I enjoy jazz music. Am I a connoisseur? No, so if I misrepresent the genre, don’t throw a hissy fit. With that said, jazz is so smooth to me. I especially love that it is primarily based on improvisation.
Very cool. So, it’s always funny to me that the Utah Jazz have been such a structured offensive team for so long. Except for a couple of Deron Williams years and the first four years of John Stockton, the Jazz have consistently been in the bottom third of the league for offensive pace. Conversely, they have been one of the more efficient offensive teams over the past 25 years and have routinely ranked high in offensive rating. Now that Gordon Hayward is gone and Ricky Rubio is in, will there be more improv in Utah this season? Will our own Viz throw internet tomatoes at me for me preview of his beloved Jazz?
After immense pressure from the DA’s office to flip on Tommy DeVito and Paulie Cicero, [redacted] needed protection to secure his testimony in putting those good fellas away. It didn’t start on the best foot either, as the WitSec guys asked [redacted] if he had any distinguishing marks and he lied about his tattoos… But the man formerly known as [redacted] changed his name to the very inconspicuous James Johnson, and moved his family to Miami. After being a humbling under-the-radar role player, Johnson was supposed to continue as merely a minutes-filler, amongst an uninteresting mix of PF to get through the tough void of losing Chris Bosh. He’s supposed to just shy away from dunk attempts and stand around on offense…
Well, way to ruin that, Johnson! We can’t protect you no more! An absolute monster weekend from Johnson, going 22/3/6/2/2 against the Celtics on Friday night with 4 treys, then followed it up with 20/7/3/1/1 against the Pistons. After a rough stretch of FT last week, he made 6-7 in these games too. With the added onus on O (no Goran Dragic or Justise Winslow OR Hassan Whiteside last night), he is turning it over a little too much (8 total in these two games), but with all the injuries and a void in playmaking on the Heat right now, Johnson is as erect as ever. He’s playing SF, PF, and even some C right now, so while we shouldn’t expect the 34 minutes like he got against the Pistons, he should be pretty solidified in his 25ish MPG role even when everyone is healthy. He’s gotta be a must-own in all leagues while this hot, as he has brazenly blown his cover. Hopefully no one recognizes him as [redacted]! Here’s what else went down over New Year’s weekend in fantasy basketball action:
As we prepare for the 2016-17 Fantasy Basketball Season, I’ll be taking a look at each NBA team with their major adds and drops to see if we can pan for any surprise rotational gold. This open is especially witty for the Nuggets… We’ll be counting down from worst NBA regular season to the best, mainly because I’m still figuring out how to rank the Warriors…
Ya know, this team reminds me of a defensive-minded version of the Wolves. Oodles of young talent, they barely made any changes, and I think Slim will indeed get his wish and see them as a postseason team. Slim loves his Jazz! I think it’s just because they’re a team in the West who didn’t burn his Heat…
Anywho, the position where they made the biggest change was a MASSIVE upgrade at PG, so A+ in the offseason moves department! And oh man, wait until you get idea of what this second unit is gonna be… Here’s how the 16-17 Utah Jazz are coming together for the upcoming season:
The season-long fantasy wasteland that is the Utah Jazz starting point guard spot saw a change to its depth chart on Tuesday night. New addition Shelvin Mack was tossed in with the first group after looking really good in his first game with the Jazz on Sunday. His promotion meant that Raul Neto was bench bound, a move that quite frankly would have been made several weeks ago had Utah actually featured a healthy, professional quality point guard on their roster prior to the trade deadline. One quick look at Neto’s game log from this season and you’ll see that he’s achieved fairly modest benchmarks quite infrequently:
Double-digit scoring – nine times
Five or more assists – seven times
Five or more rebounds – zero times (!)
Three or more combined 3s/steals/blocks – 16 times
Double-digit FGAs+FTAs – eight times
Those numbers come after having played in 55 games and averaging over 20 MPG, so they’re even more pathetic than they look at first blush. The usage wasn’t there for Raulzinho (yep, that is his full given name) and neither was anything resembling roster-worthy fantasy production.
Enter Shelvin Mack, he of former Atlanta Hawks fame. Well, the “fame” part was mostly lacking as he was never truly unleashed by Coach Bud and the Hawks organization. After a largely forgettable three-year stint as a backup combo guard, Mack held seasonal high water marks of just 7.5 PPG, 3.7 APG, 2.2 RPG, and 0.8 SPG (all during the 2013-2014 campaign where he saw 20.5 MPG across 73 games). However, in his two games sporting a Jazz uniform and having had very little time to learn the offensive system and intricacies of his teammates’ games, Mack has already posted lines of 16/3/6/0/1 (in his debut off the bench) and 17/1/2/1/0 in his first starting gig last night.
It’s easy to see that Mack is worth a pickup as the complementary stats are sure to follow once he’s fully integrated into the Utah system. He may never be a top-50 player with several other capable ball-handlers on the roster (Gordon Hayward and Rodney Hood currently, and Alec Burks within the next couple weeks once he returns from injury), but it’s clear that Mack no longer belongs on any fantasy waiver wires as he looks to have a stranglehold on the starting PG job. If you haven’t already, go pick him up.
Here’s what else happened on a five-game Tuesday in the NBA…
The last Tuesday before the All-Star break featured five games spread all over the USA. From South Beach to NYC, Wisconsin to Texas, and finishing up in the Bay Area out west, we had a handful of contests that featured some big fantasy lines.
In lieu of a Thursday night double-header as a result of the abbreviated week, TNT snagged the two marquee games on Tuesday. First up was the Spurs and Heat featuring the Kawhi Leonard show. He served fantasy owners a generous helping of popcorn (23 points, nine boards, four dimes) with just the right amount of butter (three steals, a block, and a trey). Despite a few quiet games recently, you’re not moving Leonard for anyone outside the top-5.
Also jumping at 8pm were tilts between the Wizards and Knicks, and Celtics and Bucks. John Wall put on a show at the Garden, dropping 17 dimes to complement his team-high 28 points. He and backcourt mate, Bradley Beal combined for 54 points, five steals, eight triples, and only three turnovers. The Wizards needed every bit of it as they narrowly escaped New York with a three point win. Meanwhile, in Milwaukee, a wild and foul-filled last few seconds allowed the Bucks to steal one from the visiting Celts. Greg Monroe made his case for 6th Man of the Year as Jason Kidd decided it would be best for him to come off the bench on Tuesday. In 30 reserve minutes, Moose went off for 29/12/3/1/2. He was a team-best +11 and you have to wonder if him being so dominant as a reserve has Coach Kidd considering this as more than just a one game thing? So long as he’s getting the run, owners should continue to bank on the third round value he’s been returning on the season.
Woooooooooooo! I don’t need to say much more than that, other than what about this weather here on the East Coast over the weekend?! I got friggin’ sunburnt! At a football game in mid-December!
While we continue to watch history for the Panthers franchise, we witnessed history come to an end Saturday night, with the Warriors losing at Milwaukee to move to 24-1. Those fans wearing the 24-1 shirts were ballsy!
Most of them don’t look like they have undershirts, they would be pretty stupid-looking if they lost! Now I’m no fan of the Warriors (look at their paltry .960 win % vs. my Panthers 1.000! – and I don’t mean that to sound like I’m not a fan, I don’t really have a big home-team fandom), so during this whole streak and its impact on real-life NBA, I’ve been more obsessed with the fantasy stuff. Ya know, Stephen Curry‘s 3s and Draymond Green being a PF deity. In that 2OT triller against the Celtics, DrayDray went 24/11/8/5/5 in just an epic 2.5 rainbow performance. Approached a triple-rainbow! According to Rotoworld (a site that’s awesome for being able to pull research in the history books vs. my lack of even properly communicating which team won a game sometimes…), first 5×5 since Nicolas Batum in 2012 and only the third player to go 20/10 + 5×5 in the past 40 years after Hakeem the Dream and Derrick the Knee. I’m a little jaded with DC since I used to be a big Hornets fan the first time around, and he was terrible and fat. Then hurt his knee (yet again!) on that dumb Pros vs. Joes show (hilarious though! hurting it against average joes!), but sadly I could only find the promo. Anyway, #OccupyDraymondGreen has pulled yet another article-lead with his multi-cat game, and didn’t even come down too hard in the Saturday loss for 24/11/5/1/1, given a fluky 6 TO. At 13.9/8./7.0 and still improving every season, maybe he can go full Oscar Robinson and give us a season of the O face. Speaking of Os, 13-0!!!!!!!!!!! Man, what a weekend… Here’s what else went down in fantasy hoops action, plus The 7 Ahead for week 8:
On what should have been a relatively quiet evening in the NBA, there sure wound up being a lot of noise. And not a lot of it was good noise. For a lot of fantasy owners, Tuesday probably sounded a bit like this.
Mid-game injuries, late-breaking inactives, and low minutes due to a few blowouts seemed to be the consistent narrative of the night.
We’ll get to all that depressing stuff, but let’s start out on a high note – Mo Williams had himself a game. On nearly perfect shooting (8-9 FGs, 9-10 FTs, 4-4 from 3-point range), Mo helped the Cavaliers slip past the Utah Jazz 118-114 in the best game of the night. In addition to the stellar percentages, Williams chipped in six boards, six dimes, and stole the ball twice just for funzies. Five turnovers took a bit of shine off an otherwise brilliant outing, but this still goes down as one of the top fantasy lines of the evening. Mo Williams will continue to be a must-start player until Kyrie Irving comes back, and common sense would suggest that if Mo keeps balling at a high level and the Cavs keep winning, there’s no reason to rush Kyrie back anytime soon. So it’s a bit of a snowball effect in that the immediate returns are great, but they’re also likely to help extend Mo’s opportunity for a 30+ MPG role on a title contending team. People waiting on Irving to return won’t enjoy hearing that, but it’s championship-or-bust in Cleveland, so Kyrie isn’t coming back with health a single percentage point below 100.
Not to be outdone, LeBron James had himself a phenomenal fourth quarter, scoring 17 points (6-8 FGs), 4 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal as the Cavs scored 38 points in the final frame against one heck of a good defensive team. LBJ finished the game with 31/7/8/2/0 and dropped in a three pointer. He matched Mo Will’s five giveaways and missed four of his 12 freebies, but for all intents and purposes this was a win for LeBron owners as he made it out of the game healthy after soldiering through an owwy on his thigh.
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:
Flashy player. Ridiculous opportunity. Buzzy preseason. A lot of times it ends up fizzling out, sometimes it works out OK, and one time it’s C.J. McCollum.
C.J. went absolutely bonkers in his 15-16 debut, hitting 14-22 from the field including 6-9 3PTM for 37/6/1/1/0 and no TO. Video game numbers! So he’s a shooter, and he does what NBA shooters do – keeps draining em when they hot! But I think we need to take a step back and consider a few things: Other than massive Pts and treys it was fairly empty. This was against the Pelicans, who without Brow, might look worse than the Sixers; they look horrific. And the third thing that no one seemed to mention while anointing McCollum the next big thing in combo guards this preseason – he’s got a pretty extensive injury history. He’s at the pinnacle of a sell high for me. Do I think he’ll be hot garbage all the sudden? Of course not. But do I think he scores 37 again this year? I don’t. Well, unless they faced the Pelicans every night… I’d shop around in the 40-50 range of ADP and see if you can get lucky. As with all fantasy takeaways off one game, it’s always good to keep from overreacting. Compared to fantasy football, we’re at the same point as about 9 minutes into the first quarter of week 1. Still a long way to go. Here’s what else went down during the first full slate of fantasy basketball action:
Wooo, preseason is here! We finally get to see players on the court, thennnn, pretty much immediately we have season-ending injuries… Just let athletes take steroids again, eesh! Tired of this nonsense!
In literally the second game of the preseason, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist slipped on just a routine perimeter dribble and dislocated his shoulder. It looked like he might’ve slipped on some sweat, those are some slacking Magic ball boys! Then after an MRI yesterday, it revealed a torn labrum (true story, it had a red underline underneath “labrum” which had me being sure I spelled it right, and the suggested fix was labium) and he’ll likely need season-ending surgery. Yikes. Tough shakes for the Hornets who just invested $52 mil over 4 years in the guy (THAT’S MORE THAN MONTA ELLIS!), and have nothing great to fill-in SF minutes. Well, I guess technically SG minutes, as Nicolas Batum should slot back to SF as the Hornets hodgepodge their SG. Jeremy Lin had a nice 17/2/7 debut in that first game on Saturday, but followed it up with 10/3/1 and 4 TO on Sunday. Jeremy Lamb scored 16 in the debut and got the start Sunday, only to shoot 2-11 in 25 yawnstipating minutes. P.J. Hairston also got a start Sunday as Batum got that game off, and shot 1-7 missing all 5 treys. Then there’s also Marvin Williams, who has reportedly lost weight and was rumored to get SF minutes back in July, but he figures to be more of a Batum backup or a small stretch-4 like last year. I really don’t like any of these guys, and none of them vault into the draftable range for me in 12ers. I guess in deepers I’d grab Lin first, but meh. The only actionable impact for me is MKG’s 15-16 death. “This guy here is dead!” “Well cross him off then!” Here’s what else has happened through the first few nights of preseason as we prepare for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball season: