I’m going to take the opportunity of a light 7-game Wednesday NBA slate to a quick scream therapy session so I can just get over this and move on for the season. 


Ok. So, Nurse did it again. Joel Embiid was a late scratch, and we got another edition of Marcus Morris starting at center for the 76ers. The Pelicans ran up a quick lead with a bunch of easy basketball in the paint and never looked back. 

And so not only is Paul Reed not playing some PF like Nurse teased preseason (and some reason we believed him), but he’s not starting at center when Embiid sits – AND, in this game, he wasn’t even the first center off the bench! 

Maybe this is some coach overthink that Nurse wants to maintain a single role for Reed no matter the situation. Maybe it’s possible Nurse is smarter than I am about basketball. But it sure didn’t look like it last night, when the Pelicans scored 60 points in the paint and outrebounded Philly 40-30. 

Reed did end up playing 27 minutes and wasn’t anything too special – 6 points (3-4 FG), 4 boards, 5 dimes and a steal. And his Per 36 numbers are nothing to shine a light on so far this season. But you gotta believe episodes like this – when he’s entering a game he should have started, and his team already down 15 for lack of interior anything – can be frustrating for a young player. 

Reed is still a young developing player, and hopefully gets his time to shine in both real and fantasy ball. And I’m just a stupid head for buying into the hype prematurely during draft season. 

Alright, let’s move on. 

New Orleans Pelicans 124, Philadelphia 76ers 114

Zion Williamson posted maybe the line of the night, scoring 33 points on 11-of-12 shooting (11-12 from the line as well), 8 rebounds, 6 assists and three steals. The guy is so easily capable of being a Top 30-40 player, but who knows if we ever see it.

CJ McCollum returned and played 28 minutes, posting a nice 20-4-5-2-1 line. I really hope he can stay pick up where he left off and make his first All-Star game this year. CJ won’t fly with the team Saturday, so we get one more stream opportunity from the other guards, but after that it’s deeper league only appeal, I think from Hawkins, Dyson and Alvarado – especially with Trey Murphy returning soon as well. Jonas Valanciunas also carved up the Philly interior, dropping in 8-of-9 for 19 points to go with 6 boards and 3 assists. But his lack of defense stats keeps us from ever getting excited about him. 

For all the Reed turmoil [OK, not moving on], at least I can celebrate continued solid play from De’Anthony Melton, who had 4 threes and 3 steals along with 17 points and 6 dimes. Kelly Oubre will return soon, and I’m cautiously optimistic Melton maintains the same-ish role.

Nic Batum went down with a hand injury, so Robert Covington got 30 minutes of run, posting 12-7-1 with a block and 4-for-4 from behind the arch. Worth a speculative add in head-to-head while we wait for news on Batum. Tobias Harris (12-4-2; 0-fer-2 from deep) never gets talked about much whether he’s playing good or bad. The last few games have been pretty bad, but he’ll rebound.

Denver Nuggets 134, Houston Rockets 124

Nearly back to full strength (minus Aaron Gordon) Denver led this one by double digits pretty much the whole way. Michael Porter Jr. was an assassin from deep, shooting 7-of-12 from behind the arch on his way to a 30-10-5 game. Jamal Murray returned from injury with 16-6-6, as the Reggie Jackson (14-2-2 with 2 threes) run for standard leagues came to an end.

Tis the Holidays season, as Justin Holiday (11-3-4-2-0 with 3 threes) started again in place of Gordon and Aaron Holiday (9-3-5; 0-fer-5 from deep) started in place of a resting Fred VanVleet.

With FVV watching, Jalen Green took advantage. Maybe his best all-around game as a pro in this one. He went bananas in the third quarter and finished with 26 points (8-12 FG, 5-8 3PT, 5-6 FT), 6 rebounds, 9 assists and a block. Jabari Smith Jr. posted 15-7-2 with a block and 2 threes. I might end up having to eat some crow on Smith. He hasn’t been blowing anyone away in the box scores but has been consistent over the last couple weeks. I still think he’s barely a Top 100 player at best this season, but he’s trending in the direction of my foot in my mouth. 

Memphis Grizzlies 105, Utah Jazz 91

Memphis called in the DRs to save them from horribleness. That is, Derrick Rose (14-4-9; 7-11 FGs) and David Roddy (19-6-1 with 5 threes; 7-11 FG), who entered the starting lineup, in lieu of Santi Aldama (11-4-1-1-1 in 25 minutes off the bench) and Jacob Gilyard (who didn’t make it off the bench). Granted, it was a home game against the Jazz without Markkanen, but Memphis looked like an actual NBA team with Rose at the helm, so if you need assists with averageness elsewhere, go ahead and grab him for a possible two-week ride until Ja Morant returns. Same with Roddy if you want, but it’s asking a lot for consistent production from him.

Jaren Jackson Jr. blocked a season high 6 shots to go with 18 points (8-19 FG, 0-3 3PT, 4-4 FT) and 6 boards and is finally starting to trend upwards. If you bought low, congrats. 

Walker Kessler Utah Ranger still coming off the bench, but we don’t care when he plays 28 minutes and posts 9-8-2-1-6; although the FG% remains unsavory, going 4-of-11 here, 54% on the season. Simone Fontecchio hit 4-of-8 from deep and is a solid threes streamer while he’s getting mid-20 minutes of play. John Collins (17-4-1 with 3 threes) is just who he is this season no matter the rotation around him, which is at least reliable compared to last year. 

Orlando Magic 139, Washington Wizards 120

Here’s the Franz Wagner we all fell head over fantasy heels for last year. A top 30 player in the last 2 weeks after a sputtering start to the season, Tour de Franz scored 31 points (11-14 FG, 4-6 3PT, 5-6 FT) in 31 minutes with 6 boards and 3 dimes, and clearly took it personally when I compared him to Deni Avdiji a couple weeks back (I just assume my articles are a must read for all NBA players). I still think he’ll be streaky throughout the season, so if you can trade him at the right time for a Top 45-ish guy who’s more consistent, I’d take that.

Cole Anthony (25-6-5 with 2 blocks and 3 threes) and Jalen Suggs (22-3-3 with 2 steals and 3 threes) continue their hot run while we still wait for any Markelle Fultz injury. It was a sheet game for Paolo Banchero (6-4-4; 2-8 FG), who somehow has increased his 3PT% significantly this season while simultaneously dropping 10% from the free throw line. 

Speaking of Avdiji, I get to toot that horn again as he posted a second straight strong showing [she sells seashells by the seashore] with 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting, 4 boards, 5 dimes and 2 steals. Tyus Jones got 21 minutes, and please let him be traded soon before he loses all joy of basketball, and that potential gets completely obliterated. 

Toronto Raptors 112, Phoenix Suns 105

OG Anunoby (13-3-1-3-1; 5-10 FG and 3 threes) had 40 steals in his first 15 games last season. This season, 16. He may not crack the Top 30 like he did last season, but surely, he ends at least around Top 50 this year. 

Solid game from all Toronto starters, and a random 18-point, 10-board dub-dub in 18 minutes by Precious Achiuwa. But Jakob Poeltl got 30 minutes of run (17-4-1 and a block; 8-9 FG) and the early season worries are faded. 

The Bosnian Beast Jusuf Nurkic showing once again he’s capable of a Top 50 ranking when his head is in the game, posting 19-14-6 with 2 blocks here, a three and great efficiency (8-12 FG). He’s been on a heater the last couple weeks. I’m far too jaded from watching his roller coaster runs in a Blazers uniform to believe he continues at this pace much longer; but it’s possible.

Devin Booker (8-5-5; 2-12 FG) (yuk) played through an ankle injury that occurred in the third (double yuk) and is a question mark for the next game at least. Maybe, just maybe, it’s a legitimate stream situation for Jordan Goodwin (9-4-6), who’s had three solid games in a row, if Greyson Allen misses more time. 

LA Lakers 133, Detroit Pistons 107

LA took out their frustration from that embarrassment in Philly on the lowly Pistons. D’Angelo Russell had his best game of the season (35-4-9-1-2; 5-7 3PT). Cam Reddish returned but didn’t produce in 20 minutes off the bench. We’ll see if he can get back to at least a steals streamer in the short term. He had a solid 14-team appeal before the injury, but when the Lakers have all their big wings back, it’s difficult to see that happening again.

Low minutes for the Pistons starters in this drubbing and a couple mids off the bench. Just move on from this one.

LA Clippers 131, Sacramento Kings 117

James Harden posted a season high 26 points (8-14 FG; 5-8 3PT; 5-5 FT) with 3 boards, 6 dimes and 5 steals. His usage rate remains far below what we’re used to, so his off-shooting nights will result in some clunkers. But I think we know what to expect from him going forward: a late 2nd / early 3rd round player. Back-to-back monster games for Kawhi Leonard (31-8-3-1-2).  Ivica Zubac (14-8-3 and 3 blocks in 30 minutes) has tamed any threat to minutes that Daniel Theis may have presented in the rotation.

Chris Duarte started, stank, and was benched in the second half for Sasha Vazenkof, who finished with 13 points (5-7 FG; 3-5 3PT) and 5 boards in a season high 24 minutes of run – enjoying the added rule while Keegan Murray is out. 


Let’s wrap up with an important PSA: How the schedule is set up next week, in daily roster leagues, you’ll want to look for streamers from teams that are in the in-season playoff bracket. 

Cheers to all until next week!