Time to Panic!
Greetings friends! Bad news! If you drafted Hassan Whiteside at his ADP of 53.4, it’s officially time to start mashing away at that panic button, because yes, it’s been very bad. After logging just 10 minutes off the bench in Sunday’s loss to the Suns, Whiteside only managed to see 13 minutes of action in Tuesday’s win over the Nuggets and he finished with six points, five rebounds and nothing else on 2-of-7 shooting from the field and 4-of-6 from the line. Meanwhile, Sacramento’s starting center, Richaun Holmes, saw 33 minutes of floor time and Marvin Bagley (who Whiteside never plays alongside) logged 23 minutes. There’s no clear path to minutes for Hassan on this Kings team, and the season-high 18 minutes he saw in the season-opener is actually a mirage, as he was slated to end that game with just 10 minutes but then both Holmes and Bagley fouled out and the game went into overtime. Luke Walton essentially doesn’t have much more than 10 minutes a night to give to Whiteside, and there’s also not an obvious place to trade him to, considering he was one of the final guys to come off the board during free agency and most teams around the league are set at the center. It’s very bad, and the only reason not to drop him at this point is the chance that one of the guys in front of him is injured and he’s allowed to at least see 25 minutes a night. I can’t sell you anything – it’s time to panic – or maybe flip him to someone who thinks he can be the guy he was in Portland last season.
On The Radar
Josh Jackson had another solid performance as a starter on Tuesday, scoring 17 points on 6-of-14 shooting (5-of-8 from the line) to go with six rebounds, three assists, one steal, one block and one turnover in 29 minutes. The former lotto pick has bounced around a lot through his first four years in the league, but he may have finally found a home in Detroit, and Blake Griffin exiting Tuesday’s game with a concussion should work in Jackson’s favor. Through the first four games of this season, Jackson has put in averages of 17.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.5 treys, 1.0 steal, 0.8 swats and 1.8 turnovers per game on 50.9% shooting from the field and 64.3% from the stripe, which has been good enough for top-100 value in 9-cat leagues. I’m skeptical that he’ll be able to keep this up, but he’s done enough to warrant a pickup in most formats.
Tyus Jones figures to be Memphis’ starting point guard while both Ja Morant (ankle) and De’Anthony Melton (COVID-protocol) are out, which gives him some appeal as a deep league pickup for fantasy GMs seeking some cheap PG stats. In six starts with the Grizzlies last season, Jones contributed averages of 8.8 points, 6.3 assists, 1.0 steal and just 1.7 turnovers per game on 46.8% shooting.
De’Anthony Melton (COVID-protocol) is currently IR-eligible in Yahoo! Leagues, so it makes sense to stash him if you’ve got an IR-spot available. In eight starts last season, he registered averages of 7.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.5 triples, 3.4 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.6 turnovers per game on 36.7% shooting.
Kyle Anderson has been a top-50 player through the first three games of the season with averages of 18.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2.3 triples, 2.0 assists and 2.0 turnovers per game on 50% shooting from the field and 80% from the stripe. He was already worth owning before Morant went down, but he should see some increased playmaking opportunities while Ja is out, so make sure he’s not floating around on your waiver wire.
After picking up a DNP-CD in the previous game, Kendrick Nunn saw 31 minutes off the bench sans Jimmy Butler (ankle) on Tuesday and finished with 15 points (6-of-17 FG, 2-of-2 FT), six assists, three rebounds, one 3-pointer, one steal, one block and one turnover. If Butler is out again on Wednesday, Nunn will make for a quality streamer.
Payton Pritchard had another productive outing in 27 minutes off the bench on Tuesday, scoring 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting (2-of-3 from the line) to go with five rebounds, five assists, one steal and three turnovers. He’s already Wally Pipped Jeff Teague in the rotation, so it looks like he’ll be the PG to roster while Kemba Walker (knee) is out. His value will have a shelf life, as he probably won’t do much once Walker is incorporated in the rotation and fully up to speed, but we still don’t know when exactly Walker will be back – making Pritchard a viable pickup in deep leagues.
Monte Morris got the start with Jamal Murray (elbow) unavailable on Tuesday, and he popped off for 24 points (10-of-15 FG, 2-of-2 FT), four assists, two triples, one rebound, two steals, one block and one turnover across 37 minutes. The elbow issue shouldn’t keep Murray out too long, so Morris isn’t a great add in standard leagues, but he’ll make for a quality streamer anytime Murray hits the sidelines.
Reggie Bullock saw 41 minutes as a starter in Tuesday’s win over the Cavs, scoring 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting to go with seven rebounds, five triples, one steal, one block and three turnovers. He’s a bit inconsistent, but he should see heavy minutes while Alec Burks (ankle) and Austin Rivers (groin) are out, so he could be worth a look in deep leagues for Fantasy GMs seeking some cheap, 3-point shooting.
Elfrid Payton scored 14 points on 6-of-15 shooting (0-of-2 from the line) to go with eight rebounds, seven assists, two triples and five turnovers in 36 minutes. It’s possible he could face some competition from Rivers and Immanuel Quickley (hip) once they get fully up to speed, but for now, he’s the starting PG in New York and worth a roster spot in deep leagues.
Nerlens Noel went 1-of-3 from the field and 2-of-2 from the stripe for four points, seven rebounds, two steals, three blocks and three turnovers in 16 minutes off the bench. He’s playing a minimal role in Tom Thibodeau’s system, but he has some low-end appeal as a shot-blocking specialist in deep leagues.
JaVale McGee hit 5-of-7 shots for 11 points, nine rebounds, one 3-pointer, one steal, one block and two turnovers in 16 minutes off the bench. He’s another low-end, shot-blocking specialist option in deep leagues.
Pistons No. 16 overall selection in the 2020 NBA Draft, Isaiah Stewart, saw 23 minutes off the bench on Tuesday with Jahlil Okafor (ankle) on the sidelines and Blake Griffin leaving at halftime with a concussion, and he finished with six points, seven rebounds, one assist, two blocks and zero turnovers. If Griffin needs to miss a few games, Stewart could have some low-end appeal as a deep league streamer.
Justin Holiday scored 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting to go with two triples, one rebound, four steals and two turnovers in 26 minutes off the bench. He’s another inconsistent guy, but he could have some low-end value in deep leagues for his output in the steals department.
Isaiah Roby, who was a late, second-round draft pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, got a spot-start for the resting Al Horford on Tuesday, and he scored 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting to go with seven rebounds, one 3-pointer, one steal, two blocks and one turnover in 28 minutes. He didn’t see the court at all his rookie year, but he showed a lot of potential in Tuesday’s game. He’ll return to being a non-factor in the rotation when Horford gets back for OKC’s next game, but just make a note of him for the next time that Horford gets rested.
Nicolas Batum scored seven points on 2-of-6 shooting (2-of-2 from the line) to go with five rebounds, three assists, one 3-pointer, one steal and one turnover through 24 minutes as a starter. He’s been a sneaky late-round guy in fantasy hoops this season with averages of 6.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.0 steal, 1.0 triple and 1.3 turnovers per game on 45.5% shooting, so give him a look in deep leagues if those numbers are appealing. Just know, that his playing time could take a hit once Marcus Morris (knee) makes his way back to the court.
Jae Crowder went 6-of-11 from the field and 4-of-4 from the line for 21 points, five triples, two rebounds, one assist, one steal and zero turnovers in just 21 minutes of floor time during Tuesday’s blowout win over the Pelicans. He’s been hit-or-miss this season, scoring 21, two, 17 and four through the first four games of the year, but if he can find his rhythm in Phoenix, he does have the potential for sneaky top-50 value. He’s not quite there in standard formats, but he’s shown enough flashes to warrant some consideration in deep leagues.
Cameron Johnson kept his hot streak going on Tuesday, scoring 18 points on 6-of-13 shooting (2-of-2 from the line) to go with four triples, two rebounds, one steal, two blocks and zero turnovers in just 22 minutes off the bench. He may face some competition for playing time with Dario Saric once Saric gets back up to speed, but he’s also managed to put up top-50 value through the first four games of the year in just 23.5 minutes a night with averages of 15.5 points, 2.5 triples, 1.0 steal, 0.5 blocks and 0.0 turnovers per game on 51.2% shooting. These numbers are similar to what he did in his impressive Bubble run last season, so he’s worth a speculative add to see if he can keep it up.
Tyrese Haliburton hit 5-of-7 shots for 13 points, three triples, three rebounds, six assists, three steals and two turnovers in 25 minutes off the bench. He hadn’t recorded any steals coming into this game, so we wouldn’t expect that trend to continue, but he has been a reliable source of triples and dimes with averages of 2.0 triples, 5.3 dimes and 10.5 points per game on 56% shooting with just 0.8 turnovers a night. Give him a look if you’re deficient in those categories.
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An MRI revealed a Grade 2 left ankle sprain for Ja Morant and he’s expected to miss the next 3-5 weeks of action. While it’s not great that he’ll miss at least three weeks, this timetable has to be considered encouraging given how bad the injury looked on Monday night. The Grizzlies are notoriously unreliable with the injury updates, so we probably won’t have a good idea of where Ja is at until he’s on the cusp of getting back to the court, but if their W-L record starts slipping – Morant could take his time getting back if Memphis decides to initiate the tank. De’Anthony Melton is currently away from the team due to COVID-protocols, which more or less guarantees that Tyus Jones will be starting on Wednesday in Boston, so he’s worth a look for teams in need of some cheap PG stats. Melton offers more upside, though, so he could be someone to consider stashing in deep leagues. Jonas Valanciunas and Dillon Brooks figure to do the heavy lifting on offense with Ja on the sidelines while Kyle Anderson will see some increased playmaking opportunities.
Jimmy Butler (right ankle) did not play on Tuesday and he should be considered questionable at best for Wednesday’s rematch with the Bucks. Moe Harkless got the start in his place on Tuesday, but he was replaced by Avery Bradley after halftime, so it might be Bradley getting the start on Wednesday if Jimmy is out again.
Kawhi Leonard (mouth) did not play Tuesday vs. the Timberwolves, but maybe he’ll be able to get back out there for Wednesday’s game against the Trail Blazers. If he can play, Luke Kennard will return to the second unit and Paul George’s usage will take a minor hit.
Marcus Morris (knee) did not play Tuesday, but he was able to practice on Monday, so he is making progress. It’ll be interesting to see if he starts once he gets back because Nicolas Batum might be a better fit with the first unit due to his playmaking abilities.
Joel Embiid (back) returned from a one-game absence on Tuesday and finished with 29 points (7-of-17 FG, 14-of-16 FT), 16 rebounds, four assists, one 3-pointer, two steals, two blocks and five turnovers in 38 minutes. He should be fine for Thursday’s game in Orlando.
Furkan Korkmaz (groin) did not play on Tuesday and he should be considered questionable for Thursday.
LeBron James (ankle) is questionable for Wednesday’s game vs. the Spurs. He hasn’t missed a game yet, so I’d expect him to play despite the questionable tag. Check back for another update on Wednesday afternoon after shootaround.
Jamal Murray (right elbow contusion) was a late-scratch on Tuesday night and he should be considered questionable for Friday’s game vs. Phoenix. Monte Morris got the start in his place while Gary Harris saw some more opportunity on offense. It’ll be more of the same if he’s out again on Friday.
Scott Brooks said that Rui Hachimura (eye) was able to go through 3-on-3 work at Tuesday’s shootaround and he expects him to be cleared for 5-on-5 work soon. He was given a rough three-week timetable on Dec. 21, but he might be able to beat that since this just an eye issue. He’s worth stashing in most leagues at this point, and once he’s back, he could cut into the production of Deni Avdija and Davis Bertans.
Killian Hayes exited Tuesday’s game with a right ankle sprain and he did not return, finishing with one assist and two turnovers across 17 scoreless minutes. Blake Griffin also left Tuesday’s game with a concussion, so there’s a decent chance both these guys will be on the sidelines for Friday’s game against the Celtics. Derrick Rose, Jerami Grant and Josh Jackson will pick up the slack on offense while those two are out and Delon Wright should be able to flirt with close to 30 minutes.
Jahlil Okafor (ankle) missed his second straight game on Tuesday and he should be considered questionable for Friday’s game vs. the Celtics.
Lauri Markkanen aggravated his left calf injury on Tuesday, logging just 19 minutes before tapping out and finishing with nine points, four rebounds, one 3-pointer and one turnover. Thaddeus Young (leg) was available to make his regular-season debut, but he didn’t leave the bench, which may be a sign that he’s out of the rotation right now. If Markkanen needs to miss time, Otto Porter Jr. could make his way into the starting lineup and perhaps the rookie, Patrick Williams, will be more assertive in seeking out his own shot.
Josh Richardson (left calf strain) is questionable for Wednesday’s game vs. the Hornets. We’ll have a better idea on his status based on his activity level at shootaround, but if he is forced to the sidelines, Trey Burke could get the start, and he’d be someone to consider in DFS if that ends up being the case.
George Hill (neck) did not play Tuesday in the second night of a back-to-back, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see him get back out there for Thursday’s game against the Pelicans. Al Horford was rested, but he’ll get back out there on Thursday night.
Draymond Green (foot) did not play Tuesday, but Steve Kerr is hopeful he’ll be able to make his regular-season debut on Friday vs. the Trail Blazers. He’s gone through multiple full practices, so I’d be surprised if he didn’t play on Friday night, which will shift Eric Paschall back to the second unit and both Stephen Curry and Kelly Oubre should receive a bit of a boost.
Kevin Love will miss the next 3-4 weeks of action with a right calf strain. The oft-injured power forward is giving us an early example as to why he fell so far on draft day, and given his history, I’d expect him to take the full four weeks to rest up that calf. Larry Nance will be the primary beneficiary while Love it out.
Isaac Okoro (foot, COVID-protocol) and Kevin Porter Jr. (personal) also missed Tuesday’s game, and it’s unclear when either of these guys will be able to return, so they aren’t worth holding in 12-team leagues with 13 roster spots.
Derrick White (toe) will remain on the sidelines for Wednesday’s game vs. the Lakers, which will result in another start for Lonnie Walker. It’s unclear when White will be able to make his regular-season debut following his August surgery, but he shouldn’t be out much longer and absolutely needs to be rostered in all formats.
Gary Trent Jr. (calf) is questionable for Wednesday’s game vs. the Clippers, while Nassir Little (COVID-protocol) has already been ruled out. Carmelo Anthony (COVID-protocol) is expected to play, so if GTJ is able to get out there, it’ll be interesting to see if he can build off his 28-point, seven-trey performance with Melo back in the second unit constantly jacking up shots.
Danilo Gallinari (foot) is questionable for Wednesday’s game in Brooklyn. He’s been a game-time call the past two games, so that could be where he’s headed again, but if he can get back out there it’ll be interesting to see what his minutes look like with John Collins and Clint Capela healthy.
Terrence Ross briefly exited Tuesday’s game after tweaking his right hamstring, but he returned and finished with 14 points, one rebound, one assist and one steal over 25 minutes. Unless it gets worse for him on the flight back to Orlando, he should be fine for Thursday’s game against the 76ers.
Steve Clifford revealed on Tuesday that Aaron Gordon’s hamstring injury from August that kept him out of Orlando’s postseason run is still bothering him, which is why they’ve been conservative with his minutes early this season. It’s quite concerning that a hamstring injury that occurred a full four months ago is still giving him issues, so savvy GMs may want to try and unload him after he strings together some good games.
Dario Saric (quad) made his regular-season debut vs. the Pelicans and finished with 10 points (3-of-4 FG, 2-of-2 FT), four rebounds, two triples, one assist, one steal and three turnovers in 14 minutes off the bench. It could be tough for him to crack the rotation in a meaningful way this season with how good Cam Johnson has looked.
Torrey Craig (nose) did not play on Tuesday, which is irrelevant in fantasy hoops.