Given his growing reputation on the hardwood as a defensive stopper, it's no surprise that Luguentz Dort got his start in youth soccer in Montreal, playing goalkeeper. While the Oklahoma City Thunder fell to the Denver Nuggets last night, the ascending second-year wing scored 20 points for the second straight game. It was the first time in his career that Dort has accomplished this feat and he has amassed an awesome eight combined steals and blocks during the last two games.
The undrafted talent out of Arizona State is one of just 10 NBA players this season shooting at least 40% from 3-point range and averaging 1.2 steals. His peers in this statistical grouping are all widely rostered, but Dort is a free agent in nearly 70% of ESPN leagues. Given this valuable blend of shooting and defensive production, it's time to add Dort to your fantasy roster.
With the team seeming to be content to improve their lottery position, the Thunder have had no problem leaning heavily on their young players so far this season. This strategy means Dort and teammates such as Isaiah Roby -- who is averaging 11.7 PPG and 7.3 RPG during the last three games -- are seeing plenty of opportunities to produce helpful statistics.
Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets: 27 points (12-21 FG), 12 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 TO
Jamal Murray, Denver Nuggets: 5 points (2-10 FG), 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals
While downing the struggling Pelicans last night, Utah made 20-plus 3-pointers for the fifth time this season -- an NBA-high. To put this in perspective, they had only four such shooting performances all of last season. Portland's CJ McCollum has rightfully earned praise for a sizable leap in shooting volume and success from 3-point range this season. It shouldn't be overlooked that Utah's Mitchell has quietly shined as a shooting force this season, as well. Making a career-best 38.5% from beyond the arc this season on a career-high 8.7 attempts per game, Mitchell has added a new dimension to his already impressive offensive profile.
It wasn't just Mitchell filling up the basket last night, as sixth-man Jordan Clarkson netted 18 points as part of a season-high 54-point outburst from Utah's bench. Leading the league in scoring from the bench this season, Clarkson is worthy of more attention from fantasy managers.
In the loss to the Jazz, Lonzo Ball returned to action after a three-game absence and struggled with his shot, but did at least move well on the court. With an ability to produce strong fantasy lines even when his shot isn't falling and with his value likely depressed given this recent absence, now could be a good time to send trade proposals to Ball's fantasy managers.
In some transactional news, the Raptors waived C Alex Len on Tuesday. Len had recently been added to the league's health and safety protocols list, but wasn't playing much even when active, averaging just 10.9 minutes in seven appearances this season. The move allows breakout C Chris Boucher even more runway to produce strong numbers. Boucher, after all, has scored 20-plus points in each of his last four games with an effective field rate of over 75%, which is the longest such streak in the NBA since Wilt Chamberlain achieved this feat over a six-game stretch.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are planning to either trade or waive Kevin Porter Jr., a 2019 first-round pick. Porter flashed some playmaking ability last season for Cleveland, but the Cavaliers locker room no longer welcomes him. Cedi Osman should have an increasingly important role as a perimeter playmaker going forward.
Injuries of note
Indiana's Myles Turner recently suffered a fractured right hand and is considered to be day-to-day. The injury won't require surgery, according to the team. Turner was a limited participant in practice on Tuesday, which is a potentially good sign for his availability in coming games.
Boston's Jayson Tatum didn't travel with the Celtics to Philadelphia for tonight's game against the 76ers due to the league's health and safety protocols.
Philadelphia's Joel Embiid didn't travel for a recent road swing due to a knee ailment, but is expected to play against the Celtics tonight. The 76ers are 9-2 this season when Embiid plays and 0-3 when he doesn't. Sharpshooter Seth Curry also returns this evening for Philadelphia and should be added in all formats ahead of tonight's game.
Houston's John Wall will miss tonight's matchup against the Suns due to a lingering knee injury. In his debut with the team on Monday, Victor Oladipo set a season-high for possessions as the initiator in pick-and-roll plays and should again see high usage this evening.
Analytics advantage for Wednesday
Thanks to a complex camera system hanging from the rafters which collects data 25 times per second, following both the ball and every player around the court, the NBA compiles a sophisticated player tracking database. Some of the data is simply fun to peruse, such as player speed and mileage during games. Other information, however, can indeed help fantasy managers.
Miami's Duncan Robinson, for instance, paces the entire league with 7.2 catch-and-shoot 3-pointers per game. Not only that, he has the highest-shooting efficiency on this type of shot out of any of the top-20 players in shot volume. Rostered in roughly 60% of ESPN leagues, Robinson makes for an ideal streaming option this evening considering both Jimmy Butler and Avery Bradley remain sidelined for the Heat.
Top player to watch on Wednesday
Philadelphia's Shake Milton, who is averaging 16.2 PPG off the bench this season, trailing only Utah's Clarkson. In his last two games, Milton has scored 31 points and 28 points, respectively, both off the bench. He could become just the second 76ers player ever to score 25-plus points in three straight games off the bench since starters were first tracked in 1970, joining franchise legend Andrew Toney.