Hey guys, 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 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 12 Schedule: Games Played
Four games: Hawks, Hornets, Cavs, Warriors, Clippers, Grizzlies, Bucks, Pelicans, Knicks, Magic, Spurs, Kings, Jazz
Three games: Nets, Bulls, Mavs, Nuggets, Pistons, Rockets, Pacers, Lakers, Heat, Wolves, Thunder, Suns, Blazers, Raptors, Wizards
Two games: Celtics
Eric Gordon (finger) likely done for the season… What’s next for NOP?
Just when you thought the Pelicans season couldn’t get any worse, Gordon broke his right ring finger for the second time this season. He missed 16 games last time, and coach Alvin Gentry is speculating that he will be sidelined for 6-8 weeks. The Pelicans are six losses behind the Rockets for the eighth seed and have lost four straight, so their playoff hopes are all but over and Gentry implied that the team will start looking towards the future. "At this stage, like I said, it would be a miracle almost for us to make the playoffs,” Gentry said. “We really have to start looking at developing a culture and how we're gonna play in the future and figuring out guys on this team, how they fit into the system and if they're going to be able to fit in a system.”
The problem with this quote is that the Pelicans don’t have much young talent outside of Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday, so there aren’t any good players to pick up for the final stretch. Gentry did hint that Holiday will move into the starting lineup, so at least his fantasy value is on the rise. As for Davis, he’s been banged up all season and the Pelicans don’t have any incentive to play him in many games, so the shut-down risk is going to grow every day. His owners should be pretty nervous moving forward. (Source: ESPN)
Giannis Antetokounmpo will continue to run the offense?
The Greek Freak has emerged as a star over the last couple of weeks, as coach Jason Kidd has transformed him into a 6’11” point guard and hinted that he will continue to run the offense. "I think it's something we are very happy with," Kidd said. "If you ask him, he's happy with it. And I think his teammates are happy with it. You can see pace of play has picked up for us, multiple touches. He's a player who can go one-on-one and still make a play for a teammate. We're going to see how he handles pick-and-rolls, being able to digest different lanes of passing. Again, sometimes he doesn't need a pick-and-roll because he's that talented to create for himself or his teammates."
Antetokounmpo is putting up ridiculous averages of 19.9 points, 10.9 boards, 7.6 assists, 2.1 blocks and 1.8 steals on 47.9 percent shooting from the field since the All-Star break, returning top-10 value in that span. He needs to work on his 3-point shot or just his shooting in general, but if he continues to progress he could be a second-round pick in fantasy leagues as early as next season. He’s going to be a triple-double threat the rest of the way, even when Michael Carter-Williams (knee) returns. He’s one of my favorite players to own in dynasty leagues, as he’s still just 21 years old. (Source: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
Myles Turner worth holding onto?
The big man has clearly hit the rookie wall and has really struggled recently, but he has way too much upside to drop. His averages over his last five games have been brutal with 7.2 points, 4.4 boards, 1.2 blocks and not much else, but I doubt you will find a better player to own off your wire. The Pacers will need Turner to get it going if they want to make some noise in the playoffs, so his workload should start to ramp up again soon. For now, it’s fine to just stash him on your bench until he strings a couple of good games together. As is the case with most rookies, some bumps in the road are to be expected.
Ty Lawson signs with Indiana
The mercurial point guard gets a fresh start in Indiana, but don’t count on him making an impact in fantasy leagues. George Hill is locked in as the starter and Monta Ellis will continue to run the offense, so Lawson is likely looking at a limited role off the bench. He was an absolute joke in Houston with averages of 5.8 points, 3.4 assists and 1.5 turnovers on 38.7 percent shooting from the field, so it makes sense to watch his progress from the waiver wire. Hill’s owners don’t have anything to worry about for now.
Brandon Knight (groin) will FINALLY return?
The guard has spent seven grueling weeks on the shelf, but he will try to workout on Monday in an effort to try and return to practice on Tuesday. “Lately, Brandon is moving around pretty well,” Coach Earl Watson said. “We’re just focused on the moment. When he’s ready to come back, we absolutely embrace him. We need him and we love Brandon Knight.” It’s safe to expect his minutes to be very limited right out of the gate, but his return should shatter Ronnie Price’s fantasy value. Knight hasn’t been great this season and has been a turnover machine, but he’s still worth owning since Phoenix doesn’t have much talent available to play right now outside of Devin Booker, Alex Len and Archie Goodwin. (Source: AZ Central)
DeMarre Carroll (knee) ramps up his activity
Carroll started to play one-on-one last week and was driving to the basket and shooting jumpers, and the next step for him is to be cleared for contact so that he can return to full practice. "He’s still on schedule, there’s no timetable and he’s going to come back when he’s 100 percent and doctor clears him," Coach Dwane Casey said. Unfortunately there is only about a month left in the season and Carroll will probably need a week or two of practice before he’s ready to return, but there’s nothing wrong with stashing him in an IR spot. He was averaging 11.7 points, 4.8 boards, 1.0 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.8 3-pointers before undergoing surgery, but keep in mind that he was also playing at less than 100 percent for the majority of the season.
Chris Bosh (blood clots) works out with Heat staff
Bosh took to Twitter on Mar. 5 and said that he was “feeling good,” and he’s also been working out with the Heat coaching staff recently. It’s still unclear if he is on blood thinners, but if he is then he is extremely unlikely to return to the court any time soon. The Heat still haven’t said anything regarding his status, so that leads me to believe that his season is likely over.
Both big men will be re-evaluated on Monday, so there should be an update from the 76ers soon. "It's just a significant bruise at this stage," coach Brett Brown said regarding Okafor. "It's not something that we're overly concerned with. We're going to learn [Monday] when we get back to Philadelphia. I don't expect him to be out very long.”
As for Noel, Brown wouldn’t commit to a timetable but hinted that he won’t be out very long. "I don't really know [when Noel will play] but it's not anything that we think is going to be prolonged," Brown said. "It's not something that we think is going to extend much further than, we believe, what's already gone on.” This is definitely good news, but keep in mind that the 76ers will be very cautious since they’re tanking. Jerami Grant looks like a nice insurance policy down the stretch and is averaging 9.2 points, 7.0 boards, 2.0 assists, 2.4 blocks and 0.8 steals over his last five games. (Source: CSN Philly)
The Pacers released Chase Budinger and the forward is expected to sign with the Suns. Don’t be surprised if he cracks the rotation in Phoenix since they have no depth at SF.
Keep an eye on recently waived players such as Ray McCallum and Anthony Bennett, as they could both have value in deeper leagues if they were acquired by a team such as the Suns, Knicks, Nets or 76ers.
The Knicks are expected to sign Tony Wroten to a multi-year deal this week, so it will be interesting to see if Jose Calderon is finally benched so that Wroten and Jerian Grant can get some decent minutes down the stretch. To be clear, Wroten is only worth a stash in deeper points leagues because he was terrible in Philly this season.
Note- This only includes fantasy-relevant players who have been updated in last week
Accurate as of 12:00 p.m. ET
Kelly Olynyk (shoulder) will be re-evaluated on Monday at which point the team should provide an update on his timetable. His eventual return will impact the minutes of Jared Sullinger, Amir Johnson and Tyler Zeller.
Taj Gibson (hamstring) is considered probable to play vs. the Bucks on Monday. He returned to action on Saturday and played 38 minutes, which is just bizarre to me and it’s not a surprise that his hamstring flared up again. If he plays, Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic both lose value.
The Nuggets are reportedly considering shutting down Danilo Gallinari (right ankle) for the rest of the regular season. He was given a timetable of one month, but by that point there will only be about a week left in the season. Considering the Nuggets aren’t in the playoff hunt, shutting him down makes some sense. In case you missed it, he was diagnosed with two torn lateral ligaments in his right ankle in addition to a sprain. Gary Harris and Will Barton will benefit down the stretch.
Stanley Johnson had another MRI on Saturday because he still has discomfort in his sprained shoulder, so it sounds like he will miss some more time. He’s only worth stashing in deeper leagues with Marcus Morris, Tobias Harris and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope healthy.
Andrew Bogut is probable for Monday’s game vs. the Magic after bruising his knee on Sunday vs. the Lakers.
Blake Griffin (hand) has ramped up his workload and we keep hearing that he’s “close,” yet there’s no specific timetable for his return. Keep in mind that he’s looking at a four-game suspension when he returns as well.
Draymond Green (illness) is questionable to play vs. the Magic, meaning there could be more minutes available for Harrison Barnes and Marreese Speights.
Kobe Bryant is day-to-day with his shoulder injury, but it’s likely going to be an issue for the rest of the season. If you own him, get in the habit of checking the injury report prior to every game.
Lou Williams (hamstring) is slated to return sometime this week based on his previous timetable, but the Lakers will be cautious if he isn’t 100 percent. Due to the emergence of D’Angelo Russell, Williams’ fantasy value is trending in the wrong direction.
Brandon Wright (knee) is listed as out indefinitely and the Grizzlies haven’t released a timetable for a return.
Michael Carter-Williams (knee, hip) still hasn’t been able to practice after missing the last four games. If he misses more time, Jerryd Bayless and O.J. Mayo will see more minutes and Giannis Antetokounmpo will run the offense as the team’s point forward.
UPDATE- The Bucks announced on Monday afternoon that Michael Carter-Williams will miss the rest of the season after undergoing hip surgery. Bayless, Mayo and Antetokounmpo all get a bump in fantasy value.
Kristaps Porzingis (lower leg) is officially listed as day-to-day and should be considered questionable for Tuesday’s game vs. the Nuggets. If the rookie can’t play, Derrick Williams and Kyle O’Quinn will benefit.
Victor Oladipo (back) went through practice on Saturday and is expected to play on Monday vs. the Warriors. Coach Scott Skiles implied that Oladipo is “beyond” his injury, so he should see his normal workload. Mario Hezonja loses most of his value with this report.
Brett Brown is hopeful Nik Stauskas (illness) will be able to return on Wednesday vs. Houston, but he’s not an option outside of deeper fantasy leagues. Keep in mind that his shin has been an issue for a while.
Rajon Rondo (ankle, toe, thumb) and Rudy Gay (shoulder) are both probable for Monday’s game vs. the Pelicans. Both players will be out there and the Kings seem to list them as probable as a precaution.
Alec Burks (fractured left fibula) is drawing closer toward returning to action, but expect his minutes to be limited right out of the gate. He was a low-end asset before the injury, so he’s not a great stash. His return could dampen Shelvin Mack’s appeal, though.
Bradley Beal (sprained pelvis) is questionable for Tuesday's game vs. the Blazers. The Wizards haven’t provided an update, so take this report with a grain of salt. If Beal has to miss time, Garrett Temple will benefit the most.
Matchups of the Week:
Spurs vs. Pacers (Mar. 7)
Clippers vs. Mavs (Mar. 7)
Hawks vs. Jazz (Mar. 8)
Grizzlies vs. Celtics (Mar. 9)
Clippers vs. Thunder (Mar. 9)
Jazz vs. Warriors (Mar. 9)
Hawks vs. Raptors (Mar. 10)
Spurs vs. Bulls (Mar. 10)
Lakers vs. Cavs (Mar. 10)
Heat vs. Bulls (Mar. 11)
Blazers vs. Warriors (Mar. 11)
Thunder vs. Spurs (Mar. 12)
Cavs vs. Clippers (Mar. 13)
Pacers vs. Hawks (Mar. 13)