Last night we saw the transition from Shaedon Sharpe the cool shiny gadget that’s just for show, to the I Gotta Have This In My Daily Life type of tool.
With Anfernee Simons out 6 weeks [sad face] and Scoot Henderson injured mid-game, Sharpe took over with 25 points in the second half, scoring on all three levels and finishing with a 27-7-5-1-2 stat line (9-16 FG, 3-6 3PT, 8-10 FT).
Sharpe has been hitting the glass early on this season, averaging nearly 6 per game (including several smooth offensive putbacks) and has 9 stocks in five games. I still need to see him continue to be aggressive, as the youngster tends to stand around and wait for his turn. If he can, this could be one of the better breakouts of the first couple months of the fantasy season.
Here’s what else was noteworthy to me on another packed Wednesday slate, with some boring blowouts and a couple nail biters.
Portland Trail Blazers 110, Detroit Pistons 101
Malcom Brogdon will continue to be a focal point with Simmons out, posting 14-6-6 here, to at least keep the product respectable looking. And it seems inevitable at this point Toumani Camara (7-7-0-1-1 in 26 minutes) will eventually be starting at SF – might still be a while, tho – and should be rostered in all deep leagues.
No Jalen Duren [BORING!] so Marvin Bagley III got the start, but was meh with 10-6-3 and 2 blocks. Rookie Marcus Sasser got sassy with 4 steals and a block in 23 minutes to go with a 8-3-6 line. Ausar Thompson posted 16-7-2-2-0 and I’m almost embarrassed to tell you how high I drafted him in my late-start points league draft this week – almost.
Utah Jazz 133, Memphis Grizzlies 109
We have a Kenneth Lofton Jr. sighting!! Gen Z-Bo posted 12 points (4-7 FG, 1-2 3PT, 3-9 FT) (yuck on the FTs), 5 boards, 2 assists and 2 steals in 19 minutes of the Grizzlies blowout loss that never was close. Just monitor for now, but at 0-5 the Grizzlies might try anything to keep their heads above water until Ja returns, and Lofton has at least mid- to deep-league value if he’s part of the rotation.
Memphis went small in this one, resulting in 18 minutes for Walker Kessler (2-4-0-0-2) and 26 for Kelly Olynyk (14-8-5-1-0). I remain in Camp Buy Kessler – but the ground is feeling a bit shaky. John Collins had 16 points (5-12 FG, 3-5 3PT, 4-6 FT), 4 boards, 2 assists and 2 steals. He’s been kinda boring, but solid in his newfound Jazz role in the early going. The Jazz point guard situation remains unclear, and not much new info to decipher in a blowout.
Houston Rockets 128, Charlotte Hornets 119
Outside of 7 turnovers by Dillon Brooks (20-3-5 with 3 threes and 5 steals), an overall solid and efficient game by the Rockets’ starting 5, who shot a combined 58% from the field and 16-for-27 from deep. Amen Thompson rolled an ankle and is out at least a month. Look at Jae’Sean Tate for streaming services until Tari Eason returns. Back to Brooks: He’s a career 42% shooter who’s 59% from the field (including 10-16 3PT) in the early going. Do with that info what you will.
Brandon Miller continues to make me look bad for doubting him, posting 10-5-2 in 24 minutes, while the Gordon Hayward Revival Tour hit another city to the tune of 17-5-7-1-1 (6-11 FG, 0-1 3PT, 5-7 FT). Just for funsies, let’s throw this one out in the air: Hayward to Philly?
Minnesota Timberwolves 110, Denver Nuggets 89
The Mighty Nuggets are fallible after all. Just a rough shooting night all around.
Jaden McDaniels (6-9-2 with 2 blocks in 21 minutes) continues to ramp back up off injury. Kind of a slow start for Slo-Mo Kyle Anderson (9-3-2-0-0). Hold onto him like a sloth stuffed animal and hope he doesn’t fall into drop territory.
Boston Celtics 155, Indiana Pacers 104
Tyrese Haliburton sat with a sore ankle. Andrew Nembhard couldn’t muster much against Boston in the start (14-2-1). Garbage Time Special lines for TJ McConnell (18-7-5 with a steal) and rookie Jarace Walker (8-2-3 with a block in 12 minutes).
Derrick White has been on a fantasy tear to start the season, shooting 65% in his first four games at Top 25 value. He posted 18-3-4 on 7-of-10 shooting, 4-of-7 from deep, in this blowout that saw all the starters get theirs in under 30 minutes.
Atlanta Hawks 130, Washington Wizards, 121
Jalen Johnson was relegated to the bench, posting 8-11-2 (3-7 FG, 0-2 3PT, 2-2 FT) in 24 minutes. Can’t imagine his role diminishes as well as he’s been playing, but must hold and watch for now. A De’Andre Hunter breakout at age 26? He scored 23 (8-16 FG, 2-7 3PT, 5-6 FT) and grabbed 7 boards with 3 assists and 2 steals (and 5 turnovers). Hard to imagine he continues as a Top 50 player, but I guess not inconceivable.
The Onyeka Okongwu angst has diminished. He went 16-11-2 with a block in 27 minutes, while Clint Capela played 21 minutes as the starter, with 10 points, 11 rebounds and a steal. Of note, Washington played a lot of small ball and this game wasn’t close, so those minutes will flip flop depending on the matchup, but both centers are playable going forward.
Kyle Kuzma went 25-9-6 in 25 minutes while Jordan Poole posted 13 empty points in just 20 minutes. Poole probably a buy low if his owner is spooked by what a terrible mistake he or she made in drafting him – but don’t give up much; I’m questioning if he cracks the Top 100 this season.
Still liking what I’m seeing from Deni Avdija, going 22-5-3-2-1 (10-16 FG, 2-4 3PT, 0-1 FT) in this one. Given his need for development time, he should get plenty of minutes during the Wizards many blowouts this year.
New Orleans 110, Oklahoma City 106
Jordan Hawkins wasn’t even on my rookie radar, but he’s an early bright spot for the Pelicans. In two games replacing injured Brandon Ingram in the starting lineup, Hawkins is averaging 12-5.5-3.5 and 2 steals and threes apiece. Herb Jones has been very ho-hum to start, posting 5-6-1 with 0 stocks in 31 minutes, so Hawkins could retain 20+ minutes even when Ingram plays. CJ McCollum has his savvy vet game rolling, posting 29-11-5 with a block and 5-of-8 from deep.
Lu Dort’s usage is quite a bit down, posting just 9-2-0-1-0 (3-6 3PT) here, and is a good add-on in a sell package. Solid all-around stat lines from OKC’s four other starters.
Dallas Mavericks 114, Chicago Bulls 105
Max Kleber went down and Dereck Lively II feasted, posting 7-13-6-2-1 in 33 minutes. Some fool wrote in the preseason Lively wouldn’t average more than 20 minutes [that was you, numbnuts] but he’s clearly earned his playing time and has been a beast on the offensive glass for the Mavs. Grant Williams with a career high 25 points, all from behind the arch (7-9 3PT) other than 4 free throws, to go with 5 boards, an assists and a steal.
Wait … Derrick Jones Jr. is only 26-years-old? Would have sworn this is his 12th season in the league. He posted 17-5-1 here and has hit 7 threes in the last two games. Definitely worth a speculative add if you have the spot in case it’s actually real.
Nikola Vucevic with the 21-point, 20-rebound GOROMOTO [Jay, you’ve been around a while, is that the correct old school Razzball reference?]. Coby White (10-1-4) is shooting 31% on the season, and isn’t looking like much for standard league at this point. And [hits play on sad song] let’s pour one out for any Patrick Williams (0-3-2-1-1) believers left out there.
Toronto Raptors 130, Milwaukee Bucks 111
I bet my imaginary friend that Scottie Barnes would finish a Top 20 player (currently 11 in 9-cat) and I like my chances to win those 1,000 imaginary doll hairs – he posted 21-12-5-1-2 as the Raptors shredded the Bucks (losing at home to the Blazers was motivating, apparently). Jakob Poeltl finally came to life with 14-11-2 and 2 blocks. Let’s see if he can keep it going.
A box score to ignore for the Bucks; but definitely feel free to check the temperature of any Lillard owners out there to see if they’re worried he’ll finish outside the Top 15.
Brooklyn Nets 109, Miami Heat 105
The inevitable Cam Thomas dud arrived – although 13-2-1-3-1 (4-19 FG, 2-7 3PT, 3-4 FT) isn’t THAT bad for a stinker game. Still holdin’. The Nets got 17 points each off the bench from Armoni Brooks (5-7 3PT) and Lonnie Walker IV (4-9 FG, 1-4 3PT, 8-11 FT) – the latter averaging 25 minutes a game and enough counting stats to ride while he’s hot. Only 13 minutes of Day’Ron Sharpe (5-7-1-1-0) as Nets continue to go small while Nic Claxton is out.
Cleveland Cavaliers 95, New York Knicks 89
I don’t take much from the second games of a back-to-back 2-game series. The Max Strus Caboose slowing down (9-4-4-0-2; 0-fer from deep) a bit, while Caris LeVert may actually have found the consistency to be a solid fantasy player, posting 19-6-5-1-0 with 3 threes in this one.
If Quentin Grimes can’t find his shot soon (2-7 in this one and played just 22 minutes), it might be Donte DiVencenzio streamer time. He played 30 minutes here with a 16-2-0-2-0 stat line. Again, back-to-back thing, and RJ Barrett didn’t play, so let’s not jump to any conclusions.
Golden State Warriors 102, Sacramento Kings 101
Draymond Green is back to his old tricks with a 13-2-9-2-2 line and 3 threes. Chris Paul had 8 assists but an uneasy amount of not-much-else in 28 minutes off the bench. Nice game winner for Klay Thompson (14-2-2-0-3; 1-4 3PT).
De’Aaron Fox out with injury, so Davion Mitchell got the start and posted 13-3-4-3-0 with 3 threes – which is about his fantasy ceiling at this point. Malik Monk becomes more of a floor general when Fox is out, though it translated to just 2 dimes in this one, along with 16 points, 3 boards, 3 threes and 2 blocks.
LA Lakers 130, LA Clippers 125
ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!?! Helluva overtime battle where King James retained his crown, posting 35 points (13-19 FG, 4-8 3PT, 5-10 FT), 12 boards, 7 dimes, 1 steal and 2 blocks – in 42 minutes. The Lakers just can’t win often with him playing sub-30 minutes.
This game had monster lines for all the stars. Also worth noting a 10-11-0-1-1 performance by Christian Wood, who we all know not to trust, but let’s see if the 25+ minutes off the bench continues.