Coaches often become the scapegoat in situations where a team is underperforming, both realistically and sometimes in their owner’s eyes. A quick fix is to fire the coach and patience is often in short supply in situations like these. NBA fans are used to that, but Kenny Atkinson’s firing from the Nets is one of the most undeserving one of recent memory. His Nets are almost surely making the playoffs, either from the 7th or the 8th position, he coached the full season without Kevin Durant and most of it without Kyrie Irving. Last year he made the playoffs with the highest paid players on the team being Allen Crabbe, DeMarre Carroll, and Jared Dudley. Let that sink in for a moment….

He seems like an obvious hire for the Knicks, to be honest, or even for the underwhelming Bulls. Hopefully, he gets his chance soon as he seems very deserving. Maybe the pressure from Rodions Kurucs to get him fired was too much for the owners to overcome…

On the fantasy front, I have to admit last week was not a great week in terms of my suggestions. Royce O’Neal and De’Andre Hunter were mediocre, while Jae Crowder pulled a Houdini and disappeared from the rotation and the scoreboard in his last three games. Even Cody Zeller, who I suggested as a “Sell” candidate got his minutes back and unsurprisingly proceeded to have a team-low -16 in last night’s double overtime loss in Atlanta.

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When was the last time you remember a true rivalry developing in the NBA? I mean aside from good old Draymond provoking everyone whenever he got the chance, there is no real “beef”, as they call it, between top players or teams lately. Like back in the day, there was Michael Jordan vs Dominique Wilkins and David Robinson vs Hakeem Olajuwon. It’s back now, though, after James Harden went on record saying, “I wish I could just be 7 feet and run and dunk. That takes no skill at all” about Giannis.

On a completely unrelated note, Rockets play the Bucks on the 25th of March and it just became must-watch TV. Imagine this matchup in the NBA finals…

Also, slim Chris Tucker looks like Rajon Rondo’s twin in the above Gif. Just wanted to lay it out there. And no, my eyesight is just fine, thanks for asking…

Finally, I wanted to squeeze in this clip of Luka from the closing moments of yesterday’s game.

Jrue Holiday (hurt ego) has begun therapy sessions and will be reevaluated in two weeks…

Moving on to fantasy, last week’s suggestions were pretty successful, albeit to a different degree. Coby White continues to ball and there is no reason for a slowdown the rest of the season. Dieng and Temple both had a productive week and can still serve as low-end assets until their teams get back to full strength. Finally, the two “Sell” candidates, Kanter and Howard, proved worthy of that designation, with Kanter even picking up a DNP-CD against the small- ball lineup of the Houston Smurfs.

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There are countless amazing moments that happen every year in the NBA. Dunks, blocks, buzzer beaters, you name it. But there are also some that are head scratching. Like this for example.

Did the spirit of Nate Robinson enter Kyle Lowry’s body? Did he make an informed judgment call that he could fit through there? Was that a futile attempt to draw a foul. Fatigue just kicking in? Or was that an unsuccessful attempt at a forced piggyback ride? We will never know with certainty. Nick Nurse’s surprised reaction is just the icing on the cake.

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Everything in life is relative. People often compare their wealth to that of their neighbor, their happiness to their relatives, and their performance to their coworkers. Height can also be relative, apparently. I feel quite tall in my everyday life, but would be an absolute dwarf in an NBA locker room. But even amongst NBA players there are a lot of scales when it comes to height. There are short players, tall players, very tall players, and then there is Boban.

“Let me show you how it’s done, punny, 7 feet 3 Kristaps”. I live for the day Boban gets to play against Tacko Fall, one on one in the post.

Two players really shined from last week’s suggestions and those were Trevor Ariza and Malik Beasley. Both look like good values for the rest of the season and should be scooped up immediately. Cody Zeller and Bruce Brown were not that impressive as the two aforementioned, but were still usable.

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For this week’s introduction I am going to be laconic, like my Spartan ancestors. I will just present another exhibit of the intelligence and charisma of the man known as Shaq.

No extensive comments needed, just pure, raw Shaq entertainment. If he was accompanied by the classic “Inside the NBA crew” this video would have been legendary.

Moving on to fantasy and to last week’s players, Kris Dunn was a victim of my bad luck and got immediately injured after my recommendation.

Payton on the other hand is on fire with one triple-double and two near ones in his last three games, while Daniel Theis has been usable if unspectacular. Finally, Jeff Teague and Jarrett Culver, both ‘Sell’ candidates, did nothing to prove they are worthy of an add in standard leagues for the time being.

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I am 25 years old. I idolized Michael Jordan, but was too young to watch him live when he built his legend. On the contrary, the player that my generation grew up with is Kobe Bryant. We got to witness him build his dynasty with the Lakers, hit tough shot after tough shot, return from gruesome injuries and give his absolute all for the game he loved so much. And after his retirement, we watched him grow as a businessman, a community leader, an ambassador for basketball, and a motivator for any young player that wants to get better through hard work and devotion.

His influence is not easy to grasp or describe and that’s why his loss has that enormous an impact to the whole basketball world. Kobe was unique in every way, a true sports titan and he will be remembered for a long time to come, whether from basketball fans appreciating his game and mentality or by anyone shooting a piece of paper to a can and yelling “Kobe”. It is always a reality check when these tragic things happen as people of his stature, so famous and successful, seem invincible. It’s an instant reminder of our own morality and how fragile and precious human life is. It’s not a great time to talk about player performances and fantasy contributions but I’ll try my best.

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I have sporadically mentioned in these articles how much I admire Gregg Popovic. Not only for his coaching ability, love for the game, and competitiveness, but also for his personality. The guy is a quote machine, always providing something clever/funny/deep to comment, depending on the situation. And after a game-winning performance by DeMar Derozan against the Raptors, he had this to say.

DeRozan got the star treatment on his return in Toronto but Pop was quick to bring him back to earth in his own unique way. It really makes you think about the culture of the San Antonio organization as a whole and appreciate their commitment to success through teamwork.

Regarding last week’s suggestions, Bradley Beal returned, but this hasn’t slowed down both Ish Smith and Jordan Mcrae, who continued their productive streaks. Sekou Doumbouya also looks like a big hit, as Blake Griffin should be out for the rest of the season and Daniel Gafford is a start-worthy player as long as Wendell Carter Jr. is out.

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OUCH…. If it was two or three years ago, Davis would have been already ruled out for the next two months., but the Lakers need to stay competitive so he should be back at the earliest opportunity. It is always a shock to see NBA athletes of that size take such falls or collisions, but it is a contact sport after all. However, Andre Robertson had a similar awful injury three years go and he has yet to return in any resemblance of form. Let’s hope AD is fine because he is having an awesome season and has ever so slightly gotten rid of the injury prone label.

Regarding last week’s suggestions, I will freely admit that it was a bad week. I blame it on too much food during the holiday season. Or I was just in a suggesting slump that I will surely shake off during the next game. Both help me sleep better at night so I’m sticking with them. More specifically, Gary Payton II’s hot start is a distant memory and Delon Wright’s emergence is not happening, unfortunately. Both were terrible this past week and I dropped them already in standard leagues. Only De’Anthony Melton was usable but, with the Memphis returning to full strength, he will also struggle to find meaningful minutes.

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Happy New Year to all the Razzball readers out there. I hope the new year brings health, peace, and fantasy silverware from all your competitive leagues. So we are officially at 2020. It’s incredible how mind-blowingly fast time passes. It seems like it was yesterday when Dirk led the Mavericks to one of the most satisfying championships of all time or since the Boston’s Big 3 brought the Larry O’Brien trophy back to where it is used to be, for the 17th time. But it’s been nine and 12 years respectively. Did I mention how quickly time flies? On a more optimistic note, you just have to love the symmetry of the new Year’s number, which of course plays a major role in how good and productive it will turn out to be. Joking aside, I decided to take a look at the three best individual fantasy games from the start of the season so far, and all of them reminded me how NBA players can produce truly spectacular performances when they are locked in.

No 3: James Harden vs ATL 60/8/3/8/3/1/3 on 66.7%/87%

No 2: Anthony Davis vs MIN 50/0/7/6/4/1/1 on 69%/100%

No 1: James Harden vs ORL 54/10/5/7/2/3/3 ON 61.3%/100%

Where to begin and where to end…Especially the last line by Harden is dazzling. Truly magnificent performances overall and I can’t wait to see them try to best them.

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The NBA has given us many highlights throughout the years, with most of them ending with a made basket. Dunks, buzzer beaters, assists, triples, you name it. But every once in a while, we are presented with something different that wows us and reminds everyone about how freakishly athletic NBA players are. Something like what De’Aaron Fox did yesterday against the Charlotte Hornets.

Mind you, he did that in his first game back after a Grade 3 ankle sprain, while Devonte’ Graham’s reaction is priceless, when he realizes Fox went over him. It’s also a weird call for the referees, as I’m sure they don’t often see a player go over another without making any contact whatsoever.

Regarding last week’s suggestions, Garrett Temple and Kevin Huerter had useful weeks, with the latter having the brighter outlook for the rest of the season. On a side note, his spike in assists seem like the real deal and hopefully he keeps them coming. Furthermore, Ish Smith’s value will take a hit with Isaiah Thomas back, but he was more than serviceable during the period he started, while Monte Morris never got his chance as Jamal Murray’s injury proved minor. I had Russell Westbrook in the “Sell” column last week and I still maintain this opinion, despite his awesome performances as of late. Cash out while you still can!!

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