By Matt Rochinski
December 6, 2012
With three games over the weekend and into Monday, the players who might make the difference for your fantasy squad could be some of the youngest players and oldest players on the court.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was selected by the NBA on Wednesday as the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for November after starting in all 15 games in the month and averaging 10.9 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.2 steals in 27.3 minutes played. He ranked second among rookies in both rebounding and blocks, fourth in steals, fifth in scoring, sixth in minutes and eighth in assists, making him the only rookie to rank in the top 10 in all six categories. Kidd-Gilchrist was also the only rookie to average at least 1.0 assist, 1.0 steal and 1.0 block, the only rookie to record a five-steal game (Nov. 3 at Dallas) and one of only five rookies to have at least four blocked shots in a game (Nov. 23 vs. Atlanta). If MKG continues to improve off a strong start, he could easily step into your starting lineup and stuff the stat sheet.
Speaking of youth, 25-year-old forward Ersan Ilyasova is trying to get back to the breakout year he had in 2011-12. After averaging 13.0 points and 8.8 rebounds for Milwaukee inside last season, he opted to stay with the Bucks in the offseason but has not come close those averages until recently. While he’s currently posting 7.6 points and 4.8 rebounds, Illyasova is coming off a 17-point performance on Wednesday against San Antonio and is averaging 10.4 points in the last five games. However, consistency is key in fantasy and Ilyasova has been anything but. His point totals in Milwaukee’s last five games are 18, 0, 15, 2 and 17. Lines like that make fantasy decisions difficult because you never know what you might get. We saw last season that Illyasova can put a long string of good games together, so now might be the time to try and acquire him as he starts heating up.
Tim Duncan has had a fantasy renaissance to start 2012-13. He leads the Spurs in scoring (18.8 points) and rebounding (10.1). It’s the first time since 2009-10 (17.9 points, 10.1 rebounds) that Duncan has averaged a double-double, and his 31.0 minutes are his highest since 2009-10 as well. What’s been most impressive watching Duncan through the Spurs first 19 games has been how well he’s shooting the ball. He’s hitting on 53.3 percent of his field goal attempts – his highest since 2006-07 (54.6 percent) – and has been solid from the line, converting 78.3 percent of his freebies. That’s nearly 10 percentage points higher than his career 68.9 percent average. Duncan also continues to man the post well, setting up open teammates with an average of 3.1 assists while blocking 2.2 shots every contest. If Duncan can stay healthy, he could re-join the ranks of the fantasy elite.
While David Lee isn’t nearly the veteran Tim Duncan is, the Warriors big man is in his eighth year in the NBA and will hit 30 years old at the end of the season. While injuries have cost him some time in his career, Lee has looked strong enough to anchor your fantasy team in the paint with his contributions to Golden State. He’s averaging 17.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 3.8 assists and has notched 10 double-doubles already this season. Veteran bigs who fantasy owners can rely on to produce every game can be extremely valuable, and Lee has only had three games this year under 17 points or nine rebounds.