Friday night provided fantasy owners with some good insight into the trade deadline fallout, including the debut of Spencer Hawes and the reassurance of Victor Oladipo. Chris Paul and Jimmy Butler went down while Pau Gasol made his long awaited return. With plenty to cover, let’s get right to the action.
Oladipo seizes opportunity
After the departure of Glen Davis, there was a hole in the Magic’s starting unit which Victor Oladipo filled to the brim on Friday night. The superstar rookie had 30 points and a career-high 14 assists as the Magic pulled one out against the Knicks in double overtime. He added nine rebounds, just missing out on a triple-double, while hitting two triples and nabbing two steals. The versatile guard did whatever he wanted and did a nice job of getting to the basket, especially down the stretch. While Oladipo won’t be this good every night, his production will rise in the second half as he makes a run at the Rookie of the Year award.
Afflalo tears it up before going down
Meanwhile, teammate Arron Afflalo shook off his trade rumor dust and lit up the Knicks for 32 points on 11-18 shooting with four three-pointers. Along with Oladipo, Afflalo carved up the shoddy New York defense, adding three rebounds and three assists for good measure. Afflalo’s stellar night was abruptly cut short when he stepped on Raymond Felton’s foot and went down in a heap. He left the game with a right ankle sprain and should be considered questionable for Sunday’s game.
Anthony’s 44 not enough
Carmelo Anthony did everything he could to keep the Knicks alive on Friday night; dropping 44 points to go along with 11 rebounds, but his squad fell in Orlando. Melo was pretty efficient, hitting 16-28 shots including six three-pointers. The All-Star forward played over 50 minutes and while his production probably won’t slow down, he has to be getting tired of carrying the Knicks on a nightly basis. A drop in shooting percentage is certainly possible as he labors through the rest of the season but Anthony’s big time scoring and rebound numbers shouldn’t change too much.
Young goes hog wild for Sixers
Without Spencer Hawes and Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young had a new lease on life Friday night. Running around the court like a man possessed, Young racked up a stout fantasy line of 30 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, and a whopping seven steals. Young only shot 12-29 and turned the ball over five times but everything else was fantastic. Teammate Michael Carter-Williams was also tremendous with 25 points and six assists while Tony Wroten came off the bench for 21 points. It’s worth noting that neither Danny Granger nor Byron Mullens suited up for the Sixers but even when they do MCW and Young will be the main attractions in the offense going forward. Wroten is also worth a speculative add for owners in need of triples in deeper leagues.
Hawes debuts in Cleveland
Former Sixer Spencer Hawes came off the bench for Cleveland on Friday, notching seven boards, 10 rebounds, and three blocks in 26 minutes. Hawes should replace Tyler Zeller in the starting lineup sooner rather than later and while the return of Anderson Varejao could affect Hawes’ role, the Brazilin didn’t even make the trip to Toronto, leaving his return date in limbo. Hawes’ upside is higher in the short and long term due to his consistency and health.
Gasol makes his return
Paul Gasol returned from a groin injury on Friday night and helped the Lakers get the best of the Celtics. Gasol only played 22 minutes, scoring 16 points to go along with seven boards and two blocks. The rotations were all over the place for Los Angeles as nine players logged 20 minutes or more. Chris Kaman was nearly identical to Gasol, scoring 16 points with eight rebounds in nearly 26 minutes. However, Gasol was coming off an injury and the Lakers really opened things up with a huge fourth quarter run, allowing several players to rest. With the return of Nick Young on Sunday, the Lakers’ rotations will only get more crowded. Given the recent production, Pau Gasol, Jodie Meeks, Kendall Marshall and Nick Young will probably be the best of the bunch to own going forward.
Paul and Butler go down
It wouldn’t be an exciting Friday without at least a few notable injuries and unfortunately there were two big names that suffered last night. First, Jimmy Butler took a knee to the ribs on a layup attempt early on and went down. He made his free throw and even hit a gutsy three-pointer a minute later before heading to the locker room in pain. He was diagnosed with a bruised rib and should be considered questionable for Sunday’s game. Later on in the evening Chris Paul sprained his right thumb against the Grizzlies. It was the same thumb he had surgery on and it was pretty swollen after the game. He finished with 18 points and 14 assists in 39 minutes but his frustration was clear after the game when he said he “can’t catch a break.” Words like those suggest he may miss some time with the injury, making Darren Collison a solid speculative add. However, stay tuned for updates on the situation.
Atlanta’s backup point guard Shelvin Mack got the start on Friday thanks to a Jeff Teague injury. Mack subsequently went off for 21 points and six assists, adding a pair of triples in his whopping 38 minutes of action. Teague sprained his left ankle on Wednesday and while he dressed on Friday he did not play. The Hawks may play it safe with Teague so Mack is certainly worth a look in the short term.
Evans looks lost on Friday
The Pelicans could have used a bit more efficiency from Tyreke Evans on Friday as they dropped a tough one in Charlotte. Evans came off the bench to shoot just 2-13, adding five rebound and seven assists. While the assists were nice, Evans failed to grab a steal and was out of sorts altogether on offense. Since the break Evans has been pretty putrid, shooting 5-24 in two games. He should get it together soon so owners will just have to ride this rough patch out.
Kanter gets aggressive in Portland
With no LaMarcus Aldridge and a sickly Nicolas Batum laboring through the contest, Enes Kanter took full advantage of a depleted Blazer frontcourt Friday night. The Turkish big man played over 36 minutes, scoring 25 points with 10 rebounds and four blocks. Without Derrick Favors in the lineup Kanter has been tremendous. In his two starts he’s averaging 21 points and 10 rebounds while shooting close to 60% from the field. Favors is still nursing a hip injury so owners should keep riding Kanter while he’s hot.