Around the Association: Fantasy Takeaways + Injury News from a Big Weekend in the NBA

Around the Association: Fantasy Takeaways + Injury News from a Big Weekend in the NBA

This article is part of our NBA Daily Recap series.

Welcome to another weekend edition of Around the Association. It was an electrifying weekend full of close finishes and impressive performances. Without further ado, let's dive into this weekend:

Top 10 Weekend Takeaways 

  1. Bucks Remain Undefeated 
    • After beating both the Timberwolves and Thunder over the weekend, the Milwaukee Bucks remain the only undefeated team in the league at 9-0. Giannis Antetokounmpo was only active for the team's contest against Minnesota on Friday, which he finished with 26 points (7-17 FG, 2-4 3Pt, 10-20 FT), 14 rebounds and 11 assists in 34 minutes to mark his first triple-double on the season. The Greek Freak is averaging an absurd 32.6 points, 12.9 rebounds and 5.8 assists over his first eight appearances on the season. 
      • While there is much talk about Antetokounmpo's strong start, Jrue Holiday is playing some of the best basketball of his career, averaging 24.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 8.8 assists and 1.6 steals over his last five outings. The veteran point guard currently ranks as the No. 17 nine-category fantasy option.
  2. Luka Does it Again
    • Luka Doncic continued his 30-point scoring streak to begin the season, dropping 35 points (10-15 FG, 3-6 3Pt, 12-14 FT), eight rebounds, six assists, one block and three steals in 37 minutes during Friday's 111-110 close win over the Raptors. The 23-year-old is averaging a ridiculous 36.0 points, 8.8 rebounds, 8.6 assists and 1.9 steals to begin the season for Dallas. Doncic currently ranks as the third overall nine-category fantasy option. 
      • Spencer Dinwiddie finished the win with 21 points (8-17 FG, 3-8 3Pt, 2-2 FT), one rebound, seven assists and two steals across 38 minutes. The veteran guard has scored 20 or more points in three out of his last four contests and is averaging 18.3 points, 4.8 assists and 2.5 steals across that span. 
  3. Brooklyn Gains Momentum
    • After a week full of controversy the Brooklyn Nets started to turn things around, defeating both the Wizards and Hornets. With Ben Simmons (knee) and Kyrie Irving (suspension) both out for the weekend, leading Kevin Durant shined as the team's lone All-Star, averaging  27.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game during Brooklyn's victories. The Nets now sit at 4-6 and have won three out of their last four contests. 
      • Cam Thomas seems to be the biggest benefactor from the Kyrie Irving suspension. The second-year pro averaged 19.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists across 30.3 minutes per game over the weekend. Thomas is one of my favorites waiver adds this week, however, I am curious to see how the team adjusts once Ben Simmons makes his eventual return to the court.
      • Simmons will play Monday night but be limited to around 20 minutes of action.
  4. Westbrook Shining off Bench 
    • The Lakers might have lost both of their contests over the weekend, but Russell Westbrook continues to look rejuvenated while coming off the bench. The 33-year-old had his best game of the season Friday, finishing with 26 points (9-14 FG, 3-5 3Pt, 5-5 FT), three rebounds, six assists and two steals over 29 minutes. Westbrook is averaging 18.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 7.2 assists across 30.2 minutes per game over his first five games as a reserve. 
    • However, it hasn't all been pretty with Westbrook also averaging 5.0 turnovers per game across that span. Regardless, over the past week of play Westbrook ranks as the No. 40 overall nine-category option and has seemed to find a role where he can succeed in Los Angeles' system. 
  5. Celtics' Offense Explodes
    • The Boston Celtics were firing on all cylinders over the weekend, winning both of their contests. Jayson Tatum carried the Celtics during their win over Chicago on Friday, totaling 36 points (8-23 FG, 3-10 3Pt, 17-20 FT), 12 rebounds, six assists, one block and one steal over 40 minutes. Tatum is averaging what would be a personal-best 30.3 points per game while ranking as the No. 4 overall nine-category fantasy option thus far.
    • The Celtics' built off their win over Chicago by drilling a franchise-record 27 three-pointers during Saturday's 133-118 win over the Knicks. Jaylen Brown led the way with 30 points (10-19 FG, 6-11 3Pt, 4-4 FT), five rebounds and three assists in 37 minutes. 
      • Sam Hauser had perhaps the best game of his career during Bostons' record-setting night. The 24-year-old caught fire off the bench, ending with 17 points (6-9 FG, 5-8 3Pt), three rebounds and two assists in 21 minutes.
  6. Cavs Keep Dominating 
    • The Cleveland Cavaliers look absolutely incredible over the weekend winning both of their games with two completely different styles to improve their record to 8-1. A look into both of their wins:
      • With Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland both out for the Cavaliers' first game of the weekend, Cleveland's supporting cast was able to prove its worth. The Cavaliers dominated the Pistons by a score of 85-112 with Jarrett Allen leading the way dropping a team-high 23 points (11-16 FG, 1-2 FT), seven rebounds and two blocks across 32 minutes.
        • Kevin Love took advantage of his increased opportunities and finished with a near triple-double in the defeat. The veteran forward totaled 21 points (7-10 FG, 4-7 3Pt, 3-4 FT), eight rebounds, 10 assists and one block in 23 minutes. Love ranks as the 94th overall nine-category fantasy option.
      • Mitchell and Garland were then both able to return for Sunday's showdown against the Lakers in Los Angeles. The dynamic duo's return helped push the Cavaliers to a 114-100 win and moved Cleveland's record to 8-1.
      • Donovan Mitchell was unstoppable with 33 points (10-17 FG, 1-7 3Pt, 12-13 FT), five rebounds, two assists, one block and one steal over 37 minutes. The first-year Cavalier has been unstoppable across his first eight games, averaging 31.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game.
        • Darius Garland finished Sunday's win with 24 points (7-18 FG, 3-9 3Pt, 7-7 FT), four rebounds and seven assists across 39 minutes. This was just Garland's third appearance of the season after he missed a string of games following an Opening Night eye injury.
  7. Bane is Here 
    • The Memphis Grizzlies were yet another team to sweep their weekend with wins over both the Hornets and Wizards. The story of the season thus far for Memphis has been the emergence of Desmond Bane. Over his last six outings, Bane is averaging 29.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists. The third-year pro came into this season with raised expectations, but I don't think anyone predicted this type of play out of Bane to begin the season. Bane's impressive start has him ranked as the 22nd overall nine-category fantasy option.
  8. No Tank in Utah
    • The Utah Jazz continues to shock the league, defeating both the Lakers and Clippers over the weekend to advance their record to 8-3. Lauri Markkanen impressed once more, averaging 22.5 points,11.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.0 blocks per game over the team's two games. Markkanen currently ranks as the 16th overall nine-category player. 
      • After a slower start to the year, Jordan Clarkson is finding his groove on offense, averaging 21.5 points 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game for Utah over the weekend. The veteran guard has now topped 20 points in four out of his last five appearances. 
      • Collin Sexton is also finding some consistency on the offensive end with Utah. The first-year Jazz member has reached recorded at least 15 points in five straight contests while averaging 18.3 points per game over that span. 
  9. Trae and Zion Duel 
    • My favorite game of the weekend took place in Atlanta on Saturday when the Pelicans came into town. The Hawks were able to squeak by with 124-121 overtime win behind a strong showing from Trae Young. The All-Star guard ended with 34 points (9-26 FG, 2-9 3Pt, 14-15 FT), one rebound, 10 assists, one block and two steals across 42 minutes. Young has scored 30 or more points in four out of his last six appearances
      • Dejounte Murray: 22 points (9-23 FG, 1-8 3Pt, 3-4 FT), 10 rebounds, 11 assists and three steals in 42 minutes. 
    • Zion Williamson did his thing for New Orleans despite the loss. The dominant forward ended with 27 points (11-21 FG, 0-1 3Pt, 5-8 FT), five rebounds and seven assists across 37 minutes. In his first four games since returning from a hip injury, Williamson is averaging 23.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.8 assists across 33.3 minutes per game
      • CJ McCollum: 29 points (12-23 FG, 4-9 3Pt, 1-1 FT), 10 rebounds, one block and one steal over 41 minutes.
  10. Buzzer Beaters
    • Jerami Grant started off the weekend with a bang, swishing a fadeaway corner jumper at the buzzer to push the Trail Blazers over the Suns by a score of 108-106. Along with hitting the game-winner, Grant ended the contest with a season-best 30 points (10-17 FG, 1-3 3Pt, 9-11 FT), two rebounds, five assists and one block across 39 minutes.
  • De'Aaron Fox arguably one-upped Grant on Saturday after drilling a near half-court three-pointer to defeat the Magic 126-123. Fox finished the contest with 37 points (14-24 FG, 2-7 3Pt, 7-7 FT), five rebounds, three assists and one steal across 40 minutes. The Kentucky product is amidst a career season for the Kings thus far, averaging 26.3 points, 5.9 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game. Fox ranks as the 23rd overall nine-category option. 
    • It would be wrong to talk about this game without mentioning how dominant Paolo Banchero was. The star rookie finished the loss with 33 points (14-26 FG, 0-3 3Pt, 5-5 FT), 16 rebounds, four assists and one block across 40 minutes. Banchero joined LeBron James as the only teenagers in NBA history to record at least 30 points and 15 rebounds. 

Weekend Injury report

  • Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet
    • Sikiam will miss at least two weeks with a right adductor strain.
      • This is horrible news for the Raptors and Siakam who was amidst the start of a monster season. Christian Koloko shined in his first game with Siakam on the sidelines, ending with a career-high 11 points (4-8 FG, 0-1 3Pt, 3-4 FT), seven rebounds, two assists and six blocks in 31 minutes. Koloko is a great waiver-wire add this week
    • Fred VanVleet made his return to the court after missing three straight games with a back injury. 
      • The 28-year-old guard made a splash with his return, ending with  30 points (9-22 FG, 5-13 3Pt, 7-7 FT), five rebounds and 11 assists over 39 minutes. VanVleet's 11 assists marked a new season high and it would not surprise me to continue to see him improve on his assist numbers as long as Siakam remains out.  
  • Rudy Gobert
    • Gobert has been placed in the league's health and safety protocol and has already been ruled out for Monday's contest against the Knicks.
      • We got to see our first look at the 2022-23 Timberwolves without Gobert during the team's 129-117 win over the Rockets on Friday:
        • Karl-Anthony Towns took advantage of being the only All-Star big for Minnesota and finished with 25 points (9-14 FG, 4-5 FT, 3-6 3Pt), nine rebounds, six assists, two blocks and one steal across 30 minutes.
        • Kyle Anderson slid into the starting lineup in place of Gobert and ended with a season-best 16 points (6-7 FG, 2-2 3Pt, 2-3 FT), three rebounds, six assists and three steals over 31 minutes.
  • Joel Embiid
    • The All-NBA center has missed three straight contests due to an illness and is questionable for Monday's matchup against the Suns.
      • If Embiid is forced to miss yet another matchup, Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris both should continue to receive more opportunities. Here is how they produced Friday against the Knicks -- their first contest with Embiid and James Harden (foot) both on the sidelines
        • Tyrese Maxey: 31 points (10-29 FG, 4-13 3Pt, 7-7 FT), three rebounds, seven assists and one steal across 39 minutes.
        • Tobias Harris: 23 points (9-15 FG, 3-7 3Pt, 2-2 FT), nine rebounds, four assists, two blocks and one steal over 37 minutes.
          • This marked Harris' first 20-point outing of the season
  • Anfernee Simons
    • The 23-year-old guard has missed two straight games with a foot injury and is doubtful for Monday's matchup against Miami
      • Jerami Grant has seen an uptick in usage with Simons joining Damian Lillard (calf) on the sidelines. The forward has averaged 22.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists across 32.3 minutes per game over Portland's last two outings.
      • Keon Johnson is definitely a player to keep your eye on. The second-year guard averaged 9.5 points, 2.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.5 steals across 27.0 minutes per game during the Trail Blazers' last two contests. In fact, Johnson ranks second on the team with 12.5 field-goal attempts per game over that span. 
  • Ben Simmons
    • The first-year Net has been sidelined for four straight contests due to a knee injury but will play roughly 20 minutes Monday against Dallas.
      • With Simmons' status being upgraded over the weekend, it would not surprise me to see the 26-year-old return to the court for Monday's duel against Luka Doncic and Dallas.
      • If Simmons is ruled out once again, Yuta Watanabe should continue to see increased run off the bench. In his first two contests without both Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons, Watanabe has averaged 11.0 points and  5.5 rebounds across 23.6 minutes per game.
  • Aaron Nesmith and Chris Duarte
    • Nesmith has missed the Pacers' last four games with a foot injury but has been upgraded to questionable for Monday's game against New Orleans
    • Duarte suffered a Grade 2 ankle sprain Friday's contest against the Heat and is expected to miss 4-to-6 weeks. 
      • This is obviously brutal news for the second-year guard. Bennedict Mathurin is in line to receive more opportunities with Duarte on the sidelines. Nesmith is also a candidate to see more usage when he makes his return to the court. 
  • Kawhi Leonard
    • Coach Ty Lue told the media Sunday night that Leonard's knee injury is "progressing well", yet there is still no firm timetable for a return.
      • This is not the start of the season that both the Clippers or fantasy owners hoped for out of Leonard. The star forward has missed Los Angeles' last seven showings while appearing in just two contests all season.
      • Paul George is the biggest benefactor from Leonard being out on the sidelines. After a few sluggish outings, George is back in his groove, averaging 33.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 2.3 steals the Clippers' last four games 
      • Marcus Morris is seeing heavy minutes with Leonard on the sidelines, averaging 14.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.0 blocks across 36.3 minutes per game over his last four showings. 
  • Robert Williams
    • It was reported that Williams has gotten back on the court over the past couple of weeks and has even resumed dunking. While there is no official timetable, last season's 16th overall nine-category player does appear to be getting closer to his return. 

Best and Worst of the Weekend

  • Best of the Weekend: Kevin Durant - 27.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 2.0 blocks across 35.3 minutes per game 
  • Worst of the Weekend: Kristaps Porzingis - 12.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.5 blocks across 28.3 minutes per game
  • Rookie of the Weekend: Paolo Banchero (1 GP)- 33.0 points, 16.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.0 block across 40 minutes

A Look at Monday's Madness 

With the NBA taking Tuesday off in observance of midterm elections, all 30 teams are in action Monday night. Here are a few of the games that I will certainly be tuned into:

  • Top picks, Paolo Banchero and Jabari Smith, are set to battle it out in Orlando
  • The Suns travel to Philadelphia to face the 76ers
  • The Bucks look to move to 10-0 when they travel to Atlanta to face the Hawks
  • Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies looks to protect home court when the Celtics come to town
  • Luka Doncic will attempt to keep his magic up when the Nets come into Dallas 

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Michael Spero
Michael writes in the NBA and NCAAF departments for RotoWire. He is a big-time fan of both the Bulls and Nuggets. Michael spends his time playing pick-up or anxiously rooting for his fantasy teams.
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