I live in Los Angeles and enjoy skiing and snowboarding. I also like long walks on the beach while strumming tunes on my ukulele. Although there are ski resorts less than two hours drive away, it doesn’t rain often here. Los Angeles averages around 12.8 inches of rain per year. Last year, LA received 4 inches of rain. Only Las Vegas, Phoenix, and San Diego average less. For perspective, New Orleans averages 62.7 inches, while many of the big cities in the U. S. are in the 40-50 range. If it doesn’t rain often, then it doesn’t snow often, which means the slopes are no bueno, even with the artificial snow makers. Now, recently it’s been raining so much that I’ve been Googling ark blueprints. All that rain has been like frozen manna for the local resorts. A picturesque perfection of powder. Which describes the situation for JaVale McGee.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
21 13 1 1 1 1 0 10/15 1/3

McGee has started the last two games because Ivica Zubac was traded to the Clippers. He’s played 26 and 30 minutes, and averaged 19 points, 10.5 boards, 1 block, and 0.5 steals. Per 36, he’s averaging 18.3 points, 11.2 boards, 1 steal, and 3.4 blocks! He’s probably not going to get 36 minutes of run per night, but with only Tyson Chandler, Moritz Wagner, and Mike Muscala the only threats to playing time, McGee should get close to 30 minutes per night. The conditions are pristine at McGee Mountain. Enjoy your stay.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

A few years back, there was this popular book series that was also one of the first click-baitey lists I remember seeing online. It was called “Eat This, Not That!”. Or, as it might as well have been called: “Feel Guilty Every Time You Have A Deep-Fried Onion Appetizer.” They’d present two relatively similar items at a restaurant, one with roughly half the calories and a fraction of the saturated fat. That one was usually smaller, and shockingly, not deep-fried. I remember grumpily learning that some of the absolute worst things you could eat were also some of my favorites, of course. That would be these beauties:

The Triumvirate: The Awesome Blossom, The Bloomin’ Onion, and The Cactus Blossom. No thanks! I won’t be substituting grilled salmon and fresh vegetables! I LIKE having my entire recommended weekly allowance of calories BEFORE my entrée arrives!

So, this week, I thought I’d take from that and from another idea I’ve always liked: Comparing nameless stat-lines. So, let’s do a Roster This, Not That! How’s this going to give us an advantage? What I’m going for here is, unsurprisingly, picking two players with relatively similar stat sets. One will generally be a player that your typical fantasy manager will value close to his draft price, and the other will be an overachiever, and possibly an under-the-radar one at that. Then, if you think that player might not be properly valued in your league, you should try to acquire him, as he could come cheap. If you have the player he’s being compared to, you could even see if you could make the swap and upgrade somewhere else at the same time. Now, if the other manager is up on their current player rankings, you may not get a deal, but, even so, they could be skeptical that the surprising player can keep it up. I’ve admitted before that I’m reluctant to change my perception of a player quickly. I pretty much value players where they were drafted for a little too long, since I’m resistant to believe the small sample size is more predictive than the career body of work. Which is right? That’s part of the fun, of course. So, here are a handful of comparisons I came up with (see if you can guess a few). It’s less about these specific players than the overall concept. Make sure you’re not just sticking with the big names. When it comes to fantasy, you’ve got to think of these players as a set of numbers.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Earlier in the season, I was ROFL and LMAO, as LaMarcus Aldridge was struggling with consistency. He’d pop a 37-point game then produce back-to-back 15-pointers. In the month of December, he scored 6 points twice and blessed us with a 7-point outburst. But then, things started to click. The consistency returned and now he is the lede for this world famous blog. Ok, maybe not famous but we are international, so world is appropriate. Shout out to all the homies in other countries.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
30 9 6 1 2 2 0/2 12/21 6/6

Over the past seven games, LMA has been a top 20 player. On the season, he’s top 25. Who’s laughing now? Surely not I. Sorry Shirley. Wasn’t talking to you. Anyways, DeMar DeRozan missed yesterday’s game, but regardless, LMA has had a usage rate over 30 over the past seven games and attempting 17.4 shots per game. The efficiency is excellent (53% from the field and 85% from the line). While he won’t provide many threeecolas, LMA averages 23.1 points, 9 boards, 3.6 dimes, 0.6 steals, and 1.9 blocks. LMA with the O!

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Oklahoma City Thunder are Russell Westbrook’s team. Or are they? Westbrook was drafted by the Thunder and has known no other team in his 11-year career. He also leads the team in usage with a 31.2 rate. But….it can be argued that Paul George has been the best player for the Thunder this season. George is averaging more points, more threeecolas, shoots more efficiently from both the field and line, and takes care of the ball better. Last night, George put up:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
36 8 4 5 1 3 3/6 10/21 13/15

Westbrook also had a great game, which I will discuss further below, so it’s an interesting debate as to who’s been the better player, but there’s no question that George has been a beast this year. From a fantasy perspective, he’s been a top 10 player, consistently for the entire season. That type of performance must place him in the pantheon of Georges: Boy George, Curious George, and now Paul George.

Beep. Boop. Bop. The Stocktonator had George as the #2 player last night.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

While perusing the standings the other day, I was surprised to see we’re already past the half-way mark of the NBA season. And for those in head-to-head leagues, that means we’re almost 2/3rds of the way through the fantasy regular season! It’s time to take stock of our team(s) and see where injuries, pick-ups, and dropped busts have left us situated. For example, half my starters this week on one team have been free agent pickups. I have some idea of my team’s strengths and weaknesses, but it’s a vastly different group than what I started with. Once we identify our short-comings, it’s as simple as grabbing a couple centers for a pair of guards to make up ground in boards and blocks, right? Maybe. But there are constraints that might make it more complicated than that. You may be losing stats you need by doing that and you may not be able to fit two extra centers into your lineup, anyway.

This week I’d like to bring up a concept many of you are probably familiar with, but often goes forgotten: Out-of-position stats. What if you’re low in rebounds, but you don’t have room to add/start a center? Well, you could trade a traditional point guard (assuming you were set with PG stats) for Dejounte Murray (9.5 rebounds per 36 minutes last season, and yes, by the way, I’m choosing an alternate universe in which he’s healthy for this hypothetical situation). Considering trading for or picking up players that get atypical stats for their position can make a ton of sense for a lot of reasons. Maybe you lost a big assist guy like John Wall or your dominant rebounder in Clint Capela. Maybe you’ve got another out-of-position stats guy that hurts you because of what he lacks (Dejounte’s assists and three-pointers, for example). Also, when you have out-of-position stats, like say Nikola Mirotic’s 3s, you can afford to have additional atypical players that others in your league might devalue, like Elfrid Payton, a guard that doesn’t hit many threes. Get creative and check out some of the players I’ve listed below.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There are some things in life that we can’t refrain from doing. When you text a crush and you see the reply bubble, you writhe with anticipation. When you drive by an accident and talk shit about all the people rubber necking, of course you gawk because traffic has slowed down anyways. When you buy a lottery ticket, you mental masturbate about what you would do if you won. When James Harden plays basketball, no matter how many times I’ve written him as the lede, I have to do it again because he keeps doing ridiculousness.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
57 9 2 2 1 5 6/15 17/33 17/18

In 34 minutes! With a supporting cast of P. J. Tucker, Daniel House Jr., Nene Hilario, and Austin Rivers!! Harden had a usage rate of 57.5 last night!!! His true shooting percentage was 69.6!!!! Exclamation points are no longer sufficient to capture the essence of what he’s doing. You ever seen the movie Boomerang?

That’s where we’re at with Harden. He’s making it difficult for NBA defenses. He’s making it difficult for me not to write him as the lede every night. He’s making it difficult for us to even comprehend what he’s doing. Harden difficult indeed.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Oh yeah! Big Bad Blake, the Earthquake Griffin is the first player to get highlighted twice by me this year! Clap it up! I really wanted to give the lede to anyone else, but no-one else’s line came close to what Blake did last night. Blake Griffin went 5-44-8-5-3-1-4 on 13-of-23 shooting and 13-of-14 FTs as Detroit topped the Clippers 109-104. Detroit inches closer to that highly coveted 8th seed in the East, and Blake is licking his chops at the prospect of a seven-game series with the Raptors. I had to shoutout Blake for bringing the defensive stats last night for once. It was his first block in the last six games so I wouldn’t get used to this level of elite blocks production.

A lot went down last night so let’s dive on in to the daily notes!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Back in 2008, iHeartRadio and SiriusXM changed the landscape of radio. Listeners could customize their listening experience, had access to out-of-market stations, and were given a cornucopia of options (podcasts, news, sports, and channels for specific genres). Options equal versatility which enhances a product. That concept isn’t just for the radio world, though, as it has become the defining characteristic of the modern day, positionless basketball that has taken root. Last night, Josh Hart was a perfect example:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
14 12 6 5 0 2 1/5 5/13 3/3

Hart played a team-high 44 minutes. At 6′ 5″ and 215 pounds, Hart can play the 1, 2, or 3. He’s strong enough to handle himself down on the block, but possesses the agility to guard on the perimeter. He does get burned from time to time, but more often than not plays sound fundamental defense. Hart can shoot from beyond the arc or finish strong at the rim. He’s a willing passer and is able to rack up steals. Now, since LeBron James went down with an injury, Hart has been given an opportunity and has not disappointed. He’s been a top 50 player and has averaged 34.6 minutes, 12.4 points, 1.8 threeecolas, 6.8 boards, 2.1 dimes, 2.1 steals, and 0.6 blocks. The only bugaboo has been the 38% shooting from the field. When LeBron does return, Hart will likely shift back to the bench and lose 7-9 minutes of run per game. With that said, because of his versatility, he will still contribute across the board and provide top 125-ish numbers.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Everyone has their favorite fast-food burger and no one can agree on which one is best. Here on the East Coast, the “Big Three” are McDonalds, Wendy’s, and Burger King. Everyone has their preference. None of them are the best burger you’ll ever have, but when at 1 AM there are limited options. James Borrego had limited options last night with Cody Zeller out and he decided to give Bismack Biyombo the start to try and match up with Nikola Jokic. It didn’t really work out, but he ended up getting 30 minutes and putting up a decent line going 16-12-0-2-2-2 on 7-of-10 shooting and 2-for-3 FTs. Who knows if he’ll continue to get minutes, but Zeller is slated to miss at least four weeks so he could be worth a speculative add. Side note: Borrego is Lamb in Spanish. Jeremy Lamb plays for the Hornets, but was out last night. Illuminati confirmed. Here’s what else went down in the NBA last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There was a lot of crying going on yesterday. And it started at precisely 12:00:01 am, as cries of joy echoed for the start of the new year. At the same time, there were countless cries of disappointment, as guys (too many to be honest) tried to kiss their NYE dates and got denied. There were cries of the sexual passion variety, and cries to the Porcelain God. Cries of pain for trying to get back into shape, and cries of elation from the millions of couch potato football fans. But, the biggest Kawhi came from Toronto, as Kawhi Leonard did this to the Utah Jazz:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
45 6 1 0 0 2 0/3 16/22 13/17

A career-high! Over the past six games, he’s averaged 31.3 points, 1.2 threeecolas, 7.5 boards, 1.8 dimes, 1.2 steals, and been the #15 player in fantasy. He’s had a usage rate of 33.5! I was so wrong about Kawhi in the offseason, as I had my doubts about his health and mental motiviation. Well, I just want to scurry to the corner and sit on the stool with a dunce cap and Kawhi. The only blemish has been the decrease in blocks. Currently, he’s averaging 0.5 per game. The last four seasons, Kawhi has averaged 1, 0.7, 1, and 0.8 blocks per game. I think that number ends higher, but even if it doesn’t, I won’t shed a tear for his owners, as (outside of injury) he will still likely be a top 10 player for fantasy.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?