A meeting of young NBA rosters produced some fantasy fun on Monday night. Following their NBA-record 73-point defeat to the Memphis Grizzlies over the weekend, the Oklahoma City Thunder trailed by as many as 18 points against the Detroit Pistons last night, but outscored the Pistons 42-22 in the final quarter, matching the franchise's most fourth quarter points since moving to Oklahoma City.
Top pick Cade Cunningham turned in a career-high 28 points for Detroit in a losing effort, while Oklahoma City's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored a game-high 30 points in just his second career game with at least 30 points and 10 assists. The Thunder improved to 13-3 in Gilgeous-Alexander's career when he scores 30 points.
"SGA" might be one of the best players to target in fantasy trades at the moment, as his shooting woes this season have him far below his career clips on traditional field goals and 3-point shots. This suggests Gilgeous-Alexander is likely due for a sizable positive correction in regards to scoring efficiency, something that might have begun last night.
It wasn't just Gilgeous-Alexander playing well for the Thunder on Monday, as defensive-minded wing Luguentz Dort tallied 28 points, marking the first time this season the Thunder have had multiple 25-point scorers in a game. Dort is averaging 20.7 PPG during the last week, all while posting 2.6 combined steals and blocks per game, evidence he's worth rostering ahead of tomorrow's matchup with the Toronto Raptors.
Seth Curry, Philadelphia 76ers: 6 points (3-11 FG), 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 TO
Desmond Bane and Dillon Brooks scorched the Miami Heat last night to lead the Grizzlies to another win without Ja Morant. Memphis extended the team's winning streak without even trailing once to five games, tying the 2007-08 Mavericks for longest such streak by any team in play-by-play era. Steven Adams tied his season-high in rebounds with 16, while Brooks and his career-high eight dimes helped keep the ball moving. Bane has scored at least 21 points in three of his last four games to go with strong rebounding and defensive numbers during this stretch and yet is a free agent in more than 60% of ESPN leagues.
Miami's Tyler Herro delivered his 10th game this season with at least 20 points off the pine, the most such performances this season. Fleshing out Herro's fantasy profile has been his passing acumen, as the Kentucky guard is up to a career-high 3.8 assists per game and has distributed at least four assists in three of his last four outings.
Embiid carried the 76ers to an overtime win over a short-handed Charlotte team. His season-high in scoring fueled his fifth career game with 40-10-5, matching Charles Barkley for the second-most such performances in 76ers history. Only Wilt Chamberlain (13) has more.
The bigger fantasy story in North Carolina last night was Oubre leading the Hornets in scoring yet again as the team is without leading playmakers LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier due to health and safety protocols. Oubre now has made at least five 3-pointer in three straight games for the first time in his career and has some of the wildest rock star hair in the league at the moment. If Ball and Rozier aren't cleared to return to face the Sixers in a rubber match on Wednesday in Charlotte, Oubre and P.J. Washington become top plug-and-play options tomorrow.
The Atlanta Hawks established a new franchise record with 25 made 3-pointers in a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot was tasked with a larger role given Atlanta's wave of injuries at the wing and sank a career-high seven 3-pointers. I'm not buying "TLC" as a helpful fantasy option, as this reads like a one-game outlier.
Injuries of note
Miami's Jimmy Butler exited and didn't return to last night's loss to the Grizzlies due to a tailbone injury.
Dallas lists Luka Doncic and Tim Hardaway Jr. as questionable to play against the visiting Nets. This designation signals an upgrade for Doncic, who has been listed as doubtful or out in recent games due to an ankle injury.
Jaylen Brown is listed as questionable for Tuesday's tilt against the Lakers due to a hamstring injury.
Analytics advantage for Tuesday
On a light three-game slate, it's important to identify quality streaming candidates. Securing additional games in head-to-head weekly competition is a key way to get an edge on your opponent, as you can even overcome injuries and talent deficits by simply playing more minutes in a given week than your competition.
With this agenda in mind, the Lakers' Malik Monk makes for an interesting scoring option this evening against the Celtics; he's played at least 29 minutes in five of the last six games for the Lakers with at least 20 points scored in three of the last four. Diving deeper, Monk's usage rate has topped 23% for consecutive games for the first time this season, signaling increased trust as a playmaker off the bench.
James Johnson, Brooklyn Nets: Stacking with the Nets this evening doesn't seem like a bad plan, but affording Kevin Durant or James Harden will require some bargain hunting, which leads us to Johnson. Found nearly at the pricing floor, this veteran forward should cruise past 20 minutes played this evening against a Dallas roster that lacks defensive size at the wing.