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The second half of the NBA season is in full swing, which also means that fantasy playoffs are right around the corner!
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 worth (buy low) and to trade during their soon-to-end hot streak (sell high). Today, we bring you advice for the fifteenth week of the NBA fantasy basketball season.
Shallow League Adds
Miles Bridges, Charlotte Hornets (ESPN 61.4 percent, Yahoo! 58 percent) – Kevin
Bridges, who’s been playing good basketball all season long, should be seeing his ownership skyrocket with the injuries the Hornets have had recently, primarily to Gordon Hayward who will be out for at least four weeks. Bridges played well last year as a starter, and he should resemble (if not improve) his play in this final stretch of the fantasy season. He’ll at least have the minutes to do so.
Jalen McDaniels is also a worthy deep add in the absence of Hayward.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, Atlanta Hawks (ESPN 68.2 percent, Yahoo! 75 percent) – JD
I picked up Bogdanovic in a few leagues last week, and boy am I pleased with that decision. He’s taken over as one of the Hawks’ secondary scoring options since returning to full health and is locked into a high usage role. For proof: over his last six contests, he’s averaging 21.8 points, 4.8 boards, 5 assists, and 4.3 threes. Read that again. Yes — 4.3 threes per game! It doesn’t seem to be a fluke either, as De’Andre Hunter and John Collins are both on the shelf until further notice, which opens up a sizable role for Bogdanovic. He’s seeing 30+ minutes every night. Pick him up and put him in in all formats.
Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers (ESPN 44.3 percent, Yahoo! 69 percent) – Kevin
Yes: Love hasn’t had the best season (to say the least). Yes: Love has been hurt and is injury prone. But, he’s healthy (for now) and he’s Kevin Love! He’s played three games since returning from injury, averaging 10pts and 7reb in 23 minutes while the time he can play continues to ramp up over time. In a deep league, those numbers won’t hurt you, and the potential of what he can do with starter minutes on a bad team is something worth stashing in the bench of your fantasy team (see last year’s numbers for an example). Many dropped him for the concerns listed in the first two sentences, so take advantage of those manager’s mistakes and pick him up in 12+ team league formats.
Wendell Carter Jr., Orlando Magic (ESPN 56.6 percent, Yahoo! 80 percent) – JD
Carter is a recurring member of this column. People are either too dumb or too slow to the chase in ESPN leagues to realize that he should be rostered everywhere, so pounce while he’s still available. To recap: he’s been traded to a shitty Magic team almost completely devoid of NBA talent. He’s a centerpiece of their rebuild and will play heavy minutes for the remainder of the season. Since integrating himself into the Magic lineup in the last five games, he’s averaged 16.4 points, 8.6 boards, and 1.4 blocks. To boot, he’s better at the line than most big guys, so he won’t kill your percentages by any means. He’s a quality big man that should be on your roster.
Duncan Robinson, Miami Heat (ESPN 54.6 percent, Yahoo! 69 percent) – Kevin
Robinson took the league by storm last season with his historic shooting campaign. This season it seems like other teams have adjusted to what he did, he’s having a season on par with his previous. His most recent stretch has been the best one he’s had all year: 17pts on 58/55/100 shooting. His role won’t change and is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Heat’s additions to improve perimeter defense (Trevor Ariza and Victor Oladipo). Add him while he’s hot.
Deep League Adds
Hamidou Diallo, Detroit Pistons (ESPN 21.8 percent, Yahoo! 39 percent) – JD
The Pistons don’t know what the hell they are doing right now. They’re hardly fielding an NBA roster at this point, which should open up some sneaky opportunities for players to step up and claim minutes. I believe that Diallo is at least an NBA-caliber player, so this is a speculative add in the hope that he earns the minutes that he deserves. He has a well-rounded game and can stuff a stat sheet when given minutes, as evidenced by some nice stretches earlier in the season when the Thunder were hobbled. However, the minutes are stuck around the low 20s for now, so I’d consider him a speculative add in 12-teamers for the time being. Monitor the minutes closely, though — he could become more valuable soon.
Malachi Flynn, Toronto Raptors (ESPN 12.8 percent, Yahoo! 32 percent) – JD
He’s worth owning for as long as Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet are out. It’s that simple. It sounds like those two guards may not be out for long, though, so add him quickly and be ready to drop him when the time comes. He’s seen over 30 minutes in three straight and produced nicely in that span (14.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 2.6 steals, 1.3 blocks). Ride the wave.
Super Deep League Adds
Goga Bitadze, Indiana Pacers (ESPN 1.4 percent, Yahoo! 3 percent) – Kevin
Goga is only worth having while one of Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis remain out with injury. He hasn’t gotten many minutes while the frontcourt has been healthy. He showed out when he did get a chance on Wednesday against the Timberwolves in his lone start of the season, with both Turner and Sabonis out (14pts/3reb/5ast/1stl/1blk on 6-11 shooting). He can build on this performance moving forward, but he’ll only get the “worthy of being owned in fantasy” opportunities if one of those two big men are out. It looks like Turner might be out for more games, while Sabonis might be coming back in the next game or two. If both are out, Bitazde is a must-add, while he downgrades to a speculative one if one returns.
Mo Bamba, Orlando Magic (ESPN 5.6 percent, Yahoo! 8 percent) – Kevin
Since the Nikola Vučević trade, Bamba has gotten 17 minutes per game in seven games, a far cry from the 10 minutes he was getting in the 22 games he did get an opportunity. A big part of that was coach Steve Clifford trusting in the better Khem Birch to provide the backup minutes, and even the starter minutes after the Vucevic deal. But now with the Magic releasing Birch, the door is open for Bamba to get the most minutes he’s gotten all season. Whether he performs well and proves his worth or not is everyone’s guess, but he’ll have chances for the remainder of the fantasy season.
Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls (ESPN 68.5 percent, Yahoo! 79 percent) – JD
Vucevic has come to town and Thad Young has been ballin’ — and Markkanen’s minutes have been the casualty. He’s started seeing minutes in the low 20s — his PT in four of five games. That’s a death warrant for fantasy value. He’s never been a guy for peripheral stats — he’s very scoring dependent, and he’s just not a big enough part of the offense currently to carry much weight. The Bulls don’t seem to know what their plan is for Markkanen going forward, but I sure do — I’ve dropped Markkanen in some 10-teamers, but he might be worth a hold in 12-teamers.
Serge Ibaka, Los Angeles Clippers (ESPN 56.2 percent, Yahoo! 63 percent) – Kevin
Ibaka hasn’t played since the beginning of March, missing 12 straight contests and there’s no timetable for his return, as of the time of this piece. In that span, Ivica Zubac has played well as a starter, averaging 10pts/8reb/1blk on 62 percent from the field, and the Clippers gave DeMarcus Cousins a chance to be part of the rotation. I say all of this to say: don’t be so high on Ibaka having as big of a role as he did early in the season when he does come back. If you’re in a shallow league or need a better use for an IL spot, Ibaka is a safe drop in my book. Check back on him in his eventual return.