Many wondered which players were best positioned to become fantasy assets in the aftermath of Paul George's right knee injury, as he's due to miss at least two-to-three weeks after going down late in Tuesday's game against the Thunder. But there was one name not too many people mentioned: Bones Hyland. And there was a good reason for the combo guard to be left out of those conversations: he hadn't appeared in a game since March 3. George's injury means that the Clippers need to find additional offense somewhere, and Tyronn Lue looked to Hyland early in Thursday's rematch with the Thunder. Hyland apparently lives by the adage of "stay ready so you don't have to get ready" because he was impactful in the 127-105 victory in Los Angeles.
Playing 26 minutes, Hyland finished with 16 points, four rebounds, seven assists, one steal, one block, and four 3-pointers. Also, he committed just one turnover, playing poised and not trying to force the issue offensively. Hyland, who came off the bench on Thursday, is rostered in 26% of Yahoo leagues, and that number has held steady. In the aftermath of his performance against the Thunder, that number is going to increase, and it should. But Hyland wasn't the only Clippers player to step up in George's absence.
Terance Mann (14 points, four rebounds, three assists, and two 3-pointers) and Nicolas Batum (12 points, two rebounds, three assists, two steals, and four 3-pointers) played well off the bench, while Eric Gordon (eight points, three rebounds, two assists, and two 3-pointers) had a relatively quiet night as a spot starter. While Mann and Gordon are rostered in 24 and 22 percent of Yahoo leagues, Batum is way down at three percent. Look for Hyland, Mann, and Gordon to be added in more leagues ahead of Saturday's matchup with the Pelicans, and the Clippers play four games in Week 23.
Thursday's NBA slate was light, with there only being four games played. But there were some key happenings that will impact waiver wires, most notably Charlotte being hit hard by injuries during their loss to the Pelicans. Let's take a look at some of Thursday's top pickups.
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Dennis Smith Jr. (32%)
Smith is an interesting case in that he had to depart from Thursday's loss to the Pelicans during the third quarter due to illness. So why's he here, especially after recording a modest line of eight points, two rebounds, four assists, and one steal in 22 minutes? Because the Hornets lost Terry Rozier (foot) and Kelly Oubre (shoulder) before the game reached overtime. Smith started the third quarter and was in line for a heavy workload had he not gotten sick. If he's deemed healthy enough to be available for Friday's game against the Mavericks, that could be a big night for Smith.
Svi Mykhailiuk and Bryce McGowens (>1%)
Mykhailiuk and McGowens are in a similar position to Smith. Neither was worth adding before Thursday, but they may have value on Friday. Mykhailiuk, who started the second half for Oubre, finished with 15 points, two rebounds, one assist, one steal, and three 3-pointers in 30 minutes. As for McGowens, he logged 25 minutes and posted a line of eight points, one rebound, six assists, and one blocked shot. Neither stat line jumps off the page, but Friday could be a big opportunity for both. Also, while starter Gordon Hayward played both games of the Hornets' most recent back-to-back (March 11-12), that doesn't guarantee he'll be on the court in Dallas. So keep an eye out for Charlotte's early injury report, as there are some names (if they're listed) that can boost the streaming values of Svi and McGowens.
Quentin Grimes (11%)
The Knicks rested Jalen Brunson for Thursday's game against the Magic. Immanuel Quickley moved into the starting lineup and played well, but Grimes continuing to knock down shots is a positive development for the Knicks and fantasy managers. After scoring 22 points and knocking down six 3-pointers in Wednesday's loss to the Heat, Grimes went for 25 points, five rebounds, six assists, three steals, and five 3-pointers in 38 minutes. Brunson's absence boosted his streaming value in the short term. The issue right now is the schedule, with the Knicks being off until Monday night. Grimes can't help managers now, and that may also be the case once Brunson is cleared to play.
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Moritz Wagner (15%)
While he has been ranked well outside the top 200 in 9-cat formats over the last two weeks, Wagner hit double figures in six of eight games entering Thursday's matchup with the Knicks. He's now done so in seven of nine, finishing Thursday's win over the Knicks with 11 points, seven rebounds, and three assists. What could also enhance Wagner's fantasy value in the short term is the ankle injury suffered by his younger brother Franz Wagner during the second half. Orlando doesn't play again until Sunday against the Nets, so Moritz's streaming value could be gone by then. But he's someone who's capable of being a silly season star whether he starts or comes off the bench.