Lonzo Ball isn’t worth the headache this season
Let me hit you with a very interesting factoid right out of the gate. We’re now 10-13 games into the season, and the Cleveland Cavaliers would be a lottery team. You heard me. Cleveland is toiling at 5-7, which is tied for the 6th worst record in the NBA with five other teams, including the Brooklyn Nets. Outside of LeBron James and Kevin Love, no player is playing well enough in fantasy to be worth rostering right now. Not Jae Crowder, or Dwyane Wade, or J.R Smith. In fact, outside of James and Love, the two best fantasy assets on this team so far have been Kyle Korver and Jeff Green. Yikes.
On the flip side, the Boston Celtics have won 11 games in a row. That winning streak vaulted them to a to a league-best 11-2 record. They currently have seven (maybe eight if you include Aron Baynes while Horford is out) players that are worth owning in standard leagues, including their backup point guard that I’ll be mentioning below.
Out west, stud center, Nikola Jokic, is FINALLY starting to be more aggressive on the offensive end. Over the last two weeks of the season, he has averaged 20.0 points, 11.7 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.7 steals, 1.0 block, and 2.0 3s per game. On top of that, he’s shot 53.4% from the field and 84.2% from the charity stripe. Those stats have made him a top-five player in that timeframe. If he continues to shoot with confidence, look out. He was already a borderline first-round talent, but with increased scoring, there’s no reason to think he won’t be a top-5 player the rest of the way.
Games Played by Team This Week
4 Games: GS, LAL, MIN, PHO, POR, SAC, TOR, UTA, WAS.
3 Games: ATL, BKN, BOS, CHA, CHI, CLE, DAL, DEN, DET, HOU, IND, LAC, MEM, MIA, MIL, NOR, NYK, ORL, PHI, SA.
2 Games: OKC.
Alex Len (C – PHO)
This is probably the 2nd or 3rd time this season that I’ve recommended picking up Alex Len. His minutes usually fluctuate between 15 and 25, but Len played almost 40 minutes Friday night with Tyson Chandler sidelined. The results were damn good, too. Len scored 21 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked two shots on 5-of-10 shooting. Additionally, he hit 11-of-12 from the free throw line and is shooting a very respectable 78.1% there on the season.
Alex Len continues his strong start to the season. He has 12 points and hasn't missed a shot tonight. pic.twitter.com/xTmPCLs00B
— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) November 6, 2017
Hopefully, interim coach, Jay Triano, realizes that Len is a much better player than Tyson Chandler and continues to give Len more minutes going forward. Friday’s game should be a great indicator to Triano to do just that too. Len is still available in over 60% of leagues, so there’s a decent chance you can still grab him for free. If not, he makes for a great buy-low player.
Bojan Bogdanovic (SG/SF – IND)
I’ll admit, I get Bojan and Bogdan mixed up all the time, but I’m sure I put the right one here. Bojan isn’t the flashiest player around, but he has been a top-30 player over the last two weeks. In that timespan, he’s averaged 15.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.8 three-pointers, on 53.6% from the field and 82.4% from the line. He’s still available in around 50% of leagues, so give him a look until he starts cooling off.
Dewayne Dedmon (C – ATL)
Even with the emergence of John Collins, the minutes for Dewayne Dedmon have remained consistently in the 20s. He’s really turned it on over the last two weeks too, averaging 13.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, and a rock solid 64.7% from the field. As long as he’s getting minutes like this, Dedmon needs to be owned in all leagues. Give him a look if you need a big man.
Terry Rozier (PG – BOS)
This one is more of a speculative add. If Kyrie Irving misses more time due to a concussion, Terry Rozier would get a big boost in value. After Irving left early in Friday’s game, Rozier stepped up with 15 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and two steals in 29 minutes. Concussions can be tricky, so Irving’s return is still uncertain, though it was said to be a minor concussion that he suffered. If Irving misses additional time, Rozier makes for a great short-term add and DFS play. If you have a spot, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to give him a speculative add.
Send Them Packing
Lonzo Ball (PG – LAL)
Man, that jumper looks uglier and uglier every time Lonzo Ball shoots it. I’ve played a lot of basketball in my life, and the one thing I excelled in is shooting. I don’t know who taught Lonzo this quirky shot, but it’s never going to get it done at the NBA level. Defenders know Ball can’t shoot and are doing their best to exploit that this season.
On the season, Ball is down to 29.2% from the floor, 22% from deep, and 50% from the line. It is very uncommon for a player to be this bad in all three areas. Everyone loves 6.4 rebounds and 6.9 assists from their point guard, but when those come with only 8.9 PPG, the overall package looks must less desirable.
Coming into the season, Ball was valued as a near top-50 player. At this pace, that’s not even going to come close to happening. He’s not even a top-200 player so far this season, and point guards usually have the hardest time progressing during their rookie season. Don’t drop Ball, but I’d strongly advise his owners to try and deal him away before his perceived value continues to drop.
Derrick Rose (PG – CLE)
After missing the last two games with a sore ankle, Rose is questionable to return to action Monday. Does it really matter, though? As my 3 and D Podcast co-host, Jon Sauber, said on last week’s episode, “Derek Rose needs to play zero minutes on any NBA team.” I tend to agree. He was barely worth owning in fantasy before this injury, and now he can be safely dropped in standard leagues.
Kawhi Leonard (SF – SA)
Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock. Not much info has been provided on Leonard’s return except for one vague quote from Greg Popovich. “He’s just coming along more slowly for whatever reason,” Popovich said. Well, that tells us a lot. He’s yet to play a game this season, and at this point, I wouldn’t expect Leonard back in the month of November.
Chris Paul (PG – HOU)
While the situation is cloudy with Leonard, it’s pretty clear with Chris Paul. Coach D’Antoni said he expects Paul back “in a week or so,” which is very promising. Keep monitoring this situation and get ready to activate CP3 next week.
Kyrie Irving (PG – BOS)
As mentioned above, Irving suffered a concussion early in the 1st quarter Friday night against Charlotte and did not return. Not much to really say here. Just keep monitoring his status for Sunday’s game. He’s considered questionable for that game. If he can’t go, Rozier should get big minutes.
Al Horford (PF/C – BOS)
Can this Boston team catch a break this season? Seriously. Horford has missed the last two games with a concussion and is questionable to play Sunday. It should also be noted that Horford missed nine games early last season with a concussion. However, this one is believed to be less serious. However, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Celtics hold him out one more game to make sure he’s all right before returning to action. Until then, Baynes makes for a sneaky good DFS play.
Patrick Beverley (PG/SG – LAC)
Beverley has missed the last two games with a sore right knee and will be re-evaluated before Monday’s game. With Milos Teodosic still out, Lou Williams and Austin Rivers will play major minutes for however long Beverley is out.
Got a question about a player not covered here? Then follow me on Twitter @EricCross04 and ask me there. Also, make sure to follow and listen to @The3andDPod every Tuesday as Jon Sauber and I break down the latest from around the NBA and fantasy basketball.