Here are some Monday thoughts from the Hoops Lab as we prepare for Week 15 of the fantasy basketball season. Keep in mind that standings for the rest of the Fantasy Basketball season are also updated on Mondays, so check them out as you prepare for this week’s games. Between the rankings and this article, we’ll also help you identify a few good “buy low/sell high” candidates. So, without further ado, let’s dig into it.
Next NBA Trade Deadline
The NBA trade deadline is Feb. 9, just over two weeks away. This date should be circled on the calendar for all fantasy basketball managers, as trades over the next two weeks can have a dramatic impact on player value going forward. We recently hosted a roundtable on which players would change their value the most, for good or ill, if they were to be traded. As a fantasy manager, you should do a similar calculation for players, whether on your team or just around your league, you think it might be moved to see if you can find an angle to improve your team. It’s speculative, because if you play for a trade and it doesn’t happen, you have to live with the results, but sometimes the results can be dramatic.
For example, in the article, John Cregan mentioned Kyle Kuzma. Kuzma is flirting with the top 50 fantasy values this season, getting all the responsibilities he can handle with the Wizards. He is a primary scorer and secondary enabler with career average (big) highs of 21.8 PPG, 2.6 3PG, and 4.0 APG. He’s playing well, but the uptick in numbers is largely due to him playing at a career-high 35.2 MPG with a career-high 28.1 usage percentage.
Now imagine if he’s traded to a contending team that’s looking for a frontline assist who can score. Chances are he won’t even start, sending him back to the 27.0 MPG he averaged in the 20-19/20-21 seasons… in which he also averaged just 12 .8 PPG, 1.7 3PG and 1.6 APG. Even if he were to start, there’s almost no chance he’ll get the minutes and use of a competitor he does for Wizards.
So, if you have Kuzma in your FBA squad and have gotten used to the level of production he has provided so far, it might really be worth assessing Kuzma’s trade value in your league. You don’t want to give it away, because there’s a chance that wizards will keep it and continue as it was. But, if you can trade Kuzma straight for another top-50 talent, or if you can pair Kuzma with another solid player to bring back an impact guy, it might be worth getting a little more aggressive than d habit by moving it. , if you think wizards could do the same.
Now consider the reverse scenario. In the article, Eric Moody pointed out that Caris The Green is a walking bucket that’s stuck behind two heavily used teammates in Donovan Mitchell (31.8 USG%) and Darius Garland (28.7 USG%). LeVert is posting solid numbers for his situation with 12.8 PPG, 3.7 APG and 1.6 3PG, but that’s just enough to be a fringe player in the FBA top 150 who is fielded in just over 45% of the leagues.
What if he was to be traded to a team that wanted to feature him? LeVert averaged 20.2 PPG, 5.2 APG, and 1.8 3PG in the 2020-21 season, and he’s already had 41 points, 7 assists, and 6 3-pointers this season. If he’s available in your league, it might be worth having a flyer and a spot on the roster to pick him up just in case. Or, claim it as a “hit” player in a larger deal.
Just say. There’s often chaos around the NBA trade deadline, and chaos is a ladder, so… it’s time to start climbing.
Antetokounmpo and Middleton ready to return?
Giannis Antetokounmpo missed the last five games with knee issues, and Chris Middleton missed the last 18. Both are listed as likely for Monday, a potential return that would put the Bucks’ starting lineup at full strength for one of the few times this season. But keep an eye out for the two near game time, as there have been false alarms in the past. Giannis was listed as likely to play ahead of last Monday’s game, but ended up missing that game and the next two as well. Middleton, on the other hand, made his season debut on December 2 after missing the first month and a half of the season, playing in seven of the next eight games and then missing every game after December 15. Of the two, Middleton is more likely to need some build-up time, even after spending the past two weeks training with the Bucks and their G League affiliate to try and get his wind and legs back into shape. shape.
The Bucks are not expected to rush either of their two stars, prioritizing their long-term health and playoff readiness more than regular season success. so that they are listed as probable is promising. But stay tuned.
The ball is recovering again from an ankle injury
LaMelo Ball sprained his left ankle again on Wednesday in Houston after a teammate P. J. Washington fell into it. Ball also has pain in his right wrist, but in the short term the ankle seems more troubling as it is the third time this season he has had to miss time due to the injury. He missed the first 13 games of the season, came back three games, then missed another 11 games when he sprained the first time. Ball has already missed a game on Saturday, but it’s encouraging that he’s listed as questionable for Monday’s game after being listed as questionable on Saturday. Ball is among the top 10-15 FBA contributors in the NBA when healthy, so the potential for absence and the possibility that this third injury could mark a trend should be of concern for FBA managers with Ball on the list. . Whether you list him or not, note his trade value carefully, because he’s a game-changer when out in the field, but now has a risk-reward proposition that could make him worth trading – either way, depending on the status of your team. .
Incoming and outgoing suns
Chris Paul (hip) returned from a seven-game absence on Sunday to lead the Suns to a win over the Grizzlies. Paul had 22 points, 11 assists, 6 rebounds, 3 3-pointers, 3 steals and 1 blocked shot in 38 minutes, one of his best performances of the season, to suggest he’s back in full force.
Cameron Johnson also returned Thursday after missing 37 games with a torn meniscus, scoring 19 points with 6 rebounds and 2 3-pointers in 22 minutes off the bench. He missed Saturday’s game as the Suns had a back-to-back Saturday/Sunday game, but returned to the starting lineup and played 29 minutes on Sunday.
Devin Booker is still out with the left groin strain that sidelined him in late December, but is approaching the four-week mark given to him as an initial benchmark for a potential return. The Suns haven’t announced an imminent return, so temper expectations until more news becomes available. Teammate Deandre Ayton missed back-to-back games with illness but could return to action this week. Cameron Payne (sprained right foot) and Landry Shamet (foot) are always absent, which makes Damion Lee (available in 95.7% of leagues) the next man in the Suns’ backcourt. Lee had a quiet game in Paul’s return on Sunday, but he averaged 17.3 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 3.7 APG and 2.5 3PG in 29.8 MPG in the previous six games – two starts and four appearances off the bench.
Isaac is going to play?
when i read this Jonathan Isaac was set to return to action as early as Monday, I found myself echoing the excited disbelief in the famous “Daniel LaRusso is going to fight?” line at the end of “The Karate Kid”. After all, the last time he played in an NBA game was in the Orlando bubble in July 2020 before knee injuries derailed his career. But his return is big news for Magic managers and potentially fantasy basketball, because when he plays, Isaac has that game. A defensive-minded combo forward, Isaac (available in 75.5% of leagues) averaged 2.3 BPG, 1.6 SPG, 11.9 PPG, 6.8 RPG, and 0.9 3PG in 28.8 MPG in his last game in the 2019-20 season.
He joins a Magic team of talented young players on the front line, so he might not have the minutes to produce fantasy-caliber numbers in the short term. Also, after almost three full years away, the assumption is that he will slowly be brought back on minute restrictions. But he’s definitely worth keeping an eye on, with a top 75 on the rise, if he ever earns any starting minutes.