Five starters failing to score 10, four starters scoring less than ten combined, three teams that should blow it up, two Mondays skipped by the author, and one comment section debating Jayson Tatum. I realize it’s still November, but if the mall and my girlfriend force Christmas upon me I shall do the same to everyone reading this. Last night in the NBA, players failed to score, Andre Drummond proved he’s still Andre Drummond, and the Bucks disappointed everyone.
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Wizards vs Hornets
So, when presented with which game to watch last night I was given the choice of either watching the probable MVP of the league or watching Deni Avdija, Kyle Kuzma, and Bradley Beal get slandered by the Hornets’ amazing broadcast team. So I made the obvious choice and watched what ended up being the better match. Here are a few thoughts I had about the match, starting with the Hornets.
If there’s one thing the announcers are right about it’s that LaMelo Ball is fantastic, magnificent, and “an absolute treat to watch”. This kid is spectacular, never losing that high school swagger he had oh so many years ago. For those interested in the box score, he put up 28 points, 13 rebounds, and seven assists. Another notable player for the Hornets last night was Scary Terry Rozier, who put up a season-high 32 points. The Hornets have four core players in Rozier, Ball, Hayward, and Bridges who all seem to rotate breakout performances and invisible nights. Last night, Miles Bridges drew the short straw and only put up nine points on 14 shot attempts. Long-term, don’t worry about him, it was just an unlucky night.
Man, what a difference watching a whole game start to finish makes, I thought Kyle Kuzma was invisible last night. I was all prepared to step off my “Pick up Kuzma” hill and acknowledge reality, but apparently he put up a double-double last night? When did that happen? He finished that game with 11 points and 13 rebounds and is still in the top 20 for rebounds per game. So screw that, pick up Kyla damn Kuzma already. Montrezl Harrell had himself a night with 24 points and an astounding 18 rebounds. Finally, I want to talk about Wizards rookie Corey Kispert for a minute. He went 1-5 from the field, 0-3 from 3 and grabbed one rebound, very unimpressive. However, the stat you should be focusing on is the amount of minutes he played last night, that being 16. For a rookie picked in the late first round these are quality minutes and a breakout game could be just around the corner as he gains more confidence and gets accustomed to the system. On the other hand they could just treat him like Deni Avdija and try and turn him into another 3-and-D wing player.
Nets vs Cavaliers
After watching the highlights and analyzing the box score, is Kevin Durant a good basketball player? In all seriousness, he’s the catalyst for the Nets leading the Eastern Conference. Last night was no exception putting up 27 points, six rebounds, and nine assists. His running mate, poster boy James Harden, played floor general last night putting up only 14 points but 14 assists as well. Imagine if LaMarcus Aldridge was healthy for the Nets championship run last year. He’s been surprising everyone this year averaging 13 points on solid efficiency. A little bench scoring would have gone a long way against the Bucks and who knows, Durant may have been able to outduel Trae Young and Chris Paul.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are an exciting young team with two massive deteriorating assets on their payroll. I’ve called for it before but trade or buyout Kevin Love already. Between that contract and the ongoing drama with Sexton, the Cavs have two hourglasses of sand with very little sand left. As for the match against Brooklyn last night, they put up a valiant effort but came up just short. Stat lines of note include Allen’s 15 rebounds, Markkanen’s 22 points, Rubio’s 16 points off the bench, and Darius Garland’s double-double (24 points, 11 assists).
Rockets vs Celtics
The Rockets need Paolo Banchero or Chet Homegrin desperately. That’s all I really have to say about them last night, no starter cracked double digits in points. Shoutout to Armoni Brooks with 17 off the bench. Worth noting if you’re in a deep, deep fantasy league such as a 30 team fantasy league, trade for Rockets depth pieces. Plenty of garbage time for young players to get 12 minutes.
Jayson Westbrick continues to chuck shots, last night shooting 10-22 from the field and 1-9 from 3. The Celtics have been on a bit of a surge lately, but all that’s really changed was their defensive effort, clamping down Houston’s starters to under 10 points each. Jaylen Brown made his return from injury last night and put up a respectable 19 points, three assists, and three rebounds. If you’re of age to gamble, I would bet big on Jaylen Brown having a big game next match. Usually the pattern is one game to rehab the injury, then a player is back to 100%.
Thunder vs Hawks
The Unicorn, Aleksej Pokusevski, finally got some playing time last night and in 22 minutes put up a near double-double, 10 rebounds, and nine inefficient points (4-14). Flag him for now, not worth picking up in any 12 man leagues quite yet. Josh Giddey has established himself as the Thunders’ floor general of the future, putting up a respectable seven rebounds, eight assists, and 15 points on relatively efficient shooting splits. It’s a shame he wasn’t here earlier, could you imagine Giddey being mentored by Chris Paul? Final question for the Thunder, how much are you paying Lu Dort this offseason? He’s been on a tear recently, averaging 20 points, five rebounds, and guarding the opposing team’s best player nightly. He deserves way more than the mid-level exception, but are we talking 15 million, 18 million, 20 million? Important questions for the Thunder’s future, and most importantly the Thunder’s fantasy future.
I have very little to say about the Hawks yet again, as every Monday they play the same classic game. Trae Young puts up points (30), three-pointers (5-9), and free throws (7-7), Clint Capela grabs over 10 rebounds, and the depth contributes (Heurter with 13 and Bogdan with 13). Speaking in less specific terms about the Atlanta Hawks, with this win they break .500 and seem to be finally finding their form. For me there is the perfect example of overachieving in the playoffs and players becoming overvalued in fantasy. Remember when Bogdan was ranked in the top 100 for fantasy players? Kevin Heurter and Cam Reddish were breakout player of the year contenders? The Hawks are a good team, with quality depth, they were just overrated to start the season in my opinion.
Pacers vs Bulls
The Pacer’s player of the game should go to Rick Carlyle, for coming up with a scheme to clam up one of the hottest offences in the league, and containing them to only 77 points at home. I say credit to the coach because no one player truly stood out this game, just quality play from all five Pacer starters. Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner put up double-doubles and Malcolm Brogdon contributed seven assists and 16 points of his own. Worth noting, Chris Duarte was knocked from his starting role, and his numbers suffered greatly coming off the bench.
As for the Bulls side, nothing much to say, they got clamped. DeMar DeRozan shot 50% from the field and only put up 18 points. Zach Lavine put up 17 on even worse shooting, 7-18 from the field. Both fared better than Lonzo Ball, who put up a nice goose egg in the points department. Stats don’t define a player, however since this is a fantasy website and stats play a crucial role. Lonzo has never really been fantasy-friendly, often being over-drafted simply because he is a Ball brother, leading to him falling short of projections every year.
Bucks vs Magic
After watching the Wizards vs Hornets game I browsed ESPN to see what game to watch next, when my eyes saw the score of Bucks vs Magic. 45 – 90, 3rd Quarter 7:49. Needless to say I immediately tuned in to see the car crash in action, watched the Bucks climb to their highest lead, that being of 51 points and then watched them bench all of their starters. While in pure basketball terms, this was the smartest idea, don’t risk injury, don’t risk anything stupid happening. I get it. However as a fan of basketball, I was immensely disappointed that they didn’t try and break the franchise record of 166 points. The game ended up 123 to 92 for the Bucks, but think about what could have been. As for the Bucks themselves, pat yourself on the back if you had Jordan Nwora or Georgios Kalaitzakis on your team as you definitely won your deep league this week. No starter played over 25 minutes, so analyzing their scores would be fruitless.
As for the Orlando Magic, holy crap how good is Cole Anthony? Out of this game with a rolled ankle, how much were the Magic relying on his scoring prowess? No one could shoot last night. Franz Wagner put up a goose egg, 4th overall pick Jalen Suggs put up five, and the revived Mo Bamba a mighty 2. Robin Lopez almost outscored 4 starters for the Magic. It was an unfortunate night for Magic fans, Magic fantasy owners, and NBA fans wanting to see an absolute blowout.
Timberwolves vs Pelicans
Pelicans, Timberwolves we need to talk, desperately. I don’t care who won this pointless match, I don’t care about your young center/forward you’re trying to build around. It’s not working, you both need to course correct and try again. Wolves, it’s time to accept it’s not going to work with Karl Anthony-Towns. You tried your best, you have young talent, it’s just not gonna work with him in Minnesota. Trade for young pieces to build around Anthony Edwards, Jarred Vanderbilt and Jaden McDaniels. For KAT and Ant owners enjoy, the’re the only two players that consistently show up every night. Patrick Beverley is a hype man disguised as an NBA player, D’Angelo Russell is inconsistent and Malik Beasley is disappointing and inconsistent.
As for the Pelicans, where do I start? The offseason handling of supposed saviour Zion Williamson, Second “star” Brandon Ingram putting up nine points and six turnovers in 37 minutes or the team youth and depth completely vanishing? Should they sell high on Jonas Valanciunas? The Celtics, Mavericks, Hornets, and Wizards could really use the center depth and a package could be very valuable. I am of the opinion that they should and that they should trade Nickeil Alexander-Walker as well. He seems to be unable to share the court with Brandon Ingram, as shown by his numbers tanking after his return. Possible trade partners include the Mavericks, Nuggets, or possibly the Cavaliers.
Suns vs Spurs
Do the Suns regret paying Shamet and not Ayton yet? Deandre Ayton put up a double-double last night with 14 rebounds and 21 points. He’s averaging 16 points on the year with 13 rebounds per game as well. Landry Shamet put up 11 points with two rebounds and five assists last night and is averaging seven points, three rebounds, and two assists on the year. Ayton was a first overall pick, is an elite center talent, but what was the priority here? From a fantasy standpoint Ayton is a quality starting center, not top five but definitely top 10. Shamet is a good depth piece in a 15-man league? Also speaking of random Phoenix depth players, Cameron Payne went off last night for 20 points, congratulate yourself if you had him, but don’t lose sleep if you didn’t.
Dejounte Murray is my favorite type of fantasy player, a great player on a garbage team. The perfect fantasy recipe for boosted stats, more opportunities, and good draft value. For other examples see Christian Wood, Jared Mccann of the Seattle Kraken, or James Robinson of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Scoring a triple-double last night and averaging 18 points, eight assists, and eight rebounds on the year Dejounte is a fantasy gem, worth trying to formulate a trade over. Also worth noting Devin Vassell scored 17 points last night and has averaged 13 on the year. With this continued improvement, I could see him having a breakout season next year, definitely a sleeper for keeper leagues.
Grizzlies vs Jazz
Memphis went with a balanced attack last night, with their three young players all roughly equal in scoring and box score. Ja Morant obviously led the way with a very inefficient 32 points, shooting 9 for 30 from the field. Desmond Bane scored 28 on better shooting splits (12-20) adding two steals as well. Jaren Jackson Jr. rounds out the big three with 26 of his own, adding an additional eight rebounds. Steven Adams does what he does best and hoovered up an additional eight rebounds, he’s the cheaper, more accessible version of Clint Capela. Worth noting as well, rookie Ziaire Williams played for 25 minutes last night putting up eight points and four rebounds.
Do you know when that coworker that you can’t stand at work finally gets fired for his incompetence? That was Rudy Gobert finally putting up offensive numbers last night. I should have expected it would happen eventually, but it’s still so unexpected. Last night he put up 23 points with his usual 13 rebounds. Eclipsing him by one point last night was Bojan Bogdanovic, putting up 24 of his own. Bojan is a quality starting wing, who fits really well into the Jazz’s system, great bench depth for 12 or 10 man point leagues.
76ers vs Kings
Speaking of expected yet unexpected results, Andre Drummond’s rebounding numbers never cease to amaze me. 23 times the ball went off the glass and Andre Drummond caught it. He grabbed more rebounds than the entire Orlando Magic starting unit scored points! Speaking of scoring points, Tyrese Maxey stepped up big time. With Simmons, Embiid, Harris, and Seth Curry out, Tyrese shined, scoring 24 points. If he’s still somehow available, pick him up immediately. He’s the replacement point guard the Sixers were looking for.
Finally, we get to the Sacramento Kings. This has to be it right? The Kings are going to clean house, ship off Bagley and Hield to real contenders, and build around their three young guards. With no starters missing they lost to a 76ers team without their starting unit! Sell everything that isn’t Fox, Haliburton, and Mitchell and start anew once more.