December 31, 2020, 6:00 am
Welcome to Wednesday’s Daily Dish! Fans saw a quieter slate than a week ago with only six total games around the league, two of which involved wins by teams from Los Angeles. There weren’t too many surprising performances overall, but we can still learn a few things from the results.
Adds of the Night
While you may find yourself in a shallow league, I try not to provide any incredibly obvious choices here.
Enes Kanter, C, Portland Trail Blazers – 25 minutes, 10 points, 10 rebounds, 4-for-9 FG
Jusuf Nurkic is unlikely to fare this poorly for long, but in the meantime Kanter has stepped up when the Blazers needed him. Kanter mustered a tidy double-double in bench duty against the Clippers, his second straight. He also sank both of his free-throw attempts. Kanter came close to repeating the feat in his first two games of the season as well, averaging 12 points and 8.5 rebounds against the Jazz and Rockets. The native of Turkey may not be a long-term add, but his career averages are 11.6 points and 7.6 rebounds. What’s more, Zach Collins just underwent left ankle surgery. With the right expectations, Kanter is unlikely to disappoint as long as his playing time remains at this level. He’s the third most added player in Yahoo over the last day.
Jalen Brunson, G, Dallas Mavericks – 20 minutes, 16 points, four rebounds, four assists, one steal, two 3-pointers, 5-for-13 FG
Brunson has to fight with Trey Burke and Jeff Green for minutes in reserve, but he is making the most of them. Despite the subpar shooting night, he is 50% from the field for the young season and has hit double figures in three of four contests. Brunson is probably not getting enough playing time to merit a roster spot in 10-team leagues but could be a sneaky weapon in daily formats. He’s actually off to a slow start from the perimeter but is likely to return to his 35 percent career mark given a larger sample size.
Kennard is owned in 4% of ESPN leagues, but that has fallen a couple of points mostly due to the return of Kawhi Leonard after two missed games. Instead of receiving the start and minutes in the upper twenties as he had previously, Kennard only played 19 minutes against the Blazers. He ended with five points and one assist while shooting 2-for-5 from the field. The former Duke Blue Devil did hit his only 3-point attempt. Kennard could still get the occasional spot start if the Clippers manage Leonard’s workload, but it’s also true that Marcus Morris should return to the court fairly soon.
Derrick Jones Jr.
Jones continues to receive starter’s minutes from Terry Stotts, but it hasn’t led to much production. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum will usually dominate the offensive categories for Portland, but on Wednesday Carmelo Anthony was also productive with 15 points off the bench. Meanwhile, Jones scored only six points in 35 minutes while securing three rebounds. He was 1-for-3 from deep and 2-for-6 from the floor, collecting one steal in the process. I can understand holding Jones in deeper leagues because of his consistent role, but the output leaves a lot to be desired.
LaMarcus Aldridge (left knee soreness) was held out of action as a precaution.
Jayson Tatum (sprained left thumb) played 23 minutes.
Gary Trent Jr. (right calf strain) was unable to face the Clippers.
Grayson Allen suffered a left ankle sprain versus the Celtics and had to depart.
Danilo Gallinari (bruised left foot) only played for three minutes before exiting.
Kawhi Leonard (mouth laceration) had 28 points in his return to the court.
LeBron James (left ankle sprain) played a strong 35 minutes as the Lakers defeated the Spurs.
Tristan Thompson was rested as the Celtics played the second half of back-to-back games.
Josh Richardson (left calf strain) scored only four points in 27 minutes.
Gabe Vincent (right knee soreness) finally got into a game and played 15 minutes.
Jimmy Butler (sprained right ankle) missed facing the Bucks.
Clint Capela (left Achilles soreness) pulled down 12 rebounds in 20 minutes.
Javonte Green (health and safety protocols) did not face the Grizzlies.
Brown Letter Day
When Jaylen Brown chose to play the 2015-16 college season at my alma mater of Cal, I was more than a little excited. Yes, the California program has seen the likes of Leon Powe and Ryan Anderson pass through in the last 20 years. During the nineties, Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Jason Kidd wore the dark blue and gold. Still, the Bears hadn’t landed many five-star recruits in recent years and Brown was a true blue chip prospect. Five years later, he is cementing his status as a genuine star. On Wednesday, Brown scored a career-high 42 points and shot a fantastic 15-for-21 from the field. He missed only three of his 10 attempts from behind the arc, went 5-for-6 at the foul line and passed out four assists. For good measure, Brown added five rebounds and a steal as the Celtics coasted to a 126-107 win over the Grizzlies.
Durant is Devastating
A couple of years ago, I was asked to review Marcus Thompson’s book KD: Kevin Durant’s Relentless Pursuit to Be the Greatest. I was more than happy to do so after enjoying Thompson’s Golden: The Rise of Steph Curry. I even read KD while on a trip to Northern California, which felt fitting. Now that Durant is healthy again, he’s making up for lost time as a member of the Nets. Wednesday’s game featured Durant’s first double-double with his new franchise. Durant filled the stat sheet to the tune of 33 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists, a steal and a block. He shot 50% from the field, was a perfect 11-for-11 at the charity stripe and hit a pair of triples. The next time I’m able to visit family in Brooklyn, I’m making my first visit to Barclays Center to witness Durant play in person.