Fantasy Basketball: Music of the Traffic – Week 15

1-72Team disharmony is a dangerous thing.

It seems to be following Rajon Rondo around since he left Boston, and this week it resurfaced in Chicago.

Rondo called out teammates Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade for their lack of leadership after they blamed a recent loss on younger teammates not wanting it enough or caring enough.

Rondo fired back via an Instagram post in which he talked at length about his experience in Boston. “My vets would never go to the media . . . My vets didn’t care about their numbers . . . My vets didn’t have an influence on the coaching staff.”

My vets would never go to the media. They would come to the team. My vets didn’t pick and choose when they wanted to bring it. They brought it every time they stepped in the gym whether it was practice or a game. They didn’t take days off. My vets didn’t care about their numbers. My vets played for the team. When we lost, they wouldn’t blame us. They took responsibility and got in the gym. They showed the young guys what it meant to work. Even in Boston when we had the best record in the league, if we lost a game, you could hear a pin drop on the bus. They showed us the seriousness of the game. My vets didn’t have an influence on the coaching staff. They couldn’t change the plan because it didn’t work for them. I played under one of the greatest coaches, and he held everyone accountable. It takes 1-15 to win. When you isolate everyone, you can’t win consistently. I may be a lot of things, but I’m not a bad teammate. My goal is to pass what I learned along. The young guys work. They show up. They don’t deserve blame. If anything is questionable, it’s the leadership.

A photo posted by Rajon Rondo (@rajonrondo) on

It’s a sign of a team in disarray, and while many will put it down to another failed stop for Rondo, just how the team’s star players, the coaching staff and the rest of the roster are getting along in Chicago is certainly an interesting question.

Fred Hoiberg benched all three to start the game yesterday, but whether we’ve seen the last of these issues remains to be seen.

If your fantasy team is also struggling to find the right balance or seems in a bit of disarray, it may be time to move some pieces on. If you need some help with where to start, Downtown is listening to the Music of the Traffic, so you can get some harmony back in your squad.

Week 15 (Jan. 30 – Feb. 5)

4 games: BOS, BKN, DEN, DET, MEM, MIN, OKC, ORL, PHI, PHO, SAC, TOR

3 games: ATL, CHA, CLE, DAL, GSW, HOU, IND, LAC, LAL, MIA, MIL, NOR, NYK, POR, SAS, WAS

2 games: CHI, UTA

A lighter schedule is on slate for Week 15 with just 12 teams playing four times. Sixteen teams tip-off three times, while the Bulls get some extra time to bond off the court with just two games and the Jazz follow suit. Probably best to avoid players from both teams when making changes this week so you can maximise games played and build that cohesion quickly.

The following players may be available in standard 10- or 12-team leagues.

Kent Bazemore (SG/SF, ATL): This one hurts me personally to be honest. I cut bait with Bazemore about two weeks ago in two leagues after waiting two-and-a-half months for him to find his shot this season. Murphy’s Law—it happens right afterwards. In any event, my loss could be your gain as Baze seems to finally be showing some consistent offensive production with four straight games of 15 or more points, and double digits in eight of his past nine. He’s getting all the counting stats you’d expect too and has very quickly gotten back to top-80 value over that span. He’s still available in over 30 percent of Yahoo and 46 percent of ESPN leagues.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (SF, CHA): The hesitation in owning MKG continues and it’s largely historical from his poor shooting form and lack of threes. I get it. However, he’s not someone you own for those categories. If you focus on the 13 points, nine rebounds, 1.3 blocks and 57.5 field goal percentage (from taking good shots) over his past four games, then you’re focusing on top-65 numbers over that span. So don’t hesitate. Grab him in 12-team leagues.

Austin Rivers (PG/SG, LAC): I know he’s been streaky, but with CP3 out, Rivers has stepped up and done so consistently. Averaging 19 points, two rebounds, four assists and 2.7 threes over his past six games, including 27 points with five triples and six dimes against Atlanta, he’s become a focal point for the Clips. Even with the trade rumours involving Melo swirling, Rivers needs to be owned in all formats right now.

Dion Waiters (SG/SF, MIA): Besides going off for 33 points and the game-winner against the Warriors and his old pal KD, Waiters has been going off in other games lately too. Averaging a lazy 30.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, five assists, 4.3 triples and a crazy .614 field goal clip over his past three games before scoring 19 yesterday, he is certifiably on fire and needs to be owned in all formats rights now.

Terrence Jones (SF/PF, NOR): He busted out when Anthony Davis sat earlier this week and Davis may have aggravated an injury, meaning Jones could have a bigger role a while longer. Even with AD there, Jones has been productive and has scored in double digits in all but one of his past eight games when he plays at least 20 minutes. He needs to be owned in most formats right now.

Courtney Lee (SG/SF, NYK): Lee has been consistent this year, but mostly has fringe value in 12-team leagues… until now. He’s picked it up over his past four games with 16.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, two triples and a 58.5 field goal percentage. He’s owned in just 38 percent of Yahoo and 6 percent of ESPN leagues, but needs to be grabbed in 12-teamers while he’s this productive.

Robert Covington (SF/PF, PHI): It’s been an up-and-down season for Covington. After a surprise top-60 season last year, he was expected to lose value with Ben Simmons and Dario Saric on board. However, Covington has managed to hold his starting spot and has picked up his production of late to the tune of 12.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.4 steals, 1.3 blocks and 1.9 threes over the past two weeks. If you can live with his field goal percentage, he provides a nice all-around game and is available in 26 percent of Yahoo and 59 percent of ESPN leagues.

Ones to Watch:

Sam Dekker (SF, HOU): The rookie who missed last season is finally getting to play on a nightly basis and looks to have cracked the permanent rotation for Mike D’Antoni’s Rockets. He’s still a little dependent on Ryan Anderson’s production as a determinant for his own value, but Dekker looks to be figuring out how to be effective at this level. He’s had solid games in four of his past five, but remains a watch-and-wait candidate until we see what his role will be when the team is healthy, or until someone goes down for an extended period in Houston.

Willy Hernangomez (C, NYK): It looks like he’s the future of the Knicks’ five-man spot, but for now, Willy is focused on contributing when given the chance and proving he can have value if he takes on a bigger role. Lately he’s been given that chance more frequently and has had two double-doubles the past week along with some more productive outings. More of a dynasty play or deep-league consideration, he’ll eventually overtake Joakim Noah, but maybe not until next season.

David Lee (PF/C, SAS): With five straight games in double digits including three double-doubles, Lee is starting in San Antone right now and playing quite well. How long it will last is anyone’s guess but with Pau Gasol sidelined for weeks, not days, Lee could be valuable for the foreseeable future.

Don’t call your players out publicly. Rid yourself of disharmony and add one of these guys to get your season moving in the right direction again.


Follow me on Twitter @tomhersz for updates
Follow Downtown @downtownball

Author of the article

When you’re introduced to the NBA as a 6 year old in 1984, staying up late to watch Bird, Magic and Dr. J, it’s pretty hard not to fall in love with the game. I became consumed with the Association, and as my own game was developing, I tried to emulate as much as I could at an early age and learn how to play “the right way”. I have memories as a teenager of being glued to Saturday Basketball on TV and spending every spare cent I had on basketball cards and replica jerseys and so began my obsession with NBA knowledge and stats. I played my first season of Fantasy Hoops in 2002, as my serious playing days were slowing down. I now play in 5 or 6 leagues every year. To say I’m obsessed with Fantasy Hoops would be an understatement. To say I love nothing more than sharing my opinion on a player’s value would be entirely accurate, and I guess, the reason why I’m here. Follow me on twitter: @tomhersz @downtownball