Friday Night was another busy as the first full week of action comes to a close. With 13 games there were plenty of nice wins, but the biggest win of the night was the Lakers cruising past the Warriors just hours after the firing of Coach Mike Brown. The Lakers still have a long road ahead, but it was a good first step. Other teams that had a nice night last night included the Sixers in Boston and the Grizz picking up their fourth in a row at home against the visiting Rockets.
On the other side, the Pacers lost to the ailing Wolves in Minnesota on an end-of-the-game shot from Chase Budinger. Other teams with tough losses were the Hawks losing the the Dwyane Wade-less Heat and the Mavs who became the latest victims of the unbeaten Knicks.
Here’s the five biggest sleepers, surprises, and stars from last night: (Click here for archive)
Starting 5 Fantasy Basketball Stars
1. Tim Duncan-San Antonio Spurs: Duncan continues to impress even at 36 years old. He had 23 points last night along with a season-high 12 rebounds, four assists, and four blocks along with three steals. He’s averaging 18.3 points, 2.5 assists, 2.3 blocks, 9.8 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game after his first six and continues to be a top-of-the-line power forward. His minutes may be managed more than others, but Duncan is still a great centerpiece who was drafted in the in the middle of the fifth round on average in fantasy drafts this year.
2. Kobe Bryant-LA Lakers: Bryant knocked in 27 ponts last night to go with nine rebounds, seven assists, and a pair of steals. He’s still playing at an elite level and may be about to be in a much more fluid offense than the Mike Brown Princeton disaster.
3. LeBron James-Miami Heat: James picked up the slack with Dwyane Wade resting in this one. LeBron finished with 21 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists, and a steal. He’s averaging 22.2 points, 10 rebounds, and 6.2 assists over Miami’s first six games and showing everyone why he’s the #1 pick in most fantasy drafts.
4. Jrue Holiday-Philadelphia 76ers: Jrue has stepped up without Andrew Bynum and has helped the Sixers to a solid start. He finished last night with 21 points and 14 assists with four rebounds, two steals, and two blocks. He’s like Rondo-lite to this point of the season with 18.6 points and 10.4 assists although he shoots a bit better and doesn’t have the steals of Rondo.
5. Kevin Durant-Oklahoma City: Durant powered the Thunder past the hapless Pistons with 25 points, 13 rebounds two assists, and a steal in his 28 minutes last night. He’s averaging 22.0 points, 11 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game as he continues to keep the pressure on LeBron for top fantasy honors.
Starting 5 Fantasy Basketball Surprises
1. George Hill-Indiana Pacers: Hill scored a season-high 29 points to go with seven assits, five rebounds, a block, and a steal last night as the Pacers fell to Minnesota. Hill will dontinue to carry the load offensively until Danny Granger returns or someone else steps up and contributes which they have yet to do to this point in the season.
2. Jeff Teague-Atlanta Hawks: Teague had his first double-double of the year last night with a season-high 20 points to go with 11 assists, three boards, and a block. It was a big night for Teague, but the Hawks still fell at home to the visiting Miami Heat.
3. Anthony Davis-New Orleans: Davis has been as good as advertised when on the floor. He returned from his concussion last night with 11 rebounds, five blocks, two assists, two steals, and 23 points for the Hornets in their win over Charlotte. Davis is universally owned but looks to be NBA-ready at least ready to contribute in blocks and boards.
4. Serge Ibaka-Oklahoma City: Ibaka followed his season-high 21 points last game with another season-high of 25 last night while adding seven rebounds and three blocks. Ibaka has stepped up and is putting up 14.7 points and 2.7 blocks through the first 6 games of the Thunder season.
5. Dion Waiters-Cleveland Cavaliers: Waiters has scored in double-figures in five of his six NBA games and hit for 20+ for the second time last night. He finished with 23 points, two assists, a rebound, a block, a board, and an assist. He hasn’t contributed much but scoring yet, but his 16.7 points per game will be greatly appreciated by those who took a flier at the end of drafts on him.
Starting 5 Fantasy Basketball Sleepers
1. Ben Gordon-Charlotte Bobcats: Gordon went off for 34 points last night on 14-21 shooting and 3-6 from long-distance and added six rebounds and four assists in the Bobcats loss to the Hornets. Gordon is still available in 38% of ESPN leagues and should see plenty of playing time over the next few weeks with Gerald Henderson sidelined.
2. Evan Turner-Philadelphia 76ers: Evan Turner got off to a slow start but has turned things around the last four games finishing in double figures scoring in each of them. He capped his run last night with a 25-point, 11-rebound double-double to go with four assits, a block, and a steal. He played 41 minutes last night and has seen his numbers go up the last few games with his playing time making him a great pickup or trade target if someone is ready to move on too early from Turner.
3. Daniel Gibson-Cleveland Cavaliers: Gibson came off the bench for the Cavs last night and hit five threes scoring 19 points in 22 minutes to go with his two rebounds and a steal. Gibson hit four threes in his last game and is averaging 20+ minutes and 2+ three-pointers per game. He’s still virtually unowned, but can contribute if your short on scoring and three’s.
4. Kosta Koufos-Denver Nuggets: Koufos has been mentioned here before but he’s still available in 99.9% of ESPN leagues. He had 15 points and 10 boards along with three blocks, two steals, and an assist last night as the Nuggets cruised past the Jazz. Koufos and Javale McGee are splitting minutes at center but Koufos is providing viable numbers in points, blocks, and boards if you need a fill-in or a one-game pickup.
5. Andre Drummond-Detroit Pistons: Drummond had the most shocking line of the night last night going for 22 points, eight rebounds, a block, and a steal in his 21 minutes on the floor against the Thunder. He led the Pistons in points and was very efficient in his time on the court. See how coach Lawrence Frank uses him going forward since it appears he’s ready to contribute if he earns the playing time. The UCONN alum is owned in just 1.8% of ESPN leagues.