Alright, truth be told I had that article title in my head before the early games even finished up. It looked like it was going to be a yawn-worthy evening of basketball… but then some cool stuff happened.
Kyle Lowry‘s 17/10/7 with a pair of threes was nice. As was DeMar DeRozan‘s 28/4/4 with two long balls of his own. Bismack Biyombo pulled down a career-high 20 rebounds in a winning effort and that gave me some warm & fuzzies. But dedicating a lead to “my team” when they barely hung on to beat a mostly disinterested Dallas squad didn’t feel quite right. And also, how many semi-legitimate opportunities am I going to have to write the word “Snoozeday”? (Answer: hopefully just this once.)
But Tuesday’s schedule, man. Come on now…
Outside of the local fan bases, who gives a smurf about any of those games? I was this close to watching Polar Express instead of the Raptors game since it looked like they were going to run away with it early (up 16 after the 1st Q). The game ended up being mildly entertaining as the Mavs’ second unit scratched & clawed their way to within one possession late in the 4th, but Kyle, DeMar & Bismack proved to be a bit too much.
I suppose if we broke things down a little more to the individual player level we could have gotten stoked for the Andre Drummond/Hassan Whiteside matchup in South Beach. Unfortunately, the two young centers failed to deliver the monstrous lines we’ve grown accustomed to seeing early this season. Drummond was just “ok” with 11/12/1/0/2, but shot only 4-12 from the field. Whiteside was markedly better with 16 & 16 plus four blocks and 7-13 FGs. Solid stuff, but it would’ve been pretty cool to see a pair of 20/20’s in the same game. (I wonder when was the last time that happened? Somebody else please check, I’m busy/lazy right now.)
Ultimately this proved to be the second (mostly) lackluster Tuesday in a row. However, if there is NBA basketball being played there are player performances to be discussed. So let’s get after it.
Marc Gasol – 19/6/5/3/1 on 7-15 from the field and a perfect 5-5 on his freebies. Nice night for the younger Gasol brother to be sure, but given the level of competition, this is probably about the minimum his owners were expecting coming into this one.
Matt Barnes – Made good on his 29 starter’s minutes, going 12/10/2/2/2 with a couple treys. Barnes has been the 22nd ranked 9-cat player over the last two weeks and the only thing working against his outlook is the lousy schedule density for both January and February (only one 4-game week out of eight).
Stanley Johnson – Though he only played 23 minutes, he made ’em count to the tune of 14/4/3 with four triples. StanJo has flashed big time potential on a few occasions, but consistency is the sexy attribute to Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy, and until Johnson can provide that he’s going to be tough to trust in your active lineup. He has some work to do to even crack the top-150 on the season.
Dirk Nowitzki – 20/7/0/0/2 while ringing it up from long distance four times. The German just keeps chuggin’ along with the type of low-TO, high-efficiency shooting that secures him a spot in the top-20, season-to-date.
Kobe Bryant – The Bean dropped 31 up in the altitude of Denver. Maybe the thin air helps the ball get over the front of the rim easier? Kobe did his damage on 10-22 shooting from the floor, 2-9 from deep, and 9-11 from the line. Three boards, five dimes, a block and a steal round out his evening. The high-20/low-30 minute range seems to be the sweet spot for more efficient production so let’s hope it continues as this is the type of Kobe I’d personally like to see leave the game of basketball. Not the 7-22 with three airballs Kobe of November.
Will Barton – After the first quarter I though I was going to have to abandon the “Snoozeday” headline (oh look, I found another spot to use that word – nifty) and give the Thrill some more ink. He brought a flamethrower off the bench and dropped 18 points in the first frame. Unfortunately he cooled off considerably as the game went on and finished with only 25. Barton added eight boards, two assists, a block and a couple treys which is still plenty to land him in “The Good” section. It just feels like a “what could have been” night, especially since there was no Danillo Gallinari to steal minutes and shots on Tuesday.
Nikola Jokic – 15/10/5 in 30 minutes off the bench will go a long way in solidifying a spot in Mike Malone’s rotation even when Jusuf Nurkic returns. I’m generally avoiding the Nuggets’ frontcourt situation for fantasy purposes as trying to predict the nightly minutes and production has fool’s errand written all over it. But if you’re desperate for big man help I would rank the Denver trio (ROS): Jokic, Nurkic, Joffrey Lauvergne. When a situation is this uncertain it’s all about upside and I think Jokic wins out, ever so slightly, over Nurk in that respect.
Tony Allen – I can’t imagine he’s rostered in anything but the deepest of leagues, and after tonight’s 1-point (0-5 FGs, 1-4 FTs) outing we can see why. Don’t be surprised if Allen is wearing a new uniform by February.
Nik Stauskas – Is it possible the Sacramento Kings organization knew what they were doing by giving up so early on Sauce Castillo? (Doubtful, ’cause Kings.) Nik is almost completely out of the ‘6ers rotation now that they’re getting some more guards healthy, as evidenced by his four minutes on Tuesday. I was way wrong on him being an impact player for a Philly team desperate for a floor-spacer.
Tony Wroten – You can do worse than 7/5/7. But you can’t do much worse than 2-9 from the field, 3-8 from the charity stripe, no threes, no steals, no blocks, and five turnovers. Classic T-Wrote. (FYI – nobody calls him that.)
Marcus Morris – A pretty empty 33 minutes for the northernmost Morris twin. 8/5/3 with no defensive stats and five giveaways. Hopefully this was just an off night as he was coming off a 20-point effort against the Bulls a few days back.
Chandler Parsons – The good news is that Parsons has been cleared to play in B2Bs. The bad news is he’s still coming off the bench and even with a decent amount of run (25 minutes on Tuesday) he isn’t producing usable numbers. 6/2/1/1/0 on 3-8 shooting. He’s a bit like Danny Green at this point…but with an excuse.
Jameer Nelson – It’s tough to complain about a guy who provides eight assists, but 2-9 from the field, no threes or defensive stats helps to justify it. Nelson has been pretty good while filling in for the injured Emmanuel Mudiay, but 30 minutes against the Lakers should yield better results than 5/3/8/0/0.
Miami Left-Handed Point Guards – No Goran Dragic (thumb, day-to-day) or Tyler Johnson (shoulder, day-to-day) meant it was the Beno Udrih Experience for the Heat on Tuesday. There’s little to no chance you had Beno locked into weekly lineups, but if you streamed him or punted PG in DFS you’re likely satisfied with his 14/3/6 line on 7-11 shooting. Unfortunately no money counting stats in Beno’s 34 minutes, but you could’ve done worse for minimum salary or a quick hit pickup.
Jeff Green – Started and played all of 19 minutes. He made all three of his field goal attempts and didn’t turn the ball over. There’s been no mention (that I’ve seen) of an injury, so I haven’t got the foggiest idea why he didn’t see run in the high-20s/low-30s like the other four Grizzlies starters.
Reggie Jackson – I found it a bit curious that Reggie played only 31 minutes in a closely contested game. Foul trouble wasn’t to blame as he only had one PF. With Brandon Jennings dressing (but not seeing any floor time) this will be an intriguing situation to monitor. Jackson, despite the monster contract, is not the most endearing fella and a minutes reduction as a result of Jennings being back could make things very interesting.
Deron Williams – Pulled up with a Christmas ham(string injury) and in true Deron fashion he made it sound awful (“I heard a pop”) while also suggesting that he may not miss any games. Who the h-e-double-hockey-sticks knows how long he’ll be out, but with Devin Harris already on the shelf we’re going to be force fed a holiday-sized helping of Raymond Felton and J.J. Barea. Tasty.
Patrick Patterson – Sorry, Slim. Your bestie 2-Pat only lasted eight minutes before flu-like symptoms got the worst of him. He did have a steal in those eight minutes though – that ain’t nothin’! (The joke may be on me though as Patterson’s absence forced 10 minutes of Anthony Bennett onto my television screen. Not ideal.)
Cory Joseph – After a lousy last week, CoJo played a really nice game against the Mavericks. 12/4/5/1/0 with a pair of threes. He is getting really solid minutes but he’ll need more time with the starting unit (i.e. a Lowry injury) to be a surefire fantasy play.
OPPORTUNITY IS EVERYTHING
Players who saw over 36 minutes of floor time on Tuesday:
I’d like to take this opportunity to wish Razzball Nation a very Merry Christmas. Have a safe and happy holiday season and I’ll catch up with everyone on Monday (attempting to fill JB’s yeti-sized shoes doing the weekend recap and “7 Ahead”). As always, if you want to chat waiver pickups, DFS plays, or anything else fantasy hoops, drop me a line on Twitter @moneyballmatty. Cheers.