NBA Barometer: Kanter Back in Starting Five
NBA Barometer: Kanter Back in Starting Five

This article is part of our NBA Barometer series.

GUARDS

Gaining Value

Patrick Beverley, LAC: Beverley has parlayed Danilo Gallinari's into a first-unit role, and he's thriving with the increased opportunity– albeit over a small sample. The veteran guard is part of the small-ball lineup coach Doc Rivers has opted to go with in Gallinari's absence, which has resulted in 18- and 16-point tallies for Beverley over an average of 38.5 minutes in the last two games. Beverley isn't afraid to fire away when he's on the floor, as evidenced by his combined 17 attempts from distance. With Gallinari set to miss at least one more game, Beverley could still find himself in possession of a first-unit role after Gallinari returns.

Tyreke Evans, IND: Evans hasn't looked like himself for much of this season, but he may finally be hitting his stride. The veteran wing has now rattled off six straight double-digit scoring efforts – his longest stretch of the season – and he's accomplished the feat in 10 of his last 12 games overall. Career-low 39.5 percent shooting had largely been to blame for Evans' struggles, but he's hitting nearly 50 percent of his field goals over the last six contests.
ALSO GAINING VALUE: Allonzo Trier, NYK; Terrance Ferguson, OKC; Dion Waiters, MIA; Cameron Payne, CLE

Losing Value

Reggie Jackson, DET: Jackson's season numbers don't yet reflect a sharp decline, but he's down to just 4.1 assists per game on the season – his lowest figure since the 2013-14 campaign when he was a backup in Oklahoma City. Jackson has also scored in single digits in three straight games and has posted no more than 13 points in the last seven, overall. The veteran is shooting an unsightly 30.0 percent (24-for-80) over that stretch, and until he gets that aspect of his game corrected, his stock will continue to plummet.

FORWARDS

Gaining Value

Marvin Bagley, SAC: Bagley hasn't missed a beat in his return from a multi-game absence due to a knee injury. The rookie is back to averaging minutes in the mid-20s in his bench role, and he generated a 22-point, 11-rebound double-double over 38 minutes in a Tuesday spot start for Nemanja Bjelica (back). It's also worth noting that Bagley has regularly been outpacing Bjelica in both minutes and production. Irrespective of where he's slotted on the depth chart, Bagley's averages of 13.4 points and 7.6 rebounds over his last seven games have him trending in the right direction.

DeAndre' Bembry, ATL: Taurean Prince has returned from his extended absence due to an ankle injury, and he's off his minutes restriction as of two games ago. However, his playing time still remains capped, to an extent, as Bembry has kept a hold of the starting small forward job despite Prince's availability. Bembry has churned out nine double-digit scoring efforts over the last 10 game, while adding 4.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.6 steals.

ALSO GAINING VALUE: Derrick Jones, Jr., MIA; Norman Powell, TOR

Losing Value

Taurean Prince, ATL: As noted above, Prince is back and apparently at full health after a long absence, but he's been unable to retake his starting job for the moment. Bembry's production continues to be solid, and Prince may therefore continue to be limited, especially once Kevin Huerter returns from a minor back injury. The Athletic also reported Monday that Prince has been discussed in trade talks as the Feb. 7 deadline approaches.

CENTERS

Gaining Value

Enes Kanter, NYK: Luke Kornet is slated to miss multiple weeks with an ankle injury, which vaults Kanter back into the lineup at center for the time being. The veteran is clearly a more consistent scorer and rebounder than Kornet, and he's been thriving despite his bench demotion. Kanter has four double-doubles in his last five games, all while logging 29 minutes or fewer in each contest. With his playing time expected to creep closer 30 minutes or more while he remains on the first unit, the big man should return to being a nightly double-double threat.

Robin Lopez and Bobby Portis, Bulls: Portis typically plays more power forward than center. However, he's listed together with Lopez due to coach Jim Boylan's apparent plan to deploy a combination of the two to fill in for Wendell Carter (thumb), who won't be back until mid-March, at the earliest.

Lopez has averaged 10.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists across 21.3 minutes in the first three full games Carter has missed. Meanwhile, Portis has contributed 15.3 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists over 23.7 minutes during that same span. Neither player has sky-high upside for one of the league's worst teams, but Portis, in particular, is worth monitoring in the event Chicago deals Lopez before the trade deadline.

ALSO GAINING VALUE: Kenneth Faried, HOU; Ante Zizic, CLE

Losing Value

Hassan Whiteside, MIA: Whiteside has the talent to bounce back from his current downturn, but the question is whether he'll get the opportunity. Bam Adebayo continues to make inroads into Whiteside's playing time, as the latter hasn't logged more than 26 minutes in any of the last seven games. The big man is also exhibiting reduced offensive usage. He's put up six or fewer shot attempts in three straight, and in four of the last seven games overall.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Juan Carlos Blanco
Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for over 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, NFL, CFL and Arena Football for Rotowire.com, including serving as the beat writer for teams in multiple sports. He has previously written for KFFL.com and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports as well.
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