There will come a time when you  look back and regret not taking the plunge and picking up a player, who at this point in time, is averaging just 10 minutes a game. That time spent on the court has amassed stats of four points and three rebounds on under three shots per outing. The thing is, if we dig a little deeper, over the last seven days, a span of merely three games, this same player is averaging 13 minutes per contest, with 7.5 points, 3.3 boards, 1 steal, and 1.3 blocks on 78% shooting. Come again…. 78% shooting? Yes sirs and small group of ladies.

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Off the court, Russell Westbrook is a goofy, fun-loving guy. He jokes around and dons himself with whimsical articles of clothing. Get him to the arena, though, and he transforms into a raging, psychopathic maniac. He dunks like Thor whomping his hammer downwards. The millions of people affected by Colonialism and Imperialism have a voice when he Euro-steps. Barreling down the court on a fast break, there is no game of chicken. Only mincemeat. So, it’s no surprise that he messed around last night.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 34 13 14 1 1 7 2/9 12/25 8/9

I agree that the triple-dub is an overrated stat, but it is what it is. After last night’s performance, Russ now has 86 for his career. 1 more gets him to 87. 187. Damn, the Universe is too good. Anyways, Russ got off to a slow start this season, as he kind of did the Kobe. You know? Where he chills out the first couple of quarters and tries to let his teammates do their thing. With the Thunder 11-12 on the season, Russ has hit the switch to make the ass drop and will be freakin brothers everyway like MJ. Every day will be a good day the rest of the way. At least for fantasy owners.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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For the first few weeks of the season, I try not to focus on the standings. I look, of course, but I do so knowing that there have been outlier games, whose impacts are more pronounced due to the small sample size. Also, most teams have a player or two that’s missed the majority of the games and they might also have been starting a replacement player that’s not going to keep it up much longer. However, we’re now about a quarter of the way through the NBA season. The data is relatively predictable. You should know which categories you need to focus on in order to gain points and which ones to ignore, either because you’re stuck at the bottom or entrenched at the top of a category (or if you always win or lose the category by a ton in head-to-head).

Today, we’ll look at the ESPN Player Rater. Tony RP’s Player Rater updates will give you a picture of who’s most valuable by position. I thought I’d go by category to see who’s doing what for us. Here are the top 20 players by category plus the bottom 20 for relevant ones, skipping players that have hardly played. So, it’s just the per-game stat leaders you may be familiar with, except that the percentage categories are weighted by volume. Turnovers are from BasketballMonster, since ESPN doesn’t include them.

So, how is this useful? Obviously, you want players that score well overall on the Player Rater. But, if you’re like me, you’ll be surprised to see some of your players pop up on these lists. Also, keeping in mind which categories you need help in, this can help you find some trade targets. Or, if you’re out of it in points or FG%, maybe ship off a guy that’s in the top 20 that’s not doing much else for you. If you’re in the middle of the pack in FT% and you see that you have one of the worst offenders there, maybe you can ditch him and gain points (just keep in mind what you might be losing in other categories from him). A lot can be gained by learning what’s actually happening compared to what we assume is happening based on previous years or projections.

Next week, I’ll get back into multi-category rankings for those that are ignoring categories, whether intentionally or as a matter of the hand you’ve been dealt. Think punt FG% & TOs, or for FT% punters: 3PTM+AST+ST+PTS+TO rankings, which are what you want to complement your FT% anchors with. That’s when you can really find trade value, since all players now have a new value to your specific team.

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“One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team.” (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar)

 

In 2029, the planet GJ 273b will receive a message that could change the lives of the inhabitants there. That is, if life does in fact exist. This month METI (Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence) and the organizers of Sónar (a music festival), announced they had sent a series of missives towards Luyten’s star, which GJ 273b orbits. The message consists of mathematical operations and, of course, music. The team plans to send messages to thousands of other stars. Maybe we can find the planet of Giannis Antetokounmpo. This season, he is averaging 29.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 1.8 blocks. Since 1973, only three players have done something similar.

Players with 29+ points, 10+ rebounds, 1+ steal, 1+ block in an entire season

 Player  Season  Points  Rebounds  Steals  Blocks
 Bob McAdoo  1973-74  30.6  15.1  1.2  3.3
 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar  1974-75  30.0  14.0  1.0  3.3
 Bob McAdoo  1974-75  34.5  14.1  1.1  2.1
 Bob McAdoo  1975-76  31.1  12.4  1.2  2.1
 David Robinson  1993-94  29.8  10.7  1.7  3.3
Giannis Antetokounmpo*  2017-18 29.5 10.5 1.5 1.8

(courtesy: Basketball-Reference)

Luc Mbah a Moute had a +57 in plus/minus against the Nuggets on Wednesday, which marked the highest mark in the past 20 seasons.

Last Friday, LeBron James (the key player in our team of the week), notched his 57th career triple-double. James finished with 27 points, 16 rebounds, 13 assists, and three blocks. Only Larry Bird did so (two times), and without the blocks, only four players in the last 25 years have had 27-16-13.

Player Season Points Rebounds Assists
Draymond Green 2015-16 29 17 14
James Harden 2015-16 33 17 14
Russell Westbrook 2016-17 27 17 14
James Harden 2016-17 53 16 17
LeBron James 2017-18 27 16 13

(courtesy: Basketball-Reference)

It is no coincidence that the Team of the Week had LeBron James on the roster. James was the number one player in fantasy with 26.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 8.7 assists, 3.3 3pts, one steal, and 1.3 blocks during that span. Add Trevor Ariza with 5.5 3pts, Klay Thompson with 4.0 3pts, Aaron Gordon doing well across the board, and DeAndre Jordan with his line and 75% from the free throw line and the result is a Tomahawk.

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Part of fantasy basketball is forming a team using the predictable stats in a way that maximizes your roto points or head-to-head category wins. Another part is getting the less predictable stats right more often than your competition, whether that means you’re benefiting from an increase in value or avoiding a decrease.

It’s early, but I thought I’d take a look at what the biggest differences are in this season’s stats versus last season’s by using the ESPN Player Rater averages (per-game).

Aaron Gordon. This season’s highest leaper.

First, a quick detour while I’m talking player rater. Here’s something it teaches us that we should keep in mind. Many people think of rankings as linear. Like, the best player is the same amount better than the 5th player as the 5th player is better than the 9th player. Not so, and we see the difference especially among the top few players when we look at their overall rating. Like with most data sets, there are outliers. That’s these fantasy stars. The top five players with their per-game ratings in each of the past two seasons:

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Marc Gasol has come a long way from being the King Kong of the basketball court in high school and Pau’s little bro. He is now a superstar in the NBA, but an underappreciated one. Hmmm, does that mean I cannot call him a superstar? Does that inherently knock him down a rung to just “star?” What’s the protocol here? Merriam-Webster defines superstar as: a star who is considered extremely talented, has great public appeal, and can usually command a high salary. Extremely talented? Check. Great public appeal? X. Commands a high salary? Does $113 million work? You know what? F Merriam-Webster. Gasol is a freaking superstar and he’s making his fourth All-Star appearance this year! Last night against the Mavericks, Gasol scored 25 points, grabbed 13 boards, and dished out three dimes. So far in five games, he’s averaging 25 points, 10.3 rebounds, three assist, 1.8 blocks, 0.8 steals, and 2.3 threes a game while shooting 83% from the charity strip, 48% from the field, and 47% from downtown. Yes, small sample size alert. Damn, that happens way too often in this household. Anyways, we like seeing aggressive Gasol. He’s hoisting up 16 shots per game, which is in-line with the 15.7 he put up last year. The thing that really stands out is the rebounding. 13, 11, 5, 14, and 11 to start the season. He’s never averaged 10 per game and has languished in the 6-7 range for the past five years. We know he’s going to shoot a high percentage from the field, downtown, and charity stripe. We know he’s going to dish out dimes, pilfer, and block. But, if he gets that rebounding number anywhere close to 10 a game…..

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What’s up Razzball Nation? A new era has dawned in the Razzball fantasy basketball era. JB has decided that having a family is more important than writing about fantasy basketball. What a sellout… Just kidding, obviously. Shout out to JB, been reading him for years, will definitely be missed. Also, got to shout out Son for giving me this opportunity to share my fantasy hoops knowledge with you guys. Definitely drop a comment if you have a question, suggestion, etc. Without further ado, the Friday NBA Daily Notes!

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UPDATED: 10/9/2017

Man, you guys don’t even know. There’s been a mob outside my house every night for the past two weeks carrying tiki torches and screaming, “We want the Top 200 with stats!” Or at least I think that’s what they were saying. Anyways, big shout out to Rudy who waved his magic wand and created the beautiful looking spreadsheet below. It even sorts. Here is Rudy in his lab:

Image result for it's alive

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Even though I’m a Lakers fan, I’ve always had an odd fascination with the Trail Blazers. Is it the logo? If you look at it long enough it starts to spin, move, and slowly suck you in. Is it the fact that they drafted Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan? You know when you drive by someone that got into an accident? Is that from a state of concern or morbid curiosity? I think those two things had something to do with it, but it’s the 1999 “Jail Blazers” that always fascinated me. The Lakers beat them that year in the Western Conference Finals, but that team was so stacked and truly had a DGAF attitude. Greg Anthony and Stacey Augmon from UNLV. Brian Grant. A young Jermaine O’Neal. Scottie Pippen, granted the expired version but still drinkable. Arvydas Sabonis. Really wished he had come to the states in his prime. He was Jokic before Jokic. Detlef Schrempf and Steve Smith. Deadly shooters. Damon Stoudamire aka Mighty Mouse. Rasheed Wallace was unguardable. The height extension he got on his shot made it unblockable. Bonzi Wells. So strong, both mentally and physically. A straight bull in a china shop. I loved how they never backed down and were tough as shit. They smoked weed. Seriously, what’s wrong with that? When I smoked weed, the basket looked like it was 10 feet wide. Isn’t that a good thing? The worst thing I did on weed was buy too many twinkies. Anyways, I apologize for that trip down memory lane. Both myself and the Trail Blazers have come a long way since those days.

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