• Before we get started with another edition of Last Week This Morning, I’d like to personally dedicate the following basketball-related words to former NBA combo guard Erick Strickland. Nothing bad happened to him, he’s still totally alive (as far as I know), but this is for him. Thank you for all the good times, Mr. Strickland. Let’s roll.

    A Millennial, On Tim Duncan

    First and foremost, I may or may not actually be a millennial. I don’t know what year the ‘official’ millennial cut-off is, but I know how the Internet works and you probably want me off your damn lawn, so I think I fit the bill. Anyway, back to Timmy.

    For basketball connoisseurs of a certain age, my age, there is a perceived Tim Duncan-fandom timeline that is totally accurate. As a fan of when things are overblown and inaccurate, it pains me to admit that the consensus Tim Duncan-fandom timeline is so perfect. That timeline is as follows.

    As a kid, let’s say, pre-teen, Tim Duncan was THE WORST. The Spurs won, and they were ‘boring’, and they totally lucked out, or at the very least ‘gamed’ the lottery system in order to land Duncan in the draft. My perception is a little clouded by the fact that I grew up in Boston and Tim Duncan was ‘supposed’ to be ‘ours’. The Spurs stole Tim Duncan, got it?

    As a mid-teen, non-adult, the Spurs and Tim Duncan were still boring, they were still hated, but now they were feared. That hate actually started to transition from irrational hatred to ‘I would really hate to see my favorite team play the Spurs because I already know they’re going to lose.’

    As an adult, and I use that term very loosely, Tim Duncan and the Spurs turned into an NBA constant. As a society, we LOVE nostalgia, and Tim Duncan was that nostalgia, only he was (until the last season or so) just as good as you remembered him. In an era where the feeling of nostalgia is often better than the product or thing you are nostalgic for, Duncan actually lived up to that feeling. As Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett, two other iconic NBA stars of a ‘millennial’ fans’ childhood, broke down and found themselves in losing organizations, Duncan stayed nearly at the top of his personal NBA game, and just as important, stayed NBA relevant because the Spurs continued on as a NBA Finals contender. That just doesn’t happen.

    Appreciation is the perfect word, I think. My era of hoop-obsessor’s started to appreciate Duncan’s success. He was like Dom Cobb’s spinning top totem from ‘Inception’. Tim Duncan was still around, still performing on the highest level, so I couldn’t possibly be growing up. 19 years later, one less Tim Duncan, and I’ve never felt older.

    Hack-A-Shaq Rule Change

    As a lot of you probably know, particularly considering the fact that this is a weekly column, which makes every take of mine inherently late, the NBA made a few minor modifications to what the internet has dubbed it’s ‘Hack-A-Shaq’ rules.

    With emphasis on the word ‘minor’, here you go:

    Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 9.35.07 PM

    If you’re leaving that description with a ‘meh’ taste in your mouth, your taste buds are working as intended. The NBA took the most boring and non-issue solving route, and while potentially frustrating for plugged in NBA fans looking for a real solution, or no solution, the NBA probably did the smartest thing here. Hear me out.

    The NBA technically changed the rules, allowing sport dudes everywhere to tell their sport dude buddies that ‘the NBA fixed the Hack-A-Shaq problem’, because no one reads beyond the headline. So, for the general public, it’s a win.

    On the flip side, for old school hoopmen, they can rest easy knowing that the NBA didn’t actually change much of anything. The ‘they are professional basketball players, they should be able to shoot free throws!’ argument is still relevant. Congratulations, old school hoopers!

    By doing essentially-nothing-but-something, the NBA can justifiably ‘wait for more data’ after the new rules take effect. They bought themselves a ton of time with hopes that all of this will make its way out of the game without having to do anything drastic, or upsetting the hardcore ‘they’re called free throws for a reason’ crowd. Smart move, NBA. Frustrating, but smart.

Fantasy News

  • Jacob Evans
    SG, Golden State Warriors

    Jacob Evans (concussion) will be absent from Monday's game against the Blazers.

    That makes three consecutive games that Evans has been forced to sit out. He has not been able to crack the Warriors depleted rotation for a consistent role this year, and it is safe to assume that it is not going to happen anytime soon. Evans is only worth owning in the deepest of fantasy leagues when he is healthy.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Abdel Nader
    SF, Oklahoma City Thunder

    Abdel Nader will miss Monday's showdown against the Rockets due to a left ankle sprain.

    That'll be Nader's fourth straight game on the sidelines. He's been receiving minutes in the mid-teens lately and does not make much of them. Best to not bother wasting your fantasy memory space on Nader.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Chandler Hutchison
    SF, Chicago Bulls

    Chandler Hutchison is probable to play against the Bucks on Monday due to a sore right shoulder.

    The injury has not cost him any games yet, although there were some concerns when it first arose back on Wednesday. You should feel comfortable including him in your lineup if you own him. Hutchison has been on a roll in the steals department lately.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Ryan Arcidiacono
    PG, Chicago Bulls

    Ryan Arcidiacono (right elbow discomfort) is probable to face the Bucks on Monday.

    Arcidiacono receives this designation all the time but does not seem to have any issue playing through it. You can assume he'll be out there on Monday, but he is not going to do much stats wise.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Jeremy Lamb
    SG, Indiana Pacers

    Jeremy Lamb was able to play through his bruised left hip on Monday against the Nuggets, but it led to horrendous results with zero points (0-of-7 FG), one rebound, one assist, one block.

    While it was nice to see Lamb play through the injury, this is not what we had in mind. Things will get tougher for Lamb once Victor Oladipo returns, but it is best to tackle that logjam once it becomes an issue at this point. For the time being, Lamb is worth having in your lineup in standard leagues.

  • Domantas Sabonis
    C, Indiana Pacers

    Domantas Sabonis had a great performance to lead the Pacers to victory over the Nuggets, notching 22 points (10-of-16 FG), 15 rebounds, 10 assists and five turnovers.

    The left knee soreness does not appear to be much of a factor right now for Sabonis, and it is a relief to see a swift bounce-back from the stinker he had against the Wolves on Friday. He played nearly 41 minutes against Nikola Jokic in this one and put up a nice imitation of the triple-double performances we've come to expect from the Serbian. Keep deploying Sabonis with confidence.

  • Malcolm Brogdon
    PG, Indiana Pacers

    Malcolm Brogdon continued his strong play on Sunday vs. the Nuggets, going for 22 points (8-of-17 FG, 4-of-4 FT), eight assists, three rebounds, two 3-pointers and two turnovers.

    Brogdon has been excellent since returning from strep throat and lower back soreness. He is resembling the early-season production that had him returning early-round value, and while that may be too much for Brogdon to do over an 82-game campaign, he is going to be a mid-round asset, even when Victor Oladipo rejoins the fold for the Pacers. Justin Holiday had a decent line off the bench, going for 14 points, four rebounds, three 3-pointers and one block. The Pacers have a number of options off the bench, making Holiday more of a 16-team play.

  • TJ Warren
    SF, Indiana Pacers

    TJ Warren had a solid outing on Sunday versus the Nuggets, totaling 22 points (7-of-13 FG, 8-of-8 FT), three rebounds, one assist and one block.

    Thank goodness Warren had a solid night from the field and free-throw line to keep this line productive. Then again, that is the rub with Warren, who makes his living as a mid to late-round player thanks to his healthy scoring average (18 PTS) in combination with his strong percentages (.509 FG) (.813 FT) for the season.

  • Michael Porter Jr.
    PF, Denver Nuggets

    Michael Porter Jr. put up 10 points with eight boards in 23 minutes of action in a loss to the Pacers on Sunday.

    Porter Jr. has been gaining some serious hype since he has started getting more minutes in the rotation. He has put up top-100 value over the past two weeks and should be picked up in all formats as he should see over 20 minutes per game for the remainder of the season.

  • Doug McDermott
    SF, Indiana Pacers

    Doug McDermott caught fire down the stretch on Sunday against the Nuggets, leading the Pacers' comeback with 24 points (9-of-10 FG), six 3-pointers, two rebounds and two assists.

    This was McDermott at his finest as a sharp-shooter from long range, but we also saw the emptiness he is known for as he did barely anything beyond the 24 points and six 3-pointers. He is still just a 3-point specialist on a deep Indiana roster. He was able to snatch some minutes from Jeremy Lamb tonight thanks to his hot streak.