In all walks of life, we yearn for predictability. How long will the commute take? Is it going to rain tomorrow? Will the Big One occur tomorrow (I live in Cali)? What if we could predict the stats for every player on a nightly basis? That would be a good thing, right? Ever do a fantasy draft in NBA 2K or Madden against the computer? How about a fantasy basketball mock draft against the AI? What if your significant other did the exact same routine under the sheets every single time? Life would get boring and mundane. Imagine a world with no surprises. Imagine a world with no highs and lows. Just a living flat line. Fantasy sports would become an efficient market with everyone valuing players the same. I bring all this up because Victor Oladipo‘s career has been anything but predictable. Selected by the Orlando Magic with the second overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, greatness was expected. And why not? At 6’ 4″ 210 pounds with a 42″ vertical jump, Oladipo had the physcial tools. Judging from his production at Indiana University, he also had the skills. But then life happened. After three seasons in Orlando, the team traded him to Oklahoma City. After one season in OKC, he was shipped off to Indiana for Paul George. Maybe he wasn’t ready. Maybe he didn’t gel with his teammates. There are so many factors to consider, but one thing is certain: He’s found a home with the Pacers. Oladipo is scoring almost eight more points than last year on four more shot attempts, the shooting percentage has increased substantially (from both the suburbs and downtown), the rebounds are up, assists are up, steals are up, and blocks are up. I guess I could’ve just said every statistical category has improved, but I like the dramatic effect of spelling everything out. He’s the 14th overall player right now!!! Anyways, yesterday against the Nuggets, Oladipo played 45 minutes in an OT game and went:
It’s been a rough stretch for Lakers fans. The team is 8-15 to start this season and had win totals of 26, 17, 21, and 27 from 2013-2016. Prior to that, though, there was a Golden Age of epic proportions. Since moving to Los Angeles in 1960, the team had missed the playoffs only four times and had fewer than 40 wins in a season just six times (one being a strike-shortened season).
When I saw Will Barton‘s line from last night (37/2/3/3/0/3), I immediately knew that he would be the lede for this post. It didn’t take me long to get to Will I Am, then to the song T.H.E, then….I watched the video on YouTube and listened to the lyrics, then thought to myself, “This is terrible.
Dinner was done, the kids were in bed, the dog was walked, and I was just about to kick back and finally watch the next episode of Stranger Things Season 2, when my phone buzzed. It was an email from Son letting me know that he had not left the bathroom since happy hour ended at his local sushi joint and he needed me to write today’s fantasy recap. So of course being the dedicated Razzball soldier I am, I let him know that I would add to my assist total and take the rock. It was only after agreeing to write the recap that I realized this was one of the busiest nights of basketball all season, so Son, I want to see a doctor’s note.
I know I have some big shoes to fill, but I will do my best to entertain the masses with a recap of yesterday’s action.
The five boroughs of New York City are Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island. But the title says 6 boroughs!!! That was typed by the hundreds of people streaming a live feed to watch me type this post on Twitch. Yes, it’s gotten to that point. Once poker was able to show the cards of the players on television, the game took off to a different level because viewers were able to get into the minds of the players. Same gist. People are now able to see the thoughts and processes that writers go through to arrange the letters of the alphabet into words and sentences so that we can hallucinate lucidly while looking at the screen. Not only that, they get to experience the emotional highs and lows. Ha! Wouldn’t that be some shit? Anyways, the Sixth Borough is located at 4 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York NY 10001. That’s Madison Square Garden for you non-New York folk. But that’s in the borough of Manhattan. Not anymore. Madison Square Garden is now a city-state like Vatican City in Rome. The Pope is considered the closest living person to God and is the head of state of Vatican City. Who is the pope or mayor of this new borough and what is it called? They call him/it Kristaps Porzingis. Is it a coincidence that he is often referred to as PorzinGOD? I think not. Porzingis went absolutely bonkers last night against the Denver Nuggets: 38 points, seven rebounds, two dimes, and three blocks. 14-for-26 from the field, 4-for-7 from downtown, and 6-for-6 from the charity stripe. He’s scored 30 or more points in five of six games to start the season. He’s crossing over defenders like Kevin Durant, draining baseline fadeaways like Kobe Bryant, and splashing 26 feet three pointers like Steph Curry. He does it all and has an insane 34% usage rate this season. He is the King of New York and will reign over all six boroughs in due time. If you didn’t know, the title to this post was an homage to the Beastie Boys – To The 5 Boroughs album.
After opening the season with a two-game appetizer, the NBA provided us with an 11-course meal on Wednesday. No low-carb dieting here, as fantasy manna was raining down from the heavens. All you can eat, baby! There were some impressive performances, as Hassan Whiteside went 26 and 22, DeMarcus Cousins went 28 and 10 with seven blocks, while teammate Anthony Davis went 33 and 18. On a side note, the Pelicans still managed to lose by 12. Trade alert already? Of all the performances, there was one that rose above the rest. Giannis Antetokoumpo went 37 and 13 with three dimes and three pilfers. The number one fantasy pick in many leagues, G showed why and looks poised to carry teams to the Promised Land. As Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, crossed the Red Sea, and climbed Mount Sinai to raise two tablets above his head, so shall G lead fantasy owners across the barren landscape and up the mountain so that they may lift the trophy and bring glory to those that had faith in him. So it was written by Missy Elliot 0:58….to Get Ur Freak On.
It’s nice to live minute-to-minute. Riding the wave of life, experiencing the gamut of emotions, and acquiring a rolodex of memories with nary a stress in the world. A life lived like this is unfulfilling, though. To truly get the most out of life, one must try to achieve. And in order to achieve, one must have a plan. Look at the current NBA. So many smart people running teams, yet they navigate the landscape like a stoned teenager walking through a grocery store. Look! Twinkies! Mmmmm, I’m so hungry. These will taste so good. Oh! Chips.
Former general manager of the 76ers, Sam Hinkie, had a plan. If you haven’t read his Manifesto, I highly recommend that you do. There’s so much goodness there, but I wanted to focus on this excerpt:
“It is critical to be cycle aware in a talent-driven league. In a situation like yours at the Sixers, where a variety of circumstances left you near a trough in the cycle (and falling), amplifying this cycle became crucial. Today’s outcomes for every team are heavily impacted by decisions past (who to draft, sign, trade, hire, etc.). Jeff Bezos says that if Amazon has a good quarter it’s because of work they did 3, 4, 5 years ago-not because they did a good job that quarter. Today’s league-leading Golden State Warriors acquired Draymond Green, Andrew Bogut, and Klay Thompson almost 4 years ago, nearly 4 years ago exactly, and almost 5 years ago. In this league, the long view picks at the lock of mediocrity.”
For anyone who is in their early 30s (or older), this song would be familiar. Sadly, I’m giving away my age. Slim is totally not gonna be drafting me if I was a professional NBA player.
In any case, it’s the 1st week of the playoffs and where it’s either you make it to the next round, or it’s sayonara until next season. Going into the weekend, it could be do or die… as is the case for most of my teams in Razzball leagues where I hobbled into the playoff spot without Kevin Durant. So if you’re finding yourself in the similar situation of trying to get through via the band aid solution, these ideas below might help.
Fantasy owners feel the same way! All my non-Parsons teams are doing WAY better than where I wasted a damned pick on this schmohawk in the middle rounds! Ugh, this has been one of my worst calls in my Razzball tenure, as Parsons’ knees have made him a shell of his former, dynamic self when he was finishing up 15-16 with Dallas. It’s always a gamble to draft a guy off a major surgery – one could almost say it’s like trying to win the lottery! And as of yet, I haven’t won millions of dollars in the Mega Millions, so I shouldn’t have gone for it here! I still think there could be a nice finish post-ASB once he has that full off-week to ice up those knees, but after 8/2/2 and that labradoodle shot Friday, followed by a DNP-rest Saturday, I feel like I need to be flogged in the Razzball city square. At least he’s played 21+ minutes the past two games…? Is that all I can really find positive in this?! He’s involved in fun social media drama, can we make that a stat cat?! D’Angelo Russell, first rounder! Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy hoops action:
A number of injuries to key players (at least fantasy wise) are starting to crop up again. Hassan Whiteside is questionable for Friday vs CHI. Deron Williams is the same for tonight’s game (2nd half of a b2b game) vs OKC. Anthony Davis is showing how his body is truly made of glass and it seems like if he’s not a DNP, he’s missing quarters due to injuries. It appears like he re-aggravated that thigh bruise and he could be shut for a game or 2 to give it time to completely heal. Al Horford, although listed as probable for tomorrow’s game vs ORL, seems to have some groin issues.
If any of these guys miss a game or two to end the week, it could open up some playing time for back ups and/or opposing players to produce above their averages.