On the heels of one of the more graphic injuries in recent memory, Indiana Pacer forward Paul George began the 2015 NBA season surrounded by questions regarding his ability to reclaim his All-Pro status. Leading all scorers with 27 points in the Pacers win against the Magic, George is silencing any remaining critics as he recorded his fourth-straight 20 point outing. Starting at the 4 yesterday, George logged 7 assists, 4 rebounds, and 1 steal while going 3-6 from beyond the arc. Despite the preseason outcry surrounding his shift from a starting wing to a small-ball power forward, the Fresno State product is playing like a superstar once again. His re-ascension has been a blessing for fantasy owners as George continues to play like a true superstar. The only real knock on his fantasy value is his high rate of turnovers, as he set a season-high of 6 last night. While there are no points for generic and cliche nicknames, fantasy fans should cherish George’s willingness to be called “PG-13,” since it made it a whole helluva lot easy to name the article.
But before we break pace and starting making too many overdone jokes, here’s what else went down yesterday in fantasy hoops action:
Ian Mahinmi – Started and recorded 28 minutes for only the second time this season. While he had 2 blocks last night, Mahinmi’s biggest impact continues to be his block on Myles Turner‘s playing time.
Myles Turner – Recorded 20 minutes and 10 points, second to a season-best and tying a season-high, respectively. Turner has yet to even shoot a 3-pointer this season and has failed to impact the glass in a meaningful way. But I think you should continue to be patient with Turner has he grows into his role as a rotation big. Not overly concerned about his long term outlook, but I think we’re still a little bit away from Turner making a meaningful fantasy impact.
Monta Ellis – Finishing with 2 points, Ellis must’ve encountered those aliens from Space Jam during warmups.
George Hill – Apparently blondes do have more fun as Hill finished with 23 points and 7 rebounds while shooting 4-6 from 3. Set his season high for points while doubling as one of his most efficient outings this year.
Evan Fournier – “Never Google” may have -16 when he was on the floor (worst out of all the starters), but continues to be a viable fantasy option going 4-9 from deep while posting 21 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, and 2 steals. Logging 40 minutes for the second consecutive game, Fournier is entrenched in the starting unit due to his 3-point shooting, and is a legitimate fantasy option as well.
Tobias Harris – In a poor shooting effort, Harris logged 10 rebounds and 8 points; however, I still like seeing Harris start at the 4.
Dewayne Dedmon – Started in place of an injured Nik Vucevic and responded with 5 points and 9 boards. Unless Vucevic misses significant time, Dedmon is only valuable in daily fantasy lineups.
Aaron Gordon – Foul trouble limited Gordon to 17 minutes, going for 4 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks, and 3 turnovers. Still not seeing the court enough for me to be a true believer, but his 19-8 outing against the Rockets flashed enough potential that he is still worth a roster spot. With an up-and-down minutes total through the beginning of November, let’s begin referring to Gordon as “The Enigma.”
Nikola Mirotic – After bouncing between the bench and the starting unit during pregame preperation, Mirotic responded with 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 treys. While the performance came against Philadelphia’s 2016 lottery ping pong balls donned in 76ers uniforms, Mirotic hopefully gets on the right track after a week of struggles.
Doug McDermott – Dougie McBucketts started last night and answered with 18 points on 3-6 from deep. Lack of contribution in any other statistical category limit his current upside, but he’s worth monitoring moving forward, especially if he’s found a permanent home in the starting lineup.
Derrick Rose – With 12 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds, 1 block, Rose is still a fantasy relevant player, but needs to score more to continue to warrant an everyday start. Owners should also monitor his relationship with the Chicago front office with swirling rumors of a potential Rose trade.
Joakim Noah – DNP due to soreness in the knee he had surgery on over a year ago, but Noah’s production this season leaves him off the fantasy radar. Unable to score consistently and effectively, it’s becoming painfully apparent his fantasy value is quickly dropping. For Noah owners, the Bulls do not play until Friday, so there will be plenty of time to monitor his injury status.
Nik Stauskas/Jahil Okafor – 9-25 for Okafor and 2-13 for Stauskas. In the words of the great JR Smith, “Worse come to worse … my motto is, ‘When in doubt, shoot the ball.’ So when in doubt, I’m going to shoot it and hopefully that don’t catch nobody off guard.”
Karl-Anthony Towns – Compound first name? Definitely should be worth an extra point. But KAT finished with a solid 17 points, 12 rebounds, and 3 blocks as he dueled against one of the league’s best centers in Al Horford. Kid’s got a bright future.
Ricky Rubio – Scoring has been lacking recently, but Rubio still managed 8 assists and 3 steals. While he has not made a 3 pointer since the season opener, Rubio will continue to be a strong source of assists and steals.
Andrew Wiggins – Second straight 30-point game from Wiggins. Most impressively, the second-year man did so while making only one 3 pointer to go with a pair of free throws. Shouldering the scoring load while chipping in 5 rebounds, 4 assist, 1 block, and 1 steal, Wiggins slow start is official over.
Zach LaVine – 13 points, 6 assists, and 3 rebounds in only 20 minutes of action. LaVine is worth monitoring moving forward as he is regularly seeing about 20 minutes a night. Minnesota will bring him along slowly, but with their need for another ballhandler on the wing, LaVine should continue to see steady action.
Al Horford – Pedestrian night for the big man as he posted 14 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, and 1 steal while going -9. Went 2-5 from deep, Horford has been taking a lot of 3s this season and will continue to do so.
Kent Bazemore – Despite going 1-5 from deep and only scoring 9 points, Bazemore impressed me with his ability to impact the box score on an off night, finishing with 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 5 steals, and 1 block.
Kyle Korver – There is something up with Korver this year. As defenses are beginning to focus their gameplans toward limiting his catch-and-shoot opportunities, he took only 5 shots from the field while finishing with an underwhelming 5 points. Korver may not be the same fantasy threat has he has been in recent memory.
Damian Lillard – Forget about the 22 shots because Lillard played a great game finishing with 30 points and 7 assists. Averaging over 30 points per game in the month of November, and the scary thing is, I think he’s just starting to hit his stride.
C.J. McCollum – 16 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and officially part of one of the best scoring backcourts in the NBA.
Meyers Leonard – 11 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists. He’s healthy and a legitimate fantasy option once again!
Ed Davis – Minutes have declined in each of the past 3 games. Officially droppable (just in case someone missed the memo).
Emmanuel Mudiay – 18 rebounds, 6 assists, and 5 blocks while setting a season low for turnovers!
J.J. Hickson – 19 points and 11 rebounds seemingly came out of nowhere. In fact, I had no idea he was an NBA starter until researching Denver’s depth chart. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.
Kenneth Faried – Has his best games against the worst teams and worst games against the best teams. At this point, I only trust Faried as a matchup start.
Kawhi Leonard – Scored 20 points in 3 straight games while the Spurs were +31 when he was on the court. Is this what it’s like to actively watch someone make “the leap?”
Lamarcus Aldridge – 16 points, 9 rebounds, 1 block, and one serious question: Is LMA the second-best big in the starting lineup?
Tim Duncan – 11 points and 14 rebounds in 23 minutes. Duncan is 39 and consistently putting up double doubles in the NBA while I still complain about walking up too many stairs.
Danny Green – With only 5 points on 1-4 from 3, I think Green’s slow start is a little more threatening to his status as a fantasy asset. He’s not going to shoot below 30% for the whole year, but I think owners should begin exploring a trade in return for someone who can immediate contribute.
DeMarcus Cousins – 21 points on 5-20 from the field with 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block in his first game back from an Achilles injury.
Rajon Rondo – Played all 48 minutes (not sure if by design, or by accident) and still couldn’t finish with a double-double (8 points and 12 assists).
Willie Cauley-Stein – Minutes are there, but the production isn’t yet. Depending on waiver wire availability, it might be time to consider dropping Cauley-Stein in favor of a big who can provide boards and blocks.
Marcus Morris – Maybe the most underrated fantasy small forward from the sheer fact he’s seeing almost 40 minutes a night. 15 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, one 3-pointer while he played all but 5 minutes last night.
Stanley Johnson – Set a career high of 20 points on 32 minutes while also contributing 7 rebounds on 2-4 from deep. Moving forward, I expect Johnson to have a bigger role in the rotation playing alongside Morris. If he continues to see significant minutes throughout the week, Johnson is a worthy addition to a team struggling on the wing.
Steph Curry – When a “bad game” is 22 points, you are officially too good at basketball.
Klay Thompson – Set a season high in scoring with 24 while hitting 4-7 from deep. After a slow start, Thompson finally looked involved in the offense taking 17 shots from the field. Look to see Golden State try to get Thompson going over the next week.
Festus Ezeli – The popular waiver wire pickup only played in 23 minutes with Andrew Bogut clearing concussion protocol and returning to action. Depending on his role, Ezeli may not be rosterable with Bogut’s return. Monitor closely to see how Golden State will handle the rotation.
Matt Barnes – It amazes me Barnes is still in the NBA. The only logical explanation is that he intimidates front offices into re-signing him each year.
Jeff Green – He’s good sometimes. Last night wasn’t one of those times.
Marc Gasol – Big Spain finished with 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists while hitting 8-12 from the foul line. After struggling last week, Gasol lived up to his All-Pro billing last night, and can hopefully continue this trend moving forward.
Lance Stephenson – Started at small forward and managed 3 points in 21 minutes. Despite his struggles in the starting lineup, he somehow outscored Paul Piece and Josh Smith (combined 2 points), so I’m inclined to think his starting spot is safe for the immediate future. Stephenson is an interesting fantasy option, and has a high ceiling if he rediscovers his 2013 form, but for now, he is not quite on the fantasy radar yet.
Blake Griffin – 24 points and 12 rebounds on 9-19 from the field, although he is still shooting almost .600 from the field for the season.
Chris Paul – Played with a minutes restriction as he is rehabilitating his groin muscle. Still effective, but clearly not at 100%. Paul owners are free to pick up Cliff as CP3 works to return to full strength.