Now if Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ish Smith hasn’t selected a song for his lineup introduction, I highly recommend someone reach out to him to let him know I would like to speak to him. While there may be other reasons Childish Gambino has yet to endorse Smith, it has been a rough 2016 for the newly acquired guard until last night’s performance against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Smith finished with 21 points, 11 assists, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals while leading Philadelphia to their fourth victory of the year. While the efficiency stats will not always be there, Smith rewarded fantasy owners last night with a 9-15 shooting performance from the field. As the new lead man in an up-tempo offense, expect lots of production in multiple statistical categories from Smith on a nightly basis. The 76ers are starved for capable ballhandlers, granting Smith the opportunity to rack up points and assists as he pounds the rock.
Although he’s most likely gone from the waiver wire in most leagues, I think it still might be possible to snag him in a quick trade.
Smith has been a beacon of hope for a horrendous 76ers team this year, but in assessing his fantasy value, he still leaves a little to be desired, avoiding 3-point shots and suffering from some abysmal shooting nights. Overall, I would love to have Smith on my team, and would encourage owners with a need at point guard to explore a trade before nights like this become too common.
Nerlens Noel – Arguably the biggest beneficiary of Smith’s presence on the court, Noel finished with 10 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, and 3 block. Noel started alongside Jahil Okafor (10 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block) after excelling in his past few games with the Rookie of the Year candidate sidelined recovering from injury. Although Okafor has hurt Noel’s fantasy value this season, I think Noel is a solid buy-low candidate after flashing his 2014-2015 upside in limited action with Smith.
Ricky Rubio – Typical Rubio game with the Spaniard recording 7 points and 10 assists to accompany 3 steals. Although’s Rubio’s inability to score will prevent him from becoming one of the top floor generals in the NBA, I just want to take a moment to remember that time he asked for a max contract in the offseason. DARE TO DREAM RICKY!!
Kyle Lowry – If Drake is the 6ix God, then it’s only a matter of time before Drizzy anoints Lowry as the 7eventh God if he keeps playing at this level. With 24 points, 10 assists, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 block, Lowry rewarded fantasy owners once again last night, although the Raptors loss may have left Drake in an unstable condition.
DeMar DeRozan – 19 points, 4 assists, 2 rebounds, and 1 steal for the scoring guard, breaking his streak of 3 straight games scoring over 20 points.
Jonas Valanciunas – Although he’s still rounding into form while splitting time with Bismack Biyombo, his 27 minutes were the most he’s played since returning from injury. Behind a modest effort last night with 8 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assists, and 2 blocks, Valanciunas still has multi-cat potential, and I expect him to begin hitting his stride after the All-Star break.
Kyrie Irving – Uncle Drew lead all scorers with 25 points to accompany 8 assists, and 6 rebounds.
LeBron James – 31 minutes of efficient and effective basketball. 20 points, 7 assists, 2 rebounds, and 3 steals. James has struggled with his outside shot so far this year, and last night was no exception, going 2-5 on shots outside of the paint. As Irving continues to dominate the ball and initiate the offense by driving into the teeth of the defense, I expect James shooting percentages and 3-point attempts to rise since he will be able to play off ball regularly.
Jae Crowder – Although he is often excluded from the conversation of the best wing’s in the Eastern Conference, Crowder has been playing at a very high level for the past six weeks. Last night, forward continued to make his claim to becoming the most underrated player in the league with 25 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, and 3 steals.
Evan Turner – Started at scoring guard for the injured Avery Bradley and responded with 12 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 block. Coach Brad Stevens is still uncomfortable inserting Marcus Smart into the starting lineup as he recovers from injury, leaving the starting 2 spot to Turner if Bradley misses extended time. Given his recent performances, Turner should be a popular streaming option in most leagues.
Shane Larkin – After it was announced that Jarrett Jack will miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL, Larkin instantly became one of the most popular waiver wire additions. Naturally, he started at point guard and rewarded fantasy owners with 4 points and 2 assists…
Bojan Bogdanovic – While I may be in the minority here, I think Bogdanovic benefits more than people think from Jack’s absence. Last night the second-year guard finished with 12 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocks, continuing his recent steak of good play.
Thad Young – Remember how I wrote about how he’s under appreciated two weeks ago?? 23 points, 15 boards, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 2 blocks last night.
Victor Oladipo – Back in the starting lineup due to an injury to Elfrid Payton and should see an uptick in production due to the increased role. 18 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals for fantasy owners last night.
Evan Fournier – Seems like everything’s been one step forward, two steps back for Fournier after his hot start to the season. Ending 2015 on a strong note, 2016 has not been kind to the Frenchmen, finishing with 0 points after scoring 20 combined points in his previous two games. I’d recommend holding Fournier until things are sorted out with the rotation as the Magic adjust for Payton’s injury.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – Lead all scorers with 21 points and recorded a game-high +28 in 34 minutes of action. Caldwell-Pope has scored over 15 points in his last three games, hitting 8 3-pointers in the same span. Detroit faithful have been waiting for the third-year shooting guard to emerge as a reliable scoring option from deep while exhibiting strong rebounding totals and steals, and Caldwell-Pope is showing fantasy owners the same ceiling with his recent stretch of consistent play.
Andre Drummond – 17 and 12 last night. What happened to the night’s of 20 and 20??? I mean he hasn’t had one since last year for crying out loud..
Brandon Jennings – Came off the bench to play 18 minutes, but looked explosive finishing with 17 points and 6 assists while shooting 3-4 from deep. Jennings needs to prove he can consistently produce strong fantasy value off the bench before he should be considered a must-add in standard leagues.
Kawhi Leonard – Solidifying himself as one of the game’s elites with each passing day, Leonard produced in every category last night recording a game-high 24 points in addition to 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, and 1 block. Is there anything he can’t do on a basketball court?
Tim Duncan – Basketball’s ageless wonder continues to play at a high level in the new year with 14 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block. And to think, I avoided drafted him because I thought this would be the year his statistical output finally declined…
Jabari Parker – Struggled from the field going 5-14, but finished with a solid 14 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assist, and 1 block.
Michael Carter-Williams – Continuing his hold on the starting point guard job, Carter-Williams has played well over the past two weeks, scoring in double digits in 9 of his past 12 contests. With 16 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 block, and 1 steal, MCW looks like a valuable fantasy asset once again capable of filling up the box score.
Greg Monroe – Even with a tough matchup against San Antonio’s league-leading defense, Monroe finished with 15 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, and 2 steals.
DeMarcus Cousins – Video game numbers for Boogie last night, finishing with 33 points and 19 rebounds. Cousins has hit another level recently, scoring at least 30 points in 3 of his last 5 games. I’m not entirely sure if the tension in Sacramento has finally been resolved, but fantasy owners are rejoicing either way with his production.
Rajon Rondo – HOLY ASSISTS! 13 points, 19 assists, 9 rebounds, 5 steals, and 1 block for Rondo. While the point guard is noted for the frequency of his triple-double performances, Rondo’s recorded at least 14 assists in 5 of his last 6 games.
Serge Ibaka – Tied his season-high with 40 minutes played last night, and scored a season-high 25 points on 3-5 shooting from behind the arc. Chipping in 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 5 blocks, and 1 steal, fantasy owners are looking for Ibaka to continue his multi-cat impact as the Thunder regroup without KD.
Steven Adams – 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 assists for the big man who saw a slight uptick in minutes last night.
Paul George – Finished with 32 points, marking the third straight game he has finished with over 30 points while chipping in 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. While it wasn’t George’s best night shooting, 12-29 from the field, George’s off nights are still very impressive.
Goran Dragic – In 38 minutes of action, the Dragon left a little to be desired for fantasy owners in recording 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. Dragic has played his best basketball of the season in December, but I would’ve liked to see more of an impact with the game going to overtime last night.
Dwyane Wade – After two forgettable performances to start 2016, Wade reminded fantasy owners of his ability to impact the box score with 27 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 block. Getting to the foul line 10 times and converting 9 of the attempts, last night was another classic Wade performance.
Chris Bosh – A monster double-double for the big man finishing with 31 points and 11 rebounds to continue his recent hot streak.
James Harden – Say what you will about the Houston Rockets, but I love it when Harden just wills them to victory. With 30 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds, and 1 block, Harden is likely doing the same for fantasy owners to start the week.
Dwight Howard – Set a season-high with 41 minutes in addition to playing over 30 minutes in his last 5 games. Howard finished with 16 points, 13 boards, 1 assist, 1 block, and 1 steal.
Gordon Hayward – The swingman posted a well-round statline of 20 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, and 1 block as Utah fell to the Rockets last night.
Jeff Withey – A popular waiver wire addition this week, Withey lived up to the billing scoring 8 points to accompany 11 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 3 steals. If it’s not too late, Withey, a double-double threat capable of blocking multiple shots, should be owned in all leagues until Derrick Favors returns.
Rodney Hood – The shooting guard has had an excellent start to 2016 and continued to build this trend last night scoring 23 points in addition to 7 assists. With the Jazz waiting for the emergence of a complementary wing scorer, Hood has a valuable role in the rotation, especially in the midst of injuries to Favors and Rudy Gobert. If he’s still available, Hood should be rostered immediately since he’s an excellent post-All Star breakout candidate.
Zach Randolph – Between his offensive struggles and new role as a super sixth man, it’s safe to say that things have not gone smoothly for Z-Bo this season. However, the old school big man must have channeled his frustrations into a classic performance recording 26 points, 18 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal.
Courtney Lee – 16 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals for the veteran leading the Grizzlies starters in scoring.
Damian Lillard – In his first game back after missing the previous seven contests, Lillard finished with 17 points, 7 assists, 3 rebounds, and 1 steal. However, his 7 turnovers and 4-14 shooting performance illustrate a different reality: Lillard is a little rusty.
Meyers Leonard – After stringing together a couple nice performances to end 2015, Leonard is back to frustrating fantasy owners once again! Playing only 16 minutes last night, the big man recorded 5 points and 5 rebounds. Fantasy owners are welcome to begin banging their head against their keyboards now.
Kemba Walker – In arguably the biggest game of the season, the former University of Connecticut standout certainly did not fail to perform under the big lights of Oracle Arena registering 22 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal.
Marvin Williams – Been frustrating fantasy owners over the past few performances and last night was no exception. Listed as day-to-day with a neck injury, Williams scored 8 points to go with 6 rebounds and an assist while shooting 2-3 from deep. Although it’s been tough to roster the low-scoring stretch 4, I think Williams is still ownable, but he’s certainly going to find himself of the waiver wire soon if he keeps under performing.
Steph Curry – Scored 30 points last night, so all is right in the basketball world once again.
Klay Thompson – Must’ve made a pact with Steph prior to tip off to match his output last night also scoring 30 points to accompany 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and a block. Combined the Splash Brothers were 11-21 from behind the arc.
Draymond Green – In the tradidtion of saving the best for last, DrayMagic continued as he recorded his third consecutive triple double with a statline of 15 points, 15 rebounds, and 10 assists.