The first Monday night of the NBA season and the first day of fantasy for the week. Several hot players cooled down last night while the stars played like stars. Let’s take a look at who showed up and who disappointed.
Hornets vs Celtics
The first game of the night was a close one between the Hornets and Celtics. The stars showed up for Boston tonight with huge nights for Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and of course Jabari Parker. Tatum had a Russel Westbrook-esque stat line with 41 points, eight points, and seven rebounds on 14-28 shooting. Brown wasn’t too far behind with 30 points and nine assists of his own. Other highlights include the previously mentioned Parker with 13 points and five rebounds, Schrooder with 23 points, and Robert Williams III with 16 rebounds.
The Hornets had the fantasy points spread more evenly across the roster. LaMelo Ball putting up 25 points and nine assists are all good for points leagues but the six turnovers are something to keep an eye on. Miles Bridges appears to be breaking out into the second star the Hornets need to be competitive, putting up 25 points and 10 rebounds. Kelly Oubre Jr. played a team high 43 minutes this game and only put up 19 points but for a guy who isnt rostered in 65% of ESPN leagues he could be a waiver wire steal.
Pacers vs Bucks
Did Myles Turner get hurt in this game? No information has been released by the Pacers organization, but he only played 14 minutes in the loss to the Bucks. He wasn’t amazing in those 14 minutes, but he wasn’t in foul trouble or doing poorly enough to justify putting Goga Bitaze in instead. Speaking of Goga, he received 18 minutes in this game and put up seven points and nine rebounds. Not justifying a waiver pick-up yet but keep an eye on his development this season. Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon had their typical games tonight, Sabonis putting up 25, 5 and 13 while Brogdon put up 21, 7 and 4.
Man, it’s a treat getting to watch Giannis Antetokounmpo absolutely destroy teams every night. A near triple-double for him last night putting up 30 points, nine assists, and 10 rebounds. His running mate Khris Middleton was right in step with him putting up 27 points and seven assists of his own. Other than them, Grayson Allen had a solid night from 3, draining 4-of-9 on his way to 19 points. It’ll be very interesting to see what the Bucks do when Donte DiVincenzo comes back from injury.
Hawks vs Pistons
There are three major takeaways from Detroit’s loss to Atlanta last night. First, Saddiq Bey is absolutely the best player in Detroit right now, putting up 21 points and seven rebounds. Secondly, Kelly Olynyk is still a quality NBA player and a solid waiver wire option for both points and category leagues. Olynyk put up 21 points, six rebounds and four assists tonight, surprisingly only two of those being from beyond the arc. Finally, am I the only one that expected more out of Killian Hayes this year? This is his time to shine before rookie star Cade Cunningham presumably takes his starting role and he’s failing. Perhaps a 6th man role will give him better opportunities but until then drop him if you reasonably can.
On the other end of the floor Trae Young had himself a typical Trae Young game, minus the baited free throws. He put up 32 points total with only four of those coming from the line. Besides Young, the Hawks turned to John Collins for offense putting up 22 points of his own. Clint Capela was invisible on that end of the floor, but shined defensively with eight rebounds and two steals. Off the bench , Cam Reddish continues his strong season start with 17 points and three steals of his own.
Nets vs Wizards
Speaking of the new foul rules, the “poster boy”, James Harden himself had another slow night only putting up 14 points with three free throw attempts. Thankfully, Olympic star Patty Mills was there to pick up the slack, putting up 21 points off the bench. Kevin Durant continues to prove he’s the best player in Brooklyn putting up 25 points and eight rebounds. As for Kyrie Irving, he still hasn’t taken 1 of 2 mandatory shots, so remains on the sidelines.
On the other side of the court a night of shooting struggles for all Wizards players. Bradly Beal shot 8-for-22, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope shot 5-for-11, Spencer Dinwiddie shot 3-for-13, and my choice for “fantasy player you’re unreasonably attached to” Deni Avdija shot 0-for-6. The only player with a decent stat line tonight was Kyle “and a first-round pick for Booker” Kuzma grabbing an impressive 13 rebounds. If you need depth at the PF position, or need a boost in rebounds check your waivers for Kuzma, as he’s been really solid so far this season. You may get mocked for picking up Kuzma, but you’re the one winning at the end of the week.
Heat vs Magic
When I said in the introductory blurb “Several hot players cooled down tonight while the stars played like stars tonight” this is the game I was referring to. For the Heat, Jimmy Butler was hot and Tyler Herro was relatively cold. That being said, Herro still put up a respectable nine assists and 13 points while Jimmy Butler just showed up to play tonight. He dominated the box score with 36 points, a perfect 6-for-6 from the free-throw line, and five steals. Also notable was Bam Adebayo who put up 13 rebounds and shot a perfect 8-for-8 from the line.
The Orlando Magic’s stars showed up last night as well and by that I mean no one really showed up at all. Cole Anthony did nearly have a double-double with nine rebounds and 12 points. The rookie from Germany, Franz Wagner had a solid night putting up 15 points and four assists, attempting seven threes in the process. Of all the struggles tonight in Orlando, though, no one was worse than rookie Jalen Suggs, as he went for 15 points, five turnovers, and five personal fouls. Although it’s been a rough start for Suggs it’s not time to hit the panic button yet. It takes time for rookies to adjust to NBA pace and intensity. Give him time, he’ll be fine.
Raptors vs Bulls
Man, Fred VanVleet played his heart out last night. I wish that final shot went in for him after he snapped Vucevic’s ankles. VanVleet put up an amazing double-double with 15 points and 17 assists. Precious Achiuwa put up a double-double of his own with 11 rebounds and 11 points, and continues to prove me wrong. I thought he would definitely get lost in the log jam at PF but he has emerged and taken the starting role out of the hands of Chris Boucher who only played five minutes. OG Anunoby had a very solid stat line as well, with a team-leading 22 points and eight rebounds.
DeMar DeRozan showed up to his former home crowd tonight, putting up 26 points (10 being free throws) and six assists. Zach LaVine put the ball in the basket very efficiently as well with 22 points of his own. One thing that surprised me was how short Billy Donovan kept his bench, as Derrick Jones Jr. did not see any playtime. While this hurts bench players for the Bulls, it certainly helps fantasy managers who own Bulls starters.
Clippers vs Blazers
Man, the Trail Blazers didn’t show up at all, putting up only 86 points and only playing their starters for about 25 minutes each. When is it time to worry about Damian Lillard? To say he’s had a slow start would be a huge understatement. He’s CJ’s co-star at the moment. Dame only put up 12 points and three assists in this wash of a game. As for other Blazers players, as I said the starters only played 25 minutes each so, if you had depth pieces such as Dennis Smith Jr. or Anfernee Simons then congratulations on your free boost in points.
The Clippers followed suit with the Blazers, playing their starters around 25 minutes each. Even in that relatively short time Paul George put up a season leading eight steals tonight, a huge boost for CAT leagues. With Kawhi Leonard still out long term, his production has received a huge boost and last night was a huge exception. Also, it might be worth flagging Luke Kennard, especially in deeper leagues, as he put up an impressive 23 points with six of those being three pointers.
Timberwolves vs Pelicans
For the Pelicans, the box score was dominated by two players, Jonas Valanciunas and Brandon Ingram. Ingram put up a respectable 27 points and nine rebounds, while Valanciunas dominated the glass tonight with 23 rebounds to go along with 22 points! If you’re looking to upgrade your team and own Ingram or Valanciunas look to trade them at some point before Zion’s return. Valanciunas wont keep dominating the paint and Ingram won’t be the number one option with him around.
A similar story going on for the Timberwolves with Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards. The Anthonys combined for 60 points, 10 assists, and 23 rebounds. The main story in Minnesota was the struggles of the surrounding talent. D’Angelo Russell only had nine points on 3-for-14 shooting with Malik Beasley shooting 1-for- 8. Look for them to rebound next game and continue elite production from KAT.
Nuggets vs Cavaliers
There are only a few constants in life: death, taxes, disappointing school grades, and Nikola Jokic getting at least a double-double. Putting up 23 points and 19 rebounds, he was the only one to really show up for Denver. This is evident in the fact that Jokic only has three assists, which is very unusual for him. Also very unusual was Michael Porter Jr. only putting up 11 points on 4-for-14 shooting. I wouldn’t worry about him, however, as even elite players are allowed to have off nights, and that’s all this is, not a sign of anything larger. Speaking of the future, Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland finally got a little bit of playing time putting up an efficient seven points, two assists, and two rebounds in just 10 minutes. Could be a good asset in keeper leagues but don’t expect anything from him this season.
Can we please get Kevin Love out of Cleveland already, please? Or has he finally embraced his mentor role because last night he put up 22 points and six rebounds off the bench. The front court showed up to play with Evan Mobley grabbing eight rebounds, the afford mentioned Love putting up 22, and defensive titan Jarret Allen grabbing 16 rebounds. The story for the Cavs was disappointing guard play, as Collin Sexton and Darius Garland struggled while recent sparkplug Ricky Rubio returned to Minnesota and put up only seven points. It should be noted that he still had eight assists and is a great addition for any min/max CAT teams okay with punting points for assists and defensive numbers.