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The Specialists

D'Angelo Russell Fully Loaded

by Ethan Norof
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Even the title of this article might be an understatement.

 

Over his last six games, D’Angelo Russell is averaging 22.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.2 steals and 3.3 triples on 46% from the field. With a longer leash, room to grow and the chance to officially take over what was known prior as the Kobe Show, it’s not a coincidence that D-Lo is suddenly thriving now that he’s playing with tangible confidence.

 

D’Angelo Russell, G Los Angeles Lakers: Points, 3-Pointers

 

The second overall pick has looked like a completely different player since the All-Star Break, and it’s almost as if Russell was a 19-year-old (since 20) learning to play the most difficult position in the NBA while trying to navigate through the league—imagine that. Now fully armed with a starting role, 30-plus minutes every single night and swag that didn’t come courtesy of Nick Young, D’Angelo should also start consistently contributing in the steals category, as well. Go ahead, young fella. Get buckets.

 

Norris Cole, G New Orleans Pelicans: Assists, 3-Pointers

 

In 22 games as a member of the starting backcourt, Cole has averaged 12.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.0 steals and 0.9 3-pointers (2.2 TO) on 43% from the field. With Eric Gordon’s season likely over as a result of his re-fractured finger, Tyreke Evans (knee) and Bryce Dejean-Jones already on the shelf and a backcourt rotation that now includes Toney Douglas, NoCo should have consistent minutes coming his way for the remainder of the year. In addition to having at least five dimes in each of his last five (6.6), Cole is also averaging 1.0 steals and 1.2 steals during that same stretch. 

 

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Jerami Grant, F Philadelphia 76ers: Blocks

 

Unfortunately freak athleticism isn’t rewarded in the scoring system, leaving Grant’s fantasy value based squarely in his ability to block shots. And although he has an impressive 12 swats over his last five games, Grant has seen extended run with Jahlil Okafor (shin) and more recently Nerlens Noel (knee) out of the lineup. Unless either—or both—miss extended time, Grant is unlikely to serve as a sustainable source of production in standard formats.   

 

Patrick Beverley, G Houston Rockets: Steals, 3-Pointers

 

Beverley isn’t exactly the most consistent contributor on your roster, but he’s capable of providing up to mid-round value given his categorical contributions. And with averages of 11.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.8 triples (1.8 TO) over his last four games, the only thing holding Beverley back from performing near his pinnacle is the fact that he’s shooting just 39% over that span of time. That should improve slightly, but even if Beverley hangs around 40% for the rest of the year—which is entirely possible—he’ll do enough to be worth rostering in leagues with at least 10 teams. 

 

Zach LaVine, G Minnesota Timberwolves: Points, Steals, 3-Pointers

 

LaVine has made a believer out of me, and it’s all about what he’s done since given a real opportunity. In 35 minutes per game since the All-Star Break, LaVine Is checking in with an impressive 17.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.1 triples on 49.6% shooting. While taking a major step forward with his jumper, LaVine has been able to keep his turnovers down (2.2) despite the very real jump in playing time. That’s the kind of response you want to see from a young player when he’s finally set free, and LaVine has been a borderline top-50 players over the last seven days. Impressive.

 

Isaiah Canaan, G Philadelphia 76ers: 3-Pointers

 

Straight from the Swaggy P School of never meeting a shot he didn’t like, Canaan has launched at least 12 attempts in four of his last five games. Now back in the rotation in a major way with Nik Stauskas—who is still dealing with a shin issue that’s been a problem since the preseason—continuing to underwhelm, Canaan has again come onto the radar over his last five contests, averaging 13.8 points and 2.8 triples on just 35.9% from the field. But given his inefficient shooting, he’s best suited for teams already punting field goal percentage in need of help from behind the arc.  

Ethan Norof
Follow Ethan Norof on Twitter @Ethan_Norof for more fantasy basketball analysis, advice and all things Los Angeles Lakers.