During election night, there were a trio of NBA games not counting the one-on-one between Barack Obama and Scottie Pippen. Pippen’s Bulls got a nice win over Orlando in Chicago in one of the games. The other two games weren’t close as the Nuggets dropped the Pistons to 0-4 and the Thunder rolled past the Raptors.
Each day on the starting 5 (click here for the archive), we break down 5 stars that stepped up in last night’s games and 5 sleepers who owners need to take notice of and possibly look to add either for the short term of the long-haul.
Here’s today’s starting five from the three games last night:
Starting 5 Fantasy Basketball Stars
1. Greg Monroe-Detroit Pistons: Monroe finished with 27 points and 10 boards in the Pistons loss in Denver. He added three blocks, a pair of assists, and a steal while shooting a perfect 7-7 from the line. Monroe isn’t as big a name as Marc Gasol or Dwight Howard but he provides solid big-man numbers without the nliability in shooting and free throw percentages.
2. Joakim Noah-Chicago Bulls: Noah has been a true stat-sheet stuffer early this season. Last night he had 20 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and five blocks. He’s been in double-digit scoring every game while averaging 8.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.0 steals, and 2.5 blocks in his four games this season.
3. Arron Afflalo-Orlando Magic: Afflalo had his best game in an Orlando uniform and scored over 20 points for the second game in a row as he poured in 28 points with a handful of boards and five assists as well. He added a block, steal, and three three-pointers. He should be in for a great season as one of Orlando’s key scorers and is looking good to realize his breakout campaign many predicted.
4. Ty Lawson-Denver Nuggets: Lawson poured in 15 points to go with four steals, four rebounds, and nine assists as he led Denver to its first win of the season after a tough opening road trip. He’ll contribute in points, steals, and assists at an elite level for as long as he’s healthy.
5. Russell Westbrook-Oklahoma City: Westbrook was dealing with a bruised shoulder that forced him from Sunday’s game but still managed 19 points, 8 assists, a block, a steal, anad a rebound in the Thunder’s rout of Toronto. It wasn’t one of his best efforts, but it was a solid game that helped his team get the W.
Starting 5 Fantasy Basketball Sleepers
1. Nikola Vucevic-Orlando Magic: One of the hottest pickups of the early season is the Swiss big-man starting in Orlando who is know owned in 23.4% of ESPN leagues. Vecevic had his second consecutive double-double last night following Sunday’s 18-13 effort with 16 points ans 10 rebounds while adding a pair of blocks and a steal. Vucevic went 6-7 from the line but just 5-13 from the field as he played a team-high 42 minutes. Playing that much time will definitely make him a fantasy factor all season and he’s the best big to emerge early in the season from the waiver wire. He’s a great pickup based on his potential and his early season performance.
2. E’Twaun Moore-Orlando Magic: Moore started again last night in Chicago in place of the ailing Jameer Nelson. Moore played 33 minutes and had 17 points, three three’s, five rebounds, and two assists. He’s a better fit at the 2-guard, but He’s scored double-figures in all three of his games with Orlando this year and contributes assists and steals as well. He’s owned now in 12.2% of leagues and will definitely be worth owning as long as he’s starting for the surprisingly solid Magic.
3. Jonas Jerebko-Detroit Pistons: Jerebko is providing a boost from the bench for the Pistons and has reached double-digits in scoring in each of the last three games. He had 11 points, six boards, and three steals in just 24 minutes against the Nuggets last night. Jerebko is an option in deeper leagues and could quickly rise to fantasy relevance if he is given a bigger role on the starving-scoring Pistons.
4. Jonas Valanciunas-Toronto Raptors: Valanciunas has settled into the Raps starting center role and finished last night with six rebounds, 18 points, and an assist. His long-term upside is huge, but in the short term he should be able to contribute some points and boards if you need a big and he’s available in your league as he is in over 25% of ESPN leagues.
5. Kosta Koufos-Denver Nuggets: The former Buckeye is starting at center for Denver and had a season-high 14 points and three blocks to go with five rebounds last night in the Nuggets first win of the season. He and JaVale McGee continue to share time, but Koufos is worth a look as you search for blocks and big-man depth on the waiver wire. He’s only owned in 0.1% of ESPN leagues.