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?

Wow, how good is Russell Westbrook? Two nights after dropping 40 points and 14 assists against the Grizzlies, Westbrook scored 43 points, 8 assists, and 9 rebounds on Wednesday. The Thunder controlled the game, but never really put the game out of reach for the injury-riddled Pelicans. Whenever the Thunder needed a basket, Westbrook had no problem getting to the hoop or finding the open man. My only knock on Westbrook’s game is the turnovers, but when you’re posting near triple doubles every night, you’re allowed to turn the ball over as much as he does.

Now his stats are inflated a little because Kevin Durant has been sitting with a hamstring injury, but Westbrook is still a top 10 talent even with Durant in the lineup. Should Durant leave the Thunder next season (to go to, say, the Wizards!!!), Westbrook would enter my top three, along with Steph Curry and Anthony Davis.

Now onto the other notables from Wednesday night:

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It just took prime time to rejuvenate Derrick Rose!  After an utterly atrocious outing against the Hornets on Tuesday – and three straight games of single-digit scoring – it certainly looked like the injuries had maybe made Rose a below-average PG…  I just edited out about 3 flower puns from this open, NO ONE IS READING FOR BOTANY OR WHATEVER THE WORD IS FOR FLOWER-STUFF!  Is it horticulture?  SHUT UP ABOUT IT ALREADY!  That’s me yelling at myself.  And also venting some anger, because I wanted him to be poopy for one more week as I face him in REL, so of course he would have by far his best game of the season last night.  Rose looked pretty spry out there, shooting 12-25 for a nice popcorn 29/5/7 stat line.  But as always, his lines have thorny stems supporting the bloom (AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!), as he didn’t notch a trey or steal.  He’s got no treys and only two swipes though 6 games now.  Even Jarrett Jack is like, “is this really an NBA PG?!”  At the very least, Rose is keeping the TO in check and he looked pretty healthy last night.  I think he’s still hovering in that 80-100 range that he fell in ADP, but if anyone would buy last night’s game as he’s back to vintage Rose, you’re obviously selling.  I actually saw him dropped in an RCL, and I’m pending my waiver claim.  Of course I won’t get him at my #6 spot, and of course I could use PG depth.  I’ve luckily avoided Rose the past half-decade, but now my frustration with him is reaching Nate Robinson levels.  Waived like three days after being the opening night starter?!  Or maybe it’s a Pelicans issue, THE WORST RUN NBA FRANCHISE!  Aight, aight, I’ve taken my diazepam, I’m ready to mellow.  Thankfully NO didn’t play last night, or else I mighta needed to double my dosage…  Here’s what else went down yesterday in fantasy hoops action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

After making history this weekend with arguably the best Halloween costume from an NBA player of all time, LeBron James made his way into the NBA record books becoming the youngest player to score 25,000 career points. Despite the record-breaking basket coming against the hapless Philadelphia 76ers, the feat nonetheless is one of the most impressive in recent memory. With all the scrutiny surrounding the potential decline of the Artist Formerly Known as King James, tonight’s performance was an instant reminder of how effectively he can impact the game not only on the hardwood, but the fantasy box score as well.

Registering 22 points, 11 assists, 9 rebounds, 4 steals, and 2 blocks on 9-19 shooting, James had his most well-rounded performance of the season. Moving forward, James should begin to impact other areas of the box score (assists, rebounds, steals, and FG percentage) as the Cavs offense clicks.

As the Cavs begin to realize the full potential of their All-Pro floor spacer in Kevin Love, James ability to facilitate and control the pace of the game will open up his true fantasy potential. Pencil him in for at least 20 points, 8 boards, and 6 assists on .500+ shooting. All hail the King.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s great to have NBA back; I hope everyone had a chance to read the staff picks.  Who was the only person to pick Greg Monroe and C.J. McCollum?  Yeah this guy.  Ok, enough bragging.  Since it’s Halloween, we are going to have some tricks to stay away from and of course some treats.  So let’s get on with this small 6 game slate:

Disclaimer: James Harden, Anthony Davis, LeBron James, Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Demarcus Cousins should always be considered.


Point Guards

We have four PG’s above 9k:  Steph Curry, Chris Paul, John Wall, Damian Lillard.  All are fine plays.  Then we don’t find a PG in the 8k or 7k range.

C.J. McCollum (6,600) is a plug and play at this price.  He will be in the 8k range this time next week or he should be IMO.  McCollum is a flat out scorer. He hasn’t met a shot he hasn’t liked.  On nights that his jumper might be off, he has the ability to drive and get to the foul line.  He’s the lowest I am willing to spend at PG on Saturday night.  

On Halloween don’t be tricked into playing Rajon Rondo (5,600). Personally I think he is trash and I wish he was cheaper so the masses would play him.  

Jrue Holliday (4,900) does have a nice price but don’t be fooled.  He is coming of a major injury and is on a minutes limit.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Pearls don’t lie on the seashore. If you want one, you must dive for it.

(Yep, I just dropped a Chinese proverb, so y’all know this article is about to go next level…)

I’ve always found it fun to read – and write – some of the more unconventional or against-the-grain prognostications for the upcoming fantasy basketball season, and it can be a gas to revisit them at various points throughout the year to see if they’re gaining any traction or skidding wildly off the road. It probably goes without saying, but the bolder (see: nuttier) the prediction, the less likely it is to bear fruit. So the intent here is to provide an unpopular – but not unrealistic – take on a player that may actually help you during your fantasy draft. You’re likely to disagree with most (they’d be the consensus if you didn’t) but if I can hit on one akin to last year’s “take a late-round swing at Rudy Gobert and hold him until starter minutes come available,” it can be a season defining gamble. So pick your favorite(s) and let’s go diving for pearls together! (Man, that is without a doubt the least cool analogy I’ve ever come up with. But it’s a call-back to the opening line which I thought was kinda clever, so I’m gonna own it.)

Prepare the hot takes cannon as we fire off 30 bold fantasy basketball predictions (one for each NBA team) for the 2015/2016 season:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Jump Ball A Matty Series PNG

Piggy-backing off of Slim’s (in?)famous “Slim vs. Slim” series of years past, I’m going to be writing a number of articles pitting two players with similar ADPs against one another. The format will be slightly different, but the goal remains the same – provide fantasy owners some food for thought to better inform their decision if faced with these two players come draft day. It’s not a groundbreaking idea across the fantasy sports spectrum, but I’ve always found it to be a good way to help avoid a coin toss scenario once the clock starts ticking. So in lieu of a long-winded introduction, let’s just get down to brass tacks, shall we?

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You aren’t going to find too many elite fantasy basketball assets sitting on an NBA bench. You’re going to find them on a 50’ wide by 94’ long stretch of hardwood, running their shoes tread-bare.

Fantasy production or “numbers” – essentially the only thing you’re mining for as you prepare for your drafts – is what results from the beautiful union between talent and opportunity.

Talent with limited opportunity (think: Jonas Valanciunas) leaves you with little choice but to sit back and wonder what could have been. Conversely, all the opportunity in the world afforded to players short on talent (I’m looking at you, Courtney Lee) has you questioning why you’re tending to vines that bear no fruit.

Unfortunately, in the world of the National Basketball Association, opportunity is usually held to a finite number each night – and that number is 240. Two hundred and forty minutes is all a given team can distribute amongst its roster during a regulation game. (For our purposes here today we’ll refrain from delving into the impact of overtime/multi-overtime games adding to the pool of minutes, though it does obviously impact the calculus.)

With NBA coaches now regularly employing rotations of nine and 10 men, there are very few players (regardless of talent, youth and good health) who are asked to play more than 75% of a game. In point of fact, during the 2014/2015 NBA season a grand total of six players averaged over 36 minutes of court time. Go just one year farther back and that number jumps to 16. The 12-13 campaign? 22 such players eclipsed the 36 MPG mark and seven ran for over 38 minutes a night. And to really put things into perspective – less than a decade ago we saw nine players average 40 minutes, with the kicker being that none of them missed more than 10 games.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Summer is here!  And what else do you think about during summer than campy dancing shark mascots?  Or Sharks trying to dance campy?  Or campy shark movies!?  “Tequila’s on you guys, and I’m super thirsty!”  Maybe that should be the tagline for my new donate button…

While it’s way too friggin’ hot to do anything constructive outside, we get to go the great indoors to get our first look at NBA rookies in Summer League!  And there’s almost always one surpriser, one Shyamalan twist…  Except, well, in a good way.  Myles Turner already had the ingredients to be a fantasy beast heading into the draft (which we mentioned in our mock a month earlier), then he landed in one of the most ideal situations to a team needing a big man contributor right away.  On top of his already fantasy-friendly skill set, Turner murdered it in summer ball for a 18.7/8.3/0/0.7/4.3 slash line over three games, hitting 8-10 from the stripe and 2-3 treys.  Ibaka-lite might actually be more fitting than I jokingly quipped!  Even Larry Bird has chimed in saying Turner is better than they thought, and his only real competition for minutes is Jordan Hill.  While Turner did have an 8 foul game in there (it’s comical it takes 10 to foul out), it’s about the only knock on a guy who took 11+ shots every game and made at least half of them every time, averaging over 60% from the field.  Plus only 3 total TO.  It’s easy to dismiss popcorn stats like that in Summer League, but the opportunity is there and I think he might be the #1 rookie big off the draft board in 9-cat leagues, as crazy as that sounds.  If Jahlil could just make an effin’ FT!  Where’s a good FT coach like Andris Biedrins when you need them…  Here’s what else went down through Summer League action, which wrapped up over the weekend:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“Dude, you can’t make a title caps to make the pun work, or else it’s a stupid lazy joke!”  Well, ya know I’m pretty effin’ rusty out here catching back up with Summer Ball and this final batch of free agency moves!  I’m as old and as rusty as Deron Williams, who completed his buyout with the Nets, turned it into piles of gold he buried in his backyard, and will be eating Mulligan’s steak with Mark Cuban.  The rich stay rich, just with the richer!  Wait, did that make any sense?  While D-Will has just as much risk as an active Claymore mine sitting on your desk (and giving it a fourth grade girl), I think I might actually buy in a bit.  He’s in a steady decline, but when looking at his numbers last year, it’s easy to forget he came off the bench for a bit – and his bench numbers were horrific.  As a starter he was 14.3/3.6/7.1 with a steal per and only 2.4 TO.  And interestingly enough – nearly 33 minutes a game while staying [mostly] healthy!  Must be the new bacon and eggs diet.  He shot pretty horrible – sub 40% as a starter – but it was 39.6% vs. 32.3% as a sub.  Couldn’t figure out how to get it done off the pine!  Sounds like a merit badge the Pawnee Rangers would give out.  Moving to Dallas, he’s surrounded by SO MUCH better talent that he should have no problem falling into comparable numbers as his starting days in Brooklyn, maybe even with a few more dimes, a few less TO, and playing as the starter all year (if he stays glued together).  This is likely D-Will’s final chance to be on a winner, and after a very sub-par 14-15 I think he could be a draft day value.  Either that or he’ll be a hot spinning cone of meat!  Here’s what else has gone on in the past week of fantasy basketball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?