And I’m not talking about Christmas.

Despite vaccination numbers north of 95%, a new variant of the Coronavirus has breached the walls of the NBA and is wreaking havoc on a league that is already being thinned out by non-virus injuries that stem from playing three seasons in two years. The sick are just getting sicker (Tuesday night’s Brooklyn/Washington matchup was postponed) and as a result, the NBA has thrown off some of their normal roster restrictions to ensure that teams can field full squads. Names that are normally reserved for the silly season of March and early April are now turning up before the unofficial start of the season on Christmas Day. Consider Marquese Chriss, one of the newest Dallas Mavericks, as an example. A lottery pick in 2016 who has never found his footing in the Association, Chriss was added as a reinforcement to the Mavs roster amid a Covid outbreak in Dallas. To his credit, Chriss looked springy, played well, and actually closed the game for Dallas against Minnesota before the ink dried on his contract. Chriss was joined out there by luminaries like Theo Pinson and Sterling Brown, and all across the league there were was a mix of old names and new showing up in NBA box scores. Guys like Wayne Seldon in New York and Tony Snell in Portland resurfaced after time spent in the NBA hinterland, while Marcus Garrett saw some burn in Miami, and Leandro Bolmaro and Nathan Knight popped up for the Timberwolves.

Amid these strange times in the NBA, it was good to see that Damian Lillard is still good for a bucket or two.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Milwaukee Bucks defeated the New York Knicks 112-97 in the matinee matchup yesterday. The Bucks are now back to their winning ways, having beaten the Rockets in their previous game after losing their first game with Jrue Holiday, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Khris Middleton in the lineup against an undermanned Miami Heat team on Wednesday. The sweet machine of destruction that is the Milwaukee Bucks appears to have returned. Seven players scored in double figures for the Bucks, led by Khris Middleton, who finished the game with 24 points (8-17 FG, 4-11 3PT), eight rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Giannis Antetokounmpo tallied 20 points (7-16 FG, 0-2 3PT), 10 rebounds, 11 assists, one steal, and one block. Bobby Portis chipped in 19 points (7-14 FG, 3-7 3PT), 10 rebounds, and three steals. Jrue Holiday added 13 points (6-11 FG, 1-2 3PT), four rebounds, five assists, and one steal. Grayson Allen, Pat Connaughton, and Rodney Hood rounded out the double-digit scorers’ list.

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Hope and confidence are high for the Atlanta Hawks heading into the 2021-22 NBA season after their surprise run to the Eastern Conference Finals in last year’s playoffs. After this offseason, the Hawks have maybe the best mix of veteran reliability and youthful upside in the entire NBA. Delon Wright and Lou Williams can comfortably back up Trae Young as well as play alongside him in the right matchups. Sharife Cooper will be there to soak up all the veteran know-how whenever he’s not testing the limits of his creativity for the College Park Skyhawks, the Hawks G League affiliate. Ditto for Jalen Johnson. It’s unreasonable to expect the Hawks to make it back to the Conference Finals, but it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility. Barring a long-term injury to Trae Young, this team should be even better than they were in the regular season last year. For those who “couldn’t watch Trae Young” because of his mastery of the dark arts of foul drawing—you’re in luck! The rules changes should see Young and every other crafty on-ball creator playing more “honest” basketball this season. Combine that with the wealth of talent on the roster and the Hawks should be a popular league pass team. They came in at #7 in Zach Lowe’s annual League Pass Rankings.

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After nine years, including eight straight playoff appearances, the Terry Stotts era is over in Rip City.  Chauncey Billups takes the reins with the aim of shoring up the defense to complement the Blazers’ number two ranked offense.  Aside from the coaching change, Portland retained its nucleus from last season.  They will look to take advantage of having a healthy Jusuf Nurkic and a full season of Robert Covington and Norman Powell.  Given their ability to run up the score, the Blazers present a target-rich environment for fantasy drafts.  Here are the names to watch going into the 2021-22 campaign:

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It was a bit of a light week for watching games here in the Hooper house. I know this is a fantasy corner of the internet, but reality always manages to find a way in. The ratio of news to NBA games got flipped in the middle of the week, so instead of longer, deeper looks into one or two specific teams, this edition of Hangin’ will feature check-ins on past (incorrect) statements and some quick hitters on what I was able to catch this week. I’m aiming to get back on track this week — aren’t we all? — so hopefully next time will be less doom and gloom and more dimes and dunks.

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I used to spend hours upon hours upon hours upon hours playing franchise mode in NBA 2K. I was a fantasy draft guy, so I’d draft my team. Then I’d go into the playbook and select all the plays I wanted for my offensive system. The rotations and minutes distribution would be all taken care of. I’d make sure the players were happy with their roles, and ensure contracts were all taken care of. Finally, I’d spend hours upon hours upon hours upon hours tweaking the sliders so that the game would play as realistically as possible. One slider in particular would always cause me much consternation: the injury slider. If I put it too low, then no one would ever get injured and the simulation experience would be tainted. On the other hand, if I put it too high, then I’d want to throw my controller into the wall….repeatedly. Well, whoever is handling the NBA matrix has put the injury slider too high! Just yesterday, Brandon Ingram’s knee tightened up before the game and will now have an MRI on Tuesday. Danuel House suffered back contusions and left the game after 12 minutes. De’Aaron Fox sprained his ankle during practice and will be out at least 3-4 weeks. Finally, Gordon Hayward will be out six weeks after undergoing surgery on his injured hand. Whew! Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what never gets injured and is always there working for you? The Stocktonator. O. G. Anunoby left after 2 minutes due to an eye injury. Landry Shamet only played 12 minutes due to an ankle injury. Now, from a fantasy perspective, if Ingram misses time, then Josh Hart will likely start in his place. Jrue Holiday should be the one to soak up the most usage. If House is unable to play, Ben McLemore would likely replace him in the starting lineup. With Fox out for a while, Cory Joseph will likely start but Bogdan Bogdanovic probably benefits the most. There’s been talk that Fox could be out more than 3-4 weeks, and when he does return, he won’t be as explosive. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson should see a bump in playing time if Anunoby misses time. As for Shamet, Rodney McGruder could see more run or Lou Williams may get a few more minutes. Not sure there’s a direct beneficiary from the situation, but we will monitor to see how Doc decides to play it. Since we can’t rage quit and press reset on the box, we must make do with what we have and offer sacrifices to the injury gods.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s not often that we get to honor our veterans on a public platform. Some people spend Veterans Day with their grandfather who fought in WWII, some people watch Saving Private Ryan, some people play Call of Duty. Whichever way you honor our veterans is up to you, but for me, Razzball is that platform. So, in honor of Veterans Day, Beyond the Glory is going all vets for this weeks waiver wire suggestions.

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Points guards are the Mother Teresas of the fantasy basketball world, as they like to give. Shooting guards are….the cavemen. See ball, shoot ball, take ball, then shoot ball. Rinse and repeat. These are obviously generalizations, but shooters shoot, and that’s what this post is all about. I kid, kind of. The elite at this position are across-the-board contributers, while the rest are indeed cavemen.

To see my per-game value projections for each player, click HERE. In the “Pos” box (which stands for position, not the other thing you were thinking), type in “sg” and the table will sort by just shooting guards.

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Average doesn’t really cut it in the NBA. It never really did, and it especially doesn’t in today’s league. But the perfectly mediocre Detroit Pistons were believers, squeaked into the playoffs with a perfectly mediocre 41-41 record, then got absolutely trounced by the Milwaukee Bucks in the opening round, which began the next phase of their… plan. Whatever that plan is. Rebuild? Tank? From the looks of it, they plan to be content with their current state of just being meh.

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Collin Sexton, the 8th overall pick of the Cavs in the 2018 NBA Draft, started the season off slowly. He came off the bench the first 10 games of the season, averaging 23 minutes, 10.5 points, and shooting 40% from the field. He was inserted into the starting lineup for game number 11 and has held onto that role all season. There were ups and downs, as the shooting efficiency was poor and the contributions in the other categories were minimal. For fantasy, he was a top 250 player. Something has clicked, though.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
25 2 3 0 0 4 4/7 10/18 1/1

Sexton has now scored at least 20 points in seven straight games. He’s been a top 35 player over that span. Maybe he ate a blue pill or something. Anyways, you know the warning: call a doctor if erection last longer than 4 hours. Well, Sexton has been going on for much longer than that and he’s in straight DGAF mode right now, averaging over 17 shots per game. Here’s the thing, though. He’s shooting 56% from the field. He’s not going to be able to maintain that efficiency forever. And when that comes down, you’ll be holding a limp biscuit because Sexton doesn’t contribute much in the other categories. Very miminal contributions in the D cats and around 3 boards and dimes each. Enjoy the hot streak, but this Sexton will not last forever.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Cedi Osman was selected with the 31st overall pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves back in 2015. His draft rights were immediately traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Osman was stashed away in Europe for two years. When he finally made it over to the States, the playing time was inconsistent but he did show that he could play in the league and had two games in which he logged 39 minutes. Osman showed the ability to contribute across the board, so it wasn’t a surprise when he performed well to begin this season: 32.4 minutes, 13.1 points, 5.3 boards, 3.6 dimes, and 1 steal were his averages in the month of October. While he shot 42% from downtown on 4.7 attempts, the overall field goal percentage was only 38%, something that would plague him as the season progressed. In addition, the peripheral stats all decreased, which resulted in many jumping off the Osman ship. But then something happened. Maybe something clicked, as he’s still only 23 years old and this is only his second season in the NBA. Or maybe it’s small sample size, but whatever the case may be, last night Cedi was freaking Osman!

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
26 5 7 2 1 3 4/8 10/16 2/8

Well, everything but the free throw shooting, but he was instrumental in leading the Cavs to a 116-113 victory over the Wizards. For much of the season, Osman had been a top 200 player for fantasy, but over the three games prior to last night, he’d been top 30, averaging 37.1 minutes, 23.7 points, 3.7 threeecolas, 6.7 boards, 2.7 dimes, and 1.3 steals. He’d been shooting 52% from the field and had a usage rate of 23. Now, the efficiency will likely come down, but there’s also a chance that he’s more comfortable and has improved. Regardless, the Cavs straight stink so Osman is going to get tons of run. Cedi has been Osman. Hopefully, he continues to be.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?