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The Specialists

Specialists: McLemore's Moment

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

Larry Nance, Jr, Cleveland Cavaliers: Rebounds, Steals, Blocks

Nance was an intriguing pickup for his developing role in Cleveland before the Cavs announced Tristan Thompson would miss “multiple games” due to a sprained ankle, and now he’s a near must-add in any 12-team league where available. Although the athletic big fella doesn’t have a game that emphasizes scoring, Nance’s ability to play above the rim allows him to be active under the basket at both ends of the floor. With Kevin Love (hand) still weeks away, Nance could very well see 25-30 minutes consistently—with the potential for more given how thin Cleveland is up front— and his ability to rack up the hustle stats is an attractive selling point.

In six games since the All-Star Break—and after having a chance to catch his breath in his new surroundings—Nance has been bruising with averages of 10.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.3 steals, 1.3 blocks, and just 0.3 turnovers on 65.8% shooting in a shade over 21.5 minutes per game. It is not unrealistic to expect that as a floor for Nance right now given the injuries on the roster, and that’s a very productive player to have on your fantasy team.

Ben McLemore, Memphis Grizzlies: Points, 3-pointers

The Grizzlies are running out of available bodies, and it might just be a matter of time until Ed Monix is the show in Memphis.  

It’s not surprising that McLemore is just one percent owned in Yahoo leagues. Despite the fact that the Grizzlies somehow managed to spend more on McLemore (2/$10.7M) than on their Tyreke Evans (1/$3M) gamble, the former has been a complete non-factor while the latter has been surprisingly good until he was recently knocked out of action with a rib injury. But with Evans out of action and the Memphis backcourt banged up beyond repair—the team had to sign Xavier Rathan-Mayes to a 10-day deal just to get some playable depth—McLemore is going to have an opportunity to play until further notice.

McLemore has now played 30-plus minutes in two straight contests and has responded with averages of 16.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.5 steals, and 2.0 3-pointers without a single turnover on 13-of-26 (50.0%) shooting. While it’s admittedly not much of a sample size to work from, the Grizzlies have a four-game week—with favorable matchups vs. the Bulls and Mavericks included—for McLemore to continue producing. At this stage of the game, weekly plays and calculated dice rolls can be the difference in playoff positioning in head-to-head formats.

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Nicolas Batum, Charlotte Hornets: Assists, Steals

Batum’s role as a facilitator within Charlotte’s scheme has suited him well. Since the Hornets returned from the All-Star Break, the veteran has racked up 62 assists over seven games—for comparison in context, Kemba Walker has amassed 34 dimes over the same period of time—and has averaged 10.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 8.9 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.7 blocks, and 1.7 3-pointers. The veteran wing doesn’t need to score in order to provide production, and he’s been especially useful in points formats where his shooting percentage (39.4% over the aforementioned stretch) won’t hamper your squad.

Montrezl Harrell, Los Angeles Clippers: Field Goal Percentage, Points

Harrell might be mostly a one-trick pony for fantasy teams right now, but he had certainly been making a difference for the Clippers over his last five games prior to Sunday's tilt vs. Brooklyn. Across those matchups, Harrell had averaged 16.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.0 block on an electric 69.2% from the field, The former second-round pick was also averaging over 10 field goal attempts (10.2) per game during that stint, so it’s not like he was doing it while going 2-of-3 from the floor every night.

DeAndre Jordan is still obviously a factor, but it is worth noting that he had played under 30 minutes in four straight contests before Sunday's win over Brooklyn. And while he still did a good job of making his presence felt with averages of 11.4 points, 14.4 boards, 1.6 steals, and 1.6 blocks on 71.0% shooting—including a notable 68.4% from the charity stripe—in those outings, there is definitely room for both he and Harrell to produce as the Clips move forward. LA’s upcoming schedule should play into Harrell’s favor with games vs. New Orleans, Cleveland, and Orlando on the docket this week, so it wouldn’t be a bad time to test the waters in 14-team leagues with razor-thin waiver wires.

Dejounte Murray, San Antonio Spurs: Steals, Blocks

It’s unusual for a contribution in the blocks department to be an expectation from a point guard, but Murray isn’t your ordinary talent and the Spurs didn’t “turn the page” from Tony Parker without good reason.

It’s indefensible that Murray is rostered in fewer than half of Yahoo leagues, especially given the fact that he’s been awesome over his last four games with averages of 13.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.0 steals, 1.3 blocks, and just 1.8 turnovers on 48.9% shooting. It doesn’t feel like the Spurs are getting Kawhi Leonard back until mid-to-late March at the earliest, and with San Antonio in the middle of a very tight Western Conference playoff race in which they could easily fall out of, Gregg Popovich’s show of faith in Murray should speak volumes about how the organization views him.

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