Wednesday January 7th, 2015

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.

Tuesday's overachievers

Guard: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks, +12.4

Antetokounmpo teamed with point guard Brandon Knight to nearly lead the Bucks past the Suns on Tuesday. While Knight led the team with 26 points, Antetokounmpo had 16 points, 12 rebounds, two assists and a block for Milwaukee. The 20-year-old has made impressive strides in his second season as he learns how to use his 6-foot-11 frame. If he gets the ball near the paint, he is capable of dunking. No matter how far away as the Suns learned first hand.

Forward: Markieff Morris, Suns, +13.0

While Antetokounmpo will fill the highlights with his impressive dunks, Morris carried the Suns to a victory. He finished with his first double-double since Dec. 5 as he piled up 26 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and a steal. Phoenix's high scoring backcourt garners most of the attention from the media, but Morris' development as a go-to scorer in the low post will be equally valuable as the Suns try to make a playoff push.

Center: Alex Len, Suns, +11.6

Following a rookie season derailed by injury, Len has shown flashes of the potential that made him the No. 5 pick in the 2013 draft. He had nine points, eight rebounds and five blocks in 24 minutes on Tuesday. In 12 games since moving into the starting lineup, Len has averaged 7.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.6 blocks while playing 21.3 minutes per game. More importantly the Suns have gone 9-3 over that stretch. While his offensive game is a work in progress, Len's defensive presence could be a key factor for the team down the stretch.

Today's picks

Guard: Jimmy Butler, Bulls vs. Jazz, 8:00 p.m. ET

Butler has emerged as Chicago's leading scorer with Derrick Rose in and out of the lineup with various injuries this season. In his fourth year in the league, he is scoring a career-high 21.9 points per game, more than eight points more than last season. He has beaten his projection in three of his last four games and the Jazz don't have a defender to matchup with him on the perimeter.

Forward: Andrew Wiggins, Timberwolves vs. Suns, 9:30 p.m. ET 

The No. 1 pick has found his stride recently, scoring at least 20 points in each of his last four games. Wiggins is the leading scorer among rookies at 13.9 points per game and has averaged 21.0 points on 50 percent shooting in his last seven games, including 45.5 percent on three-pointers. Just as Antetokounmpo did on Tuesday, Wiggins should be able to take advantage of a matchup with the undersized Phoenix backcourt.

Center: Brook Lopez, Nets vs. Celtics, 7:30 p.m. ET

Lopez has returned to form in his last four games, averaging 20.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in just 27.4 minutes of action. Despite his strong play, his Basketball Throwdown projection is a measly 22 points tonight against the Celtics, a team with no interior defender to match Lopez's size. Coming off a 22-point, 13-rebound game on Monday, Lopez should easily exceed his projection again on Wednesday.

- Paul Palladino

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