Santa Doc's 12 blurbs of Christmas

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Wink Martindale is one of the great Hollywood names of all time, although no one really knows who he is. At least those of you reading this column. The great Wink hosted a TV show called ‘What’s This Song’ and became most famous for hosting the TV game show ‘Tic-Tac-Dough.’ I’m not real familiar with Wink’s career but he certainly came to mind this morning as I prepared to right about Jock Landale’s big NBA night. If Jock Landale isn’t the best name in the NBA, I give up.

Santa Doc’s 12 Blurbs of Christmas

12. Jock rattled off 13 points, eight boards, three assists, a 3-pointer and a steal in just 15 minutes for the Spurs in an absurd rout of the Lakers on Thursday night. The Lakers lost by 28, have a losing record and watch helplessly as a team like the Cavaliers sits at 19-13 and a team like the 13-18 Spurs blows them out by 28 prior to their Christmas Day showcase. I’m sorry to take up your time with a 6’ 11” Aussie who doesn’t get enough run to generally be considered in fantasy hoops, but his name is cool. But before you completely write off Jock and his teammates, keep in mind the Spurs’ schedule goes 4-4-4-4-4 over the next five weeks. And Jock Landale might only be a Jakob Poeltl ankle sprain away from becoming a must-have fantasy player.

11. Sticking with the Spurs’ theme here, Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, Keldon Johnson and Poeltl all look like must-start players over the next five weeks, right? And in addition to Jock Landale going crazy in 15 minutes last night, Keita Bates-Diop came off the bench to hit all 11 of his shots and score a career-high 30 points with seven rebounds and a steal with zero turnovers. His stat line was basically empty, but this may have been just the game the doctor ordered for KBD. Doug McDermott started and played 22 minutes and Lonnie Walker went off for 21 points and a fun line. The Spurs’ incredible upcoming schedule, along with their surprising health status (they’re all healthy) makes them all attractive fantasy pickups right now. I know KBD and ‘ol Jock aren’t going to be fantasy dynamos any time soon, but with all those games played over the next five weeks they’re at least going to be worth monitoring, if not actually picking up. Also, how bad are the Lakers?

10. Otto Porter Jr. started for the short-handed Warriors last night and had eight points, nine rebounds, three assists, a steal, three blocks and zero turnovers in 30 minutes. As long as Jordan Poole, Damion Lee, Andrew Wiggins, Andre Iguodala and Klay Thompson are out, OPJ is at least worth a look. The Dubs only go three times next week but then have a 4-4-4 schedule.

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9. While Jock Landale’s name might be the strongest in the league right now one of the best nicknames is Young Glove, which is the one Gary Payton Jr. has had fittingly bestowed upon himself. YG went off for 22 points, two rebounds, one assist, a block and four 3-pointers in 33 minutes, hitting 9-of-16 shots in a rare start. He’s actually been playing pretty well this season and is always worth keeping an eye on. And after the Warriors’ upcoming three-game week, the 4-4-4 schedule will likely mean that YG is picked up in a bunch of leagues.

8. Naz Reid went off for 17 points, 10 rebounds, two 3-pointers, a steal and a block in 36 minutes on Thursday night. Coincidentally (or not), Karl-Anthony Towns landed in a health and safety protocols leave last night. If KAT’s going to miss a game you will want Naz in your lineup. Every time.

7. Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets fantasy players bounced back on Thursday after being benched by coach Michael Malone on Tuesday night. But they got waxed by the Hornets 115-107 in Denver and I’m kind of surprised Malone’s head didn’t literally explode last night. The Nuggets are somehow managing to ruin the prime of Jokic’s career but it’s not all their fault. This team would look a lot different with my man Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray healthy but that’s a pipe dream at this point. Jokic went off for 29 points, 21 rebounds, five dimes and six turnovers, while a dude named Victor Cancar started for the Nuggets and had 11 points in 19 minutes. Will Barton and Monte Morris continued to underperform, hitting a combined 5-of-17 shots and the Nuggets sit at just 15-16 on the season.

6. Speaking of struggles, Gordon Hayward hit just 1-of-10 shots for six points on Thursday after sitting out Monday’s game with a sore back. He added just four rebounds, three dimes and a steal to his line and it has simply been lost week for Hayward and his fantasy managers. He’ll bounce back and be fine, but he’d better play better on Monday against the Rockets, or we’ll be talking his managers off a ledge. The Hornets got a big win over the Nuggets but the fantasy lines were pretty boring, outside of Kelly Oubre’s 23-point play off the bench. And while my guy LaMelo Ball only scored 16 points, he filled the stat sheet, as usual. The Hornets go 3-3-3 over the next three weeks. If the schedule looked better I’d be telling you to keep an eye on Jalen McDaniels, but those three-game weeks are killers. P.J. Washington bounced back with 13 points, nine boards, five dimes, two blocks and three 3-pointers, but that 3-3-3 schedule could have him showing up on some waiver wires in competitive leagues.

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5. Along with Naz Reid in KAT’s absence, Jaden McDaniels started and went off for 16 points, nine boards, a career-high seven dimes, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer on 7-of-18 shooting in a whopping 37 minutes. Jake Layman added 13 points, seven boards, two steals, a block and a 3-pointer, and Malik Beasley made a heroic return to relevance with 33 points, six boards and a career-high seven triples on 13-of-25 shooting in an unbelievable 43 minutes. Patrick Beverley, Anthony Edwards, Jarred Vanderbilt, KAT and Taurean Prince are all out for the Wolves right now and as long as that remains the case, all of these guys are worth a look. And more good news is on the horizon with the Wolves going 4-4 in the next couple of weeks.

4. Saddiq Bey went off for 23 points, 10 boards, five dimes, a steal and four triples on the same day I was singing his praises in my podcast. Trey Lyles exploded for 28 points, eight boards, a steal, four blocks and three 3-pointers, and also made 11-of-11 free throws, Cory Joseph racked up 21 points, six boards, nine assists and five 3-pointers, Frank Jackson had 19 points and four triples in a start, and Hamidou Diallo added 12 points, six boards, five dimes, two steals and two 3-pointers in a loss to the Heat. Cade Cunningham, Killian Hayes, Saben Lee and Isaiah Stewart are all currently out for the Pistons, allowing these other guys to all go nuts. The only problem with Detroit scrubs is the schedule. The Pistons only have two games next week and then play three games the week after, making it tough to roll with any of them in the near future. But they do have one game left this week against the Spurs on Sunday. Roll with them for that one and then get ready to move on. I do think Bey will hold value all season but it will be rough ride with just five games over the next two weeks. After that, the Pistons play four games in Weeks 12, 14 and 16, so just keep him on your radar after the bad weeks are out of the way.

3. Stephen Curry dropped 46 points on the Grizzlies on Thursday, hitting 13-of-22 shots, eight triples and 12-of-12 free throws with four boards, four assists and two steals. He also had just three turnovers and is now the No. 1 player in fantasy hoops. The Warriors only have three games next week but then go 4-4-4, so buckle up.

2. Kemba Walker is back, baby. Kemba had 44 points, Derrick Rose if off the table for at least a month and Immanuel Quickley is in the protocol. Alec Burks and Kemba are both hot for the Knicks, while Mitchell Robinson is trying his best to be a total bust. Robinson had just eight points and three boards with nothing else in 25 minutes on Thursday. Walker added nine rebounds and eight dimes to go with his 44 points and I still can’t figure out why Tom Thibodeau gave up on him so early this season. The Knicks lost to the Wizards who got 21 points, seven boards, 12 dimes, a steal, a block and three 3-pointers from Spencer Dinwiddie. He hit just 4-of-10 free throws, but the rest of his line was special. Kyle Kuzma had an 18 & 10 double-double, Aaron Holiday had 16 points, five dimes and four 3-pointers and Deni Avdija added 14 points, five boards and a 3-pointer. The Wizards only have three games next week but also have a meeting with the Sixers on Sunday.

1. Looking at the games-played schedule the teams you want to target players from include the Celtics, Mavericks, Rockets, Clippers, Grizzlies, Wolves, Kings, Spurs and Jazz. Here’s what they’re schedules look like in upcoming weeks, starting on Monday.

Celtics – 4-3-4-4 – Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are going to be fun.

Mavs – 4-4-3-4-4 – Should mean big things from Luka Doncic and company after the dry spell.

Rockets – 4-4 – Kevin Porter Jr. is back on Monday and Christian Wood has been a blast.

Clippers – 4-4-3-4-4 – Let’s Go!

Grizzlies – 3-5-3-4 – Someone get to Mexico and tell Jared to stop texting me about Ja Morant.

Wolves – 4-4-3-3-4 – Lots of games coming soon from Minnesota.

Kings – 4-4-4 – Chimezie Metu could be fun along with the regular studs in Sacto.

Spurs – 4-4-4-4-4 – As if Dejounte Murray wasn’t already unfair enough. Pick up Spurs en mass.

Jazz – 4-4-3-4-4 – Get ready for some smooth Jazz.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!