• Welcome to the Sunday edition of the Hoop Ball Daily Dish! 

    Quick Hits

    • The Nets-Bulls game was an odd battle between “the old guys” as Thad Young, LaMarcus Aldridge and Jeff Green featured prominently, in one way or another, in determining the game’s outcome – which by the way, was a 115-107 win by the Bulls. Young was so good that Lauri Markkanen barely had time to make a peep off the bench.
    • The Clippers downed the Lakers 104-86, but we kinda expected that. Again, “oldies” like Marc Gasol and Marcus Morris Sr. stole the show.
    • Miles Bridges started for an injured Gordon Hayward but was nothing to write home about and Cody Zeller crawled back under his rock of obscurity as the Celtics cruised to an easy 116-86 win. Thanks to Jayson Tatum and the return to action of Jaylen Brown. Robert Williams III was a sight to behold as he dropped another sparkly fantasy gem.
    • Tobias Harris looked like the last and only half-decent Sixer tonight. Ja Morant is still in some kind of nebulous funk of mediocrity and Kyle Anderson filled the stat sheet in style. The Grizzlies den is filled with bright streaming options, by the way. Just FYI.
    • Despite Draymond Green and Steph Curry returning to action and playing well, the Warriors lost and James Wiseman saw his minutes fade once again. Kelly Oubre showed up tonight but Clint Capela and Danilo Gallinari were too much for the Dubs to handle.
    • Christian Wood had a terrible shooting night, a stark contrast to Lonzo Ball and his return to action for the Pelicans. James Johnson delivered in the absence of Brandon Ingram. What was not expected, however, and pleasantly so, was the 15-point, 12-rebound double-double of Willy Hernangomez, who decided to make an appearance to tease and tantalize fantasy GMs with the siren song of what was a 12-team viable outing. P.S. Kelly Olynyk was damn amazing!
    • The Magic looked like kick-ass upstarts, initially making the Nuggets look like amateurs. However, their impressive and spirited play took them only so far as the scary Nuggets squad kept their composure and scrambled for the comeback win.

    Add(s) of the Night

    James Johnson, SF/PF, New Orleans Pelicans

    While we do expect Brandon Ingram to return sooner rather than later, the Pelicans did lose Nickeil Alexander-Walker tonight and are still without Josh Hart as well. All of this means that Johnson will still have to produce solid numbers off the bench. He’s been nothing short of stellar over the last couple of games and we don’t anticipate that to just fall off completely.

    Monte Morris, PG/SG, Denver Nuggets

    Morris made his return tonight after missing almost a dozen games. He was a standard-league viable guard before his injury. Chipping in a bit here and there without really hurting your team anywhere – good production for a third or fourth string PG. He should emerge with sixth-man minutes for the Nuggets moving forward, assuming he doesn’t experience a setback, of course.

    Drop Zone

    Reggie Jackson, PG/SG, L.A. Clippers

    Jackson served his purpose and provided some scoring and other sundry low-end guard stats while the Clippers were shorthanded. They still are. But you know what we mean. He’s now come up with two dud games and it’s time to bid him adieu, even in deep leagues, unfortunately. Jackson simply doesn’t have the talent or the staying power to provide value on a consistent basis.

    Otto Porter Jr., SF/PF, Orlando Magic

    I’m done, DONE with Otto. Sorry, he’s just too injury-prone. It’s time to be like the Bulls and let him go.

    Injury Report

    No James Harden (right hamstring tightness) and Kevin Durant (left hamstring strain) for the Nets. Though, word on the street is that KD could be nearing a return.

    Zach LaVine (right ankle sprain) was available, played, and even led the Bulls in scoring. So yeah, we can safely say he’s pretty healthy and now just hope his ankle holds up.

    Still no Patrick Beverley (right knee soreness) and Serge Ibaka (lower back tightness) for the Clippers, both of whom have been long-time drops in fantasy. Rajon Rondo was available and played 13 minutes off the bench.

    Andre Drummond and his big toe contusion gave GMs headaches, but Marc Gasol posted pick-up worthy numbers for deep-league managers.

    Jaylen Brown (left knee contusion) returned to action and looked good for the Celtics. And we’re all still waiting for Tristan Thompson to get through his reconditioning as Robert-Williams-III-invested GMs hold their collective breaths to see how much damage TT’s return will do to their blossoming fantasy stud.

    No Joel Embiid (left knee injury recovery) for the Sixers, though, his absence can be regarded as short-term.

    John Collins (left ankle sprain) was missed, but not by Clint Capela, who thrived and continued to do Clint Capela things. Trae Young played through his left knee soreness issue, but posted poor numbers for fantasy purposes. Danilo Gallinari (left Achilles soreness) played and played well for the Hawks, so it looks like he’s good to go for now.

    Draymond Green (left finger sprain) was available, double-doubled and even swiped four steals.

    John Wall was absent and he could be out a while due to fluid in his knee. To add injury and insult to more injuries, the Rockets lost Danuel House Jr. tonight to a lower left leg injury and he did not return to the game.

    Lonzo Ball (right hip flexor) returned from a seven-game absence tonight and in the nick of time. His 27 points and career-high eight 3-pointers powered the Pelicans to victory despite missing heavy hitters Zion Williamson (right thumb sprain) and Brandon Ingram (right toe). Another reason why Ball’s return was extra timely was the loss of Nickeil Alexander-Walker to an ankle sprain. He was ruled out after logging just 14 minutes of action.

    Monte Morris (left quad strain) was questionable but was eventually cleared for the now-fully-healthy Nuggets.

    Mo Bamba was available after a brief bout with a non-COVID illness. Otto Porter Jr. was out with left foot pain.

    NOLA Rising

    Hoop Ball has a great team of guys already covering the Pelicans, so I’m not going to delve too deeply into their real-life performance.

    The Pelicans are rocking. While I was hoping to see them offload and move on from Eric Bledsoe at the deadline for both fantasy basketball and NAW reasons, the team has been crazy-fun to watch – even if it’s just the box scores.

    The highlight(s) tonight was the first, the return of Lonzo Ball from his seven-game absence and how he hit a career-high eight 3-pointers en route to his 27 points. Lonzo is amazing. Spectacular! The second was that the Pels lost Nickeil Alexander-Walker to a lower leg injury. He’s been a godsend over the last couple of weeks, both in real life and fantasy. Heck, I even have three NAW shares across all my leagues.

    I know what you’re thinking and want to ask. “Is it time to drop NAW now that Lonzo is back and playing well?”

    As far as I’m concerned, Alexander-Walker remains a hold, at least for the time being and until we get a clearer picture as to the severity of the injury he sustained tonight. My fingers are crossed that he will be back on the court soon.

    The Pelicans are surprisingly deep! That’s what came to mind tonight after they defeated the Rockets. Yes, I know it’s not saying much because the Rockets are barely better than a G League team nowadays, but still, the point is that guys like Jaxson Hayes and even Willy Hernangomez were able to provide solid minutes this evening.

    Obviously, the eventual returns of Zion and Ingram will put a damper on the fantasy appeal of Hayes and Hernangomez.

    Circling back to Lonzo, I’ve had high hopes for him from Day 1. Fine, he didn’t deliver like I was hoping, but he did finish 2019-20 with a mind-blasting flurry – something I’m figuring he can replicate this season as it finally winds down. I’m willing to go out on a limb and say he can easily flirt with top-50 value moving forward. So don’t be too shocked or stunned if you see him climb up the fantasy rankings in the coming weeks.

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Dr. J.

Johnson should still get mins with Hart’s injury I’m assuming, 20-25 mins when Ingram returns?

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