After news came out that Kyrie Irving had completely shut himself out to teammates and coaches during one of his infamous mood swings on the team’s trip to China, it was worth questioning whether or not this experiment would work out. He clearly had chemistry issues towards the end of his run in Cleveland and in his brief stop in Beantown.
After the point guard’s effort against the powerhouse Houston Rockets, though, it’s tough to deny that he does a tremendous job of leading the team once he’s on the court. Maybe it makes sense that Kevin Durant, when asked if he’d try to intervene during these mood swings, said he’d rather just let him be and watch him do his thing. Though the Nets suffered some heartbreaking losses early on, as Kyrie stole the stat-sheet show, he played a much more mature game this time around and led a nice team win.
His numbers took a slight hit, but as the current No. 1 player in fantasy, this line isn’t a disappointing one. Unlike the other games, Kyrie had some help along the way.
Here are some of the other significant performances from around the rest of the NBA last night:
I still default to Tayshaun Prince when I see a T. Prince in a box score, but with nights like these, it’s hard not to see Taurean supplanting Tayshaun as the new NBA Prince in my memory bank.
Six three-pointers is beautiful. After averaging a little under five attempts from deep per game in 2017 and 2018, Prince has been hitting over 40% of his 7.4 three-point attempts per game. It’s the rebounding that has been really surprising: he never averaged over five per game in Atlanta. If the current trend continues, he’s a draft-day steal.
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Start a LeVert train, LeVert train…
Wait, you mean you didn’t know that LeVert’s third cousin, Eddie LeVert, was the lead singer of The O’Jays, known for their hit disco song Love Train? The free throw numbers from this one are fluky, but he will be a high scorer all season and chips in nice assist numbers for a scoring-minded guard.
Harris led the league with a rather impressive 47.4% three-point percentage last season. This year, with almost one additional attempt per game, he’s launching at a 55.2% clip. Is this sustainable? Perhaps not. Only two guys have shot from over 50% from three over the course of a whole season in NBA history (Tim Legler, Jason Kapono), but they did it attempting only a few per game. But it’s still worth keeping an eye on.
Don’t count on Temple producing this stat line often or maybe ever again this season. He outplayed Spencer Dinwiddie in this one, but it will almost always be the other way around
For those of you who don’t know my role in the Razzball fantasy basketball community, I write the recaps of Friday and Saturday night games (I’m also big on the fantasy football side!). I don’t just write about the nights when Harden shoots an absolutely horrid percentage from beyond the arc, but that’s been the theme this season. Still dominant in iso situations no matter what he’s doing from deep.
Business as usual.
Danuel House Jr.
House’s minutes have stayed high as he recorded 31 in this one. No reason to expect his production to fall off.
HE’S SO DAMN LIKEABLE. Reliable. Consistent. Mature. Smart. Efficient. His assist numbers were a little down in this one, but he could hover around the 10 per game mark all season long.
A steal towards the end of many drafts last season, Sabonis has established himself as a formidable presence in the paint. He’ll usually get to the free throw line a couple times, too.
Oladipo’s knee played the sacrificial Lamb (what a stretch) in allowing Lamb to fill in very nicely at the 2 for at least a few months. His three-point numbers are pretty cringe-y, but if he can get them up to at least 34%, like he’s been able to do the past couple years, he’ll become a good if not great fantasy asset.
25 minutes is a nice number for Goga, although it may have been boosted because the Pacers were playing the Cavs. That said, he led all bench players in minutes and produced a nice stat line in return, with a highlight over those blocking numbers. He’s only 4% owned on Yahoo, meaning you don’t have to run and grab him now. It may be worth it if you need typical big man numbers, though Myles Turner’s return in a couple of weeks means Goga is only a temporary fix.
Warren did his best PJ Tucker impersonation, logging nearly 30 minutes but not doing much for fantasy purposes. Hold on to him though, as he has been a solid scorer and defender and will likely see a boost in stats soon after a slow start.
If you need scoring, Sexton’s a good option. If you need anything else, Sexton’s probably not a good option.
Thompson is Yahoo’s No. 28 player so far this year. He wasn’t even drafted in most formats. A nightly double-double threat, this looks like the 2016 championship-run Thompson.
This was an encouraging performance for Bledsoe, who has been underperforming so far this year. The No. 222 player in fantasy so far needs to work on his efficiency, but he upped his overall production across the board last night.
More freakish numbers from the freak, and 8-11 from the line is a plus for someone who usually shoots a much lower percentage. If he brings that number up to even 70%, as opposed to his current sub-60% clip, he’ll move into the fantasy top ten.
If he’s not hitting threes, he’s doing this. The occasional dud from Matthews makes him tough to roster when all you’re getting in return is a few threes on the occasion.
Even in the ugliest of losses, Isaac still contributed in a bunch of different categories for the lowly Magic. Love the defense and three-point numbers from the versatile rising star.
I scrutinize Markelle’s performances more than I do with maybe anyone else. I think it’s still worth holding on to him as a reserve in case he earns his stripes and becomes a more consistent producer. The potential is still there in small bursts.
Tatum sunk the game-winner over the Knicks and continued his strong all-around year. Though the defense was missing in this one, he’ll chip in steals and will always be a go-to guy for the biggest moments, making him an especially good daily play in games that will likely be competitive.
As good as Kyrie has been in Brooklyn, I can’t imagine that the Celtics are too upset with Walker’s display so far. He’s shooting the lights out from the charity stripe and raised his scoring average to over 25 a game.
You hate playing against Smart for the exact reasons we saw last night. He’s a pesky, dogged competitor rivaled only by guys like Patrick Beverley in his confidence and toughness in heated contests. He’ll chip in all over the stat sheet, and the three steals are niiiice.
Morris is the perfect guy for a tanking team, as he will bring some hope and talent to the team. Is that a compliment or an insult? That’s up to interpretation. But what is clearly apparent is that he can go over 20 points on any given night and will give you both big man numbers and shooting numbers from deep.
Robinson hit his hand on the rim and played only 16 minutes as a result, though he did re-enter the game. That said, he is a high-floor, low-ceiling big who is reminiscent of Tristan Thompson but with less upside. He’s one of the more reliable blockers in fantasy as well.
Last night, LaVine showed out. He proved that he can be the leader that a team can ride to victory in tight contests, and he had some real confident shots from deep that the Bulls trust him to fill that role. Six turnovers is rough, but he only averages around three on the year.
Carter should be 100% owned, but is hovering around the 75% mark on both Yahoo and ESPN. He’s a double-double threat every night and is playing better than where he was often drafted. The made three is like finding an extra fry at the bottom of a McDonald’s bag, coined as the sacred “bonus fry” by Jim Gaffigan.
Otto Porter Jr.
The other -ter Jr. in Chicago finally had the game that we’ve been awaiting. It took him a while to get here, and the defense is still underwhelming, but for a guy drafted as highly as he often was, a game like this is a nice sigh of relief for worried owners that bought into his first full year as a Bull.
You’ll definitely have to throw away some categories to own Drummond, but my God. There aren’t many players in NBA history that are able to go 20-20 like Drummond is night in and night out.
MVP chants rained down from the Chicago crowd in support of their former franchise centerpiece, and he delivered a performance worthy of more applause. He’s really taken kindly to this whole sixth man idea, providing scoring in bunches and additionally playing a great all-around point guard at times like he did last night. Turnovers and three-pointers make him a little hard to trust, but the scoring and assists are hard to ignore.
Jeez. Even for LeBron, this is something. He turned back the clock for an absolutely EPIC showing, going head-to-head with Luka and co. Seriously, this matchup of LeBron and AD against Luka and Kristaps is one of the best I’ve seen in a while.
…and this is why the Lakers went all in for the LeBron-AD combo. I mean seriously, when they’re both playing like this, what duo of stars, or even entire starting five, is going to be able to stop them? Doncic and Porzingis came close, but AD hit big shot after big shot and played a nice second fiddle to LeBron. A second fiddle doesn’t usually play to the tune of 31 points and 8 assists, but the Lakers aren’t the usual team.
Kuzma definitely had some rust to shake off in his season debut, but there were flashes of that talent that could turn the LeBron-AD show into a three-headed monster. It’s unknown where his minute count is going to end up, but he should score in bunches, hit a couple threes every game, and chip in rebounds and assists.
Do yourself a favor and watch Caruso take off. WOW.
You hate to see a good guy like Doncic lose after such a tremendous showing. Some of the threes that he takes – and makes – just don’t make sense in my head. He’s a crazy talent that could be a top-10 fantasy player this year despite normally being drafted outside that tier. He did get banged around in this one, though none of it will have a long-term effect.
You’d like to see a bit more from Porzingis in this one, especially in a matchup that truly calls on the stars to shine the brightest and lead their squads to victory. He wasn’t bad, but the Mavs needed more out of him.
Finney-Smith would be a pretty solid fantasy asset if the Mavs used a consistent formula for their forward spots. But the rotating group of forwards is brutal for any fantasy hope until one of the options leaps ahead of the others.
There are the occasional duds from Fox, but performances like this one make him pretty valuable. Even still, the numbers outside of scoring weren’t exceptional, and he’ll need to bring his assist and steal numbers up to allow him to stand with the big boys at the position. He’s currently outside the top 150 in fantasy scoring.
The roller coaster ride of Richaun Holmes’s minutes and usage dropped off against the Jazz. Maybe it’s because he played against Rudy Gobert, but maybe it’s because he just can’t be trusted as a daily force in fantasy. When he does get big minutes, he usually puts up big numbers.
Speaking of Rudy Gobert, another great performance in the books. Defense and rebounds and scoring… can’t ask for much more from the big man.
People who jumped ship too early on Conley missed out on performances like this. He’s too mature and experienced to have a bad season in such a good setting, and even in the loss against the Kings he played a good game and you can see why they view him as such a nice fit.
Bojan is far superior to Bogdan so far this season, and that trend continued in this contest. Count me as someone who didn’t expect Bojan to be a top-40 fantasy producer this season, and count me as someone who’s still in that group. It might be a good time to sell high on him.
No Dejounte Murray? No problem. Mills stepped up in a big way off the bench and poured in the long ball. He’ll get steals, but when his scoring isn’t this high, his overall fantasy value usually won’t be too exciting.
That’s an unusual stat line to say the least. Don’t expect his assist totals to exceed 10, or maybe even 8, outside of these rare occasions.
Zero fantasy relevance. But you gotta admire the Omer Asik-esque line, here.
Here comes the new usage champion in fantasy basketball. He still doesn’t have a steal yet this year (???), but he’s going to score a ton and dish the ball out to his mediocre supporting cast. Don’t expect a lot of efficiency.
Green got his finger taped after the game, but he should be okay. When the defense is added to this stat line, he’ll continue to be the Swiss army knife that he usually is, no matter how dejected he is about being a member of this team for the time being.