Late February, everyone’s favorite little month, often feels like a desperate time in the NBA. The Trade Deadline, with all its promise, hope, and frequent disappointments, has come and gone, and with no cavalry coming to save you, you’re forced to come to grips with reality. Most of the time that reality isn’t pretty. Looking around the league, it seems like everyone is exhausted in ways that have become obvious. The NBA season is a long one, and the All-Star break is closer to the three-quarter pole than the halfway point, so if you haven’t figured out how to win by now, it’s getting awfully late to get it solved. Some teams have already begun to slowly pack it in and wind things down. “Better luck next year,” isn’t being said yet, but the phrase looms in the back of mouths in Indiana, Washington, and Texas. Outside, at least where I live, it’s gray, brown, and soggy, and it can be hard to remember that life and color exist in a universe that looks exactly the same way that a 19-40 season feels. It’s grim. Cold. Still. The NBA landscape can be equally sparse — I’m looking at you, Philadelphia, and your 40-point home loss — so when you see something beautiful and vibrant, you’ve got to celebrate it. So, with apologies to Giannis Antetokounmpo and his 50-point night (my god, he’s good), I’m renting out this Tuesday lede to Trae Young, who was a vibrant, flamboyant shot in the arm at home against a thoroughly game Cleveland group.

Trae Young

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
41 3 9 1 0 4 13/22 11/13 4

After stumbling as a sophomore, Young has bounced back in a big way as a fantasy asset in year three. He’s back into first-round territory with much stronger three-point shooting while still maintaining his gaudy assist numbers. I rostered him in the wrong year, but I can still enjoy watching him flit about and splash in shots from every corner of the court.

Here’s what else I saw on Tuesday night in the NBA…

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Darius Garland

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
30 2 8 1 1 4 12/22 2/2 4

Garland had it going from the jump, and for a while there it looked like he was going to be able to go shot for shot with Trae. Cleveland may have come up short in Atlanta, but it wasn’t because of anything Darius did (or didn’t do.) An All-Star and a top–50 fantasy contributor, Garland has arrived.

Jarrett Allen

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
14 7 4 0 1 0 6/8 2/2 3

Remember last January when the Nets were trading for James Harden and the Cavs just sidled their way into the deal and nabbed Jarrett Allen for Dante Exum and a leftover sandwich? Now it’s a little year and change later and the 32-year-old Harden has forced his way off of yet another team and Jarrett Allen is a 23-year-old All-Star and a top-40 fantasy asset. What a time to be alive.

Evan Mobley

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
22 10 4 4 1 0 9/16 4/6 2

Because of his stocks, the line for Mobley only goes up. He’s turning back more than a block and a half as a rookie, and he’s committed larceny eight times over his last four games. Mobley has dazzled as a 20-year-old rookie. The ceiling seems unlimited.

Kevin Love

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
21 7 2 0 0 5 7/17 2/2 1

Don’t tell Kevin Valentine’s Day is over. A top-100-ish player on the season, Love is everlasting.

Danilo Gallinari

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
25 3 1 1 0 3 8/17 3/7 1

I’ll admit, I’ve been sleeping on the rooster. He’s had a handful of spot starts lately, including this one against Cleveland, because John Collins has missed some time. Maybe I shouldn’t have hit the snooze so many times. Gallo is good for top-100 value over the last two weeks.

Good Morning Hbo GIF by SuccessionHBO

Kevin Huerter

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
13 2 3 1 1 3 4/8 2/2 0

De’Andre Hunter

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
18 2 0 1 0 2 7/12 2/2 0

The decision to move on from Cam Reddish has been much more beneficial for Huerter (a top-120 player over the last month) than it has been for Hunter (outside of the top-250). Despite outpacing his teammate, Huerter’s mostly just a three-point threat. There isn’t much here no matter how you slice it.

Bogdan Bogdanovic

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
10 7 3 4 0 2 4/8 0/0 2

The steals have been brazen since the start of February — this is the second time this month that he’s recorded four rips and now he’s up to 14 over his last seven games. Over that same period, Bogi has upped the efficiency and three-point shooting, providing a nice lift after an uneven start to the season. He’s outside of the top-100 now for now, but a strong final third of the season could get him on the right side of the line.

Luka Doncic

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
21 10 6 0 1 2 5/19 9/12 3

Obviously there have been better shooting nights for Luka, but he got enough help to get the streaking Mavs — winners of seven of their last 10 — a good win in Miami. It’s not unreasonable, to me at least, that Dallas pushes Utah for the 4-seed and maybe (finally) win a playoff round.

Jalen Brunson

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
19 4 6 2 0 3 6/14 4/5 2

Spencer Dinwiddie (4/2/5/1 in 23 minutes) didn’t exactly apply much heat to Brunson’s position in the pecking order. There’s been a bit of a dip in efficiency lately for Jalen, but the points were there tonight along with a sprinkling of almost everything else.

Maxi Kleber

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
19 6 0 1 5 3 5/10 6/8 1

Considering the rest of the roster leftover after the Porzingis deal, I think it’s time to add Maxi in the leagues where he’s available. The minutes will be there, and the triples and swats should follow. A top-50 player over the last two weeks, the course of action could not be any Kleber.

Jimmy Butler

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
29 10 3 0 0 0 8/18 13/14 2

I had to double-check my work when I saw those defensive goose eggs. Jimmy gets buckets, obviously, but to maintain the first-round pace he’d been producing at recently, those stocks are a must. Considering he’s a top-10 contributor in steals, it’s just a matter of time for Jimmy to get back to his defensive ways.

Bam Adebayo

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
21 12 3 0 2 0 10/19 1/2 1

Yeah, the portion of the year ahead of the thumb surgery sucked, and then the weeks on the sidelines obviously weren’t helpful, but Bam has put all that behind him and returned to form. The points are bubbling up and the rebounding is as good as it ever was. The dimes and top-25 value that come with them have been muted by Kyle Lowry though, so don’t expect a full renaissance.

Jayson Tatum

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
28 12 6 0 2 4 9/17 6/6 0

Jaylen Brown

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
29 8 3 0 0 5 10/17 4/6 2

Another Tuesday, another Boston blowout. The Celtics have been clicking lately, and they smushed an undermanned 76er squad in Philly on national TV with gusto. Tatum and Brown ate, but because of the lopsided game flow, the offensive attack became much more egalitarian over time. Regardless, that’s nine straight wins for the Celtics. The Eastern Conference playoffs are going to be competitive and nasty. I can’t wait.

Joel Embiid

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
19 9 6 0 1 0 3/9 13/16 3

The big fella gets a write-up because of what he’s done in the 44 games prior to this one. I mean, 13/16 FT is cool, but giving up 130 at home and losing by 48 is a tough, tough look.

Buddy Hield

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
36 2 4 1 0 8 14/20 0/0 3

Tyrese Haliburton

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
17 4 8 4 0 3 6/12 2/3 1

Think the Sacramento guys are enjoying their new digs? The Pacers are going nowhere this year, but the Kings have been going nowhere permanently, so really what’s the difference? Things will get a bit more complicated when Malcolm Brogdon returns, but enjoy the ride until then.

Goga Bitadze

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
12 6 4 0 0 0 4/7 4/8 1

Jalen Smith

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
11 7 3 0 0 3 4/9 0/0 1

Myles Turner’s bum foot is keeping him off the court, Domas is in Sacramento, Isaiah Jackson’s ankle injury is persistent, and there aren’t a ton of other big man options available in Nap City. Smith is intriguing, especially given his draft pedigree and blend of big man stats and triples, but the rotation of players alongside and behind Turner is murky. I added Smith in a few leagues, and I’m content enough to drop him when the roster gets healthier, but he might end up sticking through All-Star weekend.

Giannis Antetokounmpo

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
50 14 4 0 0 2 17/21 14/18 3

Accuse me of bias if you must, but I’m not sure there are many good reasons why Giannis can’t win MVP again this year. Essentially no one has been able to stop him since Game 2 of the Finals last year. Get hyped about the new-look Sixers and Nets if you feel compelled to, but if you’re going to win the East, you’re going to have to solve the Giannis problem. Best of luck with that.

Khris Middleton

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
19 2 8 1 0 1 7/12 4/4 0

Jrue Holiday

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
14 3 8 1 0 1 6/12 1/2 2

Cruise control for the Gold Medal duo, as Khash and Jrue did just enough to make sure that the 50-piece that Giannis put up didn’t get spoiled by a Pacer team that’s working to establish a new identity without Sabonis. Both these guys are good, though the grind of so much basketball is pushing them further from ceilings and nearer to floors.

LaMelo Ball

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
22 9 6 1 1 3 8/22 3/5 2

I think we all knew that the shooting was going to be spotty again this year for LaMelo, but I certainly wasn’t expecting it to go down from last year’s 43.6% Sadly, this is the timeline we’re living in. Despite the clanks, the youngest Ball brother is a counting stats monster and has been making good on the promise flashed as a rookie. If you took him in the second round, you’re getting your money’s worth.

Miles Bridges

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
28 13 7 0 1 3 9/21 7/10 4

Terry Rozier

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
25 1 5 0 1 1 9/22 6/6 0

Speaking of clanks. Not exactly a shooting clinic in Minnesota, but a good and competitive contest between two young teams trying to move up in their respective conferences. From a fantasy perspective, Bridges’ early-season helium has slowly been leaking out. He’s still a top-30 player, ahead of Rozier, who’s moving in the opposite direction of Bridges and playing his best ball of the season lately. A top-50 player on the season, Scary Terry has been on the cusp of first-round value over the last week.

Mason Plumlee

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
14 17 9 0 0 0 4/6 6/8 3

considering hall of fame game GIF

Karl-Anthony Towns

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
39 15 3 1 1 4 12/26 11/13 3

😻

Anthony Edwards

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
9 4 1 1 1 1 3/10 2/5 0

D’Angelo Russell

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
18 4 11 0 0 4 5/20 4/7 2

Blech. Edwards gets a hall pass because he never returned to the floor after halftime with an ankle injury. As for DLo, I guess it’s good the game went to OT so he could play 37 minutes and rack up those counting stats, because the rest of this line is grim.

Pat Beverley

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
15 7 4 3 2 1 5/12 4/8 2

The Wolves and Beverley just agreed to a one-year, $13M extension ahead of this one, so if you noticed a spring in his step that’s why. Minnesota and fantasy players alike have enjoyed this productive version of PBev, who has been a terror defensively and has racked up a ton of stocks. If this pace holds, Beverley will be a top-100 player again for the first time since 17-18.

Jaden McDaniels

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
18 6 3 4 2 1 7/14 3/4 2

I am quietly in on McDaniels, but the only reason why he saw such a heavy workload against Charlotte (37 MP) was because of the Edwards injury. Beverley’s new deal in Minnesota and the emergence of Jarred Vanderbilt (10 and 14 in 37 minutes) are cutting off oxygen to the 21-year-old McDaniels, so I wouldn’t call the situation ideal by any stretch. He’s shown flashes (a top-90 player of the last fortnight, top-60 for the last week) but sustained opportunity might be hard to come by in the Twin Cities.

Tyus Jones

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
27 1 9 1 0 3 11/17 2/3 2

No Ja, no problem. Morant took the night off with a sore ankle and Jones responded with a career night. Jones is blocked in a big way in Memphis, but any time Ja sits, he should be on your radar. De’Anthony Melton, 13/4/1/1/1, also rubbed salt in my wounds by playing well. I personally have been burned too many times by Melton this year to really want to make the add, but he’s a top-70 player over the last two weeks.

Brandon Clarke

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
18 8 1 2 0 0 8/9 2/3 0

Steven Adams

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
14 13 5 1 0 0 7/8 0/3 1

Normally I would whine about Clarke and his massive per-minute production being stymied by Adams and his dwindling fantasy value, but the Big Kiwi held his own in what could have been the Jonas Valancuinas revenge game. I’d still love more time for Clarke, but despite the middling minutes he’s been producing at a top-80 rate for months now.

Jaren Jackson Jr. 

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
23 7 2 1 1 3 8/20 4/5 0

Are you prepared to take Jaren Jackson in the third round next year? The second? He’s a top-40 player this year despite shooting a ghastly 41% from the field. The blocks are through the roof and the boards, which have been light in general, are starting to come more consistently now. We all love the kid, the question now is: how much do you love him?

Brandon Ingram

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
18 4 4 0 0 1 8/18 1/1 3

Ugh. Just when I thought I had him figured out and declared him “pretty good,” BI hits a skid. After posting top-70 value for the season and an uptick in boards and dimes, Ingram is sledding down the rankings and posting top-200-ish numbers this last week. I’m not panicking, but I also don’t love the timing, especially considering…

CJ McCollum

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
30 6 7 2 0 0 12/25 6/7 0

McCollum has been ballin’ on the bayou. Second-round value ballin’, as a matter of fact. I’ll be monitoring how these two close the year together for sure.

Ivica Zubac

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
12 13 5 0 1 0 5/9 2/3 1

Nicolas Batum

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
18 7 1 1 2 4 7/14 0/0 0

Marcus Morris

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
23 4 1 1 1 3 10/17 0/0 0

Weird night for the Clippers, as Jackson, Mann, Coffey, and RoCo all struggled, leaving the usual suspects — like Marcus Morris, Ivica Zubac, and Nic Batum — to carry the load offensively. Given the source of the scoring and their opponent, you’d figure that the Clippers got blown off the floor against the Suns. Didn’t happen that way, as the Clips were competitive until the last few minutes in Phoenix. Morris has the highest offensive ceiling of the three, but Batum has gotten back to his Swiss Army ways and is posting top-70 value recently.

Deandre Ayton

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
12 12 1 1 1 0 6/16 0/0 1

I think I’m ready to admit that the recency bias of Ayton’s strong Finals dazzled me a bit in draft rooms. I didn’t end up having a ton of shares of DA because of it, but I certainly came into the season hoping for more than what I’ve gotten. Ayton has been in and out of the lineup, and every time Bismack Biyombo or JaVale McGee goes off after being spoon-fed looks from CP, I get a little more frustrated by Ayton’s modest production. This is probably the floor, a top-50 player, but the blocks drying up and an abundance of offensive options in Phoenix certainly doesn’t help.

Chris Paul

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
17 5 14 1 0 1 7/14 2/2 3

Speaking of spoon-feeding, CP has dropped 11+ dimes in five straight games. For those of you who have him rostered in 9-cat formats, the news gets even better, as Paul is sporting a 71:17 assist to turnover ratio during that stretch.

Devin Booker

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
26 3 4 3 1 3 11/19 1/2 4

Book is, was, and will continue to be a bucket, but the defensive stats have been steadily progressing since his rookie season. The blocks will always be a rarity, but if he can consistently average a swipe per, there’s no reason why he can’t build on his third-round value. At 25, Booker is a three-time All-Star, Olympic Gold Medalist, and Finals runner-up. There’s more here.

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scoboticus
scoboticus
7 months ago

I need Rebounds and Steals and I have an extra person playing today. Which two (2) should I start?
Derrick White vs Detroit
Anfernee Simons at Memphis
Coby White vs Sac

howie2978
howie2978
7 months ago

Time to drop Vanderbilt for McDaniels?

Antoine
Antoine
7 months ago

I have been offered a trade in 15 category league….. Kyle Lowry and brisset[pacers] for Valanciunas. I am afraid that the best of valanciunas has passed.