The play-in tournament has been a hotly debated topic for the NBA community since its introduction last year. Metrics and revenue suggest that it is a great addition to the excitement building up to the playoffs but many players have voiced their displeasure, most notably Lebron James and Luka Doncic.

The strong counterargument is that most voices surfaced when their respective teams began to get affected by the said tournament. The Lakers for example are currently struggling and are in real danger of falling into the playing positions of the West. From a fantasy standpoint, I think it is slightly beneficial, as more teams are in the hunt for playoff qualification and so the effects of the usual silly season are less obvious with less random rest days and flat-out tanking from teams positioned 10th -12th.

Regarding last week’s suggestions, Oshae Brissett is showing no signs of slowing down with excellent performances in his last games and even averaged 33 minutes in the two games Domantas Sabonis returned. He has been a real difference-maker in fantasy playoffs this year. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was serviceable and while Matisse Thybulle was clutch for those streaming him for stocks, as he accumulated six steals and five blocks in the three games he played last week. Finally, Terrence Ross predictably didn’t play at all and has no reason to be in any fantasy roster.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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This was truly a big week in the world of the NBA. Teams are constantly jockeying for playoff position with less than ten games left in the regular season. Players are starting to put their final stamps on the season in hopes of earning an NBA award or being name to one of the three All-NBA teams. But most of all, we got a handful of historic performances that really displayed the bright future ahead for the NBA with its new crop of ascending superstars. Two of these performances came at the hands of Jayson Tatum and Luka Doncic who both had nights that will go down in the record books. That is why they are my honorary Hoopers of the Week! Let’s get into it!

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Now that it’s looking like I’ll likely lose in my championship matchup this week (boooooooooooo!), I guess it’s time to turn to helping you all out in your championship runs this week. By the way, please move your playoffs up to avoid all the silliness. It happened earlier this year, but I’m a strong proponent of just absolutely skipping the last month of the season as teams randomly sit people and rest up for their playoff pushes.

Anyways, do yourself a favor and take a look at the opponent you are up against. Identify the categories where you guys are close (so if you are both bad at winning a category or if you both are middling at a category or both good at winning a category) and stock up on guys to win those categories. Most leagues are nine category leagues, so remember you only need to win five of them.

That said, here are the guys coming up with a boatload of games, all under 50% owned on Yahoo! that can help you win specific categories.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I feel like our children’s generation and their children’s generation are going to look back upon our generation and have a gross underappreciation of Kevin Durant. Maybe it’s because of all the narratives floating around but I rarely hear him mentioned as one of the greats. Because in my mind, granted my mind is small and has been heavily influenced by trees and mushrooms, he is one of the greatest to ever play the game. He’s a seven-footer who has handles like a guard, is a career 1/1/1 player, a career 27-point scorer, and a career 49/38/88 shooter. He’s got the hardware and is one of the most unstoppable offensive forces in the game. Because he’s missed so much time this year due to injury, he’s been out of the consciousness of many but Dudeisamazingant reminded us of his ability yesterday.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
42 10 2 1 0 5 7/13 16/33 3/4

In 40 minutes. The 58th time Dudeisamazingant has scored at least 40 points in a game. Durant has played 28 games this season and he’s the number six player on a per-game basis. Over the last seven seasons, he’s finished as the numero uno player for fantasy three times and been top five in six seasons. I hope he stays healthy so I can continue to watch his greatness.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

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The Hornets were buzzing to have LaMelo back and that showed on the court with their victory over a Detroit Pistons team that is already officially out of playoff contention and without their best player in Jerami Grant. 

Frank Jackson surprisingly led the way for the Pistons off the bench with 25 points, seven rebounds, and three assists while he shot. 42.1% from the field and hit six triples. Rookie Killian Hayes played nearly 32 minutes as he continues to progress back from that hip injury and to prove to the many doubters that he is not a bust. You cannot call someone a bust when he has barely played. Last night he put up 10 points, six rebounds, and six assists as well as two steals. “Beef Stew” Isaiah Stewart had an underwhelming game with only nine points and two rebounds while playing the bulk of the minutes in the stead of Mason Plumlee who was held out for rest purposes. 

For the Hornets, LaMelo Ball was up to his usual shenanigans, as he returned to action and made Hornets announcer Eric Collins lose his cool and go bananas in his booth. His full-court passes were in full effect as shown through his eight total assists that went along with seven rebounds and 11 points. Malik Monk also returned to action and scored 11 points, stole the ball once, and grabbed two boards in 22 minutes of action. Meanwhile, LaMelo’s best bud on the team was flying even higher than usual to throw down his passes. Miles Bridges scored 27 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Miles has really come into his own this season and one upside of Hayward’s unfortunate injury is that now Miles has an even bigger opportunity to do so. We cannot forget about Scary Terry Rozier, who scored a game-high 29 points, grabbed seven rebounds, and dished out four assists. An excellent season as well for Rozier. These Hornets are fighting and LaMelo’s return may now be that extra punch they need to stay in a play-in spot. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yet another set of lopsided Friday night matchups as teams look to assert their dominance heading into the playoffs. With ten or so games left before the Play-In tournament, the landscape of the NBA is set where every team qualifies as one of the following: A set playoff team jockeying for position, a Play-In team holding on for dear life, or a team playing spoiler. No matter where your favorite team sits in the standings, each game matters down this final homestretch of the regular season. This Friday night we got blowouts, a historic comeback, and the return of LeBron James! The final two-three weeks of the NBA regular have more at stake than ever before as teams all look to close the season on some kind of positive note. With that being said, let’s take a look at all of the Primetime Players from Friday night’s slate of games in the race to the 2021 Playoffs!

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With Luka Doncic sitting one out, Dallas’ offense flowed through Tim Hardaway Jr., and boy did he have himself a night. Hardaway dropped a career-best 42 points on just 23 shots, drilling six of his 10 triple tries and sinking all 10 of his attempts from the stripe. THJ (57 percent owned in Yahoo!) is as streaky as they come, but if Doncic misses any more time the opportunity will be there for oodles of points and treys.

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Welcome to your midweek guidance for Week 18!  If you’re reading this now, you’re contending for a championship.  Congrats on making it this far.  Now it’s time to get the chip!

In many leagues, the non-contending managers are likely asleep at the switch, which may subdue the usual waiver wire feeding frenzy at the end of each week.  If that’s not the case, however, I’ve compiled a longer-than-usual list of streaming targets to tide you over until the next round.

The blurbs will be shorter this week.  Though there may be some guys that you hang onto going into the next round, I’m focusing exclusively on streaming rather than mid-to-long-term holds due to where we are in the season.  That being said, it pays to be ruthless at this stage.  If you have a player like Collin Sexton, who is missing games with no definitive return date during your playoffs, it may be best to cut him loose and stream the spot if you’re in a tight one.  The four games that you can pick up from that spot should make up for losing a top 80 guy if you play it right.

The following list is divided into players who can help you in four, three, or two categories.  Everyone listed below is rostered in 50% or less of ESPN and/or Yahoo leagues.

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During draft season, I joked with the other Razz writers that, according to my extremely unscientific research, 100% of LA guys were in on LaMelo Ball. The echo chamber and hype bubble were too well-constructed for this not to be the case (also I didn’t really do much research and threw out evidence that didn’t support my theory. I’m Mister Hooper, not Doctor.) LaVar’s greatest creation was not the trio of ballers he sired (or those ugly shoes), but the machine he constructed to discuss them ad infinitum. Put off the Ball family brashness, I was lukewarm on LaMelo when drafting and missed out on an extremely fun and productive rookie year. The hype will be hot again next season, I assume, especially if the Hornets show some fight against one of the beasts of the East, so I’ll probably miss him next year too. But perhaps there’s a backdoor to one of these Balls. While little bro is taking up all the shine, Lonzo Ball has taken another step forward, especially as a shot maker. The vision and passing has always been legit (even my hater-ass was quick to concede that after watching him at Summer League) but the stroke has been sanded down and his 3-point percentage now creeps towards 40%. Still shy of 24-years-old, he’s putting it together.

Last night, playing in the aptly named Ball Arena in Denver, Lonzo consistently got where he wanted to go on the floor and then dimed up his teammates once he cracked the Denver defense open. The highlight package below isn’t spectacular, but if you want to watch a dude move to the exact spots  where he’s most dangerous, then I have the clip for you.

Lonzo Ball

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
16 12 12 4 2 4 6/14 0/0 4

It was another busy Wednesday in professional hoops. Here’s what else stood out:

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