• The big news this week is the proposal for an in-season tournament between Thanksgiving and Christmas, a play-in for the last two playoff spots and a slightly shortened season (down to 78 games in some cases). The shortened season for one sounds like a good idea just to add a couple potential rest days so we don’t have to manage loads as much for HEALTHY players. I think the tournament is a good idea depending on how it actually gets laid out. It’s hard to visualize before we actually see a game breakdown. There’s an argument for strength of opponent in the pre-knockout stage. I also wonder if this play-in for the last two playoff spots actually disincentivizes winning even more than we already see from the lower teams. In the East we’ve seen teams make it into the playoffs with less than 40 wins. They’re just showing up for posterity anyway. If all they get for the seventh best record is a play-in game, why bother winning 45 games instead of 40? Finally, the conference reseeding, I don’t like it. Maybe I’m boring and too traditional. I understand that the Western Conference is better than the Eastern Conference with some regularity but I like the tradition and I’m not a purist where I want the best two teams all the time. Then we should just play league format and give the title to the team with the most wins. Maybe the Bucks will win something then. I’m here for hot takes.

    I’ve also decided that I’m not a fan of wordmarks on jerseys. Maybe that’s the hockey fan in me but why is it so hard to slap a deer on the jersey instead of “Bucks” or “Milwaukee” in some mediocre word-processed font? Why does getting a logo on the chest have to be one of the 400 gimmicky jerseys we do every season. Fix it.

    Finally, I just want to recognize Ernie Johnson. He just celebrated 30 years at TNT and there was a really nice tribute to him on “Inside the NBA” earlier this week. I’ve been watching Ernie Johnson my entire life and the TNT programming is what got me into the league as a kid. Just showing some respect for a great person and a great ambassador for the game. Let’s stream.

    Week 6 Stream Table

    General key:
    Home games are in orange because basketballs are orange.
    Road games are in blue because blue is not orange.
    Green means heavy schedule because green means go.
    Red means light schedule because red means stop.

    Back to Backs

    Brought to you by Drake*

    *not actually

    Sun/Mon (of Week 5): BKN, SAC
    Mon/Tue: none
    Tue/Wed: LAC/WAS
    Wed/Thu: none
    Thu/Fri: none
    Fri/Sat: ATL, CHA, IND, MIL, PHI
    Sat/Sun: none
    Sun/Mon (of Week 7): GSW, MEM, NYK, UTA

    Working The Wire

    I need to have more pull with these names. Some of these guys are still disappointingly under-rostered. GET ON IT PALS.

    Point Guards

    Coby White: Last week Kris Dunn made an appearance on this list and I actually think that has worked out well. On top of that, I really think the Bulls have four legitimate options at guard on any given Sunday. The stat set isn’t amazing right now and feels like shades of Jamal Crawford. That’s a really exciting NBA player but not a consistent fantasy asset by any stretch. I’m optimistic because he’s clearly the future of this team, but exercise some caution.

    Ky Bowman: He has to be a pickup now given the state of this team. He came onto the radar when De’Angelo Russell first suffered an injury but then got relegated to a less prominent role when either DLo or Draymond were healthy and with Draymond running the point. Now neither are particularly healthy and no one on the Warriors seems that motivated to change that.

    Rajon Rondo: I’ll fully acknowledge that the returns haven’t been great since Rondo returned to the floor, but this is a veteran guy who is probably on the floor in important moments. Additionally, he’s at minimum doing what he’s expected to do by racking up 5.7 assists per game over his first six outings. By that standard, he’ll be worth at worst an assist specialist and at best someone who will put up 12-4-7, which is secretly pretty good.

    Shooting Guards

    Donte DiVincenzo: For better or for worse, DiVincenzo got the shot to fill in for Khris Middleton. For all intents and purposes, he’s done a serviceable job. Not a lot of upside here, but he’s been scoring reasonably effectively and should be a late-round streamer type.

    Malik Monk: Malik Monk had one really elite skill coming out of Kentucky. He can shoot the rock. In Charlotte, there’s a lot of rocks to shoot because there isn’t a solidified pecking order and he’s helped by the fact that Nicolas Batum just runs around for half the game without doing anything of consequence. I think he could at least be a streamer for 3-pointers.

    Frank Ntilikina: Boy do I hate trying to figure out the Knicks. Ntilikina has had a lot of run of late with Elfrid Payton out and Dennis Smith Jr. clearly not as advertised. Frank had SIX steals in Saturday’s game and on any team with a game plan he’s a defensive bulldog who has at minimum specialist fantasy value.

    Small Forwards

    DeAndre’ Bembry: I’m waffling a little on Bembry because his last couple games of higher end production have come in the absence of Cam Reddish. Reddish isn’t nearly ready enough to be a great NBA option but the minutes will obviously be split there. Deandre’ Bembry has shown a propensity to be a fairly useful “veteran” and has made a big impact defensively, stealing at an elite clip right now. He has at least one steal in all but one game this year, including eight in the last three games.

    De’Andre Hunter: We’ve got an abundance of DeAndres on the program today because it’s not super clear which one of the two is going to be the ideal option. Hunter has the pedigree to be a really good player and will generally get more attention as the rookie. On the flip side, maybe that means his leash is a little shorter in terms of making mistakes. He’s been touted as a defensive option but strangely it’s the offense that Hunter has flashed recently and the defensive numbers (only 0.8 defensive stats per game) have lagged behind.

    Garrett Temple: We brought up Temple as a potential low-end streamer a couple weeks ago. All he has done since then is play a lot of minutes and do a little less with them than we wanted. I think he’s going to still see a reasonable minute share even when Kyrie Irving is heathy since it’s really a straight swap in for Spencer Dinwiddie. That makes him a pretty solid 9-category play with the low turnover count. It’s reminiscent to a poor man’s Otto Porter skill set with a rich man’s Otto Porter bill of health.

    Power Forwards

    Duncan Robinson: He popped up on our stream team last week and THEN had a nine 3-pointer outing. If you were able to latch onto him then, you’re counting your cash. Naturally since then he’s been useless but the blowout loss to the Sixers has to be largely a throwaway for the entire team. I still think Duncan Robinson has done enough to keep his minutes. Maybe Justise Winslow is coming for them but he’s been out of game action for almost three weeks during which Robinson has been generally productive. I don’t think it’s just automatically Winslow’s job to have.

    Kenrich Williams: Another graduate from The Stream Team from a couple weeks back, Kenrich is getting loads of playing time right now with the frontcourt injuries in New Orleans. We probably have about three more weeks of Kenrich being a heavy-minute option pending Zion’s return to the land of the living. Derrick Favors may return in the next week or so but his return should have more of an impact on Jaxson Hayes and Nicolo Melli until he stubs his toe or something.

    Skal Labissiere: Skal got us all hot and bothered with that monster line the one day I decide to hop back into DFS and specifically don’t take Skal. I made no money and I’m not upset but I am a liar so I am upset. Of course, he followed that up with a low usage dud in 18 minutes against the Cavs. We don’t really know what we’re going to get especially when Hassan Whiteside is back, but it would really behoove this struggling team to try to let Skal show out and develop. What’s the worst that could happen?

    Centers

    Mohamed Bamba: Khem Birch is going to get the opportunity first but if the early returns are an indication, it’s not great. People have been waiting on Bamba for years now and this is his best shot to make something happen. In a deeper league especially I think there’s an obligation to go get him and see what’s there.

    Kelly Olynyk: I think Meyers Leonard is canceled. It’s clear that Olynyk is getting more time on the court even coming off the bench. His fantasy stat set is better. He’s a better player. I’m not going to pretend he’s a good player, I just need to acknowledge that Meyers Leonard just isn’t a good player despite my love for the idea of him. Kelly doesn’t have an abundance of upside but it’s good percentages, some 3-pointers, not a lot of mistakes and a super unsexy top-120 option.

    Jaxson Hayes: This is the moment. It would be easy to just say “because Derrick Favors is out” but underrated in all of this is also the absence of Jahlil Okafor (I stand by the fact that he only went high in the draft because he went to Duke. If that same skillset even went to just Marquette or something he’s a borderline first-rounder at best.). He could totally be a defensive monster, which neither Favors or Okafor could ever claim to be. There’s a couple blocks and a steal available for us, methinks.

    The Stream Team

    Maybe someday I’ll have a theme for The Stream Team, but for now we picked on some newfound opportunities with some tough injuries to swallow for fantasy purposes. I realize that’s basically a theme.

    PG: Brad Wanamaker – This is partially contingent on the status of Kemba after that scary injury. It looks like he’ll be fine so this might be a short look but Wanamaker has been fairly serviceable since the Gordon Hayward injury for some assists and good percentages.

    SG: E’Twaun Moore – Nice little run for Moore over the last couple weeks. If you need some bench scoring with a couple triples and nonexistent defense, look no further. Also notable that before this last dud against the Jazz he had six straight games in double figures with only five turnovers in that span.

    SF: Cam Johnson – Here’s a 3-point specialist in the making. I think especially during this time with Deandre Ayton not participating, Johnson has had to take on some scoring and he can do that usefully. I’d also like to remind that the Suns clearly liked him because they reached way down the draft board to grab him at 11.

    PF: Khem Birch – Birch got the start in place of the injured Nikola Vucevic (sad face) and did basically nothing. I think that the Mo Bamba train is just going to take more time to leave the station. Frankly, it may just be stalled. This is an energy guy who won’t play a pretty game but could flail his arms around and make something happen.

    C: Marquese Chriss: Maybe someday we’ll stop getting fooled by Marquese Chriss. That’s NOT TODAY! He’s out there being an athlete and I think there will be stretches where he’s the best option in that front court. We’ll need to see how this shakes out when Kevon Looney is playing (soon).

    Miscellaneous Musings

    The City edition jerseys are giving me some more material here but we’re struggling with the nondescript teams that don’t do anything dumb every 12 minutes.

    Atlanta Hawks: The “Peachtree” stuff is just great. For all the crappy marketing we have to go through with this league, this is a win. The Hawks do damn good logo work.

    Brooklyn Nets: So this sounds pretty bad for Kyrie…

    Boston Celtics: Really scary moment for Kemba running into a personal longtime favorite of mine Semi Ojeleye. Looks like he’s okay.

    Charlotte Hornets: I was excited that the Hornets got both of the Martin twins out of Nevada (Drafted Cody, picked up Caleb for posterity). I am now sad because they got sent to Greensboro.

    Chicago Bulls: We see you Zach Lavine.

    Cleveland Cavaliers: At least the Browns might be turning it around.

    Dallas Mavericks: Is Luka the MVP? Maybe they won’t give it to him but I have to think by definition he’s the most important to his team. I guess Giannis is right there again but it feels like a two-man race.

    Denver Nuggets: I mean, they have the best City jersey, right? This look is amazing.

    Detroit Pistons: I’ve been working on these logos for magnets and it’s always fascinating to see what they come up with to explain the logo. For this current one, the chrome outline is “symbolic of Detroit muscle cars”… It’s grey. Just say that it’s grey.

    Golden State Warriors: There is no professional basketball in the Bay Area. There isn’t even professional hockey right now. It’s just football.

    Houston Rockets: The Rockets also didn’t know Ryan Anderson was on the team. He’s no longer employed.

    Indiana Pacers: When this team gets healthy they’re going to be secretly really good.

    Los Angeles Clippers: I had a neutral stance on load management coming into the year because I understood the injury recovery or minute restrictions but there’s so much babying that it’s getting hard to watch. It’s been three years. I really feel for Kawhi with his multi-million dollar treatment plan and and massive contract and the private jets.

    Los Angeles Lakers: You know what makes LeBron and the Lakers annoying? That we have to do a bit for every little thing they ever do. Like this farting bit. Are we 10?

    Memphis Grizzlies: The Grizzlies are holding Andre Iguodala hostage from all the good teams and I am HERE FOR IT.

    Miami Heat: Jimmy Butler got his pants booed off in Philly and I was happy. He’s a brat.

    Milwaukee Bucks: All I’ve ever wanted is for Giannis to make free throws. It drives me nuts how many points this team is leaving at the line.

    Minnesota Timberwolves: The Timberwolves are unshockingly mediocre once again. Seems standard.

    New Orleans Pelicans: It’s amazing that some design genius hasn’t made even an iPhone wallpaper for some of these extra logos. The Mardi Gras fleur-de-lis is on of the best out there.

    New York Knicks: There was a report a little more than a week ago that the Knicks were working on an internal ouster for David Fizdale. Why don’t they just do it? Like… why are we talking about it, just can him.

    Oklahoma City Thunder: I might have been wrong about them. I don’t think they’re secretly good.

    Orlando Magic: Pour one out for Nikola Vucevic and also what feels like my fantasy season.

    Philadelphia 76ers: Ben Simmons made a 3-pointer. The world is ending, everyone stay calm and maintain a single file line on your way to the exits.

    Phoenix Suns: We’re more than halfway through the Ayton suspension and the Suns are still afloat. I don’t think they’ll make the playoffs but it’s not crazy anymore.

    Portland Trail Blazers: What the heck are we doing out in Portland? How is Anthony Tolliver playing 30 minutes and how are they so bad?

    Sacramento Kings: Who the heck is Justin James?

    San Antonio Spurs: Are the Spurs really doing the camo jersey again? Just slap The Alamo on something and get a little more creative.

    Toronto Raptors: Maybe we should have an iron-man award or bonus for important players actually playing the minutes. I was a little surprised that VanVleet is second in the league in minutes per game

    Utah Jazz: Joe Ingles definitely works at Menards though. What happened to him?

    Washington Wizards: Bradley Beal is casually second in the league in scoring. I would not have guessed that.

    That’s all folks. Let me know what you think about the new tournament proposal and the City jerseys. Have a happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends. I’m a Twitter phenom here.

     

     

     

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