The Los Angeles Lakers got blitzed by the Chicago Bulls on Monday night, but the team continues to see promising signs from talented young wing Talen Horton-Tucker. The third-year shooting guard scored 28 points on 19 shots and posted the best net rating of the team's starters in the loss to the Bulls.
With the Lakers in need of Horton-Tucker's scoring, defense, and playmaking, he played a team-high 37 minutes on Monday. A gifted playmaker who posted an awesome assist percentage of 20.8% last season -- which means he was assisting on a fifth of his teammates' field goals while on the court -- Horton-Tucker is likely to set career highs in minutes and statistics across the board this season.
Rostered in only 7.2% of ESPN leagues and yet due for a busy starting role for the Lakers, Horton-Tucker has been a key positive in an otherwise slow start to the season for Los Angeles.
Cade Cunningham, Detroit Pistons: 25 points (10-20 FG), 8 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals
DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls: 38 points (15-23 FG), 3 rebounds, 6 assists
Nickeil Alexander-Walker, New Orleans Pelicans: 4 points (1-6 FG), 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 TO
Killian Hayes, Detroit Pistons: 0 points (0-5 FG), 5 rebounds, 3 assists
In setting career highs across the board in a loss to the Kings last night, Detroit's Cunningham became just the third rookie in franchise history to post at least 25 points to go with eight boards and eight dimes, joining Grant Hill and Dave Bing. The buy-low window for Cunningham is likely closing.
Toronto's OG Anunoby is making an offensive leap this season; he's up to a career-high 20.1 PPG after posting 29 points and sinking six 3-pointers against Portland last night. While the fantasy crowd knows about Anunoby's growing game by now, managers could pay more attention to his teammate Gary Trent Jr., who happens to lead the NBA in steals and has scored at least 18 points in three straight games.
The Pelicans lost again and have just two wins on the season, but there are still some productive players from the roster being overlooked. Josh Hart, for instance, posted 17 combined rebounds and assists for New Orleans last night. As one of the league's best rebounding guards, Hart could continue to compile big lines this season while playing heavy minutes for a struggling team.
When Portland traded a first-round pick for Larry Nance Jr., I figured there was some fun fantasy potential to consider. Unfortunately, the team continues to lean old school by running out traditional centers over Nance, who has averaged a career-low 18.6 MPG this season. An awesome passer out of the high post who impressively averaged 2.2 combined blocks and steals for Cleveland last season, Nance finally got some burn last night and turned in 15 points with five boards in 23 minutes of action. There isn't enough momentum here to roster Nance just yet, but he'd become instantly relevant if the team finds more room for him in the rotation.
Injuries of note
The Clippers will be without Serge Ibaka and Marcus Morris this evening. Terance Mann is listed as questionable due to an ankle injury. Given the team's need for complementary scoring, Reggie Jackson could consume another heavy usage rate.
Analytics advantage for Tuesday
Joel Embiid, Danny Green, Matisse Thybulle, and Ben Simmons will all miss Philadelphia's matchup against the Jazz in Utah this evening. At the beginning of this five-game road swing for the Sixers, it could make sense to scoop up Andre Drummond. The rebounding force is rostered in just 58% of leagues ahead of tonight's limited three-game slate.
The former All-Star has adapted well to a flexible role with Philadelphia this season, one that often tasks him with starting duties whenever Embiid is sidelined. A statistical dive into Drummond's game reveals the number 27.8, which is the league-leading number of rebounding chances he's averaged over the last four games.
A rebounding chance is whenever a player is found to be the closest to the ball before it's been rebounded. With Drummond posting absurd opportunity rates and likely to play a big role opposite fellow rebounding machine Rudy Gobert, it's time to roster him ahead of what should be a productive trip.
Thaddeus Young, San Antonio Spurs: With Jakob Poeltl still sidelined, Young is likely to play a large role as the team's small-ball five against the Clippers. With Los Angeles apt to run small, as well, Young should enjoy solid statistical opportunities in the paint tonight.