Hard to avoid the pre-deadline hype in this introduction and not mention the Kyrie Irving trade to Dallas. For those who returned from their no internet vacations in the Maldives, the trade moved Kyrie Irving and Markieff Morris to Dallas while Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith and a lot of picks went the opposite route to Brooklyn. Apart from the weird trick of fate that brought Dinwiddie back to Brooklyn, albeit in a whole different non-tanking era for the Nets, I am very intrigued to see how Kyrie and Luka Doncic can play together. They are both ball dominant players and Luka has always the clear no 1 throughout the years for the Mavericks. I have to admit I am initially pessimistic, but they can be the most dynamic backcourt duo in the league if they can coexist, so I am excited to see where this leads. It’s make it or break it time for Kyrie.
Bonus awesome clip form the association this week: Damian Lillard attempted and, more importantly, made this triple from near the half court line.
While standing…. With 12 seconds left on the clock…. Unreal…. The range of him, Stephen Curry and maybe Trae Young is unique in the history of the game. He just picked up his dribble and thought to himself “Why not?” and was rewarded.
Regarding last week’s suggestions, Precious Achiuwa has been solid and unspectacular, exactly as advertised and the same can be said for Donte DiVincenzo, who should remain on your roster now that Stephen Curry is out until at least the All-Star Break. On the other hand, Alec Burks had a bad week and lost minutes to Killian Hayes, which is good for basketball in general but bad for his fantasy value moving forward. Finally, on the “Sell” from I hope Dillon Brooks’ suspension for his scuffle with Donovan Mitchell was the push you needed to finally drop him.
Isaiah Hartenstein: With Mitchell Robinson sidelined, the Knicks tried to run most of the minutes that were opened up to Jericho Sims, but over the last few weeks, their trust has seemingly shifted to Hartenstein, who is getting more and more minutes each game. Don’t get fooled by yesterday’s performance, as he was in extreme foul trouble and thus got only 13 minutes. He is a good streamer if your team needs traditional big man stats, i.e., fg%, blocks and rebounds along with respectable steals and becomes even more valuable in certain builds that punt his very weak categories like punt points/triples or punt assists (38% owned).
Malaki Branham: The last three games represent the most consistent display Malaki Branham have given us this season, playing 33 minutes and hitting 2.7 triples with 21 points. Granted, the injuries to Tre Jones and Jeremy Sochan have opened up more minutes than usual, but I think he is both a good streamer until those guys return and simultaneously an investment, as we move to the second half of the season and the Spurs move deeper in the lottery and start to play their younger guys even more. A potential trade of their veterans (Josh Richardson and Doug McDermott) can further increase his opportunity so, in a slightly deeper league, he is a good pickup to see how the situation develops and a good stream today with both Jones and Sochan ruled out (15% owned).
Drew Eubanks: Certainly not the sexiest of picks, but with Jusuf Nurkic sidelined until the All-Star break Eubanks is worth a look for his rebounding and blocking ability. The minutes are a little lighter than I would have liked since starting, but he is a nice steady option that can have unexpectedly great games so he is definitely worth one of the last spots of your roster for now (20% owned).
LeBron James: I know he just surpassed the great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become the all-time leading scorer in the history of the NBA and has claimed legendary status, but we are talking fantasy here. It’s neither the place nor the time to get emotional, but an excellent opportunity to look at the facts and act accordingly. And the fact is that his value is at his apex right now and, with the Lakers continuing their losing ways and hovering outside the play-in spots, I have a fear they will start sitting him more games as we move towards the fantasy playoffs. It is entirely possible they stay competitive but they look really bad at the moment so I would be looking for a potential 1 for 1 trade with a similarly valued player with less question marks in terms of availability.