This piece is divided into two sections: I’m Feelin’ and I’m Not Feelin’.
The first will expand on notes, developments and other storylines from around the NBA that are of importance to fantasy teams for the short and long-term. The latter will focus on negative developments, especially in regards to any possible fantasy fallout. And as always, there will be room for general observations from around the association.
Like we have to kick things off with the new-look Cavs, right? Though I’ll never love the long-term financial commitments the club decided to take on, there is no denying that the roster looks better suited to succeed than the previous version. And when you have LeBron James on your team, every year is about that season.
Dwight Powell’s production! It’s finally happening for the big man, who came into Tuesday’s contest (18 points, six rebounds, five assists) averaging 16.0 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.0 steal, and just 1.2 turnovers on 66.7% shooting over his previous five games.
Will The Thrill Barton popping off in February. After coming into Tuesday’s game with February averages of 17.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.8 blocks, and 2.4 3-pointers on an incendiary 56.7% shooting, the veteran racked up 20 points, five boards, six assists, two steals, and two triples on 9-of-19 shooting in a Denver win. It’s clear that Mike Malone trusts Barton to play big minutes, and he’s a player who was undervalued on draft day with an ADP of 127.0, after names like Derrick Rose, Seth Curry, and Rudy Gay.
Julius Randle carving out a redefined market in the NBA free agent landscape. The Kentucky product is playing the best basketball of his career, and there is no reason to believe the Lakers wouldn’t consider re-signing him based on how the bigger dominoes fall.
How proper Dwyane Wade looks in the Miami uniform. It’s still surreal to think about the circumstances that led to the reunion, but both sides have learned that they’re better off together than apart.
Mario Hezonja proving that he’s more than just a novelty. The potential has turned into production, and the Magic have to be kicking themselves for declining his four-year option earlier in the season.
Elf (Payton) on the shelf being acquired for chump change. The Payton-Devin Booker dynamic packs a potent potential.
I’m Not Feelin’...
Boston’s failure to upgrade its roster at the trade deadline. Greg Monroe was a good—but not difference-making—signing, and while someone like Joe Johnson could have been a nice fit on the buyout market, the C’s swung and missed on that front, too. Danny Ainge has stacked a lot of chips in building this team, but his reticence to ever push all-in may be the limiting variable in this high stakes equation.
Josh Hart as a recommended pickup given the arrival of Isaiah Thomas and the expected health of Lonzo Ball (knee), It’s going to be harder for Hart to find court time when those two and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are all in the mix, but Hart’s ability to switch on the wing and play multiple positions should at least keep him relevant in the discussion.
The Oklahoma City roster outside of its core four. The Thunder has a very underwhelming second unit, and the lack of depth really handicaps a top-weighted team.
The mystery enshrouding Markelle Fultz’s (shoulder) injury. It certainly feels as if the Sixers are purposefully withholding information, and the only reason it’s not an everyday story is because of Ben Simmons’ presence and Joel Embiid’s dominance.
The Blazers standing still at the trade deadline. Portland may not want to consider splitting up C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard, but with the latter serving as the face of the franchise, the former may help replenish depth on a roster filled with redundancy and overpaid talent.