Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert Nets – Kyrie Irving is out again with a knee injury and you have to wonder how hard the Nets will push him once he’s back in action. Spencer Dinwiddie has had a fantastic season, buoyed by the fact Irving has only appeared in 20 games, and is more than capable of running the offense without Irving. And then there’s the ultra-disappointing Caris LeVert, who finally blew up on Monday night with 29 points, seven assists, two steals and two 3-pointers in 32 minutes. LeVert is finally getting healthy and the saving grace for these two may be the fact that the Nets are still currently in the playoffs. They’re the No. 7 seed, just 0.5 games ahead of No. 8 Orlando, but also sit 4.5 games up on the No. 9 Bulls, 5.0 games up on the No. 10 Wizards, and 6.5 games up on the No. 11 Pistons. Odds are they’re going to make the playoffs, but they’ll have to keep winning games to do it. And at this point, you have to think the Nets just want to make sure that Irving is ready to go in the playoffs. Now seems like a good time to invest in Dinwiddie and LeVert.
De'Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish Hawks – Hunter (ankle) and Reddish (concussion) are both out right now and are showing up on waiver wires in drones. The Hawks are 13-38 and both Hunter and Reddish were playing well before their injuries. The Hawks already know what Jeff Teague can do and want to continue to develop the two kids, so once they’re back and healthy, they should roll right back into big minutes and big roles. Hunter averaged 11.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.3 3-pointers, and Reddish averaged 11.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.9 3-pointers in the month of January. Kevin Huerter is also picking it up in their absence and is averaging 21.5 points, 2.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 5.5 3-pointers in February after struggling for much of January, so he’s also a nice grab right now if he was dropped in your league. The Hawks remaining weekly schedule goes: 2-2-4-3-3-4-3-3-3-1 (the first two weeks are around the All-Star break so most teams play two games those weeks).
Kevin Porter Jr. and Larry Nance Cavaliers – The expectation is that Kevin Love will be traded by Thursday at 3 p.m. and I’m not sure how much Tristan Thompson, who is currently dealing with a quad injury, will play down the stretch, while he’s also a trade candidate. Assuming Love is moved and Thompson sees a decrease in his role (or is moved), both Porter and Nance should finish up with a flurry. Nance started for Thompson on Monday and had 18 points, eight rebounds, six assists, a block and two 3-pointers, and KPJ added 12 points, three assists, two steals and two 3-pointers in 24 minutes off the bench. I think they’re both must-adds and the Cavs’ remaining weekly schedule looks like this: 1-2-4-4-3-3-3-4-3-2.
Luka Doncic Mavericks – Luka’s about halfway through his sprained ankle absence and could return sometime next week. His free throws shooting wavered a bit in January and the injury could be forcing his owners to think about moving him. It’ll still take a king’s ransom to get him, but if there was ever a time to think about buying low on Doncic, it’s now. The Mavericks schedule isn’t the best over the final month, but it’s not too bad: 2-2-4-4-3-4-3-3-2-2.
Christian Wood and Sekou Doumbouya Pistons – The Pistons still haven’t given up on trying to trade Andre Drummond and if it happens, both Wood and Doumbouya could go off. Wood was fun off the bench on Monday with 17 points, five boards, two steals, two blocks and two 3-pointers, while Doumbouya continued to struggle, but did get up 15 shots in his 26 minutes of his start. He hit just two of them but did have seven rebounds, an assist, two steals and two 3-pointers to go along with his six points. The Pistons are 5.0 games behind the No. 8 seeded Orlando Magic and the playoffs are going to completely fadeaway at some point in the near future. And once they throw in the towel on this season, they’re going to let the kids play. And Wood and Doumbouya are two of their favorite kids.
Victor Oladipo Pacers – Oladipo’s minutes have been encouraging thus far, as he’s played 21, 22 and 23 of them in his three games back this season. But he’s awful rusty, hitting just 8-of-39 shots (20.5 percent) on the season, averaging 8.3 points, 1.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.3 blocks and 1.0 3-pointers on the year. He’s hit just 3-of-21 triples, but he should eventually shake the rust and at least start putting up decent numbers for the Pacers at some point. And given how bad he’s been, and with the Pacers trying to figure out how to implement him without messing up their chemistry, Oladipo should come with a very cheap price tag right now. I’m not sure he’ll ever blow up this season, but if you’ve got a good team and can afford to take on Dipo in case he gets hot, it’s probably not a bad idea.
Ricky Rubio Suns – Rubio returned from a sprained ankle on Monday and played just 19 minutes, finishing with eight points, three rebounds and two assists on 2-of-7 shooting. Rubio is in a funk right now and he hasn’t scored more than eight points or handed out more than seven assists in his last four games played. Once his ankle is healed Rubio should get back to flirting with double-doubles on a nightly basis and start putting up fun fantasy stats once again. His price tag should be pretty low right now. Additionally, Devin Booker hit just 3-of-15 shots for 11 points, four boards, four assists and a 3-pointer on Monday. His owners aren’t likely too upset about that one after he averaged 31.3 points in January, but if you want him, trying to trade for him after Monday’s dud should be a little easier than trying to get him after he has another 30-point game in the near future. Phoenix also have a couple four-game weeks during the playoffs and their remaining schedule looks like this: 2-2-4-3-2-3-4-4-3-2. The only concern is that they’re no longer in the playoff hunt, so Rubio’s not guaranteed to play heavy minutes down the stretch if the Suns want to take a look at some of their younger point guards.
Buddy Hield Kings – Hield has moved to the bench and Bogdan Bogdanovic has taken advantage of it. There’s still a small chance that Bogey could be moved by Thursday, but it’s not all that likely. Even if he stays, Hield should still off instant offense off the Kings’ bench. Hield had a pedestrian 16 points, two rebounds, three assists, a steal and two 3-pointers on Monday and didn’t play well at the end of January when he scored 13 and 19 points in his two games after going off for 42 points day after the passing of Kobe Bryant. In short, Hield hasn’t looked great in three of his last four games and now might be a good time to make a play for him. The Kings go 2-2-4-4-2-4-3-4-3-2 the rest of the way.
Kristaps Porzingis Mavericks – It’s no secret that Porzingis has been ballin’ out (in the kitchen) with Luka Doncic sidelined and he even admitted so after Monday’s game, when he went off for a season-high 38 points, 12 boards and six triples against the Pacers. “That’s something in the future I want to figure out, how I can be effective also when Luka is playing,” he said. “It’s something we’ve been working on.” Luka’s out for three more games, so we should get three more fun lines out of Porzingis, but he just hasn’t been that great when he’s on the floor with Luka. Porzingis is averaging 27.2 points on 48 percent shooting in six games without Luka, and just 16 points on 39 percent shooting in 27 games with him. Let Porzingis blow up for a couple more games and then think about moving him just before Luka returns.
Andre Drummond Pistons – If Drummond is moved, he could end up with a team where he’s not quite the focal point he has been in Detroit. And if he stays in Detroit, he could take a backseat to Doumbouya and Wood going forward. There’s some risk in moving Drummond right now but regardless of where he lands, I doubt he puts up the same monster numbers with a new team that he’s been putting up with the Pistons this season. They’re not going to make the playoffs and unless he goes to a team desperate for a center (Rockets?), he could be ready to take some sort of hit.
Brandon Ingram Pelicans – Ingram had a couple lackluster games when Zion Williamson made his debut, scoring 13 and 16 points in back-to-back games, marking the first time this season he had two such games without scoring at least 20 points in one of them. He bounced back, scoring 24, 20 and 28 points in his last three games but his usage has taken a hit with the rise of Zion over the last few weeks. If you want to move Ingram, point out his phenomenal season-long stats to potential suitors and see if you can get a stud in return for him. The Pelicans only have two four-game weeks remaining on their schedule: 2-2-3-4-3-4-3-3-3-2.
LaMarcus Aldridge Spurs – Aldridge was nice on Monday with 27 points, nine rebounds, five assists, two blocks and two 3-pointers, but was struggling prior to that one. He had scored 16, 10 and 8 points in his previous three games and the Spurs are currently on the outside looking in for the playoffs. They’re the No. 10 seed and sit 2.5 games behind the No. 8 Grizzlies for the final playoff spot and would have to get through the Blazers to get to the Grizzlies. If they continue to lose games (they’ve lost three of their last four) and fall further out of the playoff hunt, the 34-year-old Aldridge could start getting more games off than his owners would like to see. The schedule isn’t going to help, either, as the Spurs are on the road for their next seven games, playing at the Lakers, Blazers, Kings, Nuggets, Thunder, Jazz and Thunder until they go back home on Feb. 26. And they may be completely out of the playoff hunt by then.
Thomas Bryant Wizards – I like Bryant, but he’s got to compete with too many big men in Washington to fully blow up on a regular basis. Ian Mahinmi is starting, Moe Wagner and Rui Hachimura are finally back, and Davis Bertans has been playing much better, and all four of those guys can play center for the Wizards. Hachimura played 26 minutes on Monday, Mahinmi started and played nine minutes, Bertans played 32 minutes and Wagner played 12 minutes. Bryant played 29 minutes in that one and had 11 points, seven boards and two blocks, but I still think he’s going to struggle to put up big minutes on a regular basis with so many other bigs finally healthy for the Wizards.