FanNation fantasy basketball picks for Thursday, Jan. 1
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.
Miles led the Pacers to their third win in five games on Wednesday against the Heat. He piled up 25 points, seven rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block in 34 minutes off the bench. Miles is shooting just 31.4 percent on three-pointers this season, but made five on Wednesday. The Pacers are only two games out of the playoffs and will need Miles to continue his hot shooting if they want to make the postseason.
Playing in his first game in two weeks, Durant showed no signs of rust in leading the Thunder to a 137-134 overtime win over the Suns. He poured in 44 points and added 10 rebounds, seven assists and a block, while shooting an efficient 13 of 23 from the field. The reigning MVP stepped up once Russell Westbrook was ejected and the Thunder continued their climb in the Western Conference. After a slow start to the season when Durant and Westbrook were injured, the Thunder are now just 1.5 games behind the Suns for the No. 8 seed.
In a game highlighted by DeMarcus Cousins being ejected for throwing Marcus Smart to the ground, Sullinger was the star of the day. He had 20 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks and two assists to lead the Celtics to a win against the Kings. Following a midseason slump, Sullinger has rebounded in his last three games, averaging 17.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists.
While the Nuggets have limped to a 13-19 record, Lawson is enjoying a career season. He is tied with John Wall for first place in the league with 10.3 assists per game and is also scoring 16.2 points. Lawson has been playing well lately, beating his projection in three of his last five games. Because of their poor play and the depth of the Western Conference, the Nuggets' playoff hopes are slim. On a night with only two games, Lawson is the pick in the backcourt.
The No. 1 pick in the 2014 draft, Wiggins has predictably had an up and down start to his rookie season. The 19-year-old has been playing well lately, averaging 20.0 points on 50.8 percent shooting in his last four games. The Kings have been reeling since firing coach Mike Malone last month and Wiggins should be able to have a big night.
Center: Joakim Noah, Bulls vs. Nuggets, 8:00 p.m.
Noah is the best option among the limited choices at center on Thursday. With DeMarcus Cousins reverting back to his old habits recently, Noah is the most reliable center among the four teams playing tonight. He has only beaten his projection once in his last five games, but has a manageable 34-point projection tonight against the Nuggets.
- Paul Palladino