• Lakers fans got their first look at the man who locks up the championship (source: Twitter) on Wednesday, as Andre Drummond made his team debut. The big man has been on ice since the middle of February but went right into the starting lineup against the Bucks.

    The excitement was short-lived, however, as Drummond departed the game with a toe injury (after switching shoes) and wasn’t any great shakes even when he was on the court. Milwaukee’s not a good matchup for lumbering bigs, and Drummond had four points, one rebound, two assists and a block in 14 minutes, going 2-of-6 from the field, missing his two free throws and committing three turnovers with four fouls.

    You’ll forgive him for the rust, but expectations need to be tempered (perhaps more in the reality realm than the fantasy space). Some Drummond is better than no Drummond in fantasy, but the Lakers can maximize his utility by giving him a very specific role. Never one to impact winning games all that significantly, Drummond getting massive minutes, even for the shorthanded Lakers, would yield questionable results.

    Between a big loss and a tough matchup you’ll need to take tonight’s results with a grain of salt, but Drummond wasn’t good. He also looked like he was going to knock Marc Gasol from the rotation, with Big Spain only checking into the game in the fourth quarter. Montrezl Harrell was still solid with 19 points in 25 minutes off the bench, and those shouldn’t be touched on most nights. We’ll see where this goes.

    Add(s) of the Night

    Gary Trent Jr., G, Toronto Raptors

    The Raptors lost another game as their best players all ran out of gas, again, following their COVID diagnoses. Trent was the exception tonight and popped for a career-high 31 points on 12-for-22 shooting with two steals and six 3-pointers in 36 minutes of play. After two rough games and one showing that was solid despite limited statistical contribution, Trent finally delivered a stat line commensurate with his workload. We’ve seen GT post middle-round numbers as a starter before, and that was on a Portland team with a clear offensive hierarchy trying to win games. Who knows what the rest of the season holds in Tampa. Trent should be a part of the team’s future either way so trying to explore every depth of his game might be a wise choice for the Raps.

    Drop Zone

    Immanuel Quickley, G, New York Knicks

    Even with Derrick Rose out, Quickley was capped to 13 minutes in a close loss to the league-worst Wolves. Elfrid Payton got hot and was able to play 28 minutes, only underscoring how volatile the New York backcourt can be. Quickley caught a lot of attention after some big scoring games earlier in the season but when the Knicks are healthy (and even when they’re not, like tonight), there’s an extremely low floor. Chasing upside is admirable but this doesn’t look like a winning equation in 12- or 14-team leagues if you need any level of consistency.

    Injury Report

    James Harden sat out the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s win with right hamstring tightness. Kyrie Irving is about to eat, and deep-leaguers can look to Tyler Johnson and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot. The Nets play again on Thursday so it’s probably safest to consider Harden questionable at the very best.

    Kyle Lowry will miss the next 7-10 days with a right foot infection that just won’t seem to go away. It’s been dogging him for a good chunk of the season and perhaps some rest will get him right.

    Robert Williams (illness) was a late scratch but neither Moe Wagner or Luke Kornet did much to pose a threat to Williams’ work going forward. Jaylen Brown (hip contusion) was back in action, and the Celtics lost another one in relatively noncompetitive fashion.

    Christian Wood (illness) was back after two games off and Danuel House (back) played through a probable tag while John Wall (left knee effusion) sat out. The clock seems to be ticking on Wall’s season, whether the Rockets want to admit it or not. Keep an eye on everyone on the Rockets roster because it’s a situation that could yield lots of unexpected fantasy value.

    D’Angelo Russell (left knee) went through a full practice but the Wolves are still slow-playing his return date, which makes sense.

    Aleksej Pokusevski (health and safety) and Ty Jerome (left ankle sprain) both sat out on Wednesday, in news that dinged some deep-league lineups.

    Donovan Mitchell (personal) sat out and didn’t travel with the Jazz to Memphis, though he was on the team’s original charter flight that had to turn back after hitting a flock of birds. Hope all is well with Spida.

    Zach LaVine (right ankle sprain) and Coby White (neck) sat out on Wednesday, and in LaVine’s case we could see a few more games off. He was very open about not being himself following Monday’s poor game. Fantasy GMs just have to hope for the best.

    Gorgui Dieng (shoulder) left his Spurs debut in the first quarter, so that’s not great.

    Lonzo Ball (right hip flexor) and Zion Williamson (right thumb sprain) are both questionable for Thursday.

    Kevin Love (right calf strain) is questionable after going through practice on Wednesday, which, okay. Sure. Why not.

    Bradley Beal (hip) is questionable while Daniel Gafford (right ankle sprain) is out. Tough break for Gafford, who had the looks of a legit fantasy asset with the Wiz.

    De’Andre Hunter (right knee soreness) is being listed as questionable. Nate McMillan gave him 30-40% odds of playing on Tuesday and hopefully they’re higher for Thursday.

    Paul George (right foot) and Serge Ibaka (back) are both out, and the fact that neither is getting the questionable tag is of light concern. Hopefully, in George’s case, this doesn’t have anything to do with the bone edema that kept him from the lineup earlier in the year.

    And last but not least, Joel Embiid (left knee) is expected to return on Saturday if he can avoid any setbacks between now and then.

    Delonward and Upward

    The immediate aftermath of the trade deadline did not look kind to Delon Wright but he was only ever a drop in the shallowest of formats. Oftentimes you’ll see players like Wright slip through the cracks in leagues that are filled with hyper-attentive managers, as late-round types (or those with late-round setups) tend to bounce on and off waivers all year in the pursuit of upside.

    Wednesday’s game, despite being a bit of a clunker for the Kings, was good for Wright. He brought some spark in the first half and ended up with 16 points (5-of-10 FG), three rebounds, three assists, two steals and two threes. Wright also logged 22 minutes, which was tops among reserves.

    Over the last week of play he’s been a top-175/150 (8/9-cat) option (that’s just three games, mind you), doing so in 22.6 mpg. We’d expect him to improve upon that, as he’s shooting .375 from the field and has no blocks in that span.

    More broadly, Wright’s acquisition was a coup for the Kings and made it look like the team knows what it’s doing and where it’s supposed to be going. Wright is the type of player that can help Sacramento thread the needle, helping them win now and in the future. Obviously you can’t fix everything with one shrewd transaction but perhaps Wright heading to the Kings is part of a wider, gradual movement where the team slowly rids itself of dysfunction. That would be a rising tide that lifts everyone’s fantasy boat, so keep your fingers crossed.

    In the meantime, Wright’s not going to hit his middle-round ceiling with the Kings, but there’s a lot to like about how he’s being used and some patience should pay off here.

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Mba- D. Murray, J. Murray

It seems in all or most cases of traded players dealt at dead line, take 2-4 games to get into the flow of the new rotation and offensive and defensive positioning with their new teams and with that experience they become more efficient and more productive. Either gradually or ceiling type games that match previous production hit during this season. And the new opportunities that are becoming clear, points scored rebounds, fg attempt, ft attempts , 3 p attempt etc…are all very exciting to see fulfilled by the tank teams, like Orlando. Terrance Ross will be chucking and producing after… Read more »

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