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Eastern Conference Fantasy Notes: Best of

We take a look back at the best of the Eastern Conference during the 2020-21 NBA season from a fantasy basketball perspective.

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The NBA is a fast-paced league where trends can switch as quickly as a lightbulb. Keeping up to date with these trends is vital to your success in fantasy basketball. We’ll be looking at the expected top performers, sneaky options, injury updates, rookie trends, individual team schedules, and some other points for the Eastern Conference. The key to winning this week? Look no further than this article. We here at Nerd Fantasy Sports got you covered. Check both our Consistency Rankings and New Age Rankings to get a data-driven take on fantasy basketball!

Sleepers to Wake Up

Terry Rozier, PG/SG, Charlotte Hornets
Not only did Terry Rozier have one of the best seasons in his career, but Rozier had one of the most underrated seasons amongst all players in the league. His season was overshadowed by the excellence of LaMelo Ball. But Rozier averaged 20 points, four rebounds, four assists, and 1.2 steals per game. He’s also dramatically improved from beyond the arc since coming into the league, shooting 40 percent. He also stayed generally healthy, only missing three games so far. With Rozier being commonly drafted around the 100s, he could be a quality sleeper next season with not much attention on him this season.

Chris Boucher, PF/C, Toronto Raptors
The writing was on the wall for Chris Boucher to be the next man up after Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka left in free agency. Boucher brought the block party to his breakout season, earning four games with five or more blocks. But Boucher’s most improving stat was his shooting beyond the arc. Boucher last season shot 32 percent from three. That number jumped to 39 percent. Boucher has even achieved games where he’s had five or more threes four times this season. Boucher can do it all and another successful offseason will be key for the Raptors if they could like to return to playoff contention after a disappointing year for the team.

Bogdan Bogdanovic, SG/SF, Atlanta Hawks
After missing the first half of the season due to a leg injury, Bogdan Bogdanovic came back and torched the second half of the season. After being let off his minute restriction, Bogdanovic averaged 20 points, four rebounds, four assists, and 1.4 steals per game. He also shot 48 percent from beyond the arc, his most impressive stat this season. Bogdanovic could be in line for a break-out season next year if he can stay healthy. His playoff performance this season will be key if the Hawks could like to advance past the first against a likely matchup with the New York Knicks.

Rookies Doing Work

LaMelo Ball, PG/SG, Charlotte Hornets
Since high school, LaMelo Ball has been in the spotlight and that continued to follow him into the NBA from his stellar play and flashy highlights. His rookie season was cut short due to a broken wrist but when he came back last week, he did not miss a beat. Ball will finish his rookie year averaging 16 points, six rebounds, six assists, and 1.6 steals per game. The only aspect that Ball struggled with was his outside shooting. Ball only shot 36 percent from beyond the arc, which is considered below average. Once Ball develops an outside shot, we could be looking at an all-NBA player in the future. He will lead the Hornets to their first playoff series since 2016.

Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart, Detroit Pistons
Despite an injury-riddled season to Killian Hayes, the Detroit Pistons did an excellent job in draft two quality mid-first-round picks who showed a lot of promise. Saddiq Bey from Villanova and Isaiah Stewart from Washington will both be key players in the future after surpassing expectations. Bey averaged 12 points and four rebounds while shooting 38 percent from three. While Stewart averaged eight points, six rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game. Detroit is in line to have another top pick in this year’s draft. If this upcoming selection turns positive, the Pistons could see the light at the end of the tunnel with the young core they are developing.

Question of the Week?

Who is your pick to win the NBA Finals?
I am sure that most people believe the Brooklyn Nets will likely win the finals with their insane trio of James Harden, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant. However, I do not think seven games is enough for this trio to figure it out. And even if seven games was enough for the trio alone, it is absolutely not enough for he rest of the support cast to figure it out in the middle of the playoffs when James Harden will likely return from injury. Because of that key factor, I think the Philadelphia 76ers have the best shot to win the NBA Finals. While a lot of the pressure falls on Ben Simmons and whether he can step and be aggressive, I sill think this team is matched to compete with any team in the Western Conference. This could easily be a biased take considering I am a 76ers fan myself, but as an avid fan of the NBA itself, this is what I see and what I believe. I am excited to watch the 76ers during this playoff run.

Injury Updates

Jaylen Brown, SG/SF, Boston Celtics (Wrist)
After tearing a ligament in his wrist, Brown is expected t miss the remainder of the season according to CBS Sports.

Miles Bridges, SF/PF, Charlotte Hornets (COVID-19)
Bridges is expected to be out until May 13th according to CBS Sports.

Jerami Grant, SF/PF, Detroit Pistons (Knee)
Grant is expected to be out until May 14th according to CBS Sports.

James Harden, PG/SG, Brooklyn Nets (Hamstring)
Harden suffered a hamstring injury that will keep him out until May 11th according to CBS Sports. 

Myles Turner, C, Indiana Pacers (Toe)
Turner is expected to be out until May 16th according to CBS Sports. 

Victor Oladipo, SG, Miami Heat (Knee)
Oladipo is expected to be out until May 13th according to CBS Sports.

Gordon Hayward, SF/PF, Charlotte Hornets (Foot)
Hayward suffered a right foot sprain and is expected to be out until May 15th according to CBS Sports. 

Mitchell Robinson, C, New York Knicks (Foot)
Robinson is expected to be out until May 15th after fracturing his foot according to CBS Sports.

Other Notes

Every week I will share an opinion of mine about something going on in the Eastern Conference. This week’s take is:
This is the most competitive playoffs we will have in a very long time. After the dominance of the Golden State Warriors, the Miami Heat, and the LA Teams last season, we finally enter the playoffs where it is almost impossible to determine the winners. There are about six legitimate contenders in the Western Conference and a three headed monster in the Eastern Conference. We also have plenty of new teams with unknown potential and questions whether they can keep up with the more veteran playoff teams of recent years. Regardless of what happens, we are witnessing something with postseason basketball this year and everyone should be excited.

Team Schedule

Atlanta Hawks
vs. Washington Wizards, 5/12
vs. Orlando Magic, 5/13
vs. Houston Rockets, 5/16

Boston Celtics
vs. Miami Heat, 5/11
at Cleveland Cavaliers, 5/12
at Minnesota Timberwolves, 5/15
at New York Knicks, 5/16

Brooklyn Nets
at Chicago Bulls, 5/11
vs. San Antonio Spurs, 5/12
vs. Chicago Bulls, 5/15
vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, 5/16

Charlotte Hornets 
vs. Denver Nuggets, 5/11
vs. Los Angeles Clippers, 5/13
at New York Knicks, 5/15
at Washington Wizards, 5/16

Chicago Bulls
vs. Brooklyn Nets, 5/11
vs. Toronto Raptors, 5/13
at Brooklyn Nets, 5/15
vs. Milwaukee Bucks, 5/16

Cleveland Cavaliers
vs. Boston Celtics, 5/12
at Washington Wizards, 5/14
at Brooklyn Nets, 5/16

Detroit Pistons
vs. Minnesota Timberwolves, 5/11
vs. Denver Nuggets, 5/14
vs. Miami Heat, 5/16

Indiana Pacers
vs. Philadelphia 76ers, 5/11
vs. Milwaukee Bucks, 5/13
vs. Los Angeles Lakers, 5/15
at Toronto Raptors, 5/16

Miami Heat
at Boston Celtics, 5/11
vs. Philadelphia 76ers, 5/13
at Milwaukee Bucks, 5/15
at Detroit Pistons, 5/16

Milwaukee Bucks
at San Antonio Spurs, 5/10
vs. Orlando Magic, 5/11
at Indiana Pacers, 5/13
vs. Miami Heat, 5/15
at Chicago Bulls, 5/16

New York Knicks
at Los Angeles Lakers, 5/11
vs. San Antonio Spurs, 5/13
vs. Charlotte Hornets, 5/15
vs. Boston Celtics, 5/16

Orlando Magic
at Milwaukee Bucks, 5/11
at Atlanta Hawks, 5/13
at Philadelphia 76ers, 5/14
at Philadelphia 76ers, 5/16

Philadelphia 76ers
at Indiana Pacers, 5/11
at Miami Heat, 5/13
vs. Orlando Magic, 5/14
vs. Orlando Magic, 5/16

Toronto Raptors
vs. Los Angeles Clippers, 5/11
at Chicago Bulls, 5/13
at Dallas Mavericks, 5/14
vs. Indiana Pacers, 5/16

Washington Wizards
at Atlanta Hawks, 5/12
vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, 5/14
vs. Charlotte Hornets, 5/16

Ethan was born and raised in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, right outside of Philadelphia. He's a sophomore at the University of Oregon studying journalism. He is an avid follower of the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, NCAA, and UFC. Since the return of sports, he has glued his eyes open only to experience continuous failure amongst his Philadelphia sports team.

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