Alec Burks

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Depending on the trades (or non-trades) you made at the NBA trade deadline, you could be feeling like your roster is a container ship stuck in a canal.

Fortunately, there is no deadline for waiver pickups and drops. Here are some hot names and cold players to consider as you make your tweaks for a playoff push.


Booms

Enes Kanter Center Portland Trail Blazers

Enes the Menace has been on one the last week. In the four games, the Turkish big man has been throwing his weight around and averaging 15.5 points on 70.3 percent shooting, 14.5 rebounds, two assists and a block.

However, his hot run may be short-lived as Jusuf Nurkic is back in the lineup after spending two months recovering from injury. Nurkic's return cut into Kanter's minutes significantly this past Sunday: a trend that will most likely continue as Nurkic gets back into game shape.

Alec Burks Guard/Forward New York Knicks

No Rose, no Randle, no Bullock, no problem. Alec Burks rode in like the Survey Corps rescuing Eren Jaeger, saving the Knicks from a drop in production with some of their main weapons out. Burks, who has played for six teams in three years, averaged 22.7 points, 3.3 made threes, 6.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and one turnover the last three games—all wins.

Rose and Bullock are due back soon, so expecting him to sustain this level of production would be foolish. Picking him up after those two fully return to the rotation would be risky, but if either is out again, he has proven he can produce in a pinch.

Danny Green Guard/Forward Philadelphia 76ers

Revenge is a dish best Green. Buoyed by his 28-point effort against the Lakers, the three-point specialist averaged 18.7 points on 54.5 percent shooting from the field and 5.3 made threes in three games last week.

Green won't contribute much else in fantasy, but this three-point make volume can win you the category most weeks. If you're sick of punting the category, there aren't many options that are better.

Derrick White Guard San Antonio Spurs

You will never know who will be surging on the Spurs on any given week outside of DeMar DeRozan, but Derrick White's managers were appreciative of his efforts last week. White hasn't been in the mix until recently because of a problematic toe injury, but in four games last week he averaged 15.3 points, 3.3 made threes, three assists and 1.5 blocks in 33.1 minutes.

He will need to improve his accuracy to be a little more valuable from a fantasy standpoint, but if he continues to get healthier, he will be an interesting player to track because he's definitely getting the minutes to be a good producer.

Busts

Jordan Clarkson Guard Utah Jazz

The Filipino Flame Thrower has been having a career year, but last week won't be going on the season highlight reel. Even with his 28-point game on Sunday, Clarkson averaged 15.3 points on 33.8 percent shooting, 1.8 assists and 0.5 steals.

If he's not scoring, Clarkson isn't contributing much to a fantasy managers team, so this week has been a big blow for people who were depending on him for his points and shooting percentage. He is still an important part of Utah's success, so he will have chances to improve, but he is too volatile to be depended on right now.

Keldon Johnson Forward San Antonio Spurs

One Spur thrives while another one dives. For Keldon Johnson, diving has become a more frequent occurrence.

In four games last week, Johnson averaged 9.3 points on 42.4 percent shooting, 4.5 rebounds, 0.8 assists and no steals. If you were hanging on to Johnson and hoping he would step up after LaMarcus Aldridge was benched and bought out, you can comfortably let him go.

James Wiseman Center Golden State Warriors

After missing three straight games prior to last week due to being in the NBA's health and safety protocol, Wiseman didn't do much to help fantasy managers when he returned. In three games last week, the Warriors' rookie averaged 11.7 points on 44.1 percent shooting, 5.7 rebounds and 0.3 blocks.

Wiseman is finding out the talent level from college to pros is huge and he's having a tough time making the adjustment. He will get better, but whether he gets better this year may be a question fantasy managers aren't willing to wait around for.

Joe Harris Guard/Forward Brooklyn Nets

Harris has been a beneficiary of playing with three All-NBA players, providing efficient shooting when called upon. But even the best shooters have off weeks.

In three games, Harris only shot 39.1 percent from the field and made 1.7 threes per game. His 8.7 points didn't help his fantasy value either.

Like Danny Green, if he isn't shooting well and scoring, Harris doesn't have much else to contribute to fantasy rosters. But with him averaging 14.2 points with 3.3 made threes for the season, it's only a matter of time before he helps you win a couple of categories again.

The Lakers looked lost in the Valley

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The Phoenix Suns are just a win away from sending LeBron James home in the first round of the playoffs for the first time in the King's illustrious career.

After stating that "These shoulders were built for a reason," James referring to facing the challenge of taking on added responsibilities after Anthony Davis was ruled out for Game 5, the Lakers and LeBron disappointed in a big way Tuesday night. L.A. started off hot jumping out to a 10-5 lead behind a couple shots from James and a three from Davis' replacement Markieff Morris. But it didn't take long for the wheels to completely fall off for the defending champion Lakers as they spent most of the first half trying to remember how basketball works.

LeBron James LeBron looking on during Game 5Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Two numbers stick out in the Game 5 loss for the Lakers and those are 34.5 and 12. Los Angeles shot 34.5% from the field on Tuesday night and were minus 12 in turnover ratio. No matter who's on your team, if you can't shoot and you can't protect the ball, the outcome is already determined.

The Suns weren't simply beneficiaries of a poor performance however as the Suns put it on the Lakers early and often and they never let their foot off the pedal for 48 minutes. Phoenix ended with 15 more assists, had seven more combined steals and blocks, and outscored L.A. in the paint by 12 points. Devin Booker and Cameron Payne were spectacular and they seemed to hit big shots every time the Lakers appeared to threaten a comeback. Mikal Bridges was effective on both sides of the ball adding three steals and two blocks to help electrify his team with the defensive effort.


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Julio Jones is trying to force his way out of Atlanta

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The NFL's all-time leader in receiving yardage per game is looking for a new home.

Five time all-pro, Julio Jones, stated on FS1's Undisputed earlier this week that he was "out" of Atlanta and that his only focus on where he wants to play next year includes winning. This corroborates with reports back in April as Ian Rapoport indicated the Falcons were receiving calls for their star receiver prior to the NFL Draft.

It's no surprise that Jones wants out considering the Falcons have only made the playoffs once since their Super Bowl appearance in 2016. Jones is 32 now and coming off a season where nagging injuries kept him off the field for all but nine games in 2020. In those games Jones caught 51 balls for 771 yards while adding three touchdowns. Having only reached double-digit touchdowns once in his career in 2012, the volume and yardage have always been Julio's strengths. A lack of availability would certainly hurt his chances to be a major contributor for any title-contender.

According to SportsLine, the teams with the best odds to land Jones are as follows as of May 28, 2021.

  • Patriots +200
  • 49ers +300
  • Titans +400
  • Raiders +600
  • Ravens +700
  • Chargers +900
  • Colts +1000
  • Packers +1200
  • Dolphins +1400
  • Jaguars +1500
  • Cowboys +2000

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The Nets big 3 are set for a finals run.

Sarah Stier/Getty Images

The play-ins have been a short, but wild rollercoaster and the playoffs are getting ready to set off.

The seeds are finally set, and the first-round matchups are 76ers(1) vs Wizards(8), Nets(2) vs Celtics(7), Bucks(3) vs Heat(6), and Knicks(4) vs Hawks(5).



76ers vs Wizards:

The Russell Westbrook-Joel Embiid rivalry will continue during this year's playoffs and fans cannot wait. The Wizards finished the season with a 16-6 record, and after a lackluster start this season, they have made themselves a dangerous 8th seed. While the 76ers didn't finish the season hot, I'm sure with a team-full of veterans, rest was more of a priority. The 76ers beat the Wizards three times during the season, but two of those games were very close and came early in the season.

The Wizards can definitely make this series a challenging one for the 76ers. The Wizards have shooters all around with Bradley Beal, Davis Bertans. But the 76ers have a much deeper team with guys like Danny Green, Seth Curry, and Dwight Howard providing good veteran leadership. The Wizards are riding on the health of Bradley Beal, who has dealt with hamstring tightness in the past two weeks.



Nets vs Celtics:

The Nets finally seem to be healthy just in time for the playoffs, which is dangerous for Boston. Although the Nets big three only played eight games together, the Nets still finished with a 48-24. The Nets also have a great mix of reliable veterans like Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Jeff Green, and Joe Harris. These two teams meet three times during the regular season with Brooklyn taking all three games.

The Celtics have not lived up to expectations this year. After making a conference finals last year, it was expected to carry through the regular season, but they never found their stride. Jaylen Brown will continue to be sidelined with a broken wrist, so most of the load will be carried by Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker. I see this series being an easy one for the Nets.



Bucks vs Heat:

A rematch of the heated second-round matchup last year, where the Heat upset Milwaukee, who had Giannis dealing with injuries. Interestingly enough, both of these come to the playoffs on the right side with an 8-2 record in their last 10 regular-season games. Giannis is back with more weapons on his sides like Jrue Holiday, PJ Tucker, and Jeff Teague, while also keeping their core from last year. Giannis had had another MVP-type season averaging 28 points and 11 rebounds.

The Miami Heat started the season off slow, probably because of the NBA finals hangover, but got hot after the all-star break. Miami also acquired many new weapons like Trevor Ariza and Dewayne Dedmon. The Jimmy Butler-Giannis Antetokounmpo matchup will be the most important aspect of this series.

Knicks vs Hawks

After what seems like a lifetime drought, the Knicks are finally back in the playoffs! We can all agree that when the Knicks are good, the league is in better spirits. Tom Thibodeau has turned this team around, and you can't forget about how Julius Randle has been playing this season. Possibly the most improved player, Julius Randle has proved all his doubters wrong and has taken the keys to this Knicks franchise. The Knicks have great veteran leadership with guys like Derrick Rose, and Taj Gibson who are familiar with Thibodeau. They also have great young talent with guys like RJ Barret, and Obi Toppin.

The Hawks on the other hand have turned it around since firing Lloyd Pierce and having Nate McMillan made this team do a complete 180. Trae Young and John Collins are one of the best duos in the league. With guys like Lou Williams, Danilo Gallinari, and Bogdan Bogdanovic who can get hot at any point of the game. This series can definitely go to 7 games, with last-second shots determining the outcome.