Now, that’s what I call an entertaining night of NBA basketball. Wednesday night had Domantas Sabonis proving the haters wrong, players adjusting to new teams, and a good barrel full of laughter at the Lakers expense. Let’s get into who’s value increased and why I think the Sabonis trade wasn’t actually that awful. 

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Raptors vs Thunder

Nick Nurse coaches every single game as if it were a playoff game, even when it’s really not necessary. This is the only explanation for why Pascal Siakam played forty minutes against essentially OKC’s bench. Didn’t want to disrupt his hot hand I suppose, as he ended the night with 27 points and 16 rebounds. I have only one thing to say to my Toronto Raptors: You left the assignment to the last minute. Get it done and fix the bench unit. Many better teams have larger problems to deal with so trade some second rounders and get it done. My personal dream additions would be Cam Reddish or Kevin Huerter. They would both play so well on this team’s bench. As for the Thunder, nothing much to say other than a solid performance last night from their bench unit. One of Aleksej Pokusevski’s best performances so far this season with 18 points on 80% three point shooting.

 

Spurs vs Cavaliers

I’ve come to a realization that the San Antonio Spurs will never tank with coach Gregg Popovich at the helm. They’ll trade absolutely nobody at the deadline, continue to waddle in mediocrity, reach for a guard in the draft with the 12th overall pick and repeat. [Update: Derrick White was traded to the Celtics] Sad thing is until Gregg Popovich retires, this won’t change. 

Making his Cavaliers debut last night, Caris LeVert put up 11 points on 11 attempts and didn’t do a whole lot else, but this was to be expected.  I don’t believe this to be a Cam Reddish situation, as he gets more accustomed to the system he will see more minutes played and more opportunities. In the meantime, he’s a decent buy-low candidate with good potential. 

 

Bulls vs Hornets

These are the games the Bulls need to win if they wanna keep their swagger and status as one of the surprise contenders. With defensive titans Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso injured, the team is still finding ways to win games. No updates from a fantasy perspective so it will be interesting to see what they do at the deadline. Speaking of injured white players, Gordon Hayward is out indefinitely yet again. With this revelation I personally think they should be big players on Thursday. Jakob Poeltl would be my dream for this team, but Richaun Holmes is a solid backup option. They need something while they still have Miles Bridges and LaMelo Ball under decent contracts. 

 

Warriors vs Jazz

In what will be the least talked about embarrassing loss last night, the Warriors lose by 26 to a struggling Jazz team still missing Rudy Gobert. Two All-Star starters were outscored by Jordan Poole and Bojan Bogdanovic. The bench was particularly awful for the Warriors with Juan Toscano-Anderson being the only player to not have a plus/minus under twenty (-13). It’s just one game, however, so no need to worry at all for both the Warriors and fantasy owners. 

I think the low-key best acquisition of the trade deadline was Nickeil Alexander-Walker for two second rounders and Joe Ingles’ expiring contract. He is a great depth option for a team that needed it, maybe even getting starting minutes eventually over Royce O’Neale. Speaking of minutes, ever since his breakout performance against Denver last week Trent Forrest has been averaging minutes in the twenties. He is still not a viable option in most leagues but a solid depth option in thirty team leagues. 

 

Lakers vs Trail Blazers

As both a champion of the underdog and a self admitted Lakers hater, I do enjoy seeing them lose to a vastly inferior team. It’s almost as if trading everything for a name brand and signing nothing but veteran, over-the-hill stars isn’t a viable team building option. I genuinely hope this team misses the play-in game, it would be absolutely hilarious to witness and bring a form of balance to the league. It’s for this same reason I want Brooklyn to miss the play-in game as well. Champion parity and the underdog. As for the Blazers, I did say last week to see me after the trade deadline, and they proceeded to walk into my office with a nuclear warhead. Getting Josh Hart and Nickeil Alexander-Walker for CJ McCollum wasn’t a terrible trade, it’s just everything else they did. Dumping Norman Powell for cap space and shipping away Nickeil Alexander-Walker for absolutely nothing were terrible moves. Cap Space on a small market team is like an inground pool in Canada, never utilized until the kids come over. Meaning, Portland doesn’t get free agents so cap space is only ever utilized for signing rookie contract extensions. I have no clue what the Blazers are doing, but for those who invested in Anfernee Simons, he’s about to go to the moon. 

 

Timberwolves vs Kings

It’s no secret that the Kings were the team I was most interested in heading into the trade deadline.  I’ve been saying for the last three weeks that they’ve been treading water and needed to choose a direction. They chose to be bold and trade young guard Tyrese Haliburton to the Pacers for star Domantas Sabonis. On a brief side note, everyone who said that they needed to pick a guard between De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton apparently only ever wanted Fox gone. Was the trade a bad decision? Absolutely, trading a loyal young player for a disgruntled star while you’re the 13th seed is a bad trade. However, this isn’t the highway robbery like everyone’s making it out to be. I actually like the fit between Fox and Sabonis, a cutter and an elite rebounder to hover up any boards. Additionally Sabonis is a sneaky good passer, averaging five assists per game, good for 35th best in the league. With how many cutting plays the Kings run, Sabonis should fit like a glove and absolutely did last night. Proving the doubters wrong  by putting up 22 points, 14 rebounds, and five assists without shooting a single three. At the end of the day, I like the idea of Sabonis in Sacramento. Next season will be the true litmus test of how awful this decision was in hindsight. As for the Timberwolves, what do you want me to say? With the collapsing Lakers, they’ll probably make the playoffs or at least play-in tournament but I still don’t believe in them at all.