Heading into the offseason, it was clear that the Magic were in desperate need of a playmaker. As a result, many draft analysts, myself included, were anticipating that the Magic were going to select Trae Young with the 6th overall pick in the draft. The unexpected happened instead, as the Mavericks traded up to select Luka Doncic while the Hawks selected Trae Young at number five, leaving the Magic with the decision to take the best player available on their board or select based on need, which would have been one of the point guards in Collin Sexton or Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. The Magic chose the former, but in doing so left a big hole at the point guard position and added to a crowded front-court that already consisted of arguably their three most talented players in Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon, and potential breakout star Jonathan Isaac, the 5th overall pick in 2017. Common sense suggests that it is likely that the Magic will explore the trade market throughout the season, potentially dangling Vucevic to address the need at point guard. Without strengthening the back court and given the inexperienced level of the team, another season missing the playoffs in the desecrated East division seems likely.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I have no problem going to the movie theaters alone. I can eat at a restaurant by myself. I don’t mind playing NBA 2K against the computer. I can exist as a lone wolf if I chose to. Ah wooooooooo! But I choose not to. There are many things that are only possible with a +1. I have two kids. Even if I wasn’t married ( I am), the process would technically require a +1. Going to an event after checking the +1 box, requires a +1. Once you check that box, you’re an a**shole if you don’t find/beg/pay someone to fill the role. Singing love songs on my guitar while strolling the beach to wait for the sunset. Requires a +1. By the way, I do not play the guitar. There are just some things that bring perfection. Off the top of my head, it was sitting with my wife on the beach as the sun rose in Santa Barbara. For Tobias Harris, all he needed was a +1 for perfection in last night’s game against the Pacers.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 30 6 1 1 0 1 7/8 10/11 3/4

He played 29 minutes, so +1 would’ve given him a perfect minutes-to-points ratio. +1 in the blocks department would’ve given him a 1/1/1/1 (assists, steals, blocks, and turnovers) line. And, of course, +1 in the 3PT, FG, and FT categories would’ve given him perfect shooting percentages. Not bad, Tobias. Not bad. After a torrid start to the season, Tobias had cooled off. The last two games, though, he’s scored 24 and 30 points. He may be heating up again. Regardless, he is still a top 50 player for fantasy. He provides threes, rebounds, low turnovers, and good shooting percentages.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Alright, so actual Fat Tuesday doesn’t shake down in New Orleans for another couple weeks, but with a robust eight games on the NBA docket, it was a fitting – and catchy – title, so I decided to stick with it. (“Robust Tuesday” just doesn’t roll off the tongue the same way, ya know?) We typically only get a handful of games on a given Tuesday, but the schedule makers decided to give League Pass subscribers a real workout this week. Games started at 7pm and didn’t wrap up until well after midnight on the East Coast. In the middle of it all was an overtime thriller at the Mecca.

The Knickerbockers of New York, absent Carmelo Anthony, were able to withstand a pair of fat (Tuesday) lines from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook for much of the night. Despite a combined 74 points from the Thunder’s dynamic duo (KD poured in 44, Russ 30), the Madison Square Garden audience was treated to some bonus basketball, though the Knicks ultimately came up just short in the 53rd minute. New York shared the scoring burden as they had five different players contribute between 15 and 21 points: Kristaps Porzingis (15), Lance Thomas (16), Aaron Afflalo (17), Derrick Williams (19), Langston Galloway (21).

Durant supplemented his scoring barrage with 14 boards, five dimes, a steal, and four 3-pointers. A healthy Durantula is the second most valuable asset in fantasy basketball. It’s just that simple. I don’t care what format you’re playing or how many categories you’re counting, if I’m not getting Steph Curry in return, I’m not parting with KD right now.

Kevin’s running mate, Russell Westbrook, had himself quite the ballgame as well: 13-of-24 from the field, eight rebounds, 10 helpers and three steals complemented his 30-point outing quite nicely. Picky owners can find fault in his five turnovers or failure to connect from long range, but overall Westbrook is an absolute stat stuffer and you probably only need one hand to count the number of players more valuable than him moving forward.

Meanwhile, outside of the Big Apple…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In a season beginning with high hopes for Nerlens Noel, things have been a bit of a disappointment for the third-year player, surrounded by a dearth of playmaking and shooting while struggling to play alongside Jahil Okafor. Frankly, Noel’s season could only be made worse by injury, or the brash decision to shave off his iconic high-top fade (please, whatever you do, keep the hair.)

But for one night last night, coming off 3 single-digit scoring outings in his last 4 games, Noel looked like the best player on the 76ers once again, finishing with 18 points and 13 rebounds to accompany 1 assist, 2 steals, and 3 blocks.

Playing a season-high 47 minutes, Noel’s extended look can hopefully provide stability to an otherwise shaky season. His effectiveness and usage have both been limited, but performance like yesterday’s show his immense potential and ability to impact games.

While Philly’s long-term success depends on Noel’s continued development, our immediate fantasy success depends on his ability to turn yesterday’s flashes into consistent showings.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

How do you decide who is most deserving of the lead between these two stellar performances?:

  • Player A – 25 points, 18 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 block, 10-15 FGs
  • Player B – 22 points, 14 rebounds, 10 blocks, 10-14 FGs

I’m going to give the nod to the player who posted his gaudy stats in a winning effort and that would be Player A, also known as Detroit center, Andre Drummond. The Pistons asked a lot from their franchise big man, and he responded with 39 minutes of terrific play that helped lead his team to a win over the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers. Drummond was a +17 in a five point win, and even made the Cavs pay when they intentionally fouled him in the fourth quarter. After starting 1-4 from the line, AD made four of his last five to help seal the deal. It was a great overall performance and at this point the only thing fantasy owners need to fear is this heavy workload catching up to him later in the season. But at only 22 years old, there’s no reason why Drummond can’t make 2015-2016 his career campaign.

Player B is Miami Heat center, Hassan Whiteside. In just his 77th career game, Whiteside treated fantasy owners to his second points/boards/blocks triple-double. Unfortunately it was in a losing effort to the visiting Timberwolves, and was accompanied by four turnovers and a 2-9 mark from the charity stripe. Despite the sub-par free throw shooting (which was a bugaboo coming into the season), Hassan is providing first round returns and very likely earning himself a max contract when he hits free agency in the summer of 2016. Similar to Andre Drummond, there are no legitimate threats to Whiteside’s value other than injury, so it’s a “sit back and enjoy the ride” opportunity for his owners.

Honorable mention goes to Brooklyn’s pivot, Brook Lopez, who wasn’t too shabby himself on Tuesday night, dropping a 24/10/1/1/3 line in a two point win over the visiting Hawks. BroLo only turned the ball over once in 35 minutes and made 11-21 from the floor against a reasonably stout Atlanta front line. He may not be posting the monster lines like Whiteside and Drummond, but he’s chugging along as a third round per-game value in 9-cat leagues which is likely providing his owners with a solid return on their draft day investment.

Let’s take a look at what else shook down on a highly entertaining seven-game Tuesday evening…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Slam Dunk Contest winners scare me.

There’s pretty much no in between with these dudes. Other than, say, Nate Robinson, they’re either future all-stars or total duds. For every Michael Jordan there’s a Harold Miner. For every Kobe Bryant there’s a Fred Jones. For every Dominque Wilkins, there’s a Brent Barry.

And then there’s Gerald Green, who is definitely not an NBA jobber, but is not quite an all-star yet. Not really sure if he ever will be, and what scares me most is that while he was a pretty awesome dunker, he’ll always be known as a gimmick dunker for his Birthday Cake Dunk. And being a gimmick dunker is kind of like being a gimmick wrestler on the order of Koko B. Ware or the Gobbledy Gooker.

In a way, it would be interesting if Green never was an all-star, because he wouldn’t be the first 6-7-ish wing sixth man for the Suns who can run the floor, shoot from distance, was on the same team as Jeff Hornacek and never made the All-Star Team.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We’re only but a few games into the 2014-2015 NBA season and we’ve already had a lot injuries to promising young players. Here’s the Week 1 injury update:

After getting an inadvertent elbow to the face in practice, Victor Oladipo is out for the first month of the season with a facial fracture. No injury is a blessing, but the time off will give Oladipo ample time to rest his MCL. He had previously missed games in the preseason due to the sprained MCL in his right knee.

Elfrid Payton will continue to start at point guard, with or without Oladipo in the lineup. There will be some growing pains, but he’s a star in the making. To replace Oladipo at shooting guard, the Magic will rely on Ben Gordon and Evan Fournier. Ben Gordon is coming off of a horrible season, where he averaged 5.2 ppg in 14.7 mpg. His minutes, scoring, and field goal percentages have all declined in the last three years. Now he could have a game or two where he explodes for some threes, like he did against the Wizards on Thursday (22 points on 7-12 shooting), but I wouldn’t count on it and waste a roster spot waiting for those games. He scored only 5 points on 1-8 shooting in the first game. Gone are the days where he is worthy of a fantasy spot.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I can’t for the life of me remember why we went to Walmart on a Sunday.  It was probably for something pretty important but me and JB can get sidetracked pretty easily.  Anyway, I don’t want to be there any longer than necessary so when we go I insist we shop by the method we have fondly been calling The Heely Derby.  It’s just like the 80’s style Roller Derby, daisy dukes and all, only with Heelys instead of roller skates so we are slightly less conspicuous.  I remember it was early in the race, we were gaining speed still, weaving around the blockers when out of nowhere I was caught with a forearm shiver that sent me flying.  When I was able to finally free myself from the shirt rack and locate my adversary I was astounded by what I saw.  She couldn’t have been more than 8 years old, decked out in Hello Kitty paraphernalia and still locked in her Kung Fu like pose.  Even in my shock I could tell something was wrong.  Her kitty doll which no doubt was her most prized possession had been knocked to the ground.  Still locked in her pose she slowly turned her head toward me and calmly demanded, “Say you’re sorry”.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Howdy. I’m back, y’all, From two weeks of vacay in Mexico. And I’m feeling very zen. Nothing like 8 days of rain to help you find your centre. I stopped trying to watch NBA ball in Spanish on day 3, (Se chupu bollas!) so I’m a little out of touch with current events. But since that does you no service, good reader, I’ll give you what I managed to scrounge up:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We are, brothers and sisters, into our 4th week of fantasy, and things are starting to shake out, no?  Stevie Blake continues to produce, and all is right in the world of baskets and balls. Or is it?

I had written a smelly little article last week, another Buy/Sell, and one of you kind readers, Giant Gigantes, asked why my article read like a add/drop, and not buy/sell, as I didn’t recommend any players that are playing over their head, ones that the reader should look to move. At first I blew it off, not thinking anything of it. I mean, how would I, or anyone else know this early in the season who is over valued, and who is under performing? The nerve of this cat, right?

But I couldn’t leave it alone, because I’m petty, and can’t take criticism of any form due to my tenuous opinion of myself. In this case, there was something to what he was saying. Giant was right to expect me to make some wild assertions, if for no other reason than to spark some discussion amongst you guys. I needed to go deeper, do some serious introspection about what motivates me, who I am, and who I want to be as a hack sports advice guy. But only after a healthy dose of porn. Don’t judge my methods, that’s how I reach my spirit guide.

Please, blog, may I have some more?