Basketball Pickups: Trayce Jackson-Davis prospers in Charlotte

With Jonathan Kuminga ruled out with a sore left knee, Wednesday’s game between Golden State and Orlando was supposed to be the first time since March 9 that Draymond Green and rookie Trayce Jackson-Davis (41%) would start alongside each other. Unfortunately, they didn’t share the court very long in that one, as Green was ejected less than four minutes in. There were no such issues on Friday in Charlotte, and the rookie performed well in his second game filling in for Kuminga.

Shooting 9-of-13 from the field, Jackson-Davis finished Friday’s 115-97 victory with 18 points, eight rebounds, one assist, two steals, and three blocked shots in 31 minutes. While his season-long fantasy value remains low, TJD has shined recently. Over the past two weeks, he has averaged 11.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 steals, and 2.1 blocks in 27.3 minutes, which has been good for top 40 per-game value in 9-cat formats, according to Basketball Monster.

The most significant concern for fantasy managers is the free-throw percentage, as Jackson-Davis has only made 46.7% of his attempts over the past two weeks. However, he’s also shooting 70.4% from the field, and the overall production has been too good to pass up, especially with Kuminga sidelined. Jackson-Davis will remain in the rotation once the Warriors get their starting forward back, as he jumped Kevon Looney in the rotation at the beginning of the month. With Golden State playing once more in Week 22 and four times in Week 23, now is an excellent time to add Jackson-Davis if available.

Let’s look at a few more of Friday’s top pickups:

Jalen Suggs (54%)

Suggs is over the 50% rostered threshold that we prefer to stick to, but he makes the cut due to the schedule. Orlando, which lost by three to the Clippers on Friday, hosts the Grizzlies on Saturday. Back-to-backs have not been an issue for Suggs, who was last sidelined for a portion of one on February 14 against the Knicks. He played 33 minutes against the Clippers, finishing with 15 points, one rebound, five assists, three steals, two blocks, and two 3-pointers. If Suggs can put up those defensive numbers against the Clippers, fantasy managers have to like his chances of providing similar value against the shorthanded Grizzlies.

Mitchell Robinson (45%)

Robinson appeared to be a bit hobbled during the overtime period of Friday’s loss to San Antonio, as he returned to the game after Isaiah Hartenstein fouled out. However, Mitch fought through the discomfort and ultimately played 20 minutes, finishing with seven points and 12 rebounds. The rebounding and defensive potential make Robinson a solid fantasy option in standard leagues, provided his ankle does not flare up.

Marvin Bagley III (37%) and Corey Kispert (28%)

Washington had a difficult night offensively, scoring 87 points on 40.9% shooting in a nine-point loss to the Pistons. However, Bagley and Kispert shot the ball well, going a combined 16-of-21 from the field. Bagley, back in the starting lineup due to Richaun Holmes’ absence, finished with 15 points, 11 rebounds, one assist, two blocks, and one 3-pointer in 27 minutes. As for Kispert, he scored a team-high 23 points with six rebounds and five 3-pointers in 38 minutes. These two players already provide tangible fantasy value, which should not change as the Wizards play out the string.

Keon Ellis (18%)

With Kevin Huerter (shoulder) set to undergo season-ending surgery, the last thing Sacramento needed was another injury to a rotation player. Unfortunately, that happened during the team’s loss to Dallas, with Malik Monk exiting with an apparent knee injury. More will be learned about the severity of the injury in the coming days, but now is an excellent time to add Ells. He finished the 107-103 loss to the Mavs with 16 points, six rebounds, one assist, three steals, and four 3-pointers in 38 minutes. Kessler Edwards appears to be next in the pecking order, and he only played 11 minutes on Friday.

Georges Niang (14%)

Niang went off against his former team, shooting 10-of-14 from the field and scoring 25 points with one blocked shot and five 3-pointers in Cleveland’s three-point win over Philadelphia. Of course, it would have been nice to get some rebounding production, but the points, 3-pointers, and minutes stand out. Caris LeVert being out did boost Niang’s playing time, but he has played at least 24 minutes in 14 straight games. While LeVert was out, the Cavaliers welcomed Donovan Mitchell back, so Niang cracking the 30-minute threshold is especially promising.

Cason Wallace (5%), Isaiah Joe (3%) and Aaron Wiggins (1%)

Oklahoma City was again without Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, but it didn’t matter as they outclassed the Suns at home. Wiggins replaced SGA in the starting lineup, playing 26 minutes and finishing with 15 points, four rebounds, two assists, one steal, and three 3-pointers. Wallace (16/4/3/0/1 with four 3-pointers in 32 minutes) and Joe (14/3/1 with four 3-pointers in 22 minutes) also provided solid value for the few managers who added them. Oklahoma City finishes its Week 22 slate in New York on Sunday, and Wiggins, Wallace, and Joe would all be in play for deep-league managers if Gilgeous-Alexander remains sidelined.