Jonas Nader

Basketball Daily Dose

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Dose: Jimmy Butler to Houston?

Friday, October 26, 2018


Two of the NBA’s top shooting guards are sidelined with hamstring tweaks, Bobby Portis is out for several weeks and Jimmy Butler could be a member of the Rockets soon. Let’s Dose!

 

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James Harden gets bad news

 

After initially being diagnosed with hamstring tightness and a reported one-game absence, the Rockets sent James Harden to undergo an MRI on Thursday and the results were not ideal. He has a Grade 1 hamstring strain, and the Rockets went ahead and ruled him out for at least two games (vs. Clippers and Blazers). He’ll be re-evaluated on Nov. 2 before Houston’s road trip, but there’s no guarantee he returns right away. He missed seven games with a Grade 2 hamstring strain last season, so luckily this one isn’t as serious. 

 

While there are no fantasy pickups you should run to the wire for, Gerald Green may be a punt option in DFS, as he has the potential for a 20-point explosion or a 3-point dud on 11 shots. He’s a true boom-or-bust option. If you just need some hustle stats from a guy that’s guaranteed big minutes, take a look at P.J. Tucker. He’s averaging 36.5 minutes per game this season, putting up a modest 8.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 2.3 steals, 0.8 blocks and 2.3 triples. 

 

Additionally, you can expect more production out of guys like Eric Gordon, Chris Paul and yes, Carmelo Anthony. Gordon’s usage rate rises from 19.3 to 25.9 with Harden off the floor, and he’s going to run the offense at times when CP3 takes a breather — Gordon’s assist percentage jumps from 3.5 to 16.7. CP3 is basically a lock for 20-10 production for the next couple games and change, while Melo is going to be free to jack up double-digit shots. I’m actually a little excited to see what Melo can do in the next week, as he finally figured things out in his last game with 22 points on 9-of-17 shots. 

 

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Devin Booker dodges a bullet?

 

After tweaking his left hamstring on Wednesday night, it looked like Devin Booker was in the same boat as Harden. Luckily, he was re-evaluated on Thursday morning and it was determined that he has a mild strain and is day-to-day. It doesn’t sound like it’s as bad as Harden’s, but we all know how cautious the Suns are with their franchise player. At this point, only Booker and the training staff knows if he’ll suit up on Friday vs. the Grizzlies, but I’d guess that he misses at least one game. 

 

The Suns are a mess right now, and similar to the Houston situation, there’s no clear pickup here. We saw what Josh Jackson could do when Booker was sidelined last season, so I’m expecting the ball to be in his hands a lot. He’s a great DFS option, but I’m not high on him in category leagues because of his turnovers and shooting percentages — he’s hitting 39.4% from the field and 40% from the line with 3.0 turnovers this season. The real winner here, assuming Booker misses a bit of time, is T.J. Warren. This is a guy who averaged just under 20 points per game last season, and despite his minutes going from 33.0 to 24.8, he’s been even more impressive this season with 17.5 points (55.1% shooting), 2.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.0 steals and 2.3 triples. The triples are a nice surprise considering he hit a total of 20 last season. Look for Warren and Deandre Ayton to carry the offense if the Suns are without Booker. 

 

 

Bobby Portis out for a while

 

After undergoing a scan on his right knee on Thursday morning, Bobby Portis was diagnosed with a sprained MCL in his right knee. The initial timetable is set at 4-6 weeks, but knowing the Bulls, they aren’t going to rush him back. Remember, this is the same team that told Lauri Markkanen to miss a flight last year so the Bulls could tank a game. This means Wendell Carter Jr.’s owners should continue to be patient with the rookie, but the big winner here is Jabari Parker. He’ll finally get his wish to start as the last power forward standing, and he has shown signs of life after a rough preseason. Best-case scenario, he averages close to 20 points per game until the Bulls get Lauri Markkanen back, which could be a while. 

 

Justin Holiday is also somewhat interesting, especially with Denzel Valentine (ankle) out at least another 1.5 weeks.  He’s averaging 13.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.0 steals and 2.3 triples on the season, and he’s played 37+ minutes in three straight games. 

 

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Jimmy Butler trade gaining traction?

 

After a couple weeks of silence, the Jimmy Butler trade talks have started up again. This time it’s the Rockets who are making the push, reportedly offering up to four first round picks (2018, 2020, 2022 and 2024). Unless this is just a ploy from the Wolves to get talks going with other teams, it seems like Houston is all in and it’s pretty fun to imagine a core of CP3, Harden, Butler and Capela. The pieces involved in the rumored deal are “fluid” according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, though it’s safe to assume the Wolves will be looking to unload Gorgui Dieng in any deal. As for the Houston side of things, Eric Gordon is the most likely to be moved if this deal were to go down. I would expect P.J. Tucker to be untouchable considering he was crucial to their success against Golden State in the playoffs. 

 

The Rockets have a good fantasy playoff schedule, a top-3 offense and one of the best offensive coaches in the NBA, so Butler should be able to offset a dip in usage rate if he went to Houston with improved efficiency. The overall point here is that Butler’s owners shouldn’t sweat too much about a trade, because top-15 players find a way to get the job done. Everyone thought he’d take a backseat to Karl-Anthony Towns last season, but look what happened.  

 

 

Scanning the Waiver Wire

 

*These are players (from Thursday’s games) that should either be owned, picked up or placed on your watch list. 

 

Monte Morris- He looks legit. If you remember back in the Summer League, Morris was the star of the team and the coaching staff and Denver media were hyping him up quite a bit. As it turns out, it appears to be warranted with Morris going off for a career-high 20 points with three rebounds, seven assists, three steals and two 3-pointers in 27 minutes against the Lakers.  He had 11 points, seven assists, three boards, one steal and one triple the game before, and he’s played about 26 minutes per game over his last three with a handful of minutes alongside Jamal Murray. With Isaiah Thomas still without a timetable and Will Barton out for several weeks, Morris is an interesting flier for PG-needy owners. Just wait until the weekend because the Nuggets are off until Monday. 

 

Trey Lyles- He’s not quite a standard-league guy yet, but does have value in deeper leagues. He’s the first big off the bench for Denver, and he has picked up a few minutes since the Will Barton injury. He’s now played 21+ minutes in three straight, averaging 9.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.3 steals. If his shot starts falling, he might have a shot at top-150 value. 

 

Lance Stephenson- I didn’t think I’d be talking about Lance Stephenson less than two weeks into the season, but here we are. He’s been hard to ignore, as he followed up his 23-point, 8-rebound and 8-assist effort on Wednesday with 12 points, four rebounds, four assists, one steal and two triples. It’s important to note that Lance is getting an uptick in minutes because of suspensions for Brandon Ingram and Rajon Rondo, so with Rondo due back next game and Ingram the game after, Stephenson may only have streaming appeal in deeper leagues for one more outing. 

 

Marcus Morris- I’m sure that Morris will get added in a bunch of leagues after his 21-point, 10-rebound double-double with four triples, but you’re just asking for a headache if you do. This Boston team is one of the deepest in the NBA, and as any fantasy owner of Irving, Tatum, Hayward or Horford can attest, it’s that there are simply too many mouths to feed for Morris to sustain any real value. All it takes is a glance at his game log, as he’s scored 21, 7, 16, 8 and 16 points through five outings. He’s more of a streamer than an actual pickup. 

 

Hamidou Diallo- He’s just someone to put on your watch list in deeper leagues, but is a must-own player in dynasty formats. Paul George believes Diallo has long-term star power, and we’re seeing glimpses of it now. His jumper is way ahead of where everyone thought it would be, his defense has been terrific (3 blocks tonight), and we already know he’s a freak athlete. With Terrance Ferguson losing favor in OKC, I’ll be watching Diallo closely and so should you. No need to add him yet, though. 

 

Jerami Grant- He moved into the starting lineup on Thursday, a move that was long overdue. Grant notched 10 points with six rebounds, one assist, two steals, one block and one 3-pointer, and the minutes (31) were very encouraging. He’s not loaded with upside as he’s raw offensively and his 3-point shot is a work-in-progress, but if he locks up the starting role, he’s going to be a great source of hustle stats and out-of-position blocks — 3.0 blocks per 36 minutes this season and 1.9 for his career. 

 

Al-Farouq Aminu- He has pulled down 15 rebounds in two straight games, but can’t throw the ball into the ocean right now (36.4% from the field). He is what he is, and that’s a low-end hustle stats guy with a consistent role and bad percentages. 

 

Zach Collins- I’m in over 10 leagues and I’ve been getting a kick out of how many times this guy has been dropped and picked up with the cycle going on and on. So what should you do? I think you should pick him up and give him a decent leash for a little bit, as Portland plays 5(!) games next week. He’s been playing just under 20 minutes per game, but looked awesome on Thursday with a career-high 17 points, six rebounds, two assists, two steals, one block and two 3-pointers. He’s been a top-50 player in 9-category leagues in limited action, so let’s ride him for a week or so and see what happens. 

 

Mo Bamba- After posting three duds in a row, Bamba finally posted a decent line on Thursday with eight points (4-of-5 FGs), seven rebounds, two assists and one block in 20 minutes. It’s been a rough start to the season and it hasn’t helped that Nikola Vucevic has been playing out of his mind. Bamba might be worth holding onto for his blocks upside along, but I wouldn’t expect consistent production at least until the new year. 

 

Reggie Bullock- He hit just 2-of-10 shots for five points, but did salvage his line with six assists and a block. Bullock put up 16.5 points, 2.0 assists and 1.5 triples in his previous two games, and this is a guy that nearly churned out top-100 value last season. I think he’s worth owning in standard leagues, especially since he’s usually pretty efficient for a SG. 

 

Collin Sexton- It’s simple. The Cavaliers look like one of the worst teams in the NBA, George Hill is running out of chances and Sexton is their future. I’m expecting big minutes and decent production from him sooner rather than later.




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