Around the Association:  Booker and Tatum Erupt, Fultz Returns, Collins Exits + More Fantasy Notes from Wednesday's Slate

Around the Association: Booker and Tatum Erupt, Fultz Returns, Collins Exits + More Fantasy Notes from Wednesday's Slate

This article is part of our NBA Daily Recap series.

Wednesday gave us a wild 13-game slate that included monster performances, clutch shots and impressive rookie performances. Devin Booker and Jayson Tatum both were unstoppable, an Eastern Conference guard made his season debut and the Thunder look like they have struck gold with yet another draft pick.

Without further ado, let's dive in:

Nightly Notables

Booker Destroys Bulls

  • Devin Booker only needed three quarters to top the half-century mark as the Suns dismantled the Bulls 132-113. The All-Star guard went off for 51 points (20-25 FG, 6-7 3Pt, 5-6 FT), four rebounds, six assists and one steal across 31 minutes. This marks Booker's second straight outing scoring 40 or more points. Booker has clearly taken his game to another level this season, averaging a career-high 29.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 1.1 steals over 36.6 minutes per game this far. It was neat to see Booker record his 51st point on a steal-and-slam, further highlighting the growth of his game this year.
  • While much of the attention is going toward Booker for his monster game, Deandre Ayton was also unstoppable with 30 points (11-17 FG, 0-1 3Pt, 8-9 FT), 14 rebounds, three assists and two blocks over 31 minutes. Ayton has picked up his scoring as of recently, averaging 26.0 points, 14.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.5 blocks across 32.5 minutes over his last four showings.
  • DeMar DeRozan produced a fine outing in the loss, finishing with 29 points (11-17 FG, 0-1 3Pt, 7-8 FT), seven rebounds, four assists and one block over 32 minutes. The veteran forward continues to be a consistent scoring option, recording at least 26 points in seven straight showings. DeRozan finished the month of November ranking as the No. 23 overall nine-category fantasy option. 

Fultz Returns

  • After missing Orlando's first 21 games of the season due to a toe injury, Markelle Fultz made his return to the court during Monday's 125-108 defeat to Atlanta. The former No. 1 overall pick finished his season debut with eight points (3-8 FG, 0-1 3Pt, 2-2 FT), one rebound, four assists, one block and two steals in 17 minutes.
  • While it was not much, Fultz looked sharp and fresh, especially on the defensive end. There is a clear injury risk with the 24-year-old guard, but it would not surprise me to see Fultz start producing solid fantasy statistics moving forward. Fultz is owned in just 9.0 percent of ESPN leagues and is someone to snag before it is too late. 
  • Cole Anthony was also back in the mix for Orlando for the first time in more than a month. Fultz got the start alongside Gary Harris, while Anthony played 24 minutes off the bench and posted 11 points, four rebounds, two assists and a steal.

Familiar Faces

  • In their first game of the season, the Sacramento Kings were able to take down the Indiana Pacers 137-114. The Kings led for practically the entire game as they improved their record to 11-9 on the season. While there was much to be made out about how Domantas Sabonis would fare against his former team, it was Harrison Barnes who led for Sacramento, ending with a game-high 22 points (6-9 FG, 1-4 3Pt, 9-10 FT), five rebounds, two assists and two steals over 26 minutes.
  • This marked Barnes' third 20-point outing in his last six games, yet he also has three games with under 12 points over that same span. The veteran forward is still a capable scorer but his lack of consistency this season makes him a hard fantasy option to trust. 
  • Sabonis was held in check in terms of scoring, yet still finished with a near-triple-double against his old team. The 26-year-old big finished with 17 points (8-10 FG, 1-2 3Pt), nine rebounds, 10 assists, two blocks and one steal across 37 minutes. Sabonis had a strong month of November, averaging 18.0 points, 11.2 rebounds and 6.6 assists across 33.4 minutes per game while ranking as the 35th overall nine-category fantasy option over the course of the month. More importantly, Sacramento continues to win games and is heading in the right direction toward making their first playoff birth since 2006.
  • Similar to Sabonis, while much of the attention was on Tyrese Haliburton going up against his old teammates, the 22-year-old guard did not have the sharpest game of his season. Haliburton finished with nine points (4-13 FG, 1-6 3Pt), four rebounds, 10 assists and two steals across 25 minutes in the losing effort. While the Iowa State product was not able to show off his improved play against the team that drafted him, it is quite evident that Haliburton has taken a massive leap with the Pacers. After failing to record double-digit point totals 20 times last season, Wednesday's low-scoring effort marked only Haliburton's second time failing to reach the mark this year.
    • Jalen Smith exited in the third quarter with a face injury yet was amidst one of his most productive games of the season. Despite missing the final frame, the 6-foot-10 big ended the contest with 22 points (8-10 FG, 4-5 3Pt, 2-3 FT), six rebounds and one block across 19 minutes. Smith has now reached the 20-point mark in two out of his last three outings, averaging 18.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.0 blocks over that span.

Tatum Erupts Against Miami

  • While the Celtics and Heat game was close throughout, Jayson Tatum proved to be much in the 134-121 Boston win. With royalty in town, the All-Star forward exploded for a new season-high 49 points (15-25 FG, 8-12 3Pt, 11-12 FT) to go with 11 rebounds, three assists and two steals across 39 minutes. Tatum started the game on fire from deep and was practically unguardable throughout.  This marked Tatum's fourth straight outing with 30 or more points.
    • Jaylen Brown also did his thing despite being questionable for the contest with a neck injury. The wing dropped 26 points (10-18 FG, 1-6 3Pt, 5-6 FT), seven rebounds and five assists in 28 minutes. Brown is almost quietly averaging a career-high 26.1 points per game so far this season.
  • Tyler Herro continues to show off some improved playmaking with Jimmy Butler (knee) still out of the lineup. The Kentucky product ended the loss with 22 points (9-17 FG, 2-6 3Pt, 2-2 FT), six rebounds, nine assists and one block in 37 minutes. In his four games since returning from his ankle injury, Herro is averaging 15.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 8.0 assists across 35.6 minutes per game. It is encouraging to see Herro continue to grow into more than a scorer.
    • Bam Adebayo was ejected after picking up two technical fouls within the final seconds of the game. The 25-year-old center still ended with 23 points (10-19 FG, 1-1 3Pt, 2-2 FT), six rebounds, five assists and two steals across 39 minutes.

Wolves Win Without KAT

  • The Timberwolves were hit with the news that they will be without Karl-Anthony Towns for the next 4-to-6 weeks due to a strained calf. KAT had appeared in every game of the season, so Minnesota's contest against the Grizzlies gave us our first look at the Timberwolves without their All-Star big.
  • The team was able to defeat Memphis 109-101 behind another big game from Anthony Edwards. The third-year pro recorded 29 points (10-18 FG, 2-6 3Pt, 7-7 FT), three rebounds, five assists, three blocks and five steals across 40 minutes. Edwards is in a groove, averaging 27.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.3 steals over his last four games. Even better for Edwards' fantasy owners, there is no reason to expect him to slow down with KAT on the sidelines for some time.
    • Kyle Anderson entered Minnesota's starting lineup and finished with 10 points (3-11 FG, 2-4 3Pt, 2-2 FT), six rebounds, five assists, one steal and one block over 39 minutes. With KAT out for what seems like at least a month, Anderson is a great fantasy addition going forward. 
    • Rudy Gobert got into early foul trouble and was quiet in the win, recording just nine points (4-5 FG, 1-2 FT), one rebound, one steal, one block and four turnovers across 26 minutes. The 30-year-old center should be in line for more work with Towns out, but Wednesday's showing was not quite encouraging. Better days are surely ahead for Gobert's fantasy managers. 
  • Despite the losing effort, Ja Morant still finished with a modest 24 points (8-20 FG, 2-4 3Pt, 6-11 FT), five rebounds, six assists and two steals across 34 minutes. While Morant is averaging career-highs across the board this season with 28.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, 7.6 assists and 1.1 steals per game, the 23-year-old guard ranks as just the 88th overall nine-category fantasy option on a per-game basis thus far. His 74.3 free throw shooting mark and league-worst 3.9 turnovers per game continue to hinder his fantasy success.
    • Steven Adams continues to haul in rebounds for Memphis, ending with eight points (3-8 FG, 0-1 3Pt, 2-2 FT), 12 rebounds, two assists, one block and one steal across 29 minutes. This marked Adams' fifth straight game with 10 or more rebounds. 

Jalen Williams shows Out

  • The Spurs looked like they were going to snap their eight-game losing streak after being up nearly 20 points in the first half on a Shai Gilgeous-Alexander-less Thunder team. However, first-year forward Jalen Williams had other plans, helping rally OKC to a 119-111 win behind a season-high 27 points (11-15 FG, 2-3 3Pt, 3-5 FT), six rebounds and two assists over 33 minutes. The Santa Clara product even drilled a clutch floater with seconds left to seal the deal. Williams continues to prove his early talent,  averaging 10.9 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists across 26.3 minutes over the month of November. 
    • Tre Mann took advantage of Gilgeous-Alexander being out of the lineup, finishing with 16 points (7-13 FG, 2-5 3Pt), three rebounds, one assist and two steals in 27 minutes. This marked Mann's first double-digit outing in his last seven showings.
  • Devin Vassell kept his hot shooting up with a game-high 25 points (7-13 FG, 3-6 3Pt, 8-9 FT), seven rebounds, three assists and one steal over 37 minutes. The third-year pro has increased his scoring figures by more than eight total points this season, averaging 20.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists across 32.5 minutes per game over his first 17 showings.
    • With Jakob Poeltl (knee) out again, Zach Collins took his place in the starting lineup. The Gonzaga product recorded nine points (4-6 FG, 1-3 3Pt) six rebounds, three assists and one steal over 27 minutes during the loss. While Collins didn't do anything over the top, the 25-year-old big emerges as a solid fantasy asset as long as Poeltl remains on the sideline.

Quick Hitters

  • Trae Young was unguardable in Atlanta's 125-108 win over Orlando, finishing with 30 points (12-23 FG, 2-11 3Pt, 4-5 FT), two rebounds and 14 assists across 36 minutes. This marked Young's third consecutive triple-double. 
    • AJ Griffin continues to look like one of the better rookies in his class, recording 15 points (6-12 FG, 3-6 3Pt), one rebound, one assist and one steal across 23 minutes. The Duke product is averaging 9.9 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.1 steals across 20.6 minutes over the month of November.
  • John Collins exited the game just before halftime with what appeared to be a left ankle injury. He was helped to the locker room and did not return.
  • Paolo Banchero continued to show off his impressive play, dropping 20 points (6-14 FG, 1-4 3Pt, 7-9 FT), two rebounds and five assists across 35 minutes during the loss to the Hawks. The No. 1 overall pick has picked up right where he left off prior to his ankle injury, averaging 20.3 points, 2.8 rebounds and 3.5 steals over 35.3 minutes during his first four games back in Orlando's lineup.
  • The Cavaliers had the shorthanded 76ers' number all night long, winning 113-85 behind balanced team play. Caris LeVert had his best game since returning from his ankle injury, producing 22 points (8-11 FG, 3-4 3Pt, 3-4 FT), six rebounds, four assists and one steal over 33 minutes. This outing marked LeVert's first outing with 20 or more points in his last seven showings.
  • Joel Embiid was kept quiet in the loss to Cleveland, ending with just 19 points (6-16 FG, 7-9 FT), six rebounds, six assists and three steals in 29 minutes. This marked just the second time Embiid has scored under 20 points this season. 
    • Tobias Harris exited Wednesday's loss early with an illness. The veteran forward was struggling already with only three points (0-7 FG, 0-3 3Pt, 3-3 FT), one rebound and three assists over 23 minutes. 
  • The Raptors' defense has been stifling opposing teams' top option all season long, but Zion Williamson was able to power New Orleans to a 126-108 win over Toronto. The All-Star forward dropped 33 points (12-15 FG, 9-12 FT), 10 rebounds, five assists, four steals and two blocks across 37 minutes. Since returning from his foot injury, Williamson is averaging 22.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks over 30.4 minutes per game.
    • Trey Murphy caught fire in the Pelicans' win while starting for Brandon Ingram (toe). The Virginia product recorded 26 points (8-17 FG, 6-12 3Pt, 4-4 FT), five rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block across 37 minutes. Murphy has started in five out of his last six showings, averaging 15.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.4 steals across 27.2 minutes per game over those starts. 
  • Gary Trent was recently moved to a bench role for the Raptors and in just his second game playing as a reserve, the 23-year-old guard ended with a game-high 35 points (12-20 FG, 6-11 3Pt, 5-7 FT), one rebound, one assist and three steals over 33 minutes of play. Perhaps this move may be better for Trent in the long run.
  • Kevin Durant has been absolutely unguardable over the Nets' past few outings, finishing with 39 points (13-20 FG, 2-3 3Pt, 11-11 FT), five rebounds, five assists and one block over 37 minutes during Wednesday's 113-107 win over Washington. Over his last four appearances, the 34-year-old is averaging 37.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 1.3 blocks across 38.0 minutes per game.
    • Joe Harris seems to be the biggest gainer from Ben Simmons (knee) going back onto the sidelines. Over his last two outings (both without Simmons), Harris is averaging 15.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 3.0 3PM across 36.5 minutes per game. With Simmons (knee) out until at least Dec. 7, Harris should continue to see additional usage throughout the rest of the week.
  • Does Washington have a Big Three? Despite coming up short, Bradley Beal, Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle Kuzma all scored at least 25 points during Wednesday's loss to Brooklyn. Porzingis ended with a team-high 27 points (8-14 FG, 2-3 3Pt, 9-14 FT), 19 rebounds, two blocks and one steal across 38 minutes. Over his last three showings, Porzingis is averaging 29.7 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.7 blocks over 31.7 minutes per game.
    • We might be at a point where Beal is starting to become a bit too underrated by the general crowd. The 29-year-old guard ended the loss with 25 points (9-20 FG, 1-6 3Pt, 6-9 FT), five rebounds and six assists in 39 minutes. Beal has been on fire since returning from a five-game absence due to COVID protocols, averaging 26.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 1.7 steals across his first seven games back in the lineup.
  • Grayson Allen helped push the Bucks to a 109-103 win over the Knicks after drilling a clutch go-ahead three-pointer in the final seconds. The Duke product finished the game with 11 points (4-9 FG, 1-4 3Pt, 2-2 FT), five rebounds, four assists and one steal over 30 minutes during the win. Allen is playing at a high level as of recently, starting and averaging  14.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.0 steals over his last five showings.
    • Giannis Antetokounmpo fouled out late in the game but still was his dominant self with 37 points (13-25 FG, 2-8 3Pt, 9-12 FT), 13 rebounds, seven assists and one block across 37 minutes. 
  • Mitchell Robinson was a force inside during the defeat to New York, ending with 15 points (7-9 FG, 1-2 FT), 20 rebounds, one assist and one block over 33 minutes of play. In his first five games since rejoining the Knicks' starting lineup, Robinson is averaging 10.4 points, 10.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks across 25.4 minutes per game.
    • RJ Barrett had one of his better games of the season in the loss, ending with 26 points (8-15 FG, 2-4 3Pt, 8-9 FT), two rebounds, three assists and three turnovers across 33 minutes. The fourth-year pro is starting to string together some productive performances, averaging 21.6 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists over his last five showings.
  • The Jazz snapped their five-game losing streak with a 125-112 win over the Clippers. Jordan Clarkson led the way with 33 points (10-18 FG, 5-9 3Pt, 8-11 FT), four rebounds and five assists over 40 minutes of play. This was almost surprisingly Clarkson's first 30-point outing of the season. Regardless, the former Sixth Man of the Year has topped 20 points in seven out of his last eight appearances.
    • Walker Kessler continues to block shots at an incredible rate, recording five points (2-3 FG, 1-3 FT), four rebounds and four blocks in 22 minutes. The 21-year-old rookie is averaging 1.6 blocks per game this season on just 15.3 minutes per game. Kessler's 3.6 blocks per 36-minute mark is second best to the league (Bismack Biyombo leads the category with 4.6 blocks per 36!). 
  • After sitting out a game for rest, John Wall looked fresh during Los Angeles' loss to Utah, ending with a season-high 26 points (7-19 FG, 0-5 3Pt, 12-13 FT), two rebounds, five assists and one block over 25 minutes. While his night-to-night consistency will hinder Wall from being a strong fantasy asset, it is clear to see that the 32-year-old guard still has more left in the tank. 
    • Moussa Diabate is someone to watch out for. The rookie out of Michigan cracked into Los Angeles' rotation over their past two games, averaging 7.0 points and 6.0 rebounds over 14.0 minutes during the short span. While Diabate looks impressive, the rookie's playing time is bound to shoot back down as the Clippers get healthier.  
  • The Nuggets got off to an early lead and did not look back during the team's 120-100 win over the Rockets. Jamal Murray continues to get back into his pre-injury form, ending with 26 points (9-15 FG, 4-6 3Pt, 4-5 FT), four rebounds and two assists over 31 minutes. Over his last three games, Murray is averaging 26.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 5.3 assists over 30.0 minutes per contest.
    • Aaron Gordon: 20 points (7-12 FG, 2-4 3Pt, 4-7 FT), six rebounds, two assists and one block over 31 minutes. 
  • Alperen Sengun dropped in yet another strong outing, finishing with 18 points (8-12 FG, 0-2 3Pt, 2-2 FT), 11 rebounds and one assist over 29 minutes. The second-year center is averaging 19.0 points, 12.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.0 steals over 29.0 minutes across his last three showings.
    • Kevin Porter: 23 points (8-18 FG, 5-7 3Pt, 2-2 FT), six rebounds, five assists and one steal over 32 minutes. 
  • LeBron James once again shined as the Lakers continue to turn their season around in a 128-109 win over Portland. The future Hall of Famer ended with 31 points (12-18 FG, 6-8 3Pt, 1-3 FT), seven rebounds, eight assists and one block over 32 minutes. In his four games since returning from his adductor injury, James is averaging 28.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.3 steals across 34.0 minutes per game.
    • Austin Reaves entered the Lakers' starting lineup in place of Lonnie Walker (foot) and ended with a season-best 22 points (7-10 FG, 2-5 3Pt, 6-8 FT), five rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block over 35 minutes. If Walker remains out going forward, Reaves emerges as a solid DFS value option.
  • Jerami Grant recorded yet another strong outing, dropping 27 points (10-23 FG, 2-5 3Pt, 5-6 FT), four rebounds, five assists, two steals and one block across 35 minutes of play. In the first six games since Lillard went down with a calf injury, Grant is averaging 28.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.0 blocks over that span. 
    • Justise Winslow went off for his best outing of the season, ending with 21 points (9-11 Fg, 3-3 3Pt), five rebounds and four assists over 36 minutes. The 26-year-old forward has started the Trail Blazers' past five outings, averaging 11.4 points, 8.0 rebounds and 4.4 assists across 36.2 minutes per game over those appearances. 

Best and Worst of the Night

  • Best of the Night: Devin Booker -  51 points (20-25 FG, 6-7 3Pt, 5-6 FT), four rebounds, six assists and one steal across 31 minutes.
  • Rookie of the Night: Jalen Williams - 27 points (11-15 FG, 2-3 3Pt, 3-5 FT), six rebounds and two assists over 33 minutes.
  • Worst of the Night: Tobias Harris - three points (0-7 FG, 0-3 3Pt, 3-3 FT), one rebound and three assists over 23 minutes. 

A Look Ahead to Thursday Night

  • Just one game!
  • Luka Doncic will look to continue his magic when he leads the Mavericks into Detroit to square off against the Pistons.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Spero
Michael writes in the NBA and NCAAF departments for RotoWire. He is a big-time fan of both the Bulls and Nuggets. Michael spends his time playing pick-up or anxiously rooting for his fantasy teams.
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