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Previous “Jump Ball” articles:

9/19 – Russell Westbrook v Damian Lillard


San Antonio Spurs Team Chicago Bulls
SG, SF Position (Y! Eligibility) SG, SF
2014 Results
12th 9-Cat Rank (Total Value) 15th
6th 9-Cat Rank (Per Game) 8th
64 Games Played 65
31.8 Minutes Per Game 38.7
21.4 (T-93rd) Usage Rate (Rank) 20.6 (T-112th)
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Yeah. It goes like this right here. It’s the return of the writings of Slim! That reminds of an Outkast song, and that song reminds me of 1998. If you don’t remember it was the year we learned there was yet another way to be disgusted by a cigar. That near, far, wherever you are you probably found yourself at some point rooting for the most unlikeliest of protagonists, Billy Zane. And of course it was the year the ‘Blue Screen of Death‘ truly became a meme, long before anyone knew what a meme was.

Gangstaaaaa… It’s the return… turn…

In the NBA draft that year there were 3 guys drafted that are still playing and should one day be in the Hall of Fame. I’ll give you a hint, the top 3 draft picks were Michael Olowokandi, Mike Bibby, and Raef LaFrentz, and if you were playing fantasy basketball back then you might have gone all-in on one of them. Give up? They are Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki, and Paul Pierce. Pick number 5, 9, and 10 respectively. That’s not to say great players aren’t drafted 1st, but the only thing guaranteed when you are first overall is a whole boat load of money. Something about the use of the word ‘only’ there doesn’t quite feel right.

Return… Ganstuhuhuh… It’s the re…

It seems so easy to see when you’re talking time traveling, something mind unraveling. Get Down. It’s a whole lot harder to do here and now using some funky combination of math, logic, illogical fandom, a random number generator, and of course the occasional dart throw. For some reason though, after about an hour on 350 (or about 176c) it develops a creamy caramel colored crust. Once it cools, just cut it up and consume. So here’s you’re 1st taste. Slim’s, I can’t believe I’m writing this in 3rd person, RCL playoff schedule post.

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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.

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So we’re out of the top-50, it’s time to start playing it riskier!  Although, there’s still some pretty boring vets in this range, but it’s mainly because they have to go somewhere…  Kinda like those stupid sheep tiles in Catan.  Man, I hate that game…  It’s glorified dice without the money, and replace swagger with my nerd friend saying “mad sheep-game!” every time his hotel gets some sheep cards…  Worst game ever.

Anyway, it’s cliche to say “you can win your leagues with strong mid-round breakouts”, so I’ll just say “it certainly helps getting your mid-round picks right than getting busts!”  Oh man, if that’s not award winning analysis, I don’t know what is…  Here’s the Top 75 for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball Season:

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“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:

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The NBA really is Jordan Belfort.  The Wolf of Fantasy Sports!  It’s tantric and never slows down, from the Finals ending less than two weeks before the draft, free agency hitting a week later and we’re already starting summer ball.  And the NBA will soon revel in the excess that is the 16-17 salary cap boost with a TV deal that put Seinfeld reruns to shame.  I need my ludes to get me through!

Even the Spurs couldn’t avoid the world of excess and massive free agency signings, bringing in LaMarcus Aldridge for a cool $80 million.  Loosening up the purse strings!  My first thought was, “dammit, Kawhi is never gonna be the guy!”  Then again, he got over $90 mil with his extension, so there’s that!  But Kawhi Leonard sometimes struggles with the mid-range and long-distance shooting, so L.A. should help Kawhi by opening up some lanes and keeping him in his game.  This is going to be a crazy offense, with Tim Duncan moving to center and likely being his solid old self.  Which leaves us with what to expect from Aldridge…  And, me no likey for fantasy.  After being really durable early in his career, he’s had a few bumps and bruises (I know, I know, playing through a torn thumb tendon gets mad props) and the Spurs – as we all know – love to limit the minutes.  I also don’t think he quite gets to 20 shots a game like we’ve seen the past few years.  I had him 20 in my way too early rankings, but the move drops him a few spots at the least.  L.A. in S.A. is not OK!  Here’s what else has gone on through the first few days of free agency and rookie ball:

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As the regular season comes to an end, we’re going to take a look at injuries heading into next season. Even if you’re not playing in a keeper or dynasty league, it’s never too early to begin to think about next season.

Kevin Durant was one of the biggest disappointments in this year’s draft. What makes Durant such a fantasy stud is not only his ability to fill up the stat sheet, but his durability. Prior to this season, KD missed only 16 games over his first seven years in the league. That’s quite a track record for good health.

Heading into this season, Durant was recovering from surgery to repair a Jones fracture in his right foot. The injury wasn’t supposed to be long term (an initial 6-8 week timetable) so Durant was still drafted in the first and second rounds with an ADP of 12. Unfortunately, Durant continued to have recurring pain in his foot, before eventually being shut down in March.

Despite his inability to recover from foot pain this season, KD should be a top five pick heading into next season. What makes me think that he’ll finally get over this injury?

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Well, remember about a month ago when the Paul George news seemed more optimistic than the Knicks season outlook?!  OK, maybe that’s not too optimistic, but ya know…

Slim and I both maintained you can leave George on your wire in H2H leagues as a stash, and it took until the final Sunday of the H2H championship to get back on the court.  So maybe we were wrong!  Hah, I doubt anybody in a H2H final was able to stash him that long…  PG13 returned from that horrific injury last summer for 13/2/2/2/0 on 5-12 FG (3-6 3PTM).  Did have the 3 TO, but man, even the most die-hard Pacers-hater has to be happy to see George back on the court.  Obviously in Roto, he’s a must add for this final week plus.  That said, played 15 minutes off the bench and I doubt he gets to 30 in the remaining week in a half.  Oh yeah, assballs and a bump of coke!  Needed to be sure this was legit rated PG-13 for “some language and drug use”.  Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy basketball action:

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Everyone put on their big boy, triple-double pants last night, that’s for sure!  Imagine the same pants Fat Albert would wear…  With extra room built in for his Prince Albert!

First there was Bootstraps Bootstraps (!!), Evan Turner raising fantasy-owners’ Jolly Rogers for his patented tripdub with nothing else.  13/11/12/0/0 on 6-17 FG with one trey.  But hey, a tripdub is a tripdub – and only 1 TO!  Then, just a few minutes later, Boogie was like,”Ello Poppet!”  Miss Turner was easily upstaged by DeMarcus Cousins, who had one of the best lines on the season.  Tripdub?  Check.  Goromotaro?  Check.  Rainbow line?  Check.  Double rainbow line?  Almost!  24/21/10/3/6, but did only hit 2-6 FT.  And Beard may have upstaged EVEN THAT himself in that game, but more later…  Then Russell Westbrook went into double-digits with his triple-doubles!  31/11/11 for his 10th tripdub, but took him a bajillion shots for 10-32 FG (2-11 3PTM 9-11 FT).  Man, just a great night of NBA basketball, and hopefully your championship teams reaped the rewards from this all-you-can eat stats buffet.  A few more nights like this, and we’ll forget all about the tanking and DNP-rest issues impacting the NBA!  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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….And we’re back with our regularly scheduled programming!  If you missed it yesterday, our polls are open for the 2014-15 Razzies, our prestigious ceremony awarding the best of the best… of terribleness!  Larry Drew is like, “Finally!  Someone else has to put up with this ish!”

Speaking of putting up with ish, geez navigating all these DNPs is a near impossible chore for championship teams!  The finals of the H2H playoffs are often won and lost by waiver fodder, and if you’re in need of some ThrAGNOFfing, Anthony Tolliver is getting some run!  Sure most of his stats will make you exclaim with defiance, “please sir, I want s’more!”, but he’s at 3+ treys and 11+ Pts in 3 of the last 4.  Got a crazy dose of 40 minutes for 13/10/1/0/0 last night, hitting 4-9 FG (3-7 3PTM 2-2 FT).  And like your perfect little ThrAGNOF, he almost never turns it over, with only 2 TO in the past 6 games.  9-catters needing some treys should certainly take a look, and the Pistons have three games in four days – tonight, Friday and Saturday.  Threes ain’t got no face!  That phrase is so perfectly used here it has got me a little excited in my Dickens.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?