With a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder Sunday night, the Brooklyn Nets became the second team in the NBA to reach the double-digit win mark. The Nets are tied for first in the Eastern Conference with the Washington Wizards. So, their success thus far is not in question.
As a fan, watching Brooklyn’s ever-lethal offense and improved defense is a joy, but some want more. Many fans enjoy playing fantasy basketball, as it lets them live out their dreams of being a NBA general manager in an imaginary league with their friends and family.
With the Nets being one of the hottest teams in the NBA, winning eight of their last 10, it would be fun to reflect upon the fantasy performances of our favorite players from the men defending the ‘Clays. It’s time to do just that. Strap on your hard hat and steel-toe boots, it’s time to rock.
Performance of the Week: James Harden vs. NOP 11/12
Fantasy impact: 70 FP (fantasy points), second highest for 11/12 (Luka Dončić, 79 FP)
Statistical output: 39 points, five rebounds, 12 assists, one steal, one block, 11/18 from the field (61.1%), 6/10 from three (60 percent), 11/15 from the stripe (73.3 percent)
James Harden was on fire against the New Orleans Pelicans, as he was able to get to the charity stripe for double digit attempts for only the second time this season. While Harden has seen less free throw attempts due to the new rule changes, and a fair amount of missed calls, he has been able to make up for it from beyond the arc and off the dish.
He currently has the sixth most made three-pointers in the NBA with 42, and is tied for first for the most assists in the league with Trae Young at 130. Everything was on display against the Pelicans, as Harden drilled six three-pointers to go along with 12 assists and 11 made free throws.
In a game where the Nets needed him most, Harden was able to step up and produce big numbers for Brooklyn en route to a road win at The Big Easy.
Stock Up: LaMarcus Aldridge
Fantasy impact: 32.5 FPPG (fantasy points per game), week high 39 FP on 11/8 vs. Chicago Bulls
Key statistical averages: 15.5 points per game, 7.3 rebounds per game, 1.5 blocks per game, 1.8 three-pointers made per game, 52.2 percent from the field, 63.6% from three
LaMarcus Aldridge has turned back the clock so far this season, as he’s currently shooting a career high 58.6 percent from the field; that number ranks higher than all seven of his All-Star years by a significant margin. His next closest year is 2018-19 when he shot 51.9% from the field and averaged 21.3 points per game.
Aldridge has been lethal from the mid-range area, shooting a ridiclous 65.3 percent from the zone largely due to dump-offs, pick-and-pops, and good old fashioned turn around fadeaways. These jumpers have been a large reason why he’s Brooklyn’s third leading scorer in fantasy, trailing only Harden and Kevin Durant.
If he’s able to keep up this pace, not only will Brooklyn as a team benefit, but so will your fantasy team if you drafted him in the much later rounds or picked him up off the waiver wire.
Stock Down: Blake Griffin
Fantasy impact: 10.6 FPPG, week high 25 FP on 11/12 vs New Orleans Pelicans
Key statistical averages: Four points per game, 4.3 rebounds per game, three assists per game, 0/16 from beyond the arc, 25.9% from the field
Blake Griffin certainly struggled this past week, particularly on offense, where he shot 7/27 from the field and 0/16 from deep. This terrible offensive showing caused a drastic shift in his FPPG from last week, as 10.6 is a long way away from the 29.3 FPPG average Blake had last week.
On the other hand, Blake has been keeping his own on the defensive side of the ball, particularly in the charge department where he leads the NBA with nine.
That doesn’t help your fantasy team though, and his missed shots only make it worse, especially if it’s large in volume. Blake has certainly taken a side-step offensively in the wake of the second coming of LaMarcus Aldridge, but it’s unlikely this poor of an output will continue for much longer. Blake’s too integral to this team to lose playing time, and his ability is not in question despite a down week.
Opponent Performance of the Week: Zach LaVine
Fantasy impact: 49 FP points on 11/8
Statistical output: 24 points, five rebounds, five assists, one steal, one block, 10/17 (58.8 percent) from the field
No surprise here as the Opponent Performance of the Week comes via the only loss the Nets had all week. The Bulls handily defeated the Nets 118-96 in large part due to an absurd 42-17 fourth quarter in their favor. LaVine was a steady hand the whole game, scoring pretty evenly throughout the contest without favoring a specific quarter. Although DeMar Derozan scored 28 points, he only had 35 fantasy points due to having three turnovers, and less blocks, rebounds, and assists than LaVine. Honestly, LaVine’s numbers in this game weren’t even that crazy. Hopefully it can stay that way for the Opponent Performance of the Week.
Quick Look Ahead:
The Nets will have three games this week, all in Brooklyn, as they will host the Golden State Warriors tomorrow (who boast the best record in the NBA at 11-2), Jarrett Allen and the Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday, and the Orlando Magic Friday.
The most notable game of the three is obviously the matchup against the Warriors, a team that boasts the third best defense in the NBA (101.8 points allowed per game) and the best offense (115.1 points per game). It will be interesting to see if Bruce Brown gets more burn in an attempt to stop Stephen Curry. If so, naturally, his fantasy output would increase as he also plays the cutman role on offense and is no slack in the rebounding department.
The Cavaliers big men duo of Allen and rookie Evan Mobley will cause problems down low, as they average 10.9 and 7.9 rebounds per game respectively. As we saw in the Chicago game against Nikola Vučević, Aldridge may outpace Griffin in minutes despite the latter starting in order to bang down low with both near seven-footers. In theory, the Orlando game will likely have the same feel and pace to it as the previous game as not much will change in nine days. The games are played for a reason though, as you never know what will happen on a given night on the court or on your preferred digital device.