Kevin Durant is back!

For what feels like the millionth time. How many times does this guy have to be “back” before it’s not even a story anymore? I guess he gets infinite re-entries on this – ESPN even used the exact headline “KD is back!” It literally never ends, but I guess we gotta talk about his fantasy impact anyway.

Elsewhere on OKC Thunder throwback night, Russell Westbrook went HAM against the high-flying Memphis Grizzlies. Let’s dive in and take a look at these throwback performances under the fantasy basketball microscope.

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Not sure if y’all have noticed, but the MVP debate has gotten a bit heated the last several weeks with an interchangeable group of three players charging the discussion. While you could still say that Giannis Antetokounmpo should be part of that discussion (I think he still has a strong case), much of the animated debate by literally everyone from the talking heads down to the water-cooler loiterers (still a thing?) has been the case between Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid. Both deserving, both amazing players, but one most remember when dealing with a Philadelphia fanbase, one must wear helmets. While the discussion has been both riveting content and a dumpster fire, mostly stemmed from Kendrick Perkins being the toxic fire-starter he’s paid to be, the discourse has gone sour the past month, and to some, a bit tiresome.

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20 years ago, UPS had an ad campaign with the slogan, “What can Brown do for you?” 

Brown says: Make your life easier

Brown tells me that you have all the choices you want

Brown says to me: Get your shipments to your customers, when they need it and where they need it

Brown says: Relax, we’ll get it done

Brown says: How about some more pie?

Brown didn’t say that

What a stupid ass commercial but it serves our purpose today because Jaylen Brown freaking delivered the goods on Sunday.

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Hello and happy weekend to the fantasy basketball world. It’s crunch time with many leagues’ playoffs wrapping up and roto contests speeding to the finish line. I’m coming to you from the boardwalk of Pacific Beach in the San Diego area. Spring Break! Woooo! [Yeah, dude, you’re old and have three kids with you; settle down.] So, I’m going to get right into the Friday Night recap, and skip the story about that one time I rented an AirBnB in a really sketchy part of town and there was a creepy basement with some sort of gargoyle living in it that would look up to me and screech, “Mamu?!”

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A little South Florida sunshine did a world of good for Quentin Grimes, who busted out of a big slump with back-to-back standout performances in Miami and Orlando. On Thursday, the sophomore sniper put together an all-around gem, with 25 points on 10-for-18 from the field, five rebounds, six assists, five treys, and three steals in 38 minutes. That coming on the heels of a 22-point, six-triple night, which ended a five-game rut where Grimes averaged just 5.6 PPG. Grimes can pour in threes in bunches, but he usually does nothing else, and hasn’t been closing games for the Knicks. Last night was just the second time this month he saw at least 30 minutes of action. He’s a streaming option if you’re looking for a three-point specialist, and that’s about it (11 percent rostered in Yahoo! standard leagues).

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As the wheels continued to fall off the Wizards’ season Wednesday night, Nikola Jokic kept rollin’ in the opposite direction to the tune of 31 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and three steals in a convincing 118-104 win for Denver. His absolutely insane efficiency continued, as he shot 12-of-16 from the field and 5-of-5 at the charity stripe. This guy fills up the box score and basically doesn’t miss in the process.

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It’s March Madness time, and in honor of Duke and their successful season, the first without a certain GOAT coach who looks like a rat, I’m gonna focus on the Dukies in the NBA.  No, not Doookies, don’t be haters.  One of the best things about being a fan of them lately is the many fantasy contributors from the best college hoops program in the land.  It’s not their fault that they are better than whatever lesser team you follow.

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Lo and behold, it is the gift quote that keeps on giving… Not only is “The Hardest Road” still very much meme-worthy, mostly because the always fragile Kevin Durant still seems a bit hurt that Chuck labeled him a bus-rider dating back to last season, and Durant can’t help but remind us every time there’s a mic within a five-mile proximity (the irony of doing this in a Suns jersey is too rich for my blood), but also because of the insane yet symmetrical home-road split that the Warriors have sustained. Probably with dark magic or something. So many hard roads, so little time!

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Most things in life have an ebb and flow to them. Some have steady drumbeats while others are volatile like an illiquid capital market. In order to get to the top of any venture, there is usually a combination of both. At some point, there are breakthroughs and jumps of multiple levels. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was selected by the Clippers with the 11th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. He averaged 26.5 minutes per game as a rookie and showed that he belonged, putting up 10.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.5 blocks while shooting 47% from the field and 80% from the line. He was the 141st player for fantasy on a per-game basis. He was then traded to the Thunder in the Paul George deal and immediately played 34.7 minutes per contest. He finished as the 53rd player for fantasy, the first significant jump in his career. He improved in each of the next two seasons, but at a pace akin to the sink filling up, drip by drip, finishing 44th then 32nd. Then 2022 happened, and Shai rocketed up to where he is now, as a top 5 player. Yesterday, he continued to show that he is now one of the best and most well-rounded players in the NBA:

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If Charles Barkley and Zach Randolph had a baby, it would be weird because as far as I know, men still can’t have babies [you’re canceled!]. But metaphorically speaking, if they had a basketball baby, it very well could look like Kenneth Lofton Jr. – and it sure as heck would play like him. 

The undrafted rookie got his first taste of NBA rotation minutes last night, and helped the Grizzlies overcome a 29 third-quarter deficit to beat the Spurs in overtime, 126-120. K-Loft finished with 11 points (4-6 FG, 1-2 3pt, 2-4 FT), 7 rebounds, an assist and a block in 14 minutes. Most of his production came during an 8-minute second-half stretch. 

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If you’re still reading these, and I’m glad you are, as it means one of three things.

 You’re still in the playoff race
You love my writing, in which case you’re my mom or you need to read a lot more good articles.
You’re out of it and trying to get a leg up for next year.

As we know, this is the silly season for basketball.  Resting, tanking, and weird rotations are the norm in March.  It’s March Madness, baby.  I’m going to try to focus on the weird rotations thing from each game to see if we can decipher any meaning from said weird rotations.

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