How high is Derrick Williams' fantasy potential?
Finally, after two-plus seasons, Williams put together the type of game people come to expect out of a No. 2 overall pick: The new Sacramento forward erupted for 31 points, adding 5 rebounds, 5 steals and 3 3-pointers in the Kings' win over Dallas on Monday night.
It was the type of efficient performance (12-for-16 shooting) Williams was known for in his college days at Arizona, and this off-the-glass reverse jam served as the exclamation point. Maybe the most impressive -- and encouraging -- part was that Williams made it a point to stay aggressive and cut through the lane, which he strayed away from in Minnesota.
But was this the type of performance the Kings should expect from Williams on a regular basis, or was it outlier? In other words, was it a big tease? I approached ESPN Insider Kevin Pelton for his take.
"We're likely to see some big games like that mixed in with nights where he's completely invisible," Pelton said. "He's playing a lot freer and more confident in Sacramento. But the addition of Rudy Gay complicates matters. Are those cuts available with Gay? Not sure."
It's probably fair at this stage to lump Williams in with someone like Harrison Barnes in Golden State -- a young combo forward who, if given the minutes, can help you in the points, rebounds and 3-point categories, but not a whole lot else.
More minutes for Louis Williams?
Fantasy owners continue to wait patiently for Louis Williams to work his way back from the ACL injury that cost him half of last season, and it's been a slow go so far.
In eight games this season, the 27-year-old Atlanta-area native is averaging 8.5 points, 3.5 assists, 0.4 steals and 1.1 3-pointers per game, which pale in comparison to the type of numbers he was putting up last season prior to the injury.
But Williams' minutes have started to increase in the three games the Hawks have played in December (23.7 per game) and, according to Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, his playing time won't be limited due to a minutes restriction going forward.
Williams remains available in 88.8 percent of ESPN leagues, and certainly has a chance to be a big part of Atlanta's run to the playoffs this season. Keep an eye on his production as his playing time likely increases in the weeks ahead -- if it's anything like last season (14.1 PPG, 3.6 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1.8 3PG), Williams can become a valuable Jamal Crawford-like fantasy asset.
How does the Gay trade impact the Raptors' other top players?
Trading Gay to Sacramento means the Raptors will finish the season without a player who was their second-leading scorer (19.4 PPG), and the addition of pass-first point guard Greivis Vasquez makes it likely that Kyle Lowry could be the next guy traded.
For now, though, removing Gay from the lineup already causes major changes, and they were evident Sunday in the Raptors win over the Los Angeles Lakers. Amir Johnson busted out with a career performance (32 points, 10 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks), while DeMar Derozan and Lowry both eclipsed the 20-point mark as well.
Looking ahead, the trade could potentially open up new opportunities for second-year players like Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross. And it also should give DeRozan, who enters Tuesday's game with San Antonio averaging a team-high 21.6 PPG, even more scoring opportunities.
"I think it helps Valanciunas the most," Pelton said of the trade, "but DeRozan should definitely benefit both from more looks and having a setup guy next to him in Vasquez."
Is Stephen Jackson worthy of a pickup?
In the short term, injuries to J.J. Redick, Matt Barnes and Reggie Bullock make the signing of Jackson a pretty big deal. He's also the type of clutch shooter who isn't afraid to take the big shot come playoff time.
But even if Jackson proves that he's in good shape and gets immediate playing time with the Clips, is he even worth consideration in deep fantasy leagues? Probably not.
"You obviously don't sign Stephen Jackson to sit on the bench. He's not going to be happy doing that," Pelton says. "But can he play at all anymore? He wasn't any good in San Antonio last year. So I'd be surprised if he's fantasy-relevant."
Bumps and bruises
Celtics coach Brad Stevens ruled Kelly Olynyk (ankle) out for Tuesday's game with Brooklyn. The rookie has missed the last eight games, and when he returns it could cut into the sudden production of Jared Sullinger.
Both Luol Deng and Jimmy Butler remain out for Chicago as the Bulls take on the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday. That should present Taj Gibson with another opportunity to play big minutes and excel against the undermanned Bucks' frontline. Gibson is averaging 21.4 PPG, 8.4 RPG and 1.6 BPG over the last five games.