How do you decide who is most deserving of the lead between these two stellar performances?:
- Player A – 25 points, 18 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 block, 10-15 FGs
- Player B – 22 points, 14 rebounds, 10 blocks, 10-14 FGs
I’m going to give the nod to the player who posted his gaudy stats in a winning effort and that would be Player A, also known as Detroit center, Andre Drummond. The Pistons asked a lot from their franchise big man, and he responded with 39 minutes of terrific play that helped lead his team to a win over the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers. Drummond was a +17 in a five point win, and even made the Cavs pay when they intentionally fouled him in the fourth quarter. After starting 1-4 from the line, AD made four of his last five to help seal the deal. It was a great overall performance and at this point the only thing fantasy owners need to fear is this heavy workload catching up to him later in the season. But at only 22 years old, there’s no reason why Drummond can’t make 2015-2016 his career campaign.
Player B is Miami Heat center, Hassan Whiteside. In just his 77th career game, Whiteside treated fantasy owners to his second points/boards/blocks triple-double. Unfortunately it was in a losing effort to the visiting Timberwolves, and was accompanied by four turnovers and a 2-9 mark from the charity stripe. Despite the sub-par free throw shooting (which was a bugaboo coming into the season), Hassan is providing first round returns and very likely earning himself a max contract when he hits free agency in the summer of 2016. Similar to Andre Drummond, there are no legitimate threats to Whiteside’s value other than injury, so it’s a “sit back and enjoy the ride” opportunity for his owners.
Honorable mention goes to Brooklyn’s pivot, Brook Lopez, who wasn’t too shabby himself on Tuesday night, dropping a 24/10/1/1/3 line in a two point win over the visiting Hawks. BroLo only turned the ball over once in 35 minutes and made 11-21 from the floor against a reasonably stout Atlanta front line. He may not be posting the monster lines like Whiteside and Drummond, but he’s chugging along as a third round per-game value in 9-cat leagues which is likely providing his owners with a solid return on their draft day investment.
Let’s take a look at what else shook down on a highly entertaining seven-game Tuesday evening…
Otto Porter – Gave his owners some nice across-the-board production with a 19/2/4/3/1 line, made even sweeter by shooting 7-11 from the field, 4-5 from the stripe, and dropping in a three. Otto posted a net rating of +32 in this game which gives you an idea of how positively he impacted the contest in both real life and for fantasy purposes. (It bears mentioning that he briefly left the game due to what appeared to be a leg injury, but reports suggested that he could have returned had the game not been a blowout.)
Al Horford – 18/5/2/1/2 with a stellar 8-11 FGs, including 2-3 from long distance. The Hawks went with a jumbo lineup to start with Al opening at the 4 with Tiago Splitter (12 minutes of basically nothing) manning the middle and Paul Millsap (17/6/3/1/1, two 3-pointers, but five TOs) on the wing.
Kemba Walker – Clearly in shoot-first mode, Kemba launched 21 shots, making 12 (including two triples), but only had one assist in 38 minutes of floor time. The former UCONN star added three steals and a block to his 31 points in a losing effort at Madison Square Garden.
Kristaps Porzingis – The 7’3″ rook had himself a game. 29 points, 11 rebounds, a block and two hits from beyond the arc. If those numbers don’t crank your tractor, maybe the 10-17 FGs, 7-7 FTs and only one TO in 31 minutes will do it. I think it’s safe to say at this point that the Knicks youngster is a lot better, a lot sooner than most of us thought possible. He’s already a top-80 play and he’s playing well under 30 minutes per contest. If and when he sees increased court time, his 9-cat value could very well climb into the top-60. Zinger’s got game, kids.
Reggie Jackson – Playing just 34 minutes (second fewest among the five Pistons starters), R-Jax went 23/6/12/1/0 with a three. The perfect 8-of-8 on freebies helps to offset five giveaways and 7-18 from the floor. Reggie is comfortably inside the top-100 on a per-game basis, but he’ll need to take better care of the ball and start swiping at a higher rate if he wants to force his way into the top-50.
Ersan Ilyasova – 20/6/2/1/0, four triples, 6-10 FGs, 4-4 FTs, and no TOs in 29 highly efficient minutes. This was Ilya’s best game in recent memory and we’ll probably need to see him do it a couple more times before confidently locking him into weekly lineups or dropping a more consistent player in favor of Ersan.
Danilo Gallinari – No defensive stats for the Italian Stallion, but who gives a smurf when he’s dropping 32/8/8 on 12-19 shooting, including five treys. Molto bello.
Will Barton – Don’t count out Will The Thrill as a dark horse candidate for 6th Man of the Year. He’s ballin’. 17/7/2/1/2 with three makes from the land beyond. I can count on one hand the number of bench players I’d rather own in fantasy right now, and there’s not much reason for Barton’s role to change going forward with Wilson Chanlder out for the season.
DeMarre Carroll – The Thief of the Night award goes to DeMarre “It’s Still Too Early For Christmas” Carroll. Six steals is Crowder-esque and has me wondering if it’s something about the hair? Anyways, DC finished the night’s most exciting game with 17/2/2/6/0 with three triples and only one TO. The heavy minutes (39) suggest he’s at – or darn close – to 100% healthy after battling a plantar fascia issue last week.
Kyle Lowry – The Raptors PG went head-to-head with the best player in the NBA right now and really held his own. 28/6/3/2/1, two 3-pointers and a perfect 12-12 from the FT line. Toronto fans won’t be happy with the game result, but Lowry’s fantasy owners sure will be.
Steph Curry – Curry did the usual Curry things. 37/2/9/2/0. Five treys. Stellar percentages. What more is there to say at this point? Video game numbers night after night. (He even made that pre-game shot from the tunnel again. What a show-off.)
Michael Carter-Williams – 22 minutes of assist-less point guarding with four turnovers and no defensive stats. Ouch.
Greg Monroe – 4/5/4/0/1 with 1-6 FGs and 2-4 from the FT line. Not Moose’s best work of the season.
Marvin Williams – Ejected following a flagrant foul-2 (he elbowed Lou Amundson in the face, so it was deserved), Marv wasn’t exactly lighting it up prior to that point. In 30 uninspiring minutes, he managed only two points on 1-4 shooting with one rebound, assist, steal and block. Keep an eye on the news feed to see if a suspension is forthcoming.
Nicolas Batum – I almost made another category worse than “The Bad” just for Batum. In what should have been plenty of opportunity to post fantasy goodies against the Knickerbockers, Nic used his 35 minutes to miss eight of nine shots, provide no assists, and toss up goose eggs in both the steals and blocks columns. Turrible. Just turrible.
Nemanja Bjelica – Missed all seven shots from the floor (five of which came from behind the arc) and saw only 16 minutes of run as a result. He blocked a pair of shots and pulled down four rebounds, but he was mostly awful. Better nights lie ahead and he’s still the first bench big for the Wolves.
Chris Bosh – I’m not sure if there was a glitch in the matrix or if this is actually accurate, but Bosh was a -36 net rating tonight for the Heat while the only other starter in the negative was Dwyane Wade at -2. I didn’t see the game but Bosh must’ve played the entire fourth quarter when Miami was outscored 41-22 and gave away a very winnable game at home. Bosh’s rating actually does make sense when you see that he missed all five attempts from long distance, had no assists or steals, and failed to get to the free throw line (the fourth time that’s happened this year). No bueno.
Dennis Schroder – In a spot start for the injured Jeff Teague, Schroder shot only 3-11 from the field, connected on only one of four 3-pointers, and turned the ball over three times. It wasn’t all bad for the youngster though – 10 dimes and five boards helped to salvage his evening, and if Teague needs to miss more time, owners can expect Schroder to have better nights than this going forward.
Thaddeus Young – Fives steals to go along with 16 points and 11 rebounds will have Thad’s owners smiling. No assists, blocks or threes keeps this line from being a real dandy though. On a per-game basis, Young is a top-50 asset and nothing in his stat set looks unsustainable through the first 11 games.
Robin Lopez – Saw only 18 minutes against the Hornets while none of the other four starters saw fewer than 31. Something is up here as RoLo only got 14 minutes of run in his last game. If this becomes a trend, Sideshow Bob could find himself swimming in a lot of free agent pools.
LeBron James – Looking only at the box score, the self-proclaimed “King” had a pretty nice night against the Pistons. He went for 30 points and nailed four triples, shooting over 50% from the field and 4-5 from the FT line. However, I watched this game start-to-finish and I can’t recall a time when LBJ was such a ball-stopper on offense and so disinterested on defense. Three dimes to four turnovers, plus no defensive stats confirm what I saw with my own two eyes and it was a really bad floor game for LeBron, despite the 30-burger. He was one of the main reasons the Cavs lost on Tuesday, but I doubt you’ll hear many (if any) of the major media outlets suggest that.
Karl-Anthony Towns – The youngster had his hands full with the aforementioned Hassan Whiteside. Despite the block party thrown in South Beach, KAT went for 14 & 14 with a pair of steals and a swat. Not his best game, but it could have been a lot worse, especially considering he only saw 26 minutes of action.
Anthony Davis – Ugh. Another early exit for Brow as he left with a sore shoulder after only six minutes of action. The last point of contact he had was setting a screen and it looked totally harmless, so I’m not exactly sure what happened to send him to the showers before everyone else. There’s nothing owners can do but cross their fingers and hope it’s a short-term deal. Anyone who took Davis over Chef Curry with the top pick is kicking themselves a little bit harder with each passing day.
Ryan Anderson – Went for 24 & 6 in the absence of Brow, but what I found to be “noteworthy” was the fact that Ryno made 10 field goals, only one of which was a three ball. He needs to be connecting from deep to continue posting mid-round value since his defensive contributions are few and far between.
Festus Ezeli – A move to the bench didn’t make much difference at all to Festus as he still provided the defensive statistical goodness. Four blocks and two steals to go along with 8 & 6 in only 22 minutes…fantasy owners will take it regardless of whether it’s coming with the starters or the second unit.
OPPORTUNITY IS EVERYTHING
Players who saw over 36 minutes of floor time on Tuesday:
Jerryd Bayless (37), Joe Johnson (39), Kemba Walker (38), Carmelo Anthony (37), Aaron Afflalo (36), LeBron James (40), J.R. Smith (36), Marcus Morris (36), Andre Drummond (39), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (38), Goran Dragic (36), Danilo Gallinari (37), Will Barton (37), Eric Gordon (38), Ish Smith (38), DeMarre Carroll (39), Kyle Lowry (39), DeMar DeRozan (39), Steph Curry (40).
That’s all she wrote for this Tuesday’s wrap-up. If you want to chat waiver pickups, DFS plays, or anything else fantasy hoops, drop me a line on Twitter @moneyballmatty. Cheers.