FanNation fantasy basketball picks for Wednesday, Dec. 31
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.
Meeks came off the bench to lead the Pistons to their third win in a row on Tuesday over the Magic. In just 27 minutes, he went off for 34 points, including a 20-point second quarter, while making nine out of 11 three-pointers. Meeks was Stan Van Gundy's biggest offseason signing and has delivered since missing the start of the season with a back injury. In nine games this season, he is averaging 13.9 points on 50 percent shooting from three in 23.8 minutes per game.
Muhammad continued his breakout season on Tuesday by nearly leading the Timberwolves to a win over the Jazz. He piled up 30 points, seven rebounds, two assists and a block while making 10 of 17 shots for Minnesota. Since earning increased playing time in November, Muhammad is averaging 18.8 points and 5.3 rebounds in his last 16 games. The 22-year-old has recovered nicely from a rookie season where he was out of the rotation.
Center: Andre Drummond, Pistons, +24.4
Drummond continued his strong play on Tuesday, teaming with Meeks to lead the Pistons to another victory. He finished with 17 points, 22 rebounds, three blocks, two assists and two steals in just 31 minutes, as he sat out the fourth quarter. While he only made five of them, Drummond attempted 16 free throws. With Josh Smith off the team, Drummond's playing time and role in the team's offense should only increase the rest of the season.
Although several of the key pieces from last season have departed both sides, the Heat-Pacers rivalry should still bring out the best in Wade on New Year's Eve. Since returning from a hamstring injury last month, Wade has been on fire, averaging 25.1 points, 5.1 assists and 3.9 rebounds. He has beaten his projection in three of his last five games, and the Pacers don't have the perimeter defenders to slow him down on Wednesday.
In his first full season in Sacramento, Gay is playing some of the best basketball of his career. He currently has career-highs in scoring (21.2 ppg), assists (4.6 apg) and efficiency (20.2 PER). He has beaten his projection in three of last five games, including a 25-point, nine-rebound, five-assist, two-steal performance on Monday against the Nets. The summer with Team USA has paid dividends for Gay, and he should control Wednesday's matchup with the Celtics.
Zeller has struggled to live up to the billing of a top draft pick since being selected No. 4 in 2013, but he will get a chance for a bigger role with Al Jefferson expected to miss the next four weeks with a groin injury. The Rockets have a strong frontcourt featuring Dwight Howard and Josh Smith, but Zeller should benefit from extended minutes tonight. His 17-point projection is easily within reach, and he should surpass it against Houston.
- Paul Palladino