Jaren Jackson Jr. came off the bench to sink his first shot of the season on Wednesday night in a loss to the Clippers. That first shot was the lone successful 3-pointer the gifted big man made in his season debut, and it was a promising night for Jackson in his first action since last August in the bubble.
Jackson was productive in four-minute stints last night, a limitation that will slowly turn into a full-time starting gig in the coming games, per the coaching staff. The most impressive metric of the night was assuredly Jackson's four blocks, an extremely valuable element he brings to the floor for both the Grizzlies and for fantasy managers. The strongest offensive indicator might have been Jackson's six free throw attempts, the most attempted by a Memphis player last night and a sign of his energy around the basket.
Fantasy investors will want to rush to the wire to acquire Jackson, as he was able to tally 15 points and eight rebounds in just 18 minutes of burn on Wednesday and yet is rostered in only 54.1% of ESPN leagues.
Undrafted out of Syracuse a few years ago, Oshae Brissett played his way onto the Pacers this season, thanks to some brilliant play for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the G League. With the Pacers down multiple centers last night, Brissett delivered a big game that included 23 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks and his first career double-double. It's possible Brissett fades deep into the rotation once Domantas Sabonis is back, but it's good to know he can produce when called on.
The Thunder endured a 12th straight loss last night, the team's longest losing streak since 2008. With top players Al Horford and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander sidelined, young talent on Oklahoma City, such as Darius Bazley and Svi Mykhailiuk turned in strong lines last night. Bazley lofted a season-high 25 shots en route to 26 points, while Mykhailiuk tallied 20 points and nine rebounds and earned a positive net rating in the outing.
With the Clippers resting several starters, second-year wing Terance Mann stepped up with 19 points and 13 combined assists and rebounds in a win over the Grizzlies. Mann could continue to produce relevant lines for as long as Kawhi Leonard is out. Luke Kennard also enjoyed a big line for the Clippers, tallying 28 points. Whenever the Clippers rest George and Leonard at the same time, Kennard can become a solid source of scoring.
Injuries of note
Analytics advantage for Thursday
Undrafted out of Xavier, Naji Marshall signed a two-way contract with New Orleans in December and waited until April to earn meaningful work in the rotation. With Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Josh Hart slated to miss tonight's tilt against the Magic due to injury, Marshall is likely to play an important role in the rotation.
Looking into the numbers, Marshall has produced 4.6 more DraftKings points per 36 minutes and his usage has spiked by 3.9% whenever Alexander-Walker and Hart have been off the floor this season.
Top players to watch on Thursday
The Brow is back!
Lakers star Anthony Davis says he will make his return from a nine-week absence tonight against the Dallas Mavericks. Lakers coach Frank Vogel said Davis will start against the Mavericks and his playing time will be limited to the 15-minute range for the first two games he plays. Even with the restrictions in place, all eyes are on how Davis looks tonight.