Jared Johnson

Basketball Daily Dose

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Dose: There's Ice in his Veins

Monday, October 23, 2017


Sunday Stars

 

D'Angelo Russell had ice in his veins during Sunday’s 116-104 win, recording his first double-double in a Nets uniform (and the fourth of his career) with 16 points (6-of-13 FGs, 3-of-4 FTs), 10 assists, seven boards, one steal, four turnovers and one cold-blooded triple in his 29 minutes of floor time. Not only was Russell deadly on the offensive end, but he also did an excellent job locking up Dennis Schroder, who finished the game just 5-of-22 from the field. D-Lo is a perfect fit in Kenny Atkinson’s run-and-gun system, and he clearly has the confidence of his coach, as evidenced by his top-5 clutch time usage rate of 46.3. Overall, he’s seen a 4 percent jump in his usage rate this season (30.7) and looks all set up for a career-year as the focal point of Brooklyn’s rebuild.

 

The bank was open late for Andrew Wiggins on Sunday evening, who drained the game-winning bucket on his way to 27 points (10-of-20 FGs, 5-of-8 FTs), seven boards, four assists, two triples, two steals and just one turnover in 39 minutes in the 115-113 win over OKC. He’s been lighting it up through his first through games of the year, working with a team-high 28.2 usage rate to go with averages of 24.7 points, 2.7 triples, 5.7 boards, 1.7 dimes and of course just 0.7 steals per contest. It does appear that the 3-point shot will be larger part of Wiggins’ game this season, as he’s currently jacking up a career-high 6.3 triples per contest and connecting on what feels like an unsustainable 42.1 percent of them, but he’s just never going to be a guy who brings many defensive stats to the box score. Still, he’s performing much better than initially anticipated while working alongside Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns, and if he can keep up the 3-point shooting he could be in the top-50 conversation this season.

 

Russell Westbrook did Russell Westbrook stuff during Sunday’s narrow loss to the Timberwolves, racking up 31 points, 10 assists, five boards, five trey-bombs, one block and just two turnovers in 37 minutes. You could say he’s fairly adept at basketball.

 

Steven Adams posted a 17-point, 13-rebound double-double in the loss, adding three assists, one steal, two blocks and two turnovers in 35 minutes. He’s been a pleasant surprise this season and looks to be in a much better position to produce with Enes Kanter no longer a part of the equation. The scoring will come and go, but Adams should be a nice source of boards, field goal percentage and defensive stats this season. 

 

Jrue Holiday finally had a nice game during Sunday’s easy win over the Lakers, tallying 14 points (6-of-11 FGs, 2-of-2 FTs), five boards, six assists, four steals and four turnovers in 38 minutes. The game does come with somewhat of an asterisk, as opposing point guards have been lighting up Lonzo Ball and the Lakers regularly this season, but maybe this is a sign that’s he’s ready to start moving in the right direction.

 

DeMarcus Cousins just missed a triple-double, finishing with 22 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists, one 3-pointer, two blocks and six turnovers; and Anthony Davis continued his impressive play with 27 points, 17 boards, one triple, three assists, four steals, three blocks and three turnovers. These two, also, are very good at basketball.

 

Lonzo Ball struggled with his shot on Sunday night, finishing just 3-of-13 from the field for eight points, but he made up for the bunk shooting with 13 dimes, eight boards, one steal and five turnovers in 36 minutes. This is more or less what I’d expect from Ball moving forward, plenty of lame shooting nights with a bunch of peripheral stats. The turnovers and lame shooting percentages will probably limit him to late-round status in 9-cat formats, but he gains quite a bit of value in 8-cat and points settings.

 

Time to Panic?

 

Gorgui Dieng logged a season-low 12 minutes off the bench during Sunday’s win in OKC, finishing with just seven points, three boards, one assist, one 3-pointer and one turnover. So is it time to panic? Well, sort of. His minutes have been trending in the wrong direction since his nearly invisible, 14-minute opener and it’s even more disconcerting that Minnesota has rallied off two straight wins with Dieng not really being a part of the formula at all. This was the fear when Tom Thibodeau brought in his former pupil Taj Gibson, and at this point, it’s looking like it’ll take an injury to Gibson or Karl-Anthony Towns for Dieng to become relevant. It is worth noting, however, that Thibs has a bit of reputation for running his guys into the ground, so it’s not completely removed from the realm of reality to suggest that the 32-year-old Gibson may be at risk for injury in Minnesota, which is something Dieng owners will need to continue to remind themselves as he posts ineffective stat lines with the second unit. I can’t really get behind the idea of cutting Dieng just yet, he’s had slow starts before, so, for now, his owners should treat him as a stash.

 

Jimmy Butler again failed to reach the 20-point mark during Sunday’s win, going 7-of-17 from the field on his way to 15 points, six boards, six assists, one 3-pointer and one turnover in 39 minutes. So, time to panic? Naw. Sure he’s had a slow start to the year, and his usage rate (20.1) is down, but an adjustment period was to be expected; particularly with the shortened training camp and preseason. Keep in mind, Jimmy Buckets was able to establish himself as a first-round stud last year despite having to go through that “Three Alphas” experiment, so I don’t have any doubt that he’ll figure out how to get things going sooner rather than later. Plus, he only needs roughly a 26.5 usage to produce elite value. Now would be a good time to try and buy low on Buckets.

 

Kawhi Leonard (quad) will not play Monday and remains “out indefinitely.” Time to panic? Well, he’s struggling to walk up stairs, so yeah.  Unfortunately, with a guy like Kawhi, who likely cost you a first or second round pick on draft day, all you can do is sit and wait for official word out of San Antonio, but it doesn’t seem like he’s close.

 

Julius Randle had another fairly ineffective outing in 24 minutes off the bench on Sunday, ending his evening with just 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting (1-of-3 from the stripe) to go with two boards, one assist, one steal, two blocks and two turnovers. The king of this summer’s muscle watch has lost some serious ground to impressive rookie Kyle Kuzma, and unfortunately, it’s looking like it’ll be Larry Nance Jr. in the starting lineup leaving Randle on the fringes fighting for a 25-minute role. I’d give him another few games before officially making the cut, but if the ineffective play continues, he won’t leave owners with much of a choice.

 


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A hoops fanatic, Jared Johnson has been a member of the Rotoworld team since 2013. Follow him on Twitter @JaredJ831, and feel free to send him your questions regarding trades, draft strategies and all things fantasy basketball.
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