And now it’s time for “Daily Affirmation with Pete Nice.” Pete Nice is a caring nurturer on the order of Stuart Smalley, who once worked with Michael Jordan on his segment on “Saturday Night Live.” He’s also a member of several 12-step programs, but not a licensed therapist.
Pete Nice: I’m going to do a terrific column today! And I’m gonna help people! Because I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and, doggonit, people like me!
Hello, I’m Pete Nice! Well, I’m still getting through the hate email I received after saying that Jahlil Okafor deserved to be the No. 1 pick over Karl-Anthony Towns. I have to admit, it wasn’t my best column, but that’s … OK. I have to give myself permission to do a bad column every now and then. OK, for those of you who read the column regularly, you know that I don’t have guests, I always write the column in some combination of first person, third person and the Royal “We” … and that’s … OK. But yesterday, JB said, “Pete, I can get you a guest that you would be insane not to have in the column.”
So I decided to take a risk – in life, you have to take risks – and, today we have a guest … and his name is DeMarcus C. I’ll protect your anonymity. DeMarcus is a basketball player for a professional basketball team somewhere in Northern California. Well, that’s very good, DeMarcus, you should be very proud of yourself.
DeMarcus Cousins: Well, thank you, Pete. I am.
Pete Nice: Well, good for you! Good for you! Um, DeMarcus … I know there must be a lot of pressure for you to play very well, and I can imagine that the night before a game, you must lie awake thinking, “I’m not good enough … everybody’s better than me … Willie Cauley-Stein is going to take my job as the heart of the franchise. Rajon Rondo is a 6-1 point guard and he’s rebounding as well as me. Even Quincy Acy is a better rebounder than me right now …”
DeMarcus Cousins: Well, you’re right. I’ve been playing like sh*t lately. And that’s why the Sacra –
Pete Nice: That’s why your basketball team in Northern California …
DeMarcus Cousins: Right, that’s why my “basketball team in Northern California” is playing like sh*t. We’re 7-15. Because of me. Over my last four games, I’m only averaging 9 rebounds per game. Overall, I’m averaging two fewer rebounds per game this year compared to last year. That’s pathetic!
Pete Nice: You’re not alone. Believe me, I know what it’s like … laying there alone … typing up these crappy columns, thinking, “I’m a fraud … tomorrow, I’m going to be exposed for what I am, a big impostor … I just want to curl up and lay in bed all day and drink flavored seltzer waters.”
DeMarcus Cousins: Well.. something like that.
Stuart Smalley: Right. Well, DeMarcus, those negative thoughts are your critical inner thoughts saying those things to you, and I want you to replace those negative thoughts with something positive – a daily affirmation.
DeMarcus Cousins: Affirmation?
Pete Nice: Yes. Now, look in the mirror. Come on, don’t look at me. Only you can help you. That’s it. Say, “Hello, DeMarcus.”
DeMarcus Cousins: “Hello, DeMarcus.”
Pete Nice: “I don’t have to be a great basketball player.”
DeMarcus Cousins: “I don’t have to be a great basketball player.”
Pete Nice: “I don’t have to grab a ton of rebounds, or block a ton of shots just to make my fantasy owners happy.”
DeMarcus Cousins: “I don’t have to grab a ton of rebounds, or block a ton of shots just to make my fantasy owners happy.”
Pete Nice: “Because all I have to do is be the best DeMarcus I can be for my basketball team in Northern California.”
DeMarcus Cousins: “Because all I have to do is be the best DeMarcus I can be for my basketball team in Northern California.”
Pete Nice: “Because I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggonit, people like me!”
DeMarcus Cousins: “Because I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggonit, people like me!”
Pete Nice: Now, don’t you feel better?
DeMarcus Cousins: I feel better than Y2K-era Vlade Divac at a strip club with the Maloof brothers!
Pete Nice: That’s wonderful. Would you like a hug?
DeMarcus Cousins: Let’s not get crazy now.
Pete Nice: Well, I’ll settle for a fist bump. Thank you, DeMarus, for being here.
DeMarcus Cousins: Thank you, Pete!
Pete Nice: You know what? I think this is the best column I’ve ever written. And you know what? I deserve it! Because I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and, doggonit, people like me.
And now, let’s do the rest of the column …
DeAndre Jordan – After ripping down 24 boards against the Trailblazers in a game last week, Jordan stated quite simply that he could do a better job on the glass. I would say so, given that this was just one game removed from a – gasp! – nine-rebound game! Dre has backed up his claim, getting back to double-digit boards in the three games since then, including a dominating 20-12-4 on 8-9 shooting (and 4-6 from the line!) in last night’s win against the T-Wolves.
Otto Porter Jr. – Posted a 13-14-1 in last night’s win against the Heat, his second double-double in a row.
Hassan Whiteside – In the same game, scored 14 points but managed just four rebounds and three blocks in 22 minutes. That’s his fourth-straight game in single-digit boards. Weird.
Greg Monroe – Been looking a little bit like his former Motor City frontcourt mate, Andre Drummond, of late. Over his last three, he’s averaging 16 ppg and 13 rpg, and that’s including a 16-12 last night in a close-shave win over Portland.
Esran Ilyasova – Notched a 15-13-1 in a blowout loss to the Hornets last night. Not only is this an anomaly, it might be a unicorn-like rarity soon if the Pistons keep losing and Stanley Johnson ever gains some kind of consistency.
Julius Randle – As expected, my man is turning into a double-double machine. He’s topped 10 rebounds in four of his last five games, and almost hit 20 in a game last Wednesday at Washington. I know, I know, he doesn’t get any blocks, but it’s always good to have a little certainty in your fantasy lineup.
Anthony Davis – The thing I’ve come to realize with Brow is that it’s not that he’s not an elite rebounder or blocker, it’s just that he dominates in whatever area of the game he’s required to dominate in, the stats be damned. Could he block nine shots in a game – as he did last week against the Griz – anytime he wanted to? Maybe. Could he get 15 boards in a game on the regular? Most definitely. The thing of it is, you don’t draft A.D. for any one category. You draft him to chew bubble gum and kick some ass, and yup he’s all out of Hubba Bubba.
Ed Davis – I feel like I could copy and paste a post from a column I wrote three years ago on this dude and it would say the same thing, only it would have something to do with Amir Johnson. Every year, he has a little run like the one he’s been on over the last week, where he’ll do some double-doubling and block some shots. Wouldn’t get too excited, wouldn’t dump anyone great, but if you need a big, by all means, say giddy up to Mr. Ed.
Amir Johnson – Speaking of the Davis-Johnson connection, here we go. Only now, since they’re not on the Raptors together, they can have a hot streak at the same time instead of stealing time from each other. Amir has averaged 9.3 rpg and 1.6 bpg over the last three, and has at least one swat in each of his last seven games. Hard to rely on anything in the Wild West that is Boston’s big man rotation, but Johnson is averaging a sturdy 6.1 rpg and 1.2 bpg on the season.
Rudy Gobert – Everyone spewed salty lake water at me when I said to sell high on Gobert at the beginning of the season. Now it appears I might have been onto something, as he could be out up to two months with a knee problem. See, it wasn’t that I thought Rudy was due for a let-down season stat-wise; I just had this feeling that something was going to go wrong with him this year. This was that something. So now I say: Buy low if you’ve got a space to stash him in.
Victor Oladipo – When I said in early November that Vic would average seven boards and a block-and-change for the season, I wasn’t fooling around. Over his last four games, which includes his odd but productive move to the bench, he’s averaging 6.5 rpg and 1.75 bpg.