At this point I’m just going to stop fighting it. Fate, it seems, is throwing an endless stream of Knick games onto Tuesday nights and there’s nothing I can do but sit back and let it wash over me. Considering that I’ve spent most of my NBA fandom in the West and the Knicks have been the Knicks for the last 30 years, there’s never been a season where I’ve watched more New York regular season basketball than this one. After being hit with wave after wave of it, I just feel…bad. Is that normal? Last year I heard all about Julius Randle in breathlessly excited tones. The assists! The triples! The triple-doubles! King of New York! But now that I have to watch him and his teammates week after week, I’m struck but what a bad time it looks like he’s having out there.
I’ve written in the past about how the three-point shot that helped propel Randle to an All-NBA Second Team last year has all but abandoned Julius this time around. Scoring, rebounding, assists, and overall efficiency is also down in 2022, but despite that, there are still nights where Gotham’s basketball Caesar can string together a good line.
Still no triples and the Knicks coughed up the late lead that they worked so hard to get against the visiting Timberwolves, but six stocks and a near-triple double is reminiscent of the guy we saw last year. Still, even after Tuesday night’s contributions, Randle is Basketball Monster’s 93rd best player on the year. Sigh. Well, at least we’ll always have that one great year.
Here’s what else I saw on a very light night in the NBA:
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I appreciate that Edwards isn’t making us wait on his arrival into the upper echelons of the fantasy game. After chucking his way into huge point totals last year, the scoring, triples and steals are all way up, and the efficiency is improving too. There are still some seriously questionable attempts in his shot diet, so this year’s top-30 campaign could be the floor going forward.
KAT has never finished outside of the top-12 in per game value and looks to be a lock to do so again in year seven. There’s a slight ding in turnover leagues, as his giveaway rate isn’t good, but he’s providing positives in every other kategory. Meow.
In general, DLo leaves me a bit cold as a player, but after a closer look, I think there might be something here. Russell is a top-60 contributor right now despite enduring the worst shooting season of his career. There’s never been more triples in his shot selection, so it’s not a sure thing that the FG% drifts back up to career numbers, but there could be a bit more here in the second half of the season.
Ah, that ol’ dimes/steals/blocks point guard profile. Beverley is unconventional and has some irreconcilable holes in his game, but the things he excels at are always in high demand. It’s almost never pretty, but PBev does enough of the non-scoring stuff to hold down top-100 value.
There’s some scoring potential here, but given the usage-hogs around him it’s hard to see a path to enough volume to be relevant in standard leagues. Nice night though, and a fourth quarter that definitely helped ensure that there would be no L in MSG.
The good news: Don’t Google is providing the highest 3PM value of his career. The bad news: That’s just about the only area where he’s chipping in positive value. I keep waiting on Thibs to pull the plug on Fournier as a starter, but that’s a tough guy to wait out when it comes to spitting the bit. Come hell or high water, it sure looks like Fournier is going to get his minutes. Hopefully this is someone else’s problem though.
It has definitely gotten better for RJ lately — he’s scoring almost 25 points per and hitting 2.7 3PM over the last two weeks — but he doesn’t do enough other things well to be a super valuable commodity in the fantasy game. Seven turnovers against the Wolves is pretty horrific, so hopefully this isn’t the beginning of another downswing. That said, if he and Cam Reddish can deliver a certain former teammate to the Garden, maybe it all might be worth it.
Salvaged the night by hitting big triples down the stretch. There have been some fun moments this year — the Christmas Day triple-double comes to mind — but Walker is outside of the top-125 on the season and pretty much only provides value on threes and a smattering of dimes.
Both bigs fouled out before the final horn, as Towns gave the New York front court fits. For Robinson, it’s the worst game in almost two weeks, as he had been turning in top-100 value during that stretch. A goose eggs in stocks figures to push that rating down in a hurry. Gibson, on the other hand, is primarily a security blanket for Thibs.
Most nights Hami-don’t, but sometimes Hami-do.
As someone invested in Beef Stew, I’ve been keeping an eye on the timeshare that’s emerging as Lyles has come on. Neither is an especially useful fantasy player thus far (both are much closer to top-200 than top-100), and with Kelly Olynyk working his way back, it’s probably high time to bail. To his credit, Stewart has posted value in boards, blocks, and (ever-so-slightly) FG%, but the overall package is pretty meh.
Nothing says “rookie guard” like inefficient shooting and a negative assist to turnover ratio. Cunningham will be fine in the long run, maybe even as soon as next year, but it’s not surprising that he’s sitting outside of the top-100 here in year one.
Wigs has worked his way into All-Star talk IRL (or at least the GSW broadcast team, which isn’t necessarily the same thing), and if he secures one of the final West spots it would be the first ASG invite of his career. In 9-cat fantasy, however, he’s kind of the same old Wigs. Efficiency is up, leading to better three-point and scoring lines, but the blocks that pushed him into the top-100 the last two seasons have evaporated. On the year, Basketball Monster has Maple Jordan as player 106 on a per-game basis.
A pretty reasonable Chef Curry line, especially considering he sat out all of the fourth quarter. If the box score was all we had access to, we could comfortably move on thinking that Steph is starting right the ship a little bit. Unfortunately, we also know that Curry’s left hand was jammed by a surprise pass and he reappeared on the bench with tape on his fingers. Not to panic anyone, but yours truly has broken a finger this way, so we’ll have to keep an eye on Curry and the injury report on Thursday.
Almost certainly the best game of Klay’s short season. The Splash Brother was able to rack up these figures in just 22 minutes, as the Dubs were up comfortably seemingly all game long. Considering the way Golden State is handling him — no getting fat on minutes and sitting out one leg of back-to-backs — it will be an uphill climb for the stash to be worth it. The light is green for Klay right now though, as he’s amassed a 34.3 usage rate thus far. Given the ambitions of the team and the quality of the players around him, it’s hard to imagine that rate being anywhere near sustainable.
Man, the rich just get richer. Kuminga started in place of Draymond Green, and it’s already been announced that he’ll be with the first five again on Thursday. I made the add knowing that it’s probably just a short-term fling, but after watching him fly around the court over the last three games, I’m ready to fall in love with the kid. He’ll be a guy I want next draft season, but for now I’ll just enjoy the ride.
In a 12-team league, 9-cat, h2h.
Team: LaMelo, White, Holiday, Hayward, Hart, Bane, Butler, Tatum, Portis, Wood, Holmes
I was offered the following deal: I give Hart and a 4th ground pick, and I get Ingram and a 6th round pick. Hart can be kept at an 11th round price. The rub for me is that because Hart can be kept at an 11th round price, and because Ingram is injury prone, Hart plus that pick swap seems steep for Ingram’s risk. Should I accept the deal anyway, or should I push for either a one-for-one swap (premised on Hart’s keeper value) or for a lower pick swap?