by Will Overton
The offenses were rolling yesterday in the NBA. Apart from the defensive showdown between the Clippers and the Raptors everyone was breaking 100 and multiple teams were over 110 for the day. We also had some lesser recognized guys stepping up and having big games, with three of the five guys we are discussing being owned in less than 50% of ESPN leagues and only one owned in over 75% of leagues.
Here are the five guys whose box score line stood out above the rest for me yesterday:
Luis Scola – Toronto Raptors (31 MINS, 8 – 16 FG, 20 PTS, 8 REBS, 1 3PM)
For the second time in three games Luis Scola stepped up on offense on scored 20 or more points. This line was notable to me because I think we may be seeing a lot more lines like this from Scola for the next while. Jonas Valanciunas is on the shelf and while that opens the door for a few guys in Toronto, it particularly gives Scola a boost as he’ll likely be the go to guy on offense in the paint.
Scola isn’t a great shot blocker which has always hurt his value a bit, but he’s got a nice offensive game and he’s not starting to add a little range to it and hitting some threes which helps even more. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Scola get 15 and 7 for as long as Valanciunas is out of commission. Despite not being able to block shots I think Scola is an add in all formats right now.
Avery Bradley – Boston Celtics (40 MINS, 9 – 20 FG, 27 PTS, 4 REBS, 2 STLS, 1 BLK, 7 3PM)
I’m not sure what has gotten into Avery Bradley lately, but the former defensive stopper only has turned into a sniper on offense the last few games. Bradley has 87 points in his last four games with 15 three-pointers made. Bradley isn’t just taking shots that come to him anymore, he’s actively looking to be a big part of the offense and from the way he’s playing lately that’s exactly what he should be doing. The Celtics don’t really have a go to guy on offense, the closest thing is Isaiah Thomas, so Bradley’s stepping up and making plays on offense is a welcome sign and a huge boost to fantasy owners who were just hoping for some threes and steals.
Ish Smith – New Orleans Pelicans (30 MINS, 6 – 15 FG, 17 PTS, 9 REBS, 8 ASTS, 3 STLS, 1 BLK)
It really doesn’t matter if he starts or comes off the bench, Ish Smith is wreaking havoc for the Pelicans and has been a machine running this offense. Smith has only failed to reach five assists or more in two games all season, and is averaging 7.9 APG for the year. Early on in the season the assists and steals were the only thing you got from him, but now all the sudden he’s scoring points, 16.3 PPG in his last four. He’s also grabbing boards as well. Even though Jrue Holiday is playing, Smith still holds value as the Pelicans are running a lot of three guard lineups and when he’s on the floor Smith is the guy making the plays. If for some reason he’s a free agent in your league grab him right away.
Deron Williams – Dallas Mavericks (33 MINS, 6 – 12 FG, 20 PTS, 6 ASTS, 6 REBS, 1 BLK, 1 STL, 2 3PM)
It’s taking a little bit of time to really mesh, but Deron Williams seems to be finding his place as the point guard of the Mavericks offense. In his last three games Williams has averaged 19.7 PPG, 6.7 APG, 5.0 RPG, 2.0 SPG and 2.7 3PG. This is clearly a very small sample size, but it’s a nice week of production and it’s really nice to see him doing it consistently. At 31 years old I am not as convinced as most that Williams is on the downside of his career. While I don’t know that he’s a top five point guard in the league anymore, but he’s still got a lot to give to fantasy players and even with the way he’s played lately I think you could still steal him with an under value trade offer.
Harrison Barnes – Golden State Warriors (33 MINS, 6 – 9 FG, 17 PTS, 4 ASTS, 3 REBS, 3 STLS, 2 3PM)
Speaking of guys on nice runs, Harrison Barnes has quietly turned in really nice performances three games in a row. He does it so quietly because the Warriors have so many big names that he often gets lost in the shuffle. Barnes has 58 points in his last three games though, as well as 19 rebounds and eight three-pointers. Barnes has been playing a big role on the Warriors so far, averaging 31.1 MPG, and his 14.0 PPG is an encouraging sign. With his ability to contribute in threes, rebounds and steals as well as the points he makes for a nice under the radar fantasy player who is getting better without anyone noticing.