On any given night any NBA player can achieve a great stat line, and if he is to close out that strong week with a string of strong performances then he will wind up on this list. This weekly column sets out to find the top five performers each week, one at each position, and create the ultimate fantasy line-up. In these articles, the fantasy production of the elected players is taken from NBA contests on Sunday through Saturday. Volume four will include the games that were played from 11/11/2018 – 11/17/2018
*A player must participate in all of their team’s games that week to be eligible for nomination to this list*
PG – Kemba Walker – Charlotte Hornets
stat line: 3 GP, 30.3 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 6.0 APG, 2.0 SPG, 47.7 FG%, 34.6 3PT%, 85.7 FT%
It was only a matter of time before ‘Cardiac Kemba’ blew up for a scoring outburst. That occurred last Saturday when the Charlotte point guard scored 60 points, only to lose the game to the Philadelphia 76ers. To make Kemba’s performance seem even more impressive, the 60 points scored was the highest in the NBA this season and was an entire six points ahead of second place Klay Thompson, who scored 54 points on October 29th.
I won’t talk anymore about what he did that game, just watch and enjoy one of the best guards in the NBA.
His position on this list this week can mainly be attributed to the 76ers game. He also came away with four steals, seven rebounds, six made three’s, and a perfect 12-12 from the free-throw line. In the two games prior for Walker on the week, the Hornets split their games between Detroit and Cleveland where he would score a combined 31 points, collecting seven rebounds, and bringing down 14 rebounds.
It was a breath of fresh air for Walker, as he continues to remind the NBA that he is among the NBA’s elite. After making the All-Star roster the past two season, Walker’s name, for whatever reason, gets lost in the shuffle with all the other premier point guards that roam throughout the league. Performances like the one that Walker had, remind everyone of that and if you needed a reminder, check this out, Walker currently sits tied for second in the league in scoring with LeBron James with 28.6 PPG.
James Harden – Houston Rockets
stat line: 4 GP, 30.7 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 7.7 APG, 2.2 SPG, 39.5 FG%, 34.6 3PT%, 90.2 FT%
While it is always nice to have new members to our list like Walker, it is just as welcoming seeing players return and make multiple appearances. Harden did just that as he appears for the second time this year. While Walker might be tied for second on the scoring list, he and the rest of the league are looking up to the bearded one with Harden’s 29.3 PPG.
The week for Harden started off with him recording a then-season-high 40 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists in a 115-103 win over the Indiana Pacers. In the Indiana game, Harden would fall back in love with the three-ball as he found the bottom of the net on nine three-pointers, a season high.
I mean, how are you supposed to guard this?
Harden dropped a 40-ball in a win over the Pacers tonight. pic.twitter.com/B43VSSVaH5
— Basketball Society (@BBallSociety_) November 12, 2018
Moving on with a busy week for Harden, the next game only saw him total 22 points. However, Harden would achieve a double-double as he would find his teammates a total of 11 times in the Rockets victory over the Denver Nuggets. It would only be the third time on the year where he would end with double-digit assists. Through 13 games last season, Harden had six double-digit assists games.
In the last two games, the Rockets would continue their winning ways and end their week a perfect 4-0. What was different about these wins was the fact that Houston would win both by 20+. In those two games, Harden would score a combined 61 points, scoring 27 versus the Golden State Warriors and 34 against the Sacramento Kings.
The reigning MVP has undoubtedly picked up his play and has given the Rockets life after a disappointing 1-5 start. Since that start the Rockets have been on a tear, winning 8 of their last 11 games. In those 11 games, Harden has played in 10 of them and has only fell under the 20 point threshold just once.
SF – Paul George – Oklahoma City Thunder
stat line: 3 GP, 33.0 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 4.3 APG, 1.6 SPG, 1.3 BPG, 52.3 FG%, 45.1 3PT%, 100 FT%
This might be a bit of a reach, but it seems that Paul George has filled the shoes that Kevin Durant left in Oklahoma City with ease. George has lived up to his commitment to the Thunder and his healthy $137 million dollar deal, by co-leading Oklahoma City towards the top of the Western Conference standings.
All George would do this week is score 30+ in three straight games and lead all scorers in all three of the Thunders victories without the help of Westbrook who was sidelined due to injury. Pretty simple right? George would also convert on all 19 free-throw attempts last week.
The first of PG-13’s 30 point games came versus the Phoenix Suns when he would score 32 points and connect on season-high six-three pointers.
Following that up, George would go for a season-high 35 points on 13-22 shooting in a 25 point victory over the New York Knicks. George is currently in fourth place in scoring for small forwards.
The last game of the week, George would end with a strong offensive and defensive game totaling 32 points with 11 rebounds and got his hands on three steals as well as three blocks. George ranks first in the league in steals with 2.3 on the year, making him a possible All-Defensive first team candidate and a no-brainer to play every day in your fantasy leagues.
The Russell Westbrook-George combination seems to be working fairly well after their 0-4 start. Since that early hiccup, they have gone on to win 12 of their last 14 games. Welcome to the list PG, we will see you soon.
PF – Anthony Davis – New Orleans Pelicans
stat line: 4 GP, 34.2 PPG, 14.0 RPG, 5.2 APG, 2.0 BPG, 51.1 FG%, 40.0 3PT%, 85.4 FT%
Making his second appearance on this list is Anthony Davis. A force to be reckoned with each night and being the best two-way center this game has to offer, Davis is a fantasy owners dream. With Davis being a clear-cut All-Star, Davis ranks first in points (27.0), steals (1.5), and blocks (2.6) among all power forwards. He is ranked number two in blocks in the NBA and sixth in points.
His marvelous season continued last week when he would string together back to back 40 point outings. Those games would come against the New York Knicks and the Denver Nuggets, where the Pelicans would win both contests. In the Knicks game, Davis would finish with a season-high 43 points on 16-25 shooting, 17 rebounds, five assists, and one steal and block. The other 40 point explosion against Denver saw Davis achieve 40 points, earning half of his points from the free-throw line, going 20-21.
Before those games, however, it was his defense that was showcased as he would earn six blocks between the Pelicans first two games of the week versus the Toronto Raptors and the Minnesota Timberwolves. When New Orleans squared off with the Raptors, Davis would earn his first 20-20 game with 25 points and 20 rebounds.
Three black jerseys around..Anthony Davis doesnt care.
That's a grown man move coach!
— Basketball Society (@BBallSociety_) November 13, 2018
The only loss for New Orleans last week came at the hands of the Timberwolves, where Davis would have his worst game of the week, scoring only 29 points on 9-25 shooting and would bring in 11 rebounds. Still not even a bad stat-line.
With Davis fighting for the MVP trophy and in a contract year as well, it is week’s like these that make the everyday fan notice just how monstrous of a force Davis is. Sidenote, you should have known that. Does he go for his third straight nomination next week?
C – Joel Embiid – Philadelphia 76ers
stat-line 4 GP, 27.5 PPG, 12.2 RPG, 4.5 APG, 2.3 SPG, 1.7 BPG, 38.4 FG%, 50.0 3PT%, 85.1 FT%
The player who has appeared on this list more times than anyone else this year (three times), Joel Embiid is proving why he is the best center in the league to those who like to debate the topic.
With fantasy sports being stats driven, Embiid has provided valuable numbers each week. He is currently fourth in the league in scoring and rebounding while also being tied for fifth in blocks. However, the most impressive stat regarding Embiid is his league-leading 19 doubles. To put that into perspective, the 76ers have played in 21 games.
Mixed in with those 19 performances was one triple-double, which he achieved last week against in a disappointing 111-106 76ers loss at the hands of the Orlando Magic. In the loss, Embiid would end with 19 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists, and two blocks. Here is one of those blocks.
Before the Orlando Game, Embiid would have his best game of the week when Philadelphia took on the Heat in Miami. Embiid would score 35 points and would secure 18 rebounds in the 76ers ninth win on the year. It was his ninth 30+ point game on the year and his fourth-highest scoring outing. Despite Walker’s efforts, ‘the process’ got the final laugh as he was able to lead the 76ers to a three-point victory over Charlotte while also gathering his 10th 30+ point game to end his week with a 33 point, 11 rebound effort.
The only blemish that appeared on Embiid’s week was the Utah game. While the 76ers did win the game, Embiid was held to 23 points and seven rebounds. In his defense though, Embiid only played in 26 minutes in that game, his lowest minutes played in a game all season. It is no surprise that both of the games that Embiid has been held to single-digit rebounds were games that he played under 30 minutes.
While there are many talented and gifted centers and players across the league, Embiid has emphatically asserted himself as not only the best fantasy center but the best fantasy player in general. Much more to come from JoJo.