It’s been a sad week overall around the league with the passing of Kobe Bryant with some beautiful tributes before, during and after the games. The week of being so down may have thrown off our normal NBA calendar, and we’re getting awfully close to the NBA trade deadline on Feb. 6.
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We haven’t really seen many trade rumors around the league. Just yesterday, Adrian Wojnarowski said the Pistons aren’t getting a strong market on Andre Drummond. Plus, Woj added the Pistons could keep Derrick Rose around for the young guys and they won’t give him away, but they could still be “open for business.” Christian Wood has been very good lately, so he’s been an easy player to stash (still somehow just 35% owned).
After Wood, there really aren't many must-stash guys because of the lack of trade buzz. Plus, the eight seeds being so attainable for so many teams in both conferences has made teams less likely to be sellers. What’s more, a lot of upside-stash guys like De’Anthony Melton and Jordan McRae are hurt right now, so it’s made it much tougher to stash.
As we get closer to the deadline and you play in a fantasy setting with weekly move restrictions, it’s important to remember to save your moves, especially this year where the climate isn’t as hot rumor wise.
On the positive side of things, we don’t have too many impactful injuries since Sunday, so there’s not much out there on the waiver wire. That does mean there’s not too much on the waiver wire, though.
Injuries from the week
Just before this column was published, Luka Doncic (ankle) suffered an injury in practice and we’re waiting on the details. This is the same right ankle he hurt last month and he is going to get an MRI, per the New York Times. Jalen Brunson would take over as the starter while Seth Curry, Delon Wright and maybe J.J. Barea could see more time. Brunson is an easy speculative add while we wait (more below).
Giannis Antetokounmpo (shoulder) picked up a new injury this week, but coach Mike Budenholzer said it’s not a long-term thing. Ersan Ilyasova was great in a start, Khris Middleton went off and the rest of the Bucks rotation picked up some extra shots.
Marc Gasol (hamstring) is back on the sidelines again for tightness in his hammy. Chris Boucher is back in our lives again while Serge Ibaka has a higher upside. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (ankle) is also out while OG Anunoby is back.
Marvin Bagley (foot) doesn’t have a new injury, but we learned last night that it’s worse than we thought with Bagley in a walking boot. Dewayne Dedmon and Harry Giles could have some value through the break.
Bruno Fernando (calf) is not going to play tonight and will Alex Len (hip) on the sidelines. Damian Jones may have to get some extra run against Joel Embiid tonight and Cam Reddish could play more, too.
Jordan McRae (ankle) made it back quickly from his ankle sprain a couple weekends ago, but he’s sidelined again. Troy Brown has stepped up the most while the Wizards go with bigger lineups, as well.
E’Twaun Moore (neck) is day-to-day, but the Pelicans won’t be needing him much with their wing depth at close to full strength.
Frank Ntilikina (groin) is hurt again and wasn’t on the injury report before the game. Good times in NYC.
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Adds from the week
Jalen Brunson (2%) - As mentioned above, we don’t know all the details of the Luka Doncic injury, but J.J. Barea sounded like the Mavs won’t have Luka for Friday (per Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News). As a starter, Brunson averaged 11.8 points, 4.0 boards, 6.1 dimes, 0.4 steals and 1.4 treys on a 45/33/100 shooting line in eight games. In the four games without Luka, Brunson averaged 13.8 points, 4.5 boards, 9.5 dimes, 0.8 steals and 1.3 treys in 30.8 minutes per game. If your league is sharp, he needs to be added ASAP, and he would move to must-add territory if we get bad news on Luka. Delon Wright would also benefit a bit and has seen his ownership rise to 45% again.
Jakob Poeltl (19% owned in Yahoo! leagues) - If you skipped over it above, LaMarcus Aldridge (thumb) is out and he could miss more time. Coach Gregg Popovich said there’s no timeline on a return and added “when he plays, he plays” when asked about when LMA would be back. As for Poeltl, two fouls in the first 2.5 minutes messed up his Wednesday, finishing with just four points, eight rebounds, five assists and one block in 22 minutes. On Monday, he did go off with 16 points, 13 rebounds, one assist and three blocks in 36 minutes against the Bulls. He’s basically a must-own player until Aldridge can make it back.
Trevor Ariza (35%) - He’s scored 21 points in two of his last three games, which is more than he scored in any of his Kings games (previous season-high was 18 on Jan. 6). He logged 38 minutes on Wednesday and is clearly getting all the minutes he can handle. He’s obviously going to cool off with his 59/50/75 shooting line as a Blazer, but coach Terry Stotts wants to use him in a high-minute role.
Donte DiVincenzo (16%) - He’s been in this column for basically the whole season, but it’s crazy he’s only owned in 16% of leagues. He got a little boost offensively with Giannis out with 16 points in 22 minutes against the Wizards. Over the nine-game winning streak, DiVincenzo averaged 11.4 points, 4.9 boards, 2.4 dimes, 1.7 steals and 1.8 treys on a 51/41/64 shooting line. He’s been a top-60 guy per game over this span thanks to his steals, and it’s becoming more likely they’ll have the No. 1 seed locked up before April. Hey, maybe even before St. Patrick’s Day at this point. With Giannis not 100% and the Bucks likely to rest guys after the break, DiVincenzo’s upside could get another increase.
Seth Curry (15%) - He’s played a lot better lately and is up to 27.0 minutes per game over the last four, averaging 12.0 points, 3.3 boards, 2.3 dimes 0.5 steals and 2.5 treys. Brunson and Wright are more appealing adds in shallower leagues, but Curry should be owned in more, too.
Marquese Chriss (15%) - He logged 28 minutes on Tuesday with 15 points, five rebounds, two assists and no turnovers, and he had another productive game on Saturday with 13 points, three boards, one dime, two steals, two blocks and one 3-pointer in 21 minutes. The Warriors still have to figure out his two-way deal with him under three weeks left, and perhaps the Warriors get that figured out after the trade deadline. The Warriors were running two-center lineups with Omari Spellman and Chriss getting some time together on Tuesday. The Warriors could open up even more usage for him on offense as the trade deadline approaches, so he makes a lot of sense as an add.
Cam Reddish (21%) - A couple spike games have boosted his value lately since his big game in the thrilling win in San Antonio back on Jan. 17. In those seven, Reddish averaged 14.7 points, 5.1 boards, 1.3 dimes, 1.3 steals, 0.4 blocks and 2.6 treys on a 46/46/79 shooting line. He’s shot the ball much better at the rim lately and his jumper is actually falling. He’s probably not going to be able to hold the 46 FG%, but his improved defense should keep him on the floor. Plus, the Hawks will have to run more John Collins at the five with Bruno Fernando and Alex Len on the sidelines.
Luke Kennard (30%) - You’re probably going to have to wait until after the break to get Kennard in your lineup and hopefully this time off has the injury behind him after it’s been bothering him on and off since the summer. If the Pistons do unload Rose and Drummond without getting much back, that could elevate Kennard’s value with his 26.6 usage rate in his time without Rose, Drummond and Blake Griffin. Even if they keep Drum, Kennard has a per-36 stat line of 18/4/5 with 0.5 steals and 2.7 treys in his 380 minutes with Drummond while Rose and BG are on the bench.
Kevin Porter Jr. (6%) - Thanks partially due to Darius Garland resting, KPJ looked great in Tuesday with 21 points, two boards, two dimes, one steal and five 3-pointers in 26 minutes. He was starting to pick up steam prior to his injury, and his play could push guys out of the rotation. If Kevin Love is dealt away, the rookie could see additional time next to Cedi Osman, which could up his minutes close to 30.
Dewayne Dedmon (28%) and Harry Giles (1%) - As mentioned above, Bagley is back in the walking boot and there’s a good chance he’s held out until the break. Over the last five games, Dedmon averaged 5.8 points, 6.8 boards, 0.4 dimes, 1.0 blocks and 0.2 treys in 20.5 minutes per game. Hardly anything to be impressed with, but he should still be better than that. Giles has actually been productive per minute over his last three, averaging 4.7 points, 3.0 boards, 2.3 dimes, 0.7 steals and 1.3 blocks on 63.6 FG% in 15.3 minutes per game -- 3.1 blocks, 1.6 steals, 5.5 dimes per 36. Perhaps Giles can sneak into the 24-minute range soon, which could give him some sneaky value.
Troy Brown Jr. (28%) - McRae being out has launched Brown’s minutes to 33.5 per game, averaging 17.5 points, 5.0 boards, 3.5 dimes and 2.5 treys. The Wizards could still unload Davis Bertans to thin out their rotation, and Brown was even used for a couple minutes in a non-PG lineup on Tuesday (next to Bradley Beal).
Malik Monk (13%) - It’s going to take a whole lot for Monk to be valuable in nine-category fantasy leagues, but he is playing well these days. Over the last three, he averaged 21.3 points, 2.7 boards, 3.0 dimes, 0.3 steals, 0.7 blocks and 1.0 treys on a 52/25/85 shooting line. The Hornets could make some moves to open up frontcourt minutes and Monk has been able to play the two and the three in coach James Borrego’s rotation. Plus, the Knicks could also be interested in Monk, but again he would need a whole lot to happen in basically any scenario.
Chris Boucher (6%) - This one pretty much just comes down to Gasol’s hammy. The Raptors get a back-to-back set and have another game on Sunday, so the three games in four days makes him a solid guy to stream for the rest of the week.
Daniel Gafford (3%) - He said he’s shooting for a return to the lineup on Friday, and there could be a big opportunity for him with Lauri Markkanen out for close to a month -- Markkanen was playing 35% of his minutes at the five since the Wendell Carter Jr. (ankle) injury. Plus, Luke Kornet and Cristiano Felicio haven’t exactly lit it up since Gafford went down, so he could be in the 24-26 minute range.
Luguentz Dort (0%) - Another Wally Pipp situation over Terrance Ferguson? Dort went off on Wednesday for a career-high 23 points and he continues to play defense on top perimeter players. You’re really just going to be streaming here and he’d need some things to open up for value in even 14-team leagues.
Chandler Hutchison (1%) - Another big surprise with a career-high 21 points on Wednesday, but Gafford coming back could hurt Hutch's upside.
Kevon Looney (10%) - He’s getting close and perhaps the Warriors open up a role for him with possible trades or not converting Chriss’ two-way deal. He’s just an IR/IL stash.