Rookie/Sophomore Report




 



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It's Wednesday, which means it's time for another edition of the Rookie/Sophomore Report. Among the players featured this week are the early favorite for Rookie of the Year, a Knicks guard deserving of a look, and another name in what has been a jumbled Thunder rotation.

Cavaliers' Mobley returns to action

After missing four games due to a right elbow injury, Evan Mobley made his return to action Saturday night in the Cavaliers' win over the Magic. Fantasy managers who may have wondered if the rookie was going to be in line for a minutes restriction had to be pleased, as Mobley logged 33 minutes and posted a line of 13 points, nine rebounds, three assists, four blocks (tying a career-high) and two 3-pointers. Two nights later, he followed that up with 12 points, seven rebounds, two assists, one steal, and two blocked shots in an 18-point win over the Mavericks in Dallas. The highest-ranked fantasy rookie, Mobley is threatening top-50 status in 9-cat formats (58th overall, per Basketball Monster). And there isn't much change in 8-cat (punting turnovers) either, as he's 57th.

Averaging of 14.4 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.9 steals, 1.7 blocks, 0.6 3-pointers and 1.9 turnovers per game, Mobley is rostered in 92% of Yahoo leagues. For the managers who don't have him, you'll likely have to offer up a king's ransom in order to get him via trade. Dynasty league managers who have Mobley should be thrilled, as he's looked every bit the future franchise cornerstone that the Cavaliers hoped for when they drafted him. So long as Mobley stays healthy, the partnership between he and Jarrett Allen should only continue to flourish.

For those interested in betting odds, PointsBet still has the 7-footer out of USC installed as its favorite to win Rookie of the Year, giving Mobley +200 odds to win the award. Right behind Mobley are Scottie Barnes (+225) and Cade Cunningham (+250), with there being a clear separation between the top three and the rest of the pack (Jalen Green is fourth, at +1000).

Now's the time to pick up Quickley

Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau made a move earlier this week that, despite the numbers backing up his decision, caught many by surprise. Offseason signing Kemba Walker was out of the rotation, with Alec Burks being moved into the starting point guard role. While Walker's offense has been subpar, Thibodeau cited defense as a big reason why the change was made. With Walker, Derrick Rose and Immanuel Quickley in the fold, the Knicks had three small point guards in the rotation. And given Walker's defensive issues (see what happened when he was switched onto Devin Booker on Friday), that wasn't going to work.

So where does that leave Quickley? In a better position than he was a week ago, even with Rose having returned from a sprained right ankle. In the two games since the change Quickley has played 31 and 38 minutes respectively, accounting for averages of 10.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 0.5 steals and 1.5 3-pointers. The negative has been his shooting, as Quickley shot a combined 8-of-23 from the field (3-of-12 3-pointers) in games against the Hawks and Nets. That being said, he's worth adding due to the rotation change. If Quickley continues to play 30 minutes (or more) per night, he'll have a shot at putting up solid enough numbers to counter the pedestrian field goal percentage (40.3% for the season).

What should we do with Sengun?

With Daniel Theis seemingly out of the rotation, as he has been a DNP-CD in each of the Rockets' last three games, those who have Alperen Sengun rostered may have been thinking happy thoughts. With the rookie having shown positive signs in backup minutes thus far, why wouldn't he be in line for an increase in playing time? Stephen Silas had other ideas apparently, as Sengun has come off the bench in each of the last three games, playing no more than 17 minutes in any of them. During this stretch, he's averaged 7.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.7 blocks and 0.7 3-pointers in 15.2 minutes per game, while shooting 61.5% from the field and 57.1% from the foul line.

Eric Gordon was moved into the starting lineup for the first of those three games (and has stuck), with Garrison Mathews filling the void that came about when Jalen Green went down with a left hamstring injury. So, what should those who have Sengun rostered (37% in Yahoo leagues) do with the rookie center? It all comes down to who's available on the waiver wire.

If your team is in dire need of production and has better center-eligible options, it's time to cut bait. But if you can afford to hold onto Sengun for a bit, in hopes that he'll see an increase in minutes down the line, there's no problem with doing that either. And given the fact that the aforementioned Green is still rostered in 72% of Yahoo leagues despite being ranked outside of the top-250 in 9-cat, there's no lack of managers who can afford to wait on Sengun, apparently.

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Warriors' Wiseman continues to make incremental strides

Earlier this week the Warriors announced that James Wiseman and Klay Thompson were being sent down to their G League affiliate in Santa Cruz. But there was an important distinction to be made here. While Thompson, who hasn't played in over two years due to ACL and Achilles tendon tears, has been cleared for 5-on-5 activity, that is not the case for Wiseman. Still working his way back from a torn meniscus, the second-year center out of Memphis has only been cleared for individual drills. Wiseman, who's rostered in 54% of Yahoo leagues, is still without a timeline for return.

As one would expect of a player who appeared in just three college games and had the entire pre-draft process thrown for a loop due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wiseman did not have a necessarily smooth rookie season. Appearing in 39 games before having his season come to a premature end in April, he averaged 11.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.3 steals, and 0.9 blocks in 21.4 minutes, shooting 51.9% from the field and 62.8% from the foul line. Wiseman wasn't even a top-250 player last season, so fantasy managers will need to keep their expectations in check once he's cleared to return. Hopefully, he'll have rounded into form ahead of fantasy playoff time.

Nuggets' Hyland out due to health & safety protocols

Having provided top-25 value in 9-cat formats over the last week, Bones Hyland had the look of a rookie who should be added in standard leagues. Denver having been hit hard by injuries opened the door for him to get up more shots, and he knocked them down at a very good clip. Unfortunately, Hyland won't have the opportunity to build on that momentum just yet, as he and Austin Rivers have been sidelined due to health and safety protocols. He's looking at an absence that could last ten days, which is brutal news for a Nuggets team that's lacking scoring in the backcourt, and the fantasy managers who took the plunge and picked him up. Hyland is rostered in just 5% of Yahoo leagues, so he's out there for those who can afford to stash him in an IL+ spot. But if not, it may be a little while before we're back to discussing Bones as a potential fantasy asset.

Is OKC's Mann worthy of a look?

Oklahoma City's rotation has been discussed ad nauseam in fantasy circles, if only because it's been incredibly difficult to figure out beyond Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Luguentz Dort, and Josh Giddey. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl showed some signs recently, but he isn't a must-have option by any stretch of the imagination. Another rookie to track is Tre Mann, who had the best game of his career in Monday's loss to the Rockets. Playing 30 minutes off the bench, he recorded a line of 17 points (5-of-12 FGs, 6-of-6 FTs), seven rebounds, one assist, two steals, one blocked shot, and one 3-pointer.

The good news here is that the Thunder consider it a priority to get Mann, who recently returned from a sprained right ankle that sidelined him for four games, more playing time. Will he play 30 minutes on a nightly basis? That remains to be seen, but it's quite clear that he'll be in the rotation. This makes him worth tracking, and one couldn't blame deep-league managers if they wanted to take the plunge right now.

"He is coming along, gaining confidence. We have shuttled him back and forth between the Blue - it is by design," Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said recently. "But it doesn't make it any easier for him with the change of scenery, change of role. Like I said the other night, we're going to give him a little bit of a sustained look here because we kinda what to check in with him and see where he's at. Obviously tonight, he got it going scoring-wise but he also was on the glass and defended well. His closeouts were strong."

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