The NBA season resumed Thursday night with six games on the slate, but there were two pieces of off-the-court news that grabbed the headlines. Kyrie Irving will undergo season-ending surgery on his right shoulder, which opens up even more time on the ball for Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert. And Klay Thompson has been ruled out for the remainder of the season as he continues to recover from the torn ACL that he suffered during Game 6 of last season’s NBA Finals. His absence ensures that the young Warriors who have played plenty this season will continue to do so, getting them valuable experience and the coaching staff/front office an opportunity to further evaluate them.
On the court, Trae Young, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid were among the standouts Thursday night. Below is a look at those games, and it’s also worth noting that Jeff Green and DeMarre Carroll made their Rockets debuts.
Bucks 126, Pistons 106 — This one wasn’t particularly close, as Milwaukee jumped out to a big lead and never looked back. All-Stars Giannis Antetokounmpo (33 points, 16 rebounds, four assists, three steals and one block) and Khris Middleton (28/8/3/1 with four 3-pointers) did their usual work, with Eric Bledsoe (19/4/6/2/1 with two 3-pointers) and Brook Lopez (18/2/1 with one three-pointer) also scoring in double figures. Marvin Williams made his Bucks debut, playing nine minutes and finishing with one rebound, one assist and two steals. He can be left on the waiver wire, as even though his arrival may result in Ersan Ilyasova (two rebounds and two steals in 14 minutes) playing a couple less minutes it isn’t enough to justify Williams as a fantasy option in most leagues.
George Hill saw his first action since January 28, playing 20 minutes and finishing with four points, one rebound, three assists and three steals. Yet even with Hill back in the fold, Donte DiVincenzo remains a player worth hanging onto especially in deeper leagues. He played 18 minutes, finishing with eight points, two rebounds and one three-pointer.
This was Detroit’s first game without Reggie Jackson, as he negotiated a buyout during the break and has since signed with the Clippers. Derrick Rose started at the point, playing 23 minutes and finishing with 12 points, four assists and one blocked shot. Since closing out January with six straight games of 30 minutes or more, Rose has played 13, 17 and 23 minutes in the three games he’s appeared in this month. Bet on him being in the 20s more often than not, especially if Detroit remains out of the playoff picture (at that point he’d probably be in line for some “load management” days).
Bruce Brown was originally supposed to start, but due to a mishap with the starting lineup he came off the bench and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (7/5/2/1 with one three-pointer) began the game with the first unit. Brown played 32 minutes, tallying 16 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and one three-pointer. He’d be a better play than either Rose or Brandon Knight (one rebound and two assists in 12 minutes) moving forward. Christian Wood, even though he came off the bench Thursday night, has the feel of a “sell high” candidate for leagues that have yet to reach their trade deadlines. He played 27 minutes, finishing with 18 points, 11 rebounds, one assist, one steal, one block and one three-pointer.
Thon Maker (11/6/2 with two blocks and three 3-pointers) had a solid night in his 18 minutes on the court, but Wood is the pick here if forced to decide between those two. Sekou Doumbouya (8/5/3 with two 3-pointers) will play plenty throughout the remainder of the season, and he led the Pistons in minutes Thursday night (34). He and Cleveland’s Kevin Porter Jr. are two rookies worth picking up, as they’re on struggling teams and are bound to see their roles expanded in the coming weeks.
Hawks 129, Heat 124 — Trae Young went off for the Hawks, playing 40 minutes and posting a line of 50 points (a career-high), two rebounds, eight assists, two steals, one block and eight 3-pointers. The only negative for Young was the turnover count, as he racked up seven, but that comes with the territory at this point in his career. His numbers are gaudy enough that nine-cat owners are likely OK with having to punt turnovers most weeks. Kevin Huerter (allergic reaction) and De'Andre Hunter (ankle) were both in the starting lineup, scoring 17 points apiece. Huerter also accounted for seven rebounds, four assists and three 3-pointers, with Hunter supplementing his point total with six rebounds, two assists, one steal and three 3-pointers.
Those two and Cam Reddish, who chipped in with 16 points, four rebounds, one assist, two steals, two blocks and one three-pointer, will figure prominently in the Hawks rotation for the remainder of the season. They’re all worth rostering at this point. Dewayne Dedmon started at center but had a bad night, going scoreless while grabbing eight rebounds in 20 minutes. Bruno Fernando took on the remaining minutes in the post, playing nine minutes and finishing with four points and four rebounds. Damian Jones was a DNP-CD, and starting power forward John Collins (12/7/1/2/3) played 30 minutes.
All-Star forward Bam Adebayo led the way for the Heat with a robust stat line, as he tallied 28 points, 19 rebounds, seven assists, three steals and one blocked shot in 36 minutes. Jimmy Butler (17/8/9/2/1), Kendrick Nunn (14 points, two assists, one steal and two 3-pointers) and Duncan Robinson (10/2/2 with one three-pointer) also scored in double figures for Miami, which made a change to its starting lineup. Derrick Jones Jr. was under the weather, which resulted in Jae Crowder getting his first start as a member of the Heat. He finished with 14 points, four rebounds, one assist, two blocks and two 3-pointers.
The distribution of minutes at the three/four will be interesting to watch, with Crowder, Andre Iguodala (8/5/1/1/2 with one three-pointer) and Solomon Hill (three points, three rebounds, one steal and one three-pointer) entering the fold. Crowder and Iguodala played 23 minutes apiece, with Hill playing 14, Jones Jr. (6/4/2) 13 and Kelly Olynyk (5/3/1/1/1 with one three-pointer) 12. Jones left the game briefly during the second half due to a shin injury but was able to return. Crowder and Iguodala are the most valuable fantasy-wise right now, due in large part to what they’re capable of bringing to the table defensively. Goran Dragic scored 19 points to go along with three rebounds, three assists and three 3-pointers in 27 minutes off the bench.
Hornets 103, Bulls 93 — Charlotte welcomed back two members of its rotation, with Terry Rozier (knee) and Cody Martin (broken nose/concussion) both having been cleared to play. Rozier started and played 32 minutes, posting a line of 14 points, four rebounds, one assist, one steal and three 3-pointers. Martin, who played with a protective mask on his face, tallied four points, six rebounds and two assists in 25 minutes off the bench. With Dwayne Bacon having been assigned to the Hornets’ G-League affiliate, there are more minutes available to Martin and Malik Monk (25/6/3 with two 3-pointers) on the wing. Monk is a solid play in most leagues right now, as he’s averaging 17.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 0.6 steals and 0.7 blocks per game over his last 10.
Miles Bridges (22/8/2/2 with two 3-pointers), P.J. Washington (17/5/4/2/1 with one three-pointer) and Cody Zeller (16/8/2/2/1) also scored in double figures, while Devonte' Graham went scoreless (0-of-7 FGs) but contributed two rebounds, seven assists and two steals in 33 minutes. Jalen McDaniels (two points, two rebounds) played 16 minutes off the bench, but neither he nor Bismack Biyombo (three points, three rebounds, one assist and two blocks) are worth considering right now.
For those who follow the Bulls injury report there was some good news: Ryan Arcidiacono (right elbow soreness) is no longer on it. “Mr. Probable,” who was expected to receive a cortisone shot during the All-Star break, started in place of the injured Chandler Hutchison (sprained right shoulder) and accounted for three points, three rebounds, one assist and one three-pointer in 28 minutes of action. Whether he starts or comes off the bench, Arcidiacono doesn’t offer much in the way of fantasy value. Coby White, who shot 3-of-11 from the field and finished with 12 points, three assists and one block in 30 minutes off the bench, would be a better choice for those scraping the bottom of the barrel.
Thaddeus Young (22/11/1/4/1 with two 3-pointers) continues to provide solid value in standard leagues, with Zach LaVine (19/7/7/3/1 with one three-pointer) and Tomas Satoransky (12/6/8/1 with two 3-pointers) also scoring in double figures. The center position is a bit of a mess right now as the Bulls await the return of Wendell Carter Jr. (sprained right ankle). Luke Kornet started bu played just 15 minutes, finishing with five points, one assist, one steal and one three-pointer. Daniel Gafford was the first big off the bench but was limited to 16 minutes due to foul trouble, accounted for five points, four rebounds, one assist and one steal. The rookie’s issues opened up playing time for Cristiano Felicio, who played 24 minutes and tallied two points, five rebounds and two steals.
For me Gafford is the best play, especially with the Bulls being as bad as they are. In theory this sets up for him to get quality minutes moving forward, but you never know when it comes to Jim Boylen’s rotation. Injuries on the perimeter have moved Shaq Harrison into the rotation, and he finished Thursday’s game with 13 points, two rebounds and two assists in 18 minutes. As long as Hutchison and Denzel Valentine (left hamstring soreness) are sidelined, there should be a few minutes available to Harrison.
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76ers 112, Nets 104 (OT) — Philadelphia played this one without Ben Simmons, who was sidelined due to a lower back injury. Raul Neto made the start in his place but didn’t have much of an impact, playing 28 minutes and finishing with six points, two rebounds and four assists. Even though he wasn’t used in the point guard role, Josh Richardson is the better play on nights when Simmons is out. He shot just 3-of-12 from the field Thursday night, but in his 39 minutes Richardson posted a line of seven points, seven rebounds, three assists, three steals and one blocked shot.
Glenn Robinson III started alongside Tobias Harris (22/12/6/2) and Joel Embiid (39/16/2/2/2 with one three-pointer) in the frontcourt, but he played just 14 minutes and finished with four points, two rebounds and one steal in 14 minutes. Not only does Robinson have to worry about Al Horford (6/3/2/1/2) when it comes to playing time, but his fantasy value is also impacted when Brett Brown leans on Harris (46 minutes) and Embiid (41). Alec Burks played 30 minutes off the bench and gave the 76ers some much-needed production, as he posted a line of 19 points, four rebounds, one assist and two 3-pointers.
Getting 30 minutes on a consistent basis will likely be tough for Burks when the aforementioned Simmons is available to play, but he’s worth considering given his effectiveness in the pick-and-roll game. Brown said after the game that he’s interested in getting a look at Burks as a point guard/primary ball-handler moving forward, which would not bode well for Neto when it comes to his fantasy value.
As noted above the Nets were without Irving, and his being ruled out for the remainder of the season increases the fantasy value of Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert exponentially. Dinwiddie played 37 minutes and finished with 22 points, five rebounds, eight assists, one block and one three-pointer, while LeVert was responsible for 25 points, six rebounds, five assists, one steal and three 3-pointers in 39 minutes. Boasting a usage percentage of 28.4 for the season, LeVert had a usage of 35.7 Thursday night. Irving’s injury also means more minutes for Garrett Temple (7/4/2/1 with one three-pointer) and Timothe Luwawu (6/5/1), who played 33 and 16 minutes, respectively, off the bench.
The matchup with Embiid meant a shift in the minutes at center. While Jarrett Allen started he played just 13 minutes and was largely ineffective while on the court, finishing with zero points (0-of-4 FGs) and two rebounds. DeAndre Jordan, whose minutes were largely matched with those played by Embiid, played 33 minutes off the bench and finished with 14 points, 15 rebounds and four assists. Over the last month Jordan has provided eighth round value in nine-cat, with Allen being a 12th round player during that same stretch. With the two averaging nearly the same number of minutes (24.2 mpg for Jordan, 24.8 for Allen) over the last month, Jordan is the better choice at present time even though he comes off the bench. Wilson Chandler finished with 12 points, eight rebounds and three assists in 33 minutes off the bench, but he should remain on the waiver wire for the time being.
Kings 129, Grizzlies 125 — Harrison Barnes established a new season-high in points, as he tallied 32 points (two off of his career-high) to go along with one rebound, one assist, one steal and seven 3-pointers in 38 minutes. While rostered in 62 percent of Yahoo leagues, Barnes is providing 14th-round value in nine-cat due in large part to minimal production outside of points and rebounds. But he’s scored 23 or more in three of his last four games, and is certainly worth picking up if he’s available in your league. De’Aaron Fox (26/2/4/1 with four 3-pointers), Buddy Hield (20/3/4/3 with two 3-pointers) and Kent Bazemore (18 points, three rebounds, one steal and two 3-pointers) also scored in double figures, with the latter two coming off the bench.
As a reserve Hield is averaging 22.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 5.1 three-pointers per game (10 games), so while he may not be too keen on coming off the bench he’s been slightly more effective in that role. However, given Bogdan Bogdanovic’s lack of production, as he’s failed to reach double figures in three of his last four, it is fair to question whether or not Luke Walton should switch those two. Bogdanovic finished Thursday’s game with nine points, one rebound, three assists and one steal in 25 minutes. Nemanja Bjelica, whose value has increased with Richaun Holmes and Marvin Bagley sidelined, posted a line of eight points, six rebounds, five assists, one steal and two 3-pointers.
Jabari Parker made his Kings debut, playing 15 minutes and finishing with four points, four rebounds and two assists. He can be left on the waiver wire for now, but in smaller lineups he’ll have value at the power forward position. Parker’s more valuable than Harry Giles (3/3/3 with two blocks), who played 25 minutes and soon will be splitting minutes with Alex Len (hip). Holmes could also be back in short order, adding another frontcourt option to the mix. Giles’ value is already low, and those additions to the rotation won’t help matters.
De'Anthony Melton had a career night for the Grizzlies, as he put up 24 points, six rebounds three assists, one steal, one block and four 3-pointers in 23 minutes. He’s produced at a 10th-round level in Memphis’ last four games, and is rostered in just 10 percent of Yahoo leagues. Melton is certainly worth rostering due to his production on the defensive end, and now he’s playing better offensively. Ja Morant (19/1/2) has had more impactful games and the same can be said for Jaren Jackson Jr., who finished with 16 points, two rebounds, two assists and four 3-pointers in 33 minutes.
Kyle Anderson remains in the starting lineup and he put up a solid stat line Thursday, scoring 12 points with five rebounds, two assists, two steals and one three-pointer in 23 minutes. He’s rostered in 18 percent of Yahoo leagues, and that figure should increase now that he’s a fixture in the rotation. Jonas Valanciunas (8/11/1) and Brandon Clarke (8/11/1 with two blocks) both reached double figures in rebounds, while Tyus Jones posted a line of 16 points, three rebounds, six assists and two 3-pointers in 18 minutes off the bench. He’s produced 10th round value in Memphis’ last four games, and is rostered in just five percent of Yahoo leagues. He’s a solid option right now, especially in deeper leagues.
Josh Jackson (11/5/4/1/1 with one three-pointer) had a good night but should be left on the waiver wire for the time being. At best he’s worth keeping an eye on, as this was his first double-digit scoring effort since January 31.
Rockets 135, Warriors 105 — Houston was without Eric Gordon (shin) but added two players to the rotation, with Jeff Green and DeMarre Carroll making their Rockets debuts. Green was the more impactful of the two, tallying 17 points, four rebounds, one steal and four 3-pointers in 24 minutes, but it’s important to note that Carroll’s contract was not officially signed until a couple hours before tipoff. Carroll played 13 minutes, finishing with two points, three rebounds and four assists. Green’s the more valuable of the two right now, especially with the Rockets going with smaller lineups.
Danuel House (11/3/1 with three 3-pointers), Ben McLemore (9/3/1/1 with three 3-pointers) and Austin Rivers (7/4/3/3 with one three-pointer) were the players most impacted by Gordon’s absence, but there’s now more competition for those minutes on the wing. Russell Westbrook’s night ended early as he was ejected, but he put up a line of 21 points, five rebounds, 10 assists, one steal and one three-pointer in 30 minutes. James Harden (29/3/10/3/2 with three 3-pointers), Robert Covington (20/5/1 with four blocks and five 3-pointers) and P.J. Tucker (15/5/1 with five 3-pointers) also scored in double figures, and Covington has been a very good fit in Houston’s revamped rotation. Bruno Caboclo also made his Rockets debut, playing five minutes and accounting for one rebound, two steals and one blocked shot.
Andrew Wiggins led the Warriors with 22 points, three rebounds, one steal and two 3-pointers in 29 minutes, with Jordan Poole putting up a line of 19 points, four rebounds, two assists, one steal and three 3-pointers in 32 minutes. Given how this season has gone for Golden State, Poole’s a player worth considering as he won’t lack for playing time moving forward. The rookie wing is currently rostered in just three percent of Yahoo leagues. Damion Lee (13/3/3/2 with one three-pointer), Eric Paschall (12/7/2 with one block and one three-pointer) and Marquese Chriss (10/5/2 with one block) are even better options, although Lee’s value will likely take a slight hit once Stephen Curry’s healthy enough to play.
Juan Toscano-Anderson put up a solid line, as he accounted for 10 points, six rebounds, five assists, two steals and one block in 25 minutes, but he can be left on the waiver wire as he’s on a 10-day contract. Golden State is expected to sign Dragan Bender to a 10-day, giving him the opportunity to show what he can do. There’s no use in picking him up, either.
Friday’s Schedule (all times Eastern)
Cleveland at Washington, 7 PM
Dallas at Orlando, 7 PM
Phoenix at Toronto, 7:30 PM
Indiana at New York, 7:30 PM
Denver at Oklahoma City, 8 PM
Boston at Minnesota, 8 PM
San Antonio at Utah, 9 PM
New Orleans at Portland, 10:30 PM
Memphis at LA Lakers, 10:30 PM