Choo Choo!

Watch out league, The Dieng Train is about to run ya over like you’re Magic defenders! Our season chugs along through Thanksgiving (although with our jeans barely fitting), heading into December with 3 guys flirting with Oscar Robinson for tripdub averages, Brow looking redonk, and a multitude of other breakouts and disappointments, but I don’t want the Dieng Train to slip under the radar! Like a German train station, Gorgui Dieng remains regular, consistent, and otherwise just mundane, bringing true multicat performance after performance from a big (minus treys). After a slow-ish start, the Dieng Train put together a nice weekend with a rainbow 11/7/2/3/4 against the Suns, then 15/6/2/1/2 in a tough-matchup-for-a-big against the Warriors. And even though I said “minus treys”, he actually hit a triple in each of them! Shot 11-22 overall, committed only 2 combined TO, and after hitting only 6 treys last year, maybe this is a part of his game we’ll start to see expand. Before you Dieng Train detractors type “BORING!” in the comments, I know his per-36 is a smidge down from last year. That said, he’s played 36+ minutes in 4 of the past 5 games, and it’s all due to that beautiful, cuddly, Tibby Tibs treatment. Run your starters to death! But well, when one of your starters is a effin’ train, you ride that rail! Here’s what else went down over Thanksgiving weekend in fantasy basketball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Could there be anyone else in the NBA that everyone can get behind and root for than Jrue Holiday?!  At this rate, he needs to run for prez in 2020!  And just to make him even more likable, he’s now wearing rec spec goggles.  Soooooooo dope!  It’s like he’s playing ball underwater!  When he hit this stepback, I’m pretty sure I heard him say “you miss me?!” on the game broadcast, but I have a feeling it was my mind playing tricks on me…

Jrue didn’t take any time to shake off the rust, going 21/2/7/1/1 on 8-14 shooting against the Blazers Friday night (including that sexy crossover), then 22/2/9/1/0 on 9-17 shooting against the Hornets on Saturday.  14:4 AST:TO to start it off, shot over 50% both games…  Just so awesome!  I know what I’m thankful for!  And just to make things EVEN MORE awesome, he rewarded Tim Frazier owners who remained patient, by showing they can co-exist.  Bi-partisan!  12/3/8 and 17/5/8 for Frazier in those two games, plus the Pelicans won both of them.  And they weren’t against cupcakes either, winning at home against the Blazers then the Hornets.  Pass the beignets, we got a party goin on!  As a Frazier owner in a couple RCLs, I’m going to hang strong until his numbers tell me otherwise.  Unfortunately, I’m not a Jrue owner anywhere though…  Depressing!  But I don’t even care, Jrue is a boss, and if he beats me in some fantasy matchups, I will tip my cap and be rooting for him anyway.  You’re my boy, Jrue!  Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy hoops:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ah, the early weeks of the fantasy season, when a young man’s or woman’s fancy turns to love. Love of the game, love of that reach you made for Gordon Hayward in the draft when others were worried about his injury. Love of how good your picks look thus far, and how bad your opponents picks look. Because everyone has a chance at this stage, right? And that’s good for the game, no? Somewhere out there, somebody is giddy that they selected JJ Barea in the later rounds. Others are pleased that they nabbed a tasty morsel, or pleased their blue chip pick is performing as advertised. The scientific term is the honeymoon phase, and fella, you are smack-dab in the middle. At this time people often complain that it’s hard to make trades, so while I will make some trade recommendations, I will also comb the waiver for you, gentle reader, to try to polish the proverbial turd for you to grab. Let take a look at what is to be had:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

anigif_enhanced-buzz-17962-1386200829-5

One of the joys added to my life since tying the knot a few years ago was the culinary arts. I’m not quite sure what happened first: the desire to impress my wife while we were dating, or my desire to watch Food Network as long as possible. Ok, actually, that’s easy…I’ve been on the good impression train since Day One. It’s called being a man. However, along the way my love for all things cooking developed. Well, not all things. But you put Chef’s Table on the TV and I’m glued. For hours. Secretly, I just want to be a sous chef to someone great.

The sous chef is the numero dos. The Robin to a great chef’s Batman. The Bonnie to someone’s Clyde. You know, the Seth to someone’s Steph. Sure, little brother Seth Curry may have eventually played at the more prestigious North Carolina school, but it’s Steph Curry that’s revolutionizing basketball. You’ll never confuse the two, but lil’ bro Seth’s trying his darnedest in his attempts.

I wanted to call him the sous chef to Dirk’s executive in Dallas, but let’s call it what it is: that designation goes to Harry B (Harrison Barnes, for all you non-hipsters). Barnes has been a boon for the struggling Mavs so far, but while Dirk Nowitzki‘s been nursing a bum achilles, sous chef Curry’s been getting some chicken curry on the menu lately. When given more minutes, and greater confidence to let it fly, Seth Curry’s posted a penchant for steals, points, threes and dimes. If his minutes keep up, we could see more of the same from this past week when he topped the 30 mpg mark. Even with just a slight tick, it looks like Curry could be cookin’ up a significant role on this Mavs team for the season.

And for week? Four games will do just the trick. Here’s the 7 Ahead for Week 4!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Using a little reference there, with regards to the latest election results.  It’s a perfect example of how to never just take the statistics in front us as the end all and be all ESPECIALLY when there are non numerical factors in play.

However, that’s done with, and time to focus more important things in life…the 3 Fs–Family, Friends and Fantasy Basketball.

Here’s this week’s grid. (If you need a reference as to what this grid shows, you can always take a look at my attempt to simplify it.

For easier reference I’ve posted last week’s grid as well just to show how the match-up stats have changed as expected due to the low sample size and how one additional game can cause a big change.  Current week on the left, last week on the right.

matchupswk2               matchupsv2

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s been over 24 hours now.  The sun rose.  The sun set.  People played basketball.

Regardless of how you felt through Tuesday night, I think pretty much everyone can agree it was morally exhausting.  My wife actually wanted to watch the SNL Election Special last night that we DVRed, and all the laughing I did through the year plus of skits just got no response from me this time.  Well, the Jay Pharoah as Ben Carson was still pretty boss… But it was a poor DVR choice!

With all the divisiveness and vitriol flying around, I just don’t know if democracy is working any more.  Bring back a monarchy!  Hell, The Walking Dead is doing it…  (I think I’m going to make Nene‘s nickname King Ezekiel, but I’ll work on graphics for that later)  No more Healthcare.Mozgov, it’s time to [re]embrace Lord Covington!  His followers were jumping off the bandwagon like they were in Paris in 1789, but now we need a strong leader to get behind!  23/6/1/1/1 with no TO for Robert Covington against the Pacers for by far his best line on the season, hitting 8-16 FG with 5 treys.  Just needs to get in more uptempo games!  Honestly, I know I lost some RobCo faith, but I’m back on the bandwagon.  I’m a flip flopper!  Sue me!  So be sure he wasn’t cut in your 10 or 12 team leagues, and scoop him up if so.  Looks like his shot is back.  It is worth mentioning that USG-whore Joel Embiid got a DNP though, so that might have helped things open up, but then again Embiid tweeted this yesterday.

Embiid 2020!  If it becomes a contest of which candidate – Embiid or the incumbent – is bigger in the downstairs, we all know who would win that one!

Apr 15, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) during warm ups before a game against the Miami Heat at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s what else went down in Fantasy Hoops last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

isojoe

Listen, as a Hawks fan I have a special place in my sports heart for Joe Johnson. It’s special because of this strange dichotomy I call reluctant gratitude. The Hawks sucked. Hard. For years. And gave up far too much to get him, but once Joe Johnson arrived in Atlanta back in the ’05-’06 season the Hawks became a legit playoff team, with Johnson ascending to perennial All-Star level. Yet that damn contract (only to be rivaled by Allan Houston from 2001 as potentially the worst of all-time) handcuffed Atlanta into the nothingness that is the perpetual second-round, upper-middle tier of the NBA. It was awful.

However, Brooklyn came along and washed our bored tears away when they gulped down his albatross contract to usher in the new era of Atlanta basketball (still perpetual upper-middle tier, though). But when you think about it, that’s just what Joe does: usher in the next chapter for a franchise. Well, that and play incredible (dribble) ball-stopping (dribble) isolation (dribble) basketball (five more dribbles, contested shot with 3 second left). It started in Phoenix as Mike D’Antoni and Steve Nash began their revolutionary 8-second offense, then shifted to Atlanta for the next seven years where he made six All-Star teams before becoming the epitome of the catastrophe that was the Brooklyn Nets post-prime project alongside Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. And now? Smack dab in the middle of the Rockies, Joe’s the biggest free agent signing the Utah Jazz have locked in for the past 10-15 years. At 35 years old he’s shooting 49% in 31mpg during their first five contests. Could it be that a new era is beginning in Utah with all of their young talent (and without Gordon Hayward as of yet)? They just crushed both the Spurs and then the Mavs, and I’m getting quite jazzed about the makeup of this team. Could they reach the playoffs for the first time in 5 years? Well, probably. Joe’s there now. It’s time for a new era.

And for this week…four games for the Jazz. Here’s the 7 Ahead for Week 3!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Man, what a World Series!  The Cubs win Game 7 – in extra innings no less – to end their century plus drought and have their fans become insufferable, like the Red Sox.  Ugh.  But congrats to the Cubs, and now we can solely focus on basketball!!!  …until the football playoffs take over 45 minutes of every hour of Sportscenter…

Anywho, if it’s not my Brewers in the World Series, I could care less, and I was paying more attention to hoops last night anyway.  Very depressing night, but I wanted to start positive!  After singing his praises on the Pod Tuesday morning, T.J. Warren had a little bit of a down game on Halloween night, but bounced right back to lead the Suns to their first W in OT.  11-22 FG, love dat FG%, 5-5 FT, ditto, 27/7/0/2/1 with no TO.  Dem fighting numbers!  That gives him a 22.4/6.2/0.8/1.8/0.4 line on the season, shooting 50.6% from the field on 17.8 shots, 86.4% from the stripe in 4.4 FTA, and averaging only 1.0 TO.  This is turning into a fantasy MVP!  Of course, of course, of course it’s early, but Devin Booker was back after sitting one game, both Eric Bledsoe (hit the game winner) and Brandon Knight got their run, and I don’t really see any reason this can’t sustain.  The Pts probably come down a tad, but he doesn’t shoot 3s so the FG% should be huge, and he doesn’t really facilitate much which will keep his TO mad low.  On the Pod I compared him to DeRozan – with maybe even better FG% – and look at these floaters in traffic that are DeRozan-esque:

I’m very actively trying to correct the great injustice – with all my TJ love, I don’t own him on any teams.  Hopefully owners think this is a flash in the pan or a sell-high moment.  I don’t.  So be like Warren, take a trip to Dr. James Andrews, and get yourself a nice year-long TJ!  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ahhhhh, our epic Jusuf Nurkic vs. Nikola Jock Itch debates. 16-17 might become remembered as the year of the Nuggets big men Civil War. I wanna be on Iron Man’s side!

In a gutsy battle with the Craptors, the Nugs almost pulled out a great road win, putting together a huge 3rd quarter and getting a lead for most of the 4th. We the North still ended up notching the W, and so did Slim and the Nurk > Joke contingent! I still feel like I have to remind everyone that I ranked Nurk ahead of all experts, and was middle-of-the-pack-to-slightly-below-consensus on Jokic. But alas, I did think Slim was a little crazy saying he wanted Nurk over Joke outright, and after last night, it’s looking like it’s going to be a coin flip any given outing. The real head-scratcher is Nurkic lead the team with a preposterous 38 minutes. Lunacy! Ended up going 13/18/1/1/5 in a great line, but did struggle with the %s, shooting 5-14 FG and 3-7 FT. He’s just so big out there… Look at poor Pit-Pat trying to block him, what are you doing Pit-Pat?!

I think this matchup made sense, as Nurk is a good fit to D up The Luminescent Lithuanian, and with his size and D presence, can help out on the Lowry and DeRozan iso drives. Erstwhile, I thought Nikola Jokic looked pretty good, but only played 22 minutes, going 12/4/1/0/0. Shot 6-9, but 4 TO?! The Nugs only had 8 TO as a whole, so friggin’ Jock Itch had half their giveaways, plus had 4 fouls in that limited run. Just wasn’t his night.

So what to do with these guys? I think you gotta just deploy them as usual, and hope the coin flips your way any given game. As long as it doesn’t pull a Watchmen and land standing up. I think that was Watchmen, I know it was in the dumb movie Ed too, about Joey from Friends teaching a monkey to pitch. Hahahaha, how terrible. I just had to link the trailer, because I watched it for 30 seconds to be sure I was citing the right movie, and holy crap. This is the most fantastic 2 minutes of my life:

If that doesn’t make you laugh, nothing will! I’m all over the place this morning… To wrap that metaphor, I guess Kenneth Faried would be if the coin landed straight up, and at least he only saw 15 minutes. I wouldn’t be shocked at all if Nurk gets 22 minutes next time out, Jock Itch 35, and Jock Itch has the big game. Going to be frustrating game to game. But for last night, Slim gets to gloat! Here’s what else happened last night in fantasy basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Save your horse, and ride a… Justin Hamilton?! As we coined on the Podcast, the coach of the Nets has officially changed his name. It’s even on his newly issued Birth Certificate! It’s no longer Kenny Atkinson. While Brooks wears his giant cowboy hat, Kenny literally wears his ass on his head. He is forever more: Kenny Asshat. I’d love to make that my Halloween costume!

After that shockingly low-run debut, Brook Lopez persevered in game two with a 25/5/1/1/0 line in only 26 minutes on Friday night. Maybe the most shocking aspect of that game was the Nets actually won an NBA game! Then on Saturday afternoon, we get word Brolo is going to get a healthy DNP-rest. Mother F Asshat! Because of course after 2+ healthy seasons including playing 33+ MPG last year, Brook is an injury risk. This is a ticking time bomb in Brooklyn… Asshat wants to chuck as many 3s as possible; through Saturday night’s game, Brooklyn’s 37.3 3PA were second in the NBA, only to the Mavericks who had an OT game then played Houston. 42% of their shots are treys, which leads the league thus far (small sample of course). Even in that “good” game from Brolo Friday night, he shot 0-4 from deep, giving him 6 3PTA this season. His career high 3PTA?! 14 last year for 0.2 a game. 3.0 thus far in 16-17. A big part of his value has been game-to-game reliability and FG%, and now we’re not going to get either. Asshat really wants to pound Brook’s square peg in a round hole, and we all know Asshat has a big round hole! What a mess this team is. Hopefully you don’t have too many shares of Brolo, and if you do, you’re really forced to hold as best you can. No one is giving you anything for him… But at least it opens some opportunities, with Hamilton now a streamer even in 12ers, and you know the rest of your Nets are all going to have ThrAGNOF streamability. Asshat playing his team like Duke. Shooting nothing but 3s… So annoying! No UNC bias there… I don’t think Asshat got the memo that the NBA perimeter is further out… Smh. Here’s what else went down over the weekend in Fantasy Basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?