As you can tell from my Avatar, I’m no genius. Heck, that’s me actually trying to look smart.

But after watching last night’s Epic Battle of Rookie Big Men, featuring Jahlil Okafor vs. Karl-Anthony Towns, I do feel like I got one thing right: It is indeed Jah, and not KAT, who should have been the number one pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.

Can you honestly and fairly say that after one game between the two?

I say yes, and the stats are only part of the story. Okafor finished with 25 points, 12 boards and two blocks and absolutely manhandled Towns the whole game, in which the Wolves topped the Sixers 100-95. Towns had six points, two boards and two blocks in 17 minutes. In fact, Towns barely got off the bench after Okafor out-positioned him for a rebound and forced Towns to commit his fourth foul before the end of the first half.

For the season, Towns has arguably better stats. But with Okafor, it’s not just the stats that he gets, it’s how he gets them. He gets them without a real point guard, and without any great shooters to help open up the paint. He gets them looking like Tim Duncan Jr., whether its gracefully sweeping the lane for a lay-in with some dandy big-man footwork, denying a Towns’ shot with some uncharacteristic anger or pulling up and nailing a 15-footer at will.

Some say this is Okafor’s ceiling. They say he’s a 20-10 guy, and is only getting that because he’s on one of the worst teams in NBA history. I’m not so sure about that. I think he’d be getting better stats with better guys around him, and therefore I’m not so sure that this is his ceiling.

As for Towns? This is definitely not his ceiling. This is Andrew Wiggins‘ team right now, so he has time to develop, which is scary.

Still, despite the Wolves getting the win, Round 1 of this battle goes to Okafor. Round 2 will be January 4, 2016 in Philly.

Here’s some other B-N-B studs and duds from the past week:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

To Dennis Green and the Arizona Cardinals, the 2006 Chicago Bears were who they thought they were.

To Caitlyn Jenner, Bruce Jenner pre-2015 wasn’t who she thought he was.

And to fantasy basketball owners, Derrick Favors hopefully isn’t who he’s looking like he is. Or was. Or could be.

What is it about Favors that makes us ignore his inconsistent ways and clamor for him to be on our teams year after year?

Maybe it’s the allure of a rebounding power forward who could easily average a 20-10 with at least a block a game. Maybe it’s his name, which just sounds stud-ish.

But if you have Favors on your team, he probably frustrates you, right? He’ll go on a run, mixing double-doubles with mid-20s scoring nights, and then he’ll plop one or two turdburgers in the middle – like his five-point, seven-rebound Friday the 13th horror show – which might have cost you in a head-to-head matchup.

It’s tempting to say ah, he’s 24, he’ll become more consistent. But if you go back and look at his season-long game logs, you’ll start to hear the ghost of 2006 Dennis Green again … he just might be what we thought he was.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

NBA TV will now take you live to the 2030 NBA Hall of Fame induction ceremony, where legendary Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside is taking the podium …

“Thank you friends, family, Crockett, Tubbs, members of the Miami Sound Machine not named Gloria Estefan, and all of you who came out today. And what an honor it is for me as a basketball player to have the all-time great and fellow Hall of Famer Chris Bosh presenting me here tonight. I kind of wish we hadn’t drank a whole case of Bosh’s “Make It – Take It” Dogfish Head beer last night, but dang that’s some good stuff! In all seriousness though Chris, I love you like a father, like a big daddy praying mantis. You’re the best.

I’ve been a King, a Bighorn, a Viper, a Blue Whale, a Monkey King and a Grizzly… I’ve been Energy, Heat and part of a Skyforce and a Thundering Herd. I’m proud of every organization I’ve played for. No I’m not. But still those are some pretty wacked names eh? A lot more exciting than “Warriors, Lakers, Bucks,” amIright?

When I started thinking about what I would say on this momentous occasion, I sifted through the many memories … playing with Bosh and Dwayne Wade … escaping Sacramento, aka DeMarcus Cousins’ Crazy Town Express, averaging a double-double in my breakthrough 2014-2015 campaign … making ten straight all-star games starting in 2015-2016. Winning the 2020 NBA title with my homeboy Jahlil Okafor – shout-out Jah! And thank you Sam Hinkie, you moron! Your 10-year rebuilding program in Philadelphia really worked wonders for Miami and every other team that poached your frustrated young players.

Actually, thinking back to that ’15-’16 season, that was really the start of it all for me. I remember how fantasy ballers doubted me. Maybe it was because I had been a late second-round pick of the Kings in 2010, then ended up in the D-League, Lebanon, China, Lebanon, China and the D-League again. Then after busting out of nowhere to put up 11.8 ppg, 10.9 rpg and 2.6 bpg in 48 games in 2014-2015, I had kind of a meh preseason the next year, kind of slipped in fantasy drafts and didn’t really have a great first two games of the season. The whole fantasy world freaked and I was sold low by dumb owners everywhere!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

History has its fair share of dynamic duos, whose split left one basking in overwhelming success and the other flying off into oblivion.

Simon and Garfunkel. Bret “The Hitman” Hart and Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart. Richard Gere and the gerbil.

When it comes to famous big man pairs, it’s just as tough to predict how things are going to shake out. Tim Duncan did pretty OK after David Robinson retired. Ralph Sampson after he was separated from Hakeem Olajuwon? Not so much. When the Rockets split up the original “Twin Towers” during the 1987-1988 season, “The Dream” went on to win a couple titles while Sampson – instead of becoming the best pro ever, as predicted – went on to a life on the end of the benches in Oakland and Sacramento. At the time, this was not a good thing.

This past offseason, Detroit decided one big dude was plenty, so they kept Andre Drummond and let Greg Monroe sign with the Bucks.

For now, we can gawk at the big brains (and big shiny dome) on Greg Bower and say the Pistons made a wise choice.

(editor’s note – Daily Notes will be out later this morning!)

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If you’re a fan of a bad team, you know to expect a spell of the ol’ Lottery Fever that begins every Spring with the race to the crappiest record, continues with the actual Lottery drawing in May and real-deal NBA draft in June, and finally dissipates after fantasy drafts in the fall and the start of actual basketball, when actual orange spheres go through actual steel rims.

Your real-life, garbage-juice-slathered team doesn’t play in Minnesota? Vindication can be yours by reaching for Karl-Anthony Towns as early as possible. Are you a Knicks fan who has already started using “Kristaps” as a euphemism for what happens after you just had some bad Taco Bell? Go get yourself some D’Angelo Russell – who cares if he’s gonna stink as a pro. And everyone who grabbed Stanley Johnson felt real good, regardless of what human team they follow.

But hold it right there when it comes to Willie Cauley-Stein, who should always have something before his name.  As in “Bad Bad” Willie Cauley-Stein, or “Wild” Willie Cauley-Stein, or “Old Man” Willie Cauley-Stein.

From a Boards-N-Blocks perspective, I like him for all the reasons everyone else likes him: He’s a 7-footer, he’s athletic, he runs the floor, George Karl said that’s he’s going to start, and he fulfills every fantasy in a would-be porno directed by Jay Bilas (Upside! Yes, baby! Wingpsan! Oh, yeah!).

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I kept telling you that was OK to pick up Rasual Butler while he was producing, but certain fantasy sites that sound like “drive-thru” and “he is Alex Len” insisted that he wouldn’t keep it going. He’s washed up, they said. There’s no minutes for him, they said.

Now that he’s averaged 28 mpg and 18.8 ppg over his last four, and shot 54 percent from downtown over that span, the sites that shall remain nameless (you probably use them every day) say oh yeah, maybe you better claim him off waivers. Same old over-the-top song-and-dance they’ve been doing all year.

(One post in the site that sounds like “Ragu” said Jerami Grant is “not very good at basketball,” even though he is in the NBA, and he is getting minutes every game. Nevermind that he can’t hit a shot from 4 feet out, he is athletic and gets stats for deep leaguers.)

My advice is to have fun playing fantasy. Don’t stress about it too much. Unless you have $100 invested in a league or a bad haircut wager on the line, which in that case go ahead and obsess over Rasual Butler. Otherwise, add and ride him while he’s hot.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

One of the reasons I’m spotlighting Giannis Antetokounmpo is because I love his game, view him as a poor man’s Kawhi Leonard, and have visions of him blossoming this year if Jason Kidd stops doing his best Larry Drew impersonation.

Although he’s starting to fill the stat sheet with regularity, he’s still a highlight waiting to happen and we can’t overlook his overall entertainment value. Case in point: The play last weekend where he covered half the court in one move against the Pistons. Was it a walk? Probably. Did it look badass? You bet your Mokeski it did.

But the real reason is for the betterment of humanity and Giannis himself. Has there ever been an athlete’s name that was more difficult to pronounce? It’s so bad that he was smacked with a nickname (The Alphabet) the second he was drafted because people were too lazy to look up how to say his name.

Even after a whole year in the league no one knows how to say it, players, coaches and announcers included.

So here it is:

Yee-an-es Ant-tet-toh-koomp-oh.

You can also hear Antetokounmpo say it the right way, and his teammates say it the wrong way, in this hilarious video.

Never say it wrong again. Especially if you ask someone in your league to trade him to you in person or on the phone.

Here’s some more wing-a-ding-dings:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Up until this year, Jimmy Butler looked like he was always going to be a Wesley JohnsonIman Shumpert type of wing. Can get you 13-15 points on a good night, hits a few three balls, shoots crappy from the field and nabs a few steals here and there.

His improvement was steady over his first three seasons, but heading into this year’s fantasy drafts, the thought going through most people’s minds was: This guy’s a sleeper, sure, but Derrick Rose is coming back. If Rose is finally healthy, Butler is a non-factor, and even if he isn’t, we’re not missing out on much.

Right here I instruct you to crank up the volume on your device/computer as loud as you can and click on this link.

Butler came into Friday’s tilt against the Blazers with a string of four straight games where he topped 20, including a 32-point explosion against the Pacers. I’m singling out that Blazers game as a caveat, as Da Bulls entered Portland with no Rose, no Pau Gasol, no Kirk Hinrich and no chance of winning. Butler, who had nine points on 3-13 shooting, joined his teammates in chucking up prayers to try and stay in the game, and almost none of those prayers were answered.

I will say this. The Portland game does expose Butler as a guy who cannot carry a real NBA team. In other words, he is not a healthy Derrick Rose in Derrick Rose’s prime. I think Butler’s value is intrinsically tied to the health of this squad. If, for example, Gasol is healthy, but Rose isn’t, Butler is very valuable. If both are healthy, still valuable, but not as much. If neither is healthy, he will be up and down, struggling against good teams, dominating bad ones.

Long-term, I see a sell-high wing. Yeah, it’ll taste good right now, but later tonight, your significant other will be relegating you to sleeping on the couch. And it won’t be because you snore.

Still hungry? Order up one of these flavors:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Slam Dunk Contest winners scare me.

There’s pretty much no in between with these dudes. Other than, say, Nate Robinson, they’re either future all-stars or total duds. For every Michael Jordan there’s a Harold Miner. For every Kobe Bryant there’s a Fred Jones. For every Dominque Wilkins, there’s a Brent Barry.

And then there’s Gerald Green, who is definitely not an NBA jobber, but is not quite an all-star yet. Not really sure if he ever will be, and what scares me most is that while he was a pretty awesome dunker, he’ll always be known as a gimmick dunker for his Birthday Cake Dunk. And being a gimmick dunker is kind of like being a gimmick wrestler on the order of Koko B. Ware or the Gobbledy Gooker.

In a way, it would be interesting if Green never was an all-star, because he wouldn’t be the first 6-7-ish wing sixth man for the Suns who can run the floor, shoot from distance, was on the same team as Jeff Hornacek and never made the All-Star Team.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When I was a kid, I could tell the difference between a name brand and an off-brand cereal instantly.

I knew when my parents tried to cheap out and pass off Puffy Choco-Balls as Coco Puffs or Fruity Dino Bites as Fruity Pebbles. I didn’t even need to put the spoon in my mouth to realize that it was Tasty Silly Trinkets, not Lucky Charms, sitting before me in a sea of milk.

So if I plugged Kevin Martin in where Klay Thompson sat on your fantasy roster, would you know the difference?


If you were in a keeper league, yes, of course. You’d be pissed because I swapped a 24-year-old young buck with a 31-year-old injury risk. But in a normal league, you might notice a slight drop-off in quality, but you’d probably just keep plowing ahead like I do now when I eat the Smack Yo Mamas I bought for my kids instead of Sugar Smacks.

This argument looked a lot better before both guys put up absolute duds on Saturday night, but Thompson’s hand injury sort of balances it out. So bear with me.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
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