By Juan Blanco, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
Terry Rozier, BOS: Rozier is maximizing his extended run as the starting point guard, which could well extend through the balance of the regular season at this point with Kyrie Irving undergoing a knee procedure over the weekend. The third-year guard is filling out the stat sheet and has been particularly impressive over the past five games, averaging 18.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.8 steals across 33.8 minutes while shooting an impressive 42.5 percent from distance.
Elfrid Payton, PHO: Payton started his Suns’ career like a house afire, but the flames have since been doused. The fourth-year point guard is averaging just 7.4 points, 4.6 assists and 2.0 rebounds over 24.4 minutes in the past five games, a stretch during which he’s posted a trio of single-digit scoring tallies. Given Phoenix’s complete lack of playoff aspirations, it’s quite likely his playing time fluctuates over the balance of the season, as well.
Donovan Mitchell, UTA: Mitchell has pretty much been hot all season in what has been a stellar rookie campaign, but he’s actually kicked it up a notch as the Jazz continue their playoff push. The 21-year-old has taken between 21 and a whopping 36 shot attempts in five of the past six games. He’s also averaging 26.8 points, 4.0 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 2.4 steals across 38.2 minutes over the past five contests, and given his usage rate, he’s poised to continue churning out elevated production across the stat sheet as Utah battles for a postseason spot.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, SAC: Bogdanovic has recently been bothered by a hamstring issue, but he’s been struggling with his shot for an extended period. The 25-year-old is draining just 34.6 percent of his shots over the past 10 games, including 32.0 percent from distance. He’s putting up enough volume to still get to double digits in the scoring column on most nights, but the reality is that he’s been outplayed by Buddy Hield off the bench more often than not.
Maurice Harkless, POR: It’s hard to say where it came from, but Harkless is undeniably in the midst of his best offensive stretch of the season. The sixth-year wing has five double-digit scoring efforts in the past six games and is shooting a blistering 67.5 percent from the field over the past five. He’s even put up double-digit shot attempts three times during that stretch, a relative rarity in an offense that features the high-usage trio of Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic. Whether this keeps up is difficult to predict, but Harkless’ recent play is a tangible reminder that he’s capable of contributing when called upon.
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Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, CHA: MKG simply isn’t doing anything particularly well this season, as even his normally stout rebound numbers have taken a tumble from last season’s 7.0 per game to a career-low 4.2. After coming out of the All-Star break hot, by his standards, with back-to-back double-digit scoring tallies, Kidd-Gilchrist has been held scoreless or in single digits in 12 of the subsequent 14 contests. With his assists, steals and blocks also down over last year’s figures, he isn’t coming close to making up for the offensive shortfall elsewhere, either.
James Johnson, MIA: Johnson has been a bit of a disappointment overall this season after setting expectations with a career-high 12.8 points per game in 2016-17, but he’s finally begun showing some consistency during the most critical juncture of the season for the playoff-hopeful Heat. Johnson has a pair of 20-point efforts and one 30-point contribution in March, and he’s averaging 18.0 points (on 63.4 percent shooting, including 61.5 percent from distance), 7.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists over 32.8 minutes in the past four games. Just as encouraging is the fact he’s taking two more shot attempts per game over his season average of 8.3 during that span, and his level of usage should remain similarly elevated as Miami fights to stay in the postseason conversation in the East.
Carmelo Anthony, OKC: Anthony looks like a shell of his former self at this point, and whether that’s a function of having to share the ball with Russell Westbrook and Paul George or his own downturn is up for debate. What is crystal clear is that it’s become increasingly difficult to count on him on a game-to-game basis, with the past five contests serving as a fitting example. Anthony has a trio of single-digit scoring tallies and sub-30-percent shooting efforts during that span, and he’s 0 for 9 from 3-point range over the last pair of contests. He’s still capable of the occasional 20-point effort, but those seem to be fewer and farther between.
Steven Adams, OKC: Adams has enjoyed an uptick across the board this season, but he’s turned it back up a notch recently. The big man has rattled off three double-doubles in the past five after a two-game downturn with single-digit point tallies and is averaging 19.8 points, 10.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.4 blocks across 35.0 minutes during that stretch. Moreover, he’s draining 62.5 percent of his 12.4 attempts during that sample, with the latter figure a significant bump over the 9.5 field-goal attempts per game he’s averaged on the season.
Willie Cauley-Stein, SAC: Cauley-Stein showed some signs of life in his most recent contest with 14 points against the Celtics, but he’d put up between two and nine points in five of the six games prior. The big man is averaging just 8.9 points (on 38.3 percent shooting), 6.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.0 blocks and 1.0 steals over that seven-contest stretch, and the 8.6 shot attempts he’s taking during that span are almost two fewer than his 10.4 season-long figure. With reduced usage and spotty shooting for an extended period, Cauley-Stein is heading in the wrong direction during the most critical time of the fantasy season.