Buy Sell | Fantasy Basketball
After the news that Zion reaggravated his injury and will likely miss more weeks after the All-Star break, it got me thinking how many games Zion actually has managed to play since entering the league. And then I stumbled upon a very interesting statistic that reaffirmed my initial thoughts. Zion has only played in 39.4% of the available games in the last four years and this is a great cause of concern for his career and for the New Orleans Pelicans in general, who are fighting for one of the last playoff spots in the West and could certainly use Zion’s help.
The above stat highlights the injuries and load management that have plagued the NBA the last couple of years and it does not stop with Zion. Kevin Durant also stands at only 48.3% games played in the last four years and, if we dig even deeper, we can find that Kyrie Irving, through all the controversies and injuries played only in 52% of the available games, almost the same as Kawhi Leonard at 52.1%. I would expect Anthony Davis and Kristaps Porzingis to be high on that list, but apparently this is a wrong perception, as they stand at 62.9% and 71% respectively.
Regarding last week’s suggestions, Isaiah Hartenstein provided exactly the value predicted and with a +29 last night his playing time should remain safe for the time being. Malaki Branham also produced last week and he is averaging 18 points since being suggested, while Drew Eubanks has been solid but unspectacular while filling the minutes of Jusuf Nurkic and will become a clear drop after the All-Star break.
Kenyon Martin Jr: It seems like a fairytale, but Eric Gordon was finally traded from the rebuilding Rockets, after four deadlines that he remained with them, despite making zero sense for their roster and development plan. His departure solidifies Kenyon Martin Jr. both as a starter, at least until Kevin Porter Jr. returns, and as a solid fantasy contributor for the rest of the season. In the last 15 games, all as a starter, he is averaging 15 points, 7.7 rebounds and 0.7 blocks, while shooting an elite 60.8% from the field and in a top 90 player for that span. I really like his outlook so I would see this week as the last opportunity to add him, before his ownership percentage further rises (47% owned).
Mark Williams: I was surprised to see that despite the deadline trade that moved Mason Plumlee from Charlotte to the Clippers, Mark Williams’ ownership percentage still hovers around 50% (53% owned). He is their clear cut starter at the center position and a building block for Charlotte so the only obstacle between a top 80 finish for the season will be foul trouble. He played 31, 22 and 30 minutes in the three games he has started since the trade and, despite some low minute games that will surely come, he is as must roster as it gets in standard leagues. You can enjoy him dunking here, after a solid screen.
And more importantly he had an important block against a Trae Young triple with less than a minute to go and with the Hawks down only 3 points.
Go get him.
Shaedon Sharpe: Josh Hart is in New York, Anfernee Simons has a right ankle injury that should keep him sidelined for some time and the next man up is Sharpe. In the last four games, he is hitting 2.3 triples, 1 steal and 0.8 blocks and while Matisse Thybulle will also get minutes and be a good steals streamer, Sharpe is the more well rounded player of the two. He is still available in the majority of leagues (23% owned) and can be a solid 3&D option as long as Simons is sidelined.
Ivica Zubac: It has been the best fantasy season in Ivica Zubac’s career, as he has been a top 100 player in per game value and is also playing a career high 29 minutes. However, those minutes are in serious danger, as the Clippers traded for Mason Plumlee and suddenly Zubac has legitimate competition in the Center position. I do believe he will continue to start but I find it unavoidable that his minutes will drop so I would try to move him now. He still got 28 minutes with Plumlee as his backup but this is a situation I would preferably avoid.
Jarred Vanderbilt: Jarred Vanderbilt was already a borderline standard league player in the last days of his tenure with the Utah Jazz, but his trade to the Lakers seems like the tombstone to his fantasy value this season. I love his fit in real life as a versatile defender that gives the Lakers quality frontcourt minutes with switchability on defense, but for fantasy purposes his minutes should take a further hit from his already borderline 24 per game in Utah. I would try to trade him after some good performances or even drop him if those performances never materialize.