I was never a huge fan of D’Angelo Russell when he was a Laker. The shooting efficiency was poor, the D was porous, and the decision-making and decisiveness were lacking. It was as if DLoading was a picture loading back in the dial-up internet days; one line of pixels at a time. At least now the buffering just shows a ring with a percentage number. Anyways, Russell was a young pup back then. Only 19 and 20 years old. Now, he’s a grizzled, 22-year-old veteran. I kid, but he’s really developed and improved his game, to the point where he’s leading his team to victory over one of the top teams in the NBA.
In his first three years in the league, Russell was a 41% shooter from the field and never topped 80% from the line. Now, he’s a 43% shooter from the field and 81% from the line. He’s averaging a tick under 20 points per game, 2.7 tres, 3.7 boards, 6.4 dimes, and 1.1 steals. He’s increased both the tres and dimes by almost 1 per game. In addition, he’s jacking up over 17 shots per game, has a usage rate north of 30, and is a top 50 player on the season for fantasy. When Caris LeVert returns from injury, things could change and Russell could cede some usage, but Russell will continue being a vital part of this Nets team. All the pixels have been revealed and the picture is a glorious one.
Here’s what else I saw last night:
A few trades went down last night:
- HOU, CLE, and SAC consummated a trade that sent Alec Burks and a second-round pick to Sacramento, Iman Shumpert, Wade Baldwin, and Nik Stauskas to Houston, and Brandon Knight, Marquese Chriss, and protected first-round pick to Cleveland. Burks is going to a fantasy-friendly environment, as the Kings play at the third-fastest pace, but he has to contend with Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic for playing time. He was receiving close to 35 minutes of run in Cleveland. That number will likely be in the 20s now. Shumpert is a 3-and-D player who will provide some depth for the Rockets. I could see a scenario in which Shumpert starts alongside Chris Paul and James Harden, with Eric Gordon moving back to his microwave role, so there is some upside here. Keep an eye on how D’Antonio chooses to allocate the minutes. Baldwin and Stauskas will both probably be buried on the depth chart. Knight has one-year and $15.6 million left on his contract, while Chriss is an UFA. The main motivation for the trade from a Cavaliers perspective was acquiring that protected first-round pick, but there is an outside chance that both Knight and Chriss could get some run. They both stink, but the Cavs stink more.
- WAS and CHI made a deal, sending Otto Porter Jr. to Chicago with Bobby Portis, Jabari Parker, and a second-round pick going back to Washington. The Wizards get rid of Otto’s massive contract, while he should slide right into the starting rotation for the Bulls. Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, and Lauri Markkanen are the usage hogs in Chicago, but as long as he gets the minutes, Otto should be fine because his value is mainly predicated on efficiency and contributions in the peripheral catergories. Portis and Parker going to the Wizards is an interesting situation. Jeff Green has been playing well at both power forward and center. Parker could be the offensive punch off the bench behind Green, or he could play alongside Green when he shifts over to center, as Scott Brooks has preferred going small. Another scenario is that Portis takes over the small ball center role with Green at power forward and Parker in a reserve role. Brooks has some options so it will be interesting to see how he decides to play it. Thomas Bryant may be the one negatively affected by the acquisitions.
- WAS and NO performed the business by sending Markieff Morris to the Pelicans, while Wesley Johnson went back to the Wizards. Johnson has played a total of 377 minutes this season. Morris has been out with a neck injury, but could return after the All-Star break. He gives the Pelicans some depth in the front court and brings the ability to stretch the floor. He is also an expiring contract. I wonder if this portends for some more moves by the Pelicans. Mirotic? AD?
- DAL and SAC made a move by sending Harrison Barnes to Sacramento and Justin Jackson and Zach Randolph going to Dallas. Barnes is owed $25 million next season (player option), so it was essentially a salary dump for the Mavericks. The Kings get a player who will slide into the small forward position. While Barnes doesn’t provide much defense, he can score and should thrive in the uptempo Kings system. A bonus is that he’s versatile to play power forward if the Kings want to play small ball. Barnes has been brutal this season, especially from an efficiency standpoint, so his value is pretty much rock bottom. The increase in pace and change of scenery could be a positive. Time will tell.
- MIA and PHX swapped Tyler Johnson and Wayne Ellington for Ryan Anderson. I like the move for Johnson, as he should be the guy at point guard and receive 30+ minutes of run per game. Ellington will likely be waived and picked up by a contender, while Mr. Anderson helps the Heat save money and provides them with another big who can space the floor.
Today at 3 p.m. EST is the NBA trade deadline, so fasten your seatbelts and enjoy the ride.
Played 28 minutes off the bench. There are many holidays that permeate our lives. Some are more important than others, but the one commonality they all have, is that they all come once a year. That’s Carroll in a fantasy nut shell. There are different levels to his production (mostly meh), but there are ceiling games like last night that happen…..about once a year.
Played 27 minutes off the bench. Usually a hucker and chucker, Napier flipped the script and was a disher of dimes. As long as Spencer Dinwiddie is out, Napier will fill his role and play around 28 minutes per game. If you’re worried about field goal percentage, do not employ the services of Shabazz.
Got the start and played 28 minutes because Paul Millsap (ankle) was out. The Nets are weak in the front court, so the matchup was favorable, but Plumlee is a skilled big man who works well with Nikola Jokic regardless. The lack of dimes last night was a surprise, as he usually dishes 3 a game, but when he plays, he contributes in all but tres. The free throw shooting is poor as well (54%).
Jokic messing around. Of course! Top 10 player for fantasy. The blocks have tailed off (0.7), but the 7.7 dimes make up for it.
Returned from injury and played 32 minutes. That moved Monte Morris back to a reserve role…..
….wasn’t a problem, though, as he played 28 minutes off the bench. His efficiency from the field and lack of turnovers endears him to the coaching staff, which should provide a high minutes floor. He was a top 30 player over the past four games, as he was averaging 35 minutes per game. Expect those minutes to come down to the high-20s, but the floor will be high.
Got the start but only played 19 minutes due to suckitude. Hey look! 3’s are wild!
Got the start and played 32 minutes because Gary Harris (abductor) was out. Harris could be out for a bit longer, so Beasley should continue getting plenty of run. Over the past eight games, he’s been a top 40 player, averaging 20.4 points, 3.3 tres, 2.3 boards, 1.3 dimes, and 1.1 steals while shooting 56% from the field and 81% from the line. He’s attempted 13.8 shots per game!
Played 22 minutes. Uno….Dos…..Trey!!!! Got run because Millsap was out. I like Lyles, as he’s a very skilled big man. Too bad he’s buried on the depth chart.
Played 25 minutes. With the return of Julius Randle to the front court, the days of Okafor getting 35 minutes of run seems to be over. Regardless, his play has been impressive, so he should continue being a fantasy asset. Just don’t expect the ceiling games, unless someone gets injured or traded.
Returned from injury and played 31 minutes. Beast. Had a usage rate of 33.6 last night. I doubted his ability to shoot from downtown, but he’s been showing me what’s up. If he continues developing it and starts contributing in the D cats, top 20 player would be attainable.
Remember what I wrote in the DeMarre Carroll blurb? Think the exact opposite for Jrue. Living in an utopian society where everyday is a Holiday.
Over the last three games, Diallo has been a top 40 player, averaging 22.9 minutes, 14.3 points, 10.3 boards, and 1 block while shooting 73% from the field and 81% from the line. Waiter, Cheick please! I’ll pay straight cash homie because I’ve been money.
Got the start and played 36 minutes, after playing 35, 30, 38, and 30 minutes the prior four games. Williams hustles, will grab boards, provide the D, dish out a handful of dimes, and has the ability to shoot from downtown. The free throw shooting is the only thing he doesn’t do well, but the volume is light so the impact is mitigated. Williams looks to have carved out a role for himself, which could be solidified if Nikola Mirotic is traded.
Played a team-high 41 minutes. That’s my dog! Markkanen barks at D stats, but tres and increase in boards have been eye opening. Over the past six games, he’s been grabbing 12.5 boards per game and has been a top 20 player. He’s going to be a really good one. My mistake. He’s already a good one. He’s going to be a great one.
Played 38 minutes. Dunn contributes across the board. His issue is always the shooting efficiency. Last night was a good day. The other days, he has to bring out the AK.
Top 50 player over the past two weeks. LaVine has been really good. The D stats are still lacking, but he is contributing a little something something in those departments. Usage rate is above 30 and he’s jacking up 18 shots per game. As long as he grabs those boards and dishes out dimes, he’s going to be a valuable player.
Green has been $$$ over the past eight games, putting up top 50 value. With Portis and Parker in the mix now, there is some uncertainty as to how the minutes will be allocated. I’d imagine Green would continue getting his, but something to monitor.
Played 32 minutes. Shrug emoji. He had played 12, 18, 19, and 23 minutes the prior four games. He will likely cede time to one of Green, Portis, or Parker, but he does have the ability to produce ceiling games like last night. I have no idea when those will come, though. I apologize to those I told to drop Bryant. I shall perform seppuku now.
See! We do need a Wall. To keep the heathen Bucks from romping through our lands!
Top 60 player over the past eight games. Is getting the minutes with the Wall scrapped and providing plenty of dimes. He’s also been contributing tres, steals, and rebounds well for a guard.
The Bucks defeated the Wizards, 148-129. They scored 85 points in the first half!!!
#3 player over the past seven games.
He Bledsoe we could witness top 20 fantasy production.
Over the past seven games, Batum has been a top 60 player. Is he back? Well, the efficiency has been better and he’s been delivering the D. The dimes are way down from his career norms, though, and the usage rate is a paltry 15. He had been in the 18-22 range the prior three years.
Three straight 30 point games and over the past four games, Kemba has been a top 10 player. He had a lull, but it looks like he’s back. The usage rate is over 33 and the shooting percentage has been 44%. The boards and dimes have also been plentiful. The return of Cody Zeller has helped, but he was starting to heat up before his return.
Played 25 minutes off the bench. Should return to the starting lineup sooner than later.
Got the start and played 33 minutes. DFS is a low usage player who will provide some points and boards. He’s been averaging 31 minutes over the past three games, so there’s that.
Like manna from the heavens. The past two games, he’s had a usage rate of 40! That’s Harden-esque. The only bugaboos for Doncic are the lack of blocks and not-so-great shooting efficiency.
Got the start at center and played 29 minutes.
Played 27 minutes off the bench.
When DeAndre Jordan was traded, I immediately scooped up Powell. Then I dropped him and picked up Kleber. Now, I’m just a dog chasing it’s own tail.
Tim Hardaway Jr.
Played 26 minutes off the bench. I thought he’d be inserted into the lineup, but maybe Carlisle wants him to be instant offense off the bench. Regardless, Hardaway should shoot and crap out plenty, but he’s going to hit some points along the way.
Continues to start and played 38 minutes. Top 30 player over the past three games with a usage rate of 28. I’m skeptical of the 55% shooting, as he’s more like a 41% shooter, but ride him while he’s hot.
Played 40 minutes. Rain or shine, blowout or tight game, Bridges is going to play and produce across the board. He’s a low usage player, so the ceiling may not be accessed consistently, but the floor is high.
Played 30 minutes. The prior two games, Ayton played 34 and 33 minutes, after missing six games due to injury. He was producing at a top 30 level prior to the injury, and I expect him to return there very shortly.
Kelly Oubre Jr.
Top 50 player over the past seven games. Literally contributing across the board (16 points, 1.3 tres, 4.9 boards, 2.6 dimes, 1.6 steals, and 1.4 blocks).
Devin Booker did not play due to hamstring tightness.
Jingle bells. Batman smells. Robin laid an egg. All his fantasy owners have had to beg. For a return to glory. As he was lost like Dory. Ingles has been a top 65 player over the past six games, which isn’t too far off from his stellar year last season.
Top 15 player. I salute you.
There are rumors that he may be headed to Memphis for Mike Conley. If so, that would be a downgrade for him, as the supporting cast isn’t as good and the Grizzlies play at the slowest pace in the league.
Played 30 minutes. Top 60 player over the past seven games. Enjoy the Manimal while you can, as he will likely be caged up when Clint Capela returns.
P. J. Tucker
Perfect punt points player. The shooting percentage is horrific, but his contributions in the rest of the categories allows him to post top 90 value.
Played 30 minutes. Fifth game since returning back from a 17-game absence. He’s been a top 25 player. Wait until he gets back into the groove. Hopefully he can stay healthy.
28 straight games scoring at least 30 points. Only 37 more to tie Wilt. Ha!
Played 29 minutes. The past four games, Green has scored 25, 9, 25, and 7 points. That means he’s scoring 11 points in the next game. That’s how it works, right?
Continues to start and played 25 minutes. This is a stubborn strain of Nemanja, as it lingers. He’s only averaging 22 minutes over the past six games, but he’s still starting. Joerger likes his ability to spread the floor, so Nemanja it is.
Led the team in scoring. Unfortunately, the Kings got smoked, 101-127 at home by the Rockets. Our Buddy is a top 40 player, averaging 20 points, 4 tres, 5 boards, and 2 dimes. He doesn’t contribute much in the D cats, but he takes care of the ball and provides good percentages.
Played 27 minutes. When I saw Bagley play at the Drew two years ago, it was impressive because he was dominating against grown me while still in high school. Yet, I was skeptical that he would be a success in the NBA due to his offensive limitations. Well, I was wrong.
In 17 minutes. Man, I am so pumped for a Giles/Bagley front court next season with Fox at the helm. I see no reason why the Kings would push Giles this season, but next year. Oh, next year.
The Spurs lost 102-141 to the Warriors. NO BLURBS FOR YOU!!! LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan did not play. Only two players on San Antonio played more than 25 minutes: Dante Cunningham (31) and Lonnie Walker IV (26). Cunningham posted a 11/5/1 line while Walker went 4/3/1/2. Rudy Gay played 20 minutes and scored 15 points, Davis Bertans played 23 minutes and scored 12 points, and Patty Mills played 17 minutes and scored 16 points.
When Pop tanks, Pop tanks. Smart move TBH.
On the flip side, no Warrior played more than 29 minutes, but 12 played at least 10 minutes. Marcus Derrickson received 9 minutes of run. Yeah. No idea who that is. If you care, Kevin Durant went 23/8/9/3, Stephen Curry put up 19/5/7/2/1, and Klay Thompson went 26/1/6/2/1.