Three games on a Tuesday night but it wasn’t the three games that got the attention. We have another Woj bomb! The Magic is sending Serge Ibaka to the Raptors for Terrence Ross and ’17 first-round pick. The trade analysis that I’ll get into will be below the game recaps. We also got some unfortunate news regarding Kevin Love. He will undergo a scope on his knee that will sideline him for about six weeks. In terms of the games from tonight, the Bulls survived a run from the Raptors. The Cavs found a new big three without Love and held off Andrew Wiggins’ 41 points. Lou Williams came up short as he scored 19 in the fourth but it was Boogie’s 40 point effort that got them the win. Let’s get into the details.
Raptors 94 – Bulls 105
The Bulls won this one without Dwyane Wade as he’s dealing with a right wrist contusion. Doug McDermott led the team in scoring as he dropped 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting, while adding five boards and two triples in 33 minutes off the bench. He has now scored in double figures in his last three games as he’s taking advantage of Wade and Nikola Mirotic missing out. They still have no timetable to return and is considered day-to-day. The Bulls are one of four teams to play on Thursday and McDermott might be a good streamer for that game. Jimmy Butler returned from a heel problem as he finished with 19 points, 12 assists and four steals. He was basically the point guard in the starting lineup even though he played alongside Jerian Grant and Michael Carter-Williams, so the assists numbers were up. He struggled shooting the ball, going 2-of-10 from the field but he did hit 15-of-19 free throws, which carried the bulk of his points. Owners should be glad that Butler came back in this one and the heel problem isn’t that big of a problem. Cristiano Felicio played more than Robin Lopez in this one as he finished with 10 points, six boards and two steals. Fred Hoiberg was going along with the hot hand and he’s played 22+ minutes in three straight games for the Bulls. Deep leagues can give him a look for big man stats.
The Raptors are going through something bad. If the Bulls are saying “they have some issues”, you know it’s rough for the Raptors. The Raptors have now lost three straight games and lost 11 of their last 14 games. DeMar DeRozan struggled in this one as he scored 18 points on 5-of-19 shooting. He even got ejected with two techs in the closing moments of this game. Him and the whole team is frustrated. It’ll be an interesting moment for when Ibaka walks into this chaotic situation. Norman Powell still only played 18 minutes even without Terrence Ross. He played well with 13 points, four assists and two steals on 4-of-8 shooting. The situation he’s in should be trending up but Casey played Delon Wright for the first time this year for nine minutes. He also played Cory Joseph at the two to close the game out so it’s going to take a little patience for Powell to fully get consistent minutes. Jonas Valanciunas got benched as he scored 12 points and nine boards in 22 minutes. They were getting blown out and it was the second unit that clawed themselves back into the game. There are going to be more of these frustrating moments for JV owners going forward.
Cavaliers 116 – Timberwolves 108
The Timberwolves made it a close game until LeBron James iced them with a step-back three. It was the Cavs’ first game in this six week period without Love. LeBron and Kyrie Irving led the team in scoring. LeBron flirted with a triple-double with 25-8-14 with two triples. He’s probably going to be relied upon a lot more in the next month and a bit with Love out. Cavs fans should worry about the mileage he’s going to get in this span as we all know the playoffs is what he’s playing for. Kyrie finished with 25 points and seven assists on 10-of-27 shooting. There’s going to be more games like these from now on as Kyrie will also see an increase in usage rate and that could potentially take a hit on his efficiency. Channing Frye started in place of Love and he should be owned in all leagues. He finished with 21 points, 10 boards, four triples and two blocks in 33 minutes. He’s not going to be this amazing every night but boards, triples and blocks is a rare thing to find in the waiver. In the games without Love, Frye is averaging 13.8 points, 6.5 boards, 2.8 triples and 0.8 blocks. Thats some really good stats and he’ll see a bump in the next six weeks.
The Timberwolves made it a close game but they don’t have LeBron. Andrew Wiggins dropped 41 points with four triples and a steal on 16-of-29 shooting. He didn’t contribute much in rebounds and assists but any line with 41 points shouldn’t be complained about. Since LaVine’s injury, Wiggins has really elevated his play, ranking 7th in 9-cat with averages of 29.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.8 triples and 1.8 steals on 52.7 percent shooting and 81.6 percent from the line. Karl-Anthony Towns added 26-8-4 with a triple and a block. He’s still the second best player in 9-cat in the last month with really elite percentages. Gorgui Dieng had a double-double of his own with 12 and 10 and that’s back-to-back double-double’s for Dieng. He hasn’t accomplished this feat since the opening two games of this season.
Kings 97 – Lakers 96
The Kings survived a run from the Lakers in the fourth. DeMarcus Cousins flirted with a triple-double with 40-12-8, two triples and two steals. His assist numbers have been going up in the last two weeks, averaging 8.0 per game in that span. The assist numbers are nice but it’s really increased his turnovers, which consequently is hurting his value. You should be punting turnovers anyways if you own Boogie. Matt Barnes had a solid game that didn’t really translate to fantasy. He finished with 5-7-3 with a triple-one and is contributing to stats across the board since Garrett Temple’s injury. Darren Collison played another game with heavy minutes with Ty Lawson missing his third straight game because of an adductor problem. Collison had 13-5-8 with a triple in 40 minutes this game. He’s been solid in the past month, returning top-50 value.
The Lakers came back into the game in the fourth thanks to Lou Williams’ 19 points in the final quarter but fell short as he missed the game winning jumper. He finished with 29 points, five assists, four triples, two steals and a block in 25 minutes. Williams’ owner should hope that he doesn’t get traded since he’s flourishing in this role as the sixth man and doesn’t require heavy minutes to produce stats. He’s a top-2o player in the last month and continues his hot stretch of games. Larry Nance had 8-6-3 with three steals and a block in 24 minutes. He shared the minutes with Julius Randle again and seems to be the better player recently. Nance is returning top-70 value in the last two weeks on 25.6 minutes per game. He has the higher upside between him and Randle but Walton will continue to utilise him off the bench. Ivica Zubac fell back down to earth as Walton didn’t really want him to go up against the monstrous Cousins tonight. He only played 10 minutes and failed to score while grabbing four rebounds. Tarik Black got into foul trouble in the first quarter and Walton turned to Timofey Mozgov instead. Maybe Walton didn’t want to throw him into the fire so early on so he should have a better game against the Suns on Thursday.
Yes! The dominos are falling. We got ourselves another trade! This time the Raptors are sending Terrence Ross and the lower end of their 2017 first-round pick to the Magic in exchange for Serge Ibaka. The Raptors finally get a rim protection/floor stretcher in Ibaka at their power forward position. In terms of fantasy, Ibaka’s case isn’t that ideal. He’s a clear loser in this trade as he was averaging a career-high 21.0 usage rate with 15.1 points this season. He’s going to take a dip in both those categories and will likely return something like 15.0 usage rate and 12.0 points per game. Either way, he’ll still be a mid-round value with his ability to contribute to threes, blocks and solid percentages.
Moving Ross away means Norman Powell might actually see some solid and consistent minutes. He’s probably going to soak in all the minutes for the shooting guard and small forward position. The thing with Powell is that Dwane Casey isn’t fully trusting him to play heavy minutes on a consistent basis. At times, he would rather play Kyle Lowry-Cory Joseph-DeMar DeRozan together and leave Powell out. That might actually happen quite often but Powell is good for a speculative add. DeMarre Carroll loses a bit in this situation. He tends to see some minutes as the small-ball four but with Ibaka in the situation and Patrick Patterson backing him up, Carroll won’t be needed in those situations. Joseph as mentioned, could see a little bump too. He’ll have cases of playing the point and shooting guard at times and Casey likes him to close games out.
Lucas Nogueira will not see any minutes at the power forward spot from now on, which means he’ll be purely a backup for Jonas Valanciunas. JV’s value might take a hit a bit. Casey has a tendency to bench him if JV isn’t being assertive or is being outplayed by Bebe. Also if Casey decides to push the pace and have a lot of shooters on the floor, he might put Ibaka at the five.
For the Magic, Ross is a clear winner after this trade. He’s moving from a sixth man role, averaging 22.3 minutes per game (his lowest in three years) to potentially being the starting small forward of the Magic. He improved his efficiency and scoring this season even with lower minutes, a case of less is more. He’s going to see minutes near the 30’s, which could make him a top-100 player after the All-Star break but he’s only capable of contributing to threes and points. If you’re looking for other stats, Ross isn’t that good of an option.
Another winner for the Magic is Aaron Gordon. They’re finally moving him to the power forward spot, his natural position. I’ve been pretty adamant about how Gordon has the potential to be the next Shawn Marion in fantasy. He was stuck playing the small forward with an inconsistent jumper. Frank Vogel was delusional about making Gordon into the next Paul George. Moving to the power forward would lead to more opportunities closer to the rim. Vogel is hard to trust and he might actually put Jeff Green at the four instead (you never know). Gordon is clearly trending up and I can’t wait to see him utilised more as the four.
In terms of Nikola Vucevic and Bismack Biyombo, they’re probably not going to see any minutes together from now on. Vooch might see a bit of a bump without Ibaka. Ibaka’s 21.0 usage rate needs to be distributed and that might be more post-ups for Vooch as the Magic struggles to put points on the board at times. Meanwhile Bismack is going to be the backup center at the meantime and will rarely see minutes with another big. It’s been speculated that the Magic isn’t finished dealing trades and Vooch might be the next one to go.
What an interesting night in the NBA! That’s it for tonight’s FFF. Stay tuned for more and follow me on Twitter to get the latest posts or to ask me any questions about your fantasy team!