Nov 23, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) blocks a shot by Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph (50) during the first quarter of the game at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports
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Even in limited playing time, Joel Embiid has been the most impactful rookie in FanDuel NBA tournament play.
Seemingly each night out, Joel Embiid works his way into more exclusive company.
The 22-year-old is averaging 19.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game (third-most in the league) even though he is still restricted to just 28 minutes a game, a figure not likely to increase for the rest of the year.
The Philadelphia 76ers have been hesitant to increase his workload as Embiid missed the entirety of the last two seasons dealing with a pair of foot fractures, but he has been exceptional in January, becoming a force in FanDuel NBA league play along the way.
Embiid is posting 22.5 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.5 blocks, 2.3 assists and a steal per game this month, enough for 40.7 FanDuel NBA tournament points a night.
In his next appearance, Embiid created a category all his own, becoming the first player in league history to register nine consecutive 20-point performances, while playing fewer than 30 minutes in each contest.
The combination of speed, athleticism and strength has made Embiid one of the most difficult centers the league to defend.
The 7-footer is converting 62.6 percent of his attempts at the rim, but has provided an unexpected scoring touch for the 76ers. Embiid is converting 53.3 percent of his jumpers from 16-feet away from the rim to inside the 3-point arc.
As dominant as Embiid has been offensively this season, Philadelphia has perhaps benefited the most from his ability to protect the rim.
The 76ers haven’t had a player average 2.0 rejections or more since Samuel Dalembert in 2007-08 and the 68 rejections from Embiid this season are more than twice the amount anyone else on the roster has posted.
Opponents are shooting just 42.5 percent against Embiid on shots within six feet of the rim, the lowest percentage in the NBA. Embiid is holding players to 18.5 percent below their season average on shots from within six feet of the rim.
The combination of effective scoring and exceptional rim protection could be enough for Embiid to become the first Philadelphia player to secure an All-Star selection since Jrue Holiday four years ago .
Embiid is trying to become the 46th rookie in league history selected to the All-Star Game, a feat that is becoming increasingly difficult. Since 1990, seven first year players have been selected to participate in the event.
Only Yao Ming and Blake Griffin have made the All-Star team in their debut season since 2000.
A roster spot may not be guaranteed for Embiid on All-Star weekend in New Orleans next month, but his effective play, in limited time, is enough to secure a position in any FanDuel NBA lineup Wednesday night.
Jan 13, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) drives against Atlanta Hawks forward Kent Bazemore (24) in the fourth quarter of their game at Philips Arena. The Celtics won 103-101. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
The MVP chants showering Isaiah Thomas at TD Garden are becoming more frequent. The NBA’s leading scorer in the fourth quarter, at 10.1 points per game, has been one of the most consistent contributors in FanDuel NBA leagues throughout the season. Monday against Charlotte, Thomas racked up 17 fourth-quarter points, part of a 35-point effort, extending his streak with 20 or more points to 25 consecutive games, the sixth-longest streak since the beginning of the 2011-12 campaign.
The 36th overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft is turning out to be the most prolific FanDuel NBA performer of his class. Milwaukee guard Malcolm Brogdon has scored in double figures in each of the past 10 games, averaging 13.5 points, 5.6 assists, 4.3 rebounds and a steal per game. Brogdon has produced an average of 27.9 FanDuel NBA tournament points per game, producing five times the amount of his cap hit, making him one of the best values available for Wednesday night.
Nov 23, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum (3) controls the ball in the first quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
C.J. McCollum has been one of the most potent scorers in the league all season, averaging 23.5 points per game, the 15th-highest mark in the league. For FanDuel NBA lineups Wednesday night, McCollum is an even more tantalizing prospect considering his effectiveness following an off night. Monday marked just the sixth time this year McCollum was held to less than 15 points scored, in his previous five games, he has responded by averaging 28.8 points the next night out.
A contusion on the left hip leaves Pelicans forward Anthony Davis as questionable for Wednesday’s contest against the Magic. If he is unable to play, then the value of Tyreke Evans skyrockets for FanDuel NBA rosters. Evans is posting 18.3 points, 4.3 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game over his last three outings, but could see a massive uptick in field goal attempts if Davis is sidelined.
Jan 16, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (13) shoots the ball while New Orleans Pelicans forward Solomon Hill (44) defends in the second half of the game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Indiana Pacers beat New Orleans Pelicans 98-95.Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Perhaps Wednesday’s contest in Sacramento serves as the best chance for Paul George to end his double-double drought. The three-time All-Star has posted just three double-doubles in 33 games this season, but hasn’t reached the total since Dec. 7, a stretch of 18 consecutive games. George has found plenty of success throughout his career agains the Kings, averaging 19.4 points and 7.5 rebounds against them in eight appearances. Last season, George averaged 23 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.0 steals and a block per game, with one double-double in two games against Sacramento.
A player primed to produce six times the amount of his cap hit Wednesday night is Toronto forward DeMarre Carroll. The 30-year-old is averaging 16.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.2 made shots from 3-point range and 1.2 steals per game over his last five outings, enough to generate 26.8 FanDuel NBA tournament points per game during the stretch. Since Carroll carries a value of $4,200 for Wednesday night, he needs to log 25.2 points to produce at a rate of six times above his salary, a mark he has hit three times in the five game run.
Dec 10, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph (50) handles the ball against Golden State Warriors forward David West (3) during the game at FedExForum. Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Golden State Warriors 110-89. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
It would be impossible to tell Zach Randolph is coming off the bench just by looking at his figures over the past five games. Randolph has posted four double-doubles during the stretch while averaging 17 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. Sunday against the Bulls, Randolph totaled a season-high 16 rebounds, with eight coming on both ends of the floor, along with 15 points in 32 minutes.
Philadelphia’s other impressive rookie, forward Dario Saric, is coming off one of his finest outings of the season. In 24 minutes against Milwaukee, Saric finished the game with 17 points, nine rebounds, four assists and a steal, while extending his stretch of consecutive games with at least one made 3-pointer to five. Saric ranks second among all rookies in scoring average (9.2 points per game), rebounds (5.8 per game) and 3-point field goals made (52) this season.
Jan 16, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner (33) blocks the shot of New Orleans Pelicans forward Terrence Jones (9) in the first half of the game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
DeMarcus Cousins has been circling around his fifth career triple-double for each of the past two games. Friday against the defending champion Cavaliers, Cousins posted a season-high 11 assists, 26 points but fell two rebounds shy of recording the triple-double, the only time in the past five games he was held below double-digits in rebounding. Against Oklahoma City two nights later, Cousins totaled 31 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, not enough for his first triple-double of the year, but he managed to log his third straight game with 45 or more points in FanDuel NBA tournament play.
The blocks tend to come in bunches for Indiana center Myles Turner. The sophomore center is swatting away 2.4 shots a night, the fourth most in the league, and has posted three or more rejections in 17 of his 39 appearances this season. Turner is one of the most erratic performers in FanDuel NBA tournament play, as he has averaged 31.9 fantasy points over the last 10 games, in line with his season average, with two sub-20 point performances and a 55 point outing along the way. FanDuel NBA rosters are hoping for a performance to match Monday night, when Turner posted 18 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks against the Pelicans, resulting in 39.9 fantasy points.