Devin Booker Suns – Booker has finally come back to earth a little bit after a crazy run for the Suns and hit just 2-of-11 shots for 10 points, four rebounds and five assists on Monday night. He hit just 5-of-16 shots in his previous game on Saturday and had a 3-of-15 game on Feb. 3 when he scored just 11 points against the Nets. He’s still averaging 21.5 points, 5.2 rebounds and 5.7 assists on 40.7 percent shooting in his six February games, but that’s a far cry from the 31.3 points on 52.2 percent shooting he averaged in January. It’s still going to take a heck of an offer to get Booker from his owner, but the Suns sit at just 21-33 on the season, so owners might be worried about him potentially being shut down. The time could be right to steal Booker, who should be able to turn those January numbers around without trying too hard.
Kevin Porter Jr. Cavaliers – The good news is that Porter has scored in double figures in six straight games for the Cavs. The bad news is that, outside of hitting 3-pointers, he’s not doing much else. In four February games KPJ is averaging 15.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.0 blocks and 1.8 3-pointers on 48.9 percent shooting. He’s not a great free throw shooter. He’s probably never going to be a steals or blocks guy and we’ll just have to live with that. But I do like his 3-pointers and his potential to score and rebound for a terrible team. Maybe he belongs on the sell-high list given the things he doesn’t do well, but he’s just a kid and still learning how to play. And I think he’s going to post some monster lines down the stretch for the 13-40 Cavs.
Caris LeVert Nets – LeVert cooled off on Monday, hitting just 4-of-13 shots and a 3-pointer for 11 points, two rebounds, three assists, two steals, a block and six turnovers. That snapped a three-game streak of at least 20 points from LeVert, who has gone from being dropped to a very hot pickup over the last week. Prior to his three-game run, he scored six points in 19 minutes on Feb. 1 and had three points in 21 minutes on Jan. 31, so it’s not like he was killing before last Monday. But owners, new and old alike, may be leery of LeVert given how poorly he’s played for much of the season and could take Monday’s somewhat ugly line as a sign that he’s about to fall back into another slump. I love LeVert’s game and am still bullish on him and I’m guessing he can still be had for a pretty cheap price even with his three-game heroics. Even with his six-point dud and Monday’s 11-point outing he’s still averaging 21.2 points, 3.0 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.0 steals and 2.6 3-pointers on 45 percent shooting in February.
De’Andre Hunter Hawks – Hunter is over his sprained ankle and had 10 points, three rebounds, one assist, one steal, a block and two 3-pointers on Monday in 33 minutes. He’s never going to be a volume scorer as long as Trae Young and John Collins are healthy, but he’s averaging 11.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.0 steals, 0.5 blocks and 2.0 3-pointers on 43 percent shooting in his four February games. And with the Hawks in full tank mode and sitting on a record of 15-40, a healthy Hunter could do some real damage down the stretch in Atlanta. He’s also played at least 24 minutes in his last 13 games and has played at least 30 minutes in six straight. As long as his ankle holds up, he should put up some fun numbers the rest of the way as the Hawks aim for the worst record in the league, although the Cavaliers and Warriors will have something to say about that.
Thon Maker Pistons – Chances are, Maker’s available on your waiver wire, but I’m not sure he should be. He could quietly end up being one of the big winners of the trade deadline now that Andre Drummond is in Cleveland and coach Dwane Casey seems intent on giving Maker a lot of run going forward. The 22-year-old has been hot for three straight games, averaging 12.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 1.0 3-pointers in 29 minutes in them. He’s playing alongside Christian Wood and Tony Snell and it looks like Casey is content with that scenario. He’s more of a waiver pickup than a buy-low guy, unless you’re in a really deep league. And the fact he’s only 22 works in his favor for a team that’s probably not going to make the playoffs. And as for Wood, he’s still a guy I’d be trying to buy, as well.
Juancho Hernangomez & Malik Beasley Timberwolves – Juancho and Beasley have started the last two games for the Wolves and played well. Hernangomez is averaging 14.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.5 3-pointers in his two games, while Beasley is averaging 19 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 4.5 3-pointers in his two games. With both of them starting for a team with just 16 wins on the season, they’re worth targeting in every league.
LaMarcus Aldridge & DeMar DeRozan Spurs – DeRozan, who is 30 years old, was a late scratch for the Spurs on Monday due to back spasms and the Spurs have now lost five straight road games as they continue to spiral out of the playoff hunt. They still have three more games left on their ‘rodeo road trip’ and have tough games at OKC, Utah and then OKC before finally returning home to take on Dallas, Orlando and Indiana before hitting the road again for a three-game road trip. The No. 10 Spurs are now 18.5 games behind the Lakers, are tied with No. 11 New Orleans, trail the No. 9 Blazers by 2.5 games and are 5.0 games behind the Grizzlies for the No. 8 and final playoff spot in the West. If their next three games don’t go well on the road, they could be 6.0 games out of a playoff spot and Gregg Popovich might begin to see the writing on the wall, if he hasn’t already. Back spasms seem like a thing that keeps veterans out late in the season and it’s a hard injury to prove, making it a convenient excuse to sit guys. I’m not panicking on DeRozan, but once the Spurs give up on the playoffs, Popovich could choose to rest him a lot down the stretch.
Aldridge, who is 34, is in the same boat. The rodeo road trip has already taken a toll on the Spurs and it’s not over. Selling the Spurs’ two best players seems to make sense and would probably only backfire if they somehow get hot and fight their way back into the playoffs. But I don’t think it’s going to happen.
Kristaps Porzingis Mavericks – My long-lost buddy, Luka Doncic, sounds like he’ll play on Wednesday so it’s time to think about moving Porzingis if you’re so inclined. He’s been ‘ballin’ out in the kitchen,’ so to speak, ever since Luka went down with his sprained ankle, averaging 28.8 points, 10 rebounds, 1.6 steals, 1.0 blocks and 3.4 3-pointers in his last five games without Luka. As of February 3, Porzingis was averaging 27.2 points per game on 48 percent shooting without Luka and just 16 points on 39 percent shooting with Luka in the lineup. Now that Luka’s on the verge of a return and the Mavericks are going to make every effort to get as high of a seed as they can for the playoffs, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Porzingis go back to trolling the 3-point line on most possessions, which will likely hurt all of his numbers. He’s not a must-sell player by any means, but he’s still a load management candidate, as well. If you can trade him for a stud, now’s the time to try to do it.
Reggie Jackson Pistons – Derrick Rose is out through the All-Star break, which starts on Friday and Bruce Brown is playing pretty well for the Pistons. That’s a three-headed point guard in Detroit and while Jackson hasn’t exactly been killing it on most nights, he has had some very good games. In fact, Jackson had three straight 20-point games before hitting just 2-of-11 shots on Monday for eight points and three assists. His February numbers sit at 17.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 2.7 3-pointers, but he’s shooting just 37.5 percent, has just two steals in six games and hasn’t had a block this month. Once Rose is back, Jackson could go back to being waiver wire fodder, so let him go off against the Magic on Wednesday and then try to move him if you think Rose is going to come back to slow him down. Your team’s field goal percentage will thank you, either way.
Jordan Clarkson Jazz – Clarkson has been on fire and has even been carrying the Jazz at times lately. He had 25 points on Monday, 30 points on Sunday and exploded for 37 points on Jan. 30. He’s averaging 19.2 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.8 3-pointers on 54.3 percent shooting in his five February games and I see no way he’s able to keep up that pace. His play, along with the return of Mike Conley, has hurt Joe Ingles, but it’s not out of the question that Clarkson will cool off soon and Ingles will get it going. Having said that, the first thing I’d do is make sure Clarkson’s not sitting on your waiver wire, as he’s worth owning while he’s hot. I just don’t see it lasting too long and if you own him, maybe you can use his recent heroics to turn him into a more stable fantasy player, as well as one who gets some steals and blocks.
Harrison Barnes Kings – Harry B spent most of January and the beginning of February just plodding along but has caught fire over his last two games, scoring 23 and 25 points in them, shooting it lights out, hitting seven 3-pointers and picking up some rebounds and assists. Nemanja Bjelica and Bogdan Bogdanovic are playing well, and Richaun Holmes (shoulder) should be back after the All-Star break. Marvin Bagley (foot) may not play again this season, but if he does, that will be another problem for Barnes. I doubt you can get much for him in a trade, but he might also be a cut candidate after the break. But he has played much better over his last two games and you might be able to include him in a multi-player deal that could upgrade your roster.
Dewayne Dedmon Hawks – Dedmon was brought back to Atlanta to back up Clint Capela and has looked great in his two games with his former team, averaging 12 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.5 blocks and 1.5 3-pointers in 30.5 minutes a game. He should continue to play well for as long as Capela’s heel injury keeps him out and he’s hoping to resume play after the All-Star break. If you can find someone desperate for a center and want to move Dedmon and all those blocks, now is the time to act.