What’s up Razzballers!? After a week of final exams, it’s an understatement to say I’m excited to be back this week. Between impossible questions, countless hours in the library, and spending way too much time calculating my GPA instead of studying, fantasy basketball was my beacon of hope, the light at the end of the preverbal tunnel, and ultimate study break. (Also I’m an engineering major. We hate our lives, so we need hobbies to make our daily existence palatable).
While it certainly helps that both my fantasy football teams have been eliminated from their respective playoff matchups (I HATE DAVID JOHNSON WITH A PASSION), spending a night watching hoops never sounded so great.
With a nine-game slate of basketball last night, let’s discuss the standout performance:
DeMarcus Cousins – Against a depleted Washington frontcourt, Cousins filled up the box score posting 22 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, and 3 steals while going 1-3 from deep. While his shooting percentage leaves a little more to be desired, Cousins has been playing well while adjusting his game to playing as the starting center. Even with Cousins opening up about his concerns in adjusting to his new role, the big man has managed to continue to provide top tier value while expanding his range to the 3-point line.
Rajon Rondo – Even though John Wall limited the enigmatic guard to 2 points last night, joke’s on Wall since Rondo probably didn’t even want to score anyway! With 8 rebounds and 9 assists, Rondo did more than enough to make a positive impact on the fantasy box score, although it wasn’t enough for us to forget that this happened.
Omri Casspi – A modest outing last night for the trending waiver wire acquisition with 9 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists. Better days are ahead for the inaugural participant in the NBA All-Star Horse Competition.
Marcin Gortat – The Polish Hammer seemed a lot more like Thor’s Hammer last night leading all scorers with 27 points to accompany 16 boards, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 4 blocks. In case outplaying Boogie wasn’t enough of a hint, he’s a causal reminder that Gortat is definitely cooler than you.
John Wall – Apparently tried to out-Rondo Rondo last night and succeeded with 19 assists and 4 steals to go with 12 points. However with a 4-15 performance from the field, Wall had enough bricks to build a physical wall out on the court.
Garrett Temple – Leading all players with 42 minutes, Temple is the current beneficiary of this week’s Bradley Beal injury, responding with 23 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. Scoring over 20 points in his past two outings, Temple will be a popular streamer for the rest of the week.
Andrew Wiggins – Maybe I’m just really out of the loop after my week of finals exams, but I’ve recently learned Wiggins only has one double-double this year. While his lack of statistical diversity is preventing him from being one of the very best options in fantasy basketball, Wiggins had a good scoring night with 26 points, but finished with only 3 rebounds and 1 3PM.
Zach LaVine – A DFS darling, LaVine has been playing well enough to warrant the attention of deeper leagues over the past few weeks and continued that trend last night with 17 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and a steal in 26 minutes of action.
Jae Crowder – After calling out the Celtics lack of passion late last week, Crowder was all over the court last night collecting 18 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocks while hitting 2-4 shots from behind the arc. As Crowder continues to assert himself as the leader on a middling Celtics squad, look for his fantasy production to back up those claims.
Kelly Olynyk – Breaking out of a rut after four subpar performances, Olynyk scored 19 points to accompany 3 3PM, 5 rebounds, and an assist and block.
Nikola Vucevic – Tying a season-high with 26 points, Vucci Mane chipped in 9 rebounds, 2 assists, and a block while extending his streak of consecutive 20-point games to three.
Evan Fournier – Despite slumping for most of December since the Magic shifted Never Google to starting at the 2, Fournier reminded fantasy owners of his early-season excitement, scoring 16 points to go with 6 rebounds, 1 assist, and 3 steals while going 3-6 from deep. Currently owned in slightly under 50% of Yahoo leagues, Fournier is still a legitimate fantasy option in standard leagues. With many owners panicking and dropping the former waiver wire stud, Fournier should still be rostered in all leagues, and added immediately if available. The Frenchman finally appears to be playing better after the rotational shake up that sent Victor Oladipo to the bench, allowing concerned fantasy owners to breath a sigh of relief for one of 2015’s breakout players.
Lance Thomas – Outscored Carmelo Anthony by 1 last night (24-23) for arguably the most WTF moment in Knicks history. While his rebounding and playmaking are still lacking, Thomas has scored in the double-digits in 8 of his last 9 games and hit at least 1 3-pointer in his past 10 games. Whether it was my seclusion from the outside world while preparing for my final exams, or general incompetence as a fantasy writer, I am pretty shocked to say Thomas has emerged as a credible option for fantasy owners in need of a forward.
Kristaps Porzingis – Considering I am a huge fan of Porzingis and have purchased my ticket for the bandwagon very early in the season, this definitely hurts to admit, but I think Porzingis may be a sell-high candidate. Despite his comments, Porzingis may be hitting the rookie wall as he appears to be struggling in December compared to his electric production in November. Whether he’s adjusting to the heightened attention from opposing defenses or wearing down from his first full season of NBA competition and travel, the Latvian may have already played his best and most consistent basketball for the year. While owners may not sell on Porzingis and his ceiling, I think it is definitely an avenue to consider as the All Star break approaches.
Tim Frazier – In a game highlighted by the presence of the JV Trail Blazers lineup (basically anything without Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum), Frazier played all 48 minutes in their absence to finish with 12 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals, and a block.
Jeff Teague – Lead the way for the Hawks offense with 12 points and 8 assists to accompany 2 rebounds and 2 steals.
Dennis Schroder – 18 points off the bench in 17 minutes scoring at an Autobahn-like pace of over a point a minute! Sidenote: How do I do the two little dots over the “o?” I’m asking for a friend…
Brook Lopez – Great game from the big man as he did everything possible to help the Nets secure a win over the Bulls. With 21 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 3 blocks, odds are Lopez is exerting the same effort to helping fantasy owners secure a win this week.
Thad Young – As one of the most overlooked players in all of the NBA, it’s only right that Young was overshadowed by Lopez last night. This isn’t to take anything away from his stat line of 16 point, 13 board, 2 assist, and 3 steals; it’s just that I kind of forget you can be good at basketball. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride.
Bobby Portis – After all the hype surrounding his breakout performance a few nights ago, naturally it’s followed up with 6 points and 2 rebounds in 14 minutes. NEVER TRUST HOIDBERG! Personally, I’m staying away from Portis until one of Chicago’s other 4000 power forwards (I counted all of them) is traded.
Pau Gasol – In his annual ritual to remind NBA fans he’s still good at basketball, Gasol went for 20 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocks after resting on the second night of a back-to-back this weekend. Gasol has 7 double-doubles in December while continuing to producing in multiple other categories rewarding fantasy owners who believed in the aging power forward.
Jimmy Butler – No longer the metaphorical butler in the Chicago Bulls organizational hierarchy, Butler lead all scorers with 24 points to go with 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block. With a 1-6 shooting performance from behind the 3-point line, I’m assuming Butler left his 3-point shot in Hoidberg’s office and it’s too awkward to go ask for it back.
Kemba Walker – Over 40 minutes in his last 3 games, and posted 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists last night.
Nic Batum – Not the best day for Batum as he’s returning from injury to the starting lineup. If 9 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal qualifies as a bad game, it’s really showing how valuable Batum has been to the Hornets and to fantasy owners this year.
James Harden – What do artists who sketch birds and James Harden have in common?? They both draw fowls!! With 36 points coming on 16-19 from the charity stripe, the bearded shooting guard is officially reclaiming last season’s form (on offense at least).
Paul George – Probably spent too much time camping out to see the new Star Wars movie last night. Despite a 1-14 performance from the field for a season-low of 7 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists show the force is strong with this one.
Rodney Stuckey – Trending as a waiver wire addition in deeper leagues over the last week, Stuckey scored 16 points in 26 minutes off the bench to accompany 4 rebounds and 4 assists while shooting 2-4 from deep. Stuckey’s a volume scorer, which limits his value in FG% and 3%, but he’s scored in double-digits in six straight games as he appears to have settled into his role as a bench scorer.
Kawhi Leonard – In every single NBA 2k15 My GM I created last year, I found a way to sign or trade for the 2014 Finals MVP, and last night provided good insight into why: 24 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals.
LaMarcus Aldridge – 10 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assists, 3 steals, and 1 block in 27 minutes.
Eric Bledsoe – Let’s just pretend he didn’t play last night because I guarantee you that’s exactly what the Suns are doing. Phoenix was -36 when Bledsoe was on the court and with 8 points, 2 rebounds, and 3 assists, fantasy owners are likely behind in the standings as a result.
Brandon Knight – Lead all scorers with 26 points while chipping in 2 rebounds and 2 assists, but in a surprising move by the Phoenix coaching staff, Knight played 35 minutes off the bench. Knight’s relegation to playing as a super-sub is certainly curious. Maybe he’s in the dog house. Maybe it’s just a ploy to give Devin Booker and T.J. Warren a couple more minutes. Either way, monitor Knight’s status in the rotation over the next few games since this will alter his ceiling.
Gordon Hawyard – 24 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block despite shooting 2-9 from behind the arc.
Derrick Favors – Safe to say he did a few favors for fantasy owners last night, posting a well-rounded stat line of 18 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 blocks while the Jazz when +32 when he was on the court.
Russell Westbrook – While Westbrook made his presence felt on the court last night with 33 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals, the biggest impact came off the court where Westbrook has made his presents felt in the local community.
Chris Paul – CP3 had himself a game and then some last night, recording a monster double-double of 32 points and 10 assists. More impressively, with the game on the line, he did this against Westbrook. Also of note: Paul has yet to record a single block this season.