(Graphic via Andrew Yang)
Welcome to The Intermission Sports’ weekly NBA fantasy forecast, for week 11 of the 2020-2021 NBA Season. This is a weekly series where we break down every week’s top performers and biggest floppers in the league. Who should you pick up? Who should you drop? Who should you keep an eye on? Those are the questions we hope to answer in this new series.
As a quick refresher, we’ll quickly brief you on each category. The Prime Pick-Ups category consists of players who we strongly recommend you pick up if you or your opponents haven’t already. The Definite Drops category consists of players we recommend you drop, scrap, whatever word you want to use. Just get rid of them. The Watch-Out Wins category consists of players that we recommend you keep a keen eye on. Players that we think will thrive due to certain circumstances around the league, or if it looks like this might be the year where they get the ball rolling. With that being said, let’s get to it.
Malik Monk - Charlotte Hornets
With Gordon Hayward out with a hand injury, Monk will see more minutes on the court as a result. Monk’s performance has impressed many fantasy GMs, enough to earn him the number one spot on ESPN’s most added player, with a seven-day plus-minus of +23.6. The increase in playing minutes for the forward has resulted in a boost in all stat categories. In the last week, Monk has been averaging 23.5 PPG (+10.2), 3.5 RPG (+0.6), and 2.5 APG (+0.6).
Derrick Jones Jr. - Portland Trailblazers
While C.J. McCollum stays sidelined for the next few weeks, Gary Trent Jr. and Derrick Jones Jr. have both been seeing more minutes on the court. While Jones doesn’t shine too much in the points category, he makes it up with his defensive efforts. Aside from his 10.7 PPG average in the last week, Jones also manages to chip in nearly a steal per game (0.7) and just over 2 blocks a game. Along with a stable rebounding option, Jones makes the case for the perfect player to give your roster that edge.
Nerlens Noel - New York Knicks
If you’ve noticed a trend in this week’s Prime Pick-Ups, you’ll notice that this week’s picks are all focused on backups. When members of the starting lineup go down with an injury, someone is bound to take their place. Insert Nerlens Noel, the backup for injured young star centre Mitchell Robinson. Noel has definitely been putting in the work as Robinson’s replacement. While Noel averaged just 8 points a game in the last week, he’s also contributed with 7.5 rebounds a game, while snagging 1.3 steals and 2.5 blocks per game. Defence wins games, and Noel’s defence has won a spot on your roster.
Hamidou Diallo - Oklahoma City Thunder
In the past few weeks, Diallo proved that he can be a reliable scoring option for the Thunder. The high-flying guard was posting starter-like numbers before this past week, where that all went out the window. In the past week, Diallo has averaged just 5 points and 2 rebounds per game, as opposed to his season average of 12 points and just over 5 rebounds a game. To add insult to injury, Diallo will be out with groin soreness, so it’ll only be a matter of time before we can determine if Diallo’s stretch was just a fluke, or if we can expect more performances like this once the guard becomes healthy again.
Marcus Morris Sr. - Los Angeles Clippers
The Morris twins have always been in the spotlight, for both good and bad reasons. But this week, one-half of the twins find themselves on this list, for reasons not so great. Thought to be a reliable choice for the forward position, but his offensive production has not been on par lately. Despite playing just over 23 minutes a game, Morris averaged just 8.8 PPG, 3.3 RPG, and 1.3 APG. If you thought Morris would be playing a pivotal role in the Clipper’s season, you are sadly mistaken.
Jae Crowder - Phoenix Suns
Crowder finds himself on this list again, but not for any good reason. If you haven’t dropped him yet, what are you doing? With his second appearance on this list, the reasoning remains the same. It’s Crowder’s streakiness that helps him to earn back-to-back appearances on this series (but again, not for good reason). Don’t get excited when he drops 20 on one night, because looking at his past few performances, that performance could easily be thrown out of the window.
Bruce Brown - Brooklyn Nets
Brown shined in the last week, who gained more playing time from the absence of Kevin Durant (hamstring). Brown put up a stat line of 16.3 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 2.3 APG, and 1.7 steals per game in his last week of playing time. Although these are numbers to give your lineup a great boost, don’t expect this to last long. These performances could also earn him extra minutes, even when Durant comes back to play.
Darius Bazely - Oklahoma City Thunder
In the long and tedious search for a secondary scorer behind Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the Thunder have found talent in Darius Bazley, who in the last 10 games, posted a stat line of 12 PPG and 6.8 RPG, while shooting just over 41% from the field. Although these numbers don’t seem too impressive, there’s a reason why we put Bazley in this category. Expect this kind of consistency from Bazley in the weeks to come.
Dennis Smith Jr. - Detroit Pistons
When Derrick Rose was shipped back to New York, Smith made his way to the Motor City. The Pistons were lacking a guard, as both Delon Wright and Killian Hayes are out. Smith stepped up to the occasion and he’s been balling ever since. In the last week, Smith averaged 11.7 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 5.7 APG, 2 SPG, and just under a block per game. With numbers like these, keep a very keen eye on Smith, unless you’ve picked up him. If you haven’t, what are you waiting for?
BONUS: Lonnie Walker IV - San Antonio Spurs
The San Antonio forward is no stranger to this series, in a good and a bad way. In the last three games, Walker has improved his performance. But this is no different than his usual random bursts. Don’t expect this performance to last long, but it’s still worth keeping an eye on.