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RotoBaller NBA Recap: The Lakers Have Entered A Youth Movement


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 six contests, but most had relatively inadequate playoff implications, aside from a few minute changes in seeding. The Sacramento Kings beat the New York Knicks 102-94. The victory keeps the Kings 3.5 games back of the San Antonio Spurs for the eighth seed and 4.5 behind the Clippers and Jazz for the next two positions. Sacramento faces the 23rd easiest schedule down the stretch, but they encounter an uphill battle with the Clippers coming in at 18th, the Spurs 21st and the Jazz having the easiest schedule remaining.

The Brooklyn Nets escaped the Atlanta Hawks 114-112, despite Trae Young recording the first triple-double of his career. The triumph was particularly significant for Brooklyn, especially considering that they face the most challenging schedule down the stretch of any organization. The team is currently the seventh seed and find themselves 3.5 games clear of the Orlando Magic and 2.5 in front of the eighth-seeded Miami Heat. However, the Heat face the sixth most difficult schedule and would likely be the team that was overtaken if one was to fall.

And the Los Angeles Lakers were outdueled by the Boston Celtics 120-107. While it is not yet official, LeBron James is going to miss the playoffs for the first time since his second season in the league. The team has already entered tank mode by shutting down Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball for the rest of the year, and at this point, it makes sense for the Lakers to give themselves their best chance to move up the lottery. Our three main takeaways from the March 9th slate are still to come, so without further ado, let's dive a little deeper into what happened from a fantasy perspective on the night.

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Karl-Anthony Towns Will Undergo Further Testing On His Knee

Karl-Anthony Towns limped off the court late in the fourth quarter against the Washington Wizards, but early reports seem to indicate that Towns will be ok. Before exiting with a right knee injury, the 23-year-oldĀ  provided 40 points, 16 rebounds, two assists, one block, two steals and four three-pointers on 15 of 25 attempts from the field.

Towns has only missed one game in his NBA career, and interim head coach Ryan Saunders said that he "has not heard concern" when it comes to this being a serious injury. If you want to get ahead of potential breaking news, Taj Gibson, Keita Bates-Diop, Dario Saric and Anthony Tolliver would all see an increase in value if the former Kentucky big man missed any time, but that appears to be highly unlikely at this point.

Alex Caruso And Johnathan Williams Are Worth A Flier In Deeper Leagues

Injuries to Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball have pushed Alex Caruso into significant playing time down. On Saturday, the 25-year-old scored eight points to go along with two rebounds, two assists, and one block in 30 minutes of action.

The Lakers have entered tank mode and seem to be trying to figure out what their youth will be able to provide for them in the future. Caruso has averaged 29.5 minutes in his previous two games and looks to be a decent pickup in 14+ team leagues. It is tough to say what his upside would be over the rest of the season, but he has averaged 11.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists in his previous two games. Johnathan Williams is also worth a flier after contributing 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers on the night. JaVale McGee played just 16 minutes while Mike Muscala picked up a DNP-CD.

Mortiz Wagner Posts Career-High Numbers On Saturday

Sticking with the Los Angeles Lakers theme, Moritz Wagner scored a career-high 22 points against the Boston Celtics on Saturday night, adding six rebounds, three steals, one block and one three-pointer in 34 minutes.

Wagner was making the first start of his career and didn't disappoint by setting new career highs in minutes played, points, rebounds, assists, field goal attempts and free throws made/attempted. As mentioned above for Alex Caruso and Johnathan Williams, the Lakers have entered a youth movement and want to see what their younger players can provide. Wagner should offer the most value of any of the youngsters and carries a favorable schedule down the stretch of the season. The former Michigan product is worth an add in standard leagues and also merits consideration in shallower settings.

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