(Stephen Dunn/Getty Images North America)
Line of the Night: Portland may be struggling, but Nicolas Batum (2.86) is not. Thanks to a monster 35 points (5 threes, 13-19 from the field), 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 5 blocks, Batum has climbed to #4 overall on Give Me The Rock’s Fantasy Basketball Player Rater (and that Top 3 includes the injured Kyle Lowry). Of course, Batum also a fairly ridiculous 7 turnovers. He’s only averaging 2.6 on the season, though, and this was an overtime game, so he should be good going forward. And I have to admit, he is definitely looking like someone worthy of being taken in the second round, even while he was a much derided pick when he was taken there in my league at work. The guy who took him in that league hedged his bet with Paul George, who we thought, at the time, would end up better than Batum, but we all know how that has gone. Thus the saying: Sometimes knowing less is knowing more.
Honorable Mentions: Two spots ahead of Batum (overall) is Kevin Durant (2.83), who had 27 points (4 threes, 9-12 from the field), 9 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals last night. He was the only OKC starter to play over 30 minutes as the Thunder rolled over the Hornets. I was checking the scores (at the start of the night at least) and noticed that part of the reason the Thunder were able to give their guys the rest was because Kevin Martin (2.07) scored 21 of his 27 points (6 threes) in the first half. Martin also had 5 rebounds, and 4 assists to end up 5th overall on the night (the other two are in the Waiver Wire section after the jump).
Jason Richardson (2.02) played 35 minutes for the 76ers and added another 20 point game to his season. Richardson made 5 of 7 threes to go with 8 rebounds and 2 steals. He’s already owned in 58% of leagues, but if you’re looking for a Small Ball Forward… he’s worth a look. His FG% will probably kill anyone who isn’t punting that category, though.
On the other side of that overtime game with the Blazers was James Harden (1.93), who scored 29 points (11-12 from the line) with 6 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals. I didn’t see it, but at 119-117, it sounds like a pretty awesome game. If my sources are correct, Damian Lillard (1.77) played in his first overtime NBA game and made out very well. He used his 42 minutes to score 27 points (3 threes, 6-6 from the line), grab 5 rebounds, dish 5 assists, and get 2 steals. Lillard appears to be as good as every fanboy/sleeper-predictor seemed to think.
Next up… he wasn’t the best player on his team, but he has a higher ownership rate (obviously) than last night’s Waiver Wire Line of the Night… Louis Williams (1.78) came off the bench for the Hawks to put up 21 points (5-8 from the field, 9-11 from the line) with 5 assists and 2 steals.
Finally, while the Lakers started their new Showtime era with a win against the Suns, the only guy with an ownership over 50% to crack the Top 11 overall was Goran Dragic (1.51) with 22 points (3 threes), 7 assists, and 2 steals. As regards the Lakers, it sounds like one of our Waiver Wire picks is going to fit very nicely into D’Antoni’s system while Pau Gasol will probably be reduced to a medium range jump shooter. Trevor posted a link in the comments to Basketball Breakdown where Coach Nick talks about the system and how it affects the Lakers. So far, he appears to be spot on.
Waiver Wire Line of the Night: Kyle Korver (2.41) has put together a really nice season so far, and it must just be the name that is keeping people from adding him (18% owned). He put up another 22 points (5 threes, 7-9 from the field, 3-3 from the line) with 7 rebounds, and while that 77% shooting from the field should technically make him ineligible for the WWLotN (see also: The 70% Rule), Korver has a WARP of >1.00 for his last 3 games and a positive WARP for the 3 games before that. He’s starting for the Hawks and averaging almost 31 minutes in the last 7 games. It’s not like there’s someone on the bench or injured (I’m not counting DeShawn Stevenson, sorry) who is going to take Korver’s minutes all of a sudden. I say Korver is a must add in all leagues no matter what style of ball you’re playing. He’s got a good FG% and he makes threes, so he can go Small Ball or Big Ball (and especially Mid Ball!).
Pick Up Lines: The best line from the new Showtime Lakers comes from Metta World Peace (2.30) who scored 22 points on 5 threes with 6 rebounds and 3 steals (33% owned). You can bet that 33% is going to shoot to 66% if MWP keeps making those threes. And D’Antoni’s system is all about making threes. And that was with Darius Morris running Point (and racking up 6 assists). Imagine what this will be like when Steve Nash gets back. Looks like the Heat-Lakers Finals 2013 is back on.
Derrick Williams (1.68) provided the only resistance to the Warriors assault on the T’Wolves with his 23 points (6-6 from the line), 7 rebounds, and 4 blocks. He’s only 20% owned for a reason though, and that reason is that his YTD WARP score is still negative, which means in a 12 team league, he’s worse than the average player (his rank of #190 also reflects that).
Another guy who came up “big” (relatively) for the Wolves was: Alexey Shved (1.23) who put up 22 points (3 threes), and 7 assists (0% owned). Shved is an undrafted Guard who is actually ranked #130 on the Player Rater right now, which means technically, he should be 100% owned in any league with 130 or more players. This is the only time I can remember writing about someone who is really, literally 0% owned. Of course, I’d never heard of him before, but with the rest of the Timberwolves roster in the hospital, he’s averaging 23 minutes per game. Until one of Roy, Rubio, or Barea comes back, I think Shved will probably continue to see some fantasy-relevant minutes. He’s a perfect Small Ball Guard, so if that’s your game, snap him up and look like the fantasy genius you want all your friend to know you are.
On the other end of the 0% owned spectrum: DeMarre Carroll (1.49) scored 17 points in 22 minutes by going 6-6 from the field and 4-4 from the line, adding 5 rebounds, and 2 steals (0% owned). I’m going to call that one beginner’s luck and recommend that you NOT pick up Carroll until he’s played at least 2 more games and shown what he is actually capable of. There’s enough other good WW picks above that you needn’t concern yourself with him unless he starts getting 22 minutes every game. Then we’ll see.
Now back to real WW picks: How is Chandler Parsons (1.06) now owned in more than 45% of leagues? The guy already proved last year that he was for real, and look at his 19 points and 11 rebounds last night. I’m sure he’s already owned in the leagues that anyone reading this is playing in, though, since you are all Super Competitive. Still, only 45%… wouldn’t hurt to check…
Biggest Loser: I know Dorell Wright (-1.02) wasn’t shooting well this year so far, but how does he go from 35 minutes to 5 minutes in 5 games? Yahoo says he got a cut on his chin, but that shouldn’t mean he couldn’t play more than 5 minutes. I mean is Philly really going to let Jason Richardson start and put up essentially the same numbers as Wright while being 4 years older? Wright could be a key piece for the 76ers if Andrew Bynum ever playes again, but letting him go for 0 points, 0 rebounds, and 0 assists is not doing anyone any good. I’d give it another game or two, but it seems like any chance of a fantasy comeback in Philly might be gone.
You’ve got to go up last night’s charts a bit before you hit someone who actually played in the game they sucked in. If you go from 197 to 152 on the night, you’ll find Wesley Matthews (-0.49; 93% owned) who had 15 points, but only shot 6-18 from the field and 1-5 from the line. He added 5 rebounds and 5 assists and only had 2 turnovers (to teammate Nic Batum’s 7), so it wouldn’t seem like he’d be the worst performer out there, but he’s the only guy in the Bottom 60 (besides Wright) with an ownership rate over 50%.
Daily rankings and stats come from the GMTR H2H Player Rater (beta version). They are based on the stat Wins Above Replacement Player (WARP) an estimate of the number of wins a player produces per week in H2H leagues over a replacement (waiver wire) player.
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