Finally, some sort of normality has been restored. At least I think so. The Bucks are back up on their Buck against sitting in the second seed at the time of writing having an 8-4 record. The Celtics have barely played thanks to the Washington Wizards. Yes, the Wizards and not Tatum. Now, the Wizards are also getting a couple of their games postponed as they have three players that tested positive for the virus, meaning pretty much their whole team is in the NBA’s “Health & Safety Protocol”. The Philadelphia 76ers are still holding their own at 8-4 after most of their team being held out because of the virus surprise, surprise, stemming from Seth Curry’s positive test. Speaking of the Wizards they are still towards the bottom at 3-8 and are now going to be without Russell Westbrook for another 3-4 weeks. Beal seems ready to feast, not that he hasn’t already, but now without Russ, he’s going to have to keep scoring those 30s and 40s if the Wizards are going to have any chance to win some games. The Indiana Pacers have seemed steady as Domantas Sabonis is running riot and Myles Turner is turning into a block machine! In his past three games he has averaged an amazing 4 blocks a game! Congrats to whoever took him as I’m sure he slid in many drafts. Oh, and yeah. THE BROOKLYN NETS MIGHT HAVE BROKEN THE NBA. Or did they? Maybe this just blows up in their face. Nevertheless, James Harden is now a Net after an absolute blockbuster trade.
Let’s just unpack this trade real quick that involved four teams. The Brooklyn Nets receive James Harden. The Houston Rockets receive Victor Oladipo, Dante Exum, Rodions Kurucs, 4 1st round picks & 4 pick swaps! The Cleveland Cavaliers get Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince and finally, the Indiana Pacers receive Caris Levert. WOW! Just WOW! This trade is bound to shake up the NBA. What does this mean for our teams? For all my James Harden owners, rejoice! Harden is about to be Harden again now that he is away from a place he did not want to be. He’ll take his normal shots and his assists should not take a hit, although he will not average double-digit assists like he is now. Kevin Durant will not hurt that much either, maybe his assists. The same goes for Kyrie Irving for when he comes back. Whenever that is. Superstars like that, who are also very ball-dominant, with the exception of KD, will get their touches and shots. It is the rest of the Nets that might take the hit. Guys like Joe Harris come to mind right away. All in all, if you own one of these Nets big hitters, don’t worry, unless you have Kyrie of course.
Now for the Cavs and the Pacers (We’ll leave the Rockets over in the West). The Cavs essentially got a quality young center in Jarrett Allen for peanuts. This might be a prelude to an Andre Drummond trade. I do not see a world where the Cavs stick with Drummond, Love, McGee, Larry Nance Jr., and now Allen in that mix. One will go, and that is probably Drummond since the smartest thing to do would be to run with Allen as the future center alongside the young core of SexLand and Isaac Okoro. Now when will that happen? It is tough to say. Maybe it happens in this season or maybe even in the off-season. We’ll have to wait and see. Fantasy-wise, though this move hurts both Allen and Drummond. Both will lose value as they will have to split minutes. It’s not like you can just bench one of them or hand them 10 minutes a night or something like that. I would not panic or anything if I owned Allen as I do think he will be the long term winner between him and Drummond. LNJ might also take a hit, especially when K-Love comes back. As for Caris LeVert now in Indiana, it will probably be more of the same. We know what to expect from LeVert. He is an excellent scorer who is not so efficient but can get you a few steals here and there and some assists. He will probably slot right into the role vacated by Victor Oladipo and see the same minutes, which will allow him to be a nightly threat on the offense while guys like Turner and Brogdon handle the defensive side of the ball, He’ll get his stats but maybe with a slight dip as he’ll have to share the court with Sabonis and Brogdon.
Besides all that crazy, the New York Knicks have finally come back down to Earth after consecutive losses to the OKC, the Nuggets, the Hornets, and the Nets. Reality has smacked the Knicks across the face. This is more like the team we all expected and what we can expect to see going forward with a couple of wins sprinkled here and there. Unless, of course, the team from the beginning of the season shows up. Julius Randle continues to play at an All-Star level and is rewarding his owners with points, rebounds, and surprisingly a good amount of assists. Mitchell Robinson seems to have put his foul troubles in the past and is getting 30 minutes a night, which can allow him to have a nightly double-double with a couple of blocks. Also, look out for Immanuel Quickley as the season progresses since he may become more and more fantasy relevant and who knows, maybe even take the starting job if Thibs sees the light and realizes that Elfrid Payton does not help this Knicks team and should not be getting anywhere near 30-35 minutes a night.
Best Performers of The Week:
- Tyrese Maxey: Probably should not be here in my top 3 but I’m thinking with my heart here and Tyrese has absolutely won me over. I was not that high on him coming out of the draft, but, I am high on him now. He seems like a stud. He plays with great energy and seems to be having fun whenever he is on the court. Plus, his floaters? It is a thing of beauty. He got a chance to play big minutes these last 3 games and he took advantage. He posted averages of 23.3 points with 5.3 rebounds and 6 assists, Now, of course, he will play less as guys like Seth Curry and Shake Milton come back into the rotation, but he has proven that he belongs and that he has a bright future ahead of him!
- Bradley Beal: Beal is an absolute superstar. He is wasting himself in Washington. Now with that being said, he could have been on this list last week, but don’t worry he’s here this week. He has been scoring 30, 40 points even 60 against the Sixers a couple of games back. The man is on fire and he is also shooting it very efficiently. All my Beal owners out there, well done, and enjoy the ride!
- Kevin Durant: KD might be on here so often this year that I am going to eventually run out of words to say, but one always comes to mind, and that is automatic. The man is automatic. He makes scoring look so effortless and so easy that you just can’t describe him as anything else. Every time he hoists up a shot I can faintly hear opposing fans going “Ah crap…”. He also seems to be playing on b2bs which is great for the KD owners of the world. Could have been me, but I chose to be scared off by the load management… Oh well. You live and you learn right?
Waiver Wire Adds:
- Precious Achiuwa: The Heat have been smacked hard by the virus and are without guys like Jimmy Butler, Goran Dragic, and Bam Adebayo. Last time out Precious had a good outing in 36 minutes with 17 points, 13 rebounds, and a block. His minutes will stay that high for as long as this Heat team stays depleted. He is clearly a short term add, but if you’re looking for some help in this matchup or next week, keep an eye on my guy Precious and maybe give him a shot in your streamer spot.
- Cam Reddish: With Bogdan Bogdanovic picking up an injury that will keep him sidelined for a couple of weeks, Reddish is in line to get increased opportunities. It is up to him to make the most of it. He has been questionable in some games so far this season as he has struggled with his shot. But now that the minutes will come, maybe the production sees an uptick as well. Keep an eye out on Reddish but with him, walk, don’t run in my opinion.
- DeAndre Jordan / Jeff Green: Now that the Nets gutted their team and shipped out their best center in Jarrett Allen for James Harden, someone will have to step in. Will that be DJ? Or will that be Green? I think both will see themselves with minutes at the 5 but DJ being the only clear center will for sure see him get more minutes and we will for sure see an uptick in production. I personally added DJ after the trade and am hoping that Green will mostly be utilized at the 3-4 and less at the 5. But both could be viable options to somewhat experiment with and see if they stick.
The Eastern conference is starting to take the shape it will most likely have throughout the season. We’ve seen each team play now around 10 times and that should be a good enough sample size to see what we can expect from teams and players. Of course, there are still some outliers, but the crazy has slowly subsided sadly. But then again anyone could be anyone on any given night in the NBA, right? Good luck with the rest of your matchup and the next one coming up! I’ll be back next week, check out my podcast, Overtime Zone, and I’ll catch you guys later!