It was a busy 10-game night in the NBA on Wednesday and there was plenty of news going down throughout the day, including a trade, a big waive, and Kawhi Leonard’s new shoe deal. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here, and away we go…
Land of no Canaan
Isaiah Canaan was waived by the Suns, clearing the way for Elie Okobo to finally get an opportunity in Phoenix. He didn’t waste any time showing up, as he played 32 minutes off the bench last night, hitting 8-of-12 shots and three 3-pointers on his way to 19 points, two rebounds, four assists and three steals. If you’re holding a player like Emmanuel Mudiay or Derrick White, or can’t make up your mind on whether or not to drop Danny Green, taking a flier on Okobo makes a ton of sense right now. Phoenix has a nice games-played schedule over the next month, the team has nothing to play for but to develop its young talent, and this is the break we’ve been waiting for on Okobo all year. He may not be a must-own player just yet, but he’s pretty close to it in my mind. I picked him up in four leagues this morning, while Mike Gallagher beat me to him in another.
Coming soon: Steph Curry
Stephen Curry (groin) is ready to roll and will make his return for the Warriors on Saturday against the Pistons after missing 11 games (including tonight’s). It’s been real, Quinn Cook.
Jazz trade Burks for Korver
The Jazz and Cavs pulled off a trade that did not include disgruntled J.R. Smith, but did put Kyle Korver in Utah as a backup wing player, and Alec Burks in Cleveland to vie for shooting guard minutes. This should be a fantasy dud, as Burks isn’t likely to get more minutes than Rodney Hood or Jordan Clarkson, while Korver is in Utah specifically to shoot 3-pointers while backing up Joe Ingles and Donovan Mitchell. In other words, there’s nothing to see here, although Burks could cut into the productivity of both Hood and Clarkson a little.
Kawhi’s shoe deal
Kawhi Leonard signed a massive shoe deal with New Balance and this is really all I could see in my mind when I heard the news.
Now onto some actual game news…
My man, Cedi Osman, stepped up for the Cavs last night with 14 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and two 3-pointers. He’s been up and down like a roller coaster this season, but I’m glad I’ve stuck it out thus far. He should only get better with time. Tristan Thompson finally cooled off with four points and two rebounds, but he played 35 minutes, so I’m not freaking out just yet. And my other man, Collin Sexton, had 21 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, a steal and a 3-pointer. Yes, George Hill is getting closer to returning, but I’m not giving up on Sexton because of it. And while he’s easy to call a sell-high guy right now, I’m not sure you can get much for him either way. I’m just going to keep riding him. Jordan Clarkson also came through with 25 points and four 3-pointers, and Rodney Hood stayed relevant with 12 points, four assists, a steal and a 3-pointer. Larry Nance was quiet, but did have seven points, 10 rebounds and a 3-pointer. With Cleveland’s awesome fantasy schedule, all of these guys have appeal right now.
OKC’s Russell Westbrook had a ridiculous 23-19-15 triple-double, the 107th of his career, trying him with Jason Kidd. He’s averaging 9.8 assists along with 23.2 points and 10.3 rebounds, putting him on pace to average another triple-double this season. And then he did this. Jerami Grant had 21 points, five boards and four blocks, and has pretty much been a must-own player this season, while Dennis Schroder floundered in the wake of Westbrook’s masterpiece.
The Hawks got back to their losing ways against the Hornets, and I’d like to give Kent Bazemore a shout out for his 0-for-10 shooting night. He was also 0-for-6 from downtown, and still came through for fantasy owners with five rebounds, three assists, a steal and three blocks. After the Hawks won a close game against the Heat a night earlier, it was nice to see Baze kindly remind his teammates that the goal this year is to lose games, not win them. And right now, the Hawks have more wins than both the Cavaliers and the Suns. But with Bazemore’s guidance and leadership, they should be able to calm Trae Young down and stay in the hunt for a shot at drafting Zion Williamson.
And, um, speaking of Trae Young, Luka Doncic did a bunch of pretty sick stuff last night against the Rockets. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a rookie look less like a rookie than Doncic. Oh, and they’ve written a song about him, as well.
Jimmy Butler had just seven points in 25 minutes last night, but it was a Sixers freebie in a blowout of New York. However, I am a little concerned about Butler trying to mesh with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. If I owned him, I’d wait for Jimmy B to have a big game and then try to move him before he has more nights like the one he had against the Knicks.
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Speaking of the Knicks, Noah Vonleh, Emmanuel Mudiay, Tim Hardaway (1-of-11 shooting) and Allonzo Trier were all really quiet last night. This Knicks team is a mess, can’t figure out who to play at point guard or center, or several other positions for that matter, and is lottery bound. Mario Hezonja, Damion Dotson and Enes Kanter were all solid last night, but the only Knicks I really want to deal with on a regular basis in fantasy are Hardaway and Kanter. Mitchell Robinson had five points, six boards and four blocks in 17 minutes off the bench, and somehow didn’t foul out against Embiid. I’m good with holding him too, despite the fact he’s likely to foul out of every game he plays in.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Jarrett Allen double-doubled for the Nets last night, as RHJ started for the second straight game. It’s been a painfully slow start for him, but the double-double on Wednesday was preceded by a 13-point game with six rebounds on Sunday. If he sticks in the starting unit, he’ll be worth owning, but the Nets have been non-committal about his role going forward.
For the Bulls, Jabari Parker had a 24-8-5 line against his former team (Bucks), Ryan Arcidiacono had a massive line of 22 points, five rebounds, four assists, five steals and five 3-pointers, Justin Holiday hit just 2-of-10 shots (every one of them a 3-pointer), but still had eight points, six boards, four assists and two steals, and Zach LaVine had another big night with a 24-9-7 line with two 3-pointers and a block. Arcidiacono is only owned in 13 percent of Yahoo! leagues right now, but has scored 22 points in back-to-back games. He’ll take a big hit once Kris Dunn is back, but we still don’t know when that will be, and if you can’t get Okobo, Arcidiacono might be the next best thing on your waiver wire. Just don’t make me say his name. And I’m sticking with Holiday for now, but Lauri Markkanen is getting close and should hurt him. Markkanen’s return is also likely to hurt Parker, as well.
Malcolm Brogdon came through for the Bucks with a 24-5-6 line that included a block and 6-of-6 shooting from downtown. He should be owned everywhere, and stepped up on a night when Eric Bledsoe couldn’t get going.
The Rockets got beaten badly by the Mavs last night and James Harden’s 25-11-17 triple-double paled in comparison to Westbrook’s. James Ennis, Clint Capela and Eric Gordon all played well with Chris Paul still sidelined with his hamstring injury, while Danuel House broke out with 18 points, five rebounds and two 3-pointers. It was a garbage-time special, but keep an eye on him just in case. And no, I don’t know when CP3’s going to be back.
J.J. Barea somehow had 13 points and 12 assists in just 18 minutes for the Mavericks, and he’s pretty hot. He’s averaging 17 points, 9.0 dimes, a steal and 1.3 3-pointer over his last three games. I don’t really trust him to keep it going, but he might be able to do it, given Dennis Smith Jr.’s inconsistency. DSJ had 10 points last night, but also had five boards, five assists, four steals, a block and a 3-pointer.
The Timberwolves absolutely demolished the Spurs 128-89, effectively giving most of Gregg Popovich’s guys a rest. Jakob Poeltl had 14 points, eight boards and a block, and has been playing better recently, but I still don’t trust him, or any other Spurs at this point, outside of LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan, who were both pretty quiet in the blowout. The Spurs scored nine points in the second quarter.
For the Wolves, Robert Covington is on a heater right now, scoring 21 with nine boards and a fun stat line two nights after scoring 24 against the Cavs. Use him in DFS before the next slump rolls in. I got a lot of questions in my live chat yesterday about Andrew Wiggins and he was really bad again. Wiggins has hit just 17-of-67 shots over his last five games, good for just 25 percent! Ouch. He’ll break out of the funk sooner or later, but he’s sinking fantasy teams right now.
Tim Frazier started at point guard for the Pelicans and went off for 12 points, six rebounds, 12 assists and two steals in 37 minutes. He could roll with Elfrid Payton out due to foot surgery, and also got a boost with Frank Jackson out with a sprained ankle. He’s not trustworthy just yet, but Frazier needs to be watched very closely going forward. All five Pelicans starters hit double figures, Frazier and Anthony Davis double-doubled, and Julius Randle had 23 points and 12 boards off the bench.
Kelly Oubre came through with 22 points, six boards, two steals, a block and four 3-pointers in another start for the Wizards, and Bradley Beal had 16 points, five boards, 11 assists, two steals, a block and a 3-pointer in the loss. Markieff Morris kept it going with 22 points, nine boards and four 3-pointers, and while I’m not a big Markieff guy, it’s hard to argue with what he’s doing right now. Over his last five, Morris is averaging 17.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 2.6 3-pointers, despite coming off the bench. Feel free to add him if he’s unowned in your league.
Portland beat Orlando last night as Damian Lillard set a franchise record with 10 3-pointers for 41 points, eight rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block. He hit seven triples in the third quarter.
Jonathan Isaac had 16 points, seven boards, two assists, a block and two 3-pointers in 30 minutes, and was helped by the fact that Aaron Gordon sat this one out with a back injury. He only started because Gordon was out, and AG hopes to play on Friday, but Isaac is still a stash guy in fantasy.
The Clippers got 28 points, 10 boards, four assists, a steal, two blocks and four 3-pointers from Danilo Gallinari, who has managed to stay incredibly healthy this season. If he can stay on the court, he’s going to have a monster season, but he’s never been able to stay healthy. Maybe this is the year. Tobias Harris double-doubled, Boban Marjanovic started with Marcin Gortat (back spasms) unavailable, and had 12 points and 12 boards in 19 minutes. I’m not taking the bait this time, but he’s an interesting DFS play any time he’s starting. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 13 points, seven rebounds, six assists, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers, so don’t drop him, while Avery Bradley missed all seven of his shots and failed to score. He’s been a disaster for way too long now. Montrezl Harrell kept it rolling with 18 points, six boards, three assists, a steal and two blocks in 29 minutes, and is the big man you want to out of L.A.
Devin Booker (toe) went from doubtful, to available, to starting for the Suns, and finished with 23 points, four boards, four assists, a steal and a 3-pointer in 35 minutes. Keep an eye on his toe injury, as this story may not yet be over. Josh Jackson had 15 points, seven boards and two steals off the bench, and has been playing better over his last four games. Keep an eye on him. Popular stash Mikal Bridges played just 15 minutes and scored two points last night. His minutes have been high, but he hasn’t been doing anything with them, and then he got benched last night. I’m still into stashing him, but if you have to move him for a hot free agent (like Okobo), do it.
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