Dwyane Wade: Buckets– Wade played just 23 minutes Thursday against Detroit, but poured in 21 points in that time on 9-13 shooting. This should not come as a surprise, as Wade has demonstrated his scoring capabilities throughout his career, but Flash also pitched out five assists in the game as well. Simply put, that stat-line, not to mention the block and steal he made, is what makes Wade a top fantasy player.
Josh Smith: New Go-To in ATL– With Joe Johnson (and his mega-contract) being shipped to Brooklyn this summer, Smith figures to take on more responsibility scoring the ball for the Hawks this season. Thursday night against the Hornets, he flashed his ability to do so, with 16 points in 23 minutes. That number came off a commendable 7-13 shooting and included a three-pointer. While Smith has said he will not take as many threes as in years past, his scoring numbers should nonetheless benefit from Johnson’s departure. J-Smoove is also in a contract year, so that could improve his on-court production as well.
Mike Conley, Jr.: Continues Strong Preseason– Conley posted 20 points on 5-13 shooting (1-2 3PT, 9-9 FT) against the Bucks Thursday night. The lefty has now scored at least 18 points in each of the Grizzlies’ four preseason games and has an impressive nine three-pointers over the same stretch. With O.J. Mayo now gone, it appears that Conley is taking it upon himself to shoulder more of Memphis’ scoring load. He also pitched in six assists and four rebounds during his 36 minutes Thursday night.
Anthony Davis: Efficient Scorer– Thursday night, Davis converted on 8-11 field goal attempts while playing 36 minutes against the Hawks. The rook also pulled down seven boards and blocked a shot. If his college numbers (62.3 FG|PERCENT|) are any indication, owners can expect The Brow to continue his high shooting percentage in the NBA given his length and ability to finish around the rim. However, Davis is sure to take some lumps this season, as all rookies do, so temper your expectations of him.
Courtney Lee: Stock Up– Lee stands to benefit in many ways this season in his first year playing for the Celtics. First, he is currently the team’s starter at shooting guard, a place previously held by Ray Allen. Next, he has Rajon Rondo to free up open looks for him. Finally, he’s pretty good! Lee had 18 points on 8-12 shooting against Brooklyn Thursday night, while also adding four assists and four steals. He saw 33 minutes of action, which may be more than he will play on a nightly basis this season given the Celtics also have Jason Terry, but Lee could be poised for his best statistical season as a pro this year anyway.