Was it enough to topple the visiting Boston Horford’s? Well, no, because the evolution of Muggsy Bogues, Isaiah Thomas, is as as it gets in the 4th quarter, but you can’t say the Hawks had their winning streak snapped due to anything Tim Hardaway Jr. did. We knew from his days as a Knick that he could fire up shots, but as a Hawk this year he’s starting to play with a much higher efficiency, and from a fantasy perspective it’s exactly what we need. I’ll save that for a moment, though, and focus for a second on why it’s what the Hawks need, too. Sure, an efficient scorer is every team’s need, but when you trade one of the greatest shooters, especially while defended, in NBA history in Kyle Korver there’s a chasm-wide role left to fill. It seemed as though the Hawks were planning on throwing in the towel to rebuild with Carver’s trade a harbinger of future moves and a move towards their youth. But whether it’s still a play for the future (THJ is a free agent after this year) to showcase his value, or simply a pure replacement to Korver, Hardaway Jr.’s never played like this before. The league’s taken notice, but have you yet for fantasy?
The 7 Ahead
- 5-game week: DEN
- 4-game weeks: ATL, CHA, DAL, GSW, HOU, IND, MIL, NYK, ORL, PHI, PHO, POR, TOR, WAS
- 2-game week: DET, OKC
Top Weekly Waiver Options (<40% owned in Y!/games this week):
- T.J. McConnell (36%/4) – Call it what it is, if @JB hadn’t already turned McConnell’s turn around short corner game-winning jumper into a gif of his own, I may have highlighted T.J. up top. After all, I’m pretty sure T.J. stands for ‘The Jumper’, right? Haha, for now, he’s the Gem of the Week, even if the next name probably holds more staying value ROS. Anyone in Philly that takes the point this year faces a drop in future production due to the Ben Simmons effect. When he comes back everyone else becomes crazy expendable, but McConnell’s carving out a valuable place on this roster as the best white guy guard (see ya later Nick Stauskas), and the best backup option to Simmons when he debuts. He’s not a scorer, and won’t drive your FG% higher, but it’s really difficult to find the assists T.J. brings each night if he gets 30+ MPG (which he’s getting). Averaging 9.2 APG, good for 8th in the league over the past two weeks, he’s consistently boasting numbers similar to Ricky Rubio: 8.4/3.3/10.1 (2.3 SPG, 2.4 TO) for Ricky to a 6.2/5.6/9.2 (2.0 SPG, 2.0 TO) line for T.J., but one is owned at 90% and the other is climbing at 35%. Let’s double that by next week. Especially with 40 assists this week highly likely.
- Tim Hardaway Jr. (32%/4) – Haha, sure, I’ll highlight someone and then not give ’em the diamond treatment. I really do think THJ is a gem, though. 18.2/3.2/2.0 with a 54.8 FG% and 3.5 3PG over the past two weeks means he’s a must-add, I’d just rather have McConnell. You can find 3’s in a lot of places, assists are harder to come by. However, don’t learn the hardaway (see what I did there? A little word sneak.) thinking that he’s a volume scorer that can’t consistently bring value, a la his New York days. If he stays a Hawk the rest of the season watch for a 15/3/2 line with 3+ 3PG on 48 FG% to come his way. The hardaw…haha, I’m done. Promise.
- Evan Turner (34%/4) – The first of the Portland duo to make their way to The 7 Ahead, Turner’s nothing new to the list. Given what he can do, and what he’s proven from he past, Turner should be owned at double this number, yet he’s still yet to fully find his place on his new squad. Until now? He’s not going to wow you with his percentages, but that’s nothing new. He’s a point forward that plays like a smaller version of Boris Diaw. Turner’s best role on the Blazers won’t be to drop 15 PPG, but in his 28 MPG he can give you a boost in any given category depending on the night. 6.8/4.5/6.3 isn’t outstanding, but again, like with McConnell above, you can’t find assists like that available in many places.
- Allen Crabbe (35%/4) – The sexier option of the two is the sharpshooter Crabbe. Now, if Turner is similar to T.J., maybe Crabbe’s comparison is with THJ above, because his efficiency has seen a huge blip forward over the past two weeks. He won’t hit the 3’s THJ will, but he’s playing to a 16.0/3.4/1.4 line with 2.1 3PG. Portland may be showcasing him for a deadline deal to snag a better defensive big man (Nerlens Noel anyone?), but that doesn’t matter right now. Take advantage of the increased volume and get the boost in scoring if it’s needed. Oh, and he’s doing all this at a 53.3 FG% clip. Get it!
- Michael Beasley (5%/4) – Maybe the theme of the week for the streamers is the high-volume-inefficient-shooter turned lower-volume-more-efficient-scorer. Haha, the former #2 pick made a big splash last week after posting a 28/5/4/2/3/4 line in 34 minutes for the Bucks when Giannis Antetokounmpo was sitting out. Now, I don’t think he’ll approach those numbers again, but he followed it up with an 11/7/2/1/1/2 encore three days later with the Greek Freak back on the court. He won’t get more than 20 MPG, but if you’re looking for a streaky option that can bring some quick production if you need to fill a gap, there are far worse options right now.
And now a look at the daily rhythms of the NBA for this week! And let’s make these a little quicker. Yes, this is a weekly preview series, and not just a weekly streamer article, but most of the Comments revolve around the players more than the games, so we’ll shorten them up a little. How about we focus on the best game and the best matchup for each night with a little drop of how many games go each night (important for streaming!)? LEH’ GO!
Monday: 9 GAMES – I’ll want to watch the Unicorn match of Joel Embiid vs. Giannis, but the whole world will be focusing on Cleveland v. Golden State, Round II. The best game of the year happened when they faced off three weeks ago at Christmas, and with the tipoff happening out west I’d imagine we’re in for another doozy of a game. Look for the Dubs to win this one, though.
Tuesday: 5 GAMES – The game shouldn’t be that exciting, but checking the box scores to count how many points the Rockets hang on the Heat and the Raptors do to the Nets will be entertaining. There’s a next level echelon in the NBA with three teams (maybe four?) in the East and four (maybe five?) in the West. Everyone else is playing catch up. Let’s not kid ourselves, the real tier is Cleveland and Golden State, but on Tuesday we can enjoy three of those nine teams (add in SA), albeit in seemingly cupcake contests.
Wednesday: 9 GAMES – Once again Golden State takes the daily throne with their Russ/KD rivalry getting its second installment, also. It’s a busy week for the Warriors going from LeBron James to Russell Westbrook twice in three days. Haha, you’d think they have a target on their back or something. Hmm…wonder why? Oh, and before that, who do you think ends up with the better fantasy performance in Houston, Giannis or James Harden? Scoring for days in that one.
Thursday: 5 GAMES – 2.5 games separate the Knicks and Wizards, but 5 spots in the standings. That’s how convoluted the ‘rest’ of the East is (Boston/Toronto/Cleveland being the ‘best). The two teams are trending in opposite directions (NYK 2-8 in last 10, WAS 7-3), but this may be a good opportunity to see some dazzling fantasy lines from the John Wall v. Derrick Rose matchup. It’s not like either of them know how to play any defense. WHat’s more AWOL: Rose’s perimeter D or his presence from the Knicks when he ‘needs space’? Too soon? Wall may not need space around the arc, but he’ll find it Thursday. Still too soon?
Friday: 9 GAMES – A full slate highlighted by the Warriors visiting the Rockets. See, it’s a parade of incredible games for the Western Conference favorites. Or is it just an adventure to deal with the ghosts their ex’s? Whether it’s Russy and Harden for Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving and LeBron for Stephen Curry it’s going to be an incredible week of watching professional basketball. And think about it, they even come with their very own Casper: Zaza Pachulia, your Western Conference starting All-Star at Center (please, basketball fairies, make that happen)! Doesn’t get much friendlier than that dude.
Saturday: 9 GAMES – The nation will watch the Spurs visit the Cavs, which will be the best game, but I’m interested in seeing whether Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, or Isaiah Thomas thinks they can get to 40 points quicker. Another gem will come when the Rockets visit the Grizzlies: it doesn’t get more varied in style than those two squads. And Kristaps Porzingis gets to look in the mirror on Saturday as the Knicks host the Suns and Dragan Bender.
Sunday: 4 GAMES – Haha, what a cruel turn in the calendar. If the Dallas Cowboys win against the Green Bay Packers Sunday they’ll host the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship at the exact same time as the Mavericks game when they face the Lakers. Let’s take an over/under on how many people will be at that game. <8,000? Mark Cuban has to stream that game during his the entire time, right? I mean, it’s freaking Dallas! Anywho, seeing how many points the Warriors can drop on the Magic at 12:00pm ET should be fun before the Dallas game. After all, it’ll be 9:00AM local time for Golden State, so they’ll be done in time to have dinner back home Sunday night!
Now, DROP THOSE COMMENTS! And don’t be afraid to send along any questions on trades, pickups or life! Good luck in Week 13!