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Fantasy Basketball Rotation Watch: Playing Time Updates For Week 15


Welcome to Rotation Watch! Each week this article will break down who is gaining and who is losing minutes around the NBA. Fantasy managers want the players that are getting the opportunity to shine, not the ones who are sitting on the bench and watching from the sidelines.

Kobe Bryant was, is, and will be one of the most iconic and legendary players the sport of basketball will ever see. One of the greatest things about Bryant was his work ethic. He would not let anyone outwork him in practice or on the court when it counted most. The stories coming out this week are a testament to how much he loved playing and learning the game of basketball. From the time he entered the league as a rookie in 1995, to the moment he retired as a five-time champion in 2016, no one played more basketball than Kobe Bryant. Over his 20-year career, Black Mamba played 48,637 minutes in the regular season and 8,641 minutes in the playoffs. He finished in the top-six minutes played five times and finished second twice. He played all those seasons, and all those minutes, under the brightest lights for one of the sport's most celebrated franchises. They don't build basketball players like Kobe Bryant anymore, and they never did. The Mamba was one-of-a-kind and is already greatly missed.

Let's start searching those box scores from January 20th to January 26th and look for those hidden gems that are grabbing some minutes to help your fantasy basketball team.

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NBA Playing Time Changes

Reggie Jackson (PG - Detroit Pistons)

Season: 20.4 Minutes per Game

Week 14: 21.0 Minutes per Game

Detroit Pistons guard Reggie Jackson finally made his return to the hardwood last week after missing 43 games with a back injury. The Pistons played him in two-straight games before deciding to sit him on the second night of a back to back. Jackson had not played a competitive game since Oct. 24, and three games in four nights would've been a tough sell for a team looking to protect their assets in a lost season.

The timing of Jackson's return couldn't be better for his fantasy value as fellow Detroit guard Derrick Rose is currently dealing with a knee injury and is one of the hottest names on the trade block. In Week 14, Jackson put up 18 points, five assists, two steals, and drained two three-pointers per game while playing 21 minutes per game. The ninth-year guard had an efficient return in the shooting department too. He shot 44.4 percent from the field, 40.0 percent from three, and made 4.0 of his 5.0 free-throw attempts each game.

The smart fantasy manager would take a flier on Jackson right now, one week before the trade deadline. If Rose gets dealt, then Jackson will see enough minutes to rack up the counting stats over the final two months of the regular season. If Rose stays in Detroit, the Colorado-native would still be a solid contributor in 12-team leagues. Low-risk, high-reward transactions this late in the season are hard to come by, so take advantage of the one in Detroit and give your team a boost by the All-Star break.

 

Eric Gordon (SG - Houston Rockets)

Season: 30.0 Minutes per Game

Week 14: 32.4 Minutes per Game

Eric Gordon had a great Week 14, but before we get to that, I want to acknowledge that the 12-year veteran set a new career-high with 50 points against the Utah Jazz on Monday night. The Rockets were without James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and Clint Capela, but Gordon went against the fifth-best defensive team at home in the NBA and hung 50 points on them. Good for you, EG.

Let's get back to Gordon's impressive Week 14, where he averaged 19.0 points and 3.8 threes while shooting 38.5 percent from deep. In the four games, he averaged 32.4 minutes, and that is significant because it's the highest four-game average he had played since returning from injury in late December. It seems as though Rockets Head Coach Mike D'Antoni feels comfortable letting the former-Hoosier fire on all cylinders again.

The Rockets have also been inclined the rest Harden a lot more than previous years with their eyes set on postseason success. The Beard's absence allows Gordon to get more shots in an offense that ranks second in pace this season at 104.18 possessions per game. If he is available, EG is a stable source of points and threes for your fantasy team as we enter the final third of the regular season.

 

Doug McDermott (SF - Indiana Pacers)

Season: 21.1 Minutes per Game

Week 14: 25.5 Minutes per Game

Would you believe me if I told you that the player tied for second in three-point percentage among qualifiers is on less than 10 percent of ESPN league rosters? Well, start believing! Indiana Pacers forward Doug McDermott is draining 46.8 percent of his three-point attempts this season and only trails George Hill in the category. His percentages are high, but he hasn't been getting the opportunity to shoot the ball consistently. Fortunately, that changed in Week 14, and he is a desirable add in standard formats.

For the week, McBuckets averaged 15.9 points, 4 made threes, 57.5 percent from the field, and 61.5 percent from behind the arc in 25.5 minutes. He's scored in double figures in seven of his previous nine games and seems to be growing into a more substantial role during his second season with the Pacers.

As it has been for a while now, any Pacer worth adding comes with the footnote that Victor Oladipo is expected back soon and will more than likely take a large chunk of the offense back in Indiana. However, it's getting to the time of year when fantasy managers are looking for difference makers. Whether you are in a roto league looking to make up some ground in three-pointers, or a head to head league just trying to win a week and survive, Doug McDermott is the smart add in the three-pointers made category.

 

Thaddeus Young (PF - Chicago Bulls)

Season: 22.9 Minutes per Game

Week 14: 27.9 Minutes per Game

Chicago Bulls forward Thaddeus Young has had his name thrown around in trade rumors recently, but for now, he is helping fantasy managers win a couple of weekly matchups. Young is the last big man standing in the Windy City after Lauri Markkanen was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his pelvis and will be out for the next four to six weeks.

Markannen began his absence on Jan. 24, and this allowed Young to average 32 minutes per game while contributing 10.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, two assists, and two steals. He shot 51.5 percent from the field across four games in Week 14 and seems to be peaking at the right time for fantasy owners and the Bull's prospects of getting something for him at the trade deadline.

This is one of the rare cases where fantasy owners will want their players to avoid being traded away. Young is a piece to be added and complement a team, not become a game-changer and a focal point of an offense. If he remains in Chicago, he will have four to six weeks without Markkanen and the ability to rack up the counting stats for fantasy managers across all formats.

 

Jerami Grant (PF - Denver Nuggets)

Season: 24.9 Minutes per Game

Week 14: 33.2 Minutes per Game

With Paul Millsap in the lineup, the Nuggets had a winning percentage of .656, and without Millsap, they are winning at a .786 clip. Although the Nuggets boast one of the deepest rosters in the league, a primary reason for their lack of stumbles with Millsap sidelined is Jerami Grant. The former-Oklahoma City Thunder player is enjoying his first season in the Mile High City and has really picked it up over the last two weeks, and especially during Week 14 of the fantasy basketball season.

Across his four games last week, Grant dropped 18.8 points, collected 6.8 rebounds, swiped 1.3 steals, swatted 1.0 shots, and drained two made threes per game in 33.2 minutes. From the amount of adjectives I just used, it's evident that the second-round pick in the 2014 draft had quite an impressive week.

When Millsap returns, Grant will likely see a dip on his minutes and, consequently, his production, but the four-time All-Star has already been ruled out for one game this week and remains without a timetable for his return. We may not see Millsap until after the All-Star break at this point. If that does occur, expect Grant to continue his hot streak and contribute across a majority of categories in standard formats. At this point, he is a must-own in 12-team leagues and is creeping towards that status in 10-team leagues as well.

 

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