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NBA Barometer: Davis Dominating Early

Juan Carlos Blanco

Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for close to 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, and the NFL for, including serving as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' beat writer. He has previously written for and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports.


Anthony Davis, F, NO -
Davis' performance in the first two games of the season have been eye-openers, even by his lofty standards. The standout forward has averaged 47.5 points on 52.3 percent shooting with 16.5 rebounds. While 40-point-plus double-doubles aren't sustainable, Davis is the special kind of talent that, when fully healthy, can produce at a higher clip than virtually anyone in the league.

Russell Westbrook , G, OKC - Not to hone in too much on the obvious, but Westbrook is yet another elite player living up to -- and exceeding -- his significant hype over the first two games. Following a 51-point, 13-rebound, 10-assist triple-double Friday, the perennial All-Star is averaging 41.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 9.5 assists over the first two games. Backcourt mate Victor Oladipo is expected to take some of the burden off him as he increasingly acclimates to his new digs, but Westbrook's usage will almost assuredly be a career high this season.

DeMar DeRozan, G, TOR - DeRozan has made good on his lucrative offseason contract extension right from the opening tip-off, leading the Raptors in scoring in the first two games with a combined 72 points. His contributions have been particularly needed with Kyle Lowry's sluggish start to the campaign, and he's averaged 5.5 rebounds. Given his role in the Toronto offense as its most consistent scorer, DeRozan is in line to put up career numbers this season.

T.J. Warren, SF, PHO - Warren was named the starting small forward with P.J. Tucker recovering from back surgery and has proven worthy of the role. He posted a career-high 30 points in Friday's overtime showdown with the Thunder, averaging 22.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.5 steals. Notably, he's shot a stellar 56.3 percent from the field and has averaged a robust 16.0 shot attempts, encouraging given he often shares the court with Devin Booker and Eric Bledsoe.

Kyrie Irving, G, CLE - Irving was expected to thrive again this season, but he took it up a notch in the Cavs' first two games. Like DeRozan, he's spearheaded his team's scoring, with Friday's 26-point effort only marred by seven turnovers. The All-Star has been hot from beyond the arc, impressively draining nine of his 16 three-pointers. While LeBron James' presence always looms large and Kevin Love is also playing well, there is more than enough opportunity for Irving to continue producing at an elite rate, even if he typically has the ball in his hands less than other point guards.

Harrison Barnes, F, DAL - What we've seen from Barnes the first two games of his Mavs tenure (25.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.5 three-pointers per game on 56.7 percent shooting) could well become the norm, now that he's unencumbered by the larger-than-life presences of the Splash Bros and Draymond Green in his new Dallas digs. He's made 5 of 10 from downtown, as well, and continued success in this area, which he's proven capable of in the past, will certainly serve as a terrific supplement to his overall numbers. With an aging Dirk Nowitzki and Deron Williams, as well as an inconsistent Wesley Matthews, the Mavs may frequently turn to Barnes for consistent, across-the-stat-sheet production this season.

Myles Turner, F, IND - Turner opened plenty of eyes in his first game as full-time center Wednesday against the Mavericks, posting 30 points and 16 rebounds, and followed it up with another double-double (13 and 11) against the Nets on Friday. He's also been a veritable roadblock around the rim, notching seven blocks. As a second-year player with plenty of potential, his line should be consistently trending upward this season.


Brandon Ingram, F, LAL:
Ingram left Friday's game with a sore right knee and is day-to-day. The heralded 2016 first-round pick has averaged 5.5 points and 1.5 rebounds across 14.0 minutes in his first two games.

Chandler Parsons , F, MEM: Parsons is expected to miss several more games as he completes his recovery from March knee surgery. Heís progressively ramped up his work in practice and has reportedly looked good. James Ennis continues to hold down the small-forward spot for the Grizzlies in his stead.

Josh Richardson, G, MIA: Richardson continues to struggle with a knee injury that has sidelined him since early September. Dion Waiters and Tyler Johnson continue to hold down shooting guard for the Heat in Richardsonís absence, but there are high hopes for the 23-year-old when he returns.

Gary Harris, G, DEN: Harris is close to returning from a multi-week absence with a groin injury. He was held out again Saturday but could play Monday. He'll step back into the starting shooting-guard role in which he averaged 13.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.4 steals in 76 games last season.


Eric Bledsoe, G, PHO -
Bledsoe hasn't necessarily been poor the first two games, but he has underwhelmed given the expectations with which he came into the regular season. Back at full health and with a strong finish to the exhibition slate, the point guard figured to team with Devin Booker as one of the more prolific backcourt tandems in the league, but Bledsoe has seen his scoring dip over last season's numbers in the Suns' first two games. Itís only been two games, but heís averaged more than two fewer shot attempts than last season while shooting a sub-par 40.7 percent from the field. New starting small forward T.J. Warren has also been aggressive offensively, taking some potential scoring opportunities.

D'Angelo Russell, G, LAL - The sky was thought to be the limit for the talented Russell entering his sophomore campaign, particularly with Kobe Bryant now in retirement and the second-year guard taking full command of the offense. Instead, it's been a rocky start, with Russell draining only 10 of 30 shots, including 5 of 15 from three-point range. His struggles particularly came to the forefront against a smothering Jazz defense Friday and could be in for some rollercoaster performances in certain matchups this season.

Kyle Lowry, G, TOR - Lowry is almost assured of leaving the Raptors after this season, and his play on offense in the first two games resembles that of a player whoís partially checked out. He's shot just 27.6 percent from the field (8 of 29), including 20 percent (2 of 10) from beyond the arc. Conversely, backcourt mate DeMar DeRozan has stepped up his contributions considerably, averaging 36 points over Toronto's first two games. Lowry's minutes are certainly still there (38.5 average over first two games) but the production and efficiency could be inconsistent this season.

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