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    Zion is healthy and thriving, clearly. 

    Zion and the Pelicans are absolutely rolling. They’ve won 7 straight, are 9-1 in their past games, and sit at the top of the Western Conference standings at 18-8. The biggest reason why? Zion Williamson. I mean, look at these numbers:

    After years of talk around his ability to stay healthy and in shape, including folks straight out calling him lazy and a bust, Zion is arriving with full force the same way he attacks the rim, and the Pelicans and their fans are reaping the benefits. Some of Zion’s assumed frustration with criticism seemingly came out in the above clip when Zion threw down a 360 slam in a game that was over. 

    The Suns took offense to the breaking of an ‘unwritten rule’ and some arguing and pushing ensued. CP3 elbowed Jose Alvarado in the face, and the Pelicans went on their way and kept winning. Just like bat flips in baseball, let’s break all the unwritten rules, if you don’t want a 360 dunk thrown down, don’t let it happen. The Pelicans are here to stay. 

    Sidebar, has a team gone from fun upstarts to most hated quicker than the Suns? From the post-game workout videos to CP3’s general curmudgeon-ness, this team is hard to root for.  

    In addition to the Pels, let’s look at 3 teams that if you aren’t watching yet, need to become a part of your league pass rotation. 

    The Brooklyn Nets

    Off-the-court distractions aside, the Nets are figuring things out as we start to hit the dog days of the regular season. Winners of three straight and 8 of their last 10 the Nets find themselves sitting in the top four out East. KD is doing KD things, the same goes for Kyrie, and a bunch of role players are stepping up. Oh, and Ben Simmons has missed 5 of the past 6 as they’ve gotten hot. 

    The New York Knicks

    Yes, you heard me right. The Knicks have won 6 of 10, Brunson, Randle, and Barrett are starting to gel, and they’re generally a competitive team each and every night. Odds it lasts? Slim to none, but take advantage of them in your pick’em pools while you can. 

    The Denver Nuggets

    An oft-forgotten contender, the Nuggets are just quietly rolling to another top 4 finish in the West and are finally healthy. A fascinating team to watch as they currently have seven, yes seven, players averaging double-digit scoring and no player averaging more than 15 shots per game. The Joker continues his MVP-level play, even if no one’s talking about him.

    Week 8 Pick Recaps

    Picks – Season (16-7)

    Lakers – L – Lesson. Update picks if the two best players are marked *out* 

    Nuggets – W 

    Thunder – L

    Survivor – Season (12-4)

    Nets –  W

    Heat – L – I guess it’s not so simple 

    Survivor Traps (7-9)

    Nuggets  – W

    Grizzlies – L

    Week 9 Pool Picks 

    A middling week highlighted by my unwavering trust in the Thunder and Heat going wrong. Records for the season are still strong. Onto week 8. 

    Game Picks

    Raptors vs Kings 12/14 – The Beam Team has been one of the best stories of the year, and while the Raptors are struggling, they’re still a solid team. Give me the Raptors at home against the Kings on the second night of a back-to-back road trip. 

    Grizzlies vs Bucks 12/15  – What a fun December matchup between the no.2 teams in each conference. Giannis vs Ja, the two best athletes in the league. Give me the young Grizz to upset the Bucks here. 

    Pelicans @ Suns 12/17  – Just about a week later, NBA fans are blessed with another of this burgeoning rivalry. Unfortunately, this will be the last round we get of the regular season. Give me the Pels, the Suns can’t handle the juice. 

    Survivor

    Suns over Rockets 12/13 – The Suns are rather cringeworthy, sure, but they are too good to lose to these Rockets. Lock them in if they’re still available for Survivor.

    Kings over Pistons 12/16 – Yes, the Pistons just beat a baffling-mid Miami team on the road, but they aren’t good. The Kings close out their east-coast road trip with a W.

    Survivor Trap

    Heat @ Spurs 12/15 – The Heat are in the must-avoid territory in survivor coming off of losses to both Detroit and San Antonio at home last week. Throw out rosters and records, they can’t be trusted, in spite of what I said last week. Maybe I can’t be trusted either. 
    Hawks @ Hornets 12/16 – The Hawks’ struggles have been well documented. Similar to the Heat, they are a pass until you see more consistency night in and night out.

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    About Author

    Dan Childs

    Lifelong Yinzer, Daniel bleeds black and gold, not black and yellow as the 2010 Wiz Khalifa hit got wrong. An avid NBA and NFL fan, he provides his view on various topics from 'what-if' scenarios to which players you should be rolling out in your fantasy pools week-in and week-out.

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