• By some incredible stroke of misfortune, I just now learned of the glorious world of marble sports. I’ve consumed more marble athletics in the last week than any other content and I regret nothing. I’m also painfully aware of this missed content opportunity for me. I used to play pretend games with marbles all the time as a youngster and if I knew there was such a rabid marbling community, I COULD HAVE BEEN SOMEBODY. I COULD HAVE BEEN A CONTENDER.

    There are phases to watching marble sports. The first two minutes are “Why would anyone watch this?” The next five minutes are “hmm, this is kind of intense.” Then there’s a phase of self-reflection because it’s 14 minutes in and you’re still transfixed as if they’re real athletes. The commentary is keeping you in check because this man was born to be an Olympic-level commentator for marbles with his dad jokes and deadpan sincerity about strategies involved in marble curling. By the end of the video you’re swearing at an orange marble because they’re always finishing near the top and they’re basically the Dodgers, while the marbles you’ve chosen to support because their design is cool are somehow complete trash every single time. It’s not that different from my real sports fandom, to be fair.

    On the basketball side (which is basically child’s play after experiencing the wide world of marbles), another Blazer check-in with fantasy tease Derrick Jones Jr. going down, Bob Covington getting hobbled for 23 minutes and a somewhat confusing trio of wings that could pop off any time. I literally had a dream that I wrote up two of them and then Rodney Hood went off while I was watching. It could happen. Marcus Smart had an injury that definitely seemed like a season-ending Achilles tear but magically those bloodcurdling screams are only two weeks of a calf injury. The Celtics rotation and Blazers rotation are going to kickstart a reasonably interesting group of waiver wire boys this week. But first, the weekly stream table that definitely won’t change at all due to an ongoing pandemic.

    Week 7 Stream Table

    In the stream table, home games are in orange because basketballs are orange. Road games are in blue because blue is not orange. Again, the disclaimer that some of these games will definitely not be played because the world is mad.

    Back to Backs

    Brought to you by Drake*

    *not actually

    Sun/Mon (of Week 6): CLE, DEN, MIN, NYK
    Mon/Tues: DET, MEM, POR
    Tues/Weds: BOS, IND, LAC, WAS
    Weds/Thurs: ATL, DAL, HOU, PHI
    Thurs/Fri: UTA
    Fri/Sat: BKN, CHI, CLE, DET, MIL, MIN, NOP, OKC, ORL, TOR
    Sat/Sun: NYK, SAC
    Sun/Mon (of Week 8): CHA, PHX, WAS

    Working The Wire

    We randomly have a million back-to-backs this week so it’s time for the confusing rest days and nagging injuries where bad teams just decide a player doesn’t REALLY have to play that make everyone very excited about Jarred Vanderbilt.

    Point Guards

    Reggie Jackson: Every sentence after this one will come with the disclaimer that we need to remember that we’re still talking about Reggie Jackson. Patrick Beverley doesn’t have a timetable to return with knee soreness, which is very relatable because I’ve been day-to-day with knee soreness since 2010. Reggie is a good popcorn stat guy for now but efficiency could be questionable.

    Anfernee Simons: Hot streak streamer-type for the Blazers here who are alarmingly shorthanded. Half the Blazers’ roster seems to pop up on this list every week because the other half is somewhere between bruised and broken. Robert Covington and Derrick Jones Jr. are both hobbled right now, and that’s given Simons a chance to shine as a sixth man scoring option. He’s scoring 16 points per game and making four shots from deep in 27 minutes over the last four games as a top-125 player. Even with RoCo back we could get some good action from Simons in the short term.

    On the Radar
    TJ McConnell: He’s scrappy and persistent, I’ll give him that. Assist specialist value continues.

    Jeff Teague: Obligatory because Marcus Smart went down with a bad-looking injury which turns out will only cost him a couple weeks. He’s not good anymore but he’s on the roster.

    Shooting Guards

     Gary Trent Jr.: Good thing he was on the radar last week because he promptly took over and ran with the starting gig. Rodney Hood had one minor injury and got relegated to Salem. It might be a headache between Trent, the previously mentioned Anfernee Simons and Hood, but for now Trent is getting the bulk of the minutes vacated by C.J. McCollum and has been largely fine.

    Nickeil Alexander-Walker: I’m having such an internal crisis with NAW. I’ve recommended him once; I’ve backed folks off of him on more than one occasion and the Pels are really messing with us here. I don’t think his stat set is great because of the efficiency concerns but the six defensive stats on a Saturday night look really good and the 33 minutes look even better. I might not add right away in a standard league, but he has to be just on radars.

    On the Radar
    Anthony Edwards: I’m obligated to put him on the watch list because he’s scoring a bunch of points and the Wolves are really terrible so they might as well roll him out. The percentages are just so bad it’s hard to get behind him. He’s a points league streamer if missed shots don’t count as a negative but I don’t like his deal.

    Small Forwards

    Luguentz Dort: I know he’s cooled off dramatically, but I don’t think he should get dropped at this point en masse like he is. The 28.6% shooting isn’t sustainable. The steals should bounce back. The minutes are his to lose on a team that’s not overly interested in winning games. He might not be an add in a shallow 10 or 12-teamer but if Dort becomes available in anything deeper than that, I would be all over it as a stash, if nothing else.

    Gary Harris: It doesn’t really matter if I think Harris is a good player. It only really matters whether Michael Malone does. To this point, that seems to be the case and he’s pretty adamant on starting Harris and playing him 30 minutes a night. Harris plays good enough team basketball and has translated that into top-150 value over the last two weeks just by being out there running around. He’s a low upside streaming option in 12-team leagues and is really a must-own player in all formats deeper than that just on 30+ minutes of court time.

    On the Radar
    Dorian Finney-Smith: Josh Richardson looks… not great. DFS is a nice cheap DFS play (heh) but is also creeping into the area where I’m not that uninterested as an add. He’s a boring late-round guy but those are people too.

    Jarred Vanderbilt: I know I have to put him on the radar, but I’m also required by law to throw caution to the wind because KAT is coming back and Naz Reid is still around. Vanderbilt’s game is intriguing, though, so he remains a stream or a watch list player.

    Power Forwards

    Thaddeus Young: I’m so glad I get to do this. I have loved Thaddeus Young since he was a 24-year old everyone thought was 34 in Philadelphia. I live for Thad to be valued because he’s one of my favorite players as the better version of my actual favorite player, DeMarre Carroll (Not actually, but he was on a couple fantasy championship winning teams for me in the early 2010’s and I feel like I owe him love. The Junkyard Dog was my glue guy.). Thad is a must-add for me as long as he’s going to be the best passer in NBA history.

    Kelly Olynyk: Kelly O still on the menu people! He looked much better with Butler back on Saturday night where he can just kind of hang out and do a little bit of everything. Don’t undervalue the impact of a superstar coming back and putting all the pieces back in their appropriate places in the rotation. I’m not dropping him without a more obvious middling ownership big man like a Davis Bertans type gets unceremoniously dropped. In a league where there’s movement like that, Olynyk doesn’t NEED to be owned. I think this is a top-125 stat set in 20-25 minutes.

    On the Radar
    Danuel House Jr.: This is definitely not an add because he’s been injured or bad, but he played 27 minutes off the bench on Saturday and has been relevant in the past.

    Center

    Robert Williams III: If he was dropped it’s time to get back on the wagon. The Marcus Smart injury is going to ripple through the Celtics rotation and all Rob Williams, who I won’t call Time Lord because it’s a trash-tier nickname, needs is 20 minutes to be a fantasy stud a la Nerlens Noel. The Celtics could start playing bigger and this is a potential top-75 play going forward. The question marks were never around whether he could be valuable in fantasy, it was the trepidation about his 10-15 minute reserve role.

    Ivica Zubac: It’s a little late to hop back on this train in deeper formats but Zubac may still be out there in shallower formats and he should be snagged for his explosive 10-10 double-doubles in 20 minutes because he’s very exciting. The reality is he’s boring but we’ve intimated in the past that any 20-25 minute consistent role will be enough for a standard-league center valuation.

    On the Radar
    Jaxson Hayes: Could be interesting if Steven Adams misses some time. He’s a good energy guy who is still learning where to stand. Potential deep-league streamer.

    The Stream Team

    A couple Grizzlies pop up here because they do exist as an organization even though they were completely AWOL for 10 days.

    PG: Theo Maledon – The rookie has shown some promise in spot starts with George Hill out. He can be a potential streamer and could get more time down the stretch as the Thunder mail it in.

    SG: De’Anthony Melton – He’s a local favorite here at Hoop Ball because he’s just the better backcourt mate for Ja Morant but the Grizz don’t listen to us.

    SF: Isaac Okoro – I do think this will improve, he’s just a fish out of water right now but the Cavs will keep throwing him headfirst into the deep end.

    PF: Kevon Looney – Interesting to see where this goes with Looney moving into the starting lineup because James Wiseman has forgotten how the orange ball sport works of late.

    C: Gorgui Dieng – We love Gorgui and the Grizzlies basically ceased to exist for a week. He’s as interesting as someone can be as a bench center who is waiting with bated breath for the return of Jonas Valanciunas and Jaren Jackson Jr.

    Miscellaneous Musings

    Let me tell y’all, it has been a frustrating week to be a fan of your Milwaukee Bucks. Couple stinkers in New Orleans and Charlotte, but Giannis almost made some free throws. The new strategy is to not be down by 20 points in the second quarter. I’m one or two embarrassing performances from burying myself in the foot of snow that just fell outside. That way I won’t have to clean it anymore so it’s a win-win!

    So like, Russell Westbrook is terrible now. Can we meet in the middle there and confirm that? His game has totally fallen off a cliff, almost everything is worse than it was last year. He’s rebounding and assisting at a higher clip, closer to his OKC clip, but he can’t shoot, he makes terrible decisions, he looks lost. It’s fascinating that more people didn’t completely nope their way out of the Russell Westbrook career path. It could have been a low-risk move for the Wizards except for the 90 million dollars American they owe him for the next two seasons while he tanks their entire organization. I won’t say I knew THIS was coming, but I think people on the sober side of the sport knew a version of this was on the way.

    I wonder how many people sincerely had the Utah Jazz as the best team in the league at the quarter-season mark. I’ve always thought they’re a great regular season team with a chance to be in the top-3 in the loaded Western Conference, but even this is exceeding expectations. Mike Conley looks rejuvenated, Rudy Gobert is playing as much to a $200 million contract that someone who probably shouldn’t get a $200 million contract can. Bojan Bogdanovic isn’t even back to form. I personally hope the Jazz can actually put together for a whole season because the Lakers going to the Finals is the most boring timeline possible and if there’s one thing the NBA has been, it’s predictable. Jazz vs. Bucks, who says no? NOT ME. Probably the Bucks because they’re embarrassing all of us.

    If you’re passionate about marbles like me, let’s talk about it on Twitter here. Fantasy marbling in 2021.

     

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