Kobe Bryant is the NBA’s third all-time leading scorer with 33,643 points. He could shoot from downtown, break your ankles and flush it down your throat, and pump fake, pump fake, pivot, spin, then fade away and splash from the mid-range. Bottom line: Kobe was a professional getter of buckets. He’s often viewed as a ball hog, though. Some of it is fair.

Some of it isn’t. Many of his shots came with the shot clock or game clock near zero. The ultimate argument against it, though, is the 2005 Lakers. After Lamar Odom and his 11.6 field goal attempts that season, it was Smush Parker with 9.5, Chris Mihm with 7.8, Brian Cook with 6.3, Devean George with 6, Kwame Brown with 5.4, Luke Walton with 4.8, Sasha Vujacic with 3.8, Laron Profit…..Can I stop now? Kobe against three defenders gave the Lakers a better chance than Smush Parker wide open, right? Anyways, I kind of kid, as Kobe was an all-around player who averaged close to 5 dimes per game over the course of his career. With that said, even I as a Lakers fan can consider him a ball hog. You can’t score if you don’t shoot. Anyways, Kobe didn’t play much his rookie year (15.5 minutes per game) and he only averaged 5.9 shots per game. His second year in the league, the minutes went up to 26 and the field goal attempts were at 11.6. It was the third year when he started to go bonkers, averaging 37.9 minutes and 15.6 shots per game. Coby White of the Chicago Bulls scoffs at those numbers, as he’s only averaging 24.2 minutes but jacking up 12.4 shots per game!

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
27 3 1 1 0 1 7/11 8/14 4/4

Can’t score if you don’t shoot, and Coby did plenty of both last night. Granted, it was against the Knicks so value must be cut in half. With that said, this is the second time scoring at least 25 points in a game. Now, on the season, the field goal percentage is at 36%, so the range of outcomes is 1 point to somewhere in the 20s. The most promising development, though, has been the playing time. White has played 27, 27, 30, 24, and 25 minutes over the past five games. Will it continue? Tough to say because Tomas Satoransky and Kris Dunn are still receiving playing time in the low 20s. This looks to be a “hot hand” situation, which sucks for fantasy. If White starts getting consistent minutes in the 30s or one of the other guards gets injured, then I’d consider him for fantasy. Until then, he’s best viewed as a streamer.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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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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After a season opener in which he was practically a non-factor, Dallas’s offseason acquisition of Delon Wright had a much more encouraging performance on Friday night.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
20 7 3 5 0 0 0-1 8-12 4-4

This all around contribution is what we saw from him in small doses after he broke out last season, and he should be a valuable contributor going forward on a dynamic Mavericks team. Here are some other notes from Friday’s nearly-full slate of games.

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Points guards are the Mother Teresas of the fantasy basketball world, as they like to give. Shooting guards are….the cavemen. See ball, shoot ball, take ball, then shoot ball. Rinse and repeat. These are obviously generalizations, but shooters shoot, and that’s what this post is all about. I kid, kind of. The elite at this position are across-the-board contributers, while the rest are indeed cavemen.

To see my per-game value projections for each player, click HERE. In the “Pos” box (which stands for position, not the other thing you were thinking), type in “sg” and the table will sort by just shooting guards.

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I’ve always enjoyed the Godzilla franchise. When I was young, it was all about the monsters fighting, special effects, and destruction levied upon the landscape. As I got older and delved into the origins, I appreciated the franchise that much more. As with most things in life, though, the journey is cyclical and it’s back to the good old awe-inspiring, destructive force. Which brings me to Giannis Antetokoummpo. All season, I’ve been calling him G, as he’s a straight gangster, and when he balls the F out, it’s been Nuthin’ but a G Thang. There have been moments of O. M. G. But yesterday, everything became crystal clear.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
52 16 7 2 1 1 3/8 15/26 19/21

A 50-burger and this…..

He called Ben Simmons a “f’ing baby” but then Simmons came back and dunked on his head. In addition, Joel Embiid produced a 40-burger and the Sixers defeated the Bucks, 130-125. I felt like I was watching a Godzilla movie in which he had to fight Gigan, Destoroyah, Mothra, and Ghidorah at the same time. Anyways, Gzilla is a freaking beast. Top 5 player over the past seven games. He’s been averaging 30.3 points, 1.1 treys, 13.1 boards, 6.3 dimes, 1 steal, and 1 block while shooting 58% from the field and 82% from the free throw line on a whopping 11.4 attempts! The turnovers are high, but whatever. Now, with Malcolm Brogdon out for a while, Gzilla may be making more appearances down the stretch, as Brogdon had a usage rate in the low-20s. Other teams better hope they have a couple of monsters to negate Gzilla, because he’s coming to wreak havoc.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

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What else is there to say about James Harden? He’s been so consistently amazing that it’s easy to lose sight of just how good he is playing. Fantasy GMs that roster him have held a serious advantage all season. Every way you slice this line, it’s amazing. On one hand, he was one board away from a 40 point triple-double. If you look even closer, he was just 2 blocks away from a 5×5. That’s just ridiculous.

FG FT 3PT Points Reb Assists Steals Blocks TO
12/25 14/17 3/11 41 9 11 6 3 6

Everything about this line is massive. The turnovers are tough, but we all knew that going in. He continues to be the top play and should keep it going through the rest of the fantasy playoffs. Any team facing Harden better come correct.

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Domantas Sabonis missed five games due to an ankle injury. His first game back, he played 20 minutes and shot 1-for-7 from the field and scored 9 points. In the second game, Sabonis only played 18 minutes but shot 4-of-12 from the field and scored 10 points. Since we all live on Planet Earth, we have all experienced a storm. They don’t magically appear out of nowhere. A combination of low and high pressure systems merge, form clouds, and often produce high-speed winds. You can see the clouds approaching or feel the wind picking up. In its most severe form, a storm brings a deluge of rain, crackling thunder, and a light show that would make the greatest of deejays jealous. That’s what occurred in Indiana last night, as Sabonis made it rain and lit up the Thunder:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
26 7 4 0 1 0 0 7/12 12/13

In 28 minutes. When Sabonis is right, he provides points, boards, some dimes, and a smattering of stocks. He also shoots close to 60% from the field and over 70% from the line. The main issue for Sabonis is the minutes, though, as Nate McMillan likes to go with Thaddeus Young at power forward alongside Myles Turner. As a result, he only averages around 24-25 minutes per game. Last night against the Thunder, Sabonis was abusing Jerami Grant, so McMillan stayed big, but outside of obvious matchups or injury, I wouldn’t consider last night to be the norm going forward. Storms don’t happen often, and ones with both lightning and thunder are rare.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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O is the most important letter in the alphabet. Without it, we cannot spell food. It is so amazing that it can transform into a number without changing shape, and without 0, a game can never end. Before you saying anything, ties are stupid. Let’s not forget about the Big O, often elusive but well worth the wait. So, is there any wonder why Kelly Olynyk is today’s lede?

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
22 11 1 2 1 1 5/7 8/14 1/1

Continues to start and played a whopping 45 minutes! Since entering the starting lineup 12 games ago, Kelly O has averaged 26.9 minutes, 13.7 points, 5.2 boards, 2.4 dimes, 0.8 steals, 0.7 blocks, and 1.7 tres. He’s been shooting 52% from the field, 43% from downtown, and 95% on 1.9 attempts from the line. Over the last eight games, though, the minutes have rocketed up to 32.3 minutes and he’s been a top 25 player! Oh, Kelly O! You make me want to bellow and bestow good tidings for providing fantasy inferno. A few weeks ago, I was worried what would happy to Kelly O once James Johnson returned to the mix. I no longer have any worries from that angle. The one concern I do have is will Spoelstra stick with him if the shooting efficiency comes down, because Kelly O is not going to shoot 57% from the field forever. He’s more like a 48% shooter. Until that time, though, enjoy the ride.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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John Wall went from hero to zero back to hero in Washington this season. Nobody will argue that John Wall is the most talented player on the Wizards, but when he went down with a knee injury and the team started playing its best basketball of the season, people started questioning Wall’s value to the team. His selfish play was viewed as holding the team back in the day-and-age of the Hoosier method of at least three passes before a shot. The team’s hot streak wore off, however, and everyone started clamoring for Wall’s return. Now the Wizards are battling for a playoff spot and John Wall stepped up for one of his best games of the season: 4/29/7/13/3/3. I mean, wow, nice game and nice timing. Anyone still playing in fantasy who has John Wall is as excited about the timing of this as the city of Washington D.C.

Anyway, here is what else I saw last night as teams battle for the last playoff spot and just plain old last place:

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