Isn’t San Antonio supposed to be one of the least dramatic teams in the NBA? That’s been the status quo over the last two decades or so until this crazy Kawhi Leonard situation this season. The way this is going, Kawhi and the Spurs will win an Emmy award for best sports drama. Leonard has been cleared to return to action but has decided against it. Maybe it’s all mental or maybe there actually is a rift between him and the organization. Who knows. But it’s not helping Leonard’s fantasy owners one damn bit, that’s for sure.
The latest report has Leonard aiming for a return sometime this month, but until I actually see him put on the black and silver, lace up the high tops, and actually get out there, I’m going to be highly skeptical. If you don’t have any IR spots in your league, owning Leonard is extremely tough at this point, especially if you’re vying for a playoff spot in H2H leagues or a top spot in roto leagues.
Games Played by Team This Week
4 Games: CHI, CLE, DEN, GSW, HOU, IND, LAL, MEM, MIA, NOP, ORL, TOR, UTA.
3 Games: ATL, BKN, BOS, CHA, DAL, DET, LAC, MIL, NYK, OKC, PHI, PHO, POR, SAC, SAS, WAS.
2 Games: MIN.
Dejounte Murray (PG – SAS)
Why is Murray still unowned in half of fantasy leagues? He’s been a top-100 player over the last month and a top-20 gem since the all-star break. Okay, maybe he won’t keep up his post all-star break pace, but Murray needs to be owned in all fantasy leagues going forward. Murray isn’t your new-age three-point hucking point guard. He’s averaged just one ATTEMPT from downtown every three games this season. However, his value comes from his ability to contribute basically everywhere else.
Over the last month, Murray has averaged 12.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1.0 blocks on 50.0% shooting. Yeah, it’d be nice if the assists were a tad higher, but that’s a fine overall stat line for someone grabbed off the waiver wire. So, what are you waiting for? An invitation? Go grab Murray if you need a point guard.
D.J. Augustin (PG – ORL)
A lot of what I said for Murray can be applied here. Augustin is a top-100 player over the last month, yet gets very little love in the fantasy world, as he’s owned in just under 20% of leagues. What a shame. In six games since the all-star break, Augustin is averaging 13.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 2.7 three-pointers per game. And still, four out of every five fantasy leagues continue to leave him on the waiver wire.
Maybe I need to start raising awareness for Augustin to get on more fantasy teams. I got you D.J. He might not be a fantasy stud waiting to happen, but Augustin is well worth a look if you need a point guard that can shoot and chip in some rebounds and assists.
Jakob Poeltl (C – TOR)
Not all waiver wire additions are dynamite mores that will help you in several categories. Sometimes they’re specialized additions for a particular category or two. That’s exactly the case here with Poeltl. Blocks and field goal percentage are Poeltl’s specialties, and while he only gets 18.4 minutes per game, he’s becoming a factor in those categories.
Over the last two weeks, Poeltl is averaging 2.5 blocks and shooting 71.4% from the floor. It really helps when most of your shots are close to the hoop. On top of the blocks and shooting, Poeltl is also averaging 8.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1.3 steals over the last two weeks as well. The upside is limited here, but if you add Poeltl for the reasons mentioned to start this section, you’ll likely be happy with your investment.
Talk about a per36 monster. On the season, Harrell is averaging 22.2 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.0 steals, and 1.7 blocks per36 minutes of action. Those stats are second-round value, especially when you factor in his shooting percentage and the low number of turnovers. He’s looked even better in the four games since Gallinari went down. In just 22.8 minutes per game, Harrell has averaged 17.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.5 steals, and 1.3 blocks on an incredible 65.9% from the floor.
The fact that the Clippers haven’t been playing him over 30 minutes per game is total blasphemy. However, with Gallinari’s season likely over, maybe Harrell’s minutes will continue to creep up toward that 30 mark. He’s an intriguing add in all leagues for his across the board upside for the rest of the season.
Stephen Curry (PG – GSW)
Trying to injure opponents wasn’t enough for you Zaza? Now you’re talking out your own teammates? Can’t say I’m surprised. Joking aside, Curry accidentally stepped on Pachulia’s foot and rolled his ankle. It’s not expected to cause him to miss any time, but it’s just so typical that Pachulia was the one that caused it. It helps that the Clippers are off until Tuesday, giving Curry four days to rest the ankle and play some golf. You know, cause that’s a great way to rest an ankle…
Danilo Gallinari (SF – LAC)
Wow, Gallinari is injured. Didn’t see this one coming. Actually, to toot my own horn, I called this one back before he returned from injury. Gallinari has a non-displaced fracture in his right hand and will be re-evaluated two weeks from now. In Gallinari language, this means he’s likely done for the season and can safely be dropped in fantasy leagues.
LaMarcus Aldridge (PF/C – SAS)
A right ankle sprain cause LaMarcus Aldridge to miss last night’s game against the Lakers and might hold him out Monday versus Memphis as well. You know how cautious the Spurs can be with injuries. Consider Aldridge questionable for tomorrow and give Pau Gasol a bump in daily value if Aldridge can’t suit up.
Marc Gasol (C – MEM)
There’s no injury here, just the dreaded “rest” word. We’ve reached that time of year where resting veterans becomes a part of fantasy basketball whether we like it or not. The Grizzlies are well out of the playoff picture in the Western Conference. They haven’t won a game since January, and are now in the hunt for the top pick in June’s draft. They have no reason to risk injury to their all-star big man by playing him big minutes, so expect several more rest days down the stretch for the 33-year-old big man.
Brandon Ingram (SG/SF – LAL)
The Los Angeles Lakers were without small forward Brandon Ingram last night, who sat out the contest with the Spur with a flexor sprain in his left hip. He’s scheduled to undergo an MRI today to find out the full severity of the injury and it’s safe to say we can probably expect Ingram to miss at least another game or two.
Tyreke Evans (PG/SG – MEM)
It’s not a good time to be a Tyreke Evans owner right about now. Like with Gasol, Evan was a prime rest candidate and has a rib injury on top of that. A recent MRI showed damage to his ribcage cartilage and he’s now missed the last four games because of it. The Grizzlies have four games this week and it wouldn’t be a shock if Evans missed most of those games.
Darren Collison (PG – IND)
After missing the last month recovering from left knee surgery, Collison is finally on the cusp of returning to game action. He won’t suit up for today’s game, but expect him to make his return Monday versus the Bucks or Wednesday against the Jazz. His return hurts the values of Cory Joseph and Lance Stephenson, though they weren’t great fantasy options even when Collison was on the sideline.
Thank-you for reading and I hope you can use this article to your advantage and get a leg up on your fellow league members. Got a question about a player not covered here? Follow me on Twitter @EricCross04 and ask me there.