Rumors are flying and buzz is growing. It's time for fantasy managers to prepare for trade season. With the Indiana Pacers among teams eyeing potentially significant changes to the roster in the coming weeks, a player such as rookie Chris Duarte, who tied his career scoring high in an upset of the Golden State Warriors last night, could vault into an important role for his team.
Do you believe all of the buzz surrounding the Sacramento Kings and their hopes of landing an All-Star, possibly even Indiana's Domantas Sabonis? If the Kings do end up dealing a few veteran wings in such a transaction, maybe Terence Davis vaults into a starting role and builds on the strong flashes he's shown recently.
With Sabonis, Caris LeVert, and Myles Turner all missing from the Pacers' lineup last night, we saw a potential preview of how important both Duarte and Justin Holiday could become if Indiana does move a few key starters in the coming weeks. Holiday sent the game to overtime with a clutch bucket and has averaged 17.5 PPG across his past four games for a depleted Pacers rotation. We're officially close enough to the league's Feb. 10 trade deadline to begin to speculate as fantasy investors.
• The Suns were calm and cool down the stretch, overcoming a late deficit to Dallas. Phoenix outscored the Mavericks 24-9 in the final eight minutes, while Chris Paul delivered his 164th career game with 20 points, 10 assists and multiple steals, the second-most in league history since steals became official in 1973-74. Magic Johnson has seven more than Paul. Mikal Bridges was particularly brilliant for Phoenix with some big defensive stops and savvy passes down the stretch. He finished with four steals and six dimes in the rousing win.
• The Knicks struggled from the floor against the Pelicans in Madison Square Garden. Randle's 11.1% clip from the floor marked a season low, while Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier also struggled. One positive was the continued strong play of Mitchell Robinson, who remains somewhat underrated now that he's back as a key cog in the rotation.
• It wasn't just Duarte and Holiday delivering fun fantasy lines for the Pacers. Goga Bitadze nearly notched a double-double while dishing five assists in 31 minutes of play. If Sabonis is dealt, Bitadze could emerge as a helpful option at a shallow fantasy position.
Injuries of note
Analytics advantage for Friday
Both Tyler Herro and Kyle Lowry will miss Miami's matchup against the Hawks this evening. With this tandem of productive guards off the court this season, Max Strus has enjoyed a team-high leap of 10.1 DraftKings points per 36 minutes.
With Strus producing 20.8 points and a team-high 4.8 3-pointers (per 36 minutes) in such scenarios, he's a solid streaming candidate facing a soft Atlanta defense this evening.
Chris Boucher, Toronto Raptors: Boucher is finally playing a big role for the Raptors after months of languishing on the fringes of the rotation. He could feast on an undersized Washington Wizards frontcourt tonight.
Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies: It's encouraging how frequently Jackson Jr. is getting to the line lately and even more valuable that he's produced at least three blocks in six of his last seven games. Given how many key players are missing for Memphis, Jackson Jr.'s scoring ceiling is impressive.