Ethan Norof

The Specialists

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Covington's Castle

Monday, October 30, 2017


With just about two weeks of the NBA season officially in the books, fantasy GM’s are starting to see their teams take shape, boast about their value picks and trying to forget about those sleeper picks that have stayed snoozing.


In the third edition of The Specialists, we’ll examine Kris Dunn’s upward arrow, Lord Covington’s Stats Castle and more.


Kris Dunn, Chicago Bulls: Steals


It might not be summer in the Cape Cod league, but we’re here to welcome all entrants to the Dunn Show.


Regardless of personal feelings on the trade that brought Dunn—as well as Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen—to Chicago, the Providence product has a clear path to prove that he should be the long-term answer at point guard. And given Dunn is rostered in just 38% of Yahoo leagues, there is a better than not chance that he’s available off the wire.


Following a finger issue that cost him some time to begin his sophomore season, Dunn made his Bulls debut with a nice eight-cat line of eight points, four boards, three dimes, three steals, a block and four turnovers in just 22 minutes of action. It took exactly one game into Dunn’s Chicago career for Fred Hoiberg to reiterate that his point guard competition was “open,” and that’s something that should be taken as a clear positive indicator for Dunn’s long-term outlook. This team has one of the worst rosters in the NBA, and the Bulls have too much invested in Dunn’s potential to not have him play an integral role as the season progresses. It’s a matter of when not if Dunn is named the starter, and he’s got far too much upside—due to both talent and circumstance—to take a wait-and-see approach.


Robert Covington, Philadelphia 76ers: 3-pointers, Steals


Living in the shadows can have its benefits—the Sixers have two tall trees in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons—but let’s clear the brush for a moment and give LoCo RoCo his well-deserved due.


With current averages of 15.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.3 steals, 3.3 triples, 0.8 block and 1.3 turnovers on 47.8% shooting—including an absurd 48.8% from distance and a sizzling 85.7% from the line—Covington is setting up to be a major source of production that was had at a minor price. His 67.7 Yahoo ADP means he was often picked alongside names like Serge Ibaka, Lou Williams, D’Angelo Russell and Marcin Gortat, but Covington’s contributions across the stat sheet as well as the fact that he’s locked into big minutes gives him a better than decent chance at emerging with the most season-long value within that group.


Ryan Anderson, Houston Rockets: 3-pointers


This is a test in patience, an exercise in fantasy frustration and an experiment in self-loathing.


While that might be a tad dramatic, Anderson’s inability to contribute with any kind of consistency makes him a volatile, unreliable fantasy asset that nobody can grow attached to at any given moment.


The Ryno can be worth riding when he’s hot like he currently is with averages of 19.0 points and a whopping 5.7 3-pointers in Houston’s last three matchups, but he’s a drain on field goal percentage, is a one-trick pony and is a guarantee to see reduced playing time when Houston’s roster is at full strength. The Rockets simply have too many other frontcourt options capable of delivering the desired results.


Anderson’s fantasy stock has taken a considerable hit since signing an $80M contract—let’s digest that thought for a moment—but he’s someone to consider using as a trade sweetener while the sugar rush is on in order to ensure a continued positive return on investment.


Wesley Matthews, Dallas Mavericks: 3-pointers, Steals


Over his last four games, Matthews is averaging 18.0 points, 3.3 boards, 2.0 steals and 4.3 3-pointers on 23-of-43 (53.5%) shooting, and that might make this the perfect time to dangle Wes on the wild, wild trade market.


Matthews has not shot above 40% from the field in either of his first two seasons with Dallas, has a role with a capped ceiling given the other personnel on the roster and does not score enough to make his inefficiencies elsewhere something that we can overlook. Seth Curry’s (tibia) absence is week-to-week, and his eventual return is only going to further complicate an already crowded picture.


Matthews’ ADP (120.8) means he was a popular target after names like Dion Waiters, Derrick Rose and Buddy Hield came off the board, and clearly, there is room for a positive return on investment in the form of a trade. Fool’s Gold can be shiny, too.


Marco Belinelli, Atlanta Hawks: 3-pointers


Belinelli probably wasn’t ever expecting to be part of a Dwight Howard headline, but a move to Atlanta has provided an opportunity that the veteran probably wouldn’t have in Charlotte.


Although Nicolas Batum (elbow) has been forced to the sidelines, the Hornets have Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Jeremy Lamb, Dwayne Bacon and Malik Monk to fill the void. Belinelli would have been another name in the pile, and the Hornets wouldn’t necessarily have the same incentive to play him that the Hawks currently do.


Not only is Mike Budenholzer’s team currently very thin on the wing—especially without DeAndre Bembry (wrist) available indefinitely—but Belinelli is also capable of getting his own offense in a second unit that needs exactly that. Additionally, the Hawks will likely explore the trade market for Belinelli as the season progresses, so it makes sense to showcase him now in order to set up a move for later. For the time being, Belinelli is a bargain bin 3-point specialist who makes sense in deep (14-team) formats for those scraping the bottom of the barrel. Cutting a struggling young player with long-term upside and a much higher fantasy ceiling in order to roster Jelly Belly would be an ill-advised move.



Follow Ethan Norof on Twitter @Ethan_Norof for more fantasy basketball analysis, advice and all things Los Angeles Lakers.
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