With a salary cap spike looming, the 2016 NBA trade deadline came and went in predictable fashion. We heard star names like Blake Griffin, Kevin Love and Al Horford in plenty of rumors, but when push came to shove we got a “meh” instead of a “bang” as the action prepared to get back underway. When Channing Frye was one of the biggest names on the move, that really says everything we need to know, doesn’t it?
Given there were 28 teams in action around the Association on our first Friday back after the All-Star Break, The Daily Dose’s wheels will spin in a slightly different direction. It’s crunch time for fantasy GMs to make the playoff push.
STUDS, DUDS & FANTASY SPIN
Dallas @ Orlando: Magic 110, Mavs 104 (OT)
Brandon Jennings and Ersan Ilyasova both came off the bench, but it’s clear that each is going to play a very real role in Scott Skiles’ rotation. Those with Elfrid Payton should be worried, especially after Jennings played down the stretch, but others with Aaron Gordon—who had a career-high six steals—should not. Both with stat-stuffing double-doubles in the win, Victor Oladipo and Nikola Vucevic have nothing to worry about with their minutes. The Magic need to evaluate Evan Fournier’s fit both now and into the future, so Mario Hezonja’s minutes shouldn’t prevent Champagne from popping the cork.
Although his return from a torn Achilles has been astounding from a medical perspective, Wesley Matthews just hasn’t been the same player this season on the offensive end. I think he’s overvalued in fantasy formats, and his performance is really limiting the ceiling of a Mavs team getting more than it could have ever expected from Zaza Pachulia. Chandler Parsons looks ready to be a second-half stud for those who had the patience—I did not—but Deron Williams is a strong sell-high candidate given his injury history. He’s not someone you want to rely on in the second half.
Detroit @ Washington: Wizards 98, Pistons 86
An impermanent bench role didn’t stop Tobias Harris from a 21-point Pistons debut, and you can count me as a member of Detroit’s Team Tobias Party with his value trending up in his new home. Harris’ arrival means fewer minutes for Marcus Morris and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (groin), especially since Stanley Johnson is going to play on the wing, as well. I’m holding Johnson where I have him and wouldn’t be impatient.
Much like Bradley Beal, Markieff Morris’ bench role is expected to be temporary for a Wizards team playing three games in three nights. Beal has looked great since returning from his leg injury, while Morris coming to town will mean fewer minutes for Jared Dudley and less time for Otto Porter at the four. No matter what changes are going on in DC, John Wall and Marcin Gortat promise to hold steady the rest of the way.
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New York @ Brooklyn: Nets 109, Knicks 98
Maybe it was the Sean Marks Effect that got the Nets fired up, because it certainly wasn’t some phony New York rivalry. Led by Brook Lopez’s 33-point effort, Brooklyn had all five starters in double-digit scoring, and anyone who bought low on B-Lo after his foot scare took a good gamble to date. Thaddeus Young’s fantasy value won’t fluctuate given he’s staying in Brooklyn, but it’s a more uncertain future for Joe Johnson, who has played much better in 2016.
Carmelo Anthony (knee) and Kristaps Porzingis combined for 40 points, 15 boards, eight assists, four steals and four blocks, but the rest of the Knicks scored just 58 points on 51 shots. That includes Arron Afflalo, who continued his hot February with 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting, but AA will continue to be a volatile commodity and can’t be trusted to produce at this level consistently. The only players I’d want on my fantasy team are either Melo or Porzingis, especially since I’m not as worried about the Anthony shutdown risk as others may be.
Editor's Note: RotoGrinders.com's Seth Yates looked at the perfect FanDuel lineup for each NBA slate from the beginning of the season through the All-Star Break and the results were fascinating. Check out his findings in this "FanDuel NBA Perfect Lineup Review."
Miami @ Atlanta: Heat 115, Hawks 111
Duds: Kent Bazemore
With Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and Hassan Whiteside (suspension) all out, Miami went with Luol Deng at PF—which we’re going to see lot more of—and he responded with what could go down as his best line of the season: 30 points, 11 boards and four steals. Whiteside will be back in the next one, but Bosh is out indefinitely and Deng is going to play an important role. Meanwhile, Wade’s timetable is to be determined, meaning Dragic, who had 17 points, 10 dimes, five boards and four steals has a chance to get back on track.
The biggest surprise of the season came in the form of Josh McRoberts flirting with a triple-double while stuffing the stat sheet (19 pts, 6 reb, 10 ast), a feat nobody should expect to see again.
The Hawks held onto everyone through the chatter of the trade deadline, and on a night where Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver and Dennis Schroder all had it going, Paul Millsap, Kent Bazemore and Al Horford combined for just 33 points on 33 shots. I’m not worried about Millsap’s studly season or Horford’s steady star, but Bazemore is a different story after he’s really cooled off in February, shooting well under 40% from the field in the process. As for Korver, he’s now averaging 12.0 points, 3.8 boards, 2.4 assists, 1.6 steals, 0.6 blocks and 2.8 triples over his last five games. Pay attention.
Philadelphia @ New Orleans: Pelicans 121, Sixers 114
Duds: Jahlil Okafor
For a game with a ton of points scored, this should have been a more exciting box score.
Nerlens Noel stuffed the stat sheet with 24 points, nine boards, four dimes, two steals and a block on 10-of-15 shooting, and Jahlil Okafor’s foul trouble allowed Noel to play nearly twice as many minutes as the rookie big man. Their (fantasy) trajectories are pointed in opposite directions, and there is still very little evidence to suggest the combo can effectively share the floor. Concerns of Robert Covington’s minutes (25) and production (15 pts, three 3PM) have been overblown, his playing time is safe and he should be rostered in all but the shallowest of formats.
A huge first quarter didn’t translate into a monster game for Anthony Davis, but 34 points, seven boards, two steals and two blocks will work on any day of the week that ends in “Y.” A bench role hasn’t limited Jrue Holiday to enjoying a really nice bounce-back season, and another big night (24 pts, 12 ast, 4 stl) is the latest illustration that he should be treated as an elite PG option in the second half. Ryan Anderson was a supposed lock to get moved at the deadline, but his stay in New Orleans is good news for his fantasy appeal, which almost assuredly would have been reduced in a new destination.
Toronto @ Chicago: Bulls 116, Raptors 106
Jonas Valanciunas’ 32.5 minutes is the most playing time he’s seen in two months, so hopefully JV’s 25&12 convince Dwane Casey to give his big man more minutes. DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry can’t do it all on their own, but each member of the NBA’s most under-appreciated backcourt should each keep comfortably exceeding projections. Outside of those three, there isn’t a Toronto player I’d want on my roster unless I was stashing DeMarre Carroll (knee). That should answer the Terrence Ross questions.
A career night from Doug McDermott—30 points on 13-of-17 shooting—paired with a near triple-double from Pau Gasol (18 pts, 11 reb, 9 ast) fueled a ferocious comeback for a shorthanded Bulls team. This is a clear outlier from McDermott, and he’s not someone I’m chasing with Jimmy Butler (knee) out, Mike Dunleavy back in the picture and Nikola Mirotic slowly but surely working toward a return. E’Twaun Moore (9 pts, 7 reb, 6 ast, 34.5 min) should be rostered in more places where GMs are looking for a short-term boost.
Don’t look now, but Derrick Rose has taken off since Butler went down, averaging 23.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 0.8 steals and 1.0 triples on 46.2% shooting over his last five games. Along with Gasol, Rose is going to be a major key without Buckets in the lineup. That sounds like a nice sell-high opportunity, doesn’t it?
Charlotte @ Milwaukee: Hornets 98, Bucks 95
Cody Zeller’s motivation? Look no further than Al Jefferson’s (knee) return. While it’s hard to get too excited about Zeller’s outlook with Jefferson again in the picture as Big Al works himself back into shape, Jefferson does have plenty to prove considering he’s barely been on the floor, so Zeller is a hold where he’s currently rostered. Kemba Walker’s breakout season is both real and spectacular, and he jut might have had the biggest case for All-Star snub for anyone not named Damian Lillard. If you’re holding onto Jeremy Lin, it’s time to let go with Walker, Nicolas Batum, the newly-acquired Courtney Lee—who did not play Friday—and Jeremy Lamb all vying for minutes.
Jabari Parker is growing in reality before our eyes, but he still hasn’t hit a three all season and doesn’t do much on defense, meaning his fantasy growth won’t match what we see with our eyes. There is value to be had with Parker, but his name (in a trade) may bring you more than his game this season. The same cannot be said for Giannis Antetokounmpo, a modern-day AK-47 with a much higher fantasy ceiling. Khris Middleton has now shot under 40% in seven of his last eight games while struggling with a turnover issue, but that’s a result of big minutes, a high usage rate and Jason Kidd trusting him to play through mistakes as he adjusts to an unfamiliar role. Stick with him.
There is no excuse for Greg Monroe taking two shots in a three-point loss, but owners can’t have the same expectations with Monroe coming off the bench as they did when he was (rightfully) in the starting lineup. Michael Carter-Williams should see more consistent time with Jerryd Bayless (knee) out of the lineup for now, but MCW is a perennial sell-high candidate anytime he turns in a halfway decent effort. There is a reason the Bucks haven’t just handed him the reins.
Indiana @ Oklahoma City: Pacers 101, Thunder 98
Duds: Dion Waiters
It’s losses like this one where the sting of not having a third scorer has to burn the most for Oklahoma City, and anyone claiming Serge Ibaka as capable of filling that role just hasn’t been watching. Spending more time away from the basket than he should as the Thunder have redefined his role, Ibaka just hasn’t produced like so many expected him to this season. Russell Westbrook’s career-high 18 assists were wasted in the loss.
Literally the entire Indiana starting five qualified for the studs list, and that’s not a surprise considering the Pacers got eight total points from their bench. Myles Turner’s (career-high six blocks) is submitting a strong case for waiver wire gem of the season at just 19 years old, but his emergence hasn’t prevented Ian Mahinmi from maintaining value. So long as Mahinmi remains healthy—a real concern—and the majority of Turner’s minutes come at PF, Mahinmi is a must-own player. Even when C.J. Miles (illness) and Rodney Stuckey (ankle) are ready to roll, the big minutes are going to be there for George Hill (9 pts, 11 reb, 9 ast), Monta Ellis (27 pts, 10-of-16 FGs) and of course Paul George (22 pts, 5 reb, 10 ast). Bottom line: The Pacers need those three to carry the load.
Minnesota @ Memphis: Grizzlies 109, Timberwolves 104
Duds: Ricky Rubio
The double-double party is on in Minnesota, where Gorgui Dieng (five straight) and Karl-Anthony Towns (10 straight) are producing them like they’re factory made. Towns’ massive value has been obvious and will culminate in earning Rookie of the Year, while the days of Dieng on the waiver wire are properly over. Zach LaVine started alongside Ricky Rubio, and although Sam Mitchell plans to alternate LaVine and Tayshaun Prince in the starting five, the 2x Slam Dunk champ’s growing role could indirectly dent Ricky Rubio’s value, especially since LaVine likes to handle the rock when he’s out there and the two will play together more often now.
Matt Barnes is a winner as a result of the Jeff Green trade, and despite the return of Brandan Wright from knee surgery, the Grizzlies are going to be really thin up front without Marc Gasol available. One good night does not make JaMychal Green a pickup candidate, especially with Wright’s return promising to eat into his playing time. Outside of Barnes, Mike Conley is the only other Grizzlies player I’d be carving out a roster spot for as Zach Randolph’s fantasy game is too Enes Kanter-esque for my liking.
Houston @ Phoenix: Rockets 116, Suns 100
Unable to find a Dwight Howard deal to their liking, this Rockets team has to find a way to make it work. James Harden (27 pts, 10 reb, 7 ast, 3 stl) is going to be the focal point of everything and promises to finish strong with the Rockets leaning on him to get into the postseason. Houston’s scrap to enter the mix will also rely heavily upon Trevor Ariza, whose ability to contribute both triples and steals elevates his game to a fantasy echelon that too often goes under-appreciated. Neither the Rockets nor fantasy owners can rely on Patrick Beverley to score 18 points per night into the future, but it’s tough to see how things get better with an underperforming bench (Corey Brewer, Ty Lawson) as well as a star pairing that doesn’t work together.
Already playing without Alex Len (ankle), the Suns lost Tyson Chandler (shoulder) after eight brief minutes. That opened the door for big playing time—and bigger lines—from Mirza Teletovic, Jon Leuer and Kris Humphries, but only Teletovic is worth adding unless both Len and Chandler are forced to miss significant time. P.J. Tucker wasn’t going to get dealt somewhere where his fantasy value was about to go up, so staying in the desert is a best-case scenario for those with The Sandwich Man aboard. Devin Booker and Archie Goodwin each had more shots than points, but both are strong holds with Booker at the epicenter of the Suns’ future and Goodwin playing major minutes sans Brandon Knight (groin).
Golden State @ Portland: Blazers 137, Warriors 105
A career-high 51 points, seven dimes, six steals, nine triples and zero turnovers. Think Damian Lillard was mad about his All-Star snub? I do.
Only the fifth loss for the Warriors all season, Draymond Green’s near quadruple-double with turnovers (14 pts, 12 reb, 8 ast, 9 TO) isn’t the kind of line he’s become a fantasy darling for this season. Stephen Curry’s 31 points and seven triples couldn’t hold a candle next to Lillard’s performance, but expect the Warriors to come out firing on all cylinders in their next game after getting knocked down and dragged out in Portland. Klay Thompson added 23 points and two triples in the defeat.
In a game where the clock read “LillardTime” from the opening tip, the only other Portland player to have more than 20 points was C.J. McCollum, who finished with 21 points, four boards, seven dimes, two steals and three triples (six turnovers). Despite a return to the bench with Noah Vonleh (ankle) back in action, Moe Harkless remained productive with 11 points, eight boards, a steal and a block on 5-of-6 shooting in his 25.5 minutes. Over his last four games, Moe Butta is averaging 13.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals, 0.5 blocks and 1.3 triples on 64.9% shooting. He’s worth a look in standard formats while running this hot.
Denver @ Sacramento: Kings 116, Nuggets 110
The Nuggets couldn’t have stopped DeMarcus Cousins’ monstrous night (37 pts, 20 reb, 4 blk) starting Godzilla inside, so replacing Nikola Jokic—who played a whopping four minutes—with Jusuf Nurkic as the starting center didn’t do anything to prevent DMC from showing his skills in the Mike Malone Return game. Despite a mini-slump from The Joker, panic is not in the picture and three of his next five games are against the Celtics, Mavs and Grizzlies…It’s not like Kenneth Faried plays big minutes or Joffrey Lauvergne shoots 10-of-14 (22 pts) every night, so a rebound is likely right around the corner. The only things that went right for Denver were Danilo Gallinari’s free throw parade (27 pts, 12-of-13 FTs) and Will Barton’s activity off the bench, but both have been a theme this season so there should be no surprises there.
The absences of Marco Belinelli and Omri Casspi (teeth) was an afterthought with Cousins and Rajon Rondo—who missed a triple-double by a single assist to finish with 24 points, 10 boards, nine dimes, five steals and four triples—absolutely going off, while Rudy Gay’s 24 points (four 3-pointers, three steals) served as the icing on the cake. Rondo has absolutely shattered his ADP in his inaugural season in California’s capital, and there is nothing to suggest his production will suddenly tail off in the second half of the season. Do not sell.
Boston @ Utah: Jazz 111, Celtics 93
Studs: Derrick Favors
One look at Boston’s box score tells you all you need to know: Outside of Jae Crowder, nobody could make a shot. Crowder and Evan Turner were the only players with more than five minutes of action to shoot at least 50% from the field, and the Celtics shot just 37% overall vs. a stingy Utah defense. Isaiah Thomas’ 25 points led Boston’s scoring, but that’s what we’ve come to expect from the newly crowned All-Star. Jared Sullinger’s versatility was again on display in the loss with nine points, 11 boards, two steals and a block, and he should be rostered in all formats given his projected rise in minutes with Kelly Olynyk (shoulder) out of the lineup for at least the next few weeks.
The patience is being rewarded for those who stuck with Derrick Favors, and the big man is now averaging 19.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 0.5 steals and 1.2 blocks over his last four games. With his back injury behind him, Favors is going to be a big reason behind the second-half success of your fantasy team if you’re lucky enough to have him. I’m not worried about Rodney Hood and I believe he’ll finish the season strong even with Alec Burks’ return looming, but it would be foolish to ignore the question of what kind of stress Hood’s new workload is putting on his body. Even with that concern, it’s not a situation where I’m looking to sell off Hood. Simply put: He’s been too good, and his breakout campaign has come with a healthy Gordon Hayward in the lineup.
San Antonio @ Los Angeles (L): Spurs 119, Lakers 113
Kobe’s Lakers came up just short for the second straight time vs. the Spurs, but Bryant’s night ended prematurely due to a dislocated right middle finger. In typical Black Mamba fashion, Kobe had his finger popped back into place on the sideline and stayed in the game before exiting for good. There is no current concern that he’ll miss Los Angeles’ next game, and you can bet he’ll want to play in Michael Jordan’s old stomping grounds when the Lakers travel to Chicago to play the Bulls on Sunday.
The starting backcourt of Jordan Clarkson and Lou Williams combined for 41 points on a tidy 13-of-23 shooting, and Clarkson’s efficiency has really come into focus since February began. This is also JC’s second straight game with five-plus assists following Byron Scott’s plea for him to distribute more, a trend to watch as Los Angeles winds down its season of evaluation. Williams may only have a few more games in the starting five with D’Angelo Russell’s insertion lurking, so selling high on the former Sixth Man of the Year makes as much sense as buying low on Russell does at this time.
Scott also revealed that Julius Randle is going to remain his starting PF for the remainder of the season even with a healthy Larry Nance (knee) ready to play, a great note for Randle’s rest-of-season outlook, especially in leagues that reward double-doubles. Randle had another double-stack on Friday with 11 points, 15 boards and a triple on 5-of-10 shooting. That’s now three of four games with a double-double for Young Julius, who's averaging 12.0 points, 14.5 boards, 0.5 steals and 0.5 triples over that stretch.
No Kawhi Leonard (calf), no problem for San Antonio behind Tim Duncan’s double-double (12 pts, 13 reb, 3 blk) and Tony Parker’s 25 points. It was a Flashback Friday game for the Spurs with the old guys leading the way, but Patty Mills is a player of focus after another solid performance on Friday: 15 points, seven dimes and three triples. Getting a clear chance to contribute with Manu Ginobili sidelined, Mills has averaged 13.7 points, 5.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.3 3-pointers over his last three contests. If you’re in a deeper league and Mills is still floating on your wire, you could certainly do worse.
FRIDAY’S NOTABLE INJURIES & ANALYSIS
There is no incentive to stash D-Mo, who is still having issues with his surgically-repaired back.
New York @ Brooklyn: Andrea Bargnani (DNP, illness)
Miami @ Atlanta: Chris Bosh (DNP, calf), Dwayne Wade (DNP, knee)
Philadelphia @ New Orleans: Bryce Dejean-Jones
Toronto @ Chicago: James Johnson (ankle) returned to action, but he played just 15 minutes and is not an option in standard formats.
Cody Zeller has played well in Al Jefferson’s (knee surgery) absence, and now that Big Al has returned, it leaves little room for Hawes in the rotation. As for Henson, he’s still not practicing and hasn’t played in almost a month. Even deep leaguers have to consider cutting bait if they haven’t already considering Henson is a strict specialist and Greg Monroe is—at least for now—coming off the bench.
Indiana @ Oklahoma City: C.J. Miles (DNP, illness)
Kevin Martin’s return from a wrist injury comes at the wrong time with Zach LaVine's role growing and the trade deadline in the rearview mirror. Unless he’s bought out and lands in an ideal situation, K-Mart belongs in the discount bin on your waiver wire.
Brandan Wright’s return from knee surgery will give the Grizzlies some insurance inside without Marc Gasol (foot) the rest of the way, but Wright is only worth an add if you’re fishing for blocks. The Grizz lost Tony Allen to a sore left knee after the first half of Friday’s game, and if he’s forced to miss additional time, Mario Chalmers and Vince Carter will each see their playing time trend up.
On a night where Ronnie Price (toe) got back on the floor, the Suns lost not one but both of their premium center options. Alex Len hurt his surgically-repaired right ankle earlier in the week, and it’s not yet clear how much time he may miss. Meanwhile, Chandler lasted all of eight minutes on Friday. If both guys were sitting in street clothes for more than a game or two, Mirza Teletovic would become a must-add player with Kris Humphries getting back onto the radar, as well.
Golden State @ Portland: Noah Vonleh (ankle) returned to the starting lineup, but he’s really not a fantasy option. Neither is Meyers Leonard, who played all of five minutes in a 32-point blowout victory.
Ben McLemore (wrist) actually started with Belinelli sidelined, but Sacramento could have begun with his cardboard cutout and the production might have been the same.
Boston @ Utah: Avery Bradley (knee)
If Bradley is forced to miss time, Evan Turner and Marcus Smart would each benefit.
Leonard’s MRI came back clean, and the Spurs are just exercising caution with the heir apparent to the throne.
You’d likely have to cut Kobe’s finger off for him to consider missing time, and even that might be enough. X-rays were negative on Bryant’s dislocated right middle finger, and he’s fully expected to play in the house Michael Jordan built on Sunday vs. his buddy Pau Gasol and the Bulls.