I don’t remember where I heard it or read it. I think it was on listening to commentary during a pre-season game. Someone said that he didn’t think Kyle Lowry would do well this season. He was coming off a career year with the Houston Rockets and was now with a new team, the Toronto Raptors. The outlook wasn’t looking good that he would replicate his stellar season. I listened. It sounded logical, at least at the time. It lingered in the back of my head across majority of my fantasy drafts. Big mistake. Huge. Lowry is killing it in Toronto and his fantasy owners are taking his stat sheet to the bank. One shining example is our Line of the Night: where Kyle Lowry (2.23) led the Raptors in destroying the (Kevin) Love-less Minnesota Timberwolves. He did everything, well except block shots. He scored 22 points (8-10 from the field, 4-4 from the line), grabbed seven rebounds, dished out five assists, and added three steals to boot. Unfortunately, I own him in only one of my leagues. From the early returns, both he and Brandon Jennings are up for joining the elite-PG club this season. Then again, it’s early, so we’ll wait, we’ll see.
Kevin Durant (1.80) meanwhile, kept his double-digit rebounding streak going with yet another double-double and then some performance. Sadly (for Thunder fans at least), his 22 points and 12 rebounds were not enough to carry the Thunder passed the Atlanta Hawks, who were already missing Josh Smith. KD filled up his stat sheet with eight dimes, three steals and two blocks. Al Horford (1.63) led the Hawks with 23 points and 12 rebounds of his own. I guess we can chalk it up to Westbrook having an off night and less than the team missing some guy with a beard who’s currently just going crazy in Houston. Well simply because Kevin Martin (1.60) has been doing quite well off OKC’s bench and is even having one the best starts in fantasy of his career. He was an efficient scorer last night, delivering 28 points via 6 threes, going 8-11 from the field, and 6-6 from the line. Not too shabby. Now if he could only grow some facial hair and get a faux hawk.
Finally, the Lakers win one. It was against the Pistons, but at this point I’m sure they’ll take their Ws where they can get ‘em. With Steve Nash still out with a fractured fibula, obviously, Kobe Bryant (1.64) took charge and ran the offense – as if he wasn’t used to it by now. He scored 15 points, knocking down three treys, grabbed seven boards and generously dished out eight assists.
Andrei Kirilenko (1.61), showed us a throwback to one of his vintage lines. With both Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio out of commission, AK47 is simply the best player in Minnesota (who isn’t experiencing bone-on-bone friction in his knees). He dropped 17 points via an efficient 6-7 from the field, took down six rebounds, and added a three, a steal and three blocks. Classic AK. Speaking of vintage, Jason Kidd (1.49) started at shooting guard for the Knicks, joining Raymond Felton in the back court, played a decent 25 minutes (at least for NBA senior citizens), and delivered a reasonable line of 12 points, 6 assists, 3 steals, and two threes. This is probably the high end of what we should expect from him, but if he can deliver lines like this often enough, he should still be usable in deeper leagues.
The bad news for the Lakers is that they (and we fantasy owners) might have to miss Steve Nash for up to FOUR weeks. The good news is that Waiver Wire Line of the Night: Steve Blake (1.31) may just end up producing some deep-league, very deep-league fantasy value. He was able to bloat his value enough by getting five steals for the night and totally schooling and shutting down Detroit’s sophomore PG, Brandon Knight. For now, we’ll have to play the wait-and-see game with Blake to redo his 6 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 steals (1% owned). We all know how non-elite point guards have fared sharing the Laker back court with Kobe in the past, right?
Pick Up Lines: a.k.a. The Orlando Magic Buffet of fantasy adds.
E’Twaun Moore (1.25) had a significant game starting in place of injured Jameer Nelson. What outsiders fail to appreciate is that he actually managed to do well in Orlando’s first game – which was while Nelson was starting. Moore, a rookie, has some potential to shine in the Magic’s depleted retooled roster. He’s owned 0% of leagues. But that’s not quite so accurate, as I have already jumped the gun (hopefully not too soon) and grabbed him after seeing his 15 points (3 threes), 6 assists and 3 steals. I wouldn’t be too surprised if Moore forces a time share with Nelson moving forward at the very least. On the other hand, if you haven’t grabbed J.J. Redick (1.20) by now, he’s odds are no longer available in your league to grab and appreciate. He lit up the scoreboard, albeit against Phoenix, to the tune of 24 points (3 threes, 9-14 from the field), and 6 assists (49% owned). I must admit that I didn’t really follow Nikola Vucevic (1.06) while he was a reserve for the Philadelphia 76ers and nor did I pay him much attention while prepping for this season’s drafts. Somehow though, his explosion of 18 points and 13 rebounds was somewhat of an eye-opening, attention-grabbing blip on my fantasy radar. It’s hard to recommend a grab just yet, as I would like to see him notch another noteworthy game under his belt, but I’ve got him on my watch list, now. (42% owned)
Brandon Knight (-1.26) got schooled, embarassingly, by Steve Blake as opposed to Steve Nash; but was nonetheless atrocious in his attempt to lead the Pistons against the Lakers. He managed a paltry two points via going 1-8 from the field. He did manage to dish out six assists, but those weren’t enough to cover up his five turnovers for the evening. It wasn’t just him. Even Rodney Stuckey (-0.81) managed to go scoreless after missing all of his six attempts from the field. No wonder the Lakers won… the Pistons had an off night.
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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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