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
Terrence Ross, SG/SF, Orlando Magic
Terrence Ross was mentioned on last week’s waiver wire column for being on a recent hot streak of high-scoring games. These high-scoring games are likely from the recent injuries that Orlando has been dealing with in their backcourt. Nonetheless, Ross is still balling out. In his last five games, Ross has been averaging 23 points, five rebounds, three assists, one steal, and 1.4 blocks per game. He is also shooting at a clip of 41 percent beyond the arc. Ross is a player I would recommend to sell high. At some point, Magic players such as Cole Anthony and Aaron Gordon will return from their injuries this season. We have been Ross be a streaky scorer and has just as much of a chance to go on a cold streak as a hot streak.
Jarrett Allen, C, Cleveland Cavaliers
With the Cavaliers electing to bench Drummond until they find a suitable trade partner, it will be Jarrett Allen taking on the center responsibilities for the rest of the season and beyond. Allen since then has done a great job at stepping up and doing his best to fill the role that Drummond once held. In his last five games, Allen has averaged 17 points, 10 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game. He has also shot an efficient 61 percent from the field. Allen is a player I would recommend attempting to trade for. Allen is expected to hold this role for the reasonable future and that seems we’ll likely continue to see similar numbers.
Norman Powell, SG/SF, Toronto Raptors
Norman Powell has seemed to finally elevate his game after being a streaky shooter off the bench. He is currently having a career year and has taken major jumps in his three-point percentage. Powell is in the last five games has averaged 21 points, four rebounds, and one steal per game. He has also shot a scorching 57 percent from the field and 46 percent from three. While Powell started in all five games, he will likely return to his sixth-man role once the Raptors are completely healthy. Powell is a player I would recommend waiting to see what his production is like back in the original bench role he had at the beginning of the season.
Rookies Doing Work
LaMelo Ball, PG/SG, Charlotte Hornets
LaMelo Ball has only continued to impress us all as the front runner for the rookie of the year award. But he is brought up on this column again for another reason. He has recently stepped it up defensively in a huge way. In his last five games, Ball has averaged 17 points, seven rebounds, 6.8 assists, and 2.2 steals per game. Yes, 2.2 steals per game. We can now start to consider LaMelo Ball an all-around player on both ends of the floor. Not to mention he has also improved his three-point shot as well. In that same stretch of games, he has shot 37 percent, which is the league average. It’ll be interesting to see what the Hornets choose to do once Devonte Graham returns from injury. It’ll be hard to justify benching Ball, a role he started with at the beginning of the season.
Isaac Okoro, SF, Cleveland Cavaliers
Isaac Okoro currently doesn’t hold much fantasy implications as he is more of a project player despite being picked fifth overall. However, it is worth mentioning that he has made some progression in his young career. IN his last five games, Okoro has averaged seven points, two rebounds, two assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Where Okoro really struggles is his shooting. In the same stretch of games, he shot 37 percent from the field and only 20 percent from three. Okoro will still have plenty of time and opportunity to improve his game offensively. He is currently playing about 30 minutes a game and has started in all of his games thus far.
Question of the Week
What are your thoughts on the Chicago Bulls this season?
I like the Chicago Bulls this season. Their young players have made significant progress and that has resulted in them being right outside of the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference. I love Thaddeus Young. He is the glue guy in Chicago and can do just about it all for Chicago. Zach LaVine called him the MVP of the team in his press conference against the Pacers last week. But there is no Chicago Bulls this season without Zach LaVine, who has continued to elevate his game. He is currently sixth in the league in points per game with 28.9 ppg. There is no doubt that he should be added to the all-star roster. Chicago has all the tools and players they need to earn one of the bottom playoff seeds. It’ll be exciting to watch to see what ceiling they can hit at the end of the season.
Delon Wright, PG/SG, Detroit Pistons (Groin)
Wright was diagnosed with a Grade 2 groin strain and is expected to be out until March 10th according to CBS Sports.
Cole Anthony, PG, Orlando Magic (Ribs)
Anthony suffered a broken rib and is expected to be out until March 10th according to CBS Sports.
Mitchell Robinson, C, New York Knicks (Hand)
Robinson suffered a fractured hand and is expected to be out until March 13th according to CBS Sports.
Aaron Gordon, SF/PF, Orlando Magic (Ankle)
After spraining his ankle, Gordon is expected to be out until March 8th according to CBS Sports.
Lauri Markkanen, PF, Chicago Bulls (Shoulder)
Markkanen suffered a shoulder sprain and is expected to be out until March 3rd according to CBS Sports.
Larry Nance Jr, PF/C, Cleveland Cavaliers (Finger)
Nance suffered a fractured finger and is expected to be out until March 22nd according to CBS Sports.
DeAndre Hunter, SF, Atlanta Hawks (Knee)
Hunter is dealing with articular wear and tear and is expected to be out until March 31st according to CBS Sports.
Marcus Smart, PG/SG, Boston Celtics (Calf)
Smart suffered a left calf strain and is expected to be out until March 11th according to CBS Sports.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, SG/SF, Atlanta Hawks (Knee)
Bogdanovic had knee surgery and is expected to return on March 3rd according to CBS Sports.
Every week I will share an opinion of mine about something going on in the Eastern Conference. This week’s take is:
It is a good thing that the NBA does not do their playoff seeding the same as the MLB. The Eastern Conference is a perfect example to show that. While the NBA still has divisions to sort out team schedules, they don’t hold many implications when it comes to seeding teams to go to the playoffs. The MLB is different, however. Each division winner is guaranteed a spot in the playoffs while also two other teams with the next best record from each conference were classified as wild card teams. Now to the point of this. The best team in the Southeast Division at the moment is the Charlotte Hornets with a record of 14-15. While the best team in the Atlantic Division at the moment is the Philadelphia 76ers with a record of 20-10. But it is also worth mentioning that the worst team in the Atlantic Division at the moment is the New York Knicks with a record 14-16, only a half-game behind the best team in the Southeast Division. Just something interesting I thought I would share.
at Cleveland Cavaliers, 2/23
vs. Boston Celtics, 2/24
at Oklahoma City Thunder, 2/26
at Miami Heat, 2/28
at Dallas Mavericks, 2/23
at Atlanta Hawks, 2/24
vs. Indiana Pacers, 2/26
vs. Washington Wizards, 2/28
vs. Sacramento Kings, 2/23
vs. Orlando Magic, 2/25
vs. Dallas Mavericks, 2/27
at Utah Jazz, 2/22
at Phoenix Suns, 2/24
at Golden State Warriors, 2/26
at Sacramento Kings, 2/28
at Houston Rockets, 2/22
vs. Minnesota Timberwolves, 2/24
vs. Phoenix Suns, 2/26
at Toronto Raptors, 2/28
vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, 2/21
vs. Atlanta Hawks, 2/23
vs. Houston Rockets, 2/24
at Philadelphia 76ers, 2/27
at Orlando Magic, 2/23
at New Orleans Pelicans, 2/24
vs. Sacramento Kings, 2/26
at New York Knicks, 2/28
vs. Golden State Warriors, 2/24
at Boston Celtics, 2/26
at New York Knicks, 2/27
at Oklahoma City Thunder, 2/22
vs. Toronto Raptors, 2/24
vs. Utah Jazz, 2/26
vs. Atlanta Hawks, 2/28
vs. Minnesota Timberwolves, 2/23
vs. New Orleans Pelicans, 2/25
vs. Los Angeles Clippers, 2/28
New York Knicks
vs. Golden State Warriors, 2/23
vs. Sacramento Kings, 2/25
vs. Indiana Pacers, 2/27
at Detroit Pistons, 2/28
vs. Detroit Pistons, 2/23
at Brooklyn Nets, 2/25
vs. Utah Jazz, 2/27
at Toronto Raptors, 2/23
vs. Dallas Mavericks, 2/25
vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, 2/27
vs. Philadelphia 76ers, 2/23
at Miami Heat, 2/24
vs. Houston Rockets, 2/26
at Los Angeles Lakers, 2/22
at Los Angeles Clippers, 2/23
at Denver Nuggets, 2/25
vs. Minnesota Timberwolves, 2/27
at Boston Celtics, 2/28