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In Thibs We Trust? Tom Thibodeau was hired in April of 2016 to become the head coach and president of basketball operations for the Timberwolves. Prior to his arrival, the team had not had a winning record since the days of Kevin Garnett. All newude. My favorite commercial of all time. Anyways, defense has been an issue for this team and Thibs is known as a defensive coach. During his five-year coaching stint with the Chicago Bulls, the team was ranked 1st, 1st, 5th, 2nd, and 11th in defensive efficiency. So, of course in Thibs’ first year, the defense got worse. This dynamic reminds me of Brian Billick, a head coach in the National Football League. Billick was known as an offensive guru and got his head coaching job on this premise. “Our team can’t score, so let’s hire a coach that can fix that,” said the owner of the team….probably. Anyways, Billick tried to sprinkle his offensive magic on the team, but you know what? He realized that he is indeed not a magician and that there are things called players. Coaches can put players in the best positions to succeed but, at the end of the day, players make the coach. Billick was smart enough to realize that the strength of the team was on defense, so he placated to that strength and eventually won a Super Bowl as a result. Will Thibs be as flexible? He was out of coaching for a year and travelled the basketball landscape taking notes so….Read on to find out what I think.

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Final week for most leagues.  It’s that one time of the fantasy season when it doesn’t matter who you’d drop (unless it’s a keeper/dynasty), ‘coz if you’re still managing your team, then it must be playing for something.

In my opinion, the moves available this week is very limited unless one of your top guys encounter an injury or team setup is where you have 2+ guys playing for the teams not playing on Friday and/or Sunday.  This is because there are 11 games that will be played on those days.  So really if you haven’t streamed on Thurs, you really probably want to load up for Saturday’s slate especially if the players’ last game for the week is Friday or Saturday (MIN, LAC, DET, ORL, POR, SAC).

So for today, I’ll only focus on Saturday’s games.  Tad anti climactic being the final edition of this series for this fantasy season.

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JB be California dreamin’!  Sorry for the later notes today, as I wrap up my West Coast trip and head for sunny Florida tomorrow.  I’m so discombobulated with my jet lag and California culture, I thought the Jamal version of Crawford got traded to the Pelicans or something!  But nooooooo, Jordan Crawford is back in the NBA ladies and germs!

In a game where the Pelicans were unsurprisingly stagnated by the Jazz D, Jordan of the Crawfords kept it close with a bench spark, going 19/1/3/2/0 with 3 treys on 8-15 shooting.  All that in 20 minutes too!  Did the Pelicans expect the ridiculous offensive prowess of E’Twuan Moore and Solomon Hill would provide some bench wing scoring?!  It isn’t shocking that a 28-year-old Crawford was slaying the D-League with nearly 24 points a game, and isn’t surprising to see him be a good bench scorer on the right squad.  Maybe you give him a look in the Michael Beasley/Derrick Williams sort of way as a deep league scorer, but this is likely one of his best lines on the season.  Not like he can gel with the twin tower USG-whores  in the starting 5 – he’s gonna be the bench scorer like we’ve always seen from Jamal Crawford.  Wait, I mean Jordan Crawford!  Ahhhhhhhhhh!  Here’s what else went down last night in NBA action:

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Andrew Wiggins will turn 22 in less than a month, but he knocked down what should be the first of many buzzer-beating game winners, becoming the youngest player of the season to do so:

A buzzer-beater win in Minnesota is rarer than a healthy Nikola Pekovic. The last one happened almost 5 years ago on a Luke Ridnour floater on February 22, 2012. About the same time as Pek’s last game.

In addition to the game-winner, Wiggins added 31 points (11-22 FG), 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 2 threes. Wiggins continues to develop in his third NBA season and makes the young Timberwolves roster a fun team to watch.

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Well, I do keep my eyes open all the time, and if you’ve been reading my thoughts on Jeremy Lin the past few weeks, you’ve heard me repeatedly say that I’m worried about lingering/long-term injury with this bad hammy strain earlier in the season. The deathblow – for me – was when after coming back from the hammy, Lin suffered back issues, which I mentioned I had seen time and time again in baseball as a lingering effect from not having your upper leg base. And here we go again with another hammy strain last night, again to the left hammy, the same hamstring he pulled in early November (emo band alert!). On a VERY friendly 3-year deal in today’s market at only $38 million (thanks Razzball player pages!), I see no reason the Mess wouldn’t just shut him down another extended period of time with the injury to the same hammy, so hopefully you sold in these past couple weeks when you could. In his stead, look for Sean Kilpatrick to play some PG again, which actually hurts his value in my eyes. He wasn’t thriving the same way as his SG run, as he’s not a great facilitator and it jacked up his TO rate. For deeper leagues, it puts Isaiah Whitehead back on the radar, although he will hurt your FG% and TO in some games (9/2/3/1/1 last night, but with 4 TO in 16 minutes). Thankfully Whitehead was able to come back at exactly the right time after a few games off due to foot soreness. And that’s not even mentioning Randy Foye and his “epic” 3/1/2 line last night, with his only FG being this one:

Hah, your final shot goes to a guy who was 0-1 in 21 minutes up until that touch. Yeesh, this team is certainly really close to the creamy nougat center of Dante’s Inferno, on maybe the 2nd or 1st Ring of Fire… Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops action:

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Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, Christmas Day is a great day for basketball fans. With the exception of the shortened 1998 lockout season, games have been played on Christmas Day every year since 1947 and often feature the best of the best. And this year was no exception.

We saw a rematch of the NBA Finals, a battle for Los Angeles, and a matchup of exciting young players between Minnesota and OKC.

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Follow the white Babbitt!  If you had told me Luke Babbitt would be a critical add over the fantasy finals weekend, I would’ve beaten you to death with a sack full of lucky rabbit’s feet.   Would that be a …lucky way to die?

No, it’s not an April Fool’s joke that Babbitt went 22/10/3/2/1 last night.  No, it’s a joke he took a team-high (and an absurdly-high!) 25 shots.  And no, it’s not a joke that the Pelicans won a game led by Luke Mother F Babbitt!  That’s right, a guy with a last night that sounds like how Grey incorrectly pronounces “BABIP” on the Razzball Baseball Podcast is all the sudden a must-own wing over the final 3 H2H days.  Such a Velveteen Babbitt!  “He said it was because I know you like rabbits, and I know you like cheese…”  The Pelicans have no reason not to throw (double negative police!) their scrubbiest of scrubs into the starting 5 and see what wet noodles stick on the wall, so I fully expect him to be a starter for you in most 12-team leagues or deeper on the final Sunday @BKN.  Throw him in your Babbitt Stew!  OK, enough rabbit puns, as Monty Python would say – “get on with it!”  Oh yeah, I shoulda used a Holy Grail reference.  TOO LATE NOW!  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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You’d think a team decimated by injuries would throw in the towel. Not the case with the Bulls. Already missing Jimmy Butler (left knee strain), Nikola Mirotic (appendicitis), and Joakim Noah (shoulder surgery), Derrick Rose was a last-minute scratch due to right hamstring tendinitis. The Bulls won anyways, their third straight victory.

Playing alongside a makeshift lineup, Pau Gasol played through the flu, just missing a triple-double with 10 points, 15 rebounds, and 9 assists. While it wasn’t Michael Jordan’s flu game, it was a still a pretty strong line.

Even with the Bulls’ starters ailing, there is value to be had on the roster. Under-owned guys like Taj Gibson (17/7/7), E’Twaun Moore (17 points and 3 rebounds), and Doug McDermott (14/5/2), can and should be relied upon down the stretch for both the Bulls and your fantasy teams. McBuckets also had the dunk of the night.

They won’t win you a championship on their own, but don’t overlook lesser named (and owned) guys during your playoff push.

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