by Ray Kuhn
What better way to kick off the week, then a night filled with NBA action? It goes without saying that there was more offense in the basketball games then the absolute stinker, at least for 59 minutes, of the Monday Night Football game. In case your focus was with the football, hopefully for fantasy purposes, let’s take a look at some of the performances that stood out in the night of hoops.
1) Jared Sullinger Hits the Boards
Sullinger is just 23, but he is already in his fourth NBA season. In each of the past two seasons, he has averaged about 27 minutes a game and has shown flashes of being a fantasy asset. The forward has averaged 13.3 points per game in each season with 8.1 rebounds per game last season and 7.6 this season. While that is nice production, it also seems like Sullinger could do more or his coach doesn’t fully trust him. That was the case again this training camp, but it appears that the forward has worked his way back to at least the same run he has had in the past two seasons. Against the Pelicans on Monday, Sullinger was on the floor for 34 minutes and grabbed 20 rebounds while scoring 11 points. On the season, he is averaging 10.9 points per game along with 8.9 rebounds, and this is a chance to buy low.
2) Karl-Anthony Towns Goes Downtown
Normally, Towns performance would not be that noteworthy. The rookie put up 18 points along with five rebounds and blocked shots in 29 minutes of action prior to fouling out. It was a good sign for Towns that he did receive some playing time alongside fellow big man Gorgui Dieng as well. Towns has just 19 games of NBA action under his belt, and while he is not running away the Rookie of the Year award, it is hard to argue with his performance. While averaging 14.6 points and 9.3 rebounds per game, Towns is quite close to double-double and his performance is ascending. What was interesting about Monday night’s game, is that Towns converted on three field goals from beyond the arc giving him seven on the season.
3) Kyle Lowry Isn’t Slowing Down
Stephen Curry not withstanding, it always seems like there are other point guards who receive more attention than Lowry. But it is to no fault of the Toronto point guard who continues to fill up the box score on a nightly basis. On Monday, Lowry scored a modest 27 points against the Lakers (with five 3-pointers), but that also included seven rebounds and six assists. It is hard to ignore Lowry’s well rounded production and when you look to fill your DFS lineups, he can often provide some salary relief from the Curry’s of the world. Also try to pursue trading for Lowry in season long leagues if his owner doesn’t have him properly ranked.
4) Jonathon Simmons Puts up 14 off the Bench
Who might you ask? Let’s back up and remember that the Spurs played the 76ers last night and ultimately won by a score of 119-68. And that was with the Spurs doing as they generally do; rest a good amount of their starters. One of the beneficiaries of that was Simmons who had 14 points and four rebounds in 24 minutes of action. Things could have been a lot better for Simmons, as the offense was under his control for some of the night, if he didn’t go 4-13 from the field. By no means does Simmons have any real value, but he does have potential as a player and we also know that this isn’t an isolated incident of the Spurs resting players.
5) Cody Zeller Scores 20 Efficient Points
It is also a battle to find centers, especially if you don’t want to pay up for a star. On Monday, Zeller showed that he can have some value as he scored 20 points on 10 of 13 shooting against the Pistons while adding six rebounds and two blocked shots. That was Zeller’s season high as he is averaging just 7.4 points per game, but this scoring is something to keep an eye on to see if it continues.