Cole Anthony is coming into his own as a playmaker for the Orlando Magic. While the team has lost nine of 10 games -- including a blowout defeat to the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday evening -- the North Carolina product is finally running the offense for Orlando.
In 44 games with Orlando this season before being dealt to the Chicago Bulls at the deadline, All-Star center Nikola Vucevic paced the Magic with 76.6 touches and 51.5 passes per game. Anthony ranked third on the team with 58.8 touches and 42.2 passes per game prior to the trade deadline, but since becoming the team's starting point guard last week, he's led Orlando with 69.7 touches and 59 passes per game.
These opportunity rates have translated into the valuable surface statistics we covet as fantasy investors, with Anthony averaging 17.3 points and 7.3 dimes during his Past three games, all starts. Just last night, Anthony led the team in minutes and was the only Magic player to loft more than nine shots from the floor. With no real competition for creation duties on Orlando's roster, Anthony is angling for a strong finish to his rookie campaign
The Timberwolves had three 25-point scorers for second time this season, with D'Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards each contributing 28 points in a win over the Kings last night. Edwards has impressively averaged 23.8 points in 23 games since the All-Star break.
Lost in the recent wave of injuries to Charlotte's roster has been Miles Bridges making a leap for the Hornets. During his past 10 games, nine of them starts, Bridges has averaged 19.8 points, 7.5 boards, 1.7 combined blocks and steals and a whopping 3.2 3-pointers. If you have the ability to stash a player on your bench during the fantasy playoffs, it could make sense to roster LaMelo Ball if he was cut, as the dazzling rookie appears to be working his way back to the court from a wrist injury.
For those in truly deep leagues, it's worth taking a look at Naji Marshall of the Pelicans. The rookie scored 15 off the bench for New Orleans last night to go with seven assists in a loss to Brooklyn. Marshall has been getting more run lately with Josh Hart and Nickeil Alexander-Walker injured and has responded with 13.5 PPG and 12 combined assists and rebounds per game during his past four games.
George has been brilliant for the Clippers in averaging 32.9 PPG his last seven games. The All-Star wing scored or assisted on all eight of the Clippers' points in clutch time last night. With Kawhi Leonard likely to miss at least another week with a foot injury, the Clippers' Terance Mann is a name to target in deeper leagues.
Injuries of note
The Heat have ruled Victor Oladipo out of tonight's matchup against the Spurs due to a knee injury. Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo are all listed as questionable to face San Antonio. If the team is missing several starters, it could be a nice window to stream Kendrick Nunn and Goran Dragic.
Analytics advantage for Wednesday
Jonas Valanciunas will sit again for Memphis due to a concussion. A bit of good news for Memphis is the likely season debut of Jaren Jackson Jr., who has spent the season working his way back from a knee injury.
Jackson was eighth in the NBA last season with a block percentage of 5.0%, just a tad higher than Rudy Gobert, evidence he's worth rostering in all formats as he reintegrates into the Grizzlies' rotation. Jackson will almost surely be on a minutes restriction tonight, but he's also worth stashing in most fantasy formats given his potential top build big box scores.
Top players to watch on Wednesday
If you get a chance to watch a few minutes of Matisse Thybulle playing defense against Chris Paul and Devin Booker this evening, it's often a rewarding experience. Thybulle won't wow you with his offense, but the dynamic defender leads the entire league in steal percentage and even ranks 14th overall in block percentage.
For those in roto leagues in need of steals, there are few plug-and-play candidates to consider more than Thybulle.