Josh Giddey posts second straight trip-dub, DeRozan still isn’t human
As I type this Dose, it’s Valentine’s Day, the day after the Super Bowl and we have a loaded nine-game NBA slate. Does it get any better than this?
It’s Josh Giddey season
We’ve arrived. Coming off of his second career triple-double on Saturday, Josh Giddey did it again with his third career 3x2 including a career-high 28 points (11-of-22 FGs), 11 rebounds, 12 assists, one steal and three 3-pointers in 39 minutes of an overtime victory over the Knicks on Monday. Only 13 other players in the history of the NBA have secured three or more triple-doubles in their rookie season, which Giddey just did on Monday, and he’s now the youngest, second youngest and third youngest player ever to record a trip-dub. The 19-year-old can’t even legally buy a beer in the U.S. (though I’m sure he’s had a few in Australia), and he’s going to be good for a really long time. Sure, he went 3-of-6 from the line and had seven turnovers, but again, he’s just a teenager and has plenty of time to clean up the more raw parts of his game. Tre Mann gets a huge shoutout as well as he also notched a career high in scoring as he went for 30 points on 9-of-16 shooting (8-of-8 FTs), two rebounds, one assist, two steals, four 3-pointers and just one turnover in 32 minutes, and while he was very quiet coming in, he at least has my attention again. Darius Bazley scored 14 points in the third period alone and went off as well for an efficient 23 points (including the game-tying bucket with 5.5 seconds left to send the game to overtime) to go with eight rebounds, three assists, one steal and zero turnovers after a stat-stuffing effort on Saturday, and he needs to be rostered nearly everywhere with how he’s been playing. Lu Dort (left shoulder strain) and of course Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (ankle) didn’t play, so these guys were maybe a little better than usual, but Giddey and Bazley have been good for a while now and Mann has a ton of scoring upside on a team that should play him a bunch going forwards. Other guys that made some noise in the OT thriller were Kenrich Williams (13/4/3 with a steal and a triple), Derrick Favors (10 points, four rebounds, one block) and Ty Jerome (13/1/4 with three treys). Sadly, Aleksej Pokusevski disappointed for the second straight game, but I’d give him another one or two before cutting him with how hot he was coming in.
That’s two straight losses for the Knicks and they’ve now lost six of their last seven, but are we surprised anymore? They didn’t look too bad but fell apart late as they tend to do, and in clutch situations (games within five points with five or fewer minutes to go), they’re getting outscored by 15.4 points per 100 possessions. All I can say is “yikes.” Julius Randle feasted again and also triple-doubled with a 30/13/10 line before fouling out, but he wasn’t efficient (11-of-26 FGs) and turned it over seven times without any defensive stats, but the positive is that the counting stats have been incredible lately. Mitchell Robinson was a monster and went nuts for 14 points, 17 rebounds, four steals and four blocks in a career-high tying 41 minutes, and this is why people have been so high on him in the past (it does help that Nerlens Noel never plays). Evan Fournier was hot and scored 29 points on 10-of-18 shooting with four rebounds, five assists, two steals, one block, six 3-pointers and zero turnovers to round out a pretty pristine 9-cat line, and Quentin Grimes balled out with 19 points, seven rebounds, one steal, two blocks and five triples but did go just 7-of-18 from the field. Fournier is coming off a dud but has actually been really solid whereas Grimes is coming off a 20-point effort last time out, and while Fournier has to be rostered, Grimes could be approaching the same status if he keeps it up. Kemba Walker and Alec Burks combined for 20 points on 6-of-20 shooting in 53 minutes, and at this point I’d rather take the chance on Grimes than either of these two.
DeMar DeRozan is a bad man
Is DeMar DeRozan human? He went off again for 40 points (16-of-24 FGs, 8-of-8 FTs) in a 120-109 win over the Spurs, adding three rebounds, seven assists and three turnovers in 35 minutes. DeRozan has now scored 35 or more points in six straight games which is the longest of such a streak in Chicago since some guy named Michael Jordan (who did it twice), and he also threw down this poster dunk and played a pretty perfect revenge game against his former team. I often think about people (myself included, admittedly) being semi-pessimistic regarding DeRozan’s fit on this team and how his production would look with so many mouths to feed in Chicago, but he has proved that it’s nothing to worry about and has been about as convincing as possible over the past couple weeks in particular. Zach LaVine (left knee injury management) being sidelined again helped DeRozan, sure, but it more so helped Coby White, who went off for an efficient 24/5/6 line in 34 minutes of a start. He’s not that exciting since he doesn’t give you defensive stats, but he’s scored in double figures in five straight contests (two 20-point games) and has hit 20 triples in that span. He may not keep it up, but for a guy who’s scoring like he has been, he should be rostered in more than 49% of Yahoo! leagues. Nikola Vucevic continued his excellence with 25 points (12-of-24 FGs), 16 rebounds, five assists, one block, one 3-pointer and five turnovers in 36 minutes and he has completely turned it around after a pretty slow start to the season shooting the ball and has just been a beast. Ayo Dosunmu posted a 12/3/4/1/1 line before fouling out and absolutely has to be rostered for at least a while longer, and Javonte Green (right foot) returned from a one-game absence and scored seven points with nine boards and a steal, but he played 35 minutes and came in as the 50th best player in standard fantasy leagues over the past two weeks, so hang on tight to him until further notice.
The Spurs were pretty well-balanced with five double-digit scorers and only one of them scoring at least 20 points, and that guy was Lonnie Walker IV. He played 26 minutes off the pine and shot 9-of-17 from the floor for 21 points, five rebounds, two assists, one steal, two 3-pointers and no turnovers, and after netting 17 points last game, maybe he’s starting to come around with Derrick White no longer in town. Devin Vassell flopped with just five points but I still prefer him over Walker by quite a bit as a season-long option with a game suited far better for fantasy purposes, so just shake this one off. Dejounte Murray was “quiet” with a 7-of-16 shooting mark for his 19/6/11 line with two steals and two turnovers, and he’s just fantastic and deserves the All-Star nod as much as anyone in the league, and Doug McDermott matched Murray’s point total but added very little else besides his four rebounds and three trey-bombs. The other double-digit scorers of Keldon Johnson (13/3/2 with a steal) and Jakob Poeltl (13/9/4) were both fine but they usually fare better than this, especially Poeltl, so I’d expect a tad better from both of them in Wednesday’s showdown with the Thunder.
Kyle Kuzma drops in 17 third-quarter points vs. Pistons
There wasn’t anything all too exciting in this one, but when you look at the teams, that’s not very surprising. Kyle Kuzma scored 17 points in the third quarter of Monday’s 103-94 win against the Pistons, finishing with 23 points (10-of-18 shooting), seven rebounds, two assists, one block, one triple and four turnovers in 38 minutes. The assists were back down after dishing out 17 of them in his two games prior, but we can probably expect a handful more with Bradley Beal out indefinitely. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hit four 3-pointers for 16 points with little else in 35 minutes, and he could also be better with Beal out, and Cory Kispert started and had 10 points with four boards, one steal and two treys in 33 minutes. Daniel Gafford (protocols) is still out, so Thomas Bryant started and he wasn’t great with a 11/4/2 line in 20 minutes, and it was Deni Avdija who was responsible for one-third of all of Washington’s rebounds with a career-high 15 of them in 31 minutes off the bench, adding 12 points, three assists, one steal, one triple and two turnovers. His previous career high in rebounds was 11 so this was pretty fluky, but maybe coach Wes Unseld Jr. ignores his bigs and goes small with Avdija getting more burn. Raul Neto played eight more minutes than Ish Smith and swiped away four steals with a 11/4/3 line with three turnovers, while Smith went for just eight points, six dimes and a steal in his 20 minutes. This looks like a time share situation, and if they keep getting similar minutes, it won’t be fun, but let’s monitor. Rui Hachimura (six points, one rebound, one steal, one trey) played just 10 minutes before suffering a right ankle sprain after landing on Marvin Bagley’s foot (Bagley got a flagrant), so maybe that’s why Avdija was a bit better. All in all, if you wanted to ignore all other Wizards in fantasy not named Kyle Kuzma, that isn’t the worst idea.
Saddiq Bey is still hot, and he kept things going with a 24/5/5 line with four triples while converting on 7-of-17 shot attempts (6-of-7 FTs). He scored 25 efficient points last time out and had a three-game stretch of at least 20 points scored in the beginning of February, so keep using him even though the shooting percentage won’t always be pretty. Marvin Bagley made his Pistons debut and didn’t look bad at all with 10 points, eight rebounds and one assist in 21 minutes, and this may be the playing time he hovers around but maybe he’ll provide some very minimal value. Jerami Grant scored 14 points with two treys, one steal and one block but grabbed just one rebound in 32 minutes, Isaiah Stewart was about just as good as Bagley with 11 points, nine rebounds and nothing else besides a turnover, Cade Cunningham shot 5-of-16 for a 12/4/4 line with a steal and Hamidou Diallo continued to make noise with a 10/6/1/1/1 line.
Seth Curry helps Brooklyn end 11-game losing streak
Apparently, all the Nets needed to end an 11-game losing streak was the addition of Seth Curry. He went off in his Brooklyn debut for a team-high 23 points on 10-of-18 shooting, adding seven rebounds, five assists, three triples and four turnovers in 32 minutes of a 109-85 win over the Kings. He’s going to help this team with spacing issues in a massive way, and while Ben Simmons (who Nash said doesn’t have a timetable to play quite yet), Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant weren’t playing, Curry proved that he’s going to be alright in his new home. Andre Drummond also made his Nets debut and had a nice 11/9/4/2/1 line but only played 24 minutes, and LaMarcus Aldridge also had some fun with 19 points and eight rebounds with a block in just 19 minutes off the bench. The odd man out was Nic Claxton, who’s been battling a hamstring injury and was cleared to play but didn’t get into the game, but whether that sticks going forward isn’t a sure thing. The most impressive line on Brooklyn’s side, however, was Bruce Brown’s random 19/6/6/5/3 line with one triple and no turnovers on 8-of-12 shooting. The points, assists and steals were all season highs and while this was pretty random, he’ll be worth rostering if he continues to start based on this outburst alone. Cam Thomas played 26 minutes off the bench and was in a good spot to go off, but he only attempted eight shots (made four) for a 14/5/3 line. He was red hot coming in and Mr. Irving can’t play in a ton of the Nets’ remaining games, so he’s a hold as well.
De’Aaron Fox exactly doubled the scoring total of the next highest Kings’ scorer on Monday, so he didn’t get a whole lot of help in the 24-point loss. Since Tyrese Haliburton was traded to the Pacers, Fox has been fantastic and is making up for his struggles that he’s faced for much of the season, and he scored 26 points on 9-of-18 shooting (6-of-7 FTs) but added just two rebounds, three assists, two 3-pointers and two turnovers in 33 minutes. New King Donte DiVincenzo notched a new career high in steals with five of them along with his 12/8/2 line with two treys, and while he was pretty quiet in his debut, feel free to give him a look. Davion Mitchell scored 13 points in 26 reserve minutes but struggled with a 5-of-14 shooting mark, but at least he added a couple boards, three 3-pointers, one steal and one block, and he has to be rostered despite some inevitable turbulence for the rookie here and there. Domantas Sabonis struggled with a 9/9/2/1/1 line on 4-of-11 shooting (he’s fine), Harrison Barnes scored just six points (he’s fine too) and Richaun Holmes was pretty bad yet again in his 22 minutes with a 4/6/0/1/1 line. There are probably still a few trade-deadline winners on your waiver wire, and if you want to pull the plug and grab one of them to takes Holmes’ place, it’s not as outlandish as it sounds.
Giannis-less Bucks lose by double digits to Trail Blazers
Are the new-look Blazers a fantasy goldmine now? It sure looked like it in Monday’s 122-107 win over the Bucks, with all but one starter (and one bench guy) posting lines that were either usable or elite. Anfernee Simons scored 31 more points (12-of-24 FGs) with a pair of boards, six dimes, one steal and seven 3-pointers in 35 minutes, and this is the first time in Simons’ career that he’s scored at least 25 points in three consecutive contests. He’s becoming a leader before our eyes while Damian Lillard remains out, and while many opponents likely think that a matchup with this new-look Blazers team will be an easy win, that won’t be the case for much longer. Josh Hart also went off for a 27/7/5/1/2 showing with five 3-pointers and two turnovers in 36 minutes, and after scoring 23 points in his Portland debut, his managers have to be thrilled with a clear-cut increase in offensive role for the fantasy-friendly Hart. Jusuf Nurkic was up to his old ways with a 23-point, 16-rebound double-double to go with four assists, one steal, two 3-pointers and two turnovers in 30 minutes, and with this being his third straight game without a block, Nurk’s managers are just going to have to face the fact that he’s not going to block many shots at all. Justise Winslow also double-doubled in 32 minutes of a start with a 13/10/4/2/1 effort and has looked like the best version of himself in both real life and fantasy, while Trendon Watford posted a quietly nice 9/10/5 line with a trey and a steal in 23 minutes. Watford could have some low-end value if he plays around this many minutes each night, but he isn’t a must-add guy by any means.
The Bucks were without Giannis Antetokounmpo (sore left ankle) which makes this loss a bit less ugly, but it still wasn’t pretty. The only really interesting part of the Bucks’ oft-predictable box score was Jordan Nwora’s 17 points and three treys in 24 minutes off the bench, but he’ll only be worth using when Giannis sits, which won’t be long with the injury he has at the moment. Khris Middleton nearly triple-doubled with a 16/11/9 line with one steal and one trey, but he coughed up the rock four times and hit just three of his 15 shots, making this a far more DFS-friendly line than anything. Jrue Holiday was at least efficient with a 9-of-16 shooting clip for his 23/2/6 line with a pair of steals and three triples, but he had a costly seven turnovers which is isn’t very Jrue-like. Serge Ibaka started in his Bucks debut and scored six points with seven rebounds, one steal and one block, but it’s still Bobby Portis time for the rest of the way as he looked awesome again with 17 points (8-of-15 FGs), nine rebounds, one block and one 3-pointer in 32 minutes.
What happened to the Raptors?
I think the Raptors may be getting tired. Nick Nurse consistently plays only seven or eight guys per night, and the top three guys in minutes played per game (Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam and O.G. Anunoby) all play for the him. They got some extra rest after getting dominated by the Pelicans by a final score of 120-90, and it was new-Pelican C.J. McCollum who led the way with his 23 points (9-of-18 FGs), four rebounds, five dimes, two steals, five 3-pointers and zero turnovers in 32 minutes. McCollum started off a bit slow in New Orleans but has averaged 29.5 points on nearly 65% from the field with 7.5 boards, 5.0 assists, 1.0 steal and 4.0 triples per game over his last two, so that adjustment truly didn’t take long at all. Jonas Valanciunas was great with a 18/9/4 line with two swats in 27 minutes, and Brandon Ingram only attempted seven shots (made four) in his 29 minutes but nearly triple-doubled with a full 10/11/8/1/2 line on an evening that they didn’t need their star to do as much as usual. Jaxson Hayes re-emerged with 14 points and three boards with a block in 20 reserve minutes, but we’ll have to see how his minutes look in a more competitive game to see what to do about him, while Herb Jones (11/1/5) and Jose Alvarado (6/2/4/1/1) posted decent lines.
Gary Trent Jr., Scottie Barnes and O.G. Anunoby combined for just 14 points on 5-of-30 shooting, so if you roster any of these guys, just look away and expect a bounce back in Wednesday’s game against the Timberwolves. Otherwise it was just Fred VanVleet (20/5/2 with a steal and four triples on 6-of-15 shooting), Pascal Siakam (18/5/1) and Chris Boucher (15 points, six rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench) that posted useful stat lines, but again, this one wasn’t pretty and Boucher has been about as unpredictable as can be. FVV did leave the game early due to colliding knees and didn’t play in the fourth quarter, and while he likely wouldn’t have anyway, his status for Wednesday is definitely in jeopardy. Thaddeus Young made his Raptors debut but played just a dozen minutes for four points, four rebounds, one assist and one steal, and I’d like to wait a couple games to see what his minutes look like (which will in turn indicate how Nick Nurse feels about him), so no need to grab him yet.
Nikola Jokic leads Nuggets past Magic
This is probably the most underwhelming headline of all time, but Nikola Jokic did post the best stat line on Denver’s side by quite a bit. He hit just 10 of his 26 shots but still went off for 26 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists, one steal, three 3-pointers and five turnovers in 35 minutes, and I’m starting to get very excited for how this MVP race is going to look for the last two months of the regular season, because he’ll absolutely be participating in it. Bones Hyland started for Monte Morris (concussion protocols) again and fared better than his last two starts as he tallied a 14/5/2 line with three triples and two steals in 29 minutes, but Morris should be back soon and therefore cap Bones’ upside. Will Barton and Jeff Green both scored 17 points, with the former adding just seven boards and a block and Green draining two treys with six combined boards/assists (no defensive stats). Aaron Gordon had a 10/6/3 line with a steal and two triples but did have five turnovers, so not the best, and Bryn Forbes had one of his better games as a Nugget with 16 points and three 3-pointers, but he’s not a fantasy guy.
The Magic may be 13-46, but they have some young weapons that they should be really stoked about. Rookie Franz Wagner scored a game-high tying 26 points on 50% from the field (7-of-8 FTs) along with eight rebounds, four assists, two steals, three 3-pointers and two turnovers in 32 minutes. He probably won’t win the Rookie of the Year Award this season with some very stiff competition, but he’s been ballin’ out and he’s going to be fun going forward. Another rookie and the fifth overall pick in the 2021 draft, Jalen Suggs, did his thing with a full 16/6/3/3/1 line, but the constant shooting issues (5-of-15 on Monday) and high turnover count (three) do hurt his upside in all the other statistical, but remember he’s still just 20 years old. Wendell Carter Jr. tallied his second straight double-double with a massive 25-point, 12-rebound affair to go with four dimes, two steals, one block, one trey and two turnovers in 34 minutes, and this would have been his seventh straight double-double had he grabbed five combined boards in his three games from February 6 to February 11 to further prove how much of a beast he’s been on the glass. Mo Bamba played just 11 minutes and scored two points with three boards, and he’s really worrying me after being a stud throughout the first half of the season, and if he gets minutes in the teens another time or two he may be droppable. Gary Harris stole the ball four times along with his surprisingly nice and efficient 15/3/6 line with two treys in 37 reserve minutes, but he combined for just eight boards and four steals in his four games coming in, so this wasn’t what we’re used to seeing from him.
Rudy Gobert returns in demolition of Rockets
After missing nine games with a left calf strain, Rudy Gobert returned and went 7-of-8 from the field for 14 points, seven rebounds, two assists and one block in 22 minutes of a 135-101 domination over the Rockets. Of course, this wasn’t amazing by the big man, but his presence alone is going to be huge for the Jazz, who were actually coming around without him with five straight wins coming in and getting their sixth straight on Monday night. This was more of a test run for Gobert as Utah just didn’t need to use him that much in the convincing win, and while I’d normally call the Lakers (who the Jazz face on Wednesday) a better matchup, they’ve been really brutal too, so we’ll see how much they need Gobert for that one. Donovan Mitchell shot 9-of-15 from the field and made all but one of his eight freebies for a 30/6/7 showing with five triples and two turnovers, and Bojan Bogdanovic had a very Bogey-like 22/5/2 line with four 3-pointers in 27 minutes. Mike Conley only hit one shot for two points but was helpful in other areas with three boards, 10 assists, four steals and one block in 23 minutes and Jordan Clarkson hit half of his shots for 16 points, three dimes, two steals and three triples in 26 minutes (also posted a team-best +26). Hassan Whiteside needed just 18 minutes to get his 11/14 double-double with three swats and the recently-relevant Udoka Azubuike scored 10 points with three rebounds in only eight minutes, but start preparing to send both guys back to the wire as soon as Gobert fully ramps back up.
Make that five straight losses for the Rockets and losers in nine of their last 10, but this is the point of the season where they’ll likely embrace the tank and not try too hard to be victorious each night. Eric Gordon returned from a three-game absence due to a heel injury and scored 14 points with four boards, one dime, one block and three triples in 29 minutes, but I’m not all too excited about him given the direction Houston is going. There wasn’t much else going on as the highest scorer on the Rockets was KJ Martin Jr., who scored 16 very boring points with two treys in 26 reserve minutes, with Christian Wood (12/9/4 with a block), Jae’Sean Tate (14/3/1) and Jalen Green (13/1/2/1/1) being the other Rockets that reached double digits in the scoring column. Alperen Sengun disappointed for the second straight game with a 9/3/2 effort with a steal in just 16 minutes, but he’s still set up for a strong finish and has proven he’s a good guy for fantasy hoops when given the opportunity.
The Terance Mann experience continues
The Clippers won their second straight with Monday’s 119-104 win over the Warriors being more impressive than the last, and it was a 33-19 third-quarter that helped L.A. get the job done. Terance Mann kept his foot on the gas and finished his night with a career-high tying 25 points (11-of-17 FGs, 2-of-5 FTs), seven rebounds, six assists, one steal, one block, one trey and two turnovers in a game-high 29 minutes. Mann scored 21 points in the game prior and posted really nice lines in the two before that, and while there are an insanely high number of wing players on the Clippers, Mann has looked like the best one over the past week. It also helps his case that Norman Powell (foot) won’t be playing anytime soon, and at least for right now, Mann is the Clipper wing (along with Robert Covington) that you should have your eye on. RoCo actually hit half of his shots (though he only took six) and had his usual-looking 11/2/2/2/1 line with two triples and just one turnover in 26 minutes, and maybe he gets a little more offense going with Powell inactive, but I’m not holding my breath. Reggie Jackson nearly triple-doubled with a 18/8/9 line with three triples, and usually that’s where the good ends, but he was actually efficient with an 8-of-17 mark from the field. R-Jax didn’t tally a defensive stat and turned it over three times, but his line was definitely more good than bad which can’t always be said about the nearly top-150 asset. Ivica Zubac scored 18 points with eight rebounds and an assist for his one random high-scoring game of the month, while Nicolas Batum was quietly good with 14 points, eight boards, two swipes, four triples and zero turnovers in 29 minutes of a start. Marcus Morris Sr. flopped 11 points on 5-of-13 shooting with almost nothing else, but he had scored at least 20 in four of his last five and has been one of the more reliable Clippers despite not having the most well-rounded fantasy game.
Not a ton of Warriors showed up so this will be fairly quick. Stephen Curry did his thing with 33 points on 11-of-18 shooting, adding two rebounds, two assists, eight 3-pointers and four turnovers in 34 minutes, but the Clippers shut him down very nicely in the second half after Chef Curry went off for 26 points in the first. Fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson did not fare nearly as well as he had a 7/4/4 line with a steal and a triple and sank just three of his 14 shot attempts, but he scored a season-high 33 points against the Lakers on Saturday and I will continue to say that it’s just a blessing that he’s healthy and playing the game he loves again (and usually looking really good doing it too). Jordan Poole went for a 13/7/3 effort with a steal and a trey in 25 reserve minutes, Kevon Looney had five assists (career high is six) to go with his seven points and three rebounds and Otto Porter Jr. scored seven points with eight boards, one steal and one triple in only 16 minutes. Jonathan Kuminga (10/2/1/1/1) finally quieted down but he’s still starting and has been fantastic lately, and one of his four buckets included a big dunk on Isaiah Hartenstein in the fourth and final period.