Monday December 1st, 2014

Ready to show your friends you know more about the NBA than they do? FanNation's Basketball Throwdown fantasy basketball game is your best option. You pick a guard, forward and center who you think will exceed their fantasy projections. The scoring system takes into account points, rebounds, assists, blocks, steals and turnovers. The team that surpasses their projections by the most wins, so picking a lineup of Stephen Curry, LeBron James and Joakim Noah is no sure-fire path to victory. You can also bet anywhere from $1 to $500 on each night's matchup or play for free.

I'll give you my picks each day and a recap of yesterday's top performers so you can get bragging rights over your friends.

Sign up for tonight's Basketball Throwdown here.

Wednesday's overachievers

Guard: Kobe Bryant, Lakers, +28.2

Bryant played his best all-around game of the season on Sunday to lead the Lakers to a 129-122 overtime victory against the Toronto Raptors. He recorded the 20th triple-double of his career while piling up 31 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds en route to 62.2 Basketball Throwdown points. Since field-goal percentage is not included in the scoring system, Bryant is one of the best players to start regardless of the matchup.

Forward: Josh Smith, Pistons, +20.8

The Pistons have limped to a 3-14 start to the season, and Smith has also struggled to start the year, but he had a big game on Sunday against the Golden State Warriors. He nearly matched Bryant with a triple-double of his own as he finished with 14 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds. Smith has improved his passing recently and is averaging 8.8 assists over his last four games.

Center: Jonas Valanciunas, Raptors, +7.1

Valanciunas took advantage of a matchup with the undersized Lakers and beat his projection for the third time in his last five games. He had nine points, 13 rebounds and three blocks in Toronto's overtime loss. The third-year big man has been consistent to start the season and should continue to flourish with increased playing time.

Today's picks

Guard: Zach LaVine, Timberwolves at Clippers, 10:30 p.m.

After scoring a career-high 28 points against the Lakers last week, LaVine struggled against the Portland Trail Blazers and only registered one steal. The rookie is only projected for 15 points against the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night. LaVine should be at his best playing in Los Angeles where he played at UCLA last season. While the Clippers are a better defensive team than the Lakers, an up-tempo matchup should give him plenty of chances to score in transition.

Forward: K.J. McDaniels, 76ers vs. Spurs, 7:00 p.m.

Like LaVine, McDaniels is a buy-low candidate for Monday night as he is projected for just 17 points. During another bleak season in Philadelphia, McDaniels has emerged as a bright spot for the 76ers. He is coming off the best game of his rookie season on Saturday when he scored 21 points and grabbed 13 assists against the Dallas Mavericks.

Center: Marcin Gortat, Wizards vs. Heat, 7:00 p.m.

The choices at center tonight are decidedly slim, but Gortat should be able to capitalize on a matchup with the Miami Heat. The Heat are the second-worst rebounding team in the NBA, and Gortat should feast against them. He is coming off a monster 24-point, 13-rebound, four-block game against the New Orleans Pelicans and should continue his hot play tonight.

- Paul Palladino

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.