Connect with us


Fantasy basketball 30 – Who’s hot, who’s cold, and who’s coming back?



Who is trending up? Which rotations are changing? And what’s the latest with the notable injuries around the NBA?

Here’s a list of the most fantasy relevant news and notes for all 30 teams:

Atlanta Hawks: Kevin Huerter moved to the bench in Friday’s game against Golden State and he has remained there for the two games since – with Bogdan Bogdanovic moving into the starting lineup in his place. This could be something that sticks under interim coach Nate McMillian, and it hasn’t helped Huerter’s production so far; while he has played at least 23 minutes in all three games since the move, he has averaged just 8.3 PPG, 1.0 RPG and 3.3 APG.

Boston Celtics: Jaylen Brown (left hip) is listed as questionable for Wednesday’s game against the Mavericks. Brown missed Monday’s game against the Pelicans while dealing with this injury, leading to a huge 34-point game by Jayson Tatum and 23 from Kemba Walker. If Brown misses this one, too, the Celtics can count another those two and newly acquired Evan Fourier – who was scoreless in 33 minutes against New Orleans – to carry the scoring load.

Brooklyn Nets: Blake Griffin has played four games with the Nets, and even with Kevin Durant still sidelined and LaMarcus Aldridge still not having played a game with Brooklyn, the results are less than impressive. Griffin’s 8.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG and 1.8 APG in 18.3 MPG leave him well off the fantasy radar at this point, and it’s difficult to imagine the numbers improving much once Durant and Aldridge are back up to speed. Griffin is still rostered in 49.5% of ESPN leagues.

Charlotte Hornets: With LaMelo Ball sidelined, the Hornets need all the scoring help they can get, making Malik Monk‘s absence due to a sore right foot especially tough. The good news is Monk is probable to return to the lineup for Thursday’s game against Brooklyn. Monk, who scored 32 points and connected on five 3-pointers in the win over Miami last Friday, is posting a career-high 13.2 PPG and 2.2 3PG in this, his fourth NBA season.

Chicago Bulls: Coby White (neck spasms) missed the first game of his NBA career on Monday – a 116-102 loss to the Warriors – and the scoring point guard missed practice on Tuesday as well. These type of injuries tend to linger, and White’s status figures to be iffy for Wednesday at Phoenix and Friday at Utah. Make sure to keep tabs on this leading up to tip-off. Any absence by White leads to extended minutes for Tomas Satoransky.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Larry Nance Jr. (illness) and Jarrett Allen (concussion) missed Cleveland’s last game, and their status is iffy heading into Thursday’s game against Philadelphia. Both missed Wednesday’s practice, which could set up the Cavaliers to use Isaiah Hartenstein and Dean Wade as their primary frontcourt options for the second straight game. Kevin Love, who missed Monday’s game due to a calf injury, could be another option if he’s able to return against the 76ers.

Dallas Mavericks: Aside from this Luka Doncic guy, the Mavericks lack young, athletic players on their roster this season. But according to a source of Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Mavs are one team believed to be eyeing Mitchell Robinson over the summer. The 22-year-old center has a team option at $1.8 million for 2022, and the Knicks could decline and make him a restricted free agent or accept it to allow him to be unrestricted in the summer of 2022.

Denver Nuggets: Michael Porter Jr. may never contribute enough assists, steals or blocks to be an elite option in roto leagues, but his scoring, rebounding and 3-point shooting is a tantalizing combination that makes him very appealing in points leagues – even with the addition of Aaron Gordon. In the two games since Gordon joined the team, Porter has erupted for 21.0 PPG and 11.0 RPG while adding 3.5 3PG. Good times are ahead with this fun and exciting group in Denver.



Jamal Murray comes up with the steal and launches the pass to Michael Porter Jr. for the massive dunk.

Detroit Pistons: Dennis Smith Jr. is slated to miss his fourth consecutive game for the Pistons due to a back injury, sitting out Wednesday’s tilt against the Trail Blazers. That paves the way for another start by Saben Lee. The second-rounder out of Vanderbilt put up 19 points and five assists in a win over the Raptors on Monday, while the newly acquired Cory Joseph added 17 points and five assists off the bench.

Golden State Warriors: Stephen Curry‘s return to the lineup on Monday led to immediate improvement by the Warriors, which snapped their losing streak with a win over the Bulls. And Curry’s presence also made a big impact in the rotation, as recently red-hot guard Jordan Poole moved back to the bench and finished with seven points, one rebound and one assists in 18 minutes, and Nico Mannion was relegated to seven minutes. While Mannion remains well off the fantasy radar, Poole’s downturn in playing time is a concern. If the trend continues, it will be time to send Poole back to the waiver wire.

Houston Rockets: Kelly Olynyk‘s fantasy value has fluctuated greatly during his NBA career, with the versatile big man proving capable of being a factor whenever he gets extended minutes. With his new team in Houston, the minutes figure to be there, even when Christian Wood returns from an illness that forced him to miss Olynyk’s first two games with the Rockets. The Gonzaga product has averaged 20.5 PPG, 6.5 RPG and 3.0 APG since the trade, and is still available in 68.2% of ESPN leagues.



John Wall throws over the top to Kelly Olynyk, who finishes through contact for the Rockets’ bucket.

Indiana Pacers: Caris LeVert has now played nine games with the Pacers, and if anyone thought he’d be eased into the rotation after all he’s been through – think again. LeVert’s 32.1 MPG in Indiana is a hike up from the 27.8 MPG in Brooklyn this season. That being said, LeVert’s shooting and distributing hasn’t yet reached the levels it was at with the Nets (47.1 TS% compared to 51.6 TS%, 3.9 APG vs. 6.0 APG). It would be fair to expect things to settle somewhere in the middle for both TS% and APG for the duration of the schedule.

LA Clippers: According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, DeMarcus Cousins could be back in the NBA soon, as the Clippers are planning to sign to former All-Star center to a 10-day contract. Cousins, who last played on Feb. 17 with the Rockets, hasn’t been the same since being ravaged by injuries in recent years, and figures to have a minimal fantasy impact as he provides depth behind Serge Ibaka and Ivica Zubac. He averaged 9.6 PPG, 7.6 RPG and 1.6 3PG in 25 games with the Rockets before being released.

Los Angeles Lakers: Andre Drummond will make his Lakers debut on Wednesday and is set to replace Marc Gasol as the team’s starting center. How much Drummond plays remains to be seen; he hasn’t played in a game since Feb. 12. Drummond is capable of putting up terrific fantasy numbers, even with Gasol and Montrezl Harrell in the picture, has a chance to do so with his new team – at least until LeBron James and Anthony Davis return to the lineup.

Memphis Grizzlies: With the recent news that Jaren Jackson Jr. could return by late April, there is natural speculation that the Grizzlies could elect to shut down the young forward who has already missed most of the season. Will that happen? Who knows. What it does mean, though, is at least three or four more weeks for Jonas Valanciunas, Kyle Anderson, Brandon Clarke and company to rack up a ton of stats before Jackson could suit up and return to the lineup.

Miami Heat: It remains to be seen how well Victor Oladipo will adapt to playing on the Heat, his third team this season after stops in Indiana and Houston. The expectations are low, considering the amount of scoring options in Miami compared to his situation with the Rockets, where he was counted on to be one of the main scorers night in and night out. As far as Miami’s other trade deadline acquisition goes, Nemanja Bjelica, the early returns are not good. Bjelica, who has proven to be a versatile presence when afforded the playing time, logged just five minutes in his Heat debut against the Knicks on Monday.

Milwaukee Bucks: We mentioned the Austin Rivers-to-Milwaukee rumors last week, and after Rivers was traded to Oklahoma City and subsequently bought out by Thunder in the past week, the Bucks remain a strong landing spot candidate for the veteran scorer. Rivers has played in only 21 games this season, though, and his 21.0 MPG is his lowest since the 2014-15 season with the Clippers.

Minnesota Timberwolves: As a freshman at the University of Washington last season, Jaden McDaniels appeared to be a long ways away from making an impact in the NBA. One year later, the lanky forward and No. 28 overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft appears well ahead of schedule. McDaniels has played at least 33 minutes in each of his last three games, scoring 14, 14 and 13 in those contests. With his confidence on the rise, this is one young player to keep tabs on in the years ahead.

New Orleans Pelicans: Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle referred to Zion Williamson this week as Shaq with point guard skills, and while that caused quite a stir on social media it’s hard not to notice the way the second-year forward is distributing of late. Williamson, who is up to 3.5 APG on the season, has dished out five or more assists in seven games this month alone. That, along with his improved free throw shooting (70.6% this month) and 1.0 SPG, has Zion continuing to rise on the fantasy rankings.

New York Knicks: How has it gone for RJ Barrett during the month of March? Pretty darn well. The second-year shooting guard has averaged 20.0 PPG in 12 games, shooting 46.7% from the field, while adding 6.1 RPG, 3.8 APG, 0.8 SPG and 1.2 3PG. Confidence continues to rise for the No. 3 pick from 2019.



RJ Barrett flies to the bucket and drops in a tough layup while drawing a foul.

Oklahoma City Thunder: In the two games since the Thunder announced that Al Horford would be shut down for the season — a trend that many fantasy managers alike certainly wish would go away forever – it’s worth looking closer at how the young frontcourt has performed in Horford’s absence. Moses Brown (31.5 MPG, 13.5 PPG, 16.0 RPG, 1.0 SPG, 1.0 BPG during the past two games) is the one to go after, and is still a free agent in 49.0% of ESPN leagues. Isaiah Roby (30.5 MPG, 8.0 PPG, 8.0 RPG) would be next, with Mike Muscala and Tony Bradley behind those two.

Orlando Magic: Wendell Carter Jr. is available in 60.4% of ESPN leagues and Otto Porter Jr. is a free agent in 33.4% of ESPN leagues, and both new members of the Magic could be worth a look based on how they started their tenure in Orlando. Carter hasn’t played huge minutes (19.0 MPG) in his two games with the Magic thus far, but his 11 points, six rebounds, three assists and three blocks Tuesday against the Clippers was an encouraging sign. Porter, meanwhile, went for 13 points and added seven rebounds and four assists in that game. Both are worth watching closely.

Philadelphia 76ers: The subject of trade rumors leading up to last week’s deadline, Danny Green ended up staying with the 76ers after all. And the veteran has been scorching hot from beyond the arc as of late, averaging 5.0 3PG during the team’s last three games. Green’s 2.6 3PG this season is on pace to set a new career high, besting the 2.5 3PG he had with the championship Raptors team in 2018-19.

Phoenix Suns: With 42 games under his belt this season, we now have a solid sample size to compare Devin Booker‘s numbers to last season – the pre CP3 era in Phoenix. After a closer review, what stands out is the consistency. Booker’s FG% of 48.9 is identical. His 3FG% is nearly the same as well (from 35.4 to 35.0). His scoring has taken only a slight dip (26.6 to 25.0) as has his rebounding (4.2 to 4.1). Really, the only significant change is the one we could have predicted when you bring in one of the best point guards in NBA history – fewer assists. Booker’s APG is down from 6.5 to 4.5.

Portland Trail Blazers: In the two games Jusuf Nurkic has played since his return, the lumbering big man has put up 9.0 PPG and 6.0 RPG in 19.0 MPG while Enes Kanter – who filled in well in Nurkic’s absence – has still led the way with 12.5 PPG and 11.5 RPG in 23.5 MPG. This figures to change as Nurkic gets back into playing shape and isn’t so much an indicator of anything other than the fact that Kanter remains a force even with Nurkic back in the lineup.

Sacramento Kings: Harrison Barnes is mired in quite a shooting slump from long range. The veteran forward, who made 45.8% of his 3s in January and 38.1% of them in February, is at an icy 23.3% clip in March, connected on only 0.8 of 3.3 attempts per game. When Barnes isn’t making the 3-ball, his scoring suffers as well, reducing him to a fringy option in 12-team leagues.

San Antonio Spurs: Gorgui Dieng is another player worth rostering when he gets the minutes, and the question is whether that will happen on his new team in San Antonio. Dieng was buried behind Jonas Valanciunas and Brandon Clarke in Memphis, but the Jakob Poeltl is the main competition for minutes with the Spurs and Dieng can offer scoring, rebounding and efficient shooting in the right situation. He hasn’t played in a game since Feb. 28, so it could take a few weeks for him to get up to speed in San Antonio.

Toronto Raptors: Kyle Lowry has been ruled out for Wednesday’s game against the Thunder due to a foot infection — the same issue he was able to play through in Monday’s loss to the Pistons. With Lowry out, Fred VanVleet could be in store for a big game – you remember, he has done this before – but Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr. and Chris Boucher all get a bump in scoring with Lowry and his 17.0 PPG sidelined.

Utah Jazz: Donovan Mitchell (personal reasons) will not play in Wednesday’s game against the Grizzlies, leaving the Jazz without their leading scorer. How will Utah replace Mitchell and his 25.7 PPG? Well, it won’t be easy, but there’s a good chance Joe Ingles will make his 12th start of the season and that Jordan Clarkson and Mike Conley will get more shot attempts than usual. Plan accordingly.

Washington Wizards: Russell Westbrook‘s poor shooting percentages this season have made him a perplexing option in roto leagues, but the athletic point guard’s incredible production of late makes him dominant in points leagues. Westbrook’s averages over the last four games? 22.3 PPG, 16.5 RPG, 13.5 APG, 1.5 SPG and 1.3 BPG. Yowza!

Source link


USA Basketball sets plan for Olympic camps in Las Vegas



For USA Basketball, the last stop before the Tokyo Olympics will be Las Vegas.

The men’s and women’s national teams will hold training camps in Las Vegas in July, they announced Thursday, and they’ll be playing seven exhibitions there against other Olympics-bound national teams as well.

USA Basketball will open its men’s training camp, led by coach Gregg Popovich, in Las Vegas on July 6. The Olympic men’s teams from Australia, Nigeria, Argentina and reigning Basketball World Cup champion Spain will also be spending some time in Las Vegas; Argentina will start its training camp there this month.

The U.S. women’s training camp under coach Dawn Staley will likely open around July 12; the WNBA break for the Olympics starts after the games of July 11. The Olympic women’s teams joining the U.S. in Las Vegas are Australia and Nigeria.

It’ll all take place at the MGM Resorts, which was announced as USA Basketball’s training camp home and resorts partner with the sides having now agreed to a multi-year sponsorship deal.

“USA Basketball is proud to expand its partnership with MGM Resorts,” USA Basketball CEO Jim Tooley said. “We’re excited to bring our national teams to their properties as we prepare for the challenging competition that lies ahead this summer.”

The U.S. men are seeking a fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal, the U.S. women their seventh in a row. Both will enter the Olympics ranked No. 1 by FIBA, the sport’s international governing body — though it remains unknown who the Americans will have on their rosters for the rescheduled Tokyo Games.

Those rosters could be set by the end of June. Some top NBA players such as Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, Kawhi Leonard of the LA Clippers and Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers have expressed some interest in being part of the Olympic team; others, such as LeBron James and Anthony DavisLos Angeles Lakers teammates who were dealing with injuries when their season ended last week — are not planning to join the team.

All teams in Las Vegas will be taking part in what USA Basketball described as “comprehensive health and safety protocols … including mandatory and regular COVID-19 PCR testing, administered to athletes, coaches, officials and staff in accordance with FIBA and USA Basketball recommendations and CDC guidelines.”

Those concerns are why the international teams opted to spend time in Las Vegas. Argentina’s men’s team is conducting the entirety of its three-week camp there before flying to Tokyo, simply because it believes a controlled environment and less traveling between different countries will minimize virus-related risks before the Olympics.

“We were lucky and, at the same time, we deserved it to get an organization like USA Basketball to extend this invitation to us,” Argentina coach Sergio Hernandez said. “In such a complicated context it doesn’t get better than this.”

The games are set up as part of five doubleheaders, and fans will be able to attend the matchups at MGM’s Michelob Ultra Arena. Tickets go on sale next week.


July 10 — U.S. men vs. Nigeria, Argentina vs. Australia

July 12 — Argentina vs. Nigeria, U.S. men vs. Australia

July 13 — U.S. men vs. Argentina, Australia vs. Nigeria

July 16 — U.S. women vs. Australia, U.S. men vs. Australia

July 18 — U.S. women vs. Nigeria, U.S. men vs. Spain


The Nigeria-U.S. women’s game will be a prequel to the teams’ Olympic meeting on July 27 in Tokyo, the first game there for both of those teams. Nigeria and the U.S. are both in Group B at the Olympics, along with Japan and France.

The Australia-Nigeria men’s game is also the warmup for an Olympics-opening matchup. They’ll play in a Group B game on July 25.

The men’s teams from Spain and Argentina — the teams that played in the World Cup final at Beijing in 2019 — are both in Group C for the Olympics. They’ll both spend some time in Las Vegas but are not scheduled to face off there before flying to Japan.


Las Vegas will see the top four men’s teams in the FIBA rankings there for the exhibitions: The U.S. is No. 1, Spain No. 2, Australia No. 3 and Argentina No. 4. Nigeria is ranked No. 22.

The U.S. women also hold the No. 1 FIBA ranking, and their July 16 opponent Australia is ranked No. 2 in the world. Nigeria’s women are ranked No. 17.

Source link

Continue Reading


Phoenix Suns’ Chris Paul ‘makes it look normal’ after notching 15 assists, zero turnovers in win vs. Denver Nuggets



It had been seven years since a player had a game in the postseason with 15 assists and no turnovers, but Chris Paul accomplished the feat on Wednesday as the Phoenix Suns routed the Denver Nuggets 123-98 to take a 2-0 series lead.

The last player to post a 15-to-0 assist-to-turnover ratio in a playoff game? Paul, in 2014, with the LA Clippers.

“Guys are open. I got the easy part. All I got to do is find them,” said Paul, who had 17 points. “They got to make the shots. It’s a credit to our coaching staff to tell you the truth. Things we’ve drilled all season long, it’s nice to see it come into play in game form, especially in the playoffs.”

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Paul had the 10th playoff game with 15 assists and zero turnovers since assists were tracked in 1977-78. And Paul has accounted for three of those games himself.

“Obviously 15 assists, zero turnovers is unheard of,” Devin Booker said, “but for Chris Paul, it’s a thing that he does, and makes it look normal.”

In the two games in the series, Paul has 26 assists to just one turnover. Going back to his last three playoff games, that ratio gets even more ridiculous, sitting at 38-2. He’s the first player with 10 or more assists and one or fewer assists in three straight playoff games since Maurice Cheeks in 1989.

The Suns showcased their impressive balance with six players in double-figures, including all five starters. But even with 123 points, no player scored more than 18 (Booker). It was a clinic in distribution, particularly in a raucous second half, as Paul carved the Nuggets, finding efficient possessions nearly every trip down the floor. In Game 2, the Suns shot 15-of-24 off Paul passes. Of the 15 makes, 11 were uncontested looks.

“I’m telling you man, I’ve never been on a team quite like this where everybody can shoot it the way that they do,” Paul said. “You don’t have to try to find a certain guy.”

Like in Game 1, Paul found his spots to assert himself offensively, too, hitting a flurry of shots early in the fourth quarter as the Suns put the game away. It’s one of Paul’s many rare talents, an ability to sense moments and pick his spots to attack the game himself, or get teammates involved.

When Paul joined the surging young Suns in the offseason, there was a lot of talk about his role as a mentor, as a leader, as a culture cultivator. At age 36 and plenty of tread on his tires, Paul’s cerebral presence was thought to be something that could boost the Suns just as much as his play. But as he’s shown this postseason, there’s still plenty left in the tank.

“I would never doubt Chris,” Suns head coach Monty Williams said. “His ability to manage the team, his track record, has success all over it and everywhere he’s been he’s been successful. He works his tail off and yeah, he’s 36 years old but he’s doing a lot of stuff off the floor so he can be effective on the floor.”

The series now turns to Denver, where the Nuggets are desperate for a response. Paul has been using his experience as a motivator, recounting the 2007-08 second-round series against the San Antonio Spurs where the New Orleans Pelicans took a 2-0 series lead, winning the opening two games by a combined 37 points.

“We’re cool. We’re cool. We’ve got a great locker room, guys that understand the moment. A guy like Jae Crowder, who’s been to the Finals,” Paul said. “I’ve played a lot too. I’m always talking about 2007-08, we played against the Spurs when I was in New Orleans and we won the first two games, beat the brakes off of ’em. I remember looking over there at Tim [Duncan] and all them and they weren’t fazed. It was just one game. That’s what we talk about as a team too. It’s just one game.”

Source link

Continue Reading


NBA playoffs 2021 – Chris Paul couldn’t have drawn up a better scenario for the Phoenix Suns



Chris Paul plans.

He planned when he forced a trade out of New Orleans a decade ago. He planned when he creatively leveraged a contract option to get himself to Houston. He planned when he helped change an arcane age rule in the collective bargaining agreement that enabled him the chance to earn tens of millions in extra salary.

Even in the moments after Paul’s Phoenix Suns finished a 125-98 thrashing of the Denver Nuggets to take a 2-0 series lead, Paul was planning. In the locker room, knowing the Nuggets twice came back last season from 3-1 deficits, he was getting his teammates to think about Game 3 on Friday night in Denver. Paul told stories of going up 2-0 against the San Antonio Spurs in 2008 while with New Orleans, only to eventually lose in seven games.

But even on his most rosy drawing board, he probably couldn’t have seen the situation that is unfolding.

The Suns have won five straight playoff games and, with each victory, appear to be getting stronger. His long-time adversaries are falling off the board. Stephen Curry is home. LeBron James is home. Injuries are mounting across the league and this time the one Paul had in the playoffs, his shoulder stinger that almost wrecked this run before it started, seems to be healed.

The Suns are healthy and playing brilliantly as a group. In both games of the second round, five players have scored in double figures.

People around the league are starting to talk about how this might be Paul’s best shot ever at a Finals. It might be premature to say that considering his Houston Rockets team was up 3-2 on the Golden State Warriors in the conference finals before a hamstring pull sidelined him three years ago.

But after the routine disappointments with the LA Clippers and the letdowns and near misses in Houston, this rising Suns streak feels like the most unexpected playoff situation of Paul’s career.

“I’m telling you,” Paul said after scoring 17 points with 15 assists and no turnovers in Game 2. “I really haven’t been on a team quite like this one.”

Working with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Paul had several hopes when picking a trade destination last offseason. He wanted to be close to his family in Los Angeles, be in good weather and have a shot at playing next to a star; he would have that in Devin Booker. Represented by the same agency, Booker was desperate to get some help. “I’m done with not making the playoffs,” Booker said three years ago after a 21-61 season. “I’m serious.”

After going a perfect 8-0 in Orlando to narrowly miss the playoffs in 2020, the Suns were upwardly mobile — but they were not seen as real contenders. Different people in their fanbase and organization may have jumped to that conclusion as this special season unfolded, but now that it’s actually happening, Paul is basking in the position he’s found himself in.

Booker has been the star he believed in, his 47-point closeout game to knock out the champion Lakers being the gem so far. Paul can’t believe how effective his teammates are at shooting, with Jae Crowder, Mikal Bridges, Dario Saric, Cam Johnson and Cameron Payne lighting up the opposition from outside.

Paul, who was the centerpiece of Lob City with the Clippers and on an offensive juggernaut in Houston, says he’s never seen anything like it.

“Everybody shoots,” Paul said. “You don’t have to try to find a certain guy. Everybody [on our team] are knock down shooters.”



Chris Paul connects with Deandre Ayton for a roaring two-handed slam.

During the five-game winning streak Paul has 53 assists and four turnovers. That’s 53-4. With his shoulder better — he couldn’t even attempt long shots for several games in the last round — he’s made 14-of-24 shots and 4-of-5 3-pointers in this series. His two 3s Wednesday were fourth-quarter daggers.

“He manages games better than anybody I’ve ever been around,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “It’s not something I take for granted, it’s not something our team takes for granted.”

It is dangerous to think this fairy tale will continue, Paul’s playoff career is one long string of unexpected setbacks. But it’s also human nature to watch him, at age 36, and wonder whether there is some bit of karma heading his direction.

Outwardly Paul will not allow it, he has literally done dozens of commercials about insurance covering unexpected disasters. But inwardly he probably can see the road ahead and start to feel some warmth.

“We’re cool,” Paul said. “We have guys who understand the moment.”

Source link

Continue Reading