The fantasy basketball world is like, “bring out your dead!” “Free up those IL spots!” “Hope you have some scrubs to drop with everyone getting healthy again!”
With a shot of rum and locker room pyrotechnics, Jobu has unleashed his voodoo magic and Jesus Christ can now hit a curveball! Or I guess in this metaphor, hit a jump shot. Well, except if you’re Stephen Curry and you’re behind the 3 point line… Break up the Lakers!
It was a Sunday resurrection around the association, highlighted (well, for me) by Chandler Parsons getting back on the court yesterday afternoon. Way to take the spotlight off my Panthers, NBA scheduling! But good thing I focused on the Panthers, as Parsons was horrific, pulling a Jamal Murray and shooting 0-8 from the field. “Is that goal regulation size, or what?!” At least chipped in 3 boards and got a block, but didn’t finish the game with the starters in a close one, playing ~5 minute sets and only 22 minutes. After that rough anticipation of waiting, seeing such a dud out of the gate makes CP25 an ultimate buy low. I actually left him in my IL in a few RCLs, predicting a rough one outta the gate. Frustrated owners might think the knee is to blame, but he’s been practicing in full since before the season, so I think it’s just a little gametime rust. Just ask Jon Snow, when you get resurrected from the dead, you’re not 100% right out of the gate! Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy basketball action:
As we prepare for the 2016-17 Fantasy Basketball Season, I’ll be taking a look at each NBA team with their major adds and drops to see if we can pan for any surprise rotational gold. This open is especially witty for the Nuggets. We’ll be counting down from worst NBA regular season to the best, mainly because I’m still figuring out how to rank the Warriors…
Phoenix Suns (23-59)
F Jared Dudley
F/C Dragan Bender (Rookie)
FMarquese Chriss (Rookie)
G Tyler Ulis (Rookie)
G Leandro Barbosa
F Markieff Morris
F Mirza Teletovic
F Jon Leuer
G Ronnie Price
G/F Chase Budinger
A Feeling of Complacency
Is it weird that I always really liked the Suns logo?! It just looks cool every time I see it!
What a draft day for the Suns! Absolutely loaded at guard, the Suns manage to snag two upside-y bigs that can stretch the floor, hit treys, and play some D. Of course, they’re 19-year-old projects and have a wide range of outcomes, but as a rebuilding team, they made awesome moves.
Besides the rookie class, the Suns hold off on free agency and only invest in a few Milk Duds. They still have one too many guards, but given the injury issues of Knight & Bledsoe, depth isn’t the worst thing. That said, it wouldn’t be surprising to see one of the two dealt at the deadline through Phoenix’s rebuilding efforts. But going into opening night, here’s how they’re looking:
Like Radiohead’s Kid A album, we need to start off this morning with a reminder that even ThrAGNOFs can get Everything In Its Right Place treatment. Often ridiculed, thrown garbage at, excommunicated like lepers, they pretty much mope around like they’re listening to Radiohead… Even ThrAGNOFs are people too!
Just look at our conversation during the Pod yesterday. Slim hates on Mirza being a ThrAGNOF, I say he’s the only real consistent PF, and Slim has to begrudgingly agree. We say “Threes ain’t got no face” not because they have no existential meaning and are The Plague on Camus’s fantasy team, but because a player that hit 3s/scores/low TO are often overrated by the metrics. Last night, Mirza went 30/11/1/0/0, hitting 12-23 FG with 5 treys against his former Nets. Now, he didn’t have the normal low TO (4), but he grabs more boards than your typical wing ThrAGNOF, and brings it at an out-of-position PF spot. In the 4 games since the deadline, ThrAGNOFovic is 20.5/7.3/1.5 with 3.5 treys a game. He’s owned in all of my RCLs, but he’s still only 39% owned across the Yahoo-verse and still available in several leagues. Of course if you don’t need scoring and 3s, you’re not missing on too much, and his production is easily replaceable if he gets cold. But while hot, you gotta ride your ThrAGNOFs! Here’s what else went down in fantasy hoops action last night:
It was an exceptional weekend of NBA action after the wayyyyyyy too long layoff for the break, highlighted by a huge upset by the Blazers. Is anyone else getting annoyed by that Damian Lillard commercial on the NBA App?! The one where he semi-raps, then says “thanks for the motivation” when asked about his haters? Well, it’s kinda fitting now, with that performance after that All-Star snubbery! Dame went Insame on the Warriors for a career-high 51 points, going 51/0/7/6/0, shooting 18-28 from the field. But the crazier numbers were 9 treys, and not a single TO. 6 steals and no turnovers?! That’s winning hoops right there! He followed it up with a huge night last night as well, going 24/4/4 through 3 quarters before grandpa JB hit his bedtime. Portland bested Golden State with a crushing 137-105 W in that Friday epic win, solidifying the Blazers as a playoff contender. No one thought they would even be close, and as Slim and I talked on the Pod, Stotts deserves a ton of cred and maybe some Coach of the Year consideration. If you told me in October the Blazers would make the playoffs, I woulda said you’re Insame! Here’s what else went down over an exciting return to hoops over the weekend, plus The 7 Ahead for week 17:
Wow, we certainly got polar opposite trade deadlines the past two years!
With shocking move after shocking move around 3:00 PM last year, 2016 was a nice afternoon siesta, putting the “dead” in Trade Deadline. This is why it’s impossible to predict trades! I might use this year’s deadline as a response to “who is most likely to be traded” quandaries. Is there a shrug emoticon?! Because in 2016, every NBA GM was too busy playing Candy Crush to make phone calls to other teams!
Really the biggest trade had very little fantasy impact too… Markieff Morris comes to the Wizards, and just like Archie Goodwin‘s neck, he puts a stranglehold on the PF position. Watch me whip! Watch me Nene! …watch me never play again 🙁 Even though Nene started last night over Jared Dudley (and had a decent game too), I think that’s more about having him be a placeholder to get ready for the new Wiz rotation once Kieff gets there. I just think Wizards fans should be happy Gilbert Arenas isn’t still there, that locker room might get fiestier than in Memphis! We’ll get to that later… Kieff should’ve been owned in all leagues already, and you can happily drop Dudley in almost all leagues. That was my first text to Slim! Pssshhh, Slim arguing to hold Dudley… On the flip side, Phoenix got trash and roster dumpage, with Kris Humphries mayyyyybe playing some backups kims. I mean mins. The big takeaway is Alex Len should be nabbed in all 12ers, and when the news broke, he was owned in only 30% of leagues (and still is at 30% apparently)… He should get a nice boost in consistency, minutes wise. Here’s what else went down over this snoozer of a deadline, plus the Daily Notes from last night:
With any All-Star list, it’s impossible to include everyone who is having a great year. There are only 12 roster spots and there will always be well-deserving candidates that just don’t fit on the roster. It’s what makes the All-Star selection so noteworthy.
With the All-Star Game this weekend, here is my list of valuable fantasy all-stars who just don’t receive as much love:
Kemba Walker – The Hornets are right in the hunt for the 8th playoff seed in the east and that’s due to the play of Walker. Al Jefferson and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (more on him later) have missed most of the season, while Nicolas Batum (11/6/5) has been in and out of the lineup. Walker produces night in and night out with whoever is playing alongside him. Walker scored 25 points with 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals to lead the Hornets to another victory.
Nikola Vucevic – Vucci Mane has been the cornerstone of the Magic and has single-handedly won the game for them with a few recent game-winners. He did much of the same on Wednesday with 20 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 blocks. He’s only 25 so there’s still time for him to make the roster one of these years.
So injury-prone guys certainly get a stigmata. Wait, I mean stigma. Well, if you got a stigmata, it certainly would make you injured!
But I’ve been as guilty as anyone of really depressing Anthony Davis‘ value due to his injury issues yet again this year. Boy needs to put some meat on dem bones! Brow tried to lead the Pels to a win last night, going 39/11/0/1/1 on 16-25 shooting. But you gotta make your free throws! 7-12 at the stripe, and the awful, no good, very bad Pelicans lost to the even worse Lakers. At home! Oh man, I’d be binge-eating some beignets, that’s for sure! Even with a rocky start, Brow is 4th in per-game numbers this year, and I think some of the “shut down” concern should be alleviated. Of course if he gets a nagging injury in late-March it’ll happen, so maybe we should keep him out of the top-10 discussion ROS. Oh no, I’m doing it again! Guilty is me! Brow should still probably be a top-5 option, especially with getting me a point on the 30-point challenge board! I would link it, but I’m lazy and haven’t updated it yet… [update – let’s do this 30-Point Board, comeback is nigh!] And to be honest, I’m just grinding through today to get pumped for the Super Bowl weekend! I’m wearing my NFC champ shirt today, but might wear my “Smart” jersey all weekend for luck. Let’s do this Carolina! And let’s do this, rest of the daily notes!
Wazzup Razzball nation! Nope, I’m not going to lead off the article with the title, so you’re just going to have to keep reading! Before I get to my favorite dude with 3 names, I’d like to address the situation in the desert. Archie Goodwin, Devin Booker, P.J. Tucker, Markieff Morris, and Alex Len all need to be owned. Odds are, many of them aren’t on the wire in your league, but they should all be getting plenty of run down the stretch. The best of those would definitely be Kieff and Booker. Both players will be heavily featured on the rebuilding Suns. I have a feeling that Kieff is going to stick around in Phoenix for a while. He seems to have a solid relationship with Watson, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that was part of the reason why the front office fired Hornacek mid-season. Phoenix has a lot of incentive to make it work with Kieff, and he’s now getting the run to prove himself again. He’s going to be playing with a chip on his shoulder, so look out!
At no point this season did I ever think that Markieff Morris would be getting the lead in an article…unless, maybe, it was because he killed a guy or something (leading victim candidates included a coach, a referee, or a reporter who spoke ill of his twin brother). Well, he got the lead and nobody died…that I’m aware of.
In his first game playing for interim head coach Earl Watson, ‘Kieff showed out to the tune of 30 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, a steal, and a pair of blocks. If that wasn’t worthy of a raised eyebrow or two, Morris also drained a three and shot 13-20 from the field in his 41 minutes. Hot damn.
Whether he’s actually interested in helping the Suns win games or simply trying to improve the value of his stock in an effort to facilitate a move out of the desert, it doesn’t really matter for fantasy purposes. If he’s going to get the run…if he’s going to keep his attitude in check…if he’s going to play with effort and focus…he needs to be on fantasy rosters. Trying to predict what kind of situation he’ll be in this time next month is likely a fool’s errand, but there is big time upside (as we just witnessed) when everything is kosher with Markieff. I wouldn’t give up anything of value or break your free agency bank account because this could be very temporary, but if you have some dead weight to drop, you could do a lot worse than having Morris occupy your last roster spot until the trade deadline.
Let’s take a look at what else shook down on a five-game Tuesday evening in the NBA…
David Blatt could have realized that all he had to do was get out of the way and let LeBron James coach. But I’m pretty sure the clock was running on his tenure in Cleveland the second he was hired.
Jeff Hornacek could have figured out how to turn Archie Goodwin into “Teen Wolf,” or mastered whatever weird magic/religion that fire woman from “Game of Thrones” practices. Not sure either one of those tricks would have turned an injury-ravaged Suns team into a playoff squad.
Somehow, without doing anything close to the above, and racking up a record of 14-35 with a talented but raw roster, Sam Mitchell has managed to keep his job.
And thanks to injuries to Kevin Garnett (wink, wink) and Nikola Pekovic (big shocker), he might actually be forced into doing something right. Mitchell is now playing his best young players, a group that so obviously includes Gorgui Dieng.
After riding the pine all year so Garnett and Tayshaun Prince could log minutes in meaningless games, Dieng finally has the starting slot and minutes (close to 40 per) that he deserves.
He’s responded by averaging 17.6 ppg and 11.3 rpg in those three starts. All Mitchell could do was mutter that he’s “getting a lot better.” No, he’s playing a lot better, because you’re playing him!
Win or lose, the Wolves have to keep running Dieng out there with Karl-Anthony Towns and make it work. Or Sam might go the way of Blatt and Hornacek.
Get Dieng, any way you can, and check out some of these other guys: