THE mid-way point of the season is now the rear vision mirror and the bright Hollywood lights of All-Star weekend are nearly upon us! Those aren’t really milestones in the season NBA fantasy coaches look at, but the fast approaching trade deadline, that can be make or break if you fail to act quickly.
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*All fantasy stats and numbers are based on ESPN format fantasy leagues.
HEADLINES THAT MATTER
- JOEL Embiid’s (76ers, C) health has been one of the biggest talking points all season. This time it’s making news for good reasons. Head coach Brett Brown said that Embiid will be competing in back-to-back contests ‘really soon’. The Sixers center has appeared in nine straight games playing between 25 and 35 minutes.
- STAYING on the subject of dominant big men and DeMarcus Cousins (Pelicans, C/PF) had a stat line last week the likes of which hadn’t been seen in nearly 50 years! Boogie dropped 44 points, 24 rebounds and 10 assists against the Chicago Bulls on Monday night, the first 40/20/10 game since Wilt in 1968.
- EARLIER in the season, it was Dwyane Wade who accepted a role off the bench, this time it was a Spurs legend. Tony Parker (Spurs, PG) made his way to the second unit so that Dejounte Murray (Spurs, SG/PG) could become the team’s starting point guard. In two starts so far he has averaged 15.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 3.5 steals, making him a very intriguing prospect should he still be sitting on your waiver wire.
- AS the NBA trade deadline fast approaches players will start to be mentioned in potential deals. George Hill (Kings, PG) is one such player who could be dealt and while he isn’t super fantasy relevant, his successor De’Aaron Fox (Kings, PG) is worth keeping an eye on. His numbers aren’t eye-popping, but he’s worth monitoring should Hill be moved.
Image from nbcsports.com
MUST ADD/MUST DROP
MUST ADD – Jordan Clarkson, Los Angeles Lakers, PG
WITH Lonzo on the shelf, Clarkson had himself a week! He averaged 28.0 points 6.0 rebounds and 7.0 assists in three games for LA while not only boosting his trade value but helping the Lakers win a handful of games. Clarkson is a great add while Ball is sidelined.
Other candidates: Kyle Anderson (Spurs, PF, 27.4%) & Dennis Smith Jr (Hawks, C, 22.5%)
MUST DROP – Trey Lyles, Denver Nuggets, PF
SO you know how I said to ride Lyles while he had the hot hand a few weeks ago? Yeah, he’s no longer hot. Don’t be fooled by his 21-point game against the Knicks. It’s time for him to go.
Other candidates: Caris LeVert (Nets, PF/SG/SF, 26.7%) & Rajon Rondo (Pelicans, PG, 50.8%)
Image from zimbio.com
- THE biggest injury issue in the league remains the health of Jimmy Butler (Timberwolves, SG/SF). A knee ailment has kept the All-Star wing out for the last four games and while his status is still questionable it’s likely Minnesota will proceed with caution when it comes to the health of their superstar.
- MYLES Turner (Pacers, PF/C) and Lonzo Ball (Lakers, PG) are the biggest names close to returning. Turner participated in Thursday’s practice, meaning he could make a return tonight against the Cavaliers. Ball isn’t as close, taking up a limited role in practice yesterday.
- AFTER five games on the sidelines, DeAndre Jordan (Clippers, C) had a successful comeback game for the Clippers in a 113-102 loss to Boston. The LA man in the middle had 15 points and 14 rebounds in 31 minutes.