The Nets got spicy on Tuesday, completely shaking up their starting lineup in the absence of Kevin Durant, who’s sidelined for at least a week because of the league’s COVID protocol. Head coach Steve Nash swapped everyone not named Kyrie Irving, starting Bruce Brown, Taurean Prince, Jeff Green and Jarrett Allen instead. That’s a group that Nash said hadn’t even practiced together, according to ESPN’s Malika Andrews, yet they blew out the Jazz, 130-96.
Of the new starting group, it was Allen who impressed most, double-doubling with 19 points on 8-of-9 shooting and 18 rebounds in 32 minutes. He blocked two shots and swiped three steals, too. It was the type of performance that’s likely to keep him with the starters going forward, which fans and fantasy managers have been begging for. The rest of the new additions came with mixed results. Prince scored eight points with two rebounds, Green scored two points with five rebounds, and Brown scored six points with six rebounds and five assists.
The Nets are still tinkering around with their lineup after Spencer Dinwiddie‘s season-ending ACL injury. Nash even said he expects to continue to use new lineups, so it’s worth monitoring who else’s fantasy values may rise and fall. But so far, so good for Brooklyn simply winging it without Durant in the lineup.
Now let’s talk about Tuesday’s five-game slate.
Kyrie Irving — With Durant sidelined, Irving ran the Nets’ offense to perfection. This game was never close because Irving wouldn’t let it be. He scored 22 points in the first half, and finished with 29 points in 29 minutes, shooting 12-of-19 from the field, and sinking five threes. He also added six rebounds, five assists and three steals with just two turnovers. He’s always a league pass must-watch player, but for the next week especially, Irving’s going to have complete control of the floor.
Jarrett Allen — I wrote about his numbers already, so here I’ll give you one obvious conclusion: Allen is clearly the better option over DeAndre Jordan, who played a season-low nine minutes. Sell on Jordan now.
Anthony Davis — Davis posted a monster line on Tuesday as the Lakers barely edged out the super short-handed Grizzlies, 94-92. Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Justise Winslow were all sidelined, but still L.A. struggled to pull away. Davis was tremendous though, scoring 26 points on 10-of-20 shooting. He even made four out of a career-high 10 3-point tries. He added four assists, three steals and three blocks with four turnovers. A year after finishing as the second-best fantasy player in 9-cat leagues, Davis is ranked No. 24 after three weeks of play. If he gets the minutes, he’ll come climbing back.
Juancho Hernangomez — Hold on this has to be a typo. Do we have an editor here? Wait, really? Hernangomez was on fire in his first start of the season, scoring 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting, including 5-of-8 from 3-point range. He added eight rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block with no turnovers in a season-high 34 minutes. The Timberwolves shook things up with Karl-Anthony Towns still out. While he’s unlikely to replicate these numbers, Hernangomez is absolutely worth a look in deeper leagues for however long Towns sits.
Nikola Jokic — What more is there to say about the No. 3 ranked player in 9-cat leagues this season? Jokic rules. In a 123-116 win over the Timberwolves on Tuesday, he scored a season-high 35 points on 12-of-20 shooting (1-of-1 from 3-point, 10-of-12 from the line), and added 15 rebounds, six assists, three steals and one block with four turnovers.
Patty Mills — Mills made a career-high eight 3-pointers in the Spurs’ 116-113 win over the Clippers, scoring 27 points with one rebound, one assist, one steal and just one turnover in 29 minutes off the bench. He was on fire all night. He made 8-of-16 shots from the field with 12 of those coming from 3-point range.
Kawhi Leonard — With Paul George sidelined to an ankle injury, Leonard took over the scoring load for L.A. He finished with 30 points on 13-of-22 shooting (one made 3-pointer), 10 assists, three rebounds, two steals and one block with no turnovers in 37 minutes. He missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer that could’ve sent the game to overtime, but this loss wasn’t on Leonard’s hands.
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Donovan Mitchell — The Jazz got whooped by the Durant-less Nets, but Mitchell played well. He scored 31 points on 10-of-22 shooting, including 8-of-10 from the free throw line and three made 3-pointers on eight tries. He also added four rebounds and four assists with three turnovers. This was just a lousy night from the supporting Jazz scorers.
Rudy Gobert — Gobert shot poorly from the field (3-of-10), but put together a solid fantasy night, scoring 10 points with 11 rebounds, three assists and two blocks. He had no turnovers, too. Gobert came into the night No. 51 in the league in 9-cat leagues, with poor free throw shooting holding him back. He sunk 4-of-5 on Tuesday.
LeBron James — James’ fadeaway over textbook Dillon Brooks‘ defense with just more than a minute left in the fourth quarter was objectively hilarious. He called for an iso-possession at halfcourt with his Lakers team up by just three points, toyed with Brooks — who held his own, matching James’ every juke — then just turned over his shoulder and swooshed a 10-out-of-10 difficult shot. There was just nothing anyone could’ve done. James finished with 26 points on 11-of-20 shooting with just one triple, grabbed 11 boards and dished seven assists. He added a steal and a block with six turnovers (one that brought Memphis within one possession in the final 11 seconds). But LeBron James, as we know, is inevitable.
D’Angelo Russell — Russell scored a season-high 33 points on 10-of-21 shooting, and sunk four 3-pointers in a loss to the Nuggets. Minnesota hasn’t yet figured out how it’s going to stay afloat without Towns, but Russell was a bright spot. He also dished 11 assists, and posted three rebounds and two steals with four turnovers.
Will Barton — With Michael Porter Jr. sidelined due to COVID protocol, Barton finally had a breakout game. He scored a season-high 20 points (7-of-14 from the field, 2-of-7 from 3-point range) with seven rebounds, three assists and two steals. Hopefully this game will get things rolling for him.
Dejounte Murray —Murray played a well-rounded game, scoring 21 points on 9-of-18 shooting (two made 3-pointers) with five rebounds, five assists and two steals. That makes five steals in his last two games. He also turned the ball over just twice in 37 minutes. Murray’s a top-100 player in 9-cat leagues, though he’s been inconsistent so far.
Nicolas Batum — Batum’s putting together a really nice season starting for the Clippers, and has been reborn as a top-70 fantasy player in 9-cat leagues. On Tuesday, he scored 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting (two made 3-pointers) with nine rebounds, three assists, one steal and two turnovers in 36 minutes.
Patrick Beverley — Beverley stepped up with George out of the lineup, and nearly triple-doubled. He finished with a season-high 20 points (on a season-high six made 3-pointers), eight rebounds, a season-high eight assists and two blocks. He had just one turnover in 33 minutes, too.
Jusuf Nurkic — Nurkic flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 12 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and one block. Keep an eye on his 3-point tries this year, though. He missed both of his attempts on Tuesday, but he’s taken nine in seven games after taking 52 in his first seven seasons combined. If he makes those with any consistency, his value will rise.
C.J. McCollum — McCollum’s been superb this season, and Tuesday was no different. He scored 26 points on 6-of-14 3-point shooting, with five rebounds, four assists, three steals and five turnovers. The Blazers lost, but fantasy managers with McCollum are winning this year.
Robert Covington — Welcome back, Robert Covington. After making just four 3-pointers in his first six games this year, Covington knocked down 4-of-9 on Tuesday for a season-high 14 points. He also added six rebounds, one assist, one block and one steal with no turnovers.
The Chicago Bulls — I’m not sure how we got here, but after getting blown out in their first two games, and losing their third, the Bulls have won four of their last five games, this time over the Blazers, coming back from a 20-point deficit, 111-108. It was Zach LaVine‘s deep 3-pointer that’ll be remembered, but it was a group effort from Chicago. Coby White scored 20 points with 10 rebounds and five assists, Otto Porter scored 19 points (four made 3-pointers) with 13 rebounds, and Garrett Temple knocked down four triples for 14 points, and also snagged three steals. They’ll play the Kings next.
Mike Conley — Conley’s bounced back from a rough first season in Utah, but Tuesday night wasn’t pretty. In a 34-point loss to the Nets, Conley scored just eight points on 3-of-10 shooting (two made 3s), missing both free throws he took. He added five assists and three rebounds, turning the ball over twice in 27 minutes. Chuck this Jazz game in the trash.
Kyle Kuzma — Kuzma was in the Lakers starting lineup and played 30 minutes with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Alex Caruso both sidelined, but he didn’t do a ton. He scored just five points on 2-of-5 shooting, missing both of the 3-point shots he took. He grabbed seven boards and turned the ball over just once. Kuzma can get hot at any moment, but even as a starter, playing him is fantasy hoops roulette.
Ricky Rubio — Rubio was benched on Tuesday, and he put up his worst game of the season in response. He scored no points after missing all three shots he took, and posted four rebounds, two assists, one steal and a turnover in 21 minutes. His slump continues.
Naz Reid — Reid played a season-low 10 minutes off the bench as Ed Davis got the start. He scored just two points on 1-of-2 shooting, and logged five fouls and two turnovers with no other stats. Yikes.
Paul George — George sat out Tuesday’s game with ankle soreness that wasn’t originally listed on the injury report. It doesn’t sound like he’ll be out for long, but Luke Kennard started in his place. He scored just nine points on 3-of-10 shooting with six rebounds and four assists.
Keep an Eye on
Bruce Brown — Brown ran with the starters on Tuesday, with Nash completely mixing up looks in Durant’s absence. He played a season-high 23 minutes (more than his only three games combined this year), and scored six points (3-of-5 shooting) with six rebounds and five assists. He only turned the ball over once. It’s too soon to expect this kind of output from him with any regularity, but he’s worth monitoring as the Nets figure themselves out post-Spencer Dinwiddie‘s injury.
Tyler Johnson — Ditto what was said on Brown for Johnson, who outplayed Landry Shamet, 18 minutes to seven minutes. Johnson scored six points on 2-of-5 shooting (2-of-4 from 3-point range) and added seven assists, one rebound and two steals. Let’s wait and see what his play-time looks like in the Nets’ next showing.
JaMychal Green — Green’s on a roll with Porter Jr. sidelined. In 20 minutes on Tuesday, he scored 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting, including 3-of-3 from 3-point range with six rebounds, one assist and one turnover. In his last two games now, he’s scored 31 points on 10-of-18 shooting, including six made 3-pointers.
Jarred Vanderbilt — The Timberwolves tried anything to shake up their losing streak on Tuesday, including playing Vanderbilt a season-high 23 minutes. It didn’t work, but Vanderbilt played pretty well. He posted a season-high 11 points (4-of-5 shooting), with five rebounds, two assists, three steals and two blocks with no turnovers. He should be on your radar.
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