Sometimes you need to stand back and take a good, hard look at your personal biases as a writer.

When I do that while wearing my NBA hat, I can clearly see that I don’t give the Philadelphia 76ers a lot of love. What can I say? I just can’t stand James Harden. A couple years back he came to my Nets amidst hope and big dreams – a “Superteam” with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving – and left the way he always does: As a loser. Harden is one of the greatest regular season players of all time – a true fantasy basketball god over the course of his career – but he crumbles like no other in the playoffs. And can we really say much better for the veteran combination of Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris? Despite big names and strong stat sheet production, this Philly team hasn’t gotten anywhere with this core over time.

Maybe this season will be different? I doubt it. Yet and still, Harden and Embiid had their patented pick-and-roll rollin’ Wednesday night, on their way to a solid 105-94 victory over the pesky, young Orlando Magic. Let’s dive in and take a closer look from a fantasy perspective.

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Welcome to the fifteenth installment of Weekly Yinteresting Thoughts (WYT). In these posts, I’ll be sharing some of my random thoughts, opinions, and questions about the NBA landscape as it pertains to fantasy basketball. Feel free to drop your comments and questions below! Let’s get started.

As we know in Fantasy Basketball, turnovers are closely correlated with the best players. But this isn’t always the case. Let’s take a look at who’s leading the league in turnovers this season. 

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I’ve always been fascinated with how humans can control other objects. The Shaolin monks are able to access the energy of the universe and light things on fire from a distance. Think Ryu’s Hadoken from Street Fighter. Random people can spin a 10-pound ball down a lane and knock down pins. Others can use a stick and make a ball spin like planets in an orbit around a table. For hoops, the ultimate joy is making the net dance after launching the ball into the air with the perfect amount of backspin. I always appreciated the chain-linked nets. There was nothing better than that sound. In the NBA, there’s no need to ghettofy things as they can supply the finest nylon for their nets. On Sunday, Julius Randle was the conductor of a nylon ballet, putting on a show for the Detroit crowd.

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Dallas Mavericks vs. Portland Trail Blazer, Blazers win 136-119

Top Performers

Luka Doncic

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
15 6 10 7/19 0/5 1/6 1 1
Damian Lillard

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
36 5 10 11/20 4/11 10/10 0 0
Biggest Takeaways

The Portland Trailblazers snap their five-game skid with a win over the Dallas Mavericks by holding Luka Doncic to a season-low 15 points. That and Damian Lillard dropping 36 points is the story of the game. Hate to make it sound so simple, but you have to realize that Doncic has been terrorizing the league all season long the last time he scored under 20 was in the opening game against the Orlando Magic where he scored 16 points, but he only played 16 minutes. So, for the Blazers in the bottom ten in defensive rating, to hold him to his lowest-scoring total of the season is major.
Offensively though, the Blazers also reached their second-highest point total of the season with 136. This is due to seven players finishing in double figures including the trifecta of Lillard, Anfernee Simons, and Jusuf Nurkic combining for 80 points.
On the other hand, the Mavericks relied on Reggie Bullock, who was an absolute madman from three with all 24 of his points coming from hitting 8-of-10 from three. Spencer Dinwiddie led the team with 25 points and hit four three-pointers of his own, but the three-point barrage from these two just wasn’t enough.

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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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Welcome to the twelfth installment of Weekly Yinteresting Thoughts (WYT). In these posts, I’ll be sharing some of my random thoughts, opinions, and questions about the NBA landscape as it pertains to fantasy basketball. Feel free to drop your comments and questions below! Let’s get started.

This week we’ll take a look at some of our mid-season stat leaders for standard 9-category leagues. For those unfamiliar, the nine standard categories are points, rebounds, assists, threes, steals, blocks, FG%, FT%, and turnovers. We’ll be using stats from BasketballMonster.

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My first and only allegiance will always be to the Brooklyn Nets, but Ja Morant’s Memphis Grizzlies are my second-favorite team in the game today. I personally felt they played the NBA champion Golden State Warriors better than anybody else in last year’s playoffs – and don’t forget that Morant went down and missed time. This team has everything you want from a modern NBA roster – a true, showstopping superstar (Morant), a dominant defender who also contributes offensively (Jaren Jackson Jr.), a confident, lights-out shooter (Desmond Bane) and multiple other quality pieces (Adams, Brooks, Jones, Aldama and Clarke, just to name some).

But this is exactly what we don’t want from a fantasy perspective. We don’t want Bane and Jackson returning from injuries and eating into Morant’s usage as a top-tier fantasy producer. We don’t want these young, deep, talented Grizzlies to be so good that they are blowing people out and limiting our fantasy minutes. Let’s take a look at how this situation played out on Wednesday night in The League.

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I may not be the most religious of men, but I do believe in a higher power and understand the significance of the Christmas day holiday. Many view it as a day of giving thanks, and participate in the commercialization of the holiday without understanding the true significance of the day. Christmas is the day Jesus Christ was born. The same Jesus Christ who died later for the sins of man, then was reborn three days later. Christian Wood has traversed that birth/death/ressurection story many times in his career. Undrafted in the 2015 NBA Draft, he latched on with the 76ers, then went to the G League, returned to the league with the Hornets, then went back to the G League. He got another chance with the Bucks then went down to the G League once again. In 2019, the Pelicans gave him another shot and, while he has never sniffed the G League again, he went to the Pistons and Rockets before ending up with the Mavericks this season. But the story doesn’t end there. He was coming off the bench and playing fewer than 30 minutes a game in the early part of the season, but then injuries struck the front court and he started the last four games. So, it’s only fitting, that on Christmas, this Christian balled out:

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Christmas Day is among the most hyped lineup of games during the NBA season. But Friday, Dec. 23, was a Festivus celebration for the rest of us. After all, the Association exemplifies feats of strength and airing of grievances this time of year, as the slow-starting teams begin to gripe in the locker room, trade chatter reaches new highs, and the established powers of the season start showing more muscle in impressive wins. 

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I’ve always had the need for speed. Since I was able to reach the pedals, my legs always pushed them to the metal. Video games helped to refine my urges, as the experience of playing countless other driving games gave me the experience and instincts to anticipate potential hazards while identifying slivers of space to maneuver through. For you New Yorkers, I used to pick up a buddy on the Jersey side of the GW bridge then see how fast I could make it to the east side of Manhattan. Sure, that was driving on expert mode, and we should’ve died more than a few times, but we always escaped unscathed. Oh, what a thrill. The same emotion is elicited when I watch the fantasy points rack up for Joel Embiid this season. He’s scored at least 30 points 11 times this season with three over 40 and a high of 59. On Sunday, he did this:

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