The season-long fantasy wasteland that is the Utah Jazz starting point guard spot saw a change to its depth chart on Tuesday night. New addition Shelvin Mack was tossed in with the first group after looking really good in his first game with the Jazz on Sunday. His promotion meant that Raul Neto was bench bound, a move that quite frankly would have been made several weeks ago had Utah actually featured a healthy, professional quality point guard on their roster prior to the trade deadline. One quick look at Neto’s game log from this season and you’ll see that he’s achieved fairly modest benchmarks quite infrequently:

  • Double-digit scoring – nine times
  • Five or more assists – seven times
  • Five or more rebounds – zero times (!)
  • Three or more combined 3s/steals/blocks – 16 times
  • Double-digit FGAs+FTAs – eight times

Those numbers come after having played in 55 games and averaging over 20 MPG, so they’re even more pathetic than they look at first blush. The usage wasn’t there for Raulzinho (yep, that is his full given name) and neither was anything resembling roster-worthy fantasy production.

Enter Shelvin Mack, he of former Atlanta Hawks fame. Well, the “fame” part was mostly lacking as he was never truly unleashed by Coach Bud and the Hawks organization. After a largely forgettable three-year stint as a backup combo guard, Mack held seasonal high water marks of just 7.5 PPG, 3.7 APG, 2.2 RPG, and 0.8 SPG (all during the 2013-2014 campaign where he saw 20.5 MPG across 73 games). However, in his two games sporting a Jazz uniform and having had very little time to learn the offensive system and intricacies of his teammates’ games, Mack has already posted lines of 16/3/6/0/1 (in his debut off the bench) and 17/1/2/1/0 in his first starting gig last night.

It’s easy to see that Mack is worth a pickup as the complementary stats are sure to follow once he’s fully integrated into the Utah system. He may never be a top-50 player with several other capable ball-handlers on the roster (Gordon Hayward and Rodney Hood currently, and Alec Burks within the next couple weeks once he returns from injury), but it’s clear that Mack no longer belongs on any fantasy waiver wires as he looks to have a stranglehold on the starting PG job. If you haven’t already, go pick him up.

Here’s what else happened on a five-game Tuesday in the NBA…

 

THE GOOD

Nikola Vucevic – Voooooooch! Massive game from the Magic big man. He scored 35 points on 21 FGAs and hit all nine of his freebies. He chipped in nine boards, four dimes and a block while turning the ball over only once in his 37 minutes. Vucevic is a top-30 player on the season and has a great schedule to finish out the year. If he’s on your roster, congrats – he’s a stud.

Nerlens Noel – 16/11/4/2/1 for the Christmas Flat Top. He now has both a steal and a block in 11 straight games and though I’m skeptical he’ll ever be a consistent scoring threat, points that average out to be in the teens are just fine when he’s so reliable on the opposite end of the floor.

Anthony Davis – Brow was able to match his 20 rebounds from his monster game on Sunday, but unfortunately fell 50 points short of his NBA season-high 59 from that game. For some reason he attempted only nine shots from the field in a game where he played 37 minutes and his team desperately needed him to assert himself on the offensive end. Davis still gets acknowledgement in the “good” category for Tuesday’s performance thanks to three assists, two steals and a block to go along with those 20 boards.

Marcin Gortat – The Polish Hammer took it to the Pelicans weak frontcourt and ended up with 21/11/1/1/2 on 10-16 from the field and only a single turnover. Gortat has been a top-30 9-category asset since the calendar turned to 2016, and with nice schedule density to close out the season, there aren’t many centers who I’d rather have anchoring my team down the home stretch.

DeMarcus Cousins – Pretty typical day at the office for Boogie Cousins. Abused the slender Denver centers combo of Nikola Jokic and Joffrey Lauvergne to the tune of 39/9/2/1/2. Health is just about the only thing that can slow Cousins down and with the Kings now only 3.5 games out of the 8th playoff spot in the Western Conference, expect their stars to get all the playing time they can handle.

Nikola Jokic – Speaking of the Joker, he made the most of his 20 predictably foul-filled minutes against DMC. He double-doubled with 13 & 13 and chipped in nice amount of complementary stats: six assists, two steals, one triple, 50% from the field and a sterling 4-4 from the FT line. If he can figure out how to avoid foul trouble and navigate Mike Malone’s wonky big man rotations, he could be a legitimate fantasy stud. His contributions (on nights when he receives playing time) are incredibly versatile and owners can expect top-100 production through the end of the season despite the volatility.

James Harden – Like Cousins, it was pretty standard stuff for the Beard on Tuesday. You realize the extraordinary quality of a player when 42/5/4/2/0 is positively “ho-hum.”

Gordon Hayward – The former Butler Bulldog won last night’s award for efficiency, scoring 28 points on only seven field goal attempts. He hit 6-7 from the floor, 13-15 from the foul line and finished up the overtime win with 28/7/5/1/0, including three long balls. These were the kinds of lines I was expecting on a more consistent basis at the start of the year, but Hayward’s output has been a bit more modest than many owners who spent a top-36 pick on him would have hoped.

Brook Lopez – I’m struggling to see how playing a 7-footer with a long history of foot injuries 40 minutes in a game during a lost season is a smart choice. Re-draft (i.e. non-keeper/dynasty) owners don’t mind though as BroLo parlayed that heavy run into 36/10/1/4/1.  That’s now nine steals and seven blocks in his last four games. The Nets seem content to run him into the ground this year, so fantasy owners would serve themselves well to remember that come October when factoring in fatigue and injury-risk on draft day.

Portland Guards – The backcourt pairing of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum is pretty special. There were some big expectations placed on their shoulders at the start of the year and by just about all accounts, they’ve met – and likely exceeded – even the loftiest of them. On Tuesday we learned that Lillards gon’ Lill (34/2/4/3/0 with a pair of triples) and CJM is only too happy to continue making JB look silly for doubting him (34/5/6/1/0 on 13-20 shooting with five makes from beyond the arc).

 

THE BAD

Elfrid Payton – 0-4 from the field. 3-6 from the line. No money stats (3s/steals/blocks). And only 20 minutes of run on a night when the hot-coming-in Brandon Jennings stole only 11. Woof.

Nik Stauskas – Sauce Castillo has may be starting for the 6ers but he shouldn’t be for your fantasy squad. He had as many personal fouls (five) as he did points and turned the ball over four times in 24 minutes. Stauskas did connect on a three for the fifth consecutive game, but there are better streamers out there who give you more complementary stats and who aren’t battling a shin injury that could sideline them at any time.

Norris Cole – It might be time to cut bait on the Pelicans starting point guard. Cole saw only 18 minutes of floor time against the Wizards partially due to inefficiency and partially due to illness (there was a report that he received an IV at halftime). Despite the limited run, Cole hoisted 10 shots from the field, connecting on only three. He had a trey and a steal (he hadn’t produced any of either in his last two games) but he’s just simply not doing enough with the first unit to justify holding him for a hot free agent with some upside.

Markieff Morris – Well, Kieff’s tenure in the nation’s capitol is off to a rather inauspicious start. He threw up his third consecutive stinker with 6/2/2 in 22 minutes. He salvaged his night somewhat by chipping in some defensive goodies (two swipes and a swat), but he now has a grand total of 17 points on 23 shots through three games in a Wizards uniform. Perhaps he’ll turn things around if he’s inserted into the starting lineup, but right now it’s not looking great for the mercurial twin.

Ben McLemore – Continues to disappoint in a Kings uniform. 7/1/2/0/0 in 13 uninspiring minutes. He belongs on the wire and there’s no reason to even keep him on a watch list.

Gary Harris – A disappointing night for the Nuggets’ starting SG. 4/2/3/1/0 on 2-9 shooting and failed to connect on either of his long distance attempts. Harris had been playing heavy minutes and had scored in double figures in each of his last four games, so this looks like it was just an off night. He may have burned some DFS owners who looked at his recent game log and saw the juicy matchup with the Kings though.

Terrence Jones – Returned from one of his many extended absences this season and contributed a whopping three points, one rebound and one steal in 12 minutes off the bench. TJ is definitely in the running for most disappointing season given the upside/potential he has flashed over the past couple of years. I wouldn’t touch him with your roster right now.

Rudy Gobert – What the heck was that, Rudy? 2/3/1/1/0 in 26 minutes in a game that featured 231 combined points scored? Yikes. After double-doubling in five straight games stretching across the All-Star break, the French Rejection has now failed to hit double figures in either points or rebounds in his last two contests. Hopefully for his owners this is just a mini-slump and he breaks out of it his next time out.

Thaddeus Young – Despite getting heavy run (36 minutes) in a high scoring game (216 combined points), Thad was only able to notch eight on 3-11 shooting. He did pull down 11 boards but with no defensive stats or threes, this was a disappointing result.

Portland Forwards – I’m not sure there’s a bigger discrepancy between the quality of a team’s backcourt and frontcourt. As mentioned above, the combination of Lillard & McCollum is absolutely stellar. Unfortunately for fantasy owners mining for gold among the Portland bigs, they’re coming up pretty empty. The trio of Noah Vonleh, Al-Farouq Aminu and Meyers Leonard combined for only 17/12/5/0/2 in 53 total minutes. They shot 7-16 as a group and just cannot be trusted to produce quality fantasy lines any time they step on the floor. Conclusion: look elsewhere.

 

THE NOTEWORTHY

Aaron Gordon – Hit double digit boards for the sixth consecutive game, and while his offensive game leaves something to be desired, he has a combined 24 steals & blocks in his last seven contests. AG finished up the win in Philly with a 11/11/3/3/1 line and simply needs to tidy up the efficiency (4-10 FGs, 3-6 FTs, 2 TOs) if he wants to take the next step.

Ish Smith – Interesting game for the diminutive Philly point man. After hitting only one shot from beyond the arc in all of February coming into Tuesday’s game against the Magic, Smith drained two from deep to help him to his team-high 22 points. He added a handful of assists but couldn’t find his way to any defensive stats, so this wasn’t his most versatile line. The metrics aren’t a fan of Ish’s game, but he’s still useful in the right fantasy team build.

Ryan Anderson – Ryno bounced back from his atrocious 1-12 shooting performance on Sunday with a 7-11 mark in Washington. He connected on two of his four long range attempts and fell into a couple steals to make this a nice performance. It likely would’ve been even better had the game been closer and the Pelicans needed their best players down the stretch, but as it was they got blown out by 20 and sat Anderson late. There’s no reason to think he won’t be every bit the top-70 player he has been this season to date.

John Wall – How can a player who records a triple-double not make the “good” category, you ask? By shooting 5-17 from the field, 3-5 from the FT line and turning the ball over three times – that’s how. Apart from that Wall was special on Tuesday, finishing with 16/12/11/2/1 with three treys. The field goal percentage and TOs are nothing new as they’ve been keeping Wall from 1st round value all year, but if you’re punting those categories or your team is build to compensate for them, you’re loving his play almost every time he steps on the court.

Rudy Gay – Outshined by teammate Boogie Cousins but still a great night for Rudy. 16/10/4/4/3 to help the Kings secure the road win. Gay kept it tidy with a 6-11 mark from the field and he should be a third round value (or better) through the end of this season.

D.J. Augustin – Not yet worth adding to your roster, but certainly a guy to keep an eye on, Augustin now has three straight quality games in a Nuggets uniform. He has tallied nine total threes and steals in somewhat limited minutes and should starter Emmanuel Mudiay need to miss any time, there is plenty of opportunity for DJA to become fantasy-relevant very quickly.

Trevor Ariza – Just keeps churning out the production in treys and steals. Four more of each on Tuesday to go with 18 points and four assists.

Rodney Hood – Much like Ariza, the 3 & D Rod Hood is rewarding owners in the money categories. He poured in a trio of long balls and thieved it five times against the Rockets in Tuesday’s OT win. He’s going to be a very nice fantasy asset for as long as he can manage to stay healthy. Don’t be scared one bit by the impending return of Alec Burks.

Donald Sloan – With Shane Larkin looking like a D-Leaguer on most nights, the Nets have little choice but to continue starting Sloan at the point. And while his lines are rarely spectacular, output like he had on Tuesday (14/5/4/0/1, no TOs, 6-10 shooting) is still useful as a last starter on your roster.

 

OPPORTUNITY IS EVERYTHING

The following players saw 36+ minutes of floor time on Tuesday:

Nikola Vucevic (37), Evan Fournier (43), Victor Oladipo (41), Anthony Davis (37), Rudy Gay (36), DeMarcus Cousins (36), Danilo Gallinari (37), Trevor Ariza (41), Dwight Howard (40), Patrick Beverley (37), James Harden (44), Derrick Favors (40), Gordon Hayward (40), Rodney Hood (36), Thaddeus Young (36), Brook Lopez (40), Damian Lillard (37), C.J. McCollum (38).

 

That wraps up another Tuesday evening in the Association. As always, if you want to chat waiver pickups, DFS plays, or anything else fantasy hoops, drop me a line on Twitter @moneyballmatty. Cheers.

  1. Jake says:
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    Drop Elfrid for Beverley or Mack? Drop Elfrid at all?

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Jake: Unless you’re in desperate need of assists, yeah you can drop Elfrid. He hasn’t scored in double figures in three straight, and coincidentally hasn’t played 30 minutes in three straight either. With Skiles even messing around with the idea of CJ Watson at point, it’s an ugly 3-headed monster that I’d want no part of.

      I would lean Mack unless your team needs steals. The Jazz have four-game weeks four of their next five, so the schedule density favors Shelvin over PBev as well.

  2. Alex says:
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    Bev, Smart or Mack?

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Alex: It’s close and I view Smart & PBev as very similar assets. They both steal and hit 3s with pretty good frequency and both battle injuries quite often. Neither guy contributes big assist numbers but you can count on 3 or 4 most nights. I think Mack has the highest upside if he’s truly handed the keys to the car and should put up scoring numbers larger than the other two guys. Rather than flipping a coin, I’d look to health as one concern and schedule density as another. Mack is 100% (so far as we know) and has four 4-game weeks left. The other two guys have only three. So I’d lean to Mack by a hair, but only if you believe he’ll continue to take on more responsibility (I do) and that Alec Burks’ return will simply knock out Neto & Burke’s minutes rather than steal from Mack & Hood.

  3. v00dr00 says:
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    Are you okay with dropping Duncan for Len ROS?

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @v00dr00: Yeah, I think so. Len has some nice upside especially with Tyson Chandler ailing, so if Alex can stay healthy he’ll have every opportunity to end the season on a high note.

      With the Spurs locked into a high playoff spot, I can see a handful more rest days for Timmy D (just look how cautious they’re being with a minor calf injury to a young stud in Kawhi) and he could be very frustrating to own moving forward.

      Go for the upside in the youngster Len.

  4. Hey man! Long time no speak, I have a predicament (I guess a good one). Shelvin is available but I don’t know who to drop:

    Mirza Teletovic, Nikola Jokic, Marcus Smart and Wesley Matthews are at the end of my bench, would you drop any of them?

    Myles Turner and Aaron Gordon are on my squad but I consider them must-own. After that, I get into a bunch of mid-round/early guys.

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @WNWDOTCOM: Hey man, how goes it?

      I would absolutely hold onto Jokic, Wes, Turner & AG. There’s a case to be made for swapping out Teletovic or Smart as both guys are stuck in pretty deep rotations. The Jazz have a game in hand on Phoenix and two on Boston, so there’s a small amount more opportunity for Mack to help you out.

      I think I would swap out Teletovic because of Phoenix’s frustrating rotations and minutes allotment from game to game. I think Mack is all set for a 30 MPG role the rest of the way, even once Burks comes back. They are fighting for their playoff lives and I can see them consolidating their rotation and giving up on the Neto/Burke experiment.

      • @Matty: Doing good man, thanks for all the content! I swapped them out (Teletovic for Mack), appreciate your help!

        • Matty

          Matty says:
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          @Wnwdotcom: You got it, brother. Happy to help. Hope that move works out well for ya! I’ll be rooting for Mack to take that starting PG job and really run with it.

  5. Steve says:
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    What do you think of a trade of my Jae Crowder for Dwight Howard? I am in first place and don’t want to go overboard with moves. I am very strong in points and steals and my weakest categories are free throws, turnovers and rebounds. Do you think I should pull the trigger? It’s a 12 team 9 cat by the way.

    • Jake says:
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      @Steve: Don’t do it. Keep dominating those categories. If it aint broke dont fix it

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Steve: I agree with Jake on this one. Hold Crowder. If you pick up Dwight you go from weak to punt in FTs. Obviously you’d see a nice increase in your rebounds, but the overall metrics suggest you should hold Crowder. He’s a 9-cat stud coming off a 27/9/3/2/0 with 4 treys – tough to give up on that for a guy who hurts you in nearly as many categories as he helps you.

      • Steve says:
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        @Matty: cool thank you guys

  6. Bryan says:
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    Would you guys do Wall for Reggie Jackson+Myles Turner? Someone in my league offered me this trade

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Bryan: Depends on what categories you’re chasing and who you might have to bump from your roster. You’ll obviously take a step back in assists but jump up in blocks courtesy of Turner. PPG stays about the same with Wall & RJax and both guys have been connecting on 3s with more frequency lately. Dropping Wall should help your FG% as Reggie shoots it a bit better and Turner is well over 50%. It’s a tough call but I can see you making the deal if you have some dead weight at the end of your roster where Turner would be a huge upgrade over. If not, and you’re pretty well balanced throughout your roster, I’d hang onto the only guy with first round upside in this deal.

      • Bryan says:
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        @Matty: Sounds good. Thanks for the insight!! Much apperciated

  7. Anthony says:
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    Long term keeper would you rather have Okafor or Wiggins?! How close?

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Anthony: Wiggins. I have to believe he’ll figure out the little things he needs to start doing to take the proverbial “next step.” If he doesn’t, the Wolves won’t win. I don’t care how good KAT is. Wiggins needs to refine his outside shot, tidy things up from the FT line and get more aggressive hitting the boards. I think all of those things will hit in his third year and he’ll outpace Okafor every year for the better part of the next decade. Who knows what direction Philly goes once Embiid gets back (if ever) and that could really impact how Jahlil progresses/regresses. Wiggins is your man.

  8. E says:
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    What’s your outlook on Pat Beverly moving forward?

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @E: Pretty much to maintain the status quo. I don’t expect to see many (or any) 20+ point scoring or 10+ assist outbursts, but he’ll probably be good for something in the neighbourhood of 12/3/4 with a steal and a three. Just a low-end fantasy PG who is worth rostering but has a pretty defined ceiling.

      He also gets dinged up a lot (mostly ankle stuff) and isn’t the quickest healer, so if he suffers a mild sprain, you can cut bait right away for a hot WW pickup.

  9. DORIAN says:
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    I just got offered Mack for Casspi in 12t h2h 9 cat. My pgs are curry, jrue, lavine and Schroder. Make the move or wait for info?

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @DORIAN: You’re pretty set at PG, especially now that Lavine is getting semi-regular starts and Schroder is playing some crunch time for ATL. In a vaccuum I’d prefer Mack ROS, but since you’re pretty good for guard stats, maybe you’re better off with Casspi. Though that kinda depends on your forward depth a bit too.

  10. Will says:
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    So, our league has gotten kind of ugly with some owners who don’t see eye to eye on things and it is compromising the league a bit. Can I get some input on the following trades that just took place, because it seems our league is very divided and can’t seem to agree on things. Here are the trades. I don’t want to indulge to much details in regards to the owners involved in the trade as I want it to be looked at strictly from a fantasy stand point. I will say that Kawhi is going to a playoff team while Melo is going to a non-playoff team. Davis is going from a playoff team to another playoff team. Our league does have a toilet bowl which is to encourage owners to participate even if they are not in the playoffs and remain competitive.

    9 cat, H2H

    Kawhi Leonard for Carmello Anthony

    Anthony Davis/Allen Crabbe for Harrison Barnes/Avery Bradley

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Will: Well, first of all I think that vetoing trades should only be done if there is proof of collusion. Otherwise, in my experience, it’s best to just disallow trading altogether as they can be a real lighting rod for controversy…which seems to be the case here. And that sucks, especially if it’s a group of guys who play against each other year after year.

      That aside (and keep in mind it’s only one guy’s opinion), the first one is a no-brainer – Kawhi is the better 9-cat player by a decent amount. Sure, he’s battling a nagging calf injury but looks like he’ll be back as early as tonight while Melo is dealing with chronic knee soreness and is more and more a shutdown candidate with each passing Knicks loss. It’s Kawhi all day, every day.

      As much as I like me some Harrison Barnes & Avery Bradley (and I am a fan of both), Anthony Davis should be able to fetch a MUCH larger return than those two guys. Crabbe barely factors in and it’s all about Brow being a full-blown stud who as recently as three nights ago posted a 59 & 20 game. You can count on one hand the number of guys in the league with that kind of upside and as such you should be getting back at least one top-12 player plus another really good guy. Neither Barnes nor Bradley fit that bill.

      Sorry to hear about the deterioration of your league, Will. Hopefully you can all come to terms in the offseason and maybe implement some new rules to avoid this kind of thing in the future. The “Toilet Bowl” is a good start as it does typically reduce the number of teams who flat out quit if they struggle during the first half of the season. Best of luck!

  11. Jake says:
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    Kawhi for Carmelo is fine. I understand why people would be upset, but its not an egregiously bad trade worth a veto.

    The Davis trade is whack. Veto that.

  12. Will says:
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    Ya, I am just glad I am not the commissioner, I am just the reigning champ and won 3 of the past 4 titles and the favorite to win the toilet bowl this year, hahaha. Anyway, I think we are going to reverse the Davis trade and boot that player from the league and dissolve his team as he has told us 4 times now this year he is quitting at seasons end and that trade was to his best buddy in response to the Kawhi trade. He didn’t think it was fair and took it upon himself to make the Davis trade in an attempt to undermine the league and get the Kawhi trade reversed. We have 3 trade monitors in place who vote on all trades, he is one, I am one, and the other agreed with me. While Kawhi is the better player, we can understand that trade. The owner who got Melo is also a die hard Knicks fan and Melo fan. Melo is currently playing at baller status averaging 27/10/4/1.5/1.5 with nice %’s. Can he do that an entire season? No. But can he do it a few more weeks while the playoffs are going on and Kawhi rests as the Spurs and Pop get ready for the playoffs, possibly. Anyway, thanks for the input, I am sharing thoughts with the league as we are trying to get non-biased thoughts.

  13. Timothy says:
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    Would you take Allen Crabbe or Langston Galloway who is going to start for Calderon? in a 12er 10 cat standard league.

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