by Will Overton
There were seven games on the schedule last night and plenty of guys out there stuffing box scores for fantasy owners to notice. With all the impressive lines out there though it was a lack of a line and an injury to one specific player that really raised the most attention last night. Let’s get to that injury as well as the other four guys who stood out on the night for more positive reasons:
Anthony Davis – New Orleans Pelicans (6 MINS, 0 – 3 FG, 0 PTS, 2 REBS, 1 AST)
After missing two games last week because of a hip strain, Anthony Davis left this game with a shoulder injury just six minutes in and never did come back out. We don’t really have much information on the injury as of yet, but with the Pelicans scheduled for the other end of a back to back tonight there’s a good chance we don’t see Davis back out there. Ideally this won’t be anything that keeps Davis out for more than a game or two, but if it does look out for Ryan Anderson to play a ton of minutes and put up big numbers, especially on the offensive side of the ball where the Pelicans will be without a go to scorer.
Danilo Gallinari – Denver Nuggets (37 MINS, 12 – 19 FG, 32 PTS, 8 REBS, 8 ASTS, 5 3PM)
On the other side of the court from the Pelicans was the Denver Nuggets who had an offensive explosion as a team. This is just another example that right now you have to get guys in your lineups in daily leagues and season long leagues when they are facing off with the Pelicans. This is even more true when Anthony Davis is hurt and not on the court.
There were a few standouts for Denver last night, but it was Gallinari who stood tallest among them, hitting shots left and right. This is the third time in four games that Gallinari has reached at least 25 points and this is a season high for him. Gallinari has really started to finding his stroke from downtown these last few games after struggling somewhat early on. Gallinari is 13 – 25 from three point range the last four games. You shouldn’t expect to get stat stuffing kind of performances like this often from Gallinari, but take it while you can and just count on the threes and points to continue being a source of production.
Brook Lopez – Brooklyn Nets (35 MINS, 11 – 21 FG, 24 PTS, 10 REBS, 3 BLKS)
While it has to be noted that the Brooklyn Nets have looked a bit better as a team the last week, they are still a bad team overall. What do we know to be true about good players on bad teams? They often look like great players. And let’s not minimize Lopez, there are aspects of his game that are great and he is one of the most skilled big men on offense in the league, so his production on a bad team is going to be even better. Lopez has started to step up lately and take on a bigger, more prominent role on offense which is exactly what has to happen because he is this teams bread and butter. The line put up by Lopez last night should be the norm for Lopez really.
It’s also nice to see Lopez getting more than just points. One of the knocks on him has been that he doesn’t pull down boards as much as other big men do. He’s averaging 8.5 RPG so far this season though and he has double digits in three of his last four games. Add to that his 15 blocked shots over his last four games and really strong shooting percentages and you have a force to be reckoned with who will be a top 25 player hands down as long as he is healthy.
Hassan Whiteside – Miami Heat (34 MINS, 10 – 14 FG, 22 PTS, 14 REBS, 10 BLKS)
I have to say the triple double with double digit blocks is one of the more impressive stat lines we get to see for fantasy basketball. There were a lot of questions about Whiteside coming into the season as to whether last year was a fluke, and if he could be just a productive as he’d been while playing with Chris Bosh. I had those questions and I was a skeptic, but just 10 games into this season and my doubts have been erased. Whiteside is still raw offensively and so there are ups and downs from that end, but he is an absolute monster on the boards and with blocking shots. There are a ton of great shot blockers in the league right now, but Whiteside might be the best of the bunch. Whiteside is the real deal in my mind at this point and he’s proven himself as a top 40 player.
Kristaps Porzingis – New York Knicks (31 MINS, 10 – 17 FG, 29 PTS, 11 REBS, 1 BLK, 2 3PM)
We have seen glimpses of potential from Kristaps Porzingis that tell us he is the real deal. Last night though we saw him come out and dominate a game for the very first time this season. On a night where Carmelo’s shot wasn’t falling, Porzingis stepped up and took the lead and showed an ability to be an offensive go to guy. I don’t think he’s ready to do this game in and game out, but Porzingis game is still developing and as his jumper develops and he gets stronger physically he is going to be an absolute force.