Oh, the joys of basketball box scores! I love the return of the NBA season. October is hands down the best sports month of the year. I relish overreacting to early season trends. Letís overreact together, shall we?
Victor Oladipo Is Breaking Out!
Four games in and Victor Oladipo is feasting on career game average highs for scoring, steals, three pointers, shooting percentage and free throw shooting percentage. With Paul George, Jeff Teague and C.J. Miles gone, there are plenty of shots available for newcomers Oladipo and Darren Collison. The former Hoosier is also aided by Indiana pushing the pace this year Ė the Pacers are 9th in possessions per game, after ranking 17th last year. Thatís a major reason why I think Oladipoís scoring numbers are will stay at the 23 point, two made treys and 3.5 assists level. The assists may even go up. If possible, trade for him now.
Brooklyn is DFS Gold
The Nets are averaging 123.5 points per game. They are second in the league, behind the Lakers, in possessions per game, up 7.2 possessions from last year. Their opponents are averaging 122.5 points per game. DíAngelo Russell is averaging 23 points and 5.5 assists per game and is a stunning value in leagues that donít count turnovers. (Iím a ďcount TOísĒ guy, BTW). Grab Allen Crabbe while you can -- Jeremy Lin is out for the year and Crabbe is owned in only 67% of leagues. That percentage will go up.
Step number one for putting together my DFS lineups is ďfind out who the Nets are playingĒ. Brooklyn has been particularly generous to bigs, giving up the third most points to power forwards and second most points to centers.
Reggie Jackson Is Back
Knee issues and poor play had Jackson losing major minutes to Ish Smith last season. Yes, Ish Smith. And he only appeared in 52 games. Many worried those issues would linger into the 2017-18 season, but we can apparently forget those concerns. Jackson looks like his old self, averaging 16.5 points, 6.8 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals while shooting 93% from the charity stripe. The Pistons have $51 million committed to Jackson over the next three seasons Ė they should be extremely motivated to help Jackson return to near-all-star form.
Dwyane Wade Canít Space the Floor
This is not new news. Wade is a 31.3% career three point shooter. LeBron James needs outside shooters so he can drive to the bucket or kick it outside when the defense collapses to the key. So it was a little surprising to see Wade in the starting lineup for the Cavs first three games. I get that Cleveland wants to give the former star his due, but Wade and King James both need the ball in their hand. Pairing the two together didnít always work well in Miami, and it sure wonít work this year as the 35-year-old Wade deals with knee issues (heís missing tonightís game due to a bruised knee). Coach Lue, having showed Wade the proper respect, can now gracefully move the aging vet to the bench, which Wade reportedly requested earlier this week. ESPNís Dave McMenamin
explains it all very well here.
The fantasy implications mean that, frankly, Wade will perform better leading the second unit while J.R. Smith gets a few more catch-and-shoots from LeBron. Wade still has value in deep leagues, especially if you need blocks. The guard blocked 0.7 shots per game last year, pretty good for a backcourt player. For those in deep head-to-head leagues, now might be the time to grab him on the cheap, assuming name value isnít an issue.
Enes Kanter Is Thriving In New York
You did notice he grabbed 19 rebounds Tuesday night, right? He is clearly the big winner over Willy Hernangomez for the starting center gig. The Knicks are terrible. That means they will surely experiment with Kanter and Hernangomezís minutes throughout the season. But considering the lack of scoring options in the Knicksí lineup, expect Kanter to continue receiving 25+ minutes per game. Thatís four more minutes than his OKC days. And considering how soft Kristaps can play at times, we may witness Kanterís first ever double digit rebounds per game season.
Giannis Antetokounmpo Is Remarkably Still Improving
You probably already noticed this, but through four games heís averaging 36.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.3 steals while shooting 66% from the field. Thatís cray-cray, and why four out of seven RW scribes named The Greek Freak as their pick for 2017-18 Fantasy MVP, including yours truly. Can those numbers possibly carry through to the end of the season? Now, letís hope the Bucks can deal Jabari Parker for one more outside shooter.
Well, thatís it for my early season over-reactions. This fantasy train wreck has hit the END OF THE LINE! CHOO-CHOO!
(BTW, if you enjoy this little column, give our Friday NBA podcast a try, where I usually join Shannon McKeown and D.J. Trainor for some epic NBA conversations.)