After opening the season with a two-game appetizer, the NBA provided us with an 11-course meal on Wednesday. No low-carb dieting here, as fantasy manna was raining down from the heavens. All you can eat, baby! There were some impressive performances, as Hassan Whiteside went 26 and 22, DeMarcus Cousins went 28 and 10 with seven blocks, while teammate Anthony Davis went 33 and 18. On a side note, the Pelicans still managed to lose by 12. Trade alert already? Of all the performances, there was one that rose above the rest. Giannis Antetokoumpo went 37 and 13 with three dimes and three pilfers. The number one fantasy pick in many leagues, G showed why and looks poised to carry teams to the Promised Land. As Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, crossed the Red Sea, and climbed Mount Sinai to raise two tablets above his head, so shall G lead fantasy owners across the barren landscape and up the mountain so that they may lift the trophy and bring glory to those that had faith in him. So it was written by Missy Elliot 0:58….to Get Ur Freak On.

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Image result for 76ers logo

It’s nice to live minute-to-minute. Riding the wave of life, experiencing the gamut of emotions, and acquiring a rolodex of memories with nary a stress in the world. A life lived like this is unfulfilling, though. To truly get the most out of life, one must try to achieve. And in order to achieve, one must have a plan. Look at the current NBA. So many smart people running teams, yet they navigate the landscape like a stoned teenager walking through a grocery store. Look! Twinkies! Mmmmm, I’m so hungry. These will taste so good. Oh! Chips. 

Former general manager of the 76ers, Sam Hinkie, had a plan. If you haven’t read his Manifesto, I highly recommend that you do. There’s so much goodness there, but I wanted to focus on this excerpt:

“It is critical to be cycle aware in a talent-driven league. In a situation like yours at the Sixers, where a variety of circumstances left you near a trough in the cycle (and falling), amplifying this cycle became crucial. Today’s outcomes for every team are heavily impacted by decisions past (who to draft, sign, trade, hire, etc.). Jeff Bezos says that if Amazon has a good quarter it’s because of work they did 3, 4, 5 years ago-not because they did a good job that quarter. Today’s league-leading Golden State Warriors acquired Draymond Green, Andrew Bogut, and Klay Thompson almost 4 years ago, nearly 4 years ago exactly, and almost 5 years ago. In this league, the long view picks at the lock of mediocrity.”

TTP. Trust the Process.

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For anyone who is in their early 30s (or older), this song would be familiar.  Sadly, I’m giving away my age.  Slim is totally not gonna be drafting me if I was a professional NBA player.

In any case, it’s the 1st week of the playoffs and where it’s either you make it to the next round, or it’s sayonara until next season.  Going into the weekend, it could be do or die… as is the case for most of my teams in Razzball leagues where I hobbled into the playoff spot without Kevin Durant.  So if you’re finding yourself in the similar situation of trying to get through via the band aid solution, these ideas below might help.

Let’s take it by day and some potential pick ups:

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Some fun drama in the NBA this weekend! And not the kind about the Poppycockers being a super trainwreck… More fun shade being thrown than that!

While beating the Grizzlies 112-109 Friday night, the Blazers official Twitter account decided to stir up some ish by clowning Chandler Parsons on this airball:

“To be fair, the NBA 3-point line is really, really far away from the basket.” You tell em, Portland! Then Parsons tweeted back “good luck in the lottery show year”. Well, while kinda a burn, you just missed a trey by about 7 feet, and you’ve been a bigger trainwreck than the Knicks this year… And C.J. McCollum didn’t let it slide either.

Fantasy owners feel the same way! All my non-Parsons teams are doing WAY better than where I wasted a damned pick on this schmohawk in the middle rounds! Ugh, this has been one of my worst calls in my Razzball tenure, as Parsons’ knees have made him a shell of his former, dynamic self when he was finishing up 15-16 with Dallas. It’s always a gamble to draft a guy off a major surgery – one could almost say it’s like trying to win the lottery! And as of yet, I haven’t won millions of dollars in the Mega Millions, so I shouldn’t have gone for it here! I still think there could be a nice finish post-ASB once he has that full off-week to ice up those knees, but after 8/2/2 and that labradoodle shot Friday, followed by a DNP-rest Saturday, I feel like I need to be flogged in the Razzball city square. At least he’s played 21+ minutes the past two games…? Is that all I can really find positive in this?! He’s involved in fun social media drama, can we make that a stat cat?! D’Angelo Russell, first rounder! Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy hoops action:

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A number of injuries to key players (at least fantasy wise) are starting to crop up again.  Hassan Whiteside is questionable for Friday vs CHI.  Deron Williams is the same for tonight’s game (2nd half of a b2b game) vs OKC.  Anthony Davis is showing how his body is truly made of glass and it seems like if he’s not a DNP, he’s missing quarters due to injuries.  It appears like he re-aggravated that thigh bruise and he could be shut for a game or 2 to give it time to completely heal. Al Horford, although listed as probable for tomorrow’s game vs ORL, seems to have some groin issues.

If any of these guys miss a game or two to end the week, it could open up some playing time for back ups and/or opposing players to produce above their averages.

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Andrew Wiggins will turn 22 in less than a month, but he knocked down what should be the first of many buzzer-beating game winners, becoming the youngest player of the season to do so:

A buzzer-beater win in Minnesota is rarer than a healthy Nikola Pekovic. The last one happened almost 5 years ago on a Luke Ridnour floater on February 22, 2012. About the same time as Pek’s last game.

In addition to the game-winner, Wiggins added 31 points (11-22 FG), 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 2 threes. Wiggins continues to develop in his third NBA season and makes the young Timberwolves roster a fun team to watch.

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I was struggling to come up with a title to this week’s post.  I thought the other four roster positions articles had decent and easy to understand title.  My initial thought went something like Big Men + Stretchies.  Being that this site already coined “EmBIIIIIIIIIIIID”, I don’t want to further go down that Phallic symbol route.

We’ll end this Numbers Game-by-position series by looking at the PF position.  The game has evolved to the point that most teams now employ some sort of stretch four which is typically a PF (or a SF that plays the PF position on small ball lineups) that can consistently knock down the outside shot.  Some teams still employ the 2 Bigs lineup–think MEM, UTA, TOR sometimes (with JV and Bebe) and SAS, albeit both their bigs aren’t really the traditional big men that likes to operate down low in the post.

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So my lead on Tuesday morning about Derrick Rose disappearing on his team (Gone Girl 2 – Gone Rose!) I thought would be a pretty bad low point for the Poppycockers. But I dunno, I think they may have hit it last night! Rose was surprisingly vintage Rose – considering all the rumors he wanted a buy out or the Knicks should suspend him for a while – for 25/2/4/1/0 on 11-16 shooting. That said, he was -21 in a 1-point loss, while the bench kept the Knicks in it. In the end though, the Poppycockers just didn’t have an answer for this new, upstart PG who is taking his offensive game in the league by storm! And of course I’m talking about T.J. McConnell!

Melo, you just got skeeted on! “What is that in your hair?! Is that hair gel?!” “No, Melo, it’s Dapper Dan!” Yup, hit the buzzer-beater to beat the Knicks 98-97, for NY’s 9th loss of their last 10. To quote the immortal Friends like I love to do, “There’s rock bottom, then 50-feet of crap, then” the Knicks! But hat’s off (because it would mess up the gel) to T.J. running away with the Sixers PG job, playing a team-high 34 minutes of 8/6/7/2/0 on 4-6 shooting with 2 TO. Pretty solid, efficient line. On the flip side, Sergio Rodriguez is turning into melted White Chocolate, going 14 minutes of 2/1/4/0/0 on 1-7 shooting with 3 TO. The two could still flip flop, but T.J. has always been a Brett Brown guy, and this was a pretty big moment. Dapper D should probably be owned in all 12ers, although if you have AST locked down, I’m not sure what else you’ll be happy with. 2 steals in 4 straight is nice I guess, but no 3s, low scoring, bad FG%… Wait, why do I hate on this guy but love Ricky Rubio?! I guess it’s all in the spiciness, baby! Here’s what else went down in fantasy hoops action last night:

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For a while there, it looked like the makeshift Memphis Zombies might sneak by a crazy victory in Toronto over the Raps. But just like in World War Z, the Zeds tried to follow the humans north, but eventually froze up.

In his first start in the non-Mike Conley-era, Andrew Harrison was surprisingly capable with the added onus of driving the offense, going 21/2/4/3/0 on 7-12 FG (4-5 3PTM 3-4 FT) with only 2 TO in 35 minutes. Looked good in transition, hit contested, fadeaway treys… I didn’t expect this to get off to such a good start, and against the Raps no less!

It’s obviously only one game, and he’s not gonna shoot 80% from deep while filling in for Conley, but this was mad encouraging and you’re certainly grabbing him in most leagues off this showing. He has already proven he can handle big NBA minutes – albeit in a more complimentary role – so I think this can work as a PG 3 or 4 on your fantasy roster. On the flip side, Wade Baldwin played 24 minutes and went only 2/3/2/0/0 with 3 TO and 4 fouls, shooting 1-6 FG, bringing his sexy-efficient FG% back down to 31.5%. There might not be a Wade Baldwin V, with accuracy like that! Gus Ayonin’! Here’s what else went down last night in Fantasy Basketball action:

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Here’s the matchup grid updated prior to the 1030 ET time games last night.

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I don’t want to go in depth on this today as I’d like to spend some time talking about a specific player below.  The next in-depth discussion will be in a couple of weeks when we have a nice full month of data.  Just wanted to point out that GSW remains near the top of teams to target, albeit they seem to have tightened it up a bit on the rebounding category compared to last week.

Some names to target for the rest of the week:

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