NBA Week 1: Buckets & BricksDecember 30, 2020
Week one of the NBA is officially in the books. It seems as if another exciting season of NBA is upon as the star-studded league has been nothing short of entertaining. KD and Steph are back. LeBron is dominating in Year 18. Trae Young looks to enter the MVP race. Harden and Jokic have been dominant as ever to begin the season. What more could you ask for? This week, I introduce to you “Buckets & Bricks”, where I give you a quick rundown of great performances from around the league, as well as poor ones. Are players living up to their projections, and if so, will they maintain their performance? Which players should you be worried about? If you’re asking yourself these questions, I got you covered.
Not on the Trae Young hype train yet? Well, it’s time. Young is leading the Atlanta Hawks to a 3-0 start and currently leads the team in points and assists per game. With averages of 34, 4, and 7, Young is ranked the No. 1 point guard heading into Week 2 and it’s very reasonable to say he could retain those numbers as the primary scorer and ball-handler in Atlanta. Even if Young doesn’t maintain 34 PPG, he’s still a top-tier fantasy asset who can produce off rebounds and assists. Make no mistake, Trae Young is a bucket.
No matter how much drama he’s stirring up in Houston, James Harden is a walking bucket. Although he’s only scored 104 fantasy points, it’s important to point out he’s only played two games due to the matchup between Houston and Oklahoma City being postponed last week because of COVID-related issues. Somehow, Harden is averaging a whopping 52 fantasy points per game and would undoubtedly be the No. 1 ranked shooting guard had Houston’s season opener not been postponed. Expect Harden’s numbers to dip slightly as John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins are set to return Thursday night against Sacramento, but he should still be considered a top-tier fantasy asset, making him a bucket.
Considered the fantasy King the past two seasons, Giannis has been off to a slow start, at least from a fantasy perspective. With a projection of over 41 fantasy points per game according to ESPN (projections may alter due to your league’s scoring settings), the Bucks star is only averaging just over 24 points. Don’t get me wrong, it’s unfair to say Giannis has been disappointing thus far for the Bucks, however, from a fantasy perspective, he has been. Drafted first overall in most fantasy leagues, many managers are relying on him to meet those projections. After all, he is the fantasy king. This week, he’s a brick, but expect Giannis to begin dominating in fantasy night in and night out any time now.
What a start to the season from the Joker. The Nuggets star seems to be a triple-double machine this season with averages of 24.5 PPG, 11.8 RPG, and 13.5 APG in four games. It’s fair to wonder if he can maintain these numbers, but if you drafted him in your league, congratulations. Jokic is currently averaging over 48 fantasy points giving league managers something to be very excited about. Thus far, he has scored the most fantasy points among all players in the NBA and trails only James Harden for the second-most fantasy points per game. Barring injuries, expect Nikola Jokic to be dominant the entire season. He’s a bucket.
He’s a brick this week. Drafted in the top five in many fantasy basketball leagues, Anthony Davis has been a fairly big disappointment to the start the season from a fantasy perspective. Among power forwards, he currently sits outside of the Top 10 in fantasy points scored and average fantasy points per game which is a huge surprise to fantasy managers. This isn’t something to worry about yet, but if AD can’t produce like he’s expected to, it might be worth it to put him on the trade block. However, I’ll give it 2-3 weeks before Davis starts dominating again. He’s still considered one of the top fantasy players.
Among the players on this list, DeAndre Ayton is the biggest brick. I truly expected Ayton to finish as a Top 5 center in fantasy this year, but it seems as if that was too bold of a take. In four games, the Suns’ big man is averaging just over 19 fantasy points per game with averages of 11.5 PPG, 11.8 RPG, and just 1.8 APG. He’s projected to score 31.2 fantasy points per game according to ESPN, indicating dominance, but he seems to have more of a lesser role on a revamped Suns team to begin the season. If you’re a fantasy manager, I wouldn’t panic yet. Prior to the season, I expected Ayton to match his ESPN projections with a chance of exceeding them. Although he’s a brick this week, keep him on your team and see what happens.