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Hold Them or Fold Them: Week 23

Devin Booker, Scottie Barnes, Evan Mobley,Tyrese Maxey and more, in this edition of HToFT.

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Fantasy Basketball - Scottie Barnes

Devin Booker, SG, Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns are on a mission this season: Avenge last year’s finals loss, and finally bring a championship to Phoenix. And despite missing Chris Paul since the All-Star break, the Devin Booker and the Suns have been able to comfortably keep the number one seed in the West. Lately, Booker’s efforts have been very impressive, with a 30.4 point, 4.4 rebound, six assist average over Phoenix’s current five game win streak. But with CP3 set to return very soon, a huge weight will be lifted off of Dbook’s shoulders. Now would be a great time to sell him.

Tyrese Maxey, PG, Philadelphia 76ers
When it was announced that both Joel Embiid and James Harden would not be playing against the Miami Heat on Monday night, many thought that a healthy Miami squad would take care of business. However, Tyrese Maxey showed the world that this dynamic duo is really a dynamic trio, scoring 28 points, five rebounds, four assists, and a clutch block towards the end of the game. In his second NBA season, Maxey has shown a lot of improvement: His 17.4 point, 3.4 rebound, and 4.3 assist average this year is leagues ahead of his eight point, 1.7 rebound, two assist average last season. Currently, Philadelphia sits just 2.5 games behind the number one seed in the East (along with the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks), so they have a chance to climb up there before the regular season ends. Maxey will likely play a crucial role in this run at the top seed, so I would hold him for the rest of the season.

Scottie Barnes, SF, Toronto Raptors
In this year’s draft, the Toronto Raptors struck gold by taking Scottie Barnes with the fourth overall pick. In rookie year, Barnes has already hit the ground running, averaging a solid 15.4 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game on the season. Plus, a recent 31 point, 17 rebound, and six assist performance in the Raptors’ overtime loss to the Los Angeles Lakers helps his late (yet still valid) case for Rookie of the Year. If he wants to be considered for the award, the forward out of Florida State will need to make one last push to do so. And his 18.8 point, 8.3 rebound, and five assist average over the past six games shows me that he has a shot. Keep Scottie Barnes, since he will be motivated to prove his point through this last stretch of the season.

Zach LaVine, SG, Chicago Bulls
After a red-hot start to the season, the Chicago Bulls have cooled down, as they’ve lost seven of nine this month. Yet Zach LaVine has still shined through their struggles, averaging 24.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 5.6 assists this March. The once top seed Bulls find themselves in fifth place in the East, with less than a dozen games left. Although it seems unlikely that Chicago will rise or fall from their current seeding, they still probably want to end the season on a good note. I expect LaVine to maintain this production through this final stretch of the season, so it makes sense to hold him.

Jonas Valanciunas, C, New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans have had an impressive turnaround this season, climbing from bottom three in the West, into the play-in tournament. Although the CJ McCollum trade played a pretty big role in their recent success, Jonas Valanciunas’ consistency in scoring and rebounding has been huge for the Pelicans. Lately, Valanciunas has stepped it up a bit, averaging 23 points, 12.8 rebounds, and 3.4 assists in his past five, compared to his still impressive 18.1 point, 11.5 rebound, and 2.5 assist season average. Although this seems like a good opportunity to sell high, you don’t want to give away this consistency during the fantasy playoffs.

Evan Mobley, C, Cleveland Cavaliers
Although Scottie Barnes is making a late case for Rookie of the Year, it would be a pretty safe bet to say that Evan Mobley will win the award. His 15.2 point, 8.3 rebound, 2.6 assist, and 1.7 block season average – let alone his defensive prowess that you can’t see on the stat-sheet – has simply been unmatched by the others rookies in his class. Lately, his numbers have been even better, averaging 19 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.6 blocks in his past five games. This consistency will likely last through the end of the season, so I wouldn’t recommend selling him. Plus you likely won’t get anything worthy in return for a Mobley trade.

Danilo Gallinari, PF, Atlanta Hawks
After making it to the Eastern Conference Finals last season, the Atlanta Hawks have had a pretty down year, sitting in tenth place in the East. However, they still have a chance to make a final push to make into the top half of the play-in, but with John Collins out for the last stretch of the season due to a sprained right ring finger, Danilo Gallinari has been asked to step in. So far, the Italian has done a pretty good job, scoring 27 points, five rebounds, and three assists in Atlanta’s loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. Although it is pretty unlikely that he will average 27 points a game for the next two weeks, I do expect pretty consistent numbers in Collins’ absence. I would keep him as a solid depth option until Collins returns.

LeBron James, SF, Los Angeles Lakers
Lebron James has officially passed Karl Malone in All-Time scoring, thanks to an impressive scoring spree this month. He has also taken the scoring crown for this season, averaging 30 points this year. LeBron is a man on a mission right now: And no one plays better when doubted than he does. Through this final stretch of the season, it would be foolish to sell him.

Grant Williams, SF, Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics have been one of the hottest teams in the league over the second half of the season, climbing from the back end of the play-in tournament, to serious Finals contenders. With the season coming to a close, the Celtics are starting to let bench players get some time on the court, just to make sure they are ready for the playoffs. One of those bench players happens to be Grant Williams, who scored a 20 point double-double with ten rebounds and one assist in Boston’s win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. However, I don’t think he will be able to make enough of a consistent impact to be of any value in fantasy basketball. I would keep him on your bench if there is someone you’re willing to cut, but otherwise I would just drop Williams.

Karl-Anthony Towns, C, Minnesota Timberwolves
With Karl-Anthony Towns’ crazy 28 point, 11.2 rebound, and 2.7 assist average this month, the Minnesota Timberwolves have won nine of eleven games this month. Now, the Timberwolves currently find themselves in seventh place in the West, just half a game behind the Denver Nuggets. Not having to play extra games for your playoff spot is a pretty big deal, so I expect KAT to continue a high level of production to bring the Timberwolves out of this predicament. I would not trade that away.

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