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Memphis Grizzlies rookie forward Brandon Clarke was named the MVP of the Las Vegas Summer League. In six games, Clarke averaged 14.7 points and 9.8 rebounds per contest, showing that he can be a valuable piece of the Grizzlies' rotation this upcoming season. The Grizzlies are a young and rebuilding team, and Clarke is bound to get plenty of minutes in the team's front court this season. He's going to be a valuable fantasy contributor thanks to his ability to score efficiently and rebound well.
Boston Celtics shooting guard/small forward Jaylen Brown provided 21 points with three makes from three in the easy, 13-point win over the Nuggets on Friday. Brown connected on eight of 15 shooting and added seven rebounds with two assists, but failed to register any defensive numbers for the first time since November 11th. Brown has taken advantage of the extra usage with Gordon Hayward (hand) sidelined and in his last seven games is posting 22.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals. Hayward is due back soon, so we can expect Brown's production to take a hit.
Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker needed just 29 minutes to provide a decent line in the 13-point win over the Nuggets in Boston on Friday. Walker connected on half of his 16 shot attempts en route to 19 points while adding two rebounds, three assists with two steals and two blocks. The scoring was not there, but the supporting numbers were and he has connected on 17 of his last 33 shot attempts, which is a welcoming number for owners. That is all you will get out Walker for this week, as the Celtics do not take the court again until Monday when they face the Cavaliers.
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum filled up the box score in the easy win over the Nuggets on Friday. Tatum poured in 26 points on 10 of 19 shooting and added seven rebounds with five dimes and a steal with four makes from three in 30 minutes of action. Tatum is throwing torches right now and in his last four games is averaging 25.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2.0 steals, 1.3 blocks and 3.8 makes from three. Gordon Hayward (hand) is expected back soon, so we could see Tatum's production take a slight hit.
Denver Nuggets power forward/center Nikola Jokic had only been seen on milk cartons as of late, but he was spotted in Boston on Friday when he erupted for 30 points in the losing cause against the Celtics. Jokic connected on 13 of 21 shooting while grabbing 10 boards with four assists and two blocks in 31 minutes of action. There has been a lot of talk about how Jokic has bad starts in the past, etc. What he has been going through though, is like nothing we have seen since he has entered the realm of being a star. Hopefully, this triggers Jokic to return to form, but owners probably will not be able to breathe easy until we see him do it again.
Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, along with most of his teammates, failed to show up on Friday in the rough loss to the Celtics in Boston. Murray managed just 10 points while connecting on 5-for-14 shooting and added three rebounds, three assists and two steals with a block in 34 minutes of action. It was not the Nuggets night, as outside of Nikola Jokic's 30 points, the rest of the Nuggets' starters combined for just 29 points on 13 of 36 shooting. Murray is in a bit of a funk, but we know the Canadian will get back on track sooner than later.
Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal provided a full line that included a team-high 23 points in the nine-point loss at the hands of the Miami Heat on Friday. Beal connected on 7-for-17 shooting from the floor and added four makes from three with eight assists and four boards while chipping in a steal with a block in 39 minutes of action. Beal has been filling box scores but has been struggling from the floor in his last five games, where he is shooting just 41.1%, yet is still averaging 28.5 points in that span. Beal will have his hands full on Sunday when his squad takes on the Clippers in Washington.
Washington Wizards power forward Davis Bertans got his shots up on Friday when he connected on 7-for-20 shooting overall en route to 19 points in the 112-103 loss to the Heat. Bertans drilled five triples and added two blocks with 10 rebounds in 33 minutes of action. Bertans is not shying away from getting shots up from behind the arc as he has connected on 5.5 of his 11.8 attempts in four games in December. He is worth an add for this shooting alone, but he has also been providing some solid defensive with 1.3 blocks and 1.0 steals in that same span.
Washington Wizards point guard Ish Smith took full advantage of the extra minutes and the start on Friday with Isaiah Thomas (calf) out. Smith scored 15 points on 6-for-11 shooting and added eight assists with two steals and two makes from deep in 31 minutes of run in the nine-point loss to the Heat. He is averaging 17.5 points and eight assists in his last two games and is worth a short-term stream and a serious look in DFS while Thomas is out. The Wiz play again on Sunday against the Clippers.
Miami Heat shooting guard/small forward Jimmy Butler decided to mess around again on Friday when he recorded another triple-double in the nine-point victory over the Wizards in Miami. Butler scored 28 points and added 11 assists with 11 rebounds for his second triple-double in three games. Butler is rolling right now and in his last three games is posting 29.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, 9.0 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.7 blocks and 3.3 makes from three while shooting 56.0% from the floor in that span. We can assume we will see another big line Sunday when his club takes on the Bulls.
Miami Heat power forward/center Bam Adebayo poured in a career-high 24 points against a thin frontline that Wizards showed up with on Friday. Adebayo took advantage by adding 14 rebounds, four assists and two blocks in 37 minutes of action. He bounced back after a quiet night on Wednesday against the Celtics, when he scored just eight points and his minutes are trendy up as he has played 37, 38 and 37 minutes over his last three games. The Heat take on the Bulls on Sunday, so owners can get one more game out their big man this week.
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