We’ve made it through a quarter of the NBA season. Some players signed this summer will be eligible to be traded on December 15, others will be trade eligible on January 15. Fantasy trade deadlines aren’t far off. It’s  a good time to check-in on a few teams and see what’s shaking. The Miami Heat currently sit third in the Eastern Conference. They’re obviously firmly in the playoff race, but any Pat Riley-run organization is playing for much more than a simple playoff birth. The Heat are relying on two promising rookie guards and a third second-year player. How those players develop will not only help determine their fate this season, but it might also influence trade decisions around the deadline and in the summer. The Atlanta Hawks are at a bit of a hinge point in their rebuild. They came into the season with a lot of media buzz and some vague playoff talk. Trae Young went all scorched earth and they started the season 2-0. All hell broke loose after that. They’ve got to figure out what they have in their young players. Is this the beginning of the end of their rebuild or are they smack dab in the middle of it? The Minnesota Timberwolves are firmly in rebuilding mode, but for the first time they’re making decisions that prioritize Karl-Anthony Towns as the rightful centerpiece and key to their future. How do Andrew Wiggins, Jeff Teague, and Jarrett Culver fit into their future plans? What do Ryan Saunders lineup decisions portend for later this season? And most relevant to all of you beautiful readers, what does this mean for you and your fantasy team? Keep reading to find out.

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What was the address of the house you grew up in? Please include your Social Security number and bank pin number while you’re at it. What about the first apartment you rented? And the motel you lost your virginity at? I kid, I kid. We all have memories about certain addresses in our lives. For some reason, 21 Jump Street is the address that always pops up for me. Anyways, last night, Devin Booker established a new home in New Orleans:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
44 8 9 2 0 5 5/11 13/24 13/13

The festivities at 44 Booker Street lasted for 42 minutes and the new residence was established due to the 139-132 Suns victory over the Pelicans. Booker had a 40-burger back on November 4th and he had scored at least 30 points four other times. With that said, his season seemed a little underwhelming for some. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what’s never underwhelming? The Stocktonator. The usage this season was down to 28 from 32 last year and the PPG dipped to 25 from 26.6. It’s not all about points, though, for Booker, although he can obviously access 40 to 50-burger ceiling. Booker is a top 30 player for fantasy this season beause he’s shooting 94% from the free line and 50% from the field, with the 6.3 dimes, 3.9 boards, and 2.3 tres. He just needs to contribute the defensive stats. If he can do that, he’d easily be a top 20 player.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Temples are buildings where religious or spiritual activities are performed. These acts have ranged from sacrifice to the more socially acceptable prayer. Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, and many other religions have utilized temples to worship their gods. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what’s a digitial god? The Stocktonator. And they are often open every day, yet people usually only go to worship once a week. Same goes for Garrett Temple. He’s played in every game this season. Early on, he was getting 16-18 minutes of run, then it was ramped up to 24-26 minutes. Since November 18th, Temple has averaged 34 minutes per game, primarily because of the Caris LeVert injury. With that said, he provides a fantasy relevent performance about once a week. Last night the weekly quota was met.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
27 4 3 0 0 2 6/9 10/16 1/1

If you pray hard enough, Temple will provide points, tres, boards, and dimes. Just don’t get greedy and expect any defensive stats. Save those prayers for world peace and an end to hunger.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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I know the “Player of the Week” award is not that important. I know the return of Carmelo Anthony has been a pleasant surprise for many and I can freely admit, as evidenced here, that I was not a believer. But for the love of everything that is holy, Carmelo shouldn’t be the winner of the award this week by averaging 22.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 2.37 assists. Not when Luka Doncic had 30.3/8.7/9.0 and especially not when James Harden had 47.0/4.5/6.5 during the same span.

Maybe it was the “Comeback Player of the Week” Award. Or the “Western Conference Player with a Last Name Starting with “Ant” Week Award”, since Giannis also won the Eastern Conference. I am definitely glad the league is highlighting other players besides the MVP candidates, but Harden’s week was too unreal to ignore.

Last week’s “Buy” suggestions fared pretty well, with both Nerlens Noel and Glenn Robinson III having productive weeks, while Frank Ntilikina was useful until he got ruled out due to a bad back. Finally, Cody Zeller lost his starting spot and has done nothing to convince me he is not a “Sell” candidate.

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I’ve never eaten veal, but according to the Google machine, it “has been treasured for centuries for its delicious, succulent flavor.” Veal comes from the meat of young calves and has been referenced in the Bible as the choicest of animal food. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what’s the choicest for fantasy basketball projections? The Stocktonator. Unfortunately, many feel bad for eating veal because of how the calves are raised on factory farms: extreme confinement and cruelty. This doesn’t sound too much different than Bradley Beal and his shituation in Washington. Beal is a phenomenal player and revered in fantasy circles. Many feel bad for him, though, because the Wizards are a terrible team. He experiences extreme confinement being the lone star on the team and the shituation is just cruel. With that said, last night the Beal was cooked a little differently; in a 40-burger!

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
42 6 4 1 0 3 3/6 16/30 7/10

In 42 minutes!!! Beal has now cooked 15 40-burgers and one 50-burger in his career! What makes this Beal so damn good is that he averages 28.7 points, 2.7 tres, 4.4 boards, 7.2 dimes, and 1.1 steals per game. The percentages are both excellent; 47% from the field and 82% from the line. The usage rate is 30.9. Now, the blocks are non-existent and the turnovers are a little high, but 3.3 per game won’t cause the Beal to be returned back to the kitchen. Top 15 player for fantasy and one of the highest floor players because he averages 36.8 minutes per contest! Mmm, mmm, delicious.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Now that Thanksgiving is in the rearview mirror, all hands are on deck for Christmas. The neighbors adorn the houses with electric bling, the empty lots are filled with trees standing in Terracotta formation, and we all become tolerant of elevator music. It’s a happy time indeed. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know how you can always be happy? By using the Stocktonator. In fact, one could say that it’s a jubilant time with voices singing Jingle Bells and hands literally jingling bells. Guess who was jubilant and jingled something last night in the NBA?

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
31 4 2 1 2 2 2/8 10/19 9/9

Jaren Jackson Jr. was unbelievable. The 31 points were a season-high and he jingled the stat box to make sure there was a little something something in each box. He was in foul trouble….again….What else is new? But at least he was able to navigate around it. Now, before you take off your clothes and run around jingling your parts, know that Jonas Valanciunas and Brandon Clarke were both unable to play. Coach Jenkins had no choice but to leave him out there. With that said, this is the ceiling that JJJ can access. He’s young, but it’s only a matter of time before he contributes these kind of lines on a consistent basis. Don’t expect that to happen this season, so expect the inconsistencies, but mental masturbate over what the future entails.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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I have much to be thankful for. A loving wife. Beautiful kids. Razzball. Beep. Boop. Bop. The Stocktonator. I’m thankful that there’s a holiday to remind us to be thankful, which gives us Black Friday and Cyber Monday so that companies can show their thanks by taking all our money. Gotta love capitalism. What’s next? Thankful Thursdays? At this point, might as well. The other week, someone texted me about Happy International Men’s Day. Are you f’ing kidding me? Does that imply that there’s a Domestic Men’s Day? Anyways, what I’m most thankful for this year has been drafting Bam Adebayo in every fantasy basketball league I could. Why? Just look what he did yesterday:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
17 16 1 1 1 4 0 6/14 5/7

Bam is only 22 years old. He’s 6′ 9″ 255lbs, so he can bang down low with the big boys, yet he’s agile enough to Euro step in transition for a dunk. The 7′ 1″ wingspan allows him to gobble up rebounds, while his vision and passing acumen have him dishing out 4.2 dimes per game. Bam is averaging 1.5 steals and 1.2 blocks. The only thing he doesn’t contribute are tres, and the free throw shooting is poor (65%), although he’s been converting 72% of the freebies over the past seven games. Put it all together and Bam is a top 50-ish player for fantasy. Arigato Adebayo.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

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Be ready for some James Bond references. 

It’s an Oddjob guarding James Harden. And De’Andre Hunter found out the Harden way. Because Agent 0013 tied Agent 0023, one Michael Jordan, for the third-most 60-point games in NBA history with his fourth such game (it only took him three quarters). And he had the Goldfinger going as well, dishing out eight assists, which is also tied for the third-most assists in a 60-point effort (Harden is also first on that list, putting together the only recorded triple-double in a 60-point game when he had 10 rebounds and 11 assists two years ago). 0013 knows that You Only Live Twice, and He Only Missed Thrice from the free throw line, going 20-for-23 and continuing to lead the league with a staggering 14.4 attempts per game, leading runner-up Giannis Antetokounmpo by more than three attempts in each contest. He’s the Man with the Golden Shot, sinking eight threes for the third time this year. And most importantly, Harden was Dr. No in allowing the Hawks to even get close in this one… his +/- of 50 trails the highest +/- of the past two decades by only 7 points (Luc Mbah a Moute with the Rockets, believe it or not). Here is his full stat line:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
60 3 8 3 1 5 8-14 16-24 20-23

Alright, that’s it with the Bond references. Was that enough? For me it was, but for 0013, the World is not Enough. Here’s what else occurred in a four-game slate on Saturday.

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When Kyrie Irving went down to injury on November 14, the Nets lost their leader. The fantasy community lost its leader. And hope was starting to look bleak for the upcoming stretch of games without the explosive veteran running the point.

But Spencer Dinwiddie has not missed a beat. In the eight games that he’s started in place of Irving, he has averaged 24.5 points, 7.8 assists, three boards, a steal, and a block per game. He’s shooting 93% from the line with a decent sample size of 7.5 attempts per game. He has limited his turnovers to 2.4 per game. The only knock has been his efficiency from the field (42.4%) and from deep (34%), but all things considered, Dinwiddie is deserving of many thanks from his teammates.

His teammates were especially thankful last night, as he was giving at a particularly generous rate and recorded the following stat line:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
32 5 11 2 2 4 6-8 10-19 6-6

His 11 dimes led the NBA (along with LeBron and Luka), and his sharp-shooting from deep led the Nets to a great win over the division-rival Celtics. Here’s what else happened around the league on Friday night.

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Potential, Potential, Potential

Potential is enticing, if fickle. Potential is a first date. A 0-0 count in the top of the first. Potential is a stray glance or wink, a few perfectly volleyed bits of of banter between two people soon to be lovers. Potential is the essay before its written, the hazy four-line outline in the mind. Potential is the moment before the moment, where dream and reality meet, if only for an instant.

Potential is not, however, negative capability, as Keats described it: “I mean Negative Capability, that is when man ‘or woman’ is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without, any irritable reaching after fact or reason.” Potential implies a payoff, a return on investment. The hung curveball must be sent screaming to the seats. The alley must be ooped. The first date must lead to a second.

In the poem, the reward is the exploration of uncertainty itself. In fantasy sports, that irritable reaching after fact or reason is all we know. With that in mind, here are some players who’ve been blessed with the wicked kiss of potential.

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