue to get into the high 20s in minutes as the Cavaliers are well off the pace for a playoff spot.
Kevin Love, one of those vets whose name has been thrown around in trade speculation. played 33 minutes and finished with 23 points (8-of-13 FGs, 1-of-1 FTs), five rebounds, four assists, one steal and six 3-pointers. He’s been a top-50 player in eight-category formats (punting turnovers) this season. Collin Sexton also scored 23 points (9-of-17 FGs, 4-of-4 FTs), while also accounting for four rebounds, four assists, one steal, one block and one three-pointer. He also committed four turnovers, which isn’t good, but the fact that he’s been a more willing distributor in recent games is a positive sign. Over the last two weeks Sexton is averaging 4.0 assists per game, and that’s a reason why he’s been a top-50 player in nine-cat during that stretch.
Darius Garland finished with 16 points, five rebounds, eight assists, one steal and one three-pointer, with Larry Nance Jr. (13 points, nine rebounds and one three-pointer) also scoring in double figures. Tristan Thompson, another possible trade target, grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds while Cedi Osman (eight points, five rebounds, four assists, one steal and two 3-pointers) played 22 minutes. Thompson can be useful if there’s a need for rebounds, but there isn’t much value to be found in Osman.
Wizards 121, Hornets 107 — There are some who believe that Bradley Beal was worthy of a spot in the All-Star Game including the man himself, who used the word “disrespectful” when asked about his omission following Thursday’s game. What did he do between the line? Beal put up 34 points, nine rebounds, nine assists, one blocked shot and six 3-pointers in 35 minutes. He definitely has an argument for an All-Star Game spot, and in Washington’s last five games he’s averaging 39.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 6.8 assists per while shooting 53.7% from the field, 40.5% from three and 91.2% from the foul line.
There was also a change to the Wizards starting lineup, with Isaac Bonga moving back in and Thomas Bryant returning to the second unit. Bonga played 29 minutes, finishing with nine points, five rebounds, one assist, one block and one three-pointer, and Bryant posted a line of 21 points, eight rebounds, two assists and one blocked shot. Rui Hachimura is expected to return soon, and it’s likely that he’ll be in the starting lineup when that time comes.
Isaiah Thomas (18 points, six rebounds, one assist and four 3-pointers), Troy Brown Jr. (12/6/1/2 with one three-pointer) and Ish Smith (11/5/7 with one block and one three-pointer) also scored in double figures. Davis Bertans struggled with his shot as he was just 1-of-8 from the field, finishing with six points, four rebounds, one assist and one three-pointer, and starting center Ian Mahinmi accounted for six points, eight rebounds, one assist and one block. Bertans simply had a bad night and will still have value in standard leagues as he’s averaging a career-high 3.6 three-pointers per game. Mahinmi is worth a look in deeper leagues, but that’s about it.
Miles Bridges and Terry Rozier paced the Hornets with 23 and 21 points, respectively. Bridges, who shot 8-of-17 from the field and 4-of-4 from the foul line, also tallied six rebounds, three assists, two steals and three 3-pointers, while Rozier supplemented his 21-point effort with seven rebounds, three assists, one steal, one block and one three-pointer. Devonte’ Graham was just 4-of-13 from the field, finishing with 12 points, three rebounds, eight assists, three steals and three 3-pointers, while Willy Hernangomez (four rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block) scored 12 points off the bench.
Unfortunately for Charlotte P.J. Washington (15 points, one rebound, one assist and one steal) suffered a sprained right ankle during the third quarter, limiting him to 23 minutes on the night. He was able to return but did not play at all during the final 10 minutes. Charlotte’s schedule improves moving forward, and provided he remain healthy Washington isn’t going to lack for playing time. Cody Zeller played 24 minutes, finishing with nine points, seven rebounds, seven assists and one blocked shot, while Cody Martin (six rebounds, four assists, one steal and one three-pointer) and Malik Monk (four rebounds, three assists and one three-pointer) scored seven points apiece.
Charlotte, which has lost nine of its last ten games, is now 4.5 games out of the final playoff spot in the East. Given the direction in which the Hornets are trending, the younger players on the roster stand to benefit with regard to playing time.
Hawks 127, 76ers 117 — Trae Young went off again, as he posted a line of 39 points, six rebounds, 18 assists, two steals and three 3-pointers to lead Atlanta past Philadelphia. The 18 assists are a career-high for Young, who turned the ball over seven times but still put up a monster DFS line. Of the eight Hawks that scored seven reached double figures and that includes John Collins, who scored 17 points while also grabbing 20 rebounds. He didn’t have any other noteworthy stats, but when you put up a 17/20 line while shooting 8-of-13 from the field those who have you rostered will be happy.
Joining Young and Collins in double figures were Damian Jones, who started and posted a line of 14 points, seven rebounds, one assist, one steal and two blocked shots in 26 minutes. With Bruno Fernando (calf) and Alex Len (hip) sideline Jones was the first option at center, and he played well in his matchup with Joel Embiid. His fantasy value moving forward will hinge on the health of Fernando and Len and the matchup on that particular night. The desire to keep Collins from having to defend Embiid too much, which could come with the risk of getting into early foul trouble, freed up minutes for Jones.
Vince Carter (six rebounds, one assist, two blocks and two 3-pointers) also scored 14 points, with De'Andre Hunter (15/2/4 with two 3-pointers), Kevin Huerter (12/2/2/1 with two 3-pointers) and Cam Reddish (12/2/2 with two 3-pointers) also scoring in double figures. The young Hawks are going to get plenty of minutes moving forward, as Hunter, Huerter and Reddish all played at least 30 minutes Thursday night. For that reason they’re all worth a roll of the dice, as Atlanta is nowhere near the playoff chase.
Ben Simmons (31 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals), Embiid (21/14/3 with one block and three 3-pointers) and Tobias Harris (21/9/4) posting solid stat lines comes as no surprise. Shake Milton having the best night of his career, on the other hand, qualifies as a shocker. He started and played 35 minutes, finishing with a career-high 27 points, five rebounds, six assists, one steal and five 3-pointers. Milton shot 7-of-12 from the field and 8-of-10 from the foul line, and he fell two points shy of his total from the four games prior. With Josh Richardson (hamstring) sidelined he’s worth a look in deeper leagues, and with Thursday’s effort Milton likely ensured that he remains in the rotation for the time being.
With Al Horford (rest) getting the night off Matisse Thybulle moved into the starting lineup and he struggled, accounting for three points, two rebounds and two steals in 17 minutes. The rookie can be helpful if there’s a need for defensive stats, but that’s about it right now. Mike Scott contributed 11 points, four rebounds, one block and one three-pointer in 19 minutes off the bench, while Furkan Korkmaz and Raul Neto combined to shoot 0-of-13 from the field. Horford will be back for Philadelphia’s next game, which takes away any value that Scott could have had. Korkmaz and Neto were not viable options, even before their poor showings on Thursday.
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Celtics 119, Warriors 104 — Jayson Tatum (groin) made his return to the lineup but was on a minutes restriction, playing 24 minutes in Boston’s win over Golden State. And he was productive when in the game, posting a line of 20 points, six rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block and one three-pointer. His return meant that Marcus Smart was back with the second unit, and he also played well. Smart, who was a combined 8-of-30 from three after his stunning 11-of-22 effort on January 18, shot 5-of-10 from three and finished with 21 points, three rebounds, six assists, one steal and one blocked shot.
While some players’ fantasy value decreases with a move to the bench, it can be argued that Smart’s value is enhanced when he’s with the second unit. Unfortunately shooting efforts like Thursday’s haven’t been the norm for him, but at minimum he’ll be productive in non-scoring categories on most nights. Gordon Hayward (25 points, eight rebounds, three assists, one steal, one block and three 3-pointers), Jaylen Brown (18/7/2/1/1 with two 3-pointers) and Kemba Walker (13/4/5/2 with two 3-pointers) also scored in double figures. Walker appeared to be flexing his left hand/wrist at one point during the second half, but he remained in the game and finished without any issues.
Grant Williams didn’t have much of an impact scoring-wise as he accounted for just four points, but he did account for five rebounds, three assists and two steals in 17 minutes. His value has improved with Enes Kanter (hip) sidelined, but not to the point where he should be rostered. Daniel Theis, who finished with five points, eight rebounds, three assists, two steals and one three-pointer in 26 minutes, would be a better choice. And he’s currently rostered in just 46 percent of Yahoo leagues. Semi Ojeleye is in a spot similar to Williams when it comes to his fantasy value, but he played 29 minutes and posted a line of nine points, four rebounds, one assist, two steals and one three-pointer.
D'Angelo Russell led Golden State with 22 points while also tallying three rebounds, five assists, three steals and three 3-pointers in 28 minutes. And he’ll be a name to watch with the trade deadline a week away. Does a team in need of a point guard make Golden State an offer that the Warriors are willing to take? If Russell were to stay, then the question of whether or not the team will look to rest him down the stretch comes into play. This is one of the more interesting situations to watch, as it will impact fantasy playoffs regardless of what Golden State decides to do.
Alec Burks added 18 points, four rebounds, one steal and three 3-pointers in 24 minutes off the bench, with Glenn Robinson III (one rebound, three assists, one block and one three-pointer) and Damion Lee (seven rebounds, two assists, one steal and one three-pointer) scoring 11 points apiece. Omari Spellman only scored seven points, but he filled the stat sheet by also tallying three rebounds, three assists, two steals, two blocks and one three-pointer in 22 minutes off the bench.
With Marquese Chriss (nine points, three rebounds, one assist, two steals and one block) on a two-way contract Golden State is going to have to ration his appearances, which bodes well for Spellman down the line. Holding off on picking him up for consistency reasons wouldn’t be a bad course of action, but it would definitely be understandable if some fantasy owners looked to pull the trigger on adding Spellman now.
Nuggets 106, Jazz 100 — Thursday was an interesting day for Donovan Mitchell, who a couple hours before this game was named an All-Star for the first time in his career (the same goes for Rudy Gobert). It ended with one of the worst performances of his career, as he shot 1-of-12 from the field and finished with four points, five rebounds and eight assists. At least he did some work in the assist column, and games like this aren’t the norm for Mitchell. It goes without saying that he’ll be fine moving forward. Gobert had a much better night, scoring 21 points (9-of-10 FGs, 3-of-6 FTs) with 11 rebounds, one assist, one steal and three blocked shots in 37 minutes.
Utah was on the wrong end of a 27-1 second half run and looked to be dead in the water. Then Jordan Clarkson got going. Clarkson scored 24 points in the fourth quarter alone, finishing with a season-high 37 points (13-of-22 FGs, 4-of-5 FTs), two rebounds, two assists, one steal and seven 3-pointers. The ability to score points in bunches is why the Jazz acquired Clarkson, and it’s also why he has value in standard leagues.
With this being the second game of a back-to-back for Utah Mike Conley (right knee soreness) was held out, which both freed up more opportunities on the ball for Clarkson and put Emmanuel Mudiay back into the rotation. Mudiay accounted for three rebounds, two assists and one block in 16 minutes, and even when Conley isn’t available he shouldn’t be rostered. Bojan Bogdanovic finished with 18 points, six rebounds, one assist and six 3-pointers, and Georges Niang added 10 points (all in the first half), one assist and two 3-pointers in 15 minutes off the bench.
Joe Ingles (8/4/8/1 with two 3-pointers) and Royce O’Neale (2/2/1 with two blocks) were both quiet for much of the night. And with Tony Bradley (right knee sprain) sidelined Ed Davis re-entered the rotation, playing 11 minutes and finishing with two rebounds and one steal. Neither center is worth rostering, since Gobert is going to be well into the 30s minutes-wise every night.
Nikola Jokic was the biggest reason why Utah was unable to rally, as he finished with 28 points, four rebounds, 10 assists, three steals and one three-pointer. He was one of five Nuggets to score in double figures, with Torrey Craig and Michael Porter Jr. among those who stepped up. Craig produced one of his best lines of the season, finishing with 13 points, 11 rebounds, one assist, one steal and two blocked shots in 36 minutes. He scored a total of 12 points in the Nuggets’ two games prior. Porter finished with 12 points, 12 rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block and two 3-pointers in 25 minutes off the bench.
Starters Will Barton (18 points, five rebounds, one assist, one block and one three-pointer) and Jerami Grant (15 points, five rebounds, one steal and two 3-pointers) also scored in double figures. Denver is still without Jamal Murray (ankle), Paul Millsap (knee) and Mason Plumlee (foot), and Gary Harris (personal) missed Thursday’s game as well. Due to those absences there’s more than enough opportunities for guys who have been bit players in the past to step forward and earn more opportunities. On Thursday Craig and Porter made the most fo their opportunities.
Monte Morris was back in the starting lineup for the first time in four games, accounting for seven points, one rebound, four assists and one three-pointer in 32 minutes. Malik Beasley shot 2-of-8 from the field, finishing with seven points, three rebounds, four assists and one three-pointer. Even with the Nuggets not at full strength, there isn’t much value to be found in Beasley fantasy-wise.
Kings 124, Clippers 103 — With Tuesday’s game vs. the Lakers having been postponed, the Clippers were back in action for the first time since Sunday. And with Paul George (hamstring) and Patrick Beverley (groin) cleared to return, albeit with minutes restrictions, L.A. was going to be as close to full strength at it had been in weeks. Well, Kawhi Leonard (lower back tightness) was a late scratch, and the Clippers ran into a Kings squad that had its best night shooting the three.
Sacramento made a franchise record 21 3-pointers, with Buddy Hield (19 points, seven rebounds, one assist, one steal and five 3-pointers) and Bogdan Bogdanovic (15/3/3 with four 3-pointers) responsible for nine of them. Hield may not be a big fan of coming off the bench, but his production hasn’t dipped all that much since he was removed from the starting lineup. He and Bogdanovic were two of five double-digit scorers for the Kings, with De'Aaron Fox leading the way. He scored a career-high 34 points (14-of-24 FGs, 3-of-5 FTs) with three rebounds, eight assists, four steals, two blocks and three 3-pointers in 35 minutes. Over the last month, Fox has been a top-20 player in eight-cat and a top-40 player in nine-cat.
Dewayne Dedmon started at the center position, playing 31 minutes and finishing with 11 points, 11 rebounds, one assist, four steals, three blocks and one three-pointer. To this point the partnership between Dedmon and the Kings hasn’t worked out, so his starting and playing that many minutes may be about the Kings showcasing him ahead of the trade deadline. He’s a better option than Harry Giles, and is worth a look in deeper leagues. Cory Joseph added 16 points, two rebounds, seven assists, one steal, one block and four 3-pointers in 33 minutes off the bench.
Nemanja Bjelica finished with nine points, eight rebounds, one assist and two 3-pointers in 29 minutes. There have been reports that teams have inquired about his availability, and with the trade deadline on the horizon his moving would open up minutes for a player such as Giles. Kent Bazemore tallied eight points, five rebounds, two assists, one steal and two 3-pointers in 20 minutes off the bench.
Going back to the Clippers, George (eight points, four rebounds, four assists and one three-pointer) played 19 minutes and Beverley (11 points, one rebound, five assists, one steal, one block and three 3-pointers) 24. Patrick Patterson was back on the bench and he played just eight minutes, scoring two points and grabbing one rebound in his time on the court. The bench tandem of Lou Williams (22 points, six assists, one steal and one three-pointer) and Montrezl Harrell (21/7/3 with three blocks) had productive scoring nights, but Williams shot 7-of-22 from the field and also turned the ball over a team-high six times on the night.
The combination of Leonard’s absence and the minutes restrictions placed on George and Beverley freed up a few more scoring opportunities for Landry Shamet, who shot 5-of-8 from three and finished with 15 points, two rebounds and three assists in 31 minutes. Over the last two weeks he’s averaging 16.3 points and 3.8 three-pointers per game, and he’s been a top-100 player in both eight- and nine-cat formats. Currently rostered in just 17 percent of Yahoo leagues, Shamet is worth a look especially if Leonard is unable to play Saturday.
Friday’s Schedule (all times Eastern)
Toronto at Detroit, 7 PM
Chicago at Brooklyn, 7:30 PM
Dallas at Houston, 7:30 PM
Memphis at New Orleans, 8 PM
Denver at Milwaukee, 9 PM
Oklahoma City at Phoenix, 9 PM
Portland at LA Lakers, 10:30 PM