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.

Karl-Anthony Towns – KAT was on the prowl (cat pun) for a monster double-double of 25 points and 16 rebounds, marking his third 20-point 10-rebound effort in his past four games.

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 CrowderAfter 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.

Carmelo Anthony – PLOT TWIST: Melo did not lead the Knicks in scoring, but rather, in assists with 6 last night. WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH CARMELO ANTHONY!!

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 ButlerNo 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.

Danny Green – 3 points in 26 minutes last night. At this point, I’m convinced the problem is more mental than anything else.

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.

Kevin Durant – Despite going 1-7 from beyond the arc last night, KD finished with 24 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks while hitting the game-winner.

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.

Blake Griffin – 15 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 spin move that made me jump off my couch.

  1. trul says:
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    Im in a diffucult position in my league, planning to trade my gobert for Valancinas+CParsons, what do you think?

    • charlie

      charlie says:
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      @trul:

      I’m assuming there are no injury spots on your roster??? Also is that the best offer available?

      Valanciunas has been cleared to practice and will be returning soon, but I don’t expect him to return to form until closer to February than January. As for Parsons, I’ve been disappointed with him all year, and he’s still inconsistent.

      I know it hurts now, but I think it’s not worth the loss of Gobert (who should return in early 2016). There might be a middle ground to explore, but taking a loss on the trade is not the best course of action.

  2. Joe says:
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    We’re playing a game today! The game is sell, hold, drop? League is 9-cat, 10-team, h2h.

    Gortat? (Is he this good?)
    Teague (Is he this bad?)
    Covington (DAT FG%)
    Bradley (stock dropping)
    Porzingis (did we miss the sell window? The only tricky with for Zingis and me is that I could keep him next year for an 11th round pick. Does this mean I hold or simply sell at a higher price?)

    • Slim

      Slim says:
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      @Joe: I wanna play…

      Gortat is a hold. The minutes are a bit tough to trust but since there’s no decent backup I guess he should maintain in the low 30s. If a trade then I would want a top 50 player back.

      Teague is a hold. The ankle is a problem but I think he’ll be fine. If a trade then no less than a top 50 player for sure.

      Covington is a sell, but not too low. Maybe top 75 to start and I might take a top 100 with upside. Although it’s tough after these last few games with low minutes.

      Bradley is definitely a sell, prototypical ThrAGNoF. I’d start with a top 75 but I’d take most top 100 that fit a need.

      Geese is DEFINITELY a hold in a dynasty. He isn’t carrying us with points and that’s fine, he was never meant to. But with the 3s/stl/blk combo and good boards, plus FT% from a big, I bet he finishes top 50 with upside for more. For the record I don’t believe in the “rookie wall”. I believe every player should be taken as a separate entity without some other player affecting (effecting?) my thoughts moving forward. Will he get tired, sure, he’s never played this much before in his life but if his minutes are managed correctly he’ll be just as good late as he is early. Then again he may be better late (like Wiggins last year) since he’ll get more comfortable with the offense, the NBA game in general, and the guys around him.

    • charlie

      charlie says:
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      @Joe:

      How’d you know this is my favorite game!!!

      Gortat – Short answer, no. Gortat isn’t a 20+ point scorer, but should still flirt with double-doubles on a nightly basis. I’d say hold unless you really can find someone willing to overpay after his recent hot streak.

      Teague – Been playing with a sore ankle so once again, the short answer is no. Once he gets healthy I think he’ll begin rewarding owners who held.

      Covington – So conventional wisdoms says there’s no way he keeps shooting this poorly given what he displayed last season. But I think this 76ers team is so talent starved there’s no way he will start shooting better unless things start to click for the team as a whole. I’m thinking it might not be the best time to sell, but I don’t think there will be a ton of great opportunities either.

      Beal – Assuming there’s no injury spot, I think you have to hold Beal since you won’t get fair value in return. I can’t think of a trade that makes sense selling on his ceiling but getting a comparable piece in return. Maybe Wes Matthews?? Or a buy low on Danny Green if you’re a believer. It’s tricky because his stock is dropping the market for Beal is closing as well.

      Porzingis – HOLD!!! If you can keep him next year for just an 11th round pick, I think you have to keep him. Unless someone is willing to give you a LOT more for Porzingis, think about his upside. Kid’s going to gain muscle and if the Knicks keep improving, there’s no reason to think he can’t be November Porzingis for the entire season.

      Read more: http://basketball.razzball.com/daily-notes-school#ixzz3v3z6Xvt7

      • Slim

        Slim says:
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        @charlie: I think he meant Avery Bradley. At least that’s who my answer was for.

        • charlie

          charlie says:
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          @Slim:

          Welp, this is awkward….

          #ClosetWizardsFan

          • Joe says:
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            @charlie:

            Such detailed answers. I have such an appreciative man crush on y’all right now. Thank you so much.

            PS. Yes I did mean Avery Bradley. But I’m in DC so I’m slowly adopting the Wiz.

  3. v00dr00 says:
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    Joakim lost a shoulder last night. Though it is Hoiberg we’re talking here, wouldn’t you think this would open up some minutes for BP?

    • charlie

      charlie says:
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      @v00dr00:

      My perception of the pecking order:

      1.) Mirotic – Started last night in an attempt to get him going
      2.) Gibson – Been solid all season, although not contributing a ton for fantasy owners
      3.) McDermott – Reliable 3 point shooter and been seeing around 20 minutes again
      4.) Portis – Life is unfair

      But I think it’ll open up some minutes for sure. It just worries me that he didn’t see more of an opportunity last night. To me, it just shows that he isn’t the priority in CHI, and given all the drama surrounding the rest of their pieces, he’s definitely the least of the coaching staff’s concerns at the moment.

      Also with Gasol already declaring he wants to opt out, I think down the line, more minutes will be given to younger players (Sorry Taj Gibson) to evaluate their own talent as well.

  4. dom says:
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    good stuff Charlie

    looking towards the end of the week, thinking about picking up someone in my deeper league with 2 games Fri-Sun such as Larry Nance, Robert Sacre, or Joffrey Lauvergne. I’d drop someone with one game like James Johnson, Biyombo, or Bogdonavich. What do you think?

    Also should I continue stashing Aaron Gordon? This is a deeper 12 team with 17 roster spots. He isn’t getting run but I feel committed to him

    • charlie

      charlie says:
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      @dom:

      Ultimately it depends on what your team needs, but for me, I think Lauvergne makes the most impact in the most categories. He’s a double-double threat on a good night and is even capable of making 3s and moving the ball on offense. I’d definitely make the swap for Biyombo. I have enjoyed his extended run in Toronto but with Valanciunas returning in the coming weeks, he’ll be moved back to the bench. Biyombo is also more one-dimensional, only providing boards and blocks. Lauvergne for 2 games is greater than Biyombo in 1.

      As for Gordon, I think it’s time to part ways. I dropped him from my team maybe 6 weeks ago, and all my concerns about his situation have materialized. I understand the commitment, especially given his multi-cat upside for a deeper league, but I don’t see how he can play himself into the rotation. I think you’re going to be waiting for a Tobias Harris injury to truly unleash Gordon. Channing Frye’s emergence has limited his minutes at the 4, and Oladipo’s move to the bench limit’s his influence in the second unit. If you need immediate production to stay competitive, make the move to part ways with Gordon.

  5. charlie

    charlie says:
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    How’d you know this is my favorite game!!!

    Gortat – Short answer, no. Gortat isn’t a 20+ point scorer, but should still flirt with double-doubles on a nightly basis. I’d say hold unless you really can find someone willing to overpay after his recent hot streak.

    Teague – Been playing with a sore ankle so once again, the short answer is no. Once he gets healthy I think he’ll begin rewarding owners who held.

    Covington – So conventional wisdoms says there’s no way he keeps shooting this poorly given what he displayed last season. But I think this 76ers team is so talent starved there’s no way he will start shooting better unless things start to click for the team as a whole. I’m thinking it might not be the best time to sell, but I don’t think there will be a ton of great opportunities either.

    Beal – Assuming there’s no injury spot, I think you have to hold Beal since you won’t get fair value in return. I can’t think of a trade that makes sense selling on his ceiling but getting a comparable piece in return. Maybe Wes Matthews?? Or a buy low on Danny Green if you’re a believer. It’s tricky because his stock is dropping the market for Beal is closing as well.

    Porzingis – HOLD!!! If you can keep him next year for just an 11th round pick, I think you have to keep him. Unless someone is willing to give you a LOT more for Porzingis, think about his upside. Kid’s going to gain muscle and if the Knicks keep improving, there’s no reason to think he can’t be November Porzingis for the entire season.

  6. miles proudfoot says:
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    Wow, I now need to trade for gortat in every league just so I can use that picture for the team profile.

    I’d like to add some players from the wire, irregardless of needs, would you mind ranking who you would lose first to last? Clarkson, Sullinger, Dieng, KCP…

    Thanks so much! Have a great holiday break after those finals!

  7. Adam says:
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    Hey Charlie,

    I’m doing really well in my 12-team league but always looking to improve/get rid of dead weight.

    Zeebo is the last guy on my roster. Here’s the best players available on the waiver wire:
    -Beverley
    -Jordan Hill
    -Galloway
    -Schroder
    -Lance Thomas

    I’m strong in PTS, REB, AST, ST, and BLK, dead last in TO (punting), and middle of the road in FG%, FT%, and 3s. Would you drop Zeebo for any of those guys?

    Thanks!

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