Should I just call it the ‘Rona Roundup? Sheesh. Like half of my fantasy rosters and half of my beloved Celtics can’t hoop at present because of this scourge. My ability to marginally function during all this madness right now largely depends on access to NBA hoops and steak. You mess with that? I get cranky and mouthy. Even though some players are ineligible right now who would otherwise be available in normal times, I’m focusing on the positive: Most players are active.
And I can say negatives things about them to soothe myself.
So you know what? I’mma try something new this week with my round-up: Two players from each team, one of whom did the Best Work, and one who is the Biggest Jerk and probably killed your fantasy team (as long as they played).
Spurs 125, Timberwolves 122 (OT)
Best Work, SAS: DeMar DeRozan
DeMar Derupted (oof) for the Spurs, putting them on his back down the stretch with 9 of those 38 pennies coming in the last 1:23 to help force the extra stanza. He’s a hair below his career average (20.0 PPG) with a 19.1 PPG mark through 8 played, but his dimes are up from 5.6 last year to 7.3 thus far, his turnovers are down 2.4 to 1.4 year over year, and he’s normally good for a steal and a block per game too. More 3-balls would be nice, but, so would more sleep, more time to watch hoops, fewer bills, you get it.
Biggest Jerk, SAS: Patty Mills
Patty Mills is a jerk because he’s making me wonder as of late if it’s time to actually pick him up. Normally, that sentence should only be proceeded by, “…in DFS Olympic Men’s Basketball as Australia has no depth and will likely not sub him out in today’s tilt with Khazakhstan” But, he’s 31-percent owned as of Sunday morning, and I keep seeing his name high in my leagues’ waiver-wire rankings. That said, he’s a 6’1″ guard in his 12th season and he’s only started 56 games his whole career, but IS close to his career-high 25.7 MPG in 2017-’18, playing 24.5 MPG through 8 games thus far (none started). His TS% to date of .693 is well over his career .565 mark, but, is it because Mills got that much better between year 11 and year 12, WITH an atypically short preseason?
I can’t bring myself to pick him up in any 12-teamer. Which probably means you should, as I’m a rube with a sordid transaction history.
Best Work, MIN: Malik Beasley
Freaky Beez got down with Karl-Anthony Towns still somewhat hobbled in his first game back after busting up his wrist (though he did score 25 with 13 boards, cast and all), posting a team-high 29 points thanks to 7 deep balls over a team-high 40 minutes. Is he for real? Am I for real with these nicknames? We’ll find out, and no, respectively. Beez-Kneez has only cracked 60 games in a season twice (62 in 2017-’18, 81 in 2018-’19) entering his 6th season, but if you need a guard suddenly, he’s still only rostered in 66 percent of Yahoo! leagues, and he can score with decent percentages, plus morsels of dimes and swipes to make him worth it, especially for the short term.
Biggest Jerk, MIN: D’Angelo Russell
Just look at those percentages and his unfortunate hair, and then let me advise that he had the last shot in regulation for the win but bricked one in heavy traffic. Jerk. Notify the local Habitat For Humanity next time you’re willing to lay that many bricks, at least it won’t be a huge disappointment for everyone that way. Friggin’ jerk, averaging a career-low 69.2 FT% this year.
Nuggets 115, 75ers 103
Best Work, DEN: Nikola Jokic
The Joker didn’t have to dazzle in this one, but he still nearly notched a triple-double in 29 minutes. Jokic is like if Ivan Drago had a son, but, like, out of wedlock or something, and he thinks he has to dominate hoops to win his father’s love after no one will agree to box him because he’s a moose-hybrid. Or, maybe I can’t offer a better comparison for him since the only people I know who live east of France are characters from Indiana Jones and Rocky movies.
Biggest Jerk, DEN: Jamal Murray
Were you guys expecting big numbers from Murray against the depleted 75ers? I was. Not one trip to the charity stripe? You couldn’t induce ONE shooting foul against the best talent the Conshohoken Total Temp Agency could provide on short notice? This jerk’s averaging 22.0 PPG this year, and he does THIS against a team that pushed to reschedule but was forced to play shorthanded, with guys like I’ve never heard of like Isaiah Joe and…
Best Work, PHI: Tyrese Maxey
What, no free throws? While it’s unclear what overtook Maxey or if he’ll ever play this well again (he never even scored as many points in a game in college), it IS clear that the Sixers have as much depth at present as the plot of a creepy Disney Channel tween program, so, why not pick him up for a week? I needed to drop Immanuel Quickley, anyway.
Biggest Jerk, PHI: Dwight Howard
Let’s be honest: If there’s a jerk-superlative and Dwight Howard is a candidate, there’s always a good chance he’s topping the podium. But consider that, even though Saturday’s 75ers only played 6 guys, Howard still only managed 23 minutes as he wrestled with foul problems and turned the ball over 4 times. Abject jerk.
Suns 125 Pacers 117
Best Work: Mikal Bridges
Bridges poured in a career-high 34 points thanks to 6 3-pointers, and even though a 9-game sample size is small, his numbers are boosting all across the board. Good on you if you had faith in Bridges making the leap and secured him on your roster already.
Biggest Jerk: Deandre Ayton
Yes, the 14 boards are good, but this is Ne0-NBA ball; if you can’t stick treys, you better be getting to the line, at least for our purposes (although I imagine Monty Williams has similar feelings, at least about getting some freebies). And no steals or blocks, either, with your 8 measly points? How is Ayton NOT the Jerk D’Jour for Phoenix?!
Best Work, IND: Domantas Sabonis
Boardtacular performance from Sabonis, who could garner all-NBA consideration as he’s averaging 20.8 PPG/11.4 REB/6.4 AST to start the year. He’s one of the most well-rounded forwards in the NBA, so, it’s never surprising when Sabonis powers The Big P.
Biggest Jerk, IND: Justin Holiday
Holiday’s not exactly a jerk like the other jerks in this piece, but, 1: I do have to keep this somewhat fantasy relevant, 2.: Everyone seemingly played well enough for Indy, so it was tough to pick. So why J-Day? Because, even though he’s only rostered in 31 percent of Yahoo! leagues, and I need a SG, I keep passing on him to take fliers on guys like Tyrese Maxey. Don’t be like me, take the modest but consistent production, at least in the short-term (12-teamers and higher, though). Also, honestly? It’s confusing between him, Aaron, and Jrue. It shouldn’t be difficult for me, since nearly everyone I grew up with was literally either a Sullivan or a McCarthy, but, I had more brain cells, then.
Heat 128, Wizards 124
Best Work, MIA: Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Cold Brew nudged Tyler Herro (31 points and 9 boards) because, well, I had to pick one, and he went 6-for-6 from the line. Like DeRozan, you knew going into the year The Jimmy doesn’t like two things: Shooting from deep and sleeping in late. You know what The Jimmy does like? Filling out stat sheets and selling coffee.
Biggest Jerk, MIA: Kelly Olynyk
Kid Canada is another guy who’s a jerk because we (or at least I) have no clue if this is for real or if it will last. I’d have to double-check, but, in last year’s run to the NBA Finals, I’m not sure who played more minutes for Miami, Olynyk, Meyers Leonard, or Pitbull. It could’ve been a tie, we’ll never know, but, he’s only rostered in 33 percent of leagues, he’s starting as of late, he played 31 minutes last night, and, if you need a big, good luck finding a more well-rounded one on your wire. Olynyk’s scoring ability is legit, though, and he’s got some of the best hands around the offensive rim in the league. That said, I picked him up in a few leagues, so, he’s bound to get the ‘rona or deported back to Canada or something else absurd.
Best Work, WAS: Deni Avdija
Avdija is a borderline jerk in the sense that he’s ANOTHER guy who’s being dangled in front of us on waiver wires but, this early in the season, it’s hard to cut bait on those mid-round guys you took, especially if you told other guys in the league that drafting someone like Robert Covington was gonna put you over the top since you just KNOW that Rip City is a perfect fit (ugh, I “knew” that in two leagues). Avdija looks to be the primary benefactor with Bradley Beal sidelined by ‘rona protocol for a stretch, and he’s still only 17-percent rostered.
Biggest Jerk, WAS: Thomas Bryant
What was my prerequisite? You had to play, and Bryant did, for a whole 1:53 until he busted up his left knee and needed to be helped back to the locker room. All I know is, there’s a YouTube video with a tagline containing “nasty injury,” which always means I’m out (I’ve still never seen clips of Gordon Hayward or Kevin Ware’s bones revolting, and hope to keep it that way). There have been no updates in the 14 hours since the initial report, but, perhaps take another peek at Olynyk’s numbers and availability in your league. Tough break for the emerging 2017 2nd-round (12th) pick who many tabbed for a breakout year (and didn’t look like jerks about it, until this unfortunate accident).
Hornets 113, Hawks 105
Best Work, CHA: LaMelo Ball
If I’m the guy who’s telling you LaMelo was the youngest player in NBA history to Mess Around last night, you…are a very dedicated Razzball reader, thank you kindly. He still didn’t start but played 31 minutes off the bench, and, while I’m going to be the last to board the LaMelo Express (since I’m the biggest jerk of them all), the conductor is ominously demanding I buy my ticket and take a seat or he’s gonna run me over with the thing. But, c’mon, he didn’t even block a shot…
Biggest Jerk, CHA: Gordon Hayward
What’s the friggin’ deal, here, Gordo? Are you a superstar? A role player? He dropped 44 points two games ago, followed by 26, and now this dud. He didn’t even get to the line, and someone had the gall to offer me Hayward for Joel Embiid this week, straight up, in a league where that GM might have to look me in the eye again (someday, hopefully, because that means the guy who runs the league could actually have a barbecue safely). That GM’s lucky I don’t have his address, because I would send him a certified letter telling him he’s a jerk. Same for Hayward. Note: Yes, this vitriol is 1,000-percent related to his disappointing Boston stint. Thought we were getting the goddamn Chosen One and even when he played, half the time I would think, “You don’t have nearly enough flair in your game to rock that stupid mustache, chief.” What is it, Movember? Jerktober? Shave or buy a goddamn velvet, teal-and-purple cape to compliment it and go all-in on being completely absurd, since you can’t go all-in on being good night to night. Jerk.
Best Work, ATL: De’Andre Hunter
If you disagree, take a look at the numbers, yourself, a lot of poor shooting percentages made for many quasi-jerks on the Hawks’ roster last night. The 2019 4th-overall pick is having a nice Leap Year, averaging 16.4/6.8/2.2 in this young season, and, as you see above, he can round out a stat line very nicely.
Biggest Jerk, ATL: Trae Young
Clearly, it was an off-night for Traeball, and, if you shoot less than 30 percent from the field and play 37 minutes, you’d better be dropping 40 with at least 2 swipes to make up for it. We’re living in a society, here. Be best, Trae. Hey, at least he’s a healthy superstar, they’re like finding a multipack of toilet paper over the summer.
Bucks 100, Cavaliers 90
Best Work, MIL: Khris Middleton
Khris-Kross (if you’re old enough to know that my reference should invariably make you want to jump, jump, this isn’t my WORST nickname) held it down after Giannis Antetekounmpo was ruled out late with back spasms (and since you can’t just rest guys per League Fiat, maybe it was just a ruse for that purpose, but, stay tuned for more news).
Biggest Jerk, MIL: Brook Lopez
“Babbling” Brook (I mean, he’s the quiet one; and since you didn’t ask, it’s “Songbird” Robin Lopez to me) has one job: Get us 3-pointers from a center slot. Okay, we expect a few blocks, too, and he rejected a pair, but you’re a jerk if you couldn’t get your owner one more deep ball on Saturday in what’s normally a close category in H2H. He went from 15.8 PPG last season to averaging 9.5 PPG to start this one; double-digit points, or GTO and make some switcharoo movie with your twin. Do guys have off nights? Yes. Does that also make you a jerk about it sometimes? Yes.
Best Work, CLE: Andre Drummond
The Drumm Major (okay, now I’m just trying to be a jerk with them) really did snag 24 boards last night, it’s not a typo considering the 26-point figure to the left, and, considering that Drummond looked like the biggest jerk in the league this week, after getting dragged for having what some called the worst offensive possession in NBA history, MAN, did he rebound…
But seriously, folks, in light of that clip, how wide open was Drummond to have attempted that missed trey last night?
Biggest Jerk, CLE: Cedi Osman
I’m dubbing him Cedi “Sheets” Osman after this one. Why? Because he needs to buy new ones after shitting his bed last night. While people were right that Sheets would start given a dearth of healthy bodies in The Cleve, this isn’t the production we expected. 1-fur-8 from downtown with 5 turnovers? Sheets is a jerk and I hope his replacement linens get lost in transit.
Mavericks 112, Magic 98
Best Work, DAL: Luka Doncic
Every Razzball writer gets sent a plaque when they start, with clear instructions to have it within eyesight when writing and to adhere to it: If Thou Messeth, Thou Maketh Thine Team’s Lead. (That’s a lie, but I might get sent a certified, cease-and-desist letter after these nicknames.)
Don’t worry, guys with perfect mononyms don’t need nicknames, but I continue to be perplexed that Luka’s not better from long range, yet. Still, Luka’s a certified deity in Dallas, and I’m jealous if you got to draft him this season.
Biggest Jerk, DAL: Tim Hardaway, Jr.
Yes, clearly Timmy II is a jerk for blowing up, and I haven’t picked him up anywhere, but, he’s still available in 35 percent of Yahoo! leagues, take a quick peek after this. He started and played 40 minutes with Dorian Finney-Smith and Josh Richardson locked away on COVID-Island. A phenomenal night for him, so, thanks for nothing, jerk.
Blazers 125, Kings 99
Best Work, POR: C.J. McCollum
McCollum has just looked awesome every time I’ve seen him play this year, literally, figuratively looking like he’s seeing everyone in slow motion and knows the perfect angle and/or juke to get the separation he needs from deep and at the rim, and you’re just shocked when he misses one. He’s posting a 27.9/3.9/5.0 line to date and is playing as well as any guard in the league right now. Will there be regression? Some, sure, but career highs in points and assists are realistic.
Biggest Jerk, POR: Robert Covington
It’s to the point where I’m wondering if something’s wrong and if I’m going to be an even bigger jerk for calling Covington one when it turns out this offseason that he lost two toes on each foot from hypothermia after saving a box of puppies from drowning. But, until such a revelation, his offensive output has been abysmal while he’s either stayed stagnant or regressed in just about every other statistical area. How do you score LESS when you’re not on a team with James Harden the following season? If you’re a jerk, that’s how.
BEST WORK, SAC: Tyrese Haliburton
Hey Kings, the Jerk Store called, and they need all of their inventory back. The Kings went to the bench in this lopsided affair, but Haliburton was easily the silver lining of this effort; despite the paltry numbers, he still had the 8 dishes, and, trust me, it’s an ugly box, otherwise.
BIGGEST JERK, SAC: Buddy Hield
More like Bud Bundy after this abysmal line over 25 minutes. Anyone else get the sense that since Buddy got his bag, he’s been ambivalent about his ball? He’s averaging 14.4/4.2/2.7 this season, but, I get the impression that there will be at least 5 instances this season when Hield will have no idea if his team won or lost the morning after the game, if asked. And yet I’m not finding the contempt to call him a jerk like I did the rest of these jerks. Maybe I got all the hate out of me? Well, until the next C’s game, at least.