Tim Hardaway Jr. is looking much more comfortable as a starter. After busting out of a horrific shooting slump in his last game with 22 points and five treys, THJ one-upped himself with 26 points and six triples on Thursday, even tossing in two steals and a block for good measure. Hardaway is the definition of streaky, as these last two offensive explosions came on the heels of a four-game rut that saw him average a paltry 3.5 PPG and 0.5 3PTM. However, the change in role may be a catalyst in turning his campaign around. If he keeps knocking down shots he should stick as a starter, and be a major source of points and treys. If you’re in need of help in those two categories, he’s still available in about two thirds of standard leagues (37 percent rostered in Yahoo! standard leagues).

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You can’t win a championship at the beginning of a season, but you can lose one. Much as it pains me to say, I think I’ve already lost.

After a successful Writer’s League last year that ended against Kostas in the semifinal and a pretty intensive offseason of thinking about hoops, I came into this year’s draft feeling like I was in decent shape to post a good showing again. But this year ain’t last year. Stats and success don’t carry over, and if you’re resting on laurels rather than applying lessons learned, there’s no way to bank Ws on account of “experience.” If you’ve been following Kelder’s weekly recaps, you might have noticed that my team isn’t anywhere in the mix. Indeed, you’ve got to scroll almost the way to the bottom of the table to see my name. A record of 19-34-1 is good enough for 11th and I feel all but certain the hole that I’ve put myself in is going to be too deep to recover from. I’m not quite ready to quit on some other struggling squads, but I think it’s safe to let go of preseason expectations at this point and set a different goal for the remaining three-quarters of the season here in the Writer’s League.

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Here’s a story of a man with two first names, who hit the age of 30, an age when most players say goodbye to their primes and buckle up for the descent below. And descend the man with two first names did, playing in 58 and 58 games the next two seasons. Many called him injury-prone and swore him off for fantasy. Father Time leaned back in the La-Z-Boy chair, grabbed the bowl of popcorn and just waited. But the man with two first names spit in the face of Father Time and proceeded to play 70, 70 and 65 games in his age 34, 35 and 36 seasons. So far this season, the man with two first names has missed five of 15 games and caused much consternation for those who drafted him. “We can squeeze one more year out of him!!!”, they said. It’s akin to having one taco left with no more freshly cut limes. You rummage through the whole table and squeeze every last drop out of what’s left. Anyways, the pain that has been felt by the Chris Paul owners has been nothing but elation for the Cameron Payne truthers. Over the last five games, he’s averaged 33.5 minutes, 15.6 field goal attempts, 20 points, 3 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 1.2 steals. On Sunday:

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The big Fin Lauri Markkanen put up a big stat line, hit a big shot and led the Jazz to a big win Friday night over the Suns. He scored a career-high 38 points on a silly 15-of-18 from the floor, 2-of-3 from deep and 6-of-8 at the line, and added 6 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal and a giveaway to the line. 

So far this season Markkanen has delivered late 2nd / early third-round value, which isn’t too  surprising. The skills were evident, it was just a matter of the fit and program in what was supposed to be a tanking Jazz team. And so far he’s fit like a glove worn by a big white dude in Utah. 

His counting stats aren’t too far from this 2019-20 breakout sophomore season, before things got stormy in the Windy City. The major difference is his ability to get shots inside, and being surrounded by willing and able passers helps, too. Markkanen is shooting 65.6% on 2-point shots with nearly 10 attempts a game, numbers comparable only to Nikola Jokic. The other improvement in the stat line is nearly 2.5 assists per game – again a result of playing in an offense that complements his skill set. 

Most of his career high points were actually easy buckets while taking advantage of a string of blown defensive plays. However, the difficulty level was high on this Kobe/Dirk vintage turnaround jumper:

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Did you know about 75% of hops grown in America come from the Yakima Valley? Of course you didn’t. Unless you’re reading from the Pacific Northwest, you probably don’t even know where the heck Yakima is. Which means you also don’t know about this hilarious billboard declaring it the Palm Springs of Washington (funny because Yakima is kind of a craphole). But, if you’re paying attention to your NBA rookie origin stories, you’d know that MarJon Beauchamp is the first and only NBA 1st round draft pick to come out of this quasi-desert rose of a geographical location.

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Welcome to your midweek guidance for Week Five!  In this post, I identify widely-available players who can help you down the stretch of your head-to-head matchup.  A number of last week’s recommendations panned out, with no-brainers like Aleksej Pokusevski, Cam Payne, and Gabe Vincent stepping up to provide big production.  This week presents a totally different picture, with a slew of teams playing just two games for the week and one team playing five.  Plus, we have new injuries and illnesses to consider.

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Much to the disappointment of pundits chomping at the bit to argue whether the Lakers play better without LeBron, L.A. lost again Friday night, 120-114 to the Kings, because De’Aaron Fox maneuvered about the roost like the sly creature he is, feasting on chicken defenders and dropping bags of leftover bones through the net left and right. Fox finished with 32 points (13-19 FG, 2-5 3pt, 4-5 FT), 7 boards and 12 assists. He’s averaging about 25-5-6 with a steal and just under 3 turnovers to start the season. His 3-point shooting (36%) has been slightly better than years past, as well as from the line (86%), but it’s inside the arch he’s been lethal, converting 63% of 2-point shots. Also, mark the “Clutch” checkbox next to Fox’s name on the stat sheet, as he led the Kings to victory with 10 fourth-quarter points on 5-of-7 shooting and three rebounds, four assists and a crucial steal.

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Hey Dallas, did you overlook your opponent just because they were 1-9? Was it because they were the Orlando Magic? Was it because their best player this year, Paolo Banchero, was out for the game? You only scored 87 points against a very inexperienced team and 53 of those points came from Spencer Dinwiddie and Luka Doncic. The bench depth as a whole has been a weak point for the Mavericks this season. Outside of Christian Wood, players such as Dwight Powell, Reggie Bullock, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Maxi Kleber really haven’t been producing for them.

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Hello Razzball Nation! Welcome to another massive NBA DFS slate for Wednesday. There are 13 games tonight so as always, my #1 piece of advice is to be up to date on injuries. In a 13-game slate there will always be value plays that open up throughout the day.

Let’s get down to it. Pricing is always (Fanduel/DraftKings). I mostly play tournaments and my picks will always bias towards volatility and upside.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

While not an actual in-game injury, news broke late last night that Kawhi Leonard is now out indefinitely amid his ACL recovery. This is both possibly the least-surprising surprise since Elon Musk bought Twitter and turned the platform into… well whatever you want to call it. I’m sure if you tie a bunch of adjectives and expletives, you’d be pretty accurate. And this was the same week! True, Kawhi had not looked great all so far and was already very limited recently due to “tendinitis” but I think it’s clear at this point that the best Kawhi ever was has already happened and his magical run in playoffs on the Raptors may have been the number one contributing factor to the Leonard we see now today. And frankly the past several years. And no matter how you look at it, we’re talking about a player who took a year off and has been handled with extreme care so far in 2022 and probably hadn’t had back-to-back games since the Great Depression. Hate to say it, but this might be his career swan song. On that note, it’s Tuesday so go vote! That way we don’t lose Kawhi and Democracy in the same week…

Here’s what else I saw during last night’s full slate of games:

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Hello Razzball Nation! I am here to provide you with my picks and insights for this monster of a 10-game slate on Wednesday. I am hoping to do this every Wednesday for this season, so if you like these picks keep tuning in.

My number one piece of advice for NBA DFS is to be on top of injury updates. Contests are won and lost on backups becoming starters and starters getting increased usage from injuries. Especially in the NBA, random injuries happen every night, players get rested for no reason, and the tanking is rampant (looking at you Thunder and Spurs). You need to be on top of your lineups up until lock, and on some nights with questionable guys with later start times after lock. On a 10-game slate like we have here, value will open up throughout the day and early evening based on injury reports.

That being said, with our current knowledge of injury news (Tuesday night) let’s get down to it. Pricing is always (Fanduel/ Draftkings). I mostly play tournaments and my picks will always bias towards volatility and upside.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As the early part of the NBA 2022-23 season churns on, a lot of storylines and off-the-court drama permeates. Some of these were built off the back from previous seasons; the trending bewilderment of Ben Simmons, the Lakers continued struggles while inadvertently tanking for Wembanyama while the Pelicans have the rights to their first-round pick also remains a bold strategy. Kyrie Irving is still a hateful idiot. But there are also new and interesting storylines being created right now, like the Jazz competing with the Spurs and TrailbBlazers for the number one seed (early, but you can talk about it!), the Clippers being a mess, the resurgence of James Harden… and the Bucks continue their quest for 82-0, squeaking out a win last night. While there’s a lot to ridicule (mostly the Nets), there’s a lot of interesting items both on and off the court that have made this season already special. Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?