I’ve always had the need for speed. Since I was able to reach the pedals, my legs always pushed them to the metal. Video games helped to refine my urges, as the experience of playing countless other driving games gave me the experience and instincts to anticipate potential hazards while identifying slivers of space to maneuver through. For you New Yorkers, I used to pick up a buddy on the Jersey side of the GW bridge then see how fast I could make it to the east side of Manhattan. Sure, that was driving on expert mode, and we should’ve died more than a few times, but we always escaped unscathed. Oh, what a thrill. The same emotion is elicited when I watch the fantasy points rack up for Joel Embiid this season. He’s scored at least 30 points 11 times this season with three over 40 and a high of 59. On Sunday, he did this:
Embiid has now scored at least 50 points four times in his career! The usage rate is a robust 37.7% on the season and he stuffs the stat sheet, being a 1/1/1 player. He’s the number four player on a per-game basis. The 4.1 turnovers are the only blemish to his fantasy game. Oh, [email protected]@#$#@#@! I forgot about the big elephant in the room. He’s missed eight games on the season. As a result, he’s “only” 15th in fantasy from a totals perspective. Everyone has an Achilles heel.
Here’s what else I saw yesterday:
Devin Booker did not play on Sunday so Ayton garnered a 25.7% usage rate. On the season, he’s had a usage rate of at least 25% seven times. Not great, Bob. Especially since Ayton converts 63% of his field goal attempts. Feed this man, Ayton! If you read that as A-Ton, instead of Ate-on, then we are kindred spirits.
On the season, Paul has converted 30% or less of his shots in six games. Gross but not as gross as slurping those Ray J, Nick Cannon, Reggie Bush, Kris Humphries, Pete Davidson, Jamie Reuben, Van Jones and Kanye West sloppy seconds.
Got the start for Booker and played 21 minutes. Mario with the D is no longer super, as he’s recovering from knee surgery, but he’s someone to keep an eye on in case he carves out a significant role because he’s a stretch big who can get buckets.
Artemis was gushing to Zeus about all the gazelles and wilderbeast that were frolicking in the plains below. The words were going in one ear and out the other, until Zeus asked to no one in particular, “What if we combined a gazelle and a wilderbeast, then put it into human form?” Then Zion was born, and he has been jumping and running roughshod over every basketball court he’s been on. Zion is a top 40 player on the season but, over the last seven games, he’s been borderline top 10: 30 points, 9.1 boards, 5.3 dimes, 1.6 steals and 1.1 blocks while shooting 66% from the field and 74% from the line.
CJ started out hot this season, as he scored at least 20 points in seven of the first nine games. Since then, he’s exceeded 20 points only three times, a span of 12 games. He’s shooting 40% from the field. In the prior three seasons, he’s converted 46%, 46% and 45%. He’s a career 45% shooter over 11 seasons so I shall side with history here.
Larry Nance Jr.
Nance romance. Willie Green has been utilizing Nance as a small-ball center more often this season, which has caused the playing time for Jonas Valanciunas to subside at times. I used to always wonder why Nance didn’t block more shots, considering his length and athleticism. Well, he’s at 0.9 blocks per game this season. His career rate is 0.5. Whatever New Orleans is feeding him, I want some of that.
Since returning from a 14-game absence, Harden has played 39, 48 and 38 minutes. He went for 21/4/7/2 on 4-of-19 shooting in the first game back then followed that up with 28/4/12/2/1 on 9-of-19 shooting from the field. I’d say that he’s back. In his career, Harden has dished out at least 16 dimes in 15 games now, with 10 of those at 17. That gets me so Harden excited.
Melton has now started 12 straight games. In the 11 before last night, he averaged 15.3 points, 4.6 boards, 4 dimes, 3.3 treys and a whopping 3 steals while shooting 41% from the field and 66% from the line. The usage will be sub-20%, but as long as he’s starting and getting over 30 minutes of run a night, Melton is going to contribute a little something something across the board while being a bonafide thief.
Scary Terry is back! He’s shooting 40% from the field on the season. Nice bounceback last night and he should improve on the efficiency, especially when LaMelo Ball returns. The catch-and-shoot Js have plummeted to 19.5% from 34.5% last season. In terms of open looks, Rozier saw 38.5% of his treys without a defender within four feet of him. This season, that number is at 29.3%.
Kelly Oubre Jr.
Kelly O is a top 75 player on the season! The usage rate is 26.3% and he’s hucking up 17.8 shots per game, a career-high by a large margin. Efficiency is always a concern but, as long as he plays 32.8 minutes per game and hoists up over 17 shots per game, he should thrive. I’m not sure the 1.7 steals per game are sustainable but he did average 1.4 and 1.3 when he was in Phoenix.
AD is the numero uno player in fantasy. My Main Event team from last season is churning in its grave. AD has finished 1st or 2nd in six of his 10 seasons in the league. Darvin Ham has truly unlocked him, as he was coming from the Bucks where they centered everything around that Giannis guy. But, but, but…it all comes down to health for AD.
Played 29 minutes off the bench. Over the last nine games, he’s averaged 30.9 minutes despite starting only two of those contests. Reaves is a great connector piece for the Lakers, so he’s probably a better real-life player than one for fantasy. Only for the deepest of leagues. Just know that he’s called Hillbilly Kobe for a reason and messed around in the final game of last season. When given the opportunity, Reaves can ball the F out. Just keep an eye out for those opportunities.
Top 75 player on the season with a 25.1% usage rate. Since Cade Cunningham went down 16 games ago, the usage rate has spiked to 27.8%. Don’t expect defensive stats, but Boj Bog will provide plenty of points, treys and some boards.
Jalen Duren made his second start but only got 24 minutes. Marvin Bagley III got 24 minutes as well. Looks like the playing time will be split right down the middle. Gross. I’m still bullish on Duren as the cream will hopefully rise through the thick skull of Dwayne Casey.
The Knicks defeated the Kings, 112-99. No Purple Beam for you!
Only played 27 minutes because he got ejected due to having a pleasant conversation with the ref. The dimes are predictably down after the addition of Jalen Brunson, and the defensive stats will likely never be there. That said, Randle provides plenty of point and boards. The most eye-opening aspect of his game this season is that he’s chucking up a career-high 6.9 treys per game and converting 34% of them!
In a whopping 44 minutes. Is it happening? I think at some point it could, but Barrett is just way too inconsistent right now to enter the circle of trust. But I’ve got my hand just outside it ready to extend out at a moment’s notice.
San Quentin Grimes
Grimes isn’t a standard league guy but viable in deep leagues. Randle, Brunson and Barrett will garner most of the usage, so Grimes will primarily be a spot-up shooter. He does have the ability to navigate pick-and-roll action and can be a source of dimes when he’s put into that role. As of now, he will grab some boards and chip in the occassional defensive stat. It’s his defense and toughness that will keep him on the floor. He played 42 minutes last night. Minutes are half the battle. Yo, Joe!
The Raptors lost to the Magic, 99 to 111. No blurbs for you!!!
Ok, maybe just one.
In 41 minutes. I don’t think he’s healthy from the ankle and knee injuries he suffered earlier in the year. He’s not as explosive or agile. It’s really apparent on the defensive end where guys are just going right around him. Hopefully, he doesn’t re-aggravate something. If he gets healthy, Barnes should get closer to the top 50 mark he posted last season, instead of the top 100 area that he’s populating at right now.
Sao Paolo Banchero
Banchero is so damn good. The things he does at his height are uncanny. He’s a bonafide three-level scorer, an excellent passer and contributes a little of the D. He’s shooting an impressive 51% from the field despite attempting around 50% of his shots from outside 10 feet.
Banchero and Franz Wagner are the pillars of the Magic. They played 37 and 36 minutes last night. No onther player received 30 minutes.
In 22 minutes. I love Bol. Some of the things that he does are ridiculously stupid. I’d keep an eye on the minutes going forward, but I’m not worried….yet.
In 23 minutes off the bench. The boards, blocks and treys are nice from the center position. The playing time is the biggest hurdle, as he rarely gets over 18 minutes when not starting. Mo minutes, Mo minutes, Mo minutes!
In 29 minutes off the bench. Markelle Fultz continues to start but he only played 23 minutes while contributing 7 points, 1 rebound and 4 dimes. I think Fultz will get better the more that he plays while Anthony will likely remain in leading the second unit. That said, things come at us fast so we need to be aware of when the matrix changes.
Played 45 minutes in a 122-123 loss in overtime. DeMar is so smooth. Love watching him play. I also appreciate how he stays in his lane. Treys? Pffff. I do my thing. He probably knows that those are the easiest things to find on the wire so….
In 16 minutes off the bench. When Dre gets run, he can provide boards and defensive stats. The problem is that the minutes have been all over the place. He received fewer than 10 minutes in four of the last eight games. Shrug.
Got the start and played 40 minutes. He should remain in the starting lineup with John Collins out for a few weeks. Griffin has shown moxie in his rookie season and has earned the playing time. The usage rate is in the 20% range and he’s a good source of treys and some steals.
Capela is just putting up a ho-hum top 45 season. I’m a stupid, stupid man because I thought the playing time would be split down the middle with Okongwu, with the chance that he gets traded as well. No need to galaxy brain shit. Sometimes it’s right in front of our faces. The C & C Music Factory continues to pump out the goodies.
In 36 minutes off the bench. Since returning to action, Bog Bog has played 22, 23, 25, 34 and 36 minutes. He’s back, baby! Every time I watch Bog Bog play, I just envision him as some tough SOB carrying a rifle in the fields of Serbia. Dude is fearless, doesn’t take shit from anyone and just balls out. Over the last three seasons, he’s finished as the 100th, 54th and 80th player on a per-game basis. He’s been top 60 over the last four games. The usage rate has been 27.4% and he’s looked good. Damn good. Grab him if he’s available.
Houston, we DO NOT have a problem, as the Rockets defeated the Bucks, 97-92 at home.
There was a ton of helium for Green coming into this season due to how he finished last season and the ability to get buckets. While he’s averaging 21.6 points per game and getting buckets, it’s been an inconsistent journey, as he’s shooting only 41% from the field. That could be an issue for a while, but it is what it is, especially for a young player who is perimeter-oriented. Green doesn’t provide much in the defensive cats, but the usage rate is a robust 28% and he does provide some boards and dimes. He’s still only 20 years old so he should continue to develop and get better.
Jabari Smith Jr.
Speaking of shooting efficiency issues, Smith is converting 37% of his shots this season. Over the last seven games, though, he’s shot 47% from the field, so it’s in the bag. He’s going to be inconsistent on the offensive end, as evidenced by last night’s performance, but his value comes from the defensive stats. The steals are surprisingly light but he could be the next member of the 1/1/1 club.
Only played 13 minutes off the bench.
Khris Middleton only played six minutes due to an ankle injury.
I’m going to call Jrue the Metronome of fantasy hoops. If I could set my clocks to him, I would. That’s how steady he is. Since his second year in the league, he’s racked up 1.6 steals per game in eight of 12 seasons. In those four seasons he “failed”, that number was either 1.5 or 1.4. The only thing that has changed, though, is the shooting efficiency. In his first two seasons in Milwaukee, he shot 50%. This season, he’s at 45%. His career mark is 46% so I’d expect positive regression in that area.