Basketball Pickups: Josh Richardson shining as starter for Heat
It’s time to get real. While there may have been a lot of skepticism about the In-Season Tournament at first, does anybody actually not like it? Sure, the bright courts aren’t great and the jerseys are really bad (for the most part), but the actual concept of the tournament has been incredible. It certainly takes some getting used to, especially when teams are leaving their starters in with a 30-point lead (i.e. Boston). Overall, it has been a ton of fun, and I can’t wait to see the games in Vegas.
Next week will be confusing, though the NBA releasing a schedule has cleared some things up. The In-Season Tournament games will be on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday of next week, with the final two days taking place in Vegas. Saturday’s game will be the championship and will not have an impact on fantasy basketball. That means the teams that make it will play two games and having players from those teams gives you an advantage, since they are the only teams that play on those days.
Everybody else will play two games next week as well. The NBA had to wait to see who made the tournament before releasing a schedule, but those games will take place on Wednesday and Friday. The full schedule is included below.
Now that that is squared away, here are some players that are worth roster consideration in your league.
Josh Richardson- 13% rostered in Yahoo leagues
J-Rich has started the last three games for the Heat due to various injuries. He has taken advantage of the opportunity and averaged 15.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 4.7 assists during that stretch. He should remain in their starting unit until Jimmy Butler is back, but he should continue to play a large role even after Jimmy returns. Richardson has been just outside the top-100 in 9-cat over the last two weeks, which includes some games in a reserve role.
Kyle Lowry- 41%
Lowry had a big performance on Tuesday with 21 points, four rebounds, six assists, one steal, one block and three 3-pointers. The numbers haven’t been that gaudy often this season, but he has still been productive. He is quietly providing sixth round value because of his high steal numbers. If you’re looking for a defensive boost, Lowry can help.
Caleb Martin- 15%, Kevin Love, 9%
With Haywood Highsmith out on Tuesday, Love got the start at power forward, though both guys played exactly 26 minutes. If Highsmith remains out against the Pacers on Thursday, both guys have streaming value. If you need rebounds, roll with Love. If you need anything else, go with Martin.
Trey Murphy- 65%
Murphy is listed as doubtful for Wednesday and will be back soon. If he’s sitting on your waiver wire, this is your friendly reminder to pick him up.
Simone Fontecchio- 2%
With Lauri Markkanen set to miss another game on Wednesday, Fontecchio will remain in the starting unit. He put up 14 points, four rebounds, two assists, two steals and three triples in 28 minutes on Monday. If you’re looking for a deep-range boost, Fontecchio is a solid option.
Reggie Jackson- 30%, DeAndre Jordan- 1%
Can lightning strike twice? Jackson has been starting the last few weeks in place of Jamal Murray, but he never had a monster performance until Monday night when he contributed 35 points and 13 assists. Jordan turned back the clock as well in that game with a 21/13/5/2/1 line. Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray are both questionable, so this is entirely dependent on their availability. Please, do NOT stream DJ if Jokic is back.
Al Horford- 50%
Kristaps Porzingis will likely remain sidelined for a few more games, which means that Horford will continue to start. He was awesome again on Tuesday and contributed 16 points, nine rebounds, six assists, two steals, three blocks and four 3-pointers in the blowout win. He isn’t as readily available on the waiver wire, but if he’s on yours, change that quickly.
Moses Moody- 4%, Brandin Podziemski- 3%, Cory Joseph- less than 1%
Both Chris Paul (leg) and Gary Payton II (calf) exited early from Tuesday’s game against the Kings. There isn’t really an indication of how long they’ll be out, or if they’ll even miss another game at all. However, if they do, Moody, Podziemski and Joseph will step into more minutes. Since they are bench options, none of them are super appealing in standard-sized leagues, but they can make a big impact in deep leagues.