Let’s get to it, shall we, on a kinda busy seven game slate.
The Magic Magically Blaze a Trail to Victory
The Magic at full strength have a great, young frontcourt, and that was on display last night. They totaled 78 points, 22 boards, and 6 assists last night. If you own Franz Wagner, Wendell Carter Jr., and Paolo Banchero, well, that’s kinda weird to have three guys from the same team. But any of them are legitimate starters going forward, and they all still have some upside. Unfortunately, if you are holding Bol Bol, he looks like the fourth wheel of this tricycle. I would hold him and see, but I’m not optimistic. The other three are better players.
Like Banchero is 6-10, 250, and can run like this:
Paolo Banchero speeds up for the SLAM ⚡️
— Magic Nation (@MagicNationCP) January 11, 2023
The Magic guards, however, are a work in progress. Markelle Fultz hit 7-8 shots last night. He was the only guard worth playing last night, though. Gary (LOL) Harris played 28 minutes and scored 4 points and had a steal. That was his entire box score line with no boards or assists. I picture this game for him as like, “Hey Gary, stand in the corner. Yeah, over there. No, don’t move. Like, ever.”
The Blazers missed 30 three pointers, and their shot chart is full of long distance X. I hate games like this. Try something different, right? When Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons shoot a combined 4-21 on threes, that’s some sort of lack of creativity on offense. So they lost.
Gary Payton 2, the reboot, is back, and could be of use for steals if he gets more minutes. But he doesn’t miss threes so I doubt he gets in.
Messing around with the Sixers busting a move on the Pistons
James Harden got that triple double with 16-12-15 in only 25 minutes, so that lets you know this was not a close one, right? Joel Embiid also had an absurd 36 points in 26 minutes. De’Anthony Melton looks to be out of favor with the Sixers at full strength, and can be dropped if you have someone you’re excited about.
If Kevin Knox is starting for your team, you clearly have a lot of work to do on your roster construction. I’m ignoring all of these guys. Okay, Jaden Ivey scored 17 with 4 assists. He’s a good, no, great target in a dynasty but will be pretty spotty for this season. Saddiq Bey hit 17, and would be a solid pickup if you need just a guy who does a little of everything.
This game was over by halftime, so all takes should be taken with the Pistons tanking pill.
Heat Catch Fire for a Thunderous Victory
40-40 free throws on the TNT game for Tuesday night. It was terrible to watch, so I tried to watch UNC vs. Virginia, and that was worse. So my night was less than ideal.
Jimmy Butler hit 23-23 from the line to salvage victory for the short handed Heat. They started Haywood Highsmith AND Orlando Robinson this game. I would go about ignoring them, except the deepest of leagues or if you are their mothers. And if you’ve heard of them, you are a total Heat nerd or just an NBA degenerate. Jamal Cain put up 32 minutes and did some fun things, 12-5-3. He is an undrafted rookie from Marquette, and those guys always stick somehow, but I wouldn’t read too much into the Heat. They had 6 rotation guys out tonight.
Josh Giddey made his owners happy with an 18-15-10 trip-dub, but his lack of shooting holds him back from being a sure fire starter. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander hit for 26, but having 6 TO to 4 assists kinda put a damper on things. The rest of the Thunder, I wouldn’t trust this team actually. Their day to day rotation changes so much, it’s hard to know who’s for real and for fake.
The Jazz have the NBA Nicest Fans
Cheering Donovan Mitchell was a very nice thing to do. Even if the guy put up 46-5-6 on them. Classy folks, those Utes. I want to focus, though, on Evan Mobley.
Mobley scored 12 points and had 7 boards last night. Not bad, not bad, but also not a leap that many expected. I’m still thinking Mobley will be a good player, but a great player would probably had made a jump this year. And a game like this, where Jarrett Allen had the pukies and couldn’t play, was a perfect spot for the other big guy to step up, and he didn’t. I’m not like concerned concerned, but I am wondering if everyone overstated his upside.
Of course, upon research, he was dominant on defense, so at this point he’s a good player in real life. Fantasy, I think it’ll come.
For the descendents of Mark Eaton, Walker Kessler nabbed a start with Kelly Olynyk out. Solid job for the rookie, but the below-the-hood numbers are concerning: 3-9 shooting. Also, he had 11 boards, but 5 offensive and I’m willing to bet 4 of those were tips off of his own misses. I call that “Pulling a Dennis Rodman.” Pad those stats, rookie!
Ochai Agbaji has entered the rotation for Utah. I watched him vs. Chicago, and he was quite spry offensively, shooting 4-4 on 3s. Last night was 17 minutes, 2 points, 4 boards, and 2 assists. Monitor him in case of tanking, but he’s not a pickup anywhere right now.
Lauri Markkanen (25-16) and Jordan Clarkson (32 points) put up good stat lines. Markkanen was 6-18 on his shot, though, but salvaged his line with 12-14 on the charity stripe. No such concerns for Clarkson tonight (11-19 shooting). Also Clarkson did all of this at the end:
JORDAN CLARKSON JUST PULLED OFF A 9-0 RUN ON HIS OWN TO PUT THE JAZZ UP BY 4. 😱
— theScore (@theScore) January 11, 2023
I tried to warn you about LaMelo Ball
Melo’s stats look pretty, but he’s really not an efficient player, and being on a bad team means he’s exposed to way too many bad shots. 9-22 shooting is a killer. The guy should really be shooting like half of the shots he takes. He’s not a volume 3-point maker, but he is a volume 3-point taker. He’s hitting on average 4.2 per game, but shooting over 11 per. He shoots 20 times per game, leading to a 41.2% overall on his shooting. I’m thinking he should cut back on the threes, look to drive more. Rebounds at 5.5 and assists at 8.4 are stellar. LaMelo would fit well with a guy like Joel Embiid to help balance out the percentages.
Also, do more of this:
LaMelo Ball spins his way to the bucket 😵💫pic.twitter.com/Advz9sWPbV
— Hornets Nation (@HornetsNationCP) January 11, 2023
On the Toronto side, Scottie Barnes continues to underwhelm and play worse than last year (at least in fantasy), totaling five points, but salvaging some value with 7 assists and 5 boards. I was glad to see Gary Trent Jr. the reboot continuing his role as a major minutes starter. Grab him for threes, FT%, and points, but don’t count on much else. One of my favorite guys to watch though when he’s fully engaged on defense.
Here is Trent’s last 8 games:
24.9 PPG 1.9 SPG 47.1% FG (17.3 attempts) 43.9% 3FG (8.3 attempts) 90.9% FT (5.5 attempts)
Could someone reteach Fred VanVleet (3-10, 2 of 7 on 3s) how to shoot? And of course Pascal Siakam (28-8-7) delivered a vintage LeBron James stat line.
The Warriors are Weird and lost to the G League Suns
When Zombie Dario Saric (19-9-7) lights you up and you are a defending champion and lose to a team without Chris Paul, Devin Booker, and Deandre Ayton, something weird is going on.
Damion Lee lit up his bro-in-law with 14-14 free throw shooting and 22 points, 7 boards and also 7 assists for some nice symmetry. Mikal Bridges showed what he can do in an expanded role with 26-9-5, and a saucy 3 blocks for good measure.
Don’t read too much into these guys, don’t go running to the wire expecting season changing results. It’s a team that’s been decimated by injuries.
The Warriors are at full strength so go ahead and drop Donte DiVincenzo, who only hit 17 minutes. Kevon Looney only had 21 (productive with 8 boards) minutes so his reign of terror might be coming to an inglorious end.
The Warriors couldn’t shoot but it was their first game back at full strength so I wouldn’t stress any of their guys. They’ll be just fine.
Thanks again for the honor of reading my stuff, and any questions in the comments I’d be happy to answer!
In a 12 team h2h 9 cat, I was offered Sadiq Bey/Mason Plumlee/Jordan Poole for my KAT/Killian Hayes.
I actually think side A is better in this trade, but I am afraid of playoff time and needing KAT and some consistency. What do you think?
KAT is the clear best player in the trade, and it isn’t close, but nobody is sure if he actually likes basketball enough to like, you know, rehab and play again. Killian Hayes is decent too.
However, you’re getting Jordan Peele who will probably shoot better, and Mason Plumlee isn’t going away.
I’d say side A is safer, but B has more upside for the playoffs.