Hey, did you guys hear that the new look 76ers beat The Lakers over the weekend? In Philadelphia! Can you imagine!?!? THIS is what Sam Hinkie envisioned when he started the Process: a team that could defeat a .500 opponent at home. Mission Accomplished! I bet the Golden State Warriors saw that win, in which the 4th best team in the L-Eastern Conference (the Sixers have fewer wins than the Pacers, but THEY ARE GOD KILLERS NOW) beat the 10th best team in the Western Conference (the Lakers have fewer wins than Brooklyn, but THEY ARE A JUGGERNAUT FOR SOME REASON), and Kevin Durant and Steph Curry looked at each other, and then at Klay Thompson, and then at Draymond Green, and then at Boogie Cousins, and then at, oh yeah, Andre Iguodala, and these Hall of Famers said to each other, “Damn, we should probably give up.”
It’s just nice to know who the NBA champions will be in advance, so that I can bet all my money against the Warriors. I mean, if a team playing at home can beat the Lakers (who are 12-16 on the road, btw), then they can probably beat a team with at least four Hall of Famers in their primes. Especially since the Lakers are 21st out of 30 in team offensive rating and the Warriors are, uh, first.
Man, what an historic victory: Philadelphia over Los Angeles! Midseason! In Philly! I still can’t believe it. Do you think anyone will be able to challenge the 76ers next season, or are they going to win the NBA Finals for the foreseeable future? Let us know in the comments below!
In the meantime, here are some under-owned players in fantasy basketball. All of these players have been in the Top 50 or the Top 100 over the past month.
Jonathan Isaac, PF/SF, ORL (19.8% ownership)
Isaac is averaging 10 and 7 over the past 30 days. Big deal, you say. He also has 28 blocks in his last 15 games. On the season, Isaac has 67 blocks, tied with LaMarcus Aldridge for 22nd most in the NBA. Since January 1st, Isaac has the 7th most total blocks. In the five February games the Magic have played so far, Isaac is averaging his most minutes, his best offensive and defensive rating, and he has a 60+ true shooting percentage. His field goal attempts per game, his field goal percentage, and his points per game have all gone up along with his increase in minutes.
I know, I know: he’s only fifth in shots per game on his team, and he doesn’t score as much as you’d like. But, if his long distance shot returns from last year (35% from three), or if he just, y’know, gets better like most young players do, then this guy might start fulfilling the potential people saw in him in the draft. He’s 6’10”, he’s 21 years old, he’s getting better, and hardly anyone owns him in fantasy. THIS is the sort of player you take a flier on: signs of improvement with room for more, and plenty of minutes in his future. Fantasy teams who are out of the playoff picture should consider picking him up (before someone else does).
Patrick Beverley, PG, LAC (23.6% owned)
Here is the list of players who have averaged 7+ points per game, 4+ rebounds per game, 3+ assists per game, 3+ 3PA per game, and a 38+ 3PT% (which is PatBev’s line on the season): the aforementioned Patrick Beverley, Nic Batum, Malcolm Brogdon, Nikola Vucevic, Karl-Anthony Towns, Kyrie Irving, Paul George, and Steph Curry. Guess what else all those players have in common? All of those players, except for Patrick Beverley, are 70+% owned in ESPN leagues.
It’s the points that turn people away, but it’s the eventual champions who don’t care. Every stat cat matters, and Pat’s stat cats matter more than most. He’s similar to Marcus Smart in fantasy: guards who don’t score as much as you’d like, but who accumulate nearly every other counting stat. Smart is also an under-owned top 100 player. FWIW, I own both of them, and my team is in 1st place.
Terrence Ross, SF/SG, ORL (25.7% owned)
Ross wasn’t traded at the deadline, so perhaps Orlando considers him a part of their future? After all, he’s only 28 and he’s having a monster year shooting the ball (something the Magic have had difficulty with since the days of Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu). Over the last month Ross is averaging 18+ PPG and 3+ 3PM per game. He’s tied for 9th in made threes over the past month, and he’s sixth in total 3PM over that span, and he’s 11th in total 3PM on the season (one behind Bradley Beal). He’s one of the best shooters in the game this year, he’s top 100 on the season, and he’s been a top 50 player over the past month. He’s a volume guy on a bad team, aka fantasy gold.
Kelly Oubre Jr., SF, PHX (38.7% owned)
Hell yeah, we’ve been Oubre-ists for awhile now, constantly wondering why the Wizards didn’t play him more. Oubre’s finally getting his chance to show what he can do in Phoenix, as they’ve let the young wing off the leash, especially over the past month. He’s averaging 17 PPG, 6 RPG, 2 APG, and nearly three stocks per game (steals + blocks). You know who’s averaging 17+/6+/2+ on the season? Danilo Gallinari. C’mon. Gallo’s nearly 90% owned and hasn’t played a full healthy season since the Obama administration. Oubre’s 23 years old. Since 1/1/19 Oubre’s second in scoring on Phoenix. His ownership will go up. Acquire him while you can.
Malik Beasley, SG, DEN (23.9% owned)
Opportunity knocked and Malik Beasley answered. Good Lord, this guy’s awesome. In 55 games this season, Beasley has a 62.9 TS%. That’s fourth best in the entire NBA. Over the past month, Beasley’s averaged 17+ PPG with 3+ 3PM on 57% shooting. He’s been a top 50 player, and no one’s sure when Golden Gary Harris will return from injury. Even if he does, would you stop playing Beasley if you were Mike Malone, Denver’s coach?
Beasley’s nickname is The Mutant. He’s mutated (no regrets!) into a starting caliber NBA player this season. His minutes and shots will go down when Harris returns, but maybe not as much as we think. After all, Denver’s 14-7 since the new year.
Mikal Bridges, SF/SG, PHX (10.5% owned)
Hey, another young wing on Phoenix! Bridges is averaging 10/4/2 over the past 30 days with two steals and nearly two 3PM per game, as well. His offense will struggle at times (he’s still a rookie), but he’s played at least 30 minutes per game in 8 of the last 10 games, and he has the best defensive rating out of Phoenix’s regulars on the season.
Tomas Satoransky, PG/SG, WAS (41.3% owned)
This is the guy who took over for Dr. John Wall. He’s averaged 10/7/5 over the past month, and he tempts with near triple-doubles regularly. He gets minutes and he uses them well. He probably won’t wow you unless you see his counting stats in the aggregate, but damn, he’s a super useful player.
Uncle Marvin Williams, PF, CHA (8.9% owned)
Marv’s been doing a little bit of everything over the past month, which is exactly what your favorite uncle usually does. His playing time was up and down at the beginning of the season, but he’s comfortably been in the 30s since the new year. This is a glue guy for your fantasy team, just like always.
Marcus Smart, PG/SG, BOS (21.3% owned)
I’ve written about Smart all year, and nothing’s changed. He’s young, he gets minutes, his shooting has improved, and he gets all the rare defensive stats you need. If you’ve been avoiding him because of his ratios, then listen up: he’s got a 40 FG% on the season, and a 56 TS%, both career highs. He’s getting better, yall. Time to pick him up.
Ivica Zubac, C, LAC (12% owned)
Zubac isn’t in the top 100, but he’s now the starting Center for the Los Angeles Clippers. He’s averaged 12 and 6 over the past month, and he went 12 and 9 with 3 blocks in his first game with the LAC. The Clippers waived Marcin Gortat, so Montrezl Harrell and Zubac will most likely split his minutes. This is a speculative add, somewhat, but if you need a big man, Zubac is a nice, cheap solution.