It’s about that time again, isn’t it? The trade deadline has come and gone, the sun is starting to peek out with some regularity, and teams who have had long, dark, unsuccessful winters are beginning to look ahead to a little summer vacay. Even with the expanded playoff format for this season, there are still a handful of teams that are done. We haven’t gotten to “Cancun on three” yet, but if you’re in Orlando or Oklahoma City you can start thinking about it. 

For this week’s Hangin’, I looked at a couple of these lost causes and the opportunities for fantasy help that exist there. It’s not an exhaustive list, but all of the teams featured are 12th or worse in their conference and have gestured toward giving up. But just because they’re done with the year does not mean that the year is done with them. Every game needs to have 240 minutes of statistics accounted for, and we’re in the interest of compiling numbers. 

This is a bigger one, so let’s get to it. 

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The alerts on Channing’s phone have been going bonkers since I wrote this article. “Honey, I’m getting Google alerts for Step Up!” Jenna rolled her eyes, then placed her hand on her husband’s back, and slowly moved it in a circular motion that Miyagi would be proud of. “It’s been almost 15 years, hon. Are you sure you’re ready for this?” The reviews were not kind: This hokey, formulaic romantic drama is every bit as appalling as it sounds. Ouch. As Channing clicked on the alert, he responded with “That [email protected]#!er Son is writing about Jayson Tatum again!”

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The very name Utah Jazz evokes a strange and out of place image.  New Orleans Jazz. Well, that makes sense.  Alas, we live in a funny world where the funkiest thing in the state of Utah is, beyond epic snowboarding, epic wild water rafting; the Utah Jazz basketball team.  This city thrives on their pro sports franchise and warms the hearts of the players who play here with down home charm.  In today’s fast paced, metropolis based NBA landscape, the Utah Jazz play to their own trumpet.  They develop players, extend them, and build year after year upon the prior year’s efforts.  Last year’s Jazz made ripples in the West, garnering the 6th seed without the 20 ppg from Bojan Bogdanovic.  They would fall to the Nuggets for a first round exit in the Bubble.  Will this snub from the 2nd round provide some grit and determination?

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The Minnesota Timberwolves were one of the worst teams in the NBA last season, finishing 14th in the Western Conference. The front office decided to make some major moves at the trade deadline, bringing in D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, and Juan Hernangómez in two separate deals in exchange for Andrew Wiggins, Robert Covington, Jordan Bell, Keita-Bates Diop, and draft picks. These acquisitions have Timberwolves fans very excited about the upcoming season, as they enter the season with a young roster that can compete for a playoff spot.

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Not very often do you see a team that surprised the nation as the 5th seed in the West, then do a nearly complete re-haul of their roster. I liken this team to the Spurs who I wrote about earlier this week, a deep team without the newly coveted “duo”, that will play hard and compete. The Jazz have a new stud point guard in Mike Conley who is back to playing for a winning team and is a perfect fit for Jazz Basketball, a new knockdown shooter in Bojan Bogdanovic, and forward depth in Jeff Green and Ed Davis. This is going to be a gritty team that will be playing meaningful basketball deep in the season. Bold prediction: The Jazz will have three top 25 fantasy players and win their first round playoff match up in 2019.

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I now understand why this forward position is named power, as it is a microcosm of society at large. There is the 1% vs everyone else. For fantasy basketball, there is Giannis Antetokounmpo vs womp womp womp. While all the other positions have multiple players who could legitimately vie for the top spot, everyone bends the knee to G. This is 1985-1989 Mike Tyson-esque domination. Could a Buster Douglas come out of nowhere? Sure, as black swan events can never be discounted, but outside of injury to G, that scenario is highly unlikely.

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The 2018-19 Brooklyn Nets exceeded expectations in many ways, from player development to overall record. Few pundits had them making the playoffs, myself included, but I guess I shouldn’t have underestimated Kenny Atkinson, who has established himself as one of the  upper-echelon coaches in the league. Sean Marks can also be credited for assembling a team with a good mix of youthful exuberance and veteran experience. Although, they were bounced in the first round by Philadelphia, hardly any Nets fans could feel disappointed with how the season turned out given the low expectations.

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Vince Carter was the #5 overall pick waaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in 1998. This is his 23rd season in the NBA! 7-Eleven has nothing on him because it closes from Eleven to 7. Half-man, Half-amazing? Naw. All man, All amazing! Last night was just another reiteration of that fact:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
21 4 1 1 0 0 7/11 7/14 0

Played 26 minutes off the bench and led the Hawks in points! He’s 42 freaking years old! For you inquiring minds, he’d need to play a few more years to hold the title of the oldest player to ever play in an NBA game. Nat Kickey was 45 years, 363 days old when he played two games in 1947. That shouldn’t count but it does. For someone a little more relevant, Kevin Willis played five games during the 2006 season at the ripe age of 44 years, 224 days. Now, this lede is basically an homage to the awesomeness of Vince Carter, but he’s actually been a fantasy asset. Over the past four games, he’s averaged 27.4 minutes, 13.5 points, 3.5 tres, 3.3 boards, 2.3 dimes, 0.8 steals, and 0.5 blocks! Good for top 85 value. Granted, the Hawks are banged up, as John Collins, Taurean Prince, and Omari Spellman have been out due to injury, yet……Nothing but amazing.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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If you want a guaranteed chuckle, watch this Al B. Sure! video. Ha! Gotta love the late-80s and early-90s. As much as we clown now, though, Al B. Sure! was a star back then. The above song was No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and he was nominated for Grammy and AMA awards. There’s another Al that gets clowned on as well: Al Horford. Why? Click HERE. Ha! Too funny. He also seems to be underrated and underappreciated in the fantasy community. Well, last night he reminded us all why he’s so damn good…

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
21 17 5 2 3 0 2/6 8/21 3/4

Over the past four games, Horford has been the #6 player in fantasy. On the season, he’s top 25. Many view him as a better real-life player than fantasy asset, yet since 2010, Horford has ended as a top 20 player five times and has never finished below #43 on a per-game basis. Al B Good for Sure!

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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