Yesterday, I was walking in the woods. The booty call chirps from the male birds filled my ears while the wind blew crispness onto my face like a bug on a windshield. Since the season is autumn, the ground was layered with leaves of many colors; red, brown, and orange. It was pleasing to the eyes, but depressing when I got philomosophical about what I was seeing. The leaves were that color and on the floor because they were dead. As I crunched one leaf, then smooshed another, I began to fall deeper and deeper into a depressive state when……I saw it; a sole Leaf hovering in the air with a ray of light shining upon it. It was center stage, floating, wavering, then eventually started dancing; making a mockery of the autumn wind. This Leaf was none other than T. J. Leaf of the Indiana Pacers, who danced to a line of:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
15 15 1 1 1 2 1/2 6/13 0

Before we mental masturbate over the prospects of this Leaf flying forever, keep in mind that he only played 22 minutes off the bench, and those 22 minutes only came as a result of Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis not playing. Leaf has some potential, as he’s a big who can rebound, shoot from downtown, and run the floor. Unfortunately, his defense is suboptimal and he’s buried on the depth chart.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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When I heard that Joel Embiid was suspended two games, I knew that my Sixers would need someone to step up if they wanted to win a tough contest against Portland. Al Horford was too obvious. The rest of the starters would fulfill their roles as usual. No… the Sixers needed to unveil a secret weapon. Furkan Korkmaz didn’t do much with the Sixers after they drafted him at 27th overall in 2016. In fact, he was such a non-factor that the team decided to declined his option heading into the 2019-2020 season. Korkmaz was going back home to play for Fenerbahce in the Turkish league.

That didn’t last long.

And, at least for one game, the Sixers are glad to have him around. Seriously, on a team with Tobias Harris, Al Horford, Ben Simmons, Josh Richardson and a few trusty bench weapons, who else but Furkan Korkmaz gets tasked with making the game-winning three pointer with 0.4 seconds left on the clock. Basketball is magical sometimes. And for anyone who drafted Korkmaz for their daily fantasy roster after some telepathic sensation advised them to take the 22-year old guard, kudos to you.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
11 3 2 0 2 0 3-6 4-9 0-0

With stats like these, it may seem like Korkmaz has some fantasy value, but he doesn’t… don’t be fooled by this strong showing. Let’s instead give one more nod of recognition to Korky, and then dive into some relevant fantasy performers from Saturday night’s action.

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After news came out that Kyrie Irving had completely shut himself out to teammates and coaches during one of his infamous mood swings on the team’s trip to China, it was worth questioning whether or not this experiment would work out. He clearly had chemistry issues towards the end of his run in Cleveland and in his brief stop in Beantown.

After the point guard’s effort against the powerhouse Houston Rockets, though, it’s tough to deny that he does a tremendous job of leading the team once he’s on the court. Maybe it makes sense that Kevin Durant, when asked if he’d try to intervene during these mood swings, said he’d rather just let him be and watch him do his thing. Though the Nets suffered some heartbreaking losses early on, as Kyrie stole the stat-sheet show, he played a much more mature game this time around and led a nice team win.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT  FG   FT  
22 4 10 0 1 6 5-8 7-18 3-4

His numbers took a slight hit, but as the current No. 1 player in fantasy, this line isn’t a disappointing one. Unlike the other games, Kyrie had some help along the way.

Here are some of the other significant performances from around the rest of the NBA last night:

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Kawhi & The Clips

Kawhi Leonard entered the 2019-20 season as a first-round fantasy talent and one of the best two or three players in the NBA. He’s lived up to that billing and then some to start the season. Over the first four games, Kawhi is averaging 27 points, 6.5 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 1.8 steals, and 1.3 blocks. He’s shooting 51.9 percent from the field, 36.8 percent from three, and 84 percent from the free-throw line. The 7.5 assists per game are particularly noteworthy since prior to this season, Kawhi had never averaged more than 3.5 assists a game, which he did in the 2016-17 season. Yes, the sample size is microscopic, but the evidence is hard to ignore. In the second game of the season against the Golden State Warriors, Kawhi matched his career high for assists in a game with nine. In game three against the Phoenix Suns, he set a new career high with 10 assists. This is no blip on the radar. Of the very few weaknesses in Leonard’s game, playmaking was the largest.

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Last year, Jahlil Okafor had a plan to “burn fat and significantly improve his athleticism and stamina.” He hit the weight room and implemented yoga into his regimen. The biggest change was in diet, though. He had tried being a vegan, as he heard that certain foods were inflammatory. One of the side effects, though, was that it caused the iron level to be low, which affected his cardio. He needed more protein. Now, there are no processed foods, sugars, and red meat, but instead plenty of fish and chicken. As everyone that has tried to diet can attest to, there’s what’s called “cheat days.” Well, last night, Okafor had one of those, as he feasted on Denver Nuggets to the tune of:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
26 5 0 2 1 3 0 8/13 10/13

He looked spry and nimble, cutting to the basket and pirouetting in the lane for bucket after bucket. Granted, Nikola Jokic looked completely disinterested in playing last night, but was that due to the age old question of: Which came first? The chicken or the egg? Okafor received the start and played a whopping 34 minutes because Derrick Favors sat due to a knee injury. It sounds like Favors will return shortly, so Okafor will be relegated to the bench, but when Favors does sit, Jahlil could have another cheat day and feast.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When your team is labeled as the top-contender to haul home the hardware from the NBA Finals, you can expect early season expectations to be high. With four games under their belt, the Los Angeles Clippers haven’t disappointed.

However, there have been a couple potential weak spots exposed, weaknesses that the Doc Rivers-led Clippers roster will need to correct in order to win the franchise’s first league championship. With 78 more games before the playoffs begin, here’s our first reaction to the team many project as winning the 2020 NBA Finals.

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The NBA is a heart-stopping, fist-pumping, high-fiving, chemical-imbalance-inducing procreator of basketball nirvana. The squeak of the shoes, talk of the trash, swish of the nets, and thunder of dunks fill our ears with melodic harmony. We gawk at the freakishness of the giants who jump like fleas and midgets who careen around defenders like a cheetah about to catch lunch. We mental masturbate over pick-and-rolls, alley-oops, Euro-steps, and ICE defense. Bascially, the NBA is faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnntastic! Now, what happens when you combine the NBA with MMA? You get elbowing, pushing, eye gouging, headlocks, and submissions…..which is exactly what happened last night in, coincidentally, the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia. Karl-Anthony Towns (meow) and Joel Embiid got tangled up, started shoving each other, then went sumo style to the ground. Benches emptied, players sprinted, and Ben Simmons ended up with the fatality….

I don’t condone violence, but it’s refreshing to see things actually going down; instead of the “hold me back” shenanigans. Anyways, both KAT and Embiid were ejected and will likely get some sort of suspension. Ben Simmons as well. Probably a bunch of other players for leaving the bench. The main thing I took away from the whole fracas, though, was that KAT is truly a different animal this season. Not only has he taken his game to the next level, but he’s showing that he has some…..dog in him.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Finally, the fantasy season has started! At last we get to see our favorite players, the teams we support, the storylines that will unfold and, for the third straight year, my usual Buy/Sell column will be here every Wednesday to provide invaluable suggestions that are correct 110 % of the time. Don’t question it…I said don’t! And certainly don’t check my post history…

If you are a new reader, the articles usually start with a review of last week’s suggestions, followed by the “Buy” and “Sell” candidates. Comments regarding the proposed players are always welcome at the end of the article, along with general fantasy questions and suggestions. So, without further ado and with the hype that the early part of the season always brings let’s get to it!!

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Sing the below to the tune in the video:

“And then a Herro comes along. With the tres to carry on. And you cast your fears aside. And you know you can survive. So when you feel like hope is gone. Click your team and be strong. And you’ll finally see the truth. That a Herro’s all you need.”

Tyler Herro, the 19-year-old, 13th overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft of the Miami Heat, and yet another player who John Calipari wasted at Kentucky, has been strong. Is the truth. And is all that we need. Ok, the last part is hyperbole, but he’s been very good since the Summer League. With Jimmy Butler missing the first three games of the season, Herro played 34, 32, and 35 minutes and scored 14, 14, and 8 points respectively. He also grabbed some boards and contributed some steals. Butler returned to the lineup last night, yet Herro had his most productive game to date in 29 minutes off the bench:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
29 7 2 0 0 0 3/4 7/9 12/16

The 16 free throw attempts were likely an outlier, so don’t construct the shrine yet, but Herro has proven that he belongs and can be a source of points and tres.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?