A fun Tuesday night slate in the NBA saw Atlanta's Trae Young join two guys named Michael Jordan and LeBron James as the only players in league history with multiple games of 40 points and 10 assists before turning 22. Young now has three consecutive games with at least 30 points and 10 assists, becoming the first player in Hawks history to do so.
It wasn't just Young building a brilliant box score on Tuesday, as teammate Jabari Parker continues to ball out in the starting lineup for the Hawks. Atlanta's gamble on the former No. 2 pick is paying off, while more fantasy managers should get in on the fun; the former Duke star is averaging 22.0 PPG, 8.2 RPG, and 2.0 stocks (steals plus blocks) in 31.4 MPG the past six outings, five of them starts in place of the suspended John Collins.
With Collins out of the picture until just before Christmas, Parker should continue to be Young's key complementary scorer in the starting lineup. You can find Parker in free agency in more than 55% of ESPN leagues as of Wednesday morning.
Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks: 42 points (13-21 FG), 4 rebounds, 11 assists, 6 TO
Cory Joseph, Sacramento Kings: 3 points (1-6 FG), 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, 2 TO
The Kings' Bogdanovic and Nemanja Bjelica propelled Sacramento to a key win over the reeling Trail Blazers. After being a featured player in yesterday's column, Bogdanovic did me a solid and went out and became the only Kings player in the last 35 seasons with 25 points and 10 assists off the bench. Bjelica, meanwhile, delivered a rousing double-double and, like Bogdanovic, makes for a sound addition in fantasy leagues with De'Aaron Fox's scoring and passing pop off the floor.
In the loss to the Hawks, Will Barton continued to post strong numbers with 21 points and 13 combined assists and rebounds. During his past six games, Barton is up to an impressive 9.7 RPG to go with 16.8 PPG as one of the more atypical rebounding sources in fantasy at the moment.
Chicago's Coby White notched a career-high 27 points, the most points in a game by a Bulls player in their first 11 career games since Elton Brand scored 29 in 1999. White has scored in double-figures in four straight while averaging 16.3 PPG and 2.3 3PG during this sample.
Fellow rookie RJ Barrett flashed with 21 points, 6 rebounds, and 9 assists last night in the loss to the Bulls and now has 176 points through the first 11 games of career, fourth-most by any Knicks player in the first 11 games of his career, behind just Willis Reed (241), Bill Cartwright (240) and Patrick Ewing (231).
Bruce Brown dished out a career-high 11 dimes for a Detroit team sans Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose last night. Brown won't provide much help when those two are in the lineup, but he's becoming a valuable streaming option when opportunities arise. Fellow Motown wing Luke Kennard scored 22 in the loss to Miami and now has at least that many points in five of his past six outings.
It took 30 shots for Kyrie Irving to net 27 points for Brooklyn in a loss to the Jazz last night, but the scoring continues to prove elite for the playmaker. With 29.7 PPG thus far, Irving is averaging the third-most by any player through their first 10 games with a team, per Elias.
With 11 dimes last night, LeBron extended his lead in assists and now has 110 assists this season, fittingly joining Magic Johnson as the only players taller than 6-foot-5 to have 100 assists through his team's first 10 game of a season since the merger.
Speaking of distribution, Jimmy Butler had 13 assists in Miami's win over the Pistons, the second most in any game of his career. Maybe he's "Jimmy Dimes" now that he's averaging 6.6 APG this season, well above his career-best 5.5 APG in 2016-17.
Injuries of note
Analytics advantage for Wednesday
Fading the Warriors' roster ahead of a meeting with a stingy Lakers defense could prove prudent. Delving into the analytical advantage for this matchup, it's worth exploring how the Lakers' defense has gone to another level when LeBron and Anthony Davis are on the court together. Los Angeles has a 96.8 defensive efficiency when both players are sharing the floor, which would be the lowest defensive efficiency by any team during an entire season over the past 15 seasons.
When Dwight Howard joins LeBron and Davis on the court, the Lakers are allowing just 89.7 points per 100 possessions in 46 minutes of action. These defensive rates make fringe players like Eric Paschall, Alec Burks, and Jordan Poole less desirable as streaming options ahead of tonight's busy slate.
Top players to watch tonight
James Harden is doing something we have not seen in more than 50 years. He is averaging 37.3 points this season, the highest scoring average through a player's first 10 games of a season since Rick Barry in 1966-67.
Keep in mind, Harden is doing this while shooting just over 40% from the field and just under 30% from beyond the arc. Harden has seven 35-point games this season. That is the third-most through a player's first 10 games of a season in NBA history. The only player with more is Wilt Chamberlain in 1962-63 (10) and 1961-62 (9).
The Clippers visit Harden in Houston in a game that airs on ESPN tonight in what is likely the last game of the solo Kawhi Leonard era with George's imminent return. Watching Leonard guard Harden on any switches or in direct coverage is inarguably one of best matchups in the league.