Basketball Daily Dose

Devin Booker shines on a quiet Sunday

by Raphielle Johnson
Updated On: March 29, 2021, 11:26 am ET

After an extremely busy Friday and Saturday, Sunday's schedule gave much of the NBA the opportunity to catch its collective breath. There were only four games played, and only two players hit the 30-point mark. Devin Booker scored 35 points in a win, Portland and Toronto met just days after working together on a trade, and Aaron Gordon made his Nuggets debut. Let's get into the Daily Dose. 

Suns 101, Hornets 97 (OT): Charlotte had two major injury issues to deal with ahead of this one, as both P.J. Washington and Malik Monk were on the pregame report. While Washington was able to play Monk was not, which ultimately meant even more playing time for fellow reserve Cody Martin. Martin played 26 minutes, finishing with a line of eight points, six rebounds, four assists, two steals and one blocked shot. Before the game James Borrego mentioned Caleb Martin and Jalen McDaniels as possible rotation players with Monk sidelined, but they played a total of three minutes (all by Martin). Should Monk have to miss time beyond Sunday, Cody is the only one worth any consideration as a streaming option, and even that would be a stretch.

Brad Wanamaker played four minutes in his Hornets debut, and unless something happens to either Devonte' Graham (30/1/3 with seven 3-pointers) or Terry Rozier (22/10/1/1 with four 3-pointers) it doesn’t appear likely that he’ll be in the rotation. It goes without saying that fantasy managers can continue to leave Wanamaker alone. Going back to Washington, he managed to play 44 minutes but went scoreless, missing all seven of his field goal attempts. However his line wasn’t a complete dud, as Washington accounted for 12 rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocked shots.

Gordon Hayward (15/6/3/1 with one 3-pointer in 41 minutes) also struggled with his shot, going 4-of-15 from the field, while Miles Bridges (18/12/1 with one 3-pointer) had himself a good say off the bench. Bridges is rostered in 46% of Yahoo leagues, and while his fantasy production hasn’t been great, Charlotte’s handling of the center position make it worthwhile to pick him up. Starter Bismack Biyombo and backup Cody Zeller played a total of 26 minutes on Sunday, and those remaining minutes have to go to someone. Washington can be used at the five some, which can open up additional minutes for Bridges at the four.

Phoenix’s rotation remains relatively unchanged, and Devin Booker (35/6/3/2 with four 3-pointers in 42 minutes) led the way offensively Sunday afternoon. Chris Paul (16/2/1/2 with one 3-pointer) had a tough — by the lofty standards that he’s set — afternoon, finishing with just one assist against four turnovers. This is the first time this season that he’s failed to record multiple assists in a game, so fantasy managers should consider Sunday’s line to be an anomaly.

Deandre Ayton posted a double-double, finishing with 14 points and 14 rebounds, and Mikal Bridges posted a full stat line with 13 points, eight rebounds, four assists, six steals, one blocked shot and one 3-pointer. Torrey Craig (9/4/1/2/1 with one 3-pointer in 21 minutes) posted his second full line in his last three games, but he still isn’t a player that managers should consider taking a flier on. That being said, he’s getting an opportunity to make an impact after not playing much during his brief stint with the Bucks.

Trail Blazers 122, Raptors 117: Two teams that did business at the trade deadline got together on the court just a couple days later, which made for an interesting night in Tampa. Norman Powell, playing against his former team, remained in the starting lineup as Derrick Jones Jr. was moved to the bench to make room for Damian Lillard. Jones had one of his best offensive games of the season, scoring 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting to go along with three rebounds, one steal, two blocks and one 3-pointer in 21 minutes. Powell, who scored 22 points in his Blazers debut, tallied 13 points, three rebounds, one steal and one 3-pointer in 27 minutes.

Part of the problem for him was foul trouble, as Powell picked up two within the game’s first four-plus minutes. That limited the amount of time that he played alongside Lillard (22/3/11 with two 3-pointers in 38 minutes) and C.J. McCollum (23/7/5/2/3 with one 3-pointer in 39 minutes) during the first half. Terry Stotts said after the game that he will continue to play that trio together, which is good news for managers who have Powell rostered. His touches may decrease alongside Lillard and McCollum, but his opportunities may be “cleaner” due to the attention that opposing teams will have to pay to Portland’s two stars. Robert Covington (13/12/2/3/4 with three 3-pointers) posted another loaded stat line, while Jusuf Nurkic (10/4/2/1 block with one 3-pointer in 19 minutes) remains on a minutes restriction.

The plan was to play him approximately five minutes in each quarter and, until that changes, managers who have backup Enes Kanter (10/8/1 in 16 minutes) may want to hold onto him as a security blanket of sorts.

For Toronto, Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood went up against their former teammates, with the former starting for the second straight game. Trent played 28 minutes but struggled with his shot, going 2-of-10 from the field and finishing with six points, seven rebounds and one 3-pointer. Hood had a better day offensively, posting a line of 13 points, two rebounds, one assist, one steal, one block and two 3-pointers in 27 minutes off the bench. Both players’ fantasy values increase with the trade, but I wouldn’t rush to pick up Hood just yet. If he can string together a few solid performances, then make a move.

Kyle Lowry was held out due to a foot issue, which freed up a spot in the starting lineup for Aron Baynes. Matching up with Nurkic, he recorded a line of four points and two blocks in 15 minutes played. Lowry’s absence also meant rotation minutes for rookie Malachi Flynn, who went scoreless and finished with one rebound and two assists in ten minutes. Lowry did travel with the team to Detroit, so it’s possible that he’ll play Monday night. If he sits again, DFS players shouldn’t hesitate to play Fred VanVleet (20/5/8/1 with two 3-pointers in 38 minutes).

Chris Boucher (18/11/1 block with two 3-pointers) is a far better fantasy option than Baynes, and even he’s a bit of a gamble given his inconsistent offensive production. Boucher is usually good for some defensive numbers, so even if he doesn’t score there are too many lost nights for those who have him rostered.

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Nuggets 126, Hawks 102: Aaron Gordon made his Nuggets debut Sunday night, slotting into the starting lineup immediately. He played just 21 minutes, accounting for 13 points, two rebounds, one assist, one steal and one 3-pointer. Not bad for a debut, and it wasn’t too difficult to envision this team’s potential with Gordon a part of the rotation. Paul Millsap moves to the bench, and in 20 minutes he put up a respectable line of nine points, five rebounds, three assists and one steal. On paper Millsap and JaMychal Green have the most to lose fantasy-wise with Gordon in the fold, and the rotation will get even more crowded when point guard Monte Morris is cleared to return.

Green played just 14 minutes but was highly productive, accumulating 20 points, seven rebounds, one assist, one steal and three 3-pointers. He scored a total of 14 points in Denver’s prior four games, and even with Sunday’s performance Green appears to be an auto-drop for the few who still have him rostered (he’s claimed 3% of Yahoo leagues). JaVale McGee was available, but he ultimately picked up a DNP-CD. All five Nuggets starters scored in double figures, with Jamal Murray (17/2/4/1/1 with one 3-pointer) leading the way and Nikola Jokic (16/10/8/1/2 with one 3-pointer) and Michael Porter Jr. (15/10/3 with two 3-pointers) both posting double-doubles.

Atlanta was once again without De'Andre Hunter, who’s dealing with swelling in his right knee (the one that was operated on earlier this season). With he and Cam Reddish both sidelined, the Hawks’ rotation on the wings isn’t as crowded as it normally would be. Bogdan Bogdanovic (9/1/1/1 with one 3-pointer in 23 minutes) and Tony Snell (5/1/2 with one 3-pointer in 23 minutes) remain the starters, while Kevin Huerter (eight points, two assists and two 3-pointers in 23 minutes) and Solomon Hill (three points, one rebound and one 3-pointer in 17 minutes) supply the depth off the bench.

Huerter, who’s rostered in 55% of Yahoo leagues, has been the most productive of the four as far as fantasy basketball is concerned. But he hasn’t played well enough to where he would be considered a player that can’t be dropped.

Trae Young (21/5/7/2 with three 3-pointers) was responsible for seven turnovers on the night, and that remains the biggest reason for the disparity in value between 8- and 9-cat formats. Providing 3rd-round value in the former, Young has been a 7th-round player in the latter over the last month (4.3 turnovers per game). Danilo Gallinari (14/3/2/1 block with one 3-pointer), Clint Capela (10/8/1 steal) and John Collins (11/5/2/1 with one 3-pointer) joined Young in double figures.

Lakers 96, Magic 93: The final game of the night was a low-scoring affair, with Otto Porter Jr.’s 3-point attempt to tie the score in the final seconds missing the mark. Porter, Wendell Carter Jr. and RJ Hampton all made their Magic debuts Sunday night, coming off the bench. Hampton, who Magic coach Steve Clifford sees solely as a shooting guard based upon his pregame comments, played 17 minutes and finished with ten points, three rebounds, one assist, one steal and one 3-pointer. He did see a few minutes on the ball, however, as Michael Carter-Williams left the game in the second quarter with a knee contusion.

Should MCW have to miss additional time, with the Magic back in action Tuesday night against the Clippers, Hampton may take on a few more PG2 minutes. Chasson Randle (8/1/3 with two 3-pointers), who played 26 minutes off the bench, would be the starter in that scenario.

Carter was active on the glass, grabbing eight rebounds while also recording eight points and one steal in 20 minutes, while Porter posted a modest 5/4/1/1 line with one 3-pointer in 25 minutes. Hampton may have played the least of Orlando’s three newcomers, but he offers the most upside. Dwayne Bacon (26/8/1 with two 3-pointers) had one of his best games of the season, while Chuma Okeke (14/6/3/1 block with three 3-pointers) hit the 30-minute mark for the second straight game. He’s rostered in 38% of Yahoo leagues, an increase of 37% over the last day. Orlando’s rookie forward, who has some playmaking capabilities, isn’t going to lack for minutes as the Magic play out the remainder of the season.

As for the Lakers, they made news a couple hours before the game began with the signing of Andre Drummond. He wasn’t on the active roster for Sunday’s game, but with the Lakers off until Wednesday it’s conceivable that he’ll be able to make his debut against the Bucks. Possibly sensing what Drummond’s arrival could do to their rebounding potential, Marcus Morris (12/11/1 steal/1 block with two 3-pointers in 32 minutes), Kyle Kuzma (21/11/4 with five 3-pointers in 39 minutes) and Montrezl Harrell (18/11/2 steals/2 blocks in 28 minutes) grabbed 11 rebounds apiece Sunday night. 

The question here is who loses out fantasy-wise: one of these three, Marc Gasol (7/2/3/1 with one 3-pointer in 20 minutes), or a combination of multiple players? Kuzma and Harrell will likely be fine given the Lakers’ need for scoring with LeBron James and Anthony Davis sidelined. I’d bet on a combination of Morris/Gasol losing out on fantasy value, but we won’t know for sure until Drummond gets to practice with his new teammates.

Dennis Schroder (24/5/6/2 with one 3-pointer) led the way offensively, while Alex Caruso chipped in with a modest — but full — line (3/4/5/2/1 with one 3-pointer) in 21 minutes off the bench. Going back to the game’s final play, Wesley Matthews appeared to injure his right ankle while attempting to recover in order to challenge Porter’s 3-point attempt. He was able to walk back to the locker room under his own power, albeit gingerly. Matthews hasn’t been a playable fantasy option this season, so missed time due to the injury would not have an impact in that regard.

Raphielle Johnson
Raphielle has been writing about college sports for more than a decade for multiple outlets, including NBC Sports. Focuses have included game recaps, columns, features and recruiting stories. A native of the Northeast, he now calls Pac-12 country home. Raphielle can be followed on Twitter @raphiellej.