While they may not be title contenders, the NBA’s best-kept secret—as in the one team doing the most damage with the least amount of fanfare—may be the Denver Nuggets. A deep and versatile Nuggets roster has led the squad to a 30-26 record so far this season and in contention to return to the playoffs in the loaded Western Conference after a four-year drought.
Denver traded for the All Star Paul Millsap over the offseason to help lead their young squad. But a wrist injury side-lined Millsap after just 16 games. In his absence, the underrated foursome of young players carried Denver to success in the win/loss column, as well as on the scoresheet. With high-profile players getting all the attention (and fantasy picks), look for sleepers from Denver—Nikola Jokic (22), Gary Harris (23), Jamal Murray (20), and Will Barton (27)—to continue providing fantasy spark to their teams this week.
You won’t see Jokic, Harris, Murray, or Barton too high on any individual ranking, but what each of these players provides is high value for a lower price. All four players average between 14.5 – 17.3 points per game, while Jokic, the uber-talented Serbian, is good for double-digits in rebounds every night, too. Jokic also gets more assists than any starting center in the NBA (5.6 apg) and shoots at a high percentage from the free-throw line.
Harris, one of Denver’s late bloomers, is not only the team’s leading scorer but ranks seventh in the league in total steals (95) this season. Murray, meanwhile shoots a blistering 92.9 percent from the free throw line
In this coming week, the Nuggets will host the Spurs on Wednesday morning, a match-up that will intriguing to see if the Spurs’ league-best defence can hold steady even in Denver’s biggest home-court advantage: it’s high altitude. On Friday, their last outing before the All Star Weekend begins, the Nuggets will take their show on the road to take on the Milwaukee Bucks, a game that should provide an enticing match-up of ‘unicorns’ between Jokic and fantasy beast Giannis Antetokuonmpo.
Other games to watch out for this week:
Wednesday, February 14th:
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Cleveland Cavaliers – LeBron James’s newly-acquired teammates—Jordan Clarkson, George Hill, Rodney Hood, and Larry Nance Jr.—all came through in an impressive road victory over Boston over the weekend. LeBron will be looking to continue the magic against a competitive Thunder side. Be careful with both Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony, both of whom are game-time decisions after missing the last two contests. If he plays, “Mr Triple Double” Westbrook is sure to dominate the stat-line.
Thursday, February 15th:
Houston Rockets vs. Sacramento Kings – James Harden is the league’s leading scorer, and for those who hunger for scoring on their roster, he would be the smart man’s pick here, especially against the Kings who are among the worst defensive teams in the league.
Friday, February 16th:
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Los Angeles Lakers – Last week, Lakers president Magic Johnson got fined for tampering when he complimented the talents of Milwaukee’s Antetokuonmpo. Now, the “Greek Freak” marches into LA to show his talents to Magic in person. Giannis is the league’s second-leading scorer and top twelve in rebounds, and overall, one of the highest-ranked fantasy players in the league. Expect him to feast on the Laker defence in LA; and then staying in town for more dominance during the All Star Weekend.