A busy Friday night to start the weekend in the NBA. 8 games tonight with 2 games into overtime and a bunch of tight games. Let’s start off with the Sixers winning their first game of the season after the Pelicans won theirs last night. Thanks to a couple of clutch free throws from Joel Embiid. Raptors got carried by DeRozan again for another 30+ point performance to edge out the hot Hornets. Spurs snapped their 3 game home losing streak against the Pistons. Orlando looks abysmal and I feel like more changes are coming. Clippers narrowly edged out the Thunder when they couldn’t buy a single basket from the free throw line. The young Blazers team continue to beat teams in the fourth, led by Lillard and McCollum. Let’s take a look at the winners and losers from tonight’s games!
Stud of the Night: Tonight’s honours goes to Kemba Walker. Who needs a cool nickname when you have a name like Kemba. This man is playing like he’s the best point guard in the East right now.He dropped 40 points on 12-19 shooting and 9-11 from the line. He also hauled in 10 rebounds, handed out 6 dimes and nailed 7 triples with only 1 turnover in the game in the tough loss against the Raptors. He completely outplayed Kyle Lowry tonight and he’s probably going to get his first All-Star nod in his career this season. After tonight’s performance, Kemba rose up the rankings and is now the seventh best fantasy player this season. He’s averaging 25.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 3.4 triples and 1.6 steals. He’s also shooting at an insane 48.9 percent from the field. That’s way above his career averaged and it’ll probably regress back to the mean. But Kemba does have the ability to be a top-20 player for the entire season.
C.J. McCollum – 31 points (13-24 FG, 3-4 FT), 5 assists, 4 steals, 2 triples and a block in an overtime win against the Kings. C.J. has been awesome this season. I thought picking him in the third round is a little bit of a reach because I thought there was no way he could’ve improve his game fantasy wise from last year. The numbers do look similar though and it’s the percentages that are bolstering his value up to the second round. I see those percentages drop a bit in the long run and if you can get a second round or maybe even a first for C.J. right now, I would go get it.
Pau Gasol – 21 points (10-16 FG), 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks, a triple and a steal. Owners should be glad that Gasol can still turn up with performances like this one especially with LaMarcus Aldridge on the floor as well. He played 36 minutes and the entire fourth quarter tonight. That’s a good sign since Pistons have the likes of Marcus Morris and Tobias Harris as a stretch four. He led the Spurs in scoring tonight and broke the 3 game losing streak at home. This was easily his best performance in a Spurs jersey and hopefully gets him going. I don’t see him getting nights like these very often though. If you could get mid round value for Gasol after tonight’s performance, I would take it.
Kyle Lowry – 19 points (7-16 FG, 3-3 FT), 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 threes, 2 steals and a block with no turnovers. Lowry was outmatched today by Kemba and really struggled against him on offense. A lot of his points came when Ramon Sessions was guarding him. However, he did control the game very well and facilitated to his partner in crime. He had no turnovers this game which really spikes up his value from this game. The spotlight is on DeRozan right now, which takes some pressure off Lowry’s slow start. He’s turning 31 this season and pacing himself for the playoffs is a good strategy. He’s returning top-40 value, which isn’t ideal for owners who drafted him in the second round. As the season goes on and when DeRozan cools off, Lowry will get it going.
Isaiah Thomas – 29 points (9-17 FG, 8-8 FT), 3 rebounds, 4 assists , 3 triples and a steal. The Celtics were on a 3-game losing streak before tonight’s win against the Knicks. Thomas called out his own teammates about his effort and followed up by a performance like this one. He’s really stepped it up, playing himself to second round value but it’s likely due to the injuries to Horford and Crowder which inflated his value. His averages of 26.1 points on 47.8 percent shooting doesn’t seem sustainable. His usage rate will also take a hit once his teammates return but Thomas is still a solid point guard to own and will have a top-40 campaign.
Dud of the Night: Courtney Lee dropped a massive dud tonight in a blowout loss against the Celtics. He scored 1 point, grabbed 1 rebound, and blocked 1 shot. He missed all 4 of his attempts from the field tonight. Heading into the season, I was a big fan of Lee and thought he could quietly have Jae Crowder like stats for the Knicks since all the attention would be on the superstars of the team. However, he’s barely worth owning in standard leagues, narrowly returning top-150 value. He’s averaging 10.0 points, 1.0 three and 0.8 steals. His percentages are good but his attempts are hard to come by. It’ll be hard for him to step it up since the triangle system doesn’t really benefit him. As long as Phil Jackson continues to urge to run the triangle, Knicks players won’t be happy and motivated to play ball and I don’t really like that situation.
Waiver Wire Gems:
Ersan Illyasova (18% owned) – 14 points (4-6 FG, 3-3 FT), 11 rebounds, 3 triples and a block in 24 minutes. After being traded to the Sixers, Ersan is getting consistent minutes averaging 24.5 minutes per game. He’s returning ninth round value in the 5 games he played in Philadelphia, averaging 13.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.2 threes. He’s a solid grab and I’m optimistic that he can continue this kind of performances coming off the bench. The only problem is that he’s rather injury prone. He should be picked up in standard leagues.
Kelly Olynyk (13% owned) – 19 points (6-11 FG, 4-4 FT), 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 triples and a steal in 30 minutes. This is his second game of the season and looked really good tonight. But we all know Olynyk is rather inconsistent and will have his hot and cold streaks. Horford is nearly cleared from the concussion protocol and it’ll be interesting to see what kind of role Olynyk will play when he returns. He does have some upside and there are nights where Stevens would like to go big but he’s only worth an add in deep leagues if there’s someone you can cut.
Andre Roberson (6% owned) – 13 points (5-10 FG), 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 triples, a steal and a block in 35 minutes. There’s going to be consistent minutes with Roberson but he rarely translates that into fantasy production. This was his best shooting night since the start of the season and even attempted 6 triples. He did most of his damage in the first half and seemed invisible in the second half. His upside is limited and he’s still a defensive specialist with good rebounds from a wing position. He’s a good punt points or threes type of player.
- DeMar DeRozan’s 7th 30+ outing in first 8 games to start season. Last player to do that: Michael Jordan in 86-87. Any stats that compares you with MJ is legit.
- Jonas Valanciunas returned and had an efficient 21 minutes tonight. Probably the end for Lucas Nogueira’s run.
- Nicolas Batum played well tonight and shot 7-15 from the field but he’s averaging 38.0 percent for the season. Hopefully he found his shooting stroke because he’s contributing to everything else.
- Marvin Williams is still cold. I mean really cold. He shot 3-15 from the field, averaging 35.1 percent for the season. He’s hurting your FG% single handedly right now. But he’s getting minutes and Steve Clifford really likes him.
- The Magic look horrendous. They just look really bad. Aaron Gordon got demoted to the bench for Jeff Green. What is Frank Vogel thinking. Don’t add Jeff Green.
- Derrick Favors is starting to look his old usual self 18 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks. With him and Gobert in the lineup, they’re back to being a defensive beast.
- George Hill is still sidelined with his thumb injury and Dante Exum got the start tonight.
- C.J. Miles got moved to the starting line up with Monta Ellis to the bench. I think it’s a win-win situation for both of them.
- The Knicks shot 35.1 percent as a team and looks really bad. Triangle is not for everyone Phil!
- Al Horford is travelling on their 2-game road trip and looks to return soon. He’s still a good buy low target right now but hurry up and float offers out.
- Kawhi finally has a poor shooting night and LaMarcus Aldridge is still cold.
- The Thunder found a gem in Domantis Sabonis and pairing him up with Steven Adams is going to be really interesting for their future.
- This Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum backcourt is electric. How they embrace the city and how the city embraces them back. This Portland team is league pass material.
Friday’s FFF is over. Look forward to tomorrow’s Week 4 Adds and Drops and follow me on Twitter for more updates and keep shooting questions at me for your fantasy team!