Fantasy basketball picks for Monday, Dec. 22.
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.
With Deron Williams out of the lineup with a calf injury, Jack got his first start of the season and posted a double-double in a win over the Pistons. He finished with 15 points, 10 assists, four rebounds and two steals to nearly double his 19-point projection. Jack hasn't been the same player since leaving the Warriors before last season and is only averaging 9.2 points and 3.6 assists this season. His low projections, however, make him a good option in Basketball Throwdown.
Davis outplayed fellow MVP candidate Russell Westbrook to lead the Pelicans past the Thunder on Sunday. He piled up 38 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks, two assists and a steal en route to a 60.4-point night. The 21-year-old has led the Pelicans to a 14-13 start to the season and is on the short list of MVP favorites. While his start has been impressive, it is hard not to wonder how much better his numbers would be if he averaged more than 16.6 shots per game.
Center: Mason Plumlee, Nets, +29.4
Plumlee continues to be the best option at center as his projections have not adjusted for his move into the starting lineup. He led the Nets with 21 points, 12 rebounds, two blocks, two steals and two assists in Sunday's win over the Pistons. Since Brook Lopez went down with another injury, Plumlee has averaged 16.6 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.7 blocks while shooting 62.3 percent from the field. As long as he remains in the starting lineup with paltry projections, Plumlee is the clear choice at center.
While the Nuggets are off to a disappointing 12-15 start to the season, Lawson's passing has been a bright spot. He is second in the NBA in assists at 10.7 behind the Mavericks' Rajon Rondo. Unfortunately for Lawson, he is shooting a career-worst 39.9 percent from the field and his field-goal percentage has dropped each year of his career. A matchup with the struggling Hornets should allow Lawson and the Nuggets to put up some big numbers on Monday.
Aldridge has been on fire during his last six games, averaging 26.5 points, 13.3 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.2 blocks. He has beaten his projection in four of his last five games and the Blazers are riding a five-game winning streak entering Monday's game in Houston. A playoff rematch against another of the best team's in the Western Conference will require Aldridge to play heavy minutes. During last season's first-round series, Aldridge torched the Rockets for 29.8 points, 11.2 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game. He should be able to have his way again on Monday.
In a contract year, Jordan has been playing well lately for the Clippers. He has beaten his projection in five straight games while averaging 11.6 points, 16.6 rebounds, 1.8 blocks and 1.4 steals. Jordan isn't the most skilled offensive player in the league, but his defense and rebounding are crucial to his team's gameplan. If he continues his recent play for the rest of the season, he could receive a maximum contract this offseason because of the lack of quality big men in the league.
- Paul Palladino