Five game slate on a rainy Tuesday evening.  Well, might not have been raining in your neck of the woods.  I hate ice storms more than I hate this year’s Bulls squad and watching LeBron James complain about every game mattering, the refs screwing us, and then resting the next game so he can break a scoring record later on TNT.

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For the first four years of Terry Rozier’s career, he shot under 40% from the field. Boston fans were trying to figure out ways to bend the space/time continuum so that they could travel back to December 16, 1773, stuff Rozier into a wooden crate, and throw him/it into the harbor. Mercifully, Rozier was traded to the Hornets and the field goal percentage increased to 42%. With no harbors close to Charlotte, that must’ve taken a huge weight off of his shoulders. The efficiency continued to improve over the next two seasons and Terry was no longer scary to his teammates and organization. Instead, he was scary for the opposition. But, but, but….Scary Terry reared his ugly head once again this season. No, not that Scary Terry. The other Scary Terry. For the first 27 games this season, Rozier was shooting 38% from the field and 30% from downtown. In 13 games since the calendar flipped from 2022 to 2023, he’s converted 46% of his attempts and 38% from downtown. Last night, he continued the trend:

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Iiiiitttt waaaas k-k-kiiiinnnd-uhhhv a slooooow F-f-frrrriiiiidayyyy niiiite innn thaaaa Ennn-Beeee-Aaaaa, wiithh-th ooonnnleeeee fiiiiiive gammmmess ooon the d-d-dooockkkkett …

It is difficult to write in slow motion. It’s got to be even harder to play a professional sport in slow motion. But the man they call Slo Mo [still wondering why his nickname isn’t The Sloth, since he even resembles the lovable creature], Kyle Anderson, is the enigma [another nickname possibility!] of the modern day game where stinging athleticism makes headlines. 

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Welcome Razzball Nation to your weekly digest where we try to reveal value from a player who is not quite hitting the expected mark, so to speak.

Timing can be everything in fantasy basketball, as the right deal at the right moment can make all the difference in your quest for greatness, or at the very least a weekly win. You know what they say about luck, opportunity meets preparation. That is the mission here as I try to equip you with the necessary information needed to take full advantage in your respective leagues and catch a frustrated or sleepy GM slipping.

We are nearing the trade deadline in the NBA, which can also signal some movement across the fantasy landscape as well. Even the most rigid of GM’s will ease their stance and entertain a trade at this time of the year.

So, carpe diem!

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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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I’ve been covering fantasy basketball throughout this season and well… I haven’t been able to write many nice things about the Charlotte Hornets to date. So when I saw they picked up a rare road victory on Wednesday night – 122-117 over the young, rebuilding Houston Rockets – I thought this is finally the Hornets’ time to shine! But alas, one step forward and one step back for this stumbling squad – despite the victory, the real loss was the apparent ankle injury to franchise superstar LaMelo Ball. Let’s dive a little bit deeper into this game and fantasy-relevant injury.

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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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Tuesday night’s five-game slate presents me with my first opportunity to bring you a game recap!  Normally, I’m the guy who writes up borderline players and streamers on Thursday afternoon, so it’s a nice change to profile some of the league’s studs.  It’s kind of like hate watching Hallmark Christmas movies (Mingle All the Way, among others) for the first few weeks of December before switching gears and watching It’s a Wonderful Life or A Christmas Story.

Disclaimers: Because I was too busy watching Santa Switch last night, and the fact that I’m on Greenwich Mean Time, I haven’t had a chance to watch the games.  As a result, all of my observations are through a strictly fantasy lens and don’t necessarily account for every nuance.  Additionally, all of my ranking references are based on category-league values as a default.

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The 2022 NBA Draft class has been quite a delight, right?

No. 1 overall selection Paolo Banchero is averaging 22 points, seven rebounds and four assists per game; 15/4/4 for Jaden Ivey (No. 5 pick), 18 PPG for Bennedict Mathurin (No. 6), and 12 and seven for Jabari Smith Jr. (No. 3). We’ve also seen promising flashes from Jalen Duren (leading all rookies with 7.3 rebounds per game), Keegan Murray (12 and four) and Andrew Nembhard (leading in three-point percentage at 40.4). All this positivity comes even without uber-popular Chet Holmgren, the No. 2 overall pick who suffered a season-ending Lisfranc injury before ever taking the floor in an NBA regular season game. Big things comin’ in the future, for sure.

That leads us into Wednesday night in fantasy basketball, one highlighted by two of the rising rookies I referenced above.

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Seems like the Golden State Warriors might be Jayson Tatum’s kryptonite. In a rematch of last season’s NBA Finals, the Warriors came out to play as the Splash Brothers combined for 64 while hitting 10-of-22 total threes. The Warriors are now 14-0 and in games where Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combine for 60+ points. Jordan Poole even got in on the action with 20 points, mainly doing his work at the free throw line (9-of-10) despite going 1-of-9 from three.

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Following back-to-back years of Top 40 production, Terry Rozier has disappointed so far this season, mainly due to some rookie-level percentages (in fact, his worst percentages since his rookie season as it stands). But he’s just a hot shooting streak away from producing as owners have become accustomed to, and on Friday he helped the Hornets edge the Wizards 117-116. Rozier scored 25 points on 8-of-21 shooting, 2-of-5 from deep, with 5 boards, 8 assists, 2 steals and a season-low zero turnovers. Charlotte has been paying the doctor’s new vacation home so far this season, and Rozier’s percentages should benefit whenever (if ever) LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward return. For the time being, the assists are up along with his usage rate, and he’s a great buy target, especially for those punting the FG% category.

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