Portland took a step back last year, falling from 3rd in the Western Conference to 9th despite the best efforts of Damian Lillard, who recorded his best season since turning pro. On the face of it, the most glaring difference was the absence of the Bosnian, Jusuf Nurkic, who sat the entire season with a leg injury. Losing Nurkic and later Zach Collins seriously crippled the Blazers, as they were forced to trot out a starting frontcourt of Hassan Whiteside and Carmelo Anthony for much of the season, though Whiteside owners weren’t complaining. The much-maligned big man absolutely demolished his ADP, ranking within the top-20 on the season. Say what you will about Whiteside, but given the minutes, he’s always produced.
The Memphis Grizzlies are young and on the upswing. Last year they surprised all when they missed the 8th seed by just one win. With a complete 15 man roster and an intact, custom-built young core, the Memphis Grizzlies are Grit-N-Grind 2.0 and rearing to go.
The Big 3 of Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Brandon Clarke bring above-the-rim intensity and classic Memphis two-way play back to the culture of the young Grizzlies. These young cubs are hungry, motivated, and complement each other. Rugged, yet up-tempo, I project this team to improve from the 34 wins last year to 40-42 this season.
Expect increased roles for Dillon Brooks, De’Anthony Melton, and the new incoming draftees. With all the young Memphis core under contract, and no significant contributer allowed to walk, and, this team will have continuity going forward.
History is written by the victors. Alexander III was a king of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon in 336 BC. Due to his undefeated record in battle and conquest of Persia, the III was replaced with The Great. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what’s always great? The Stocktonator. Now, over 2000 years later, Alexander the Great has been etched into the history books and permeated our minds. Last night, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander delivered a performance that imprinted him into the NBA archives.
That was the 90th time since 1946 that a player has scored 20 points with at least 20 boards and 10 dimes. The last player to perform the feat was Russell Westbrook last season, when he went 20/20/21! Since 2000, it’s happened only six times before Shai’s performance. Now, for fantasy, Shai got off to a blazing start this season then cooled off. Over the past 16 games, though, he’s been a top 20 player for fantasy, averaging 36 minutes, 21.9 points, 0.9 tres, 6.6 boards, 2.7 dimes, and 1.4 steals. The field goal percentage has been a whopping 52% while the free throw shooting has been 85%. He’s garnered a usage rate of 23.9, yet Shai has only turned the ball over 1.6 times per game! Will this continue? Probably not. He’s not going to continue shooting 52% from the field. He shot 47% over the course of his rookie season, so that’s a reasonable expectation. The Logo, Jerry West, loved Shai and was instrumental in the Clippers drafting him. They had to trade him in order to get Paul George, so it’s understandable why they made the move, but West is one of the best talent evaluators in the league. If he’s high on someone, then so am I.
No, not Michael. That would be weird and unbelieveable at the same time. Did he travel in time? Or did he sell his shares in the Hornets, pass through waivers, and get signed by an NBA team? He is 56 years old, so it would be quite the feat if he was able to ball in today’s NBA, and go on a scoring binge no less. Vince Carter is 42 years old and still playing, so anything is possible. Plus, if there was one guy who could pull off the feat, Michael Jordan would have to be at the top of the list. That would be one helluva 30 for 30. But alas, Michael is not the Jordan that I’m talking about. That would be Jordan Clarkson of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who went 30 in 30 last night:
In 30 minutes! Jordan gets buckets. How could he not? In five of six NBA seasons, Jordan has scored at least 30 points in one game. Unfortunately, he’s inconsistent and has never averaged more than 17 points per game. Plus, his last name is Clarkson. Ok, 17 points ain’t bad, as De’Aaron Fox averaged 17.3 points per game last season, which was good for 44th in the NBA. Clarkson just doesn’t do much else, which crimps his overall fantasy value. On the season, he’s a top 140 player.
The NBA is a heart-stopping, fist-pumping, high-fiving, chemical-imbalance-inducing procreator of basketball nirvana. The squeak of the shoes, talk of the trash, swish of the nets, and thunder of dunks fill our ears with melodic harmony. We gawk at the freakishness of the giants who jump like fleas and midgets who careen around defenders like a cheetah about to catch lunch. We mental masturbate over pick-and-rolls, alley-oops, Euro-steps, and ICE defense. Bascially, the NBA is faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnntastic! Now, what happens when you combine the NBA with MMA? You get elbowing, pushing, eye gouging, headlocks, and submissions…..which is exactly what happened last night in, coincidentally, the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia. Karl-Anthony Towns (meow) and Joel Embiid got tangled up, started shoving each other, then went sumo style to the ground. Benches emptied, players sprinted, and Ben Simmons ended up with the fatality….
I don’t condone violence, but it’s refreshing to see things actually going down; instead of the “hold me back” shenanigans. Anyways, both KAT and Embiid were ejected and will likely get some sort of suspension. Ben Simmons as well. Probably a bunch of other players for leaving the bench. The main thing I took away from the whole fracas, though, was that KAT is truly a different animal this season. Not only has he taken his game to the next level, but he’s showing that he has some…..dog in him.
After an animal or person dies, the joints of the body stiffen. Did you know that death is the number one killer in this country? If you know what movie that’s from, then we are kindred spirits. Anyways, this stiffened state of the body is called rigor mortis, and lasts around three days. Last night, the Chicago Bulls were dealt a fatality by the New York Knicks, 105-98. A big reason why was due to the play of Bobby Portis, who put up a line of:
Portis did this in 30 minutes off the bench and is responsible for the Bulls experiencing Rigor Portis. Good thing the effects last only three days because they play the Cavs in two days (a game they should win while deceased) and then the following game isn’t until Friday. Now, we often hear about the revenge narrative in sports. It’s mainly cockamamie, but if there’s one sport where it could be feasible, it’s basketball. Portis was drafted by the Bulls with the 22nd overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft. After four years with the team, he was traded to the Washington Wizards, then signed with the Knicks over the summer. So…..REVENGE! Ha! I kid, I kid. From a fantasy perspective, Portis can provide points, boards, and tres, but the minutes and production will be inconsistent.
I now understand why this forward position is named power, as it is a microcosm of society at large. There is the 1% vs everyone else. For fantasy basketball, there is Giannis Antetokounmpo vs womp womp womp. While all the other positions have multiple players who could legitimately vie for the top spot, everyone bends the knee to G. This is 1985-1989 Mike Tyson-esque domination. Could a Buster Douglas come out of nowhere? Sure, as black swan events can never be discounted, but outside of injury to G, that scenario is highly unlikely.
We made it! It was a journey filled with joy, elation, anxiety, frustration, and anger, but we got through it. I’ve grown facial hair, even though I’m Asian, and put on a few pounds through the process, but it was all worth it. I hope the odyssey was as exhilirating for you as it was for me. This may be….
….but the fun is just about to begin. I hope you join us all season long for the vast amount of content we plan on pumping out. Don’t worry, we are not two pump chumps!
I’m such a degen that I signed up for the first NFBKC Draft Champions league as soon as it came out back in late July. What can I say? I’m a pookie for the drafts. Anyways, it’s a 12- team, 8-cat league with a $150 buy-in and implements KDS and TRR. KDS stands for Kentucky Derby Style, which allows owners to rank their draft order preference. TRR is Third Round Reversal, so during the draft, the first two rounds proceed as a normal snake draft, but in the third round, the 12th team picks first. The starting lineup consists of 4 guards, 4 forwards, 2 centers, and 2 flex spots. There are no trades or waiver pickups, so what you draft is what you roll with for the entire season.
For this piece, I’ll provide the draft board and give you my thoughts on why I chose the player I did in each round. During the draft, I utilized a spreadsheet that tracked everyone’s picks and showed I how fared in each category based on my projections, which I will post in the middle. Finally, I recommend that you look at teams 2, 3, 5, 7, and 12, as all have won at least 3 contests in the past at the NFBKC.
Terry Stott’s Dame Dolla-led team flourished in the second half going 29-12, finishing with the 3rd seed in the Western Conference. They dispatched the Thunder and the second-seeded Nuggets before succumbing to the Warriors in the Western Conference finals. This was accomplished with their best big man, Jusuf Nurkic, cheerleading from the bench due to a broken leg.
This year’s edition has an entirely new look and will be hard pressed to repeat that success. Both starting forwards, Mo Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu are no longer on the roster, ditto for sharpshooter Seth Curry and playoff star Meyers Leonard. But don’t count out the squad from lumberjack territory too quickly, as Coach Stotts seems to successfully find ways to mesh enough spare parts around his high-scoring, backcourt duo.
In a motorsport race, a pace car is utilized to….if you guessed set the pace, then winner winner chicken dinner! There are many reasons the pace car exists: to keep the competitors bunched up so that advantages of time and space are negated, to conserve fuel, and for safety concerns during bad weather or accidents on the track. In essence, they are the boring cars on the track because they don’t get to race and compete for victory. That’s not to say the pace cars are hoopties, though. They are often performance cars that would dust any commercial vehicle on the market. For example, the pace car for the Indianapolis 500 was a Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, which boasted 755 horsepower, could go from 0-60 in 2.85 seconds, and had a top speed of 212 mph! Bojan Bogdanovic is a pace car in the NBA. He’s boring and delivers steady production, but there’s muscle under the hood. Last night, Bojan was able to put the pedal to the metal and paced Indiana to victory.
The 37 points and 22 shot attempts were both season-highs. His career-high was 44 points back in 2015. I told you. There’s muscle under the hood. Now, since Victor Oladipo succumbed to injury back on January 26th, Bogdanovic has played 15 games and averaged 32.2 minutes, 20.6 points, 3.7 boards, 2.1 dimes, and 0.7 steals. He’s shot 51% from the field on 15.3 attempts, 38% from downtown on 5.5 attempts, and 81% from the line on 3.5 attempts. He’s consistently been a top 100 player, has scored in double figures 18 straight games, and is garnering a usage rate close to 30. Bogdanovic won’t win many weeks for you, but he consistently delivers what you expect from him and has access to ceiling games.
This week we take a look at the Northwest Division, which boasts some exciting teams to watch, some great individual offensive talents, and one seriously unresolved soap opera situation. This division is filled with teams that keep coming at you; hardworking, team-oriented outfits that don’t stop until the whole tree is on the ground. In other words, what the Timberwolves want to be.
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