After four and a half long months, it's back, the NBA has finally returned, and it's been a fun first week (when isn't the NBA fun). Anthony Davis has shown why he should have been the number one pick, Kobe's come back as the same scoring beast he's always been, and just as inefficient, and Russell Westbrook is once again injured. When it comes to players of the week, I'm going place a bias on players that played more games, because you've played more games that week, but in waiver available players of the week, I'm going to focus more on the averages, because it's not as much about what you've done, but what you'll do.
Players of the Week:
Anthony Davis: Davis only played in two games, but that didn't stop him from being the fourth highest rebounder, the number one shot blocker, being a top twenty scorer, and getting two double-doubles. The Unibrow is a beast, his stat-line just isn't fair, 28.5 points, 8.5 defensive rebounds, 7.5 offensive rebounds, and six blocks. Obviously it's a tiny sample size, influenced by his 26 points, seventeen rebounds, nine block, three steal game game, but anything near what his two game average is number one pick worthy.
Demarcus Cousins: BOOGIE! Boogie went off on the Clippers on Sunday, scoring 34 points, grabbing seventeen rebounds, dishing out five assists, and stuffing three shots. Before today's game, Cousins averaged 18.5 points and ten rebounds, a line only three matched, but after today's game, his line is 23.66 and 12.33, matched only by the Unibrow himself. It's not like Cousins was beating up on weak centers, Cousins played against Andrew Bogut and Robin Lopez, both of which had among the lowest opponent field goal percentage at the rim last season.
James Harden: The thing that makes James Harden so great is his free throw rate. Harden has a career free throw rate of .546, which when combined with his career free throw percentage of 85%, allows Harden to keep scoring, even on nights when he's struggling from the field, but through three games, Harden has taken this to the next level, with a free throw rate of .735, and 34 of his 76 points coming from the free throw line. In addition to points, which Harden crushed this week, finishing fifth in the league, Harden also got 5.33 rebounds (16 total) and 7.33 (22 total)e assists per game, while making two threes, and getting 1.7 steals per game, the only drawback this week was the nine turnovers, and 37% shooting on field goals.
Kobe Bryant: Even though the Lakers didn't come back strong, Kobe did, as he scored 99 points, far above the second highest scorer, though he averaged less points per game, and he was fifth in steals, with seven, but he's not as good as Harden at rebounds and assists, as he got only seventeen and thirteen of those respectively. Kobe is awesome though, who else shoots 48.2% of their shots from beyond ten feet, with the defender within four feet, yet still manages to shoot 41%, which while not good,is better then expected from someone with that shot selection. One important thing to mention with Bryant is that the Lakers only have two games next week, so you'll want to bench him in weekly lock leagues.
The Splash Brothers: I know this is cheating, but I honestly couldn't decide who was better between the two this week. Klay scored thirteen more points, for 89 total, made four more threes, finishing tied for first with 10, and shot an outrageous 54% from the field. Curry on the other hand, had a little less points and threes, a lot worse field goal percentage, but was a multi-cat beast, with 20 rebounds, 21 assists, eleven steals, and two double-doubles to go with his 76 points. Both also made a lot of free throws, just as an added bonus.
Zach Randolph- 59 points, 38 rebounds, three double-doubles
John Wall- 55 points, 33 assists, 14 rebounds, three double-doubles, but 16 turnovers
Marc Gasol- 72 points, 23 rebounds, four blocks, four steals
Rudy Gay- 79 points, 24 rebounds, four threes, 53% field goals
Chris Bosh- 77 points, 34 rebounds, 16 assists, six threes, four steals
Waiver Available Players
Perry Jones: Remember a couple years ago when PJ3 was going to be a top pick after his freshman year of college, but stayed an extra year, got hurt, and fell down the draft board? Well in two games with Westbrook and Durant both out now, Jones had a throwback to his college days, where he was a high usage star, and scored 32 and 23 points, with seven and four rebounds respectively on a usage rate of 23.5%. His stock is rising fast as he's gone from owned in .1% of leagues to 27.5% in the past week, so pick him up fast, because his true shooting percentage and other advance stats show that this isn't a fluke, just an increase in usage.
Tony Wroten: Injury replacements are the key to succeeding on the waiver wire, and Tony Wroten is just another example. Michael Carter Williams is out with a shoulder injury, so someone needs to step up with the scoring, and looks like Wroten is the beneficiary on this one, averaging nineteen points, 7.66 assists, 4.66 rebounds, and 2.33 steals. If you're team is at a deficit for steals or assists, pick Wroten up fast, because Carter-Williams is coming back on the 13th, but also make sure you can afford the 4.33 turnovers a game that Wroten comes with.
Donald Sloan: Another beneficiary to the injury bug is Donald Sloan. The 26-year-old split last year between Indiana, the D-League, and China, and was actually pretty good, averaging 10.1 points, 4.6 assists and four rebounds per 36 minutes for Indiana last year, but with George Hill out for three weeks, Sloan has increased his usage, and us averaging fourteen points, 6.7 assists, and six rebounds, in 36 minutes per game, which is making him a fantasy relevant point guard, even in eight team leagues, considering the fact that these numbers match his career averages.
Alec Burks- 14.33 points, 3.33 rebounds, 2.33 assists,
Michael Kidd-GIlchrist- 14 points, 10 rebounds, 1.5 blocks in first two games, left third game after nine minutes with injury.