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Scottie Barnes’ second season in the NBA was so disappointing that the fantasy realm considered renaming “Sophomore Slump” to “Scottie Slump.” Well, Barnes has busted through that slump like a nerdy virgin kid who just hit the lottery hanging out at a bar full of gold diggers.  Scottie’s been hotty this season, and is currently […]

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Most things in life have an ebb and flow to them. Some have steady drumbeats while others are volatile like an illiquid capital market. In order to get to the top of any venture, there is usually a combination of both. At some point, there are breakthroughs and jumps of multiple levels. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was selected by the Clippers with the 11th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. He averaged 26.5 minutes per game as a rookie and showed that he belonged, putting up 10.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.5 blocks while shooting 47% from the field and 80% from the line. He was the 141st player for fantasy on a per-game basis. He was then traded to the Thunder in the Paul George deal and immediately played 34.7 minutes per contest. He finished as the 53rd player for fantasy, the first significant jump in his career. He improved in each of the next two seasons, but at a pace akin to the sink filling up, drip by drip, finishing 44th then 32nd. Then 2022 happened, and Shai rocketed up to where he is now, as a top 5 player. Yesterday, he continued to show that he is now one of the best and most well-rounded players in the NBA:

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Last night I was able to test out a new Seuss-style story during my kids’ bedtime:

“An Ant-man with cool fluffy hair, who went the nation’s capital and let it rain from behind the arch. He was hitting ‘em on the pull up. He was hitting ‘em on the spot up. He nailed 3s on the swing. He nailed 3s on the run. He hit 3s from the corner, at the top. He created a skookum of 3s like it was a skookum of tallywade  ….”

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I was high on Precious Achiuwa in the offseason, as he showed flashes at the end of last season, both offensively and defensively. He improved his shooting and was able to make it rain from downtown. In addition, he exhibited the ability to make life difficult for Joel Embiid while also being able to switch on the perimeter against guards. Most importantly, though, Nick Nurse spoke glowingly about him over the summer, commenting on his work ethic and finally “getting it.” Then the season started, and it didn’t go as planned. He had two monster games while playing over 33 minutes in each, but after that, was relegated to playing in the teens. To stick a rusty knife into my belly, Achiuwa then succumbed to injury and missed the next 24 games. My Precious once had bling that blinded the eyes, but now was as dull as my jokes. Upon returning to action, he was once again playing in the teens, but slowly but surely, the playing time increased. Christian Koloko was sent down to the G League and my Precious began to glisten once again. Over the last five games, he received 28, 21, 26, 21 and 37 minutes, starting in the most recent contest and putting up 17 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks.

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Regarding last week’s suggestions, Kelly Olynyk unfortunately suffered an injury that will sideline him for the coming weeks, while Jalen Williams continued impressing and I hope you already picked him up. Jalen McDaniels has also been productive and is a standard league player as long as Gordon Hayward is out. Finally, on the “Sell” front, Gary Trent Jr. continues his hot streak and thus his sell high window continues to be open for savvy fantasy managers.

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The Magic at full strength have a great, young frontcourt, and that was on display last night.  They totaled 78 points, 22 boards, and 6 assists last night.  If you own Franz Wagner, Wendell Carter Jr., and Paolo Banchero, well, that’s kinda weird to have three guys from the same team.  But any of them are legitimate starters going forward, and they all still have some upside.  Unfortunately, if you are holding Bol Bol, he looks like the fourth wheel of this tricycle.  I would hold him and see, but I’m not optimistic.  The other three are better players.

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It was tough to enjoy watching my Ducks eek out the Holiday Bowl Wednesday because every commercial break was chock full of warnings about shingles. I have never known anyone in my life getting shingles, and after that I’m convinced all of us are getting it next year. 

On Friday night, however, Minnesota had to deal with a case of the non-viral irritation known as Ingles: Joe Ingles. [Wow, Phil, way to send off 2022 with the oddest lede/transition yet.] In his sixth game back from injury, Ingles played a season-high 25 minutes and banked 14 points (5-9 FG, 4-7 3pt), 5 boards and 10 assists, and was a major factor for the Bucks in the second half, as Milwaukee pulled away from Minnesota in a 123-114 win. Ingles probably won’t garner enough minutes when Jrue Holiday and Middleton play, but is worth adding to the streamer board as needed. 

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The path should be crystal clear now for your squad. If not, then it may be time to order those seppuku knives on Amazon. Don’t forget the sharpener. I kid, I kid. Drafts are fluid so pivoting and changing lanes are always within the range of outcomes, especially when there are snipers and ADP jumpers to your left, to your left, to your left. Then you have all those heathens to your right. This is why we must always adhere to the wise and venerable Bruce Lee:

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