What a week, huh? We finally saw Kyrie, KD, and Harden play together, but get taken to double overtime and lose to the Cavs or should I say to Collin Sexton. Sexton took the Nets to SexLand without the Land, if that even makes sense. He scored 20 straight points in overtime and dragged the Cavs to an excellent win, spoiling Kyrie’s return. We saw my guy Cole Anthony hit two threes in the clutch, one being a game-winner, to snap the Magic’s six-game losing streak in a win against the struggling T-Wolves. The Bucks have continued their upwards trajectory even though they caught an L from the Nets and the Knicks ended their losing streak with wins against the short-handed Celtics and Magic while the Raptors and Heat continue to struggle.
For the second week in a row, the main guys out East will have to be the Nets. Hopefully, next week that changes, but it’s tough to not cover a team with three superstars that just took the court for the first time. Kevin Durant, as I said, looks the best of the bunch and he is on track to be in the running for the MVP alongside guys like Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid. James Harden so far seems a little passive. He went a whole quarter with nearly not even taking a shot and having six turnovers in one half. He did finish strongly though, so I would not look too much into it. Kyrie Irving was well Kyrie. He came back and seemed to be the #1 option as he had the highest usage in the team. Usage will be up and down as I am sure it’ll alternate between the big 3. The problem, however, is the defense. We know they can score, but can they defend? So far, not so much. For all my DeAndre Jordan owners out there (me being one of them as well), I would be worried. In a double-overtime game, he only got 24 minutes and he wasn’t even in foul trouble. Nash seems to trust Jeff Green and with good reason. Yes, DJ can dunk the ball and catch lobs and get boards, but on the defensive side, he’s just not all that good. I am definitely worried, but do not think he is a drop yet. Try to package him in a 2 for 1 deal if you can or see if you can throw him in a buy-low offer on guys like Lonzo perhaps. I do fear at some point though he might be a drop as the Nets may just roll with Green or sign another center like Dewayne Dedmon or something like that.
Another team I want to touch upon quickly is Charlotte. The Hornets, so far, are better than I expected. Gordon Hayward is what they paid him all that money to be. He is their superstar, and as a Gordon Hayward owner, I am proud of both him and MJ. Was it an overpay? Yes, but it was an amount of money that corresponds with the production he can bring to a team like Charlotte as the number one option. Another standout is PJ Washington. He seems to work best at the five as this allows Charlotte to play at a faster pace in which they excel in and it also allows PJ to post stat lines like 20/11 and 16/10 with a couple of blocks sprinkled in. Of course, we cannot forget the potential Rookie of the Year, LaMelo Ball, my favorite out of this draft class. He has the makings of a wonderful fantasy player as well as in real life. He can get you assists and rebounds at a great rate, but will probably hurt your field goal percentage, but that is something that can get better with time. Cody Zeller is also returning on Sunday, so it will be interesting to see how he slides back in. It should be Biyombo who loses the minutes and not PJ but who knows what James Borrego will do. If Zeller is sitting on your wires and you’ve got the room, give him a shot as one of your back end guys.
Best Performers of The Week:
- Kevin Durant: What can you even say about KD? He is having an MVP type of season playing alongside Kyrie Irving and James Harden. Even though, up until now, he has played more without them than with them. In his last 3 games, he is averaging 36.6 points with 8.3 rebounds and 7.3 assists. He has not missed a step since the injury and he seems like the best player on the Nets. He also has no problem sharing with Harden and Irving and that can actually improve his value going forward.
- Nikola Vucevic: Vuc deserves more recognition than he gets. He is one of the best centers in the league and he is showing it this season. He showed it even before this Magic team got decimated by injuries, losing guys like their starting PG in Markelle Fultz to an unfortunate ACL tear. Now, more than ever, Vuc is needed and he’s showing up without a shadow of a doubt.
- Clint Capela: This guy is a machine. His last game was a monster 27/6 game with 5 blocks. Before that, we saw two 20/15 games. Capela looks great and I think this is something we can expect moving forward. Not 27/26 games, but for sure an average of around 20/12 minimum. Some stats may drop when guys like Gallinari and Bogdanovic come back because of all the usage to go around. But for right now, wow!
Waiver Wire Adds:
- Alec Burks: Burks has been out for a while, but it seems that he is close to a return. It may as well have already happened, as he is expected to return on the 21st against the Warriors. He is coming off a pretty bad ankle sprain so perhaps he won’t get big minutes right off the bat. However, if his previous games this season are anything to go off of he is worth a roster spot as he might as well be the Knicks’ best shooter next to the rookie Immanuel Quickley and the improving Kevin Knox. He is capable of creating his own shot and has shown some good playmaking flashes while being played at the 1. It will be interesting to see how the rotation at the guard positions will be between him, Elfrid Payton, Immanuel Quickley, RJ Barrett, and possibly Austin Rivers who can be used at the 2 spot.
- Kevin Huerter: With Bogdan Bogdanovic and Cam Reddish out, Huerter is going to get the start and the lion’s share of the minutes. He has been very solid the past couple of games where he has scored 17 points twice and has also dished out assists, like the 8 against the T-Wolves. He is worth a look, but these numbers will drop as the Hawks get healthier.
- Doug McDermott / Jeremy Lamb: McBuckets has now emerged as a good scoring option over in Indiana. With Caris LeVert receiving the sad news that he will be out indefinitely because of a mass on his kidney (I hope it is nothing serious and we see LeVert back soon!), TJ Warren out indefinitely, and the absence now of Victor Oladipo, the Pacers are in need of that scoring boost off the bench. Dougie can provide that as he is a good shooter. Besides that, he won’t do much else for you except a couple of boards. Of course, Jeremy Lamb’s return happened so he is another one you could look to add if he is sitting on your waiver wires. He will presumably come into the starting lineup at some point but may see his minutes slowly increase as well as his production since he is coming off a pretty gruesome injury. He went 4-8 yesterday for 10 points in 19 minutes.
In the next week, we will see how the Brooklyn Nets will adjust defensively if they do at all. We should also keep an eye out on how the returning Wizards will be. Will it be more of the same or has something changed? Also, things have gotten a lot more interesting in SexLand. I’ll be looking at them to see if they can keep up their momentum and maybe even beat the Nets again on the 22nd. I’ll be back next week, so until then good luck on your matchups and I’ll see you guys later!