Even when the opposition knows exactly what is coming, they still can’t find a way to stop John Wall.
During the first game on Christmas Day, Wall dismantled New York with a 24 point, 11 assist, six rebound effort.
The 24-year-old point guard essentially put the game away late in the third quarter with one of the most spectacular moves of the season.
Jason Smith abandoned his defender to protect the basket and elevated straight in the air, blocking off any reasonable shot attempt Wall had with his 7-foot frame.
Wall absorbed the contact, spun to the right and converted a layup off the backboard to extend Washington’s advantage to 15.
Two nights later, Wall used the same tactic to score two points against the Celtics, giving him two 360 degree layups in two games.
It may have been one of the few times he has been predictable on the court.
In fantasy basketball, his production has been one of the most predictable commodities.
Each night, the first overall pick of the 2010 NBA Draft has been providing steady scoring figures, averaging 17.8 points a game and continually lofty assist totals.
The 10.3 assists he is dishing out each night is the third highest in the NBA and is the main reason Washington is one of the best passing teams in the league.
The Wizards rank fourth in assists per game behind 18 double digit assist efforts from Wall through 29 games this season.
The results of his unpredictable attacks tot he rim have become wildly predictable.
Biggest Surprise: DeMarcus Cousins– Sacramento Kings
Viral meningitis has been the only opponent capable of slowing down Cousins this season. The illness kept him out for a 10-game stretch but since he has returned to the floor, he has left no question that he is the most dominant center in the game. During his four appearances since returning, Cousins has averaged 29.3 points, 11 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.5 blocks. Cousins led the Kings to an overtime victory against New York with 39 points in just 32 minutes and even connected on his first 3-point shot in the game.
Biggest Letdown: Nicolas Batum– Portland Trail Blazers
A wrist injury has limited Batum during the last four games, but his entire season has been a letdown for fantasy owners. Batum is averaging 8.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists, all lower from last season and his shooting percentages have dramatically slipped. The 25th overall pick of the 2008 NBA Draft is connecting on 38.9 percent of his shots from the field and just 22.7 percent of his attempts from 3-point range. His return this week hasn’t yielded better results, as he scored just two points in 24 minutes against the Rockets Monday night.
Pick ’em Up: Jarrett Jack– Brooklyn Nets
It’s not just the influx of scoring Jack has provided that has made a Deron Williams trade even more likely, it is the timing of those shots. Jack has taken over as the starter in Brooklyn, averaging 20.3 points, 6.3 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game, relegating Williams to the bench as the team explores trade options. The Nets serve as the seventh stop for Jack during his 10-year career, and he may have found a home this season following a 27 point performance against Boston that included a game-winning jumper.
Put ’em Down: Mike Dunleavy Jr.– Chicago Bulls
The Bulls keep giving Dunleavy Jr. a steady does of minutes, as he has played at least 20 minutes in each of the past 17 games, but he hasn’t delivered the impact fantasy owners need. In his last six games, the third overall pick of the 2002 NBA Draft has totaled just 22 points, 17 rebounds and six assists and is shooting just 28.6 percent from the field. Dunleavy Jr. is still owned in 44 percent of Yahoo! fantasy leagues but the Bulls will likely seek production from elsewhere if his struggles continue.
Injury Watch: Ricky Rubio– Minnesota Timberwolves
Five games into the season, Rubio severely sprained his left ankle and hasn’t played since suffering the injury Nov. 7th in Orlando. The injury has prevented the 24-year-old guard from playing in each of the last 24 games for Minnesota, but some progress is being made. Rubio was listed simply as out indefinitely, but the team is now expecting his return to the court in two-to-three weeks and Saturday against Golden State, he even was participating in shooting drills before tip-off.
Stat of the Week: Kenneth Faried– Denver Nuggets
A 22 point, 17 rebound effort on opening night served as by far the most impressive performance during somewhat of a letdown season for Faried. Following a fantastic performance for Team USA at the FIBA World Cup of Basketball this summer, Faried is averaging just 11.6 points and 7.8 rebounds a game, his lowest figures since his rookie campaign. Denver is hoping his performance Friday night will spark him for the rest of the season, as he became the first player in franchise history to post a 25 and 25 game, as he tallied 26 points and 25 rebounds against Minnesota. Twelve of his rebounds came on the offensive end, his exact total from the previous four outings.