It's not often that the best Fantasy Basketball player on the planet returns, so we'll start with that.
OKC's team just got its spine back, and some hot NBA rookies are starting to emerge.
Lots to talk about for a Thursday, so let's jump right in...
Return of the Mack:
Kevin Durant is back, baby!
After a year of understandable ineptitude, OKC was blessed to get Russell Westbrook 2 games ago. Then on Tuesday, KD finally made his first appearance of the season.
If you were able to snag Durant away from an impatient owner, you're laughing now. If you boldly scooped KD in the first round, you're about to start moving your way up the standings...
The only real debate about Kevin Durant is how HIGH will he finish in the overall player ratings? It looks like a 3-way race between Anthony Davis, Stephen Curry and Durant right now. While I'd have to rank either Davis or Curry as #1 overall right now (considering KD missed the first 5 weeks of the season), Durant could very well be the most valuable player in Fantasy Basketball for the duration of the season.
Unfortunately, if you weren't able to acquire KD, that window has closed.
Durant and Westbrook immediately become Fantasy Beasts, everybody else on the OKC roster now can be dropped freely from your Fantasy team...
Reggie Evans, SAC, PF/C (3% owned in Yahoo leagues)
DeMarcus Cousins has been out all week, and that makes Reggie Evans immediately Fantasy-relevant. Reggie went 17 & 20 in 35 minutes the first game Cousins missed. So he's gonna beast until Cousins returns (likely next week)... If the injury lingers, Reggie could provide sneaky value. Make the add, but be prepared to cut as soon as DC comes back.
2 NBA rookies have caught my eye recently, and both are looking like standard league adds:
Nikola Mirotic, CHI, SF/PF (28% owned in Yahoo leagues)
After starting slowly, Mirotic has been playing over 26 minutes/game on the Bulls' loaded squad. Check out his numbers over the last 14 days: 12.0 PPG on 49.2 FG%, 1.4 3PM, 8 RPG, 1.5 BPG. That's good for the #28 player overall the last 2 weeks. While Mirotic is dead and buried when Taj Gibson returns, Mirotic is a MUST-ADD in keepers/dynasties. And could provide some value even when Taj comes back... Ride this train...
K.J. McDaniels, PHI, SG/SF (42% owned in Yahoo leagues)
While KJ is not really a surprise, he's been very streaky. Perhaps the confidence imbued from Philly pathetically winning their first game of the season (after 17 losses in a row) will give McDaniels the juice he needs to keep it going...
He's been playing over 30 minutes a game the last 4 games, and look at his stats during this period: 12.8 PPG, 1.8 3PM, 9.3 RPG, 1.3 SPG, 2.3 BPG.
He's a future Fantasy Beast. And that could start 4 games ago... I'm ALL IN on this kid.
In keepers/dynasties, do whatever you can to get this guy.
Shawne Williams, MIA, SF/PF
While overachieving the first month of the season, Shawne has lost his job to Josh McRoberts. He's back on the bench, and playing less than 20 minutes/game. Purge away...
Austin Rivers, NO, PG/SG
When Eric Gordon suffered his most recent injury, everyone started adding Austin Rivers like crazy.
Without a full psychoanalysis, I'll simply state that Austin Rivers has wasted more opportunities than a Kardashian at a paparazzi convention. After putting up intriguing numbers as a bench player, look at what Austin Rivers did as an NBA starter (with increased minutes): 25.0 minutes/game, 2.0 PPG, 7.7 FG% (that's not a typo).
He would've been more productive serving popcorn to random fans in the arena.
If you were foolish enough to drop a productive player to dream on Austin Rivers, you are getting what you deserve...
So that's what I got, y'all.
If you got KD, light up that cigar.
If you don't, just hope you're not playing him this week.
Talk about a buzzkill.