Eastern Conference Fantasy Notes: Week 17

The NBA is a fast-paced league where trends can switch as quickly as a lightbulb. Keeping up to date with these trends is vital to your success in fantasy basketball. We’ll be looking at the expected top performers, sneaky options, injury updates, rookie trends, individual team schedules, and some other points for the Eastern Conference. The key to winning this week? Look no further than this article. We here at Nerd Fantasy Sports got you covered. Check both our Consistency Rankings and New Age Rankings to get a data-driven take on fantasy basketball!

Sleepers to Wake Up

Miles Bridges, SF/PF, Charlotte Hornets
After Gordon Hayward went down with a foot injury and is likely to miss the next month, it has been Miles Bridges stepping up to fill his role. I mentioned last week that Bridges will need to step up if the Hornets want to stay above water and maintain their playoff spot. Bridges has done nothing but that. In his last five games, Bridges has averaged 19.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, two assists, and a steal per game. However, his most notable improvement has been his three-point shooting, something he has struggled with his entire career. In those same games, Bridges has shot 47 percent from three on 6.4 attempts per game. It would be a crime if I also didn’t mention that emphatic poster dunk he had on Clint Capela as well. 

Mo Bamba, C, Orlando Magic
After Nikola Vucevic was traded to the Chicago Bulls, the attention was turned to Mo Bamba and whether he can finally live up to the potential he had when he was first selected sixth overall in the 2018 NBA Draft. Since the trade deadline, Mo Bamba has still only played about 18 minutes a game. However, he’s been averaging 13 points, five rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in his last five games. But what has been most outstanding is his three-point percentage. Which has been at 63 percent on 3.8 attempts in those same five games. Bamba is a solid waiver wire pickup, going into the playoffs/final week of the season. 

Isaiah Hartenstein, PF, Cleveland Cavaliers
While Isaiah Hartenstein is only 22 years old and onto his third NBA team, this is probably the team he wants to stay with, as he is playing some of his best basketball for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Hartenstein was moved to Cleveland as a part of the JaVale McGee deal. In his last five games, Hartenstein has averaged 11 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and 1.6 blocks per game. He has also shot 71 percent from the field. Hartenstein is a perfect waiver wire pickup especially with Jarrett Allen still continuing to deal with a concussion. 

Rookies Doing Work

Malachi Flynn, PG, Toronto Raptors
Malachi Flynn was mentioned in last week’s column as someone to keep on the radar while the Raptors continue to deal with injuries to their backcourt. But Flynn turned out to be a solid waiver wire pickup for a few days. Now it is a bit more complicated with Kyle Lowry coming back. But it is worth reflecting on his stretch of games. In his last five games, Flynn has averaged 13 points, five rebounds, six assists, and two steals per game. The one thing that Flynn could work on is his percentages. His three-point shooting was great at 42 percent. However, from the field, he could have done better only shooting about 43 percent in those same games. His outlook gets complicated but Flynn has become a valuable young prospect. 

Saddiq Bey, SF, Detroit Pistons
After Blake Griffin worked his way out of Detroit, rookie Saddiq Bey was expected to be the next one up. However, his start was bit slow while Bey was trying to find some consistency in his game. It is safe to say he is starting to crack that level. In his last five games, Bey has averaged 17 points, three rebounds, and 1.6 steals per game. He has also done a good job shooting from the field, hitting at a 50 percent clip from the field and 41 percent from three. Bey is also a solid pick up for the playoffs for deeper leagues. 

Question of the Week

Is Brooklyn’s firepower enough to make a championship run?
A lot have started to question if the little defense that Brooklyn brings every night is enough to make championship run. Especially in the Lakers, we saw a true exposure of Brooklyn’s biggest hole. Andre Drummondagainst DeAndre Jordan and LaMarcus Alridge, both would not be considered excellent defenders, and it was very concerning that they couldn’t handle Drummond. It’ll really come into question if they could handle Joel Embiid or Giannis Antetokounmpo who are far and away better than Drummond offensively. But Brooklyn did not have all of their big three in the game, so it makes it much more difficult to determine if they win with putting all their eggs in one basket offensively, for now at least.

Other Notes

Every week I will share an opinion of mine about something going on in the Eastern Conference. This week’s take is:
Mo Bamba still has time to turn around what has been a slow start to his career. Many thought that after draft night in 2018 that Nikola Vucevic would be sooner rather than later. Well, it took them three years to finally make a move. And while that trade brought another young center in Wendell Carter Jr, the competition is much more open for starting minutes compared to when Vucevic was still with the team. Bamba has already improved in his play despite still only playing about 18 minutes per game. Nonetheless, The front office still believes in Bamba and Carter Jr enough for them to make that trade. So we will see how things go over the rest of this season and beyond.

Published by Ethan Hartley

Born and raised in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, right outside of Philadelphia. Junior at the University of Oregon studying journalism with minors in sports business and music studies. An avid follower of the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, NCAA, and MMA.

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