Now that Thanksgiving is in the rearview mirror, all hands are on deck for Christmas. The neighbors adorn the houses with electric bling, the empty lots are filled with trees standing in Terracotta formation, and we all become tolerant of elevator music. It’s a happy time indeed. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know how you can always be happy? By using the Stocktonator. In fact, one could say that it’s a jubilant time with voices singing Jingle Bells and hands literally jingling bells. Guess who was jubilant and jingled something last night in the NBA?
Jaren Jackson Jr. was unbelievable. The 31 points were a season-high and he jingled the stat box to make sure there was a little something something in each box. He was in foul trouble….again….What else is new? But at least he was able to navigate around it. Now, before you take off your clothes and run around jingling your parts, know that Jonas Valanciunas and Brandon Clarke were both unable to play. Coach Jenkins had no choice but to leave him out there. With that said, this is the ceiling that JJJ can access. He’s young, but it’s only a matter of time before he contributes these kind of lines on a consistent basis. Don’t expect that to happen this season, so expect the inconsistencies, but mental masturbate over what the future entails.
There have been some interesting storylines surrounding Giannis Antetokounmpo this offseason. The 2018-19 MVP accepted his award humbly and gave an emotional speech before telling ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk that he’s only reached “60% of his potential.” Uh-oh. Then, the Milwaukee Bucks went out and made a splash in free agency, signing veteran sharpshooter Kyle Korver. As one of the best shooters in the world, he’s a worthy mentor and has been helping the Greek Freak to develop his jumper. Uh-oh. And then, NBA coaches and executives went ahead and voted Kawhi Leonard as the best player in the league. Because why not incite the 25-year-old Milwaukee mainstay to play even better this year?
We know the NBA is a serious business, but even it is not immune to the occasional mix up. Such an occurrence happened last week, sparked by a three-team trade centered around Trevor Ariza. Per reports, part of the deal that Memphis agreed was to send MarShon Brooks to the Phoenix Suns, but Phoenix thought they were getting Dillon Brooks. I guess that’s what happens when you have two players with the same surname on the same team and you are trading with a team whose coach also has the same surname. And with that, the deal was off, only to happen two days later without the involvement of Memphis. Now that I think about it more, maybe the Wizards’ master plan was to trade their head coach, but Memphis found out before it was too late. Imagine a team with all three members of the Holiday family: Jrue, Justin, and Aaron. How about a team with all four members of the Antetokounmpo family: Giannis, Thanasis, Alex, and Kostas? I would pay just to hear trade discussions involving players from those two families.
Taking a look at last week’s suggestions, Wendell Carter Jr. has hit the well-documented “rookie-wall,” but I still think he is an excellent Buy option, as he is too good to struggle for much longer. Nicolas Batum had a breakthrough performance vs the Knicks and I think he can improve more as we approach the second half of the season, while De’Anthony Melton maintained his minutes and production even with Devin Booker back. Finally, Trey Lyles has been underwhelming with his increased opportunity, but has the ability to get hot in a hurry, in contrast to Rodney McGruder, for whom I maintain the opinion that he should be off standard league rosters.
Thursday night’s Draft was as exciting as advertised. Some of the top prospects we’ve seen come around in a while found homes amongst the NBA’s 30 teams — yet, there were very few surprises, outside of maybe Aaron Gordon getting picked No. 4 overall by the Orlando Magic.
Those of us expecting some big trades to go down were also disappointed. There was really only one trade that didn’t involve a straight swap of picks or previously picked players, and that was D-League phenom Pierre Jackson getting shipped from NOLA to Philly for Russ Smith.
The big trade news around the league came a few days prior to the Draft when the New York Knicks and the Dallas Mavericks announced a blockbuster deal that sent Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton from the Big Apple to D-Town in exchange for Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington and two second-round picks, which ended up being Cleanthony Early and Thanasis Antetokounmpo.
Now, how does this affect fantasy basketball owners going forward?