The Midweek 5
1. Sekou Smith, Kobe Bryant, Caris LeVert & Domantas Sabonis – We misplaced Sekou Smith at age 48 on Tuesday and whereas I didn’t know him personally, I’ve been following his work for so long as I can keep in mind, as he lined my two residence groups and was a fixture on NBA TV. He lined the Pacers once I grew up and lived in Indy after which lined the Hawks across the similar time we left Indiana to maneuver to Georgia. And he was an NBA TV staple, as nicely. Smith was an amazing household man, was keen about his work and easily did an amazing job. I’ll miss his protection and my honest condolences exit to his family and friends.
Sarcastically, Smith handed away on the one-year-anniversary of Kobe Bryant’s tragic demise. My favourite Kobe reminiscence was watching him drop 81 factors on the Toronto Raptors again in 2006. I watched your entire sport in my workplace and keep in mind tweeting something like, “If Kobe’s enjoying, I’m going to be watching.” He was actually must-see TV. I suppose I’m simply stunned it’s already been a yr. And what a yr it’s been.
Caris LeVert’s life could have been saved by his commerce to the Pacers after his bodily examination turned up most cancers on his kidney. He had surgical procedure on Tuesday and is anticipated to make a full restoration, which is superior information. Get nicely quickly, Caris!
Lastly, Domantas Sabonis’ knee damage doesn’t look like severe and he’s day-to-day, fortunately.
2. Trae Young’s ankle – Younger went off on Tuesday with 38 factors, three 3-pointers, 5 assists, 12-of-23 taking pictures and 11-of-11 free throws in a win over the Clippers. Clint Capela had one other huge double-double (nice name on Capela this season, Jared Johnson), John Collins had 11 factors, 11 boards, 5 blocks and a 3-pointer, and DeAndre’ Hunter saved it going with 22 factors and a full stat line within the win. Younger got here down on Serge Ibaka’s foot and twisted his proper ankle within the second half of the sport. He stayed in and regarded implausible the remainder of the best way, however as we noticed with my man Christian Wood final week, simply because he was in a position to end out the sport in sturdy style doesn’t assure that he’s good to go going ahead. Nevertheless, not like with Wooden’s damage, I doubt Trae misses time with this one. I knew once I noticed Wooden’s ankle flip over that he was in jeopardy of lacking time and we’re sitting at three video games and counting. I simply don’t have the identical feeling about Trae’s damage. I’m not an actual physician however one way or the other, my intestine is normally proper on this stuff. And it seems just like the Trae/Collins feud was short-lived and the Hawks seem like they’re all again on the identical web page, for now.
3. Wendell Carter Jr. – The Bulls heart goes to be re-evaluated in 4 weeks and he’s a drop candidate in most leagues, though I’d in all probability grasp onto him if I had him in my 30-team league. Initially, I’d be all fired up about Daniel Gafford proper now, however he performed simply 11 scoreless minutes on Monday, which raises numerous pink flags. I nonetheless assume Gafford will make some noise going ahead, however I’ve obtained some belief points after Monday’s dud. He wasn’t in foul hassle, Daniel Theis had a monster sport in opposition to the Bulls and the Bulls didn’t even flip to a different heart within the sport. As a substitute, it was Thaddeus Young who caught fireplace off the bench and simply missed a triple-double with 16 factors, 9 boards, 9 assists, a steal and a block on 8-of-11 taking pictures in 31 minutes. My guess is Younger, who’s 32 years previous, will come crashing again to earth and that Gafford, who will need to have been benched for some form of teaching matchups factor, will emerge because the man to have right here. I don’t assume both participant (Gafford or Younger) is a must-pickup proper now, but when both participant goes off in opposition to the Blazers on Saturday, I’m in all probability going to make a transfer on that participant.
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4. Donovan Mitchell – Shaquille O’Neal apparently tried to inspire Mitchell by embarrassing him on nationwide TV final Thursday, however it didn’t finish nicely and even prompted the Utah authorities to step in and get Mitchell’s again, whereas additionally dissing Shaq within the course of. The Contained in the NBA crew has gotten some pushback on the difficulty and I’ve to confess, I didn’t actually perceive what Shaq was trying to do here. And if, just like the crew did earlier with Joel Embiid, they have been merely attempting to inspire Mitchell, I don’t assume they went about it the appropriate approach. After his 36-point gem on Thursday, Mitchell had 23 factors on Saturday after which hit simply 3-of-15 photographs on Tuesday for a season-low 9 factors, his first single-digit scoring sport of the season. In the meantime, the Jazz are among the finest tales within the NBA this season and have gained 9 straight video games and Mitchell, however all accounts, is a superb child and goes about his enterprise the appropriate approach.
Moreover, Mitchell took a pair arduous photographs on Tuesday, taking an elbow to the face that brought on bleeding, after which got here down on one other participant’s knee with the again of his head, leaving him slightly woozy. I nonetheless assume Mitchell goes to make use of the Shaq interplay to search out some further motivation and begin going off, however it simply hasn’t occurred but. Hopefully he’s superb and able to go for Wednesday’s assembly with the Mavericks, but when he’s in your roster, you may wish to watch the information cycle rigorously to verify he’s going to play by the accidents obtained final evening. And even when he’s not in your roster, on this loopy season we’re within the midst of, you’re silly to set any kind of fantasy lineup with out watching the Rotoworld Information Feed up till lineups lock, as video games might be postponed at any time and studs might be dominated out within the blink of an eye fixed.
Vanderbilt – Vandy performed by a reduce above his proper eye on Monday and had 12 factors, 5 boards, two assists, two steals and two blocks on 5-of-Eight taking pictures after going off for 16 factors, 11 boards, two steals and a block on Saturday. The Wolves play an ideal schedule of 4 video games per week till the All-Star break and Vandy ought to be rostered in every single place at this level. Regardless of our incessant hype over the previous 4 days, he’s nonetheless solely rostered in 18 % of Yahoo! leagues.
Wright – Wright has been a scorching pickup for just a few days now and is at the moment 53 % rostered and I not too long ago grabbed him (once more) in a pair leagues. Wright has quietly been enjoying nicely over his final six video games and over his final three video games, Wright is averaging 18.7 factors, 6.7 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 1.7 steals and a couple of.Three 3-pointers. He’s additionally blocked at the least one shot in six of his final eight video games and with Derrick Rose consistently gimpy and in commerce rumors, and Killian Hayes out indefinitely, Wright ought to be rostered in each fantasy league conceivable. Simply beware that he’s more likely to be a curler coaster journey, no matter how nicely he’s enjoying proper now. Wright and Osman (scroll down) have been added and dropped as a lot as any gamers this season.
Lamb – Lamb has performed in simply 4 video games for the Pacers however he’s scored in 22 factors in two of them and is averaging 16.Eight factors, 4.Eight rebounds, 0.Eight assists, 1.Zero steals and 1.Eight 3-pointers and taking pictures over 50 % from the ground and 90 % from the road. He seems just like the Pacer to choose up proper now and he’s nonetheless accessible in 51 % of Yahoo! leagues as of Wednesday morning.
Osman – Osman has scored at the least 20 factors in three of his final 5 video games and has hit double digits in scoring in 9 of his 12 January video games. He’s averaging 14.7 factors, 4.1 rebounds, 4.Three assists, 1.2 steals and a couple of.Eight 3-pointers in January and has been taking pictures the ball a lot better over his final six video games. “You simply obtained to take your Osman spoon full of medication and…suck it down,” as I famously (and hilariously?) stated in this recent podcast (10 minutes in). Osman is offered in 65 % of Yahoo! leagues.
Hunter – Hunter has scored 22, 33, 11 and 25 factors in every of his final 4 video games and has scored in double figures in each one among his January video games, averaging 19.Four factors, 5.Four rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.6 3-pointers, taking pictures 55 % from the sector and 89 % from the road in January. He’s been particularly enjoyable over his final two video games and has 9 steals and eight 3-pointers over his final 4 video games. He’s 76 % rostered at this level however may nonetheless be accessible in your league.
Reid – Reid remains to be accessible in 67 % of Yahoo! leagues and has scored in double figures in 9 of his 12 January video games. He’s averaging 14.5 factors, 6.Three boards, 2.5 blocks and 1.5 3-pointers over his final 4 video games. The return of Karl-Anthony Towns (COVID) is probably going going to harm Reid, however the Wolves schedule is ideal and he’s enjoying too nicely to be ignored.
Rivers – Rivers went nuts on Tuesday, hitting 10-of-10 photographs for 25 factors in his first 11 minutes of a loss to the Jazz earlier than ending with 25 factors, 5 3-pointers, three boards and an help on 10-of-14 taking pictures in 27 minutes. His minutes have been down for 3 video games from Jan. 15 to Jan. 18 however was again as much as 29 minutes on Sunday and 27 of them on Tuesday. If the Knicks are enjoying 4 video games in every week (4-3-4-4) over subsequent 4, Rivers may get scorching at any time. He’s dangerous, however he was a phenom on Tuesday. Rivers is offered in 95 % of Yahoo! leagues.
Theis – Theis had 19 factors, three rebounds, three assists, three steals, three blocks and a 3-pointer on Monday and is averaging 16.5 factors, 5.Three rebounds, 1.5 steals, 1.5 blocks and 1.Zero 3-pointers over his final 4 video games. I don’t absolutely belief him, however he’s scorching proper now and the Celtics go 4-3-4-Four over the following 4 weeks, making Theis wanting like a wonderful pickup for those who have been sitting on Wendell Carter Jr. or Willie Cauley-Stein. Theis is rostered in 52 % of Yahoo! leagues.
Bonus: Michael Porter Jr. – I used to be going to put in writing a bunch of stuff about MPJ however I’m not going to waste my time. He’s a monster and can proceed to be for the remainder of the season whether or not he’s beginning or coming off the bench. I really like him (and Luka Doncic, Christian Wood and Chris Boucher).