Basketball News

Wizards Center Marcin Gortat has been clashing with his teammates during the past two weeks, but he's also had his best fantasy basketball stretch of games all season long. His fantasy NBA value has fluctuated a decent amount on a nightly basis, and he should not be counted on for predictable and consistent production at this point.

Gortat is coming off a great showing against the lowly Sixers, scoring 23 points in addition to 14 points and 2 blocks, but that should not be hyped up too much. Playing against the Sixers allows for breakout performances on a nightly basis, so his success is not all that encouraging.

The reality is that Gortat has scored 8 points or less in 4 of his last 6 games, but has been racking up the rebounds and the block totals. He hasn't posted back-to-back double digit scoring nights since March 14th and 16th, and his inconsistent play is concerning for fantasy owners looking to succeed in the playoffs.

Evaluating the Wizards' strength of schedule, the team is only playing 2 weaker opponents out of the 7 remaining contests, with those opponents being the Knicks and the 76ers. Those games offer major upside for Gortat's fantasy basketball owners as he should be able to score and grab boards with ease, but he might need to be avoided for the other 5 games left this season. Consider Marcin Gortat one of the riskier fantasy NBA players going forward, with potential to put up solid lines against the weaker teams.

Basketball News

Wolves forward Chase Budinger has turned it up out of nowhere, scoring in double digits in each of his last 10 games. A giant window of opportunity opened up for the sharp-shooting forward due to a variety of NBA players injuries and he's made the most of his extra playing time.

With Minnesota's shocking abundance of injuries to its core assets of Nikola Pekovic, Kevin Martin, Ricky Rubio, Gary Neal, Kevin Garnett, Gorgui Dieng and Shabazz Muhammad, Budinger has been left help fill some voids left in the team's game plan. He's averaging 32.5 minutes per game over his last ten, and his chances to put up solid numbers should not diminish so long as he remains so heavily involved in the rotation.

Chase Budinger can provide a spark to fantasy NBA rosters with his newly consistent scoring production, specifically from the three point line. Over the last 10 games, Budinger is averaging 1.7 threes in addition to 15.1 points per contest. This recent hot streak is uncharacteristic for the 26-year-old swingman, as he has not cracked 10 points per game in any of his 6 NBA seasons thus far. 

Minnesota Timberwolves Head Coach Flip Saunders' praise of Budinger's play should keep him heavily involved in the rotation for the last 8 games of the season, as he also won't be rushing anyone back from injury due to them being eliminated from playoff contention. Though he may not be a guarantee to score tons of points on a nightly basis, his 3 point scoring potential should make him valuable enough to be a considered a solid option in standard fantasy basketball formats.

 

Nuggets guard Randy Foye's recent play makes him a worthy starting option for fantasy basketball owners in the playoffs. His ability to produce solid scoring numbers on a game-by-game basis could make him a solid add for fantasy NBA rosters.

Before his dud of a performance Wednesday night, his last 4 games were much more impressive than his previous season averages. In the 4 game stretch, Foye posted averages of 18.8 points, 4.5 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals per contest. As long as he remains a vital part of the Nuggets game plan, Foye can be a solid asset to fantasy NBA teams in standard formats.

Randy Foye has been a pretty solid scorer, but his value is contingent upon the presence of teammate Danilo Gallinari. Gallinari's knee injury had him out for a long period of December and January, but if he's healthy, he will most likely demand the ball more as he is the better scorer. However, Gallinari is already set to miss the latter half of back-to-back games due to rest, and just also sustained a shoulder injury in Wednesday night's 99-85 loss to the 76ers. Gallinari expects to be fine to play moving forward, but that shoulder injury is definitely something to be looking out for.

All things considered, Foye's value as a scorer could be of optimal importance for the playoffs, especially in the second half of back-to-back sets when Danilo Gallinari's out due to rest. If Gallinari's shoulder and/or knee injury start(s) to flare up, than Randy Foye's value will skyrocket as the major benefactor of his absence.

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Danilo Gallinari's only downfall is that Denver is giving him too many days off

 

Basketball News

Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari's recent spike in production has made him an intriguing option for fantasy NBA owners looking for help in the playoffs. His recent hot streak has him surpassing his season averages significantly, and with consistency, Gallinari could put fantasy basketball owners in contention to win their respective titles.

Gallinari's strong play could be attributed to him inching closer to 100% healthy, as well as the firing of Head Coach Brian Shaw. Whatever the reason may be, fans will have to cross their fingers and hope the onslaught continues.

The 26-year-old Italian sharpshooter has overcome an injury-filled first half to this year and is finally coming around. Disregarding the 2 games he sat out for rest, Gallinari's last 5 games have been tops of NBA players, posting averages of 22.8 points, 2.6 threes, 5.2 boards, 3 assists and 1.2 steals per game (all above his averages for the season). This seems like the perfect opportunity to add a multi-faceted asset, but there's one major issue.

The Nuggets seem to be resting Gallinari during the latter half of back-to-back games. Unfortunately, Denver has 3 more back-to-back sets, so owners will have to search elsewhere for production. 

His daily league fantasy basketball value is greater than his standard format value due to the sporadic DNP-CDs, but he is still worth an add. When active, Gallinari should be started and is a solid bet for points, threes and rebounds.

As far as fantasy basketball purposes go, Kevin Durant is done for the season

 

Basketball News

Reigning MVP and fantasy NBA stud Kevin Durant will be "removed from all basketball activities" and he will be "out indefinitely." Until Durant can return to the court without pain in his injured foot, Thunder GM Sam Presti says he will not risk further injury to one of the best NBA players in the league.

Thunder coach Scott Brooks said earlier in the week that Durant's rehab had gone through "peaks and valleys." That now seems like a terrible understatement as Durant is being shut down with only a month left in the regular season.

As far as fantasy basketball purposes go, Kevin Durant is done for the season. The only silver lining is for Russell Westbrook fantasy owners, because he is the only premier player left on the team who isn't injured. 

With the fantasy NBA playoffs underway, Serge Ibaka loses all fantasy basketball value except in Keeper Leagues

 

Basketball News

Fantasy basketball owners are reeling after losing Thunder PF Serge Ibaka during the first week of the fantasy NBA playoffs. Ibaka underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Tuesday and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. The surgery to clean out his right knee puts Oklahoma City in a difficult place, as well as Ibaka's fantasy basketball owners.

The prolific shot blocker only missed 4 games total in the last 4 years, but will now be out for at least a month. He had been very productive this year, posting averages of 14.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per contest, making him not only one of the better fantasy NBA players at his position but also very tough to replace. Ibaka is a lost cause for this season, but should obviously be retained for Dynasty and Keeper leagues.

In order to make up for this great loss, the Thunder will look for Enes Kanter and Steven Adams to step up in Ibaka's absence. Kanter will probably be the bigger benefactor, absorbing Serge Ibaka's scoring and rebounding duties. 

Kanter has turned it up as of late, going for 19.8 points and 12.6 rebounds per game over his last 5 games. He will continue to be the starting power forward and most likely even increase his production once Kevin Durant comes back and takes the attention of opposing defenses.

Steven Adams will also need to help out with scoring and grabbing boards, but his focus will have to be on protecting the rim. Over his last 5 games, he has averaged 1.8 blocks, and will continue to be prominent on the defensive end of the floor. 

If Enes Kanter and Steven Adams are available, they should be added in all standard leagues. Expect them to put up more consistent numbers as they grow more comfortable with their increased roles. Forward Mitch McGary should also see an uptick in value as one of the only valuable big men available to come off the bench.

Time may be running short for Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City

 

In basketball news, reigning MVP Kevin Durant should return to action in 1-2 weeks, completely changing Oklahoma City's game plan. The Durant-less Thunder have been riding Russell Westbrook during his incredible hot streak, so implementing him back into their offense could be quite difficult.

Since Durant began to miss time due to a foot injury, the team has gone 7-4 and is currently tied for 8th in the Western Conference with the New Orleans Pelicans. Russell Westbrook has stepped up in his absence and questions have surfaced about their ability to be truly effective when playing together. Moves made before the trade deadline completely changed the look of the Thunder team, and it may be possible that they are now better suited for Westbrook, but not Durant. 

Westbrook has been playing better than ever before, and Durant may be what was limiting his potential. They both need the ball in their hands to be at their best and maybe it's about time that they move on. For now, Durant will be back and they will have to work on their team chemistry, but he could be gone in the offseason.

Rumors have surfaced that Durant could be on the move to avoid having him walk into free agency after next season, leaving them with nothing. As far as his outlook for the rest of the season, Durant should be considered a top fantasy NBA option as he provides owners with points, threes, rebounds, assists, FG% and FT%. He should be considered one of the best fantasy NBA players in leagues across the board and can be unleashed the second he returns to the court.

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Playing time is starting to ramp up for Jordan Hill

 

Basketball News 

Lakers PF/C Jordan Hill has been relatively successful since his return from a hip injury, putting up solid numbers in his first 5 games back. He has been strong on the glass and with Coach Byron Scott calling out his bigs for being soft, Hill's minutes are sure to rise.

Hill is having his best NBA season to date, with career highs in points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks and free throw percentage. Since returning from injury, his numbers have been pretty consistent, and his value in standard fantasy basketball formats is legitimate, with a chance of steady increase.  

His 12.4 points and 8 rebounds per game make him worth an add if your team is in need of a big man. The Lakers have zero chance of making the playoffs and will look to continue to develop the players they look to keep in the years to come.

With Robert Sacre and Carlos Boozer most likely not in the plans for the future, Hill's minutes should extend upwards of 30 per game, making him one of the more exciting NBA players to keep on your radar. Kobe Bryant's season-ending surgery also leaves the Lakers struggling to find scoring options Hill might have to step up in that area as well. With an uptick in court time, it is not too far fetched to expect 9-10 rebounds, in addition to 14-16 points per game.

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Detroit's playoff hopes are fading while KCP's star is rising

 

Basketball News

Shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope cooled off last night against the Wizards, but has been on fire for the past two weeks making him one of the more popular fantasy NBA plays. Before Saturday night's game, he scored in double digits in five straight games with a windfall of three pointers mixed in. Despite KCP's stellar play, the Pistons are limping out of the gate since the All-Star break and have dropped 6 of their last ten games.

Despite Detroit's struggles, Caldwell-Pope has quietly averaged 16.6 points, 3.4 3-pointers and is shooting just under 45 percent. Caldwell-Pope is widely available in Yahoo fantasy basketball leagues seeing an ownership of about 35%. If he keeps scoring and nailing 3-pointers the way he has been, he won't be left on may waiver wires at all.

The scary thing is that Caldwell-Pope is still light years away from reaching his full potential and he could become one of the better NBA players. He has a hard time finishing inside the paint and still needs to work on his consistency. But he's really broken out during his sophomore season. Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy obviously likes what he sees with KCP averaging more than 32 minutes per contest.

The Pistons probably won't make the playoffs this year, but Van Gundy has a young team that boasts size and athleticism and could become a power in the East next season.

 

Isaiah Thomas should finish the season as a top 30 fantasy NBA player 

Basketball News

Newly acquired point guard Isaiah Thomas looked comfortable during his first two games with the Celtics scoring 21 points in back-to-back nights against the Lakers and his former team, the Phoenix Suns. Although he's been turning the ball over too much, he's already made a home in Boston and his role with the Celtics should continue to grow.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens seems more than happy to give the 26-year-old a full workload after Thomas played him 25 minutes on Sunday and 27 minutes on Monday. If he keeps up his current form, he will likely finish the season as a top 30 ranked fantasy NBA player and one of the top NBA players.

This season had been a rough ride for Thomas as he struggled to establish his role in a crowded Phoenix Suns backcourt with Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe. Now he's out to prove that he can be a leader when given the opportunity. In 2013, the 5'9" guard broke out as the starter for the Sacramento Kings, averaging 20 points, 6 assists and 3 rebounds per contest. With the Celtics' roster being much less talented, specifically in the backcourt, Thomas should get the green light to take over the offense.

The Celtics hope that Thomas will give the organization a player to build around now that he's signed to a 3-year, $19.3 million dollar contract. Look for the undersized point guard to exceed 20 points per game, and reach 5-7 assists per game as his value is sure to increase. His fantasy basketball ceiling is very high, and he's certainly worth a look through trade in standard formats for points, threes and assists.

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