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The second half of the NBA season is upon us! Like actual NBA teams, fantasy teams are battling for playoff spots in preparation for the fantasy playoffs. With that, using your weekly adds comes at a premium. Unsure about what moves you should be making? Allow us to give you some advice!.
Weekly, JD and Kevin will be bringing you add and drop advice, and, occasionally, players to target in trades for less than what they’re really worth (buy low) and to trade during their soon-to-end hot streak (sell high). Today, we bring you advice for the eleventh week of the NBA fantasy basketball season.
Shallow League Adds
Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls (ESPN 72.2 percent, Yahoo! 85 percent) – JD
Billy Donovan recently stated that “there’s a very good possibility” that Markkanen will be ready for Thursday’s game against Miami (NBCSportsEDGE.com). Markkanen, who has been out since early February with a shoulder injury, warrants a roster spot in every format. He’s averaging 19.1 points / 6.1 boards / 2.9 threes in just over 30 minutes per night on the season and should be owned everywhere. Owners seem to be a bit slow to the chase in ESPN leagues.
Derrick White, San Antonio Spurs (ESPN 27 percent, Yahoo! 63 percent) – JD
White is expected to return to the court Wednesday after missing the Spurs’ previous five outings due to COVID protocol and deserves roster consideration in most formats. Your leaguemates may have fallen asleep at the wheel during the All-Star Break and missed out on the returns of guys like Markkanen and White. We can expect minutes in the mid-20s and close to 4 assists a game to go along with some threes. White’s been shooting more treys this year (8.4 attempts per 36) than in the years past (4.0 per 36 in his career), which could be both good and bad. He’s up to around 2 made treys per game but his FG% has dropped to 39.5. This is in a small sample of only eight games, so I’d expect him to fall somewhere in the middle of this year’s numbers and his career averages (46 percent from the field).
Deep League Adds
Robert Williams III, Boston Celtics (ESPN 25.4 percent, Yahoo! 46 percent) – JD
I will continue mentioning Williams in this column until further notice. He’s been ballin out — 10.8 points, 8 boards, and three separate games with 3 blocks in his last four games — and coach Brad Stevens has been raving about him. This Celtics team doesn’t have a whole lot of options in the frontcourt, in case you haven’t noticed, and they seem content to keep riding the hot hand for as long as it lasts. Williams is a great source of blocks with 3.7 per 36 in his career, and he helps with FG% and boards.
Josh Hart, New Orleans Pelicans (ESPN 23.3 percent, Yahoo! 38 percent) – Kevin
Hart elevated his play in his team’s last games before the break, averaging 10pts and 6reb on 42/24/82 shooting in 31 minutes per game. He isn’t a starter when the Pelicans are healthy, but coach Stan Van Gundy has loved Hart’s defense, especially in a stretch where New Orleans’ defense has struggled (in the last 10 games, New Orleans has allowed 120.5pts, the second highest amount in that span). Point being: Hart will continue receiving playing time, if not more. And if the Pels do make moves to trade away veterans (i.e. Eric Bledsoe and J.J. Redick), that opens things up even more.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, Atlanta Hawks (ESPN 24.6 percent, Yahoo! 53 percent) – JD
The ESPN ownership number surprised me, as it often does. Bogdanovic returned last week from a nearly two-month absence due to a knee injury, and has understandably started slowly due to a minutes cap. While it’s unclear what his minutes restriction will be going forward, he’s worth a look in any league with 12+ teams. This is a Hawks team hurting for secondary ball-handling, so Bogi should see plenty of usage if he proves to be healthy. That’s a decent if, so I’d wait until I see more in a 10-teamer. Bogi hits a ton of threes (2.9 career), is a good free throw shooter (80.9 percent career), and helps with points and some assists.
Super Deep League Adds
Michael Carter-Williams, Orlando Magic (ESPN 13.8 percent, Yahoo! 22 percent) – Kevin
With the Magic’s point guards all suffering injuries throughout various points of the season, Carter-Williams currently stands as the best choice at the position right now. In that starting role throughout the past 10 games, he’s played well, especially during his last five with averages of 13/4/6 on 56.5/50/81.8 shooting. Cole Anthony could be returning soon, but that shouldn’t stop the role MCW has been, especially with the Magic posing as possible sellers at the Trade Deadline, and two of their best guards this season (Evan Fournier and Terrence Ross) being heavily involved in trade rumors.
Kevin Porter Jr, Houston Rockets (ESPN 11.6 percent, Yahoo! 27 percent) – Kevin
The youth movement, whether the Rockets want it or not, will start in the second half in Houston. Losers of 13 straight games heading into the All-Star Break, the Rockets will probably be sellers at the Deadline, with Victor Oladipo, P.J. Tucker and Eric Gordon being pieces that could potentially be moved. Porter Jr, after averaging 24/6/7 in the G-League Bubble with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, was recalled by Houston, has joined the team and will get minutes and on-ball reps in the second half of the season. The talent is there for KPJ to contribute right now, and could be involved heavily in the offense later on in the year at the end of the season, right on time for fantasy playoffs.
Justise Winslow, Memphis Grizzlies (ESPN 6.2 percent, Yahoo! 17 percent) – JD
I’m sorry, why is Winslow’s ownership so low? He’s already had a 20-point game and a double-digit rebound game since returning from a length absence due to a hip injury. Despite an up-and-down career, he’s still a good basketball player and a bright prospect who fit’s this Grizzlies’ team’s M.O. perfectly. His minutes seem to be capped in the low-20s for now, which does hurt his upside, but he’s rosterbale in 14+ team leagues due to his all-around game and stat-stuffing game lines, albeit low percentages.
De’Anthony Melton, Memphis Grizzlies (ESPN 10.7 percent, Yahoo! 21 percent) – Kevin
Like his teammate listed above, Melton has been playing well above his ownership percentage lately. He put up 14pts with 2.3stl on 55.9/52/100 shooting in his last four games before the Break, and scored 11 with 2 steals on 5-7 shooting in his first game of the second half against the Washington Wizards. He’ll earn close to 20 minutes per game on a consistent basis (if not more) when he’s healthy, and will be a fundamental piece down the stretch given his age (22) and the fact he’s part of their core long-term. At this juncture, a 12-16 team league, you’re looking for good to great role players that can help on the margins. With his occasional scoring, good percentages and steals, Melton does just that.
Devonte’ Graham, Charlotte Hornets (ESPN 69.5 percent, Yahoo! 70 percent) – Kevin
Between the three-headed monster of Terry Rozier, rookie LaMelo Ball and Devonte’ Graham, Graham has been the worst of the bunch. Graham has had a significant fall-off from last year’s success (18pts and 7.5ast) that saw him be perhaps the biggest revelation from last season. His percentages remain nearly identical, but his points have dropped by five points, and it doesn’t help that Rozier has improved and Ball has proved he can handle being a starter. Coming back from a groin injury, not only will he be limited, but I don’t see how he has a bigger role than the other two guards this season. Save yourself the headache.
Lou Williams, LA Clippers (ESPN 59 percent, Yahoo! 56 percent) – JD
Lou Will is another player that I will continue to mention in this column until ownership stabilizes. It’s this simple: he shouldn’t be owned in 10-team leagues. He’s having his worst season in a decade and is no longer a focal point of this offense. He doesn’t help anywhere other than FT% — his points, dimes, and threes are all way down. He’s play has admittedly been better as of late, but expectations are still far away from reality.
LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio Spurs (ESPN 58.8 percent, Yahoo! 81 percent) – Kevin
LA’s run of fantasy relevance this season has officially come to a close. The writing was on the wall already when the Spurs played better without him during a stretch of games in February. Now, with the team announcing that they have reached an agreement with Aldridge that he won’t continue being a Spur, it’s all but finalized. Aldridge, whether it’s via trade or buyout, will end up on a contending team where he’ll have a complementary role, instead of the main option role promised in San Antonio. You can substitute him for something better in the waiver wire.
Bobby Portis, Milwaukee Bucks (ESPN 45.7 percent, Yahoo! 55 percent) – JD
Portis has been a nice addition for the Bucks’ second-unit this year. He’s put up some nice stat lines for a team that’s been playing far below expectations for most of the year. Here’s the issue: for each one of those big games, there 3-4 substandard fantasy lines. He doesn’t see any consistency in playing time and is just as likely as putting a stinker as he is a heater. He’s seen under 20 minutes in four of his last eight games and scored single-digit points in six of them. He’ll have some big nights, but good like trying to guess when they’re going to come!