As a longtime Philadelphia 76ers fan, I can confirm tanking can be tough to endure, but the process becomes much more palatable when unique talent emerges. The Oklahoma City Thunder are winless through three contests, including Sunday's loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, but rookie Josh Giddey flirted with a triple-double in a breakout performance.
The Aussie teenager posted 19 points to go with 15 combined assists and rebounds and four steals in 34 minutes of action against Philadelphia. Second on the roster behind only Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (51.3) in touches per game with 45, Giddey even leads the Thunder with 34 passes made per game.
There will be some lean scoring outings from Giddey, but also some full fantasy lines from this young playmaker. Placing a premium on player development, the Thunder appear prepared to give Giddey -- who is rostered in fewer than 20% of ESPN leagues -- every opportunity to succeed as a lead creator.
Paul George, Clippers: 41 points (15-25 FG), 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals
Tyler Herro, Heat: 30 points (12-28 FG), 10 rebounds, 0 assists
Cole Anthony, Magic: 29 points (9-16 FG), 16 rebounds, 8 assists
Ja Morant, Grizzlies: 40 points (13-21 FG), 3 rebounds, 10 assists, 3 steals
Bogdan Bogdanovic, Hawks: 5 points (2-7 FG), 2 rebounds, 2 assists
Myles Turner, Pacers: 4 points (2-6 FG), 4 rebounds
Patty Mills, Nets: 5 points (2-10 FG), 4 rebounds, 2 assists
Robert Williams III, Celtics: 2 points (1-2 FG), 4 rebounds, 1 assist
In a loss to the Lakers on Sunday night, Ja Morant became the first player in Grizzlies history with 40 points and 10 assists in a game and just the third player with a 40-point double-double in team history, joining Pau Gasol and Bryant Reeves. It's quite possible we're witnessing a new level to Morant's game, as he is averaging 35.0 PPG with awesome peripheral statistics to start the season.
In the win over Memphis, Carmelo Anthony delivered an efficient 28 points, tied for his second most off the bench in a game in his storied career. Anthony passed hoops legend Moses Malone for ninth on the all-time scoring list on Sunday, but given his complementary role with the Lakers, I'm not convinced he claims enduring fantasy value.
Sticking with this surname, Orlando's Cole Anthony joined Russell Westbrook (2016), Larry Bird (1980), Bob Lanier (1975) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1972) as the only players in the past 50 seasons with 25/15/8 as a visitor in Madison Square Garden. There should be opportunities for Anthony to produce on a young Orlando roster.
Philadelphia's Seth Curry is in the midst of an NBA Jam-esque hot streak; Stephen's brother has made an absurd 76.5% of his 3-point attempts for the 76ers. Curry scored 23 points in the first quarter on Sunday against the Thunder, good for the most in a quarter in his career and the second most in a quarter by any player this season, behind only his older brother. Eligible at both guard positions in ESPN leagues, Curry's efficient scoring and increased playmaking workload for Philadelphia could lead to a career season.
The Hornets' Miles Bridges might be making a leap of his own. The combo forward is enjoying career shooting volume from both beyond the arc and at the stripe. It's unclear if this is just a hot start or the beginning of a Most Improved Player campaign for Bridges, but there's enough defensive upside and brimming offensive potential to make him a must-add in all formats.
Toronto's Scottie Barnes is another rising rookie. We knew Barnes could create shots for others given his point-forward pedigree from college, but it's been his scoring that might be most impressive. In Raptors rookie history, Barnes' 54 points through three games trails only Damon Stoudamire's 58 in the franchise's inaugural 1995-96 campaign.
Injuries of note
Analytics advantage for Monday
Indiana's Caris LeVert has been ruled out for the Pacers' matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks this evening. Starting in place of the ailing LeVert thus far, rookie Chris Duarte is tied for sixth in the league in catch-and-shoot 3-pointers made per game and is sinking an awesome 42.9% of such shots for the Pacers through three games.
Rostered in just a third of ESPN leagues, Duarte brings legitimate scoring and shooting pop -- with a respectable steal rate, as well -- to fantasy lineups. Having topped 40 minutes played twice already this season and with such stellar shooting metrics in his favor, Duarte is a strong streaming candidate to consider for Monday's slate.
Terrence Ross, Orlando Magic: One of just a handful of players found below $5,000 on DraftKings who is projected to play at least 30 minutes this evening, Ross finally warmed up from the floor on Sunday in Madison Square Garden and should be tasked with sizable scoring duties again tonight against the Heat in Miami. The floor is always low with a shooting specialist like Ross, but there is at least a blend of shooting momentum and reasonable pricing to consider.
Nikola Vucevic, Chicago Bulls: Paying up for Vucevic as a building block could prove rewarding, as the Bulls could bully the Raptors inside. Toronto lacks size in the paint, setting up Vucevic with both a high floor and an impressive ceiling in a plus matchup.