Welcome back to The Week Ahead! Every weekend I’ll touch on some of the major storylines across the NBA and will take a brief look at what’s in store during the coming days. Additionally, I’ll have a complete report on the latest injury news and trade rumors. If you guys have any questions or just need some advice, be sure to follow me on Twitter or just shoot me an email!
Week 14 Schedule:
4 Games: ATL, BOS, CHA, CLE, DAL, DEN, DET, GSW, HOU, LAC, LAL, MIA, MIN, NYK, ORL, PHX, SAC, WAS
3 Games: BRK, CHI, IND, MEM, MIL, NOP, OKC, PHI, POR, SAS, TOR, UTA
Jeff Teague’s ankle acting up again?
Teague’s owners have to be worried after watching Dennis Schroder replace him down the stretch in two straight games, but on Sunday we finally got some clarity in regards to his struggles. Teague admitted that his left ankle has been acting up again, but he vowed that he will be better moving forward. “I’m dealing with an ankle injury,” Teague said. “That’s OK. I’ll be back.”
This guy was an All-Star last season, so there’s no doubt that this injury has been hampering him. Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer ruled out a lineup change, but at the very least this could be a position battle to watch until Teague finds his form again. Teague should be available at a massive discount, so it makes a lot of sense to buy low if you’re not giving up too much. On the other hand, Schroder may be worth a long look in standard leagues after averaging 12.0 points, 6.4 assists, 2.8 boards, 1.6 steals and 1.4 3-pointers over his last five games. (Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution)
Paul George has swelling in his left leg?
I’ll admit, I was very concerned when George pointed to his left leg after Saturday’s loss to the Kings and said he was dealing with some swelling, but to be clear he didn’t sound overly concerned. "Took a couple blows to my leg,” George said. “So it start to swell up, start to get tight so I had to stretch that out.” While this is the same leg that sidelined him for the majority of the 2014-15 season, there’s no reason to believe he will miss any time and coach Frank Vogel apparently didn’t think so either. George is probably just dealing with some general soreness, so unless we hear anything else about this his owners shouldn’t be too concerned. (Source: Candace Buckner of the Indy Star)
Kenneth Faried (groin) says his injury is “significant”
Oh boy. The Manimal doesn’t usually play when he’s not 100 percent, and while he is officially listed as day-to-day, the following quote should worry his owners. “Yeah, it does,” Faried said. “When something doesn’t enable me to run and jump and do what I do, then it’s a significant injury. So I’m kind of nervous. But everybody says it’s going to be okay, that it will just keep getting better, and to keep stretching it.” The Nuggets are 17-27 this season and are not going to be in the playoff hunt much longer, so expect them to be cautious with the Manimal. Darrell Arthur should benefit the most, but he’s not an exciting add by any means. (Source: Denver Post)
Carmelo Anthony not concerned about his knee
Anthony left Saturday’s game vs. the Hornets because of pain in his left knee, and it should be noted that this is the same knee that he had surgery on last season which ultimately shut him down. However, Anthony downplayed those concerns after the game and described it as “general soreness.” The shut-down risk isn’t too high for Melo because the Knicks don’t have any incentive to tank (they don’t own their first-round pick this summer), but it’s something to keep an eye on if the Knicks fall out of the playoff hunt. (Source: NY Post)
Eric Gordon (fractured finger) to miss 4-6 weeks
Just when you thought the Pelicans season couldn’t get any worse, Gordon may not be able to return to the lineup until March after undergoing surgery last week. He’s a drop candidate in most leagues unless you have an IR spot, but keep in mind that he could be very rusty when he returns considering he won’t be able to do too many basketball activities for a while. Norris Cole figures to see the biggest boost in playing time, but I’m not a fan and I have very little trust in him moving forward.
Trade chatter and rumors
According to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the 76ers are unlikely to make a move at the trade deadline. This is a little hard to believe considering how aggressive GM Sam Hinkie has been in the past, but this should be considered good news for guys like Ish Smith and Robert Covington. Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor still don’t look great together, but the 76ers probably want to see if Joel Embiid (foot) can return to full strength before considering moving a big. Keep in mind that draft-and-stash prospect Dario Saric could complicate the frontcourt rotation even more next season.
The Lakers are looking to deal Roy Hibbert and Brandon Bass, but should we really be surprised? Hibbert is making $15.5 million in the final year of his deal, so moving that contract isn’t gong to be easy. Additionally, the Lakers have had the worst defense in the NBA this season, and Hibbert has looked downright awful since his somewhat positive start to the season. Unlike Hibbert, Bass could actually help a contender and is more likely to move in my opinion. Both players are afterthoughts in fantasy basketball for now.
The Nets and Knicks will reportedly be “all over” Mike Conley when he becomes a free agent this summer, but you better believe that there will be several other teams interested in well. Conley is expected to be the best point guard on the open market this summer, and with the salary cap set to explode he could be looking at a max deal. The Grizzlies will do everything in their power to keep him just like they did with Marc Gasol, but another early playoff exit could leave a bad taste in Conley’s mouth. (Source: NY Post)
The Nuggets are looking to deal J.J. Hickson before the deadline according to ESPN’s Marc Stein, but a number of other veterans could be available as well including Randy Foye, Jameer Nelson, Joffrey Lauvergne and Jameer Nelson. The Nuggets will likely be sellers at the deadline, so expect them to try and open up more minutes for their young studs.
The Wolves are still motivated to move Kevin Martin before the deadline in order to open up more minutes for Zach LaVine and Shabazz Muhammad, but there has been very little interest around the league. Martin has looked terrible all season and teams are concerned about the fact that he has a player option for next season, so the Wolves will have a difficult time moving him unless he promises to opt out of his deal. (Source: Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press)
Note: This report only includes players who were updated in the past week and is accurate up until 11:00 AM (ET)
Paul Millsap missed Saturday’s game vs. the Suns in order to attend his grandfather’s funeral, but he is expected to return to the Hawks for Monday’s game vs. the Nuggets.
Jeremy Lamb (toe) didn’t play on Saturday vs. the Knicks after logging just four minutes against the Magic on Friday, so he likely tried to return too soon. He should be considered questionable for Monday’s game vs. the Kings.
Nicolas Batum (toe) is in a walking boot and has missed two games in a row, so he is probably looking at more time on the shelf. His status for Monday’s game should be in serious doubt. Jeremy Lin has been the biggest beneficiary in Batum’s absence.
Cody Zeller has a sprained right shoulder and will not play this week, meaning the Hornets will have to rely on Spencer Hawes to fill the void. This is the same shoulder that has been an issue in the past, so his owners may need to move on.
Zaza Pachulia said that he's dealing with some inflammation in addition to some soreness in his right Achilles, but coach Rick Carlisle expects him to be ready for Tuesday’s game vs. the Lakers. The Mavs should win that game pretty easily, so don’t be surprised if he is held out for one more game. If he misses more time, Salah Mejri is a better add than JaVale McGee.
Jameer Nelson (wrist) is doubtful to face the Hawks on Monday, but don’t count on him playing because he has already missed four games in a row. Emmanuel Mudiay should continue to log minutes in the 30s.
Dwight Howard (ankle) has missed two games in a row, but he is improving and it’s possible that he could play on Monday vs. the Pelicans. The Rockets have had some success with a small lineup with Corey Brewer and Trevor Ariza at the forward positions, so Howard’s return would likely mean Clint Capela would return to the bench.
Blake Griffin (quad) previously said that he would return on the Clippers’ current road trip, but he has already been ruled out for the next two games. The Clippers have no incentive to rush him back, so we may not see him back on the court until Jan. 29 against the Lakers at the earliest.
Larry Nance (sore knee) could return on Tuesday vs. the Mavericks if he practices on Monday without any setbacks. The forward has missed four games in a row, but he is one of coach Byron Scott’s favorite players and is expected to return to the starting lineup. That’s bad news for Julius Randle…
The Heat have listed Dwyane Wade (shoulders), Luol Deng (eye), Hassan Whiteside (hip), Beno Udrih (neck), Gerald Green (knee) and Josh McRoberts (knee) as questionable to play against the Bulls on Monday. Needless to say, they are in serious trouble. Wade and Green are expected to give it a go, but don’t count on seeing Deng back in action for a while because he is still experiencing blurry vision. Tyler Johnson, Josh Richardson and Justise Winslow are going to be very busy on Monday.
Lance Thomas (knee) said that he will be ready to play on Tuesday vs. the Thunder. The forward has been out for three consecutive games, but the Knicks have been holding him out as a precaution. He’s only worth a look if Carmelo Anthony (knee) ends up missing any time.
Steven Adams (elbow) could miss the rest of the Thunder’s road trip, meaning he might not be able to play again until Friday’s game vs. the Rockets. Enes Kanter has been playing well and will fill the void in the meantime.
Brandon Knight is in Los Angeles getting a second opinion on his groin injury, but his status for Tuesday’s game vs. the 76ers is up in the air. Third year guard Archie Goodwin has stepped up in his absence, so give him a look if you need short-term help.
Markieff Morris (shoulder) and Jon Leuer (back) are both day-to-day for the Suns, but Alex Len has looked incredible in his last two games and looks like a solid option this week. His long-term outlook is great as well.
Tim Duncan (knee soreness) will not play on Monday vs. the Warriors and LaMarcus Aldridge (back spasms) is probable, meaning we should see a lot of David West. Additionally, Boban Marjanovic should be in the rotation as well.
Rudy Gay (heel) has been upgraded to questionable for Monday's game vs. the Hornets. The Kings have moved into a playoff spot in the West despite the absence of Gay, but his return could impact the minutes of Willie Cauley-Stein and Omri Casspi.
Derrick Favors (back) still doesn’t have a timetable to return, so don’t count on him playing vs. the Pistons on Monday. His injury is as mysterious as they come, but the Jazz keep saying that he is improving.
Otto Porter (hip) should be ready to play on Monday against the Celtics, meaning Kelly Oubre will head back to the bench. Porter has been returning mid-round value this season, so get him back into your lineups.
Matchups of the week:
Heat vs. Bulls (Jan. 25)
Warriors vs. Spurs (Jan. 25)
Clippers vs. Pacers (Jan. 26)
Wizards vs. Raptors (Jan. 26)
Kings vs. Blazers (Jan. 26)
Clippers vs. Hawks (Jan. 27)
Rockets vs. Spurs (Jan. 27)
Mavericks vs. Warriors (Jan. 27)
Hawks vs. Pacers (Jan. 28)
Rockets vs. Thunder (Jan. 29)
Lakers vs. Clippers (Jan. 29)
Spurs vs. Cavaliers (Jan. 30)
Bulls vs. Clippers (Jan. 31)