We had a rather light four-game slate on Tuesday, which seems like nothing compared to Monday’s busy nine-game evening, but the number of games on Wednesday (11) almost equals the number of games in those two days combined (13). I’ll divide players by studs vs. duds, then guys who were in the middle of the pack with fantasy analysis throughout, and finally the scores from Tuesday night and how it could affect the NBA playoffs.
- Trae Young - 45 points (13-of-25 FGs, 12-of-14 FTs), one rebound, eight assists, one steal, seven 3-pointers and four turnovers in 40 minutes - Trae absolutely loves playing the Knicks, especially at Madison Square Garden, and his point total in this one marked the most he’s ever scored at MSG. He was pretty quiet in his two games before this but righted the ship in a huge way.
- Bogdan Bogdanovic - 32 points (11-of-20 FGs, 6-of-6 FTs), four rebounds, three assists, three steals, four 3-pointers and one turnover in 34 minutes off the bench - the only guy coming off the bench that’s been better than Bogi over the last 30 days (minimum 10 games played) has been Tyler Herro, both returning fourth-round value in the span. He’s a ton of fun when he’s feeling it, and he does enough otherwise even when his scoring numbers are on the quieter side.
- Jordan Poole - 26 points (9-of-23 FGs), two rebounds, six assists, five 3-pointers and four turnovers in 40 minutes - Poole has now scored at least 20 points in 10 straight games, and if you exclude Steph, Klay and Kevin Durant, he’s the first one to do so since Mr. Double-Double David Lee about nine years ago. He’s outperformed Klay Thompson (15/2/3 with two steals, two triples) by more than five full rounds in standard leagues over the past month and is the big winner with Steph injured.
- Otto Porter - 14 points (5-of-8 FGs), 15 rebounds, one block, one assist, two triples and two turnovers in 26 minutes off the bench - this line brings Porter’s averages over his last two to 15.0 points, 15.5 boards, 2.0 assists and 1.0 block per game in 27.5 minutes of action, and he won’t be this good, but he’s the superior option over Jonathan Kuminga (14 points, five boards) with Draymond Green still not playing his usual allotment of minutes
- Wendell Carter Jr. - 19 points (7-of-12 FGs), eight rebounds, one triple, two turnovers in 33 minutes - this was a pretty boring line but he was coming off a career game, and he was sitting at 1.7 blocks per game in three games before this. Fire away with confidence from here on out and expect him to get back on the double-double train against the Thunder on Wednesday.
- Alec Burks - 21 points (9-of-16 FGs), one rebound, four assists, three steals, three 3-pointers and one turnover in 36 minutes - this was his best game in a while, and he remains a boring but usable guy in deeper leagues for points, triples and out-of-position boards (6.5 rebounds per game over the last month).
- Main three Bulls - DeMar DeRozan (21/4/2/1/1 with one triple, no free throw attempts), Zach LaVine (21/3/7 with four treys and a steal) and Nikola Vucevic (22 points, seven boards, two dimes, four triples) were all up to their old ways - the Bulls nearly lost by 30 so these lines weren’t as full as their respective managers may have wanted, but they should bounce back against the Pelicans on Thursday. Also of note, Vuc was the only efficient one with a 9-of-15 clip from the floor, and this was the second night of a back-to-back set for Chicago, so some fatigue for the main guys makes sense.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo - 25 points (9-of-12 FGs, 6-of-9 FTs), 17 rebounds, five assists, one steal, three blocks, one 3-pointer and nine turnovers in 30 minutes - Giannis returned from one game on the sidelines due to a sore right knee, and with the exception of the turnovers (which ties his career high) everything looked like it always does. The Greek Freak was, in fact, a freak on the stat sheet.
- Jrue Holiday - 27 points (12-of-17 FGs), seven dimes, one steal, two triples and no turnovers in 32 minutes - Holiday posted a pretty mistake-free line besides his 1-of-2 mark from the charity stripe, and the 46.7% scoring increase in comparison to his season average was likely due to the absence of Khris Middleton (left wrist). Jrue will look to do more of the same if Middleton is forced to sit out of Thursday’s game against the Wizards. Wesley Matthews started for Middleton and posted a 11/2/2 line with two triples, but don’t worry about him even if he starts.
- Nikola Jokic - 30 points (9-of-15 FGs, 12-of-13 FTs), 14 rebounds, six assists, two steals, three blocks and one turnover in 34 minutes - it’s continuously hard to find words for him. He’s an absolute cheat code in fantasy hoops and will once again be the no-brainer first overall pick in redraft leagues come October.
- Terance Mann - 24 points (7-of-10 FGs, 10-of-12 FTs), eight rebounds, four assists, one block and no turnovers in 35 minutes off the bench - despite not starting, Mann went off and fell just one point shy of his career high that he achieved against the Warriors in mid-February. He scored in single figures in five of his first seven games played in March, but that didn’t stop him from cruising along to sixth-round value over the past month.
- Draymond Green - two points, three rebounds, seven assists, two steals, one turnover in 29 minutes - this marks the most minutes Green has played since returning from injury, but he didn’t do much with them. He could get it going at any point once he gets back up to speed, but it’s been a fairly shaky start.
- RJ Hampton - five points, three rebounds, five assists, three steals and one 3-pointer in 28 minutes - Hampton has been starting for Jalen Suggs (right ankle) as of late, but in those four starts, the only exciting part about any of it were his three steals on Tuesday. He’s not a fantasy option.
- Gary Payton II - zero points, four rebounds and one turnover in six minutes - it’s his first game back after missing his last eight games with left knee soreness, but he could be a winner with Steph out. Keep an eye on him when he ramps up, especially if your fantasy season doesn’t end on Sunday.
- Clint Capela - two points, six rebounds, two assists, one block - if your starting center takes one shot in 29 minutes, that’s probably not good. He’s far from the fantasy player he was last season but is still worth holding onto for the traditional big man stats. One day, Onyeka Okongwu (two points, seven boards, one steal, one block in 19 minutes) will make people forget that Capela ever existed.
- Bobby Portis - six points, nine boards, one assist, one steal and one turnover in 22 minutes off the bench - it’s his first time since he came off the pine since Brook Lopez (10/6/2 with two treys and two blocks in 24 minutes) returned, and no matter how you spin it, he hasn’t been too good since Lopez has been in action. He was one of the best value picks on draft day and is currently flirting with top-50 value on the season, so it’s hard to let go. If you absolutely have to, do it, but I would give Portis one more game to turn it around. As for Lopez, this was the most minutes he’s played in his four games since his comeback, and the numbers look good enough to utilize going forward. The only issue with Lopez is that the Bucks have back-to-backs on March 31/April 1 and April 7/April 8, meaning Lopez will almost surely miss at least two of Milwaukee’s final 10 games.
- Alex Caruso/Ayo Dosunmu - Alex Caruso started again but only put up a 3/5/6 line with a steal and a triple in 30 minutes, which makes two pretty lackluster games in a row despite starting both. Dosunmu (seven points, one dime, one trey) was even worse in his 27 reserve minutes, and while Caruso has the edge due to starting, they may be cancelling out each other’s value.
- Will Barton - 10 points (4-of-9 FGs), four boards, two assists, one steal, two triples and two turnovers in 34 minutes - he’s been struggling for what seems like forever and isn’t even ranked inside the top-200 over the past month, mostly thanks to his 37.5% shooting from the field and very minimal defensive stats.
Middle of the pack
- RJ Barrett - 30 points (9-of-25 FGs, 11-of-17 FTs), 13 rebounds, three dimes, two steals, one 3-pointer and five turnovers in 42 minutes - I may get yelled at for putting him here, but those percentages are just atrocious, and the turnovers were high per usual. He is what he is even when the scoring and rebounding numbers are sky-high.
- Franz Wagner - 18 points (6-of-9 FGs, 6-of-6 FTs), three assists, two steals, one block, one turnover in 30 minutes - he’s cooled off a bit but is still hovering around top-100 status on the season, and the efficiency in this one was key after shooting less than 40% from the floor in four of his last five games.
- Cole Anthony - 14 points (5-of-12 FGs), five rebounds, five dimes, three 3-pointers in 29 minutes - Anthony hasn’t scored more than 20 points in a game since February 23, and he’s just been a 16th-rounder over the last month of action. If there’s a hotter free agent sitting out there, there’s no harm in letting Anthony go at this point.
- Andrew Wiggins - 13 points (5-of-19 FGs), eight rebounds, one steal, two triples, one turnover in 36 minutes - the awful shooting and lack of surrounding stats makes this line not great, but it could have been worse.
- Kevin Huerter - 14 points (5-of-9 FGs), eight boards, four assists, one steal, two blocks, five turnovers, two triples in 34 minutes - a random full line from Red Velvet, but his steals have been a little better with one per game over his last seven. Otherwise, he’s just a points and threes guy for the most part.
- Danilo Gallinari - 10 points (4-of-11 FGs), 10 rebounds, three assists, one 3-pointer and one turnover in 30 minutes - this is the lowest-end double-double in the land, but he’s fine to deploy as long as he’s starting for John Collins (foot/finger), which should still be for plenty more games.
- Obi Toppin - 10 points, seven rebounds, three assists, one steal, two turnovers in 24 minutes of a start for Julius Randle (right quad) - not a bad night for Toppin, but this proves that he’ll just be a low-end guy to utilize should Randle miss any more time.
- Mitchell Robinson - nine points, six boards, three steals, four blocks in 25 minutes - this would have been in the “Studs” section if he didn’t go 1-of-6 from the line, but the defensive stats are juicy. He’s been a third-rounder over the past two weeks thanks to his one steal and 2.8 blocks per game with field goal percentage north of the 70s.
- Immanuel Quickley - 17 points (6-of-11 FGs), five boards, two assists, three triples and two turnovers in 25 minutes off the pine - IQ is starting to pick it up again with at least 15 points in four consecutive games, and his peripheral stats have been better than usual. There are far worse options as long as he stays in this ballpark of production.
- Pat Connaughton - 14 points (4-of-8 FGs), five rebounds, three assists, three 3-pointers in 23 reserve minutes - Connaughton is averaging 14.5 points with 4.0 triples, 4.0 boards and 2.5 assists per game in 21.5 minutes since returning from a lengthy absence, and if you need some triples in a hurry, he’s your guy. Just don’t expect much more.
- Isaiah Hartenstein - 14 points (5-of-7 FGs, 4-of-4 FTs), two boards, five dimes, two steals, two blocks, one turnover in 24 minutes - that’s fantasy gold right there, and it’s the third consecutive time he’s played more minutes than starter Ivica Zubac (six points, five boards, one block in 17 minutes), and he even closed out Tuesday’s game. It may be a little late, but a ton of eyes will be on him and his fantasy friendly game next season.
- Bones Hyland - 16 points (6-of-8 FGs), two boards, three dimes, four 3-pointers and two giveaways in 18 minutes off the bench - he’s flirted with top-75 value over his last six games, a span in which he’s averaged 16.5 points, 3.5 boards, 4.7 dimes and 3.3 triples per game in nearly 25 minutes per night. The extra six minutes per night (compared to his season average) have easily put him in standard-league territory, and managers are on the hype train as he’s approaching being rostered in half of Yahoo! leagues.
- Aaron Gordon - 16 points (5-of-13 FGs), seven rebounds, six assists, one block, one triple in 30 minutes - this was more fun than you’ll see from AG most nights, and unless he changes something, Gordon will always be a boring late-round fantasy guy
- Monte Morris - 15 points (5-of-10 FGs), three rebounds, five dimes, three triples in 31 minutes - he’ll continue to be useful unless Jamal Murray makes a surprise return anytime soon. Jeff Green (16/3/2) posted a similar line but is not as consistently effective as Morris is.
NBA Standings Implications
This has minimal fantasy impact, but it’s still good to know who’s fighting for a spot and who’s not, which could in turn help to see which players may have maintenance days in their future:
Orlando Magic 94, Golden State Warriors 90
Including the game in which Steph Curry got injured (played 14 minutes), the Dubs are 0-3 without without him now and are sitting at the third spot in the West (two games behind the Grizzlies, two games ahead of the Jazz). They have a bit of wiggle room but they don’t look nearly as cohesive without the best shooter on the planet, and with their next four games all being played away from home against the Heat, Hawks, Wizards and Grizzlies, things won’t get easier. The Magic are probably hoping the Pistons win more games than they do for lottery purposes.
Atlanta Hawks 117, New York Knicks 111
The Hawks are sitting in the 10th seed in the East, with the 11th-place Wizards being 5.5 games behind them. They’re just two games behind the 8th-place Nets, but do they really want to creep up into 8th spot and risk playing Kevin Durant in the play-in? It’s an interesting case, but we’ll see how they approach everything. The Knicks are six games behind the Hawks and this has been a season to forget after an impressive 2020-2021 campaign.
Milwaukee Bucks 126, Chicago Bulls 98
With the loss, the Bulls dropped to 0-16 against the top three teams from each conference, and both Alex Caruso and DeMar DeRozan said that it’s an execution issue rather than a talent issue. Regardless, that stat does not bode well for Chicago, and they’re now just a game ahead of the Cavaliers (sixth seed) and two games ahead of the Raptors (seventh seed). They’re dangerously close to participating in the play-in, so they’ll only rest their studs if they need to, much to the delight of fantasy managers. Milwaukee is in second in the East (two games behind the Heat), but both the Sixers and Celtics are just half a game behind Milwaukee. Buckle up.
Denver Nuggets 127, Los Angeles Clippers 115
The Nuggets are in that oh-so-important sixth seed in the West, but it’s close - the Timberwolves are just one game behind them, and the Mavericks are just 1.5 games ahead in the fifth spot. The Clippers are sitting pretty comfortably in the eighth seed, with the Lakers in the ninth spot a whopping four games behind LAC, and the Wolves an even more whopping 6.5 games ahead of the Clips. Unless things go completely awry, the Clippers should have that eighth spot locked up.