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Fantasy Basketball: Ring out the old

Here are a bunch of players you should add to your fantasy team before the New Year.

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Houston Rockets Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Holidays!

Here are some players that may be available on your fantasy basketball league’s waiver wire or as a trade target:

Wayne Ellington (6.3% owned in ESPN fantasy basketball leagues)

Mr. Ellington, of the Miami Heat, is 9th in the entire NBA in 3PM this season (2.9 3PM per game); he’s 7th over the past 30 days (3.3). He’s in the top 25 in true shooting percentage in the whole league. Ellington has a 2.59 player rating on ESPN basic for the season, which is good for 135th overall (Jaylen Brown, 80.4% owned, is 134th, and Andrew Wiggins, 96.1% owned, is 144th). He has a 3.65 PR over the last month, which is good for 100th best (Austin Rivers is 99th and 42% owned; Carmelo Anthony, 98.4% ownership, and Ricky Rubio, 72.5%, are 125th and 126th, respectively).

Ellington is owned in only 6.3% of leagues. That’s less than Evan Turner. C’mon.

Courtney Lee (42% owned)

Lee has been under owned all season. In my league, which has more/different stats than ESPN basic, Lee’s been the 53rd best player on the season. In ESPN basic, he’s the 48th best player on the year, right ahead of Devin Booker.

Over the past 30 days Lee has averaged 15 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1.5 steals on 45% shooting (and, 1.7 3PM per game). That might not sound like much, but last season only 24 players averaged at least 1.5 steals per game; of those 24 players only 12 scored 15+ points per game: Rudy Gay, Kyle Lowry, Jrue Holiday, James Harden, Paul George, Sergeant Russell Westbrook, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, Steph Curry, Jimmy Butler, Chris Paul, and Dr. John Wall. That’s a list of some of the best players in the NBA.

His ESPN basic player rating over the last month is 47th best. 48th is Draymond Green, 99.4% owned, and 49th is Steven Adams, 88% owned. Courtney Lee is 42% owned.

Caris LeVert (28.2% owned)

Let’s talk about the 50th best player on ESPN basic over the past 30 days, Caris “Go Blue” LeVert.

First, Caris is a 6’7” shooting guard with eligibility at SG, SF, and PF. He’s 23 years old.

The two players before him in the player ratings over the past month (Draymond and Steven Adams) and the two players after him (Maestro Lillard and Rajon “Forever 25” Rondo) are all owned at least TWO TIMES as much as Caris.

The Nets are one of the fastest teams in the NBA (which leads to more possessions and shot attempts), and they take the second-most threes per game (Houston is first, obviously).

And, here are LeVert’s per game stats across the regular season partitions:

Season: 12 points, 9.9 field goal attempts, 45 FG%, 1.2 3PM

Last 30 Days: 14 points, 10.3 FGA, 49 FG%, 1.7 3PM

Last 15 Days: 14.5 points, 10.4 FGA, 52 FG%, 1.9 3PM

His assists are trending up, too.

Brooklyn players are slightly dangerous to bank on right now because we don’t know who, if anyone, will be traded. The Nets are all about asset management, and if they can flip two players to acquire one better one, they’ll probably do it. Would Minnesota be interested in Professor Spencer Dinwiddie now that their starting point guard is out? Will any of Brooklyn’s billion wings become valuable as playoff teams begin to prepare for the postseason? This is around the time of the season when the playoff teams are basically set (though, this year is hella weird, so who knows), so basement teams will be trading their attractive pieces sooner than later. The Nets are in the basement, despite being fun to watch and well-coached. It’s weird to say about a sub-.500 team, but I think each facet of the Nets is doing a really good job: the front office, the coaching staff, and the players are all showing improvement, and they’re making wise decisions (for the most part). And, ditto the Knicks, to be honest.

Holy fudging sheets, do you guys think BK and NY could actually be good teams in a few years?

Anyway, pick up Caris, folks. He might get traded or he might stay, but either way, he’s shown improvement. That’s all you want from youngins.

Taj Gibson (72.3% owned)

Gibson remains the least owned top 50 player. I just love this. Can we all get real for one hot sec and admit that people don’t really like the Timberwolves? Ancient Taj has been as valuable a fantasy player as Khris Middleton. Middleton is owned in 98.3% of ESPN leagues. I for real think Ancient Taj is under owned because everyone thinks he’s older than he is (he’s 32 years old, not 479 years old like everyone thought he was), everyone thinks he’s not a starter, and everyone knows that Big KAT, Butler and Wiggins need to eat, so the other players don’t get to score as much. And, I feel you, I feel you: every time I look at Ancient Taj’s stats I do a double-take and think Could he have been doing this his whole career if someone had let him play 30 minutes a game?

Only 24 players in the entire NBA are averaging at least 8 rebounds and 11 points. Ancient Taj is one of them. Out of players who average at least 20 minutes a game, he has the 13th best field goal percentage at 57%. He’s the fantasy equivalent of the Cup of the Carpenter in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: he’ll stay forever young so long as he dwells within Mount Thibs, but if he passes the great seal and leaves, he’ll fall into a bottomless pit (Orlando).

Marvin Williams (12.7% owned)

Uncle Marv is still top 100. Maybe our New Year’s resolutions should be to join a league next year wherein we ONLY roster dudes based on their player ranking, NO MATTER WHAT. Uncle Marv would be invited to that party. And, he’d slip us $40 and then tell us we needed to do more pushups.

By the way, Uncle Marv is the third most expensive player on the Hornets right now. Charlotte is, y’know, really bad at basketballing right now (they’re 12-22), and may feel like jettisoning some of their older and costlier contracts. Uncle Marv’s shooting 42% from three, and he’s averaging 10 points and 5 boards over the past month. I’d like to see him in Portland, I think, and the Blazers have the contracts to send back, but he could also shore up the front line on a team like OKC or Denver, or even the Pistons, (GASP!!!! You guys, GASP ALERT! Would you trade Kemba Walker and your beloved Uncle Marv to the ‘Stons for RJax, who’s hurt, and Boban, who’s AWESOME, and a draft pick?? The money works. Charlotte would still have a plethora of maybe-good wings, so I don’t think they’d want Dukie Lukie Kennard or Stanley “Please be good, PLEASE!” Johnson, but, just for the record, I’d trade both of those dudes, too. In my humble opinion, the future is Tobias and Drumothy in Detroit; everyone else is expendable, including me. If the Hedgehog has to, I endorse him trading me to another team.)

Dr. Gary Harris, Denver Golden Boy, has a better rating than Donovan Mitchell, Lonzo Ball, Herr Schroder, and Hoodie Melo, but they’re all owned more than he is. Yeah, but Mitchell is 21 and Lonzo’s 20, you say in that sexy East Rutherford, N.J. accent you have. And, then I tell you that Dr. Harris is only 23 years old and that you Need to Chill on the youth obsession. Golden Gary is the same age as Joel Embiid, mkay? So, just shut up with the youth movement already. Dr. Harris has BEEN HERE. This is his FOURTH SEASON. It’s not his fault you ain’t been looking. Maybe you should spend more time watching Nuggets games and less time focusing on your career.

...wait, that’s maybe not great advice…

Kelly Oubre, Jr., and Malcolm Brogdon are basically the same in value on the player rater for the year in my league, but Brogdon’s ownership is THREE TIMES greater than Oubre’s (60% and 20%, respectively). Brogdon’s line for the year is 13 points, 3 boards, 3 dimes, with 1.5 3PM, on 47% field goal shooting. Oubre’s line is 11 points, 5 boards, an assist, with 1.5 3PM, on 42 FG%. Oubre’s in his third year (he’s 20 years old), and he’s playing the most minutes of his career, scoring the most points of his career, attempting (and making) the most threes (and free throws) of his career, and has improved his assists, steals, and blocks. For what it’s worth, the Washington Wizards have used the following 5 man lineup in the most games this season (16): Dr. Wall, Bradley Kind of a Big Beal, Otto Porter, Jr., Kelly Oubre, Jr., and Marcin “The Polish Hammer” Gortat. (God DAMN, that is a cool nickname!) That lineup has a +4.9 plus-minus rating and shoots 47% from the field. I would very much like to see that lineup versus the Celtics’ Kyrie, Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Al Horford in a 7 game series (and, both Morris twins playing against each other, of course).

The worst owned (+10%) dude in my league who has played consistently (so, not including Markelle Fultz, Hayward, or Jah Okafor, or Kawhi) is Josh Jackson. This is a little unfair since he’s a rookie and Phoenix is the functional equivalent of a Viking plague ship, so let’s go with Nic Batum, instead. Batum has a negative rating on the season and he’s owned in 63.4% of leagues. He’s averaging 10-5-4 on the season with a 40 FG%. Meh. Unimpressed. Dude is 29 years old. This is who he is, I think.

Pascal Siakim is a perfect 0.00 on the player rater for the season. He is officially a Void Rider.

Have a wonderful New Year’s Eve!