Things looked grim for the Brooklyn Nets in their first game since the Kyrie Irving trade request, as they were at one point down by 23 points against the Washington Wizards. But they were able to drastically turn things around thanks to a career-high 44 points off the bench from Cam Thomas.

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Welcome back to Weekly Yinteresting Thoughts 16. This week’s segment will be a short dive into the reemergence of Kawhi Leonard, who’s really started picking things up over this past month. Leonard was drafted in the late second or third round of most leagues. As a notoriously injury prone superstar, many harbored doubts as to whether he would return value on his expensive price tag. The ultimate high risk, high reward player.

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Can you tell that Joel Embiid is tired of coming in second? Because that was made extremely clear after last night’s performance in the battle between the top two MVP finalists the past two seasons. After being snubbed as an All-Star starter and barely being mentioned in the MVP conversation this season, Embiid had a near 50-20 game on the head of the reigning MVP and this year’s lead candidate, Nikola Jokic. Embiid took this matchup so personally that he finished in style, hitting a dagger jumper in the closing moments, followed by the infamous Michael Jordan shrug. Five other Sixers finished in double figures, including James Harden, who had 17 points and 13 rebounds, but last night was all about Embiid.

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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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The Magic have been everyone’s favorite fantasy outlet this season, from Bol Bol Euro-stepping into monster jams to Paolo Banchero compiling historic rookie numbers. The play of Franz Wagner has by no means been lost in all the excitement, but his games of late have been next level good. Over his last six games, he’s averaging 24 points on 55% shooting, 68.3 TS%, pitching in about 4 boards, 3 assists, a steal and 3 threes per game. 

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Welcome to your midweek guidance for Week 14!  In this post, I identify widely-available players who can help you win your head-to-head matchup.  We’re now at the point in many fantasy leagues when the playoff race and its participants are well defined.  For struggling managers, you have to adopt a more aggressive mindset that prioritizes streaming over holding long-term injuries and/or stashing guys who might benefit from a trade.  As an example, if you’re in a battle for one of your league’s final playoff spots in a tournament that starts February 27th (Week 19), there’s not much use in holding Devin Vassell when he might be ready to play after the All-Star Break.  He’ll hurt you in the interim by occupying a valuable IL slot, and will likely miss games even after he returns as the Spurs adopt a cautious (tanking) mindset.  I’ll give one more example: Isaiah Jackson.  Is it worth holding him just in case Myles Turner gets traded if you’re taking L’s in the meantime?  Probably not.  Time to move on and free up that spot for guys that can help you right now.

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Regarding last week’s suggestions, I hope you followed the Desmond Bane one, as he shot the ball incredibly this week so the buy low window is shut. Meanwhile, Royce O’Neale had two good and one awful game but he remains an add until Kevin Durant returns, while Patrick Williams unfortunately couldn’t capitalize on DeMar DeRozan’s absence properly. Finally, on the “Sell” front, Jordan Clarkson continues to take advantage of absences in Utah and thus continues to be a good sell high target.

No Sell portion this week as it is a week with a tight schedule and lots of good streaming candidates to add.

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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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Welcome to your midweek guidance for Week 12!  In this post, I identify widely-available players who can help your head-to-head matchup.  I’m writing this from Barcelona, Spain, where from 1936-1939, General Francisco Franco received material support from Germany’s government to aid his side of the Spanish Civil War.  The conflict served as a precursor to World War Two, in which much of Germany was razed, setting the stage for the comprehensive infrastructure restoration effort known as the Marshall Plan.  Does this way-too-broad history lesson have a point?  Well, I could try to tie it in to the Pelicans’ injury woes and the need to introduce a Marshall Plan of their own, but that would be a stretch!

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Welcome to your midweek guidance for Week 11!  In this post, I identify widely-available players who can help you win your head-to-head matchup.  It’s not often that big injury news serendipitously breaks right before I write my piece, but that’s exactly what happened last night, with the Suns announcing a minimum of four weeks’ down time for Devin Booker.  My late grandmother, who followed Chicago sports, used to refer to groin injuries by exclaiming, “he’s got a groin!”  Well, Devin booker has got a groin, folks, and it’s going to cost Phoenix in the near term.

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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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