Anthony Davis has returned to a first-round evaluation after a slow start to the season, Carmelo Anthony is aggressively smashing his foot upon the gas pedal, and Andre Drummond is doing something that hasn't been witnessed in 46 years. Grab your morning coffee, because it's Dose Time.
Anthony Davis returned from a two-game absence and went off for 36 points, 11 boards, two 3-pointers, one assist, one steal, four blocks and four turnovers through 40 minutes of work. After a somewhat slow start to the year, Davis has come alive during the month of November with averages of 27.0 points, 8.6 boards, 2.2 assists, 1.6 steals, 3.0 blocks and 2.4 turnovers per game on 53.2 percent shooting from the field and 76.2 percent from the stripe which has rim ranking No. 3 overall in 9-cat leagues and No. 5 in 8-cat formats. The 40 minutes played on Sunday suggests that he’s 100 percent over the hip injury, so owners should feel confident slotting him into their lineup for New Orleans’ upcoming four-game week. As for him not currently being ranked No. 1 overall, the talent level in the NBA is so ridiculous right now that the value found amongst the top-3 fantasy players has become pretty trivial to rank. In my opinion, there is essentially a three-way tie for the No. 1 spot between Stephen “God Mode” Curry, Kevin “Cheat Code” Durant, and Anthony “Ultra-Beast” Davis. Assuming everyone stays healthy, the No. 1 tag becomes relatively arbitrary, as each of these guys will be extremely fun to own and is very capable of leading the way to a championship.
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Unfortunately for Pelicans’ fans, Davis’ 36-point explosion was not enough to beat the Knicks, as Carmelo Anthony had himself a very nice game with 29 points, 13 rebounds (season-high), three assists, one steal, one 3-pointer and two turnovers in his 39 minutes of floor time. Anthony’s surgically repaired left knee has not been an issue at all this season, and he looks fully ready for a bounce-back campaign after last year’s disaster. The Knicks could realistically sneak into the eighth-spot out East, but even if they aren’t competing for a playoff spot, I don’t see Anthony sitting out the end of the season like he did last year. He can really fill up the stat sheet (particularly the scoring column), and he is currently putting up second-round value on the season. Enjoy the ride.
Zach LaVine continued his terrific run as a starter, blowing up for 25 points, four 3-pointers, three boards, three assists and one turnover in a mere 17.5 minutes of work. He was limited by foul trouble, which allowed Andre Miller to play 34 minutes and rack up eight points, eight assists, and three steals, but neither of these guys can truly be trusted in most leagues with Ricky Rubio (hamstring) seemingly on the cusp of a return. LaVine was garbage as a reserve, owning averages of 8.7 points, 4.0 assists and 2.2 turnovers per contest. He’ll be a must-add guy if Rubio ever has an extended absence (which can certainly happen), but he hasn’t been able to bring enough to the stat sheet while Rubio is healthy to get too excited about his strong play as of late.
Nicolas Batum had his classic “revenge game” against the team that traded him away this offseason, and erupted for a season-high 33 points on 11-of-19 shooting (6-of-7 from the stripe) with five boards, five treys, six assists and two turnovers through 39 minutes of work. He has been fabulous for the Hornets this season, and head coach Steve Clifford has stayed true to his words in having Batum be a focal point of the offense as evidenced by his career-high 22.8 usage rate. The Frenchman is currently hitting career-highs in points (17.7), three-pointers (2.4) and field goal attempts (12.8), to go with stellar averages of 6.5 boards, 3.8 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.5 blocks per game while shooting 46.9 percent from the field and 86.8 percent from the stripe. He’s churning out second-round value and destroying his draft day ADP of 63.1. Congrats if you stole him on draft day.
Al Jefferson bounced back from three straight games of scoring in single figures, tallying 29 points, five rebounds, three assists, one steal, one block and two turnovers in his 30 minutes of work. While the scoring was nice, it needs to be noted that he did this against one of the bottom-tier teams at defending the center position, and he didn’t bring much else to the stat sheet. He is producing at mid-round value on the year, but he likely was an early-round selection in your league on draft day, and so far it doesn’t look like he’ll be able to live up to that ADP.
Rudy Gobert didn’t miss a step in his return from an ankle injury that had sidelined him for two games, putting up 11 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, two steals, three blocks and four turnovers through 38 minutes. The Stifle Tower still isn’t a great free throw shooter (54.2 percent from the stripe on the season), but if you throw away that category he emerges with a third-round valuation on the season. That value can climb higher if he starts knocking down his shots more efficiently (49.0 percent from the field), but you just got to love his 11.9 boards and 3.4 blocks per game. I think he’ll only get better as the year continues, and the slow preseason is becoming more and more of a distant memory.
Rodney Hood (foot soreness) also returned from a one-game absence, and he had a season-high 20 points to go with four 3-pointers, three assists, one steal and a turnover through 37 minutes. With Hood and Gobert getting so many minutes, it’s probably safe to assume that they have both recovered from their ailments. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, the pair are headed for a two-game week, so it may be best to look for other options to deploy if you’re in a weekly format.
Paul Millsap put forth a valiant effort against the Jazz (and his younger brother Elijah Millsap), tallying a season-high 28 points, six boards, two assists, one steal, one 3-pointer, two blocks and three turnovers in 37 minutes. Millsap is currently cruising along with first-round value behind averages of 16.9 points, 9.2 boards, 3.8 assists, 2.1 steals, 1.4 three-pointers, 0.9 blocks and 2.5 turnovers per game on 47.4 percent shooting from the field and 72.9 percent from the stripe. While his numbers don’t particularly jump off the page, his ability to offer a little bit of everything in every category without hurting you in any one area is why he’s such an elite asset in fantasy leagues. His current averages are sustainable, so owners should not be looking to sell-high here.
Marcus Smart busted out with a team-high 26 points (9-of-14 FGs, 5-of-8 FTs) during Sunday night’s stomping of the Thunder, adding eight boards, three assists, one steal, one block, three 3-poitners and just one turnover in his 34 minutes of playing time. Smart has been pretty hit-or-miss this season, but this line is extra impressive in that he did it against Russell Westbrook, while keeping Westbrook to 5-of-20 shooting from the field. While Smart’s offense comes and goes, he brings the defense each and every night, and that’s something that have kept his minutes safe in coach Brad Stevens’ wonky rotations. Smart is currently churning out eighth-round value in 9-cat leagues and ninth-round value in 8-cat leagues, so he’s worth owning in all formats.
Isaiah Thomas was also fantastic against OKC, compiling 20 points on 8-of-17 shooting to go with eight assists, three 3-pointers, two rebounds and two turnovers in his 34 minutes of floor time. The 5’9” guard is flirting with early-round value on the year, and I don’t see him falling far beyond his current top-30 evaluation. Don’t sell high.
As previously stated, Russell Westbrook fell victim to the sterling defense of Mr. Marcus Smart, connecting on just five of his 20 field goal attempts. However, he still managed to put up 27 points due to his 17 trips to the free throw line (he made 15), while adding four boards, five assists, three steals, two blocks and four turnovers in 33 minutes. Despite averaging a league-leading 5.0 turnovers per game, Westbrook is currently ranked as the No. 4 overall player in 9-cat leagues, and when the turnover category is removed (8-cat) his value jumps to No. 2 overall behind non-other than Stephen Curry. Westbrook is an absolute monster, and without Durant on the floor his usage rate has climbed to 37.7, which is pretty ridiculous. He’ll be one of the best daily league targets there are this season, particularly on the days Kevin Durant is wearing a suit.
I like to think of Kyle Lowry as mini-Westbrook, and he went to work on Sunday tallying 22 points, seven assists, six trey-bombs, two boards, four steals, one block and five turnovers in 39 minutes. A lot of players have these random weight loss/gain stories during the offseason, and I always question the authenticity of those numbers, and chuckle as to whether the weight-whatever (gain/loss) will translate to any statistical difference on the season; but Lowry is making me re-think my logic. Lowry looks noticeably lighter after dropping roughly 20 pounds during the offseason, and he’s currently hitting career-highs in points (19.4), steals (2.6) and three-pointers (2.6), which has him churning out first-round value. There’s really no reason to believe he’ll slow down, and the only thing that will hold him back from a top-10 season will be an injury. Yes, he has dealt with various injury issues in the past, but I think that’s been overblown for the most part, so if I’m a Lowry owner (I am), I’m not looking to sell high.
DeMarcus Cousins exploded for 36 points (12-of-22 FGs, 9-of-12 FTs) during Sunday’s win over the Raptors, adding 10 boards, three assists, three 3-pointers, three blocks, one steal and three turnovers in his 41 minutes of action. Despite all the drama in Sacramento, Cousins has been a monster with averages of 28.0 points (career-high), 11.0 boards, 2.1 assists, 1.9 three-pointers (career-high), 1.3 blocks and 3.1 turnovers per game which translates to second and third-round value in 8-cat and 9-cat leagues respectively. There will likely be a handful of reports this season speculating on potential trades, but the Sacramento front office has made it very clear that they are not shopping DMC, and if anyone is to go, it will be Coach Karl. Cousins will be a fun player to own this year.
Andre Drummond continued his assault on the glass during Sunday’s loss to the Lakers, putting up 17 points, 17 boards, three assists, one steal and two turnovers in 41 minutes. I knew that Drummond was going to excel with Greg Monroe no longer in Detroit clogging up the paint, but if I said I knew he’d be this good, I’d be lying. Drummond is on pace for not just a career-year, but a historic season with averages of 18.5 points (career-high), 19.0 rebounds (career-high), 1.7 steals (career-high) and 1.4 blocks per game on 51.7 percent shooting from the field. To put these numbers in perspective, the only players in NBA history to have ever averaged at least 18 points and 19 rebounds per game were none other than Wilt Chamberlin, Bill Russell, Bob Pettit, Elgin Baylor, Jerry Lucas and Nate Thurmond. That’s some elite territory for Mr. Drummond, and while it may not be realistic to expect him to average such gaudy totals for an entire season; it’s certainly been fun to watch him dominate the glass through the first 10 games of the season. If you discount Andre’s horrific free throw shooting, he ranks No. 4 overall in 9-cat leagues and No. 5 overall in 8-cat leagues. To quote Mark Jackson, “Mama there goes that man.”
On the Radar
Mario Chalmers is capable of doing two things: scoring and hitting 3-point shots. And those two things are something the Memphis Grizzlies desperately need. Chalmers has played well in his two games while wearing a Grizzlies uniform, scoring in double figures while draining some threes and swiping away some steals. Yes, consistency has been a pretty major issue for Chalmers over his career, but I do think he’s capable of offering late-round value in Memphis with some treys and steals being his bread and butter, and for that reason I think he’s worth a speculative add in deep leagues after putting up 16 points, two 3-pointers and four assists on Sunday. Just make sure you’re not dropping anyone with a long-term outlook, as Chalmers could very easily disappear in the next one.
Jeff Green was inserted back into the starting lineup on Sunday, and he did not disappoint compiling 21 points (7-of-12 FGs, 6-of-6 FTs) four boards, three assists, one 3-pointer, and two turnovers. As previously stated, Memphis is in dire need of some scoring and Green is capable of offering that, however he is another guy who has struggled with consistency throughout his career. His fantasy game is also pretty limited to scoring, but if that’s a category you’re looking to bolster, I’d say he’s worth an add in deep leagues to see if he can build off Sunday’s outing.
Allen Crabbe saw a season-high 27 minutes during Sunday’s loss to the Hornets, and he was effective during his time on the court putting up 17 points on 8-of-11 shooting to go with one 3-pointer, two rebounds and two assists. He’s not going to shoot 72.7 percent from the field every night, and he basically only scores, but his minutes have risen with Meyers Leonard (shoulder) on the sidelines; so he could be worth a speculative add in deep leagues for those seeking some scoring and 3-point shooting.
Cory Joseph managed to be effective off the bench despite the return of DeMarre Carroll, and he tallied 17 points (8-of-10 shooting), four boards, four assists and one 3-pointer in just 25 minutes of work. Joseph’s numbers have been sporadic this season, scoring 17, nine, 15, 12 and four points in his previous five outings, so I’d like to see him do this again before fully recommending him as a pickup in deep leagues.
Roy Hibbert said he broke his nose on Sunday, but intends to play in Monday’s game vs. the Suns wearing a mask.
Willie Cauley-Stein exited Sunday’s game after getting hit in the head, but a concussion was ruled out and he’ll be re-evaluated on Monday morning.
Rudy Gobert (ankle) returned to action on Sunday.
Rodney Hood (foot soreness) returned to action on Sunday.
Avery Bradley (calf) returned to action on Sunday.
Rudy Gay (illness) returned to action on Sunday.
Anthony Davis (hip) returned to action on Sunday.
Ricky Rubio (hamstring) missed his fourth consecutive game on Sunday, and is currently without a clear timetable to return
P.J. Hairston (quad contusion) left Sunday’s game and I’m going to consider him questionable for Tuesday’s game vs. the Knicks. If he’s unable to go, I’d expect the red-hot Jeremy Lamb to slide into the starting five, with Nicolas Batum getting all the run he can handle.
Kent Bazemore suffered a sprained right ankle during the closing minutes of Sunday’s game and did not return. He needed to be helped to the locker room, and based on how the injury looked I’m considering him doubtful for Tuesday’s game against the Nets. Thabo Sefolosha, Kyle Korver and Dennis Schroder will all need to step up if Bazemore is forced into an extended absence.
Rodney Stuckey (ankle) and George Hill (upper respiratory infection) are questionable for Monday. Monta Ellis will be the primary beneficiary if both these guys can’t give it a go for Monday’s matchup with the Bulls.
Cody Zeller (ankle) returned to the court on Sunday, and it didn’t matter.
Kevin Durant said his hamstring is feeling a lot better, but his current timetable has him out until November 18 (Wednesday). Russell Westbrook should again have a dominant performance against the Grizzlies on Tuesday.
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