Welcome to Rotation Watch, where 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. Week 19 was no exception, and there were plenty of players to keep our eyes on moving forward.
I was going to list all the stars that are currently or have recently missed time, but I figured that it wouldn't be a great use of your valuable time to read 3,000 words of player names. You know what's happening. You follow the NBA. Stars are getting injured on a nightly basis, and it is leaving a lot of minutes on the floor. Ben Simmons may not play again in the regular season, so most of us are trying to shake and bake our way to a playoff spot with Shake Milton. Coby White has awoken from a dormant two months to erupt and become a fantasy stud. And now Terrence Ross is a thing again. You have to love fantasy basketball because there are surprises around every corner, and you have to learn to roll with the punches if you want to make it all the way and grab that championship.
So without further ado, let's start searching those box scores from Feb. 24 to March 1 and look for those hidden gems that are grabbing the minutes to help your fantasy basketball team achieve the ultimate prize, a championship.Editor's Note: Love the strategy of season-long fantasy sports? Live for the short term gratification of DFS? Try Weekly Fantasy Sports on OwnersBox - a new weekly DFS platform. Sign up today for a FREE $50 Deposit Match. Offer expires Thursday night! Sign Up Now!
NBA Playing Time Changes
Coby White (PG - Chicago Bulls)
Season: 25.1 Minutes per Game
Week 19: 32.0 Minutes per Game
Chicago Bulls guard Coby White has shown flashes of brilliance in his rookie season. However, since the calendar turned to 2020, he was struggling in many parts of his game. The first-year point guard averaged 10.5 points per game, 37.0 percent shooting from the field, 31.7 percent from the three-point line, and 69.2 percent from the free-throw line in 21 games from Jan 1. to the All-Star break. Fortunately for fantasy managers, it seems that the break has done White a world of good.
— The Association on FOX (@TheAssociation) March 2, 2020
In the five games since the All-Star game took place on his home court, the former North Carolina Tarheel is averaging 27.0 points on 50.6 percent shooting, 4.4 made threes on 50.0 percent shooting from behind the arc, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.0 steals. This kind of production is why the Bulls took a chance on him with the seventh overall pick in the 2019 draft. The recent scoring binge made White the first rookie in NBA history to come off the bench and score 30-plus points in three straight games.
This stretch could be enough to convince the Bulls that White is ready to drive the car all by himself. He is getting a lot of minutes and making good use of them. If he is on your waiver wire, White is well worth the roster spot down the home stretch.
Shake Milton (PG, SG - Philadelphia 76ers)
Season: 17.9 Minutes per Game
Week 19: 33.8 Minutes per Game
The Philadelphia 76er's saw their hopes at a deep postseason run take a hit when All-Star Ben Simmons went down with a back injury. Reports suggest that Simmons could play again this season, but back injuries can be scary, and it's likely that the 76ers won't want to rush him back. Enter Shake Milton. The second-year guard out of SMU has been causing quite a ruckus in the NBA world since Simmons went down and should continue to do so while his Australian teammate remains on the sideline.
Across his four games in Week 19, Milton averaged 21.3 points, 4.8 assists, 3.8 rebounds, and one block in 33.8 minutes per game. He has been unconscious with his shooting as well by hitting 64.6 percent of his shots from the floor and then making 4.3 threes per game and draining them at a 73.9 percent rate. He capped off an incredible week of production with 39 points and seven three-pointers against the Clippers on Sunday while setting the NBA record with 14 consecutive made three-point shots.
Is this production sustainable at all? No. Is it upsetting that you missed out on it? Yes. Should we fix that? Of course! As of Sunday night, Milton's ownership percentage was 40 percent in Yahoo leagues. Ben Simmons isn't entering the starting lineup any time soon, and Milton has certainly done enough to continue to earn this amount of playing time. Grab him while you still can and see if the second-round pick can carry you through the playoffs to fantasy glory.
Terrence Ross (SG, SF - Orlando Magic)
Season: 27.1 Minutes per Game
Week 19: 30.5 Minutes per Game
Terrence Ross has had a steady year for fantasy owners but still sits at a 61 ownership percent as we head into the final full month of the regular season. He has been getting stronger as the year goes along. His minutes and points have climbed every month this year, and Ross ended February with a season-high 33-point performance against the Minnesota Timberwolves last Friday.
Ross has been a steady scorer in his fourth season with Orlando and took it up a notch in Week 19. Across four games, the eight-year veteran averaged 22.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, two assists, and one steal in 30.5 minutes, while the Magic went 3-1 in those games to strengthen their grip on a playoff spot.
Ross doesn't get the attention of Aaron Gordon or Nikola Vucevic, but his steady contribution has made him one of the better values in fantasy basketball for the 2019-2020 season. His rising minutes and points trend has been happening for five months now, and if you add him for month number six, he may help you grab a playoff spot and turn you into a championship contender at precisely the right time.
Mikal Bridges (SG, SF - Phoenix Suns)
Season: 26.4 Minutes per Game
Week 19: 36.3 Minutes per Game
Mikal Bridges was a solid contributor for managers in deeper leagues during Week 19, and it was due to almost 10 extra minutes of playing time per contest. Kelly Oubre Jr. is out with a knee injury, and his open spot has let Bridges absorb a lot of the vacant minutes.
The former-Villanova Wildcat put those extra minutes to good use by averaging 11.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.3 steals, 2.3 made threes, and 1.0 blocks per game. He contributed in all of the counting statistics, and the best part about it was his efficiency. He made 56.7 percent of his shots and drained 50 percent of his three-point attempts. If he can keep up this amount of production, there is a good chance that those newfound minutes won't be going anywhere.
The 10th overall pick has a great opportunity in front of him, and if he can continue to take advantage of it, then he will be a quiet addition to you playoff squad down the stretch.
Gorgui Dieng (PF, C - Memphis Grizzlies)
Season: 17.4 Minutes per Game
Since joining MEM: 19.7 Minutes per Game
Week 19: 22.8 Minutes per Game
Gorgui Dieng was mentioned in Rotation Watch earlier this year when Karl-Anthony Towns first went down for the Minnesota Timberwolves. He acquitted himself well and reminded us all that he has the tools to be a plus asset in fantasy basketball. Minnesota traded him at the deadline to the Memphis Grizzlies, and he is getting more playing time in Tennessee.
Head Coach Taylor Jenkins gave Dieng 22.8 minutes per game in Week 19, and the center from Senegal rewarded his trust with 7.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 1.0 steal over four games. Dieng isn't going to make a difference in shallower leagues or be a sneaky play in any daily fantasy contests, but in a 16-team league, those numbers will do quite nicely.
Jaren Jackson and Brandon Clarke are still a while away from returning. Although most of the production is going to the rest of the Grizzlies young talent, that doesn't mean that Dieng can't help you over the final few weeks of the fantasy basketball regular season. If you are still playing and paying attention, every little bit of help is useful, and Dieng's minutes don't seem to be going anywhere.