Between Andrea Bargnani’s monster showing and Anthony Davis’ career night, the stars certainly came out during Friday night’s 12-game slate. We learned a lot during last night’s basketball bonanza so let’s dive straight in.
1. Kevin Love is off to an unprecedented start
Love rocked the Mavericks on Friday to the tune of 32 points, 15 boards, eight assists and three triples to boot. It was a tremendous effort and it’s clear that Love is fully recovered from last year’s injury and locked in for a huge year. He's the first NBA player ever to start out with averages of 27 points, 14 boards and five assists through a season's first six games and while he probably won’t finish the season with those averages, he’s sure to come close. He’s a top-four fantasy player in most leagues and will likely remain there for the rest of the season. If you were able to nab him at the end of the first round, congratulations are in order.
2. By the way, Anthony Davis is still marvelous
One week after we touted Davis’ outstanding ability and his bona fide first round talent, the second year man went out and had a career night in New Orleans to reassure owners that he’s no fluke. “The Brow” had a career high 32 points against the Lakers on Friday, adding 12 rebounds and a career high tying six blocks for good measure. His 12-18 shooting certainly didn’t hurt and if his shooting percentages continue to improve, he’ll be even more impressive. He’s the number one player in fantasy right now and isn’t slowing down.
Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $20,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Saturday, Nov. 9th games. It's just $10 to join and first prize is $3,000. Starts at 7pm ET on Saturday. Here's the link.
3. Andrea Bargnani shows signs of life
Bargnani got off to very slow start this season but Friday night was a coming out party as he posted a huge line to signal his arrival to the fantasy basketball world. Bargnani, who saw teammate Tyson Chandler go down earlier in the week with a fractured leg, was put into a put-up or shut-up spot. Tasked with filling some of Chandler’s shoes, the Italian answered the bell, scoring 25 points with eight rebounds and five blocks. Now this was against the Al Jefferson-less Bobcats and Bargnani is famous for his streaky play. Case in point, the lanky big man scored just six points against Charlotte last Tuesday. He won’t be this good every night, but the thing owners can rely on are heavy minutes for the next month or two while Chandler is out, along with some points, 3-pointers, blocks and boards. There may be no better time to sell high on Bargnani than right now but it looks like he’s ready to step up in New York and with no other big capable of handling the minutes load, the Knicks will rely on Bargnani and fantasy players could too.
4. Denver’s frontcourt is in shambles
Last night the Nuggets’ power forward spot hit a season low as both Kenneth Faried and J.J. Hickson combined to go 2-6 with 9 rebounds in 34 minutes. That’s a below average number for one player but the fact that two players, who both had dynamic 2012-13 campaigns, combined to score that against a young rebuilding Suns squad is alarming. Faried was likely an early to mid-round pick for most owners but his seven points, and seven boards per game is simply not getting the job done. He was a bit gimpy coming into the season and he’ll likely heat up so this is a great day to send out a buy low offer for the Manimal.
Hickson on the other hand is a bit more concerning. He’s a great defender so coach Brian Shaw is going to play him but after a great season opener, Hickson has floundered in his bench role. Posting averages of just five points and seven rebounds, he’s borderline droppable in most leagues and the fact that he’s averaging less than 20 minutes per game over his last four games is not a good sign. Last night both Anthony Randolph and Darrell Arthur came off the pine and played more than Hickson which shows that his role is not that secure at this point.
5. What a difference a week makes. Faverani and Olynyk in a position battle
Last week at this time, Vitor Faverani was the talk of the town as a huge waiver wire pick up. But after posting averages of just four points and four boards over his last four games, the Celtics starting center is till starting but it’s just a technicality. Rookie Kelly Olynyk has emerged as a potential challenger to the Brazilian and has looked serviceable. Olynyk has been dropping 10 points and six boards over his last four, making him a borderline pickup in most leagues as a cheap source of points and boards. Unfortunately his shooting percentage is hovering around 40% and he’s not blocking any shots. While Olynyk has been playing more than Faverani lately (last night Olynyk played 22 minutes to Faverani’s 16) this looks like it could be a timeshare situation going forward, rendering both men unreliable in most leagues.
6. Derrick Rose nabbed his first steal of the season but still isn’t right
Although Rose was never a huge steals guy (averaging just one per game for his career), the fact that one of the quickest guards in the league hadn’t register one through four games was alarming. Finally, on Friday night Rose got on the stat sheet as Chicago blasted the Jazz. Despite the blowout, Rose played 27 minutes and scored 12 points while shooting 3-8 from the field. He added five assists and four turnovers, marking the first time this season that he’s had more dimes than giveaways. Five games is a small sample size but averaging 14 points and five turnovers is not getting the job done for owners who likely spent a top 12 pick on the Chicago native. It’s still early and Rose is still a huge name so if you’re a frustrated owner and want to float out some offers, it’s not the worst thing to try and switch things up. Just know that he will have a breakout game and when it happens, Rise could be off to the races.
7. Could Steve Adams be the Thunder’s secret weapon?
Move over Sean Marks, there’s a fresh face on the NBA scene hailing from New Zealand and his name is Steve Adams. The 2013 first round pick busted out on Friday night, playing 30 minutes while posting a sick line of 17 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks. There was a precursor to this breakout on Wednesday when he scored six points to go along with nine rebounds, two steals and block in 20 minutes against the Mavericks, but Friday night’s outing was shockingly good. Adams shot 7-10 from the field and isn’t afraid to battle down low. Kendrick Perkins only played 16 minutes last night and although the Thunder relied heavily on its bench, Adams is legit and could eventually steal the starting job from Perkins. The big man is certainly worth a speculative add and could pay major dividends as the season rolls along.
8. Ankle injuries are in right now
While suffering an ankle injury is common in a sport where agility and footwork are keys to success, there are already a rash of ankle issues plaguing the fantasy world. The biggest name is Stephen Curry, who bruised his left ankle on Wednesday and missed Friday’s game against the Spurs. Curry was warming up but didn’t play; however, the Warriors are on a back-to-back set so Golden State is likely playing it safe. If Curry doesn’t play on Saturday night against Memphis, then owners can start to worry.
In other ankle news, both Goran Dragic and Al Jefferson remain out for their respective teams with ankle sprains. Dragic nearly played on Friday night but couldn’t get final clearance from the medical staff. The point guard has now missed three straight games but is a good bet to play on Sunday against New Orleans. In Charlotte, Jefferson hasn’t played since the opener and has now missed five straight. He was dealing with the same ankle issue during the preseason but gutted out the opener for the Bobcats. Jefferson could return on Monday against Atlanta and the buy low window is nearly shut.
9. Anthony Bennett’s season actually got worse
After starting the season 0-15, Bennett finally hit his first shot as a pro on Wednesday against the Bucks. Unfortunately, he’s still 1-20 on the year and on Friday night things went from really bad to worse as the number one overall pick suffered a right shoulder sprain against Philadelphia. The severity of the injury in unknown at this time but for those owners who have stuck with the NBA’s top pick, it’s officially time to cut bait.
10. What back spasms?
John Wall shrugged off his back issues on Friday night and delivered a massive line of 17 points and 14 assists as Washington defeated Brooklyn in overtime. The tenacious point guard played 42 minutes and added four steals for good measure. Wall is lighting up the fantasy world with his top 20 ranking and his 9.8 assists per game are second behind only Chris Paul. Chipping in over two steals and nearly two three-pointers per contest doesn’t hurt either, proving that Wall can certainly be an anchor on any fantasy team. Hopefully, LeBron James has the same luck on Saturday with his back issues.