After witnessing the Philadelphia lose their eleventh straight contest this year, needless to say, it certainly takes balls to be a 76ers fan right now. I’m not referring to testicular fortitude or alpha masculinity, but rather literally, to the ping pong balls of hope known as the 2016 NBA Draft Lottery. With the possibility of multiple lottery picks in the 2016 Draft, it’s going to be okay Philadelphia fans. Put down your weapons, we’ll get through this together.
But it may take some time, since the franchise is focusing on future contention; the on-court product suffers as the 76ers appear to be the worst team in basketball once again.
At this point, I’m just surprised Philadelphia still has a team website, since they can’t string three “W’s” together…
I think I’m going to hide in a corner for the rest of my life after that joke.
Philly, I’m rooting for you, and I’m rooting for the process!
Jahil Okafor continued to impact the box score with a 19 points, 11 boards, 1 assist, 1 steal, and 2 blocks. The Rookie of the Year frontrunner recorded his second straight double double against a soft Dallas front court. Luckily for fantasy owners, Okafor will see plenty of minutes to develop in the interim despite concerns about his immediate impact to the team’s chances of winning. Long term, his inabilities to defend the rim and stretch the floor may impact his fit in Philadelphia. I don’t think the coaching staff has any surprising moves in store for 2015 (such as playing more small ball around Noel or limiting Okafor’s minutes experimenting with more perimeter-based lineups), but moving forward, it is a trend to monitor as he continues to develop this year.
Jerami Grant – Toggling between both forward sports, Grant was able to net 13 points, 3 rebounds, and a steal. He’s had a small uptake in minutes over the past week (29 last night, and over 30 in two of his last 3 games), but with Robert Covington returning from injury, his upside is limited moving forward. As Philly sorts our their wing rotation in the immediate future, Grant is still best left of the waiver wire.
T.J. McConnell – If he ever scores more than 20 points in a game, I’m officially declaring for the NBA Draft since apparently anyone can do it (I scored 8 points in a pickup game last night in case any front offices were wondering). With 13 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists last night, McConnell is firmly entrenched as the starting point guard, and a daily fantasy darling. As McConnell’s value continues to climb, I would begin exploring trade possibilities for the popular waiver wire addition. With the return of Kendall Marshall and Tony Wroten, McConnell may not see 30+ minutes by default every night, although he is certainly playing like he deserves those minutes. While it may be early, it’s something worth exploring in the event his role diminishes.
Chandler Parsons – Set season highs with 20 points in 21 minutes. For everyone who’s been anxiously waiting Parson’s return, I need to remind you, it was against the 76ers…
Wesley Matthews – After resting on the second game of a back-to-back, Matthews was underwhelming last night with 7 points, 2 rebounds, and 1 assist while shooting 1-6 from 3. It’s going to take time for Matthews to return to his former status, but the number of shot attempts is promising for his future fantasy value.
Dwight Powell – Despite a pedestrian outing last night with 7 points, 8 rebounds, and 1-3 from the foul line, Powell should be owned in all standard leagues.
Monta Ellis – With George Hill sitting out last night with a respiratory infection, Ellis became the starting point guard and responded with 20 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 block, and 1 steal on 9-20 shooting from the field. Scoring 20 points in consecutive games, Ellis finally appears to be getting on track after a slow start.
C.J. Miles – 19 points on 5-8 shooting from deep. While Hill and Rodney Stuckey are returning from injury, Miles is the main beneficiary, making him a solid streaming option for the remainder of the week.
Paul George – 26 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists: Not even a triple-double, so not even worth mentioning.
Marcus Smart – After shooting 1-11 from the field, I think we need a brief refresher of the objectives in basketball: the goal is the score the basketball by shooting in THROUGH the net. Now that we’re on the same page, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, and 5 steals are a nice way to contribute on a night when you’re laying more bricks than construction workers.
Isaiah Thomas – Led all scorers with 23 points to compliment 6 assists, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals on 9-12 shooting. Despite his reputation as a super sixth man, Thomas started alongside Smart, recording his 6th start of the season. This subtle lineup change has increased Thomas’ fantasy value as he’s scored more than 20 points in his past three games.
Amir Johnson – Not quite a fantasy stud yet, but started last night and responded with 6 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, and 1 block in only 20 minutes. Johnson is a solid value play in daily fantasy lineups, but until he sees a larger role in the Celtics rotation, the multifaceted big man is still not worth a roster spot.
Jared Sullinger – A popular waiver wire addition last week, Sullinger had a modest outing scoring 9 points with 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 block while making a 3-pointer. Most notably, Sullinger started the game at center and went +20 during his time on the court. If Sullinger can continue to benefit the team with his on-court presence, his fantasy production will see an uptick in the coming weeks.
Terrence Jones – 15 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 steal on 7-14 from the field. Jones is paying huge dividends for owners patient enough to wait for his return. Unfortunately, I’m afraid his recent performances might signify a decreasing role for Marcus Thornton. Thornton appears to be the odd one out in Houston, playing only 12 minutes last night. Thornton saw extended action in small ball lineups with Trevor Ariza at the 4. As a shooter without a strong defensive reputation, Thornton has been relegated to the bench in favor of lineups with Ariza and Jones at both forward positions. While it might be a little too early, I think Thornton is droppable in most leagues.
James Harden – With a season low 10 field goal attempts, “The Beard” underwhelmed with 16 points and 3 assists last night. No reason for fantasy owners to panic, but I think his value is slipping slightly from his MVP heights of last season.
Russell Westbrook – As much as it pains my fantasy team to witness Kevin Durant sidelined with an injury, there is simply nothing better than watching Westbrook playing as the alpha on the Thunder. With 40 points, 14 assists, 3 rebounds, and 3 steals, produced in bulk for fantasy owners. Although every night he doesn’t record a quadruple-double or rip the rim off from the backboard is a huge moral disappointment.
Dion Waiters – After playing 38 minutes off the bench, apparently the tables have turned in OKC with Waiters going 6-14 from the field for 14 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 assists. I don’t want to say he’s a legitimate fantasy option yet, but Waiter’s Island is looking to repopulate in KD’s absence.
Serge Ibaka – 18 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 blocks while hitting 2-3 from deep. Ibaka is so consistent I constantly have to remind myself he’s one of the best bigs in the NBA. Does anyone else think his game is weirdly boring for no apparent reason? No? Just me? Whatever…
Marc Gasol– 17 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, and 1 block for Big Spain in 35 minutes. Grizzlies have won 3 straight, and I think a large part of their mini win streak is Gasol’s ability to facilitate the offense. As long as he’s racking up assists, Gasol is back to fantasy glory.
Mario Chalmers – THIS IS NOT A JOKE: Chalmers scored 29 points off the bench while going 13-15 from the line. This is his also second straight game of recording 10+ foul shouts attempts. This is too weird to be real. I must’ve accidentally fallen asleep and be dreaming this.
Jeff Green – Sometimes he’s good, sometimes he’s not. Last night he was good with 20 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, and 1 block while making 2 3s. If only there was a way to harness this ability for good!
Ed Davis – With Meyers Leonard out for the next 4-6 weeks, I assumed Davis would inherit his spot in the starting lineup. I was very wrong as the Blazers elected to start Chris Kaman alongside Mason Plumlee (RIP spacing). I’m convinced this must’ve been an accident and Terry Stotts was too uncomfortable to approach Kaman to tell him he was in fact, not starting. However, with Davis failing to score last night, maybe he made the right decision after all.
Noah Vonleh – Coming along slowly as he begins to grasp the concept of “defense”, but Vonleh saw 22 minutes off the bench and responded with 3 points, 6 rebounds, and 1 assist. He’s still a a good bit away from making a significant impact, but his playing over 20 minutes on consecutive nights is a good indicator of his growing role during Leonard’s absence.
Damian Lillard – Played 42 minutes last night. Remember that one kid from every child sports team that never got tired?? I would assume that’s Lillard, but then I remember he still rests on defense…
Kawhi Leonard – There really isn’t anything he didn’t do last night (besides make a free throw) finishing with 19 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks while shooting 3-5 from deep.
LaMarcus Aldridge – Set a season-low with 6 points against his old team as they schemed to take away the All-Pro. Although many predicted LMA to continue improving his 3-point shot going into this year, this is the second straight game in which he didn’t even attempt a 3-pointer.
Danny Green – 12 points, 2 assists, and 1 rebound while hitting 2-5 from deep. Tying his season-high for points, it’s apparent Green is still struggling in the new Spurs offense. Maybe if I keep saying things will get better, then they actually will?
Nick Young – Not a real fantasy option, but one of my favorite humans after comparing the Lakers to NSYNC the other night.
Metta World Peace – There’s an honest argument to be made that the artist formerly known as Artest is a fantasy option in deeper leagues. I don’t want to lose all my sanity to this argument, but I’m just saying, it’s out there. But after 12 points, 4 rebounds, and 2-4 from 3 in 21 minutes, I’m sure there are more outlandish things than rostering him.
Brandon Knight – It was a good night indeed as he recorded his first career triple-double on a monster 30/10/15 line. I’m not superstitious, only a little stitious, but consider changing you pregame rituals to whatever you did last night.
Tyson Chandler – 9 rebounds, 0 points, and 1 steal on 23 minutes. Chandler’s defensive contributions make him a valuable fantasy option most nights, but he’s leaving a lot to be desired offensively. With Alex Len playing 25 minutes last night and recording 10 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 blocks, Phoenix will be looking to expand his role as the season progresses.