Mike James. Talk about a blast from the past. This guy was the ultimate backup PG with some random, formative, fantasy friendly seasons. From 1998-2015, James played for 10 different franchises including two stints with the Bulls and Mavericks. 12 teams in 17 years. If I had a poster child for steroids in the NBA, Mike James would be my man. He never averaged over 11.8 PPG and 4.2 AST. He literally was the perfect backup. Come in for 20 minutes a game, play off the ball at times, start 10+ times per year due to injury or rest. Scratch that, only the pansies of this decade take games off for rest. But for one single season in 2005, playing across the border for the Raptors of Toronto, Mike James not only started 79 games, he averaged 20.3 points with 5.8 assists at the ripe old age of 30. If that’s not the Barry Bonds of basketball, I don’t know what is. This wasn’t in the era where everyone was hitting 20 homers, or rather averaging 20 points a game, but rather during a time where defense was still being played, a ton of draft picks were at least 2 year college players, or Lebron James, and Dwight Howard was the next big thing, besides Lebron James. So Mike James, take a bow, because no one has uttered your name since that blurb about you playing in Turkey in 2011… until now.
When you google Mike James NBA, two wikipedia pages pop up. Mike James (basketball, born 1975) and Mike James (basketball, born 1990). The Mike James I want to discuss is the 27 year old PG for the Phoenix Suns. This Mike James was one of the best high school players in Oregon his senior year yet found himself stuck at DIII East Arizona College. He then found his way to Lamar University. No relation to Lamar Odom, or any of the Ball brothers, although I would not be shocked if Lavar had something do with Lamar Odom and his University. He actually had a fantastic senior year, but from the years 2012 until now, James, Mike James, has played in Croatia, Israel, Italy, Greece, and Spain. Five countries in three years. Now, who has two thumbs and finds himself on the verge of being on your fantasy team?
After being signed by Phoenix to play for the Sun’s Summer League squad, James averaged 20.5 points on 53.8% shooting, 5.0 assists, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.8 steals per game over six games. This earned him a two-way contract with the Suns. In the meantime, since the season has started, James has been playing 19 minutes per game, ahead of 2016 breakout stud Tyler Ulis, and has a higher usage rate than another James, known simply as Lebron. You read that right. Don’t believe me? Check this out.
So why should this backup point guard with a massive usage rate be considered for your fantasy team? First of all, Eric Bledsoe is one bad haircut away from being traded… oh wait…
If Bledsoe is traded in the coming days, one would have to think James will get more playing time. The Suns will hope to get a PG in return, like a Mudiay or Delly, but who’s to say James hasn’t become an in-house favorite. His usage rate is impressive but what could be even more impressive are his assist numbers. PGs are not easy to come buy and assists are always in demand. If you need a flier at PG, James is someone you should definitely pick up with the potential of grabbing a season long starter at fantasy’s favorite position.
P.S. As of writing this Monday night, Mike James is set to start for the Suns.
Switching gears, I was thiiiiiis close to having Terry Rozier as the lead and calling the article Red Rozier, Red Rozier, We Call Terry Over. I was thinking about it all weekend. I was a year too early on Rozier. I picked him with my last pick in the draft last year after his preseason hype train left the station, but I was for sure a year too early. Well, as my colleague and world renowned scholar, Brent mentioned this past Friday. Next Man Up baby! (you can see Brent’s column here https://basketball.razzball.com/next-man-injury-report) Clickbait people! I’m all for some good, old-fashioned, clickbait. So we all saw Gordon Hayward play twister on opening night with that freakish ankle injury, but did you know Marcus Smart is suffering as well? He’s got worse cankles than Danny Shelton. Not sure why I picked Danny Shelton, he’s a good man. Basically could have gone any O-lineman there. Anyways, Rozier is being thrown into the bonfire that is the Celtics and he’s producing an insane line. 12.7/5.7/3.3 with 2.0 STL and 2.0 3PM at 25 minutes per game. That number should go up quickly. He’s going to get a ton of run, he’s extremely efficient, and he has a very high motor. Lovin’ the buzz words!! If Rozier isn’t picked up yet in your league, run, don’t walk, and make him your number one priority.
Just because I am feeling generous, here are some injury stashes to jump on now before it’s too late;
Kris Dunn- starting PG for the Bulls. Ultra productive 4-year college player
Markieff Morris- ready to take back the reigns as starting PF for the Wizards
Marcus Morris- A family hurt together stays together? Marcus will get a ton of run with the Celtics
Zach Lavine- 3 more weeks! 3 more weeks!
Dante Exum- just kidding. What a shame, dude can play, get get healthy. Love ya Dante.
Hope you enjoyed the bonus content this week. Hope you grab James and Rozier and reap some early season benefits.