While perusing the standings the other day, I was surprised to see we’re already past the half-way mark of the NBA season. And for those in head-to-head leagues, that means we’re almost 2/3rds of the way through the fantasy regular season! It’s time to take stock of our team(s) and see where injuries, pick-ups, and dropped busts have left us situated. For example, half my starters this week on one team have been free agent pickups. I have some idea of my team’s strengths and weaknesses, but it’s a vastly different group than what I started with. Once we identify our short-comings, it’s as simple as grabbing a couple centers for a pair of guards to make up ground in boards and blocks, right? Maybe. But there are constraints that might make it more complicated than that. You may be losing stats you need by doing that and you may not be able to fit two extra centers into your lineup, anyway.

This week I’d like to bring up a concept many of you are probably familiar with, but often goes forgotten: Out-of-position stats. What if you’re low in rebounds, but you don’t have room to add/start a center? Well, you could trade a traditional point guard (assuming you were set with PG stats) for Dejounte Murray (9.5 rebounds per 36 minutes last season, and yes, by the way, I’m choosing an alternate universe in which he’s healthy for this hypothetical situation). Considering trading for or picking up players that get atypical stats for their position can make a ton of sense for a lot of reasons. Maybe you lost a big assist guy like John Wall or your dominant rebounder in Clint Capela. Maybe you’ve got another out-of-position stats guy that hurts you because of what he lacks (Dejounte’s assists and three-pointers, for example). Also, when you have out-of-position stats, like say Nikola Mirotic’s 3s, you can afford to have additional atypical players that others in your league might devalue, like Elfrid Payton, a guard that doesn’t hit many threes. Get creative and check out some of the players I’ve listed below.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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I don’t care. I don’t care. I don’t care. I’m not supposed to write about the same player in the lede. I’m supposed to change it up and give others a chance. I’m all about equal opportunity but I ain’t no commie. I don’t care. I don’t care. I don’t care. Because what James Harden is doing right now, I’d be doing a disservice if I didn’t make him the lede every single night. Since December 13th, 2018, Harden has played 18 games. Over that span, he’s AVERAGING 42 points per game. There’s been three 50-burgers and eight games with at least 40. He hasn’t scored less than 32 points. W. T. F…..He’s AVERAGED 38.7 minutes and had a usage rate of 43.4%!!! The true shooting percentage has been 62% while the assist percentage has been 48.5%! W. T. F….W. T. F…..W. T. F!!!! Last night, in an overtime loss, Harden was ridonkulous:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
58 10 6 1 1 4 5/19 16/34 21/23

He scored 57 the prior night! I’ll never forget 2003 Kobe when he went nine straight games scoring at least 40 points. That was sick. This is…..illmatic. Shout out to Nas.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m back after a one-week break due to unavoidable obligations (I know, boring real-life) and a lot happened while I was gone in the fantastic world of the NBA. Giannis and James Harden are literally going head-to-head for the MVP award, the Lakers are in a disarray without Lebron, but the most important news report surfaced yesterday. The Philadelphia 76ers are signing the one, the only, the real fantasy king and Son’s favorite player of this century, Corey Brewer!!

Get up from your chair at work, from your bed, or from your bathroom and run to pick up the player that was projected 91st this summer. Sorry Son, I had to do it. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, acquaint yourselves to our inside joke by searching for the 91st ranked player here and taking a look at the comments…

The only upside to not publishing an article last week is that my suggestions can be judged on a two-week basis, which is a markedly larger sample size, so let’s quickly go through them. Both Tomas Satoransky and Thomas Bryant had great performances and will continue to have solid value without John Wall around. The same cannot be said for Willy Hernangomez, who has so far failed to capitalize on his increased opportunity and is thus a tough hold in standard leagues. But to compensate for this bad suggestion and, if you allow me to toot my own horn, both Derrick White and Austin Rivers have outperformed expectations and possibly have won some matchups with their performance during the last two weeks. Finally, it’s been a rollercoaster ride with Luke Kornet, as he had three awesome games and three bad one. Enes Kanter missed some time but Mitchell Robinson’s potential return could complicate things for Luke. I will have the pleasure to watch him in all his awkwardness live in the London game, so you will have a first-hand report of his performance next week.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

KRS-One was one of the greatest to ever do it. He never won a Grammy, and didn’t win a Tony, yet he smashed rappers and made girls go “Illllll!” He made you bob your head from side to side, and up and down, but ultimately he made you think about what was said, as Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everybody. At the core, though, he brought it to those MC’s that acted like they didn’t know that KRS was willing to go toe for toe and made them hope that their defense mechanism could divert his heat-seeking lyricism. Joel Embiid is the KRS-One of the NBA. He puts victims in a body bag both on the Twitter machine and on the court. Last night…

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
31 13 3 0 1 4 4/6 10/17 7/8

In only 27 minutes, as the 76ers body bagged the Timberpuppies, 149-107. On the season, Embiid is the #10 player, averaging 33.5 minutes, 27 points, 1.2 threeecolas, 13.3 boards, 3.4 dimes, 0.5 steals, and 2 blocks on 48% shooting from the field and 80% from the free throw line on 9.9 attempts. The usage rate is 32.1! Such a boss. As KRS said, “If you don’t know me by now, I doubt you’ll ever know me.” Embiid gonna keep trying, though.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There are some things in life that we can’t refrain from doing. When you text a crush and you see the reply bubble, you writhe with anticipation. When you drive by an accident and talk shit about all the people rubber necking, of course you gawk because traffic has slowed down anyways. When you buy a lottery ticket, you mental masturbate about what you would do if you won. When James Harden plays basketball, no matter how many times I’ve written him as the lede, I have to do it again because he keeps doing ridiculousness.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
57 9 2 2 1 5 6/15 17/33 17/18

In 34 minutes! With a supporting cast of P. J. Tucker, Daniel House Jr., Nene Hilario, and Austin Rivers!! Harden had a usage rate of 57.5 last night!!! His true shooting percentage was 69.6!!!! Exclamation points are no longer sufficient to capture the essence of what he’s doing. You ever seen the movie Boomerang?

That’s where we’re at with Harden. He’s making it difficult for NBA defenses. He’s making it difficult for me not to write him as the lede every night. He’s making it difficult for us to even comprehend what he’s doing. Harden difficult indeed.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s a contentious time in our nation’s capital. Bryce Harper may be departing, the name White House is being taken a little too literally, and questions abound regarding the viability of the Wall. That is why I propose that we, as a fantasy nation, Kneel4Beal 2020. Good things come from kneeling: marriage proposals, getting knighted, […]

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Oh yeah! Big Bad Blake, the Earthquake Griffin is the first player to get highlighted twice by me this year! Clap it up! I really wanted to give the lede to anyone else, but no-one else’s line came close to what Blake did last night. Blake Griffin went 5-44-8-5-3-1-4 on 13-of-23 shooting and 13-of-14 FTs as Detroit topped the Clippers 109-104. Detroit inches closer to that highly coveted 8th seed in the East, and Blake is licking his chops at the prospect of a seven-game series with the Raptors. I had to shoutout Blake for bringing the defensive stats last night for once. It was his first block in the last six games so I wouldn’t get used to this level of elite blocks production.

A lot went down last night so let’s dive on in to the daily notes!

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Once a decade or so, a rookie comes into the league and, not only is it extremely obvious that they are special, they immediately hit the floor running. Not since LeBron has a rookie demonstrated All-Star level production, keeping up with and often times dominating seasoned pros in the best basketball league in the world. Luka Doncic provides matchup issues for opposing teams and is such a dynamic offensive force for the Mavs, making every teammate better. While making serious waves in the NBA, in fantasy he still has plenty of areas he can improve. Currently, he’s been hovering around the top 80 in standard category leagues. The main culprits of keeping his fantasy value anchored are his percentages and turnovers. He also has room to grow in the steals department. For now, he’s an exciting, yet flawed player to roster on your fantasy squad, but he’s already one of the most fun players in real life and fantasy.

Luka Doncic

FG FT 3PT Points Reb Assists Steals Blocks TO
10/23 7/10 2/9 29 8 12 2 0 1

Luka was 2 boards short of messing around and was just a savage in this one. He scored at all 3 levels and was the obvious leader of the Mavs. When the percentages start to creep up, look out, because the sky’s the limit for Doncic.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We are all attracted to different things. Some like the boobs, while others prefer the butt. Some like the wit, while others like to laugh. Whatever you’re into, what you consider fine and what blows your mind is totally subjective. Nikola Jokic had his detractors when he came into the league. He was too pudgy. Not athletic enough. Doesn’t play D. He didn’t look like a ball player. That was one perspective. But he shoots and passes. Man, can he pass.

He did that during last night’s game against the Clippers, but that’s not all he did.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
18 14 10 0 2 1 0/5 8/19 2/3

Ho hum. Just Nikola messing around in back-to-back games and fifth time this season. I count another nine games in which he just missed as well. Such a Jokic! Anyways, he’s the #12 player on the season, but over the past eight games, he’s been #6. Jokic has averaged 33.8 minutes, 24.9 points, 1.3 threeecolas, 11.8 boards, 8.6 dimes, 1.4 steals, and 1.1 blocks. 55% shooting from the field and 83% from the line on 3.8 attempts puts the cherry on top. Nikola may not have the body of supreme baller, but the way he plays the game and the skill set he possesses makes me googly-eyed, while the plays he makes blow my mind.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Amazing, yet totally believable headline from earlier this season: “Pelicans’ Anthony Davis drops rare 5×5 statistical game…”

Jaw-dropping headline from last week that I’m still not over: “Nurkic’s NBA-best 5×5…..” <RECORD SCRATCH>

That’s TWO five-by-fives already this season! A 20/20 5×5 from Jusuf Nurkic!?! The NBA is definitely “Where Amazing Happens”.

Quick nostalgia video for my fellow StarCraft and/or Aliens fans regarding the quote I hear in my head each time a 5×5 is mentioned:

I’ll try to keep it relatively short this week, as the concepts won’t be new. I thought it was high time we look at statistical scarcity again, now that we have a significant sample of this season’s stats. We’ve talked about how statistical performances compare across categories based on player rater values and just how good stats have to be to offset those that negatively affect us among other similar ideas. But this time, I’m back to comparing the scarcity of our counting stats, this time through the lens of the 5×5.

Please, blog, may I have some more?