Welcome to Rotation Watch! Each week this article will break down who is gaining minutes around the NBA. Fantasy managers want the players that are getting the opportunity to shine, not the ones who are sitting on the bench and watching from the sidelines.
Let's talk about those trades. I love a player swap to open up some tremendous opportunities and playing time down the playoff stretch for those dormant fantasy monsters we have all been waiting for. We got Andre Drummond changing Central Division teams, Marcus Morris going from the east to the west coast, and Karl-Anthony Towns, possibly finding a suitable good-stats, bad-team partner in D'Angelo Russell. Certain situations still need to shake out, but others have already seen players take the bull by the horns and grab those extra minutes all for themselves as we head down the home stretch of the fantasy basketball season.
So without further ado, let's start searching those box scores from Feb. 3 to Feb. 9 and look for those hidden gems that are grabbing the minutes to help your fantasy basketball team achieve the ultimate prize, a championship.
NBA Playing Time Changes
Terence Davis (SG - Toronto Raptors)
Season: 17.4 Minutes per Game
Week 16: 27.3 Minutes per Game
The Toronto Raptors have suffered some injuries to their backcourt with Norman Powell out indefinitely and Kyle Lowry on the injury report with a neck injury. Those injuries have allowed rookie guard Terence Davis the chance to grab some minutes and jump onto the fantasy basketball radar with some outstanding performances in Week 16.
For the week, Davis averaged 16 points on 51.4 percent shooting, 6.3 rebounds, 3.7 made threes on 52.4 percent shooting, and 1.3 steals. Davis has reached double figures in four straight games due to getting more shots in Toronto's offense. Before Powell went out with his latest injury, Davis averaged 5.6 shots attempts per game but has seen that rocket up to 12.5 shots per game in the four games without Powell.
The unfortunate news for fans of the undrafted rookie is that the All-Star break is coming at the perfect time for his teammates to get healthy. Powell just suffered a fractured finger on Jan. 31, so he could still be sidelined on the other side of the break, but Lowry should return sooner rather than later. Again, Davis' ability to score, hit the three, and sprinkle in some counting stats in the rebounding and steals categories makes him a worthy add in 12-team leagues.
Gary Trent Jr. (SG - Portland Trail Blazers)
Season: 17.6 Minutes per Game
Week 16: 28.3 Minutes per Game
Portland Trail Blazers guard Gary Trent has been on fire recently while his teammate, Anfernee Simons, is sidelined with a concussion and could remain in the protocol through the All-Star break. Trent had sneakily overtaken Simons as the first guard off the bench in Portland and was the No. 6 shooting guard in standard ESPN leagues for Week 16.
Over the four games the sophomore guard played last week, he averaged 16.8 points on 60 percent field goal shooting, 3.8 made threes on 55.6 percent shooting, and 2.3 steals in 28.3 minutes. He was particularly impressive in his final three games of the week, where he stood out in multiple categories each night. Against the San Antonio Spurs, he had 18 points and went 6-for-7 from behind the arc. In a visit to the Utah Jazz, the shooting guard had 16 points and four steals in 38 minutes. Then Trent capped the week off with his second-highest scoring performance of the season with 22 points, five three-pointers, and four steals against the Miami Heat.
The Trail Blazers bench is thin at the best of times, and, with Simons in the concussion protocol, there is no reason that Trent should lose his role in Portland. The 2018 second-round pick is an excellent source of points, three-pointers, and steals at the moment and is worth a pickup for a team in need of those categories for the last two months of the season.
Caris Levert (SG, SF - Brooklyn Nets)
Season: 26.7 Minutes per Game
Week 16: 30.7 Minutes per Game
When Kyrie Irving sits, a Brooklyn Nets player is guaranteed a spot in the following week's Rotation Watch. This week, Caris LeVert gets the nod after his electric Week 16 performances saw him finish as a top-25 player in ESPN leagues last week. The fourth-year player showed us flashes of his potential in the 2018-19 season before an injury saw him miss time, but LeVert seems to be building some consistency and taking his game to the next level this year.
In Week 16, the first-round pick averaged 29.7 points over three games and shot 51.7 percent from the floor while making 3.7 three-pointers shooting 68.8 percent from deep, and added 6.3 rebounds to his fantasy line. He scored at least 23 points in all three games, and saved the best for last on Saturday night as he scored a career-high 37 points with a career-high six made three-pointers.
LeVert is averaging career-highs in points, three-point percentage, field goal attempts, and free throw attempts this season. His step forward is excellent news for the 69 percent of owners that already roster the 2016 lottery pick and all the more reason that it's questionable why he is available in the other 31 percent of leagues. Irving could be one more injury away from shutting it down for the year, and if you can get LeVert and his potential during the fantasy playoffs, you will be giving yourself a huge advantage.
Duncan Robinson (SF - Miami Heat)
Season: 28.9 Minutes per Game
Week 16: 37.3 Minutes per Game
For most of the season, Miami Heat forward Duncan Robinson has been a three-point specialist averaging 3.5 successful threes per game, but in Week 16, he started to sprinkle in a couple of counting stats, and that allowed him to finish as a top-15 small forward for the week.
The undrafted sophomore averaged 16.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, three assists, and 4.8 made threes in his four games last week. He scored 18 or 19 points in three of the four contests, and he was able to drain six made threes against both Portland and Sacramento on the road.
Robinson should remain a three-point specialist, but if the boost in playing time (37.3 minutes per game) in Week 16 continues, then all of his other stats will follow suit. If you require threes, then you should poach him off the waiver wire right now.
Christian Wood (PF, C - Detroit Pistons)
Season: 18.6 Minutes per Game
Week 16: 34.5 Minutes per Game
We speculated a month ago that Sekou Doumbouya would pick up some of the minutes that Blake Griffin left behind after his knee surgery. Well, Detroit Pistons forward Christian Wood had other plans as he supplanted Doumbouya as the big man to pick up Griffin's minutes. Still, things got even better at the trade deadline when the Pistons shipped out Andre Drummond and essentially told Wood to get all the points and rebounds he could want.
Over the four games the former-UNLV Rebel played last week, he averaged 20.5 points, nine rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.3 made threes and 14 field goal attempts. He was efficient when shooting the ball, with 53.6 percent of his attempts finding the basket and 47.4 percent of his three-pointers finding nothing but net. Wood was getting a little bit of playing time over his first 47 games averaging 17.3 minutes per game, but, in Week 16, his minutes, and consequently his counting stats, rose to 34.5 minutes per game.
His ownership percentage has soared over the past seven days, and it may be too little too late in most leagues. It's worth checking if he is still available in your league though, as you may stumble into a second-half player that can lead you to a fantasy basketball championship in 2020.