D. Clarke Evans/NBA via Getty

Fantasy basketball picks for Thursday, January 22 including Marcus Smart, Kawhi Leonard and Rudy Gobert.

By SI Wire
January 22, 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 its 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: Eric Bledsoe, Suns, +23.0

Bledsoe led the Suns to a 118-113 victory over the Trail Blazers on Wednesday. He recorded a double-double with 33 points and 10 rebounds while also adding six assists and three steals. Bledsoe's big night came after a four-game stretch where he averaged just 13.0 points. The addition of Isaiah Thomas has caused Bledsoe's stats to drop slightly from last season, but he is still capable of breakout nights.

Forward: Carmelo Anthony, Knicks, +30.2

Anthony more than doubled his 23-point projection in Wednesday's win over the 76ers. While he made just eight of 24 shots, he finished with 27 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and three steals. Since returning from a knee injury, Anthony has averaged 25.3 points and 7.7 rebounds. The win hurt the Knicks in their battle for lottery ping pong balls, but Anthony said tanking is "a bad mentality to have."

Center: Andre Drummond, Pistons, +23.9

The Pistons continued their hot play on Wednesday with a win over the Magic, and Drummond played a major role in the victory. He finished with 26 points, 17 rebounds, four steals and three blocks as Detroit pulled within one game of the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference. Brandon Jennings (24 points, 21 assists) and Greg Monroe (24 points, 10 rebounds) also had strong games for the Pistons.

Today's picks

Guard: Marcus Smart, Celtics at Trail Blazers, 10 p.m. ET

Smart has beaten his projection in five straight games and is coming off a 14-point, seven-assist performance against the Clippers on Monday. The trade of Rajon Rondo to the Mavericks cemented Smart's status as the future of the franchise, and he has flashed star potential. Already an elite defender, Smart has also shot an impressive 36.5 percent on three pointers. With the Trail Blazers playing on the second half of a back-to-back set, Smart should be able to take advantage of tired legs on Thursday.

Forward: Kawhi Leonard, Spurs at Bulls, 8 p.m. ET

Leonard has played well since returning from a hand injury, beating his projection in all three games. He had a huge 17-point, 15-rebound game against the Nuggets on Tuesday and is facing a Bulls team that has lost six of its last eight games. Leonard has continued his year to year process and is averaging career highs of 15.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.0 steals.

Center: Rudy Gobert, Jazz at Bucks, 8 p.m. ET

Gobert has beaten his projection in nine of his last 10 games, but is slated for a measly 18 points against the Bucks on Thursday. He has averaged 9.6 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.9 blocks during his recent stretch. In short, Gobert is essentially a cheat code in Basketball Throwdown.

- Paul Palladino

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