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RotoBaller NBA Recap: Can Giannis Bring A Title To Milwaukee?


Welcome to the RotoBaller NBA Recap. In this feature, we highlight three fantasy basketball takeaways from last night's slate of NBA games. Saturday featured the three best records in the NBA in action. The Milwaukee Bucks, who not only have the best record out East but also in the league, defeated the Washington Wizards on the road 131-115. Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way, hitting all 17 free throws to go along with 37 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and one steal in 33 minutes. With all these trade demands daily by some of the NBA's brightest young stars, it is refreshing to see Antetokounmpo attempting to build a core in Milwaukee to compete with all the artificially made superteams. The Bucks have taken a giant step this season and are legitimate threats to make the NBA Finals.

The Denver Nuggets remained on top of the standings out West, defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves 107-106. The Nuggets were without Gary Harris (groin) and Jamal Murray (ankle) but received excellent production from Malik Beasley and Monte Morris. Both players will remain quality streaming options until Harris and Murray can return to the lineup so don't drop either just yet. Harris has been bothered by a nagging groin injury but should be back before long. Murray, on the other hand, is dealing with a severe ankle sprain, but head coach Mike Malone expects the 21-year-old to be back in action during the team's four-game road trip next Saturday.

And the Golden State Warriors took out the Los Angeles Lakers, who were with LeBron James (rest). James was ruled inactive a minute after lineups locked on DFS sites, and many players were left without their top option on the board. It was unfortunate from a daily fantasy perspective, but hey, at least you knew who would be dropped as the low scorer in your lineups early. As far as the Warriors are concerned, they have now won 12 of their past 13 contests and have been clicking on all cylinders since the arrival of DeMarcus Cousins. The big man has been hovering around 25 minutes a night in the past five games and has averaged 15.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.0 blocks and 1.2 steals. Cousins is still not anywhere near where he was before rupturing his Achilles, but the 28-year-old has added an extra superstar to a team that didn't need any more talent. Our three main takeaways of the night are still to come, so without further ado, let's dive a little deeper into the February 2nd slate.

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Taurean Prince: Never Became King In Atlanta

Taurean Prince's fall is beyond surprising. After leading the Hawks towards the end of last season and starting 2018 off with fantastic production, Prince figured not only to be a focal point in Atlanta's future but had the potential to be a top-25 fantasy player. An ankle injury in December halted some of his short-term upside, but very few could have seen the situation playing out how it currently is going down.

By the time Prince was able to return from his ankle injury, rookie Kevin Huerter had stolen the job away from the 24-year-old, and Prince was moved to the bench. The culmination of poor play and not being needed anymore led Atlanta to place the Baylor product on the trade block, and the team is currently asking for a young player and draft pick in return. However, there are a few issues when it comes to moving the 6-foot-8 forward in a deal. For starters, Atlanta's asking price may seem reasonable to them, but Prince is a streaky shooter that hasn't been able to make it off the bench for one of the worst teams in the league.

On Saturday night, Atlanta reinserted Prince back into the starting lineup, which I believe to be nothing more than a desperate attempt to showcase the 2016 draft pick to other teams. The problem was that Prince faltered in his start, scoring nine points with one rebound and one assist in 33 minutes. Prince is currently owned in 71 percent of Yahoo leagues, and if you have made it this far with him, you should wait until the trade deadline takes place before dropping him. Sadly, though, it seems likely that Prince will not get moved by February 7th and will probably return to a bench role after that becomes the case. At that point, you would be able to drop him to the waiver wire.

 

Frank Jackson: Has Career-Game On Saturday

Frank Jackson had the best game of his young career on Saturday, scoring 25 points with two rebounds, two assists and one three-pointer in 42 minutes. The second round pick in the 2017 draft was filling in for an injured Elfrid Payton and took full advantage of his opportunity.

Over his past five games, Jackson has put up respectable statistics, averaging 14.2 points and 3.8 rebounds, but the 20-year-old has struggled to do much outside of scoring, which is emphasized by his 13 percent three-point shooting and 1.8 assists. Jackson will become a popular pickup overnight because of his quality showing, but I still think he is only in consideration in deeper leagues for the time being. Too much of his value hinges on the health of the two guards above him, and there isn't enough upside to warrant consideration in standard-sized leagues.

 

Jalen Brunson: Posts 15/6/4 Line

Jalen Brunson played 33 minutes during Saturday's win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, finishing with 15 points, six rebounds, four assists and one three-pointer. The double-digit scoring effort was Brunson's first since scoring 16 points on January 21st against the Milwaukee Bucks.

With Dennis Smith Jr. traded to the New York Knicks, the 22-year-old rookie should remain the starter for the Mavericks for the rest of the season and has some upside to flirt with standard league production. Trey Burke and Devin Harris are a threat to his minutes, but if Brunson can register anything over 25 minutes per game, he makes for an intriguing waiver wire add. The Villanova product is currently available in 97 percent of Yahoo leagues, but that number will start drifting up over the next few weeks.

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