Fantasy Hoops: Lowry, Miles, Rivers

We’ve hit the third quarter of the NBA season and Hoops Rumors is examining the fantasy basketball landscape in order to help you dominate the competition. Check back weekly for more fantasy basketball analysis.

Overlooked Across The Border

With the level of great point guard play this season, it’s easy to overlook Kyle Lowry‘s impressive game. He got off to a slow start and it appeared that it was finally time for DeMar DeRozan to take sole reign of the Raptors franchise. However, with half a season worth of data, it’s clear that Lowry is still the team’s most important player.

Toronto has a -3.9 net rating when Lowry sits and a 9.9 net rating when he’s on the court, per The team actually has a worse net rating with DeRozan on the floor than it does with him off of it, though both ratings are still positive. Lowry ranks 7th in the league in total points added (TPA), a metric provided by that examines a player’s effectiveness on both sides of the ball on a per-possession basis. On offense, he has the third-best TPA, behind only James Harden and Russell Westbrook, while DeRozan sits at a respectable, but less impressive, 29th-best.

Lowry’s slow start likely contributes to NBA fans overlooking his exceptional season. He was merely above-average for the first few weeks of the season, but since Thanksgiving, he’s done the following:

  • Hit 47.5% of his three-pointers, which is the best mark in the league among guards seeing at least 28 minutes per game.
  • Made 51.9% of his shots overall, a figure which is tops among guards not named Giannis Antetokounmpo (putting him here as a guard for now).
  • Rank in the top-10 among guards in points, assists and steals per game.
  • Rank inside the top-10 in rebounds per game among point guards.
  • Made more three-pointers per game than any player in the league with the exception being Eric Gordon.

As I wrote last week, savvy fantasy basketball players should always look for an undervalued/overvalued player because there lies an opportunity to improve your squad. Lowry is having a phenomenal season. He’s playing like a top-12 fantasy player overall and the only guards I wouldn’t trade for him are Stephen Curry, Westbrook, Antetokounmpo, and Harden.

If you can trade any of the following for Lowry, you should pull the trigger: Thomas, John Wall, Damian Lillard, Jimmy Butler, Paul George, Draymond Green or Kyrie Irving (a player who now starts for the Eastern Conference All-Stars despite averaging fewer assists, rebounds, and steals per game than Lowry and having a lower field goal percentage, three-point percentage, Player Efficiency Rating, Win Share and Assist Ratio than Lowry does. However, we’re not here to talk about an exhibition game).

The 30-year-old point guard will be a free agent after the season and he is setting himself up for a massive payday. Enjoy his production if you have him on your fantasy team and target him in trades if you don’t.

Here’s more fantasy analysis and notes from around the league:

  • C.J. Miles is a player worth monitoring. He replaced Glenn Robinson in the starting lineup on Monday, and should be in line for a larger role after Monta Ellis, someone who shouldn’t be rostered in re-draft leagues, sprained his right ankle. Miles could provide nice production for a team that ranks in the top 10 in pace.
  • Austin Rivers is taking advantage of Chris Paul‘s absence. He’s averaging 21.0 points per game while shooting 51.1% from the field over his last three contests.
  • Looking for a point guard in daily fantasy? Target players going against the Pistons, Nuggets and Nets. Each of those team have given up at least 27.1 points and 7.6 assists per game to opposing point guards over their last 10 games.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

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