In the NBA, no team has been depleted further than the Brooklyn Nets. Aside from the recent Kevin Durant COVID news, James Harden and a whopping seven other Nets teammates are in virus protocols on Saturday morning. As a result, the door has swung wide open for former Pepperdine basketball star Kessler Edwards to provide a major impact in fantasy basketball this weekend.
Kevin Durant COVID News
Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant now finds himself on that ever-growing list. It was reported Saturday morning that KD, who has been putting up MVP-caliber numbers recently, had officially entered the NBA’s virus protocols.
Oddly enough, Durant was already briefly placed in the NBA health and safety protocols just a couple of weeks ago. Apparently, that test turned out to be a false positive. It appears as though Durant was not so lucky this time around. He was also pulled in the middle of a game last season due to “contact tracing.” That was followed by a multi-game absence.
Kessler Edwards Fantasy Outlook Rises
The Nets could ill-afford to lose another body to health and safety protocols, let alone their best player. Brooklyn is scheduled to play on back-to-back days this weekend. A home game against the Orlando Magic on Saturday night is followed by one against the Denver Nuggets on Sunday. At the time of writing, the Nets depth chart lists just five active players who are not in virus protocol. One of them, Nicolas Claxton, has already been downgraded to doubtful for Saturday’s game with a wrist injury.
While the Nets will undoubtedly look to call up some bodies from the G-League to make it through the weekend, those players on the roster who are healthy and able to play are poised to see a massive bump in playing time. Rookie forward Kessler Edwards is one of the names to watch. The second-round draft pick has already played north of 30 minutes in each of the last two games with Kevin Durant in the lineup. Without him, the former Pepperdine basketball standout suddenly becomes one of Brooklyn’s best offensive options.
Kessler Edwards Set to Represent Pepperdine, WCC Basketball in NBA
Over the course of three seasons at Pepperdine, all Kessler Edwards did was improve. He went from being a defense-first player as a freshman to averaging nearly 18 points last year. Edwards was clearly the best player for the Waves in 2020-21. Along with his improved scoring, he averaged 6.8 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.0 steals per game. He finished out his Pepperdine basketball career with a 39.5% shooting clip from three-point range.
Most NBA draft analysts projected him as a “Three-and-D” role player at the professional level. Still, Edwards clearly can contribute in other areas as well when given the opportunity. Although he has largely been used sparingly thus far in his rookie season, Edwards has certainly impressed when called upon. He enters the weekend shooting 46.2% from beyond the arc on the season. His combined stats from the Nets’ two previous games this week included 26 points, 17 rebounds, four assists, three steals and 4-9 shooting from beyond the arc.
Stream Kessler Edwards in Fantasy Basketball this Weekend
While the Nets have been hit harder by positive virus tests than any other team, they certainly aren’t the only ones dealing with key player absences. Thus, the decision to stream Kessler Edwards in fantasy basketball this weekend is a no-brainer. He is only rostered in 26% of Yahoo leagues at the time of writing.
Managers can comfortably bank on 30-35 minutes for the former Pepperdine basketball star. For those playing in category leagues, the depleted Nets roster around him should even allow Edwards to provide quality contributions beyond three-pointers and rebounds.
Other Nets Players to Consider in Fantasy Basketball
Fantasy basketball managers can essentially consider all available Nets players as potential weekend streamer options. Right now, this includes Patty Mills (58% rostered on Yahoo), Blake Griffin (29%), Cameron Thomas (8%) and Day’Ron Sharpe (0%).