NBA All-Star voting opened during the week.
Fans have until January 16 to cast their votes for the starters at this year’s relocated All-Star game in New Orleans.
Once again, there will be two guards and three frontcourt players selected from each conference, and there’s sure to be some hot debate about who is deserving of a spot this year.
Can Giannis Antetokounmpo earn his first All-Star bid as a starter? Can Steph Curry earn enough votes over James Harden and Russell Westbrook in the West? And will Kyle Lowry’s stellar play be enough to earn the votes of those south of the border?
For what it’s worth, my first ballot looked like this:
East guards: Kyle Lowry, John Wall
East frontcourt: LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Love
West guards: Russell Westbrook, James Harden
West frontcourt: Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard
Just missing out: Jimmy Butler, Isaiah Thomas, Paul George, Hassan Whiteside, Chris Paul, DeMarcus Cousins, Stephen Curry, Marc Gasol.
Feel free to let me know if you agree or disagree, or what your ballot looks like.
Whether your fantasy team is full of All-Stars or not, you can always construct a winning squad with the right pieces by targeting the categories you need to build strengths. If you’re not sure where to start, then take a trip Downtown as we listen to the Music of the Traffic, so the fans will vote for you.
From all of us at Downtown, have a very happy, healthy, prosperous and fantasy-winning new year!
Week 11 (Jan. 2 – Jan. 8)
5 games: UTA
4 games: BKN, CHA, CLE, DEN, GSW, HOU, LAC, LAL, MEM, MIA, MIL, NYK, OKC, ORL, PHO, SAC, TOR, WAS
3 games: ATL, BOS, CHI, DAL, DET, IND, MIN, NOR, PHI, POR, SAS
With the holidays behind us, we have a bumper schedule on tap for Week 11 with 18 teams playing four times and even one team, Utah, scheduled for five games. The remaining 11 teams tip-off three times, so no real need to worry about who to pick up this week.
The following players may be available in standard 10- or 12-team leagues.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (SF, CHA): The former number two overall pick has never lived up to his promise, and injuries have also played a part in delaying his development. MKG does, however, have the ability to play a niche role in fantasy lineups due to his strong defensive numbers, rebounding and improved field goal percentage. Averaging 10 points, 7.8 rebounds, two assists, 1.3 steals and 1.8 blocks over his past four games, and available in over 50 percent of leagues, he’s worth owning if you need help in those cats in a 12-team league.
Seth Curry (PG/SG, DAL): For those in deeper leagues (12- to 14-team), the younger Curry could be just what you need. He’s having a nice string of production of late, scoring in double digits off the bench in eight of the Mavs’ last 11 games, while adding over two triples per contest as well as a nice sprinkle of dimes and steals. His minutes have been consistently in the mid-to-high 20s and he should be owned in deeper leagues right now.
Will Barton (SG/SF, DEN): Will the Thrill is at it again. Clearly it doesn’t bother him if he starts or not as he’s been hot as a super-sub for Mike Malone of late. His 14.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 0.9 steals and 1.6 triples over his past eight games are nothing to sneeze at. He’s available in 49 percent of ESPN and 37 percent of Yahoo leagues and should be owned in all 12-team formats.
Jon Leuer (PF/C, DET): Refer to Music of the Traffic Week 10, then add 14.7 points, six rebounds, two assists, 1.3 steals and 1.7 triples over his last three and tell me he shouldn’t be in your lineup.
Patrick Beverley (PG/SG, HOU): After an injury-interrupted start to the season where James Harden assumed the point guard role for Mike D’Antoni, Beverley has re-emerged as a player with great value. He’s never going to score a lot, but it’s the other counting stats where he makes his living. Beverley has averaged a whopping 8.3 rebounds (he’s a point guard remember), four assists, 1.6 steals, 1.9 threes and 11.4 points over his past seven games, which is good for top-40 value over that span. He’s somehow still available in 53 percent of ESPN and nearly 30 percent of Yahoo leagues, so act now.
Josh Richardson (SG/SF, MIA): Another who was slowed by injury earlier this season but is now fully firing is sophomore swingman Josh Richardson. Whether starting or coming off the bench, Richardson has been a joy to own of late given his juicy all-around lines. He’s averaged 20.3 points, five rebounds, 4.3 assists, two steals, one block and 2.3 triples over his past three games and shows no signs of slowing down. Available in more than 55 percent of leagues, J-Rich 2.0 needs to be owned in all formats right now.
Solid night for @J_Rich1 in Boston.
19 points, 8 assists, 6 rebounds, 4 steals and 2 blocks. pic.twitter.com/2jtUugIP4s
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) December 31, 2016
Ersan Ilyasova (SF/PF, PHI): I know, I know, I’ve touted him before, so I’ll keep this brief. He’s averaging 17.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists and, most importantly, 2.5 threes over his past dozen games, yet he’s still available in 35 percent of Yahoo and 55 percent of ESPN leagues? Go figure… No actually, just go pick him up already.
Ones to Watch:
Jodie Meeks (SG, ORL): He’s filled in admirably for Evan Fournier to the tune of 11 points, three rebounds, two steals and 1.7 triples over his past three games. Fournier is likely to be back tomorrow, but if he doesn’t return or re-injures himself, then Meeks is worth a look.
Dario Saric (SF/PF, PHI): The rookie has been solid, but a little erratic all year. However, he’s starting to put it together playing mostly small forward of late and may gain position eligibility there in Yahoo. He’s averaged 13 points, eight rebounds, 2.7 assists and a triple over his past three games and is worth a look in deeper formats.
Trey Lyles (PF, UTA): The Jazz sophomore has seen plenty of run with Derrick Favors ailing this season, and Lyles has done a decent job for the most part. Even with Favors back, Lyles finds ways to contribute off the bench in points, rebounds, threes and with solid percentages. With rumours starting to build that Favors could be on the trade block, it could mean a permanent boost for Lyles, so keep an eye out.
If you’re lacking some All-Star power, then adding one of these guys could be just what you need to create your own All-Star fantasy team.
Follow me on Twitter @tomhersz for updates
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