After the entire NBA canceled on Election Day, the league resumed on Wednesday. Twenty-eight of the 30 teams were in action, with Atlanta and Orlando being the exception (they play in Mexico City on Thursday), and there were some injuries that could affect how fantasy managers approach the waiver wire in the coming days. We’ll start with the last game of the night, where Portland lost another point guard to injury.
With Anfernee Simons (thumb) and Scoot Henderson (ankle) sidelined, Malcolm Brogdon went down with a hamstring injury in the first quarter of the Trail Blazers’ overtime loss at Sacramento. That opened the door for Skylar Mays, a two-way contract receiver who was selected in Yahoo’s limited play. A player no one had on their fantasy radar before Wednesday suddenly found himself in a prominent position within the Trail Blazers’ rotation, and he had a night. Playing 37 minutes, Mays finished with 18 points, two rebounds, 11 assists, and two steals, shooting 8-of-15 from the field and 2-of-2 from the foul line.
A line read like that makes Mays an artist, right? Well, not exactly, as there are two things going against him here. First is the schedule, as the Blazers don’t play again until Sunday in Los Angeles against the Lakers. Another is Henderson’s reaction, who reportedly wanted to go on Wednesday but the team’s trainers stopped him. He was a limited participant in Tuesday’s game, but that may change ahead of Sunday’s game.
With Henderson out, can Portland put him back in the starting lineup, or will they take the same approach San Antonio did with Devin Vassell on Wednesday and move him off the bench? Mays shouldn’t just be considered an accessory, but things aren’t going well for him, which is a shame, given the way he played in Sacramento.
Let’s take a look at some of Wednesday’s top games, featuring players selected in less than 40% of Yahoo League games.
Grayson Allen (22%)
Bradley Beal (back) made the Suns’ first appearance on Wednesday, but with Devin Booker (calf) still on the sidelines, Allen’s role in the rotation has not changed. He remained in the starting lineup and had one of the best nights of his NBA career, hitting eight 3-pointers and finishing with 26 points, eight rebounds, four assists, one steal, and two blocks in 37 minutes. heading into the Suns home stretch to get back to work, one has to assume the Suns will take a measured approach when the time comes (just like they did with Beal in Chicago). Phoenix plays two more games in Week 3 (Friday and Sunday), and the final game of the three-game homestand comes on November 16 (Wednesday, Week 4).
Santi Aldama (17%) and Bismack Biyombo (12%)
While the aforementioned Trail Blazers have been hit hard by back injuries, the Grizzlies have lost several big men. Steven Adams (knee) is out for the season, Brandon Clarke (Achilles) is out indefinitely, and Xavier Tillman Sr. (knee) joined the injured list ahead of Wednesday’s loss to the Heat. His absence opened things up for Bismack Biyombo, who started off with nine points, 10 rebounds, and one steal in 30 minutes. He’ll be a valuable asset to managers who need rebounds and defensive stats, which is a bonus.
But managers looking for players with a high upside may like Aldama, who finished with 12 points, eight rebounds, two steals, one block, and a 3-pointer in 26 minutes. According to Cleaning the Glass, 16 of Aldama’s 38 possessions played in his first season (11/5 vs. POR) had Jaren Jackson Jr. in the yard. He may not make the starting lineup any time soon, but Aldama deserves consideration ahead of the Grizzlies’ final two games in Week 3.
Rui Hachimura (11%)
With Anthony Davis (hip) out, the Lakers had a big need inside their rotation to fill. Christian Wood earned the starting spot in Houston, and there was no way the Rockets were going to let him go. Wood played 22 minutes and missed, finishing with more fouls (four) than field goals and free throw attempts combined (three). The “assistant” player who had a good night was Hachimura, who scored 24 with eight rebounds, two assists, two steals, one block, and two 3-pointers in 26 minutes off the bench. Hachimura, who returned to action after a major league hiatus, sat out the rest of the game in the fourth inning after the result was decided. With the Lakers playing two more games this week, Hachimura is worth considering, especially if Davis is still sidelined.
Aaron Nesmith (10%)
Nesmith has hit double figures in his last four games, with Wednesday’s best on the team. He finished the 134-118 victory over the Jazz with 24 points, two rebounds, two steals, and four points in 30 minutes off the bench. Despite having the most points and 3-pointers in his career, Nesmith averages 0.9 steals and 0.8 blocks per game this season and ranks in the top 100 at 9 points per game. What also helps is the Pacers having two more games on the schedule this week instead of one (or none at all).
Duncan Robinson (8%)
The heat also affected his rotation on Monday, when Tyler Herro sprained his right leg in the first quarter and did not return. Robinson spent a lot of time off the bench, playing 35 minutes and finishing with nine points, three rebounds, two assists, and two 3-pointers. One downside for Robinson was making five runs; he may have been asked to do more with one of Miami’s top players after being parted ways. The Heat play two more games in Week 3, and with Herro expected to be out for a while, this is a good time to grab Robinson. Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Josh Richardson also have a chance to do more with Herro sidelined, and are also worth watching.
Keyonte George (7%)
With Talen Horton-Tucker struggling with game transitions and inconsistent play, Jazz coach Will Hardy decided to start rookie George at guard. He didn’t score many goals, but the most important thing for George is that he only had one rebound and nine assists. George may not be leaving the Jazz starting lineup anytime soon, especially if he can continue to play without turning the ball over.