Posts Tagged ‘rick kamla’

NBA unveils 2014-15 schedule Wednesday


VIDEO: LeBron James and the Cavaliers are talking championship this season in Cleveland

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — LeBron James has everyone in Cleveland, and many around the league, thinking about a title chase for the Cavaliers.

We shall see. But whatever the Cavs do this season, chances are pretty good we’ll be able to see much of it live on TV.

LeBron and the new-look Cavs figure to be a prime-time fixture on NBA broadcast outlets during the 2014-15 regular season. NBA TV will unveil the entire regular-season national television schedule Wednesday on the NBA 2014-15 Schedule Release Special at 6 p.m. ET.

The show will highlight the season’s biggest games, most highly anticipated matchups, the opening week schedule, the Christmas Day games and the Martin Luther King Jr. Day games. The entire schedule will be posted on NBA.com in conjunction with the NBA TV special, which will be hosted by Rick Kamla and feature NBA TV’s Brent Barry. Contributors from around the league will offer insight and analysis.

The Cavaliers, who haven’t made the playoffs since James left four years ago, are a team that will be headlined by All-Stars James, Kyrie Irving and, very possibly, Kevin Love (pending the finalization of  a reported trade between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Cavaliers, a trade that also includes Andrew Wiggins, the Cavs’ No. 1 pick in last month’s Draft). Many already are predicting huge things for James and the Cavs.

It’s safe to say there will be no shortage of other intriguing storylines for the upcoming season, too, what with seismic changes in the Central Division alone, not to mention the retooling of all of the contenders chasing the reigning champion San Antonio Spurs.

Whether the road to the NBA championship runs through Cleveland, San Antonio, Chicago, Oklahoma City, Los Angeles (Clippers)  or somewhere else, we’ll find out all the regular-season steps on Wednesday night.

Rick’s Tips: Fantasy Awards Are In




I’m back with seven awards for the fantasy season that was — and still is for the lucky and talented few who are still alive for their league’s title.

NBA.com/FantasyMVP - James Harden, Rockets: Harden was drafted late in the first round or more likely in round two, but his 8-cat goodies rank behind only Kevin Durant and LeBron James. Harden has overtaken Chris Paul as the annual #3 guy.

Pickup of the YearNicola Vucevic, Magic: Coming into this season, Vucevic was in a position battle with Gustavo Ayon. Six months later, Vucevic is third in rebounding (11.5), and sixth in double-doubles (38), while Ayon was traded at the deadline.

Surprise of the YearLarry Sanders, Bucks: Sanders rose from a deep, deep sleeper entering the season to a candidate for the reality DPOY and MIP awards. He’s hovering around 10-10-3, vaulting him into the top-50 of the 8-cat rankings.

Disappointment of the YearKevin Love, Timberwolves: K-Love broke his shooting hand in the preseason doing knuckle-pushups and then re-broke it during the season, limiting him to 18 games and 35 percent shooting. He’ll never be worse.

DeterminatorStephen Curry, Warriors: Curry has re-injured his surgically repaired ankle multiple times this season, and yet he’s on pace to rank in the top 5 on the 8-cat chart and play close to 80 games.

Fantasy DPOYDwight Howard, Lakers: The best combination of blocks plus steals has been authored up by Dwight, who is averaging 2.5 blocks and 1.1 steals for a league-leading defensive total of 3.6. Dwight could have been the Determinator as well for playing through the torn labrum and returning early from back surgery.

Fantasy MOOP (Most Outstanding Offensive Player)Kevin Durant, Thunder: The MOOP award goes to the player with the best combination of scoring average, field goal percentage, free throw percentage, and threes made. This year, it’s Durant, who is leading the NBA in scoring (28.3) for a fourth straight year thanks to 51% FG, 91% FT, and 1.7 threes/game.

It’s been a great year. Thanks for the eyes, good luck in your games, and we’ll see you on the air…

Rick Kamla is an anchor on NBA TV. You can follow him on Twitter at @NBATVRick.

Rick’s Tips: Start-Sit For Playoffs

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I’m back with five start-sit predictions before we all resume the fantasy playoffs tonight.

NBA.com/FantasyStephen Curry, Warriors: Curry re-injured his surgically-repaired right ankle on Saturday against Washington and although he walked through a portion of today’s shootaround, Curry is considered questionable to play against the Lakers. Problem is, it’s a three-game week for GSW, so if Curry sits tonight, you’re looking at a two-game week—at best. Given the recurring injures to the same ankle and the playoffs right around the corner, I think caution is going to win over competitiveness. Sit him.

Tim Duncan, Spurs: Typically, this is DNP season for Duncan, who frequently gets “maintenance” DNPs from Gregg Popovich to keep him fresh for the playoffs. However, this week sets up very nicely for Duncan’s Spurs, who host the Nuggets on Wednesday, the Clippers on Friday, and the Heat on Sunday. No back-to-backs, all three games at home, and all three games against elite teams should lead to Duncan starting all three games. Start him.

Dwyane Wade, Heat: D-Wade sat out Sunday’s blowout over Charlotte with a sore knee, planting doubt in the minds of his owners. The week brings four road games for the Heat: Monday in Orlando; Wednesday in Chicago; Friday in New Orleans; Sunday in San Antonio. My speculation is that Wade was given a night off against a bad team before a grueling roadie, where he will get back to work to help extend Miami’s 26-game winning streak. And given the way he was hamming it up after the Charlotte game, I’d say there’s very little to worry about with Wade. Start him.

Ty Lawson, Nuggets: After missing two games with a heel injury, Lawson returned to practice Sunday and is considered probable for Monday’s game. While that’s good news, it’s only a three-game week for the Nuggets. Plus, with Andre Miller and the bench playing so well, I don’t see a huge week from Lawson—even if he’s close to 100 percent. Sit him.

Joakim Noah, Bulls: Noah has missed the past two games to rest his oft-ailing foot, casting serious doubt on his upcoming three-game week. Noah took some time off to rest the foot in early February and he sat for seven days and three games. If Noah returns for Wednesday’s showdown with the Heat, he will have had five days (two games) of rest. Only the Bulls know if another 7-day mini-shutdown is in play here, but my guess is that Noah plays the warrior card and returns against the Heat. Start him.

Rick Kamla is an anchor on NBA TV. You can follow him on Twitter at @NBATVRick.

Rick’s Tips: Hurting Over Kyrie



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The hits just keep on coming from the injury bug.

NBA.com/FantasyOver the weekend, we heard that Amar’e Stoudemire needs a procedure to fix his knee that will cost him 6-8 weeks. And here on Monday, we learn that Kyrie Irving’s season is likely over due to a left shoulder sprain that will sideline him for the next 3-4 weeks.

As a proud Irving owner in League Freak, let me just say that I am in fantasy mourning as I peck away at this article. My slim hopes of winning my first League Freak title just took a serious hit.

Unfortunately, this is a recurring theme for Kyrie, who missed significant time earlier this season with a broken hand, and more recently due to a knee injury. If the Cavs decide to shut him down to rest that pesky shoulder, Irving will finish this season with a measly 49 games. Last year, Irving appeared in 51 of 66 games due to a myriad of injuries. In his one-and-done year at Duke, Irving played only 11 games, starting eight of them, thanks to a toe injury.

Going forward, there are two ways to look at Irving the fantasy player. If you have not owned him in either of his two seasons, you will probably try to go bargain shopping for him in next year’s draft. And if you have owned him, then he may have scorned you to the point of passing on him for lesser talent due to the injury risk.

I have owned Irving in each of his two pro seasons, and while I believe in the player (huge fan, actually), I no longer believe in the body of the player. There aren’t too many guys who average 23 points, 5.7 assists, 1.9 threes, and 1.6 steals, with shooting percentages of 47-41-84. However, given the parade of injuries over the past three years, it appears those numbers may be Fool’s Gold.

Moving on, one of the main fantasy beneficiaries of Irving’s injury is Shaun Livingston. Yep, the same Shaun Livingston who survived one of the worst knee injuries in the history of sports a few years back. Livingston recently started three games for Irving, averaging 13.3 points on 50+ percent shooting in exactly 33 minutes each game. Buyer beware: Livingston doesn’t hit threes or steal the rock, so his upside is limited.

Look for Dion Waiters and C.J. Miles to play more minutes and jack up more shots without Irving in the lineup. Of the two, look for the biggest spike in fantasy value from Waiters, who averaged 21.7 points in 34 minutes in three recent games without Kyrie.

Miles is averaging 13.4 points, 2.4 threes, and 1.8 steals in 22.6 minutes in five games this month. Assuming his minutes creep toward 30, even if he comes off the bench, it’s not hard to see Miles scoring 15+ with plenty of goodies every night.

Rick Kamla is an anchor on NBA TV. You can follow him on Twitter at @NBATVRick.

Rick’s Tips: 5 Players Whose Value Looks To Increase Soon

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I don’t know about you guys, but my inbox is flooded with trade offers in my four leagues. It would be great if any of the deals were better than Goran Dragic and Klay Thompson for Carmelo Anthony. Yawn. Unfortunately, most of the offers are 2-for-1 deals where I’M the one giving up the best player. The idea is to consolidate depth into a better starter, so make sure you are getting the best player in any proposed deal.

In order to get out in front of the Feb. 21 trade deadline, I’m back with several players to pick up and stash with the hope that a deadline deal will improve their fantasy value.

Kris Humphries, Nets: With the Nets talking to the Hawks about Josh Smith, Humphries could be heading to Atlanta, where he would play starter’s minutes and get back to average a double-double. Suffice to say, if the Nets are going to reunite Josh with Joe Johnson in Brooklyn, the Hawks better get a lot more than Humphries in return.

Derrick Williams, Timberwolves: When you see Williams soaring through the air for alley oop dunks and stopping on a dime for long threes, you think he might be about to realize the potential that made him a #2 overall pick. Problem is, the more you watch Williams, the more you see how weak his motor is. There’s a reason why he can’t stay on the floor even when Kevin Love is out. That said, I want to give Williams one change of scenery before I label him a bust. Not sure where he’s going, but my guess is that Williams will be dealt in the next 7-10 days.

Marcus Thornton, Kings: After his trade from New Orleans to Sacramento in 2010-11, Thornton averaged 21.3 points in his first 27 games as a King. Last year, he averaged 18.7 points in 35 minutes. This year, Thornton barely plays, averaging 11.4 points in 24 minutes. I realize he’s shooting only 40 percent from the field, but I’m confident that percentage would rise with more consistent playing time—right along with his threes and steals. The Kings are usually good for a deadline deal or two, which could increase Thornton’s fantasy value.

Enes Kanter, Jazz: Speculation entering the season was that the Jazz were going to trade Paul Millsap or Al Jefferson to open up playing time for Kanter and Derrick Favors. As we approach the trade deadline, I am even more confident that one of Utah’s veteran bigs will be dealt. As such, beat the rush and pick up Kanter now because he may be playable as early as next week.

Moe Harkless, Magic: If the Magic decide to trade JJ Redick, then the rookie out of St. John’s will play more minutes and take more shots. Redick recently missed three games with a shoulder injury and Harkless averaged 41+ minutes during that stretch. Then Redick returned on Sunday against Portland and Harkless played only 30 minutes, racking up 4 points and 4 rebounds. If Redick goes to Chicago or anywhere else, the Magic will take a longer look at their potential small forward of the future. Harkless is a defensive stat stuffer, going for at least one steal in 6 of the last 7 games, and at least one block in 4 of the last 5.

Rick’s Tips: Replacing Rondo




What a bummer about Rajon Rondo tearing his ACL. I have done it myself, and the thought of all that rehab just to get back to square one will drive you mad if you let it. Hopefully, Rondo takes Doc Rivers’ advice to call the great Adrian Peterson, who just pulled off the most impressive ACL recovery ever.

NBA.com/FantasyThere’s no doubt in my mind that Rondo — one of the league’s top physical specimens — will be ready to lead the NBA in assists when he returns. But when will he return?

Per reports, he’s going to have surgery in a couple weeks after the swelling subsides. To be right by opening night next season, Rondo would have to return in a nine-month timeframe. Ricky Rubio returned from his torn ACL after nine months and Derrick Rose, who is getting close per reports, is nine months removed from ACL surgery last May.

Even if Rondo takes the long road to recovery, he figures to be running the green team again before the calendar hits 2014.

So now the question is, which Celtics are going to realize an increase in fantasy value due to Rondo’s absence?

Paul Pierce – This future Hall of Famer has made a habit of stepping up without Rondo, and he did it again in Sunday’s double overtime win over the Heat, posting a 17-13-10 triple double. In the Celtics previous game without Rondo, a win at New York on Jan. 7, Pierce had 23 points and six assists. Then there was Game 2 against Atlanta last year. With Celtics down 0-1 in the series and Rondo sitting out due to suspension, Pierce had 36 points and 14 rebounds in a series-shifting win. HUGE numbers are in store for The Truth, who already ranks 33rd across eight categories.

Kevin Garnett – When a Big Three gets downsized to a Dynamic Duo, the two men left standing reap the fantasy benefits. Whereas KG is averaging around 15 and 7 right now, I could see his points spiking to 18 with a slight — if any — bump in boards.

Jason Terry – The Jet still hasn’t found his way with his new team, but he showed signs of life with 13 points in 32 minutes against Miami. Terry has always thrived under pressure, taking big shots and making big shots, and the pressure is back on him without Rondo. Of the four guards who will pick up the fantasy slack for Rondo, I like Terry’s upside the best.

Leandro Barbosa / Avery Bradley / Courtney Lee  — Rondo’s replacement committee will take turns having decent games, but I doubt any of the three will emerge as a stat-sheet stuffer.

Rick Kamla is an anchor on NBA TV. You can follow him on Twitter at @NBATVRick.

Rick’s Tips: Fantasy All-Stars, Reserves




Our friends at TNT will announce the All-Star reserves on 7 p.m. eastern on Thursday before another tasty doubleheader, so I thought I’d get the ball rolling with the reserves lists according to the 8-cat fantasy rankings through Sunday.

Eastern Conference Fantasy All-Star Reserves

NBA.com/FantasyKyrie Irving, Cavaliers: Obviously, Kyrie has very little chance of making the real-life All-Star team, but he’s eighth across 8 categories thanks to 23.1 points, 5.7 assists, 2.0 threes, and 1.7 steals.

Paul George, Pacers: Few players are better in the fantasy gold categories, as George is averaging 2.2 threes, 1.8 steals, and 0.7 blocks — good for 12th across 8 cats.

Jrue Holiday, 76ers: Holiday is 13th across 8 cats and quite possibly this year’s Most Improved Player with 19.4 points and 9.0 assists.

Joakim Noah, Bulls: After a sub-par lockout season, Noah is Noah again, averaging 12.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks to rank 14th across 8 categories.

Brandon Jennings, Bucks: Young Buck’s points and assists are solid, at 18.6 and 5.8, respectively. That said, what vaults him to 16th across 8 categories is 2.0 steals and 1.9 threes.

Chris Bosh, Heat: Quietly, Bosh is 19th across 8 categories with 17.5 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.4 blocks, 55 percent from the field, and 83 percent from the line.

Paul Pierce, Celtics: Don’t sleep on the great Paul Pierce, who still gets it done at 35 years young. The Truth is averaging 19.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.9 threes, and 1.5 steals, keeping him in the top 25 across 8 categories.

Western Conference Fantasy All-Star Reserves

James Harden, Rockets: The Beard is third across 8 categories, behind only Kevin Durant and LeBron James, and ahead of Kobe Bryant, thanks in large part to 25.8 points, 1.9 threes, and 1.9 steals.

Stephen Curry, Warriors: Finally healthy, Curry is stuffing the stat sheet AND helping the Warriors win. Steph ranks seventh across 8 categories with 20.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, 6.6 assists, 3.1 threes, and 1.7 steals. 3.1 threes?!? Talk about the goodies!

Russell Westbrook, Thunder: Durant is first and Westbrook is ninth across 8 categories, making OKC the only team with 2 of the top 9 players in fantasy hoops. Westbrook’s scoring is down to 23.0 points, but his assists are up to a career-high 8.3 per game.

Tim Duncan, Spurs: Duncan is having a turn-back-the-clock season, averaging 17.3 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks. Shooting 50 percent from the field and 82 percent from the line has helped Duncan rank 10th across 8 categories.

Nicolas Batum, Trail Blazers: Batum is the Paul George of the West, bringing the fantasy gold with 2.5 threes, 1.5 steals, and 1.0 blocks. Batum is currently 11th across 8 categories, and he’s been providing first-round value all season.

David Lee, Warriors: Lee may be the most underrated player in the NBA, what with his 19.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 53 percent from the field, and 80 percent from the line. Lee ranks 17th across 8 categories and he may make his first appearance in the real-life All-Star game.

O.J. Mayo, Mavericks: Believe it or not, Mayo ranks 20th across 8 categories due mainly to his 18.2 points and 2.1 threes per game. After slumping a bit following Dirk Nowitzki’s return, it appears as if Mayo is back on track.

Rick Kamla is an anchor on NBA TV. You can follow him on Twitter at @NBATVRick.

Rick’s Tips: Buy The Brow Low Now





The time is now to trade for Hornets’ rookie Anthony Davis, who is averaging only 9.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, and 25.3 minutes in seven games this month.

Has Davis hit the rookie wall?

NBA.com/FantasyDavis hasn’t admitted to that cliché and he probably never will, but the stats say otherwise. His points have declined from 15.0 to 14.0 to 9.4 in November, December, and January, respectively. And his blocks have declined from 2.4 to 1.8 to 1.3 in the same months.

Also contributing to Davis’ decline is the return of Eric Gordon, who made his season debut on Dec. 29, perfectly coinciding with Davis’ drop in numbers this January. Gordon, as expected, is taking 15.3 field goal attempts per game, causing Davis’ FGA’s to dip from 11.6 in November and December down to 8.6 in January.

I trust Hornets’ head coach Monty Williams to figure out a way to make it work, such that Gordon gets his, while Davis gets his. Also, I trust in the incredible talents of Davis, who is simply too gifted to average 9 and 6 for the rest of the season.

Davis’ best month was November, when he averaged 15 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks in 28.2 minutes, and he should return to that level once he gets a second wind.

Sunday’s game against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden was a start, as Davis had 13 points and eight rebounds in 33 minutes.

You have to give to get in fantasy hoops, so here are a few big men you might want to dangle as trade bait for Davis: Kevin Garnett (14.8 points, 7.0 rebounds), Marcin Gortat (11.5 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.9 blocks); Paul Millsap (14.9 points, 7.7 rebounds).

I realize the holidays are over and you’re all shopped out, but you don’t have to leave the house to go fantasy shopping. So what are you waiting for?

Rick Kamla is an anchor on NBA TV. You can follow him on Twitter at @NBATVRick.

Rick’s Tips: Fantasy Awards, So Far





Happy New Year, fantasy fans! It’s time to get back to work with 10 fantasy awards for the 2012 portion of the 2012-13 regular season.

Most Surprising Player – Larry Sanders, Bucks
Raise your hand if you saw Sanders ranking 46th across eight categories thanks to 8 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.0 blocks, and 54 percent shooting. Sanders leads the NBA in blocks per game, ahead of last year’s leader Serge Ibaka and three-time DPOY Dwight Howard.

NBA.com/FantasyBiggest Disappointment – Deron Williams, Nets
I’ve been disappointed by D-Will for three reasons. One, how do you play on Christmas, then take off the next night against Milwaukee, then watch your coach get fired the next day, and then immediately return to the lineup the day after that? Two, how could D-Will not come into his first season in Brooklyn in the best shape of his life? Finally, after averaging 21.0 points and 8.7 assists last season, he’s down to 16.6 and 7.8 through 33 games this year.

Mr. Headache – Pau Gasol, Lakers
Not only are Pau’s numbers way down and not only did he take two weeks off to rest tendonitis in both knees, but he has been benched in the fourth quarter several times since Mike D’Antoni took over. I didn’t think Pau was going to be a 20-10 guy this year, but I certainly predicted more than 12.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks. And whereas Pau has historically been a 50-80 guy on the percentages, he is shooting 42-74.

Best Pickup – Lou Williams, Hawks
Williams was picked up in most leagues a couple weeks ago when Larry Drew promoted him to the starting lineup. Lou has been solid all season, but he has taken his game to another level in eight starts, averaging 18.3 points, 5.5 assists, 3.9 rebounds, and 3.3 threes, while shooting 49 percent, and 80 percent from the stripe. Lou is as competitive as he is talented, so there’s no end in sight to this productivity.

Best Comeback – Dwight Howard, Lakers
Dwight’s final season in Orlando was cut short by a back problem that required surgery. He returned late in the preseason and has been a beast for LA ever since, averaging 17.3 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks, while shooting 57 percent.

Most Improved Player – Jrue Holiday, 76ers
Holiday was a disappointment last season, averaging a pedestrian 13.5 points and 4.5 assists. But his scoring average is up to 18.4 and his assists have spiked to 8.9 — good for fourth in the NBA. With Andre Iguodala in Denver, Doug Collins has given Holiday the ball and a long leash, and he has not disappointed this time around.

Defensive MVP – Josh Smith, Hawks
My definition of Defensive MVP is the player with the best combination of blocks and steals, and Josh leads the league at 3.8 combined B/S per game. His 2.3 blocks rank sixth in the league, while his 1.5 steals rank 19th.

Best Rookie – Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers
This is a two-horse race between Lillard and Anthony Davis, but Lillard is currently lapping Davis. Lillard ranks 31st across eight categories with 18.2 points, 6.4 assists, 2.2 threes, 1.0 steal, and 85 percent from the line, while Davis ranks 53rd. As a proud owner of Lillard, I can only hope the Blazers stay in the playoff hunt because that will keep him motivated to push through the rookie wall.

Most Valuable Player – James Harden, Rockets
Other candidates for Fantasy MVP include Carmelo Anthony, Stephen Curry and Tim Duncan, but Harden is my choice because he is providing first-round value despite being drafted in the second or third round. Harden has blossomed into a true 8-cat player in Houston, with 26.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 0.5 blocks, 2 steals, 2 threes, 45 percent from the field and 86 percent from the line. He ranks fourth across eight categories, with only Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant ahead of him.

Rick Kamla is an anchor on NBA TV. You can follow him on Twitter at @NBATVRick.

Rick’s Tips: Keep Rubio Benched For Now




The fantasy basketball world received a huge boost on Saturday when Ricky Rubio made his return to the Timberwolves’ lineup in an overtime win over the Mavericks.

The selfless Spaniard tore up his knee on March 9, making it amazing that he got back to work in just over nine months. When you combine Rubio’s speedy recovery with what Vikings’ RB Adrian Peterson is doing — also less than a year removed from major knee surgery — it makes me wonder what’s in the water up there. And as a Minneapolis native, it makes me pump my fist a la Tiger Woods after a big putt.

Rubio was Rubio in his return, recording eight points, four rebounds, nine assists and three steals in 18 minutes off the bench. The plan was for Rubio to play 16-18 minutes, so Wolves’ coach Rick Adelman deftly deployed his franchise PG, bridging the first and second quarters, and then bridging the third and fourth quarters, before bringing Rubio back for the final two-plus minutes of regulation.

Problem is, the excitement about Rubio’s early return (preseason reports had him returning on Christmas at tNBA.com/Fantasyhe earliest) was mitigated by the fact that he played tonight in Orlando but is not scheduled to play Tuesday in Miami. According to the Pioneer Press, Rubio has not yet been cleared for both ends of back-to-backs, and he remains on the NBA version of a pitch count when he does play.

So, despite the Wolves playing four games this week, it’s time to move Rubio to the bench for Week 8. Unfortunately, I recommend leaving him on the bench next week as well because the Wolves play only two games.

Rubio becomes startable in Week 10, when the Wolves play three division games against the Jazz, Nuggets and Blazers.

The fantasy basketball world has waited patiently for Rubio’s return and we need to stay patient for another fortnight. That said, it helps me sleep at night knowing that Rubio will rescue two of my four fantasy teams once we ring in the New Year.

Happy Holidays!

Rick Kamla is an anchor on NBA TV. You can follow him on Twitter at @NBATVRick.