I used to spend hours upon hours upon hours upon hours playing franchise mode in NBA 2K. I was a fantasy draft guy, so I’d draft my team. Then I’d go into the playbook and select all the plays I wanted for my offensive system. The rotations and minutes distribution would be all taken care of. I’d make sure the players were happy with their roles, and ensure contracts were all taken care of. Finally, I’d spend hours upon hours upon hours upon hours tweaking the sliders so that the game would play as realistically as possible. One slider in particular would always cause me much consternation: the injury slider. If I put it too low, then no one would ever get injured and the simulation experience would be tainted. On the other hand, if I put it too high, then I’d want to throw my controller into the wall….repeatedly. Well, whoever is handling the NBA matrix has put the injury slider too high! Just yesterday, Brandon Ingram’s knee tightened up before the game and will now have an MRI on Tuesday. Danuel House suffered back contusions and left the game after 12 minutes. De’Aaron Fox sprained his ankle during practice and will be out at least 3-4 weeks. Finally, Gordon Hayward will be out six weeks after undergoing surgery on his injured hand. Whew! Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what never gets injured and is always there working for you? The Stocktonator. O. G. Anunoby left after 2 minutes due to an eye injury. Landry Shamet only played 12 minutes due to an ankle injury. Now, from a fantasy perspective, if Ingram misses time, then Josh Hart will likely start in his place. Jrue Holiday should be the one to soak up the most usage. If House is unable to play, Ben McLemore would likely replace him in the starting lineup. With Fox out for a while, Cory Joseph will likely start but Bogdan Bogdanovic probably benefits the most. There’s been talk that Fox could be out more than 3-4 weeks, and when he does return, he won’t be as explosive. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson should see a bump in playing time if Anunoby misses time. As for Shamet, Rodney McGruder could see more run or Lou Williams may get a few more minutes. Not sure there’s a direct beneficiary from the situation, but we will monitor to see how Doc decides to play it. Since we can’t rage quit and press reset on the box, we must make do with what we have and offer sacrifices to the injury gods.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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I was supposed to go to a Greta Van Fleet concert with my brother. If you don’t know Greta, definitely check them out. They’re today’s version of Led Zeppelin and are quickly rising to prominence in the rock and roll world. Anyway, I was supposed to see them. Keyword supposed.

The lead singer developed the flu and had to cancel the remainder of the shows on the tour. This came just six months after I was supposed to see a Led Zeppelin tribute concert at the House of Blues in New Orleans before it got canceled due to the band’s Boeing 747 being grounded. And that came just six months after I was supposed to see Avenged Sevenfold, a band that pushes my music fandom to the brink of heavy metal music, when their lead singer developed a rare vocal cord infection and had to cancel.

In sum, my history as a concert-goer is similar to Gordon Hayward’s career as a Celtic. Setback after setback has made it a difficult run in Boston, and the latest was just a freak accident that could keep him sidelined for over a month. It’s especially a shame, too, because he was really starting to gain momentum this season and bring his game back to days of old.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
9 2 1 1 1 1 1-3 4-9 0-0

He’ll end his season, for the time being, as the No. 28 player in fantasy with an impressive line of 18.9 ppg, 7.1 rpg, and 4.1 apg.

Here’s what else we saw in five games of Saturday night action:

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With the release of Joker – a truly chilling and exceptional movie, by the way – the Jokic and Joker puns and references are becoming a bit tired. So let’s take this a different route: who gets a place on the Mount Rushmore of seemingly out-of-shape athletes? Jokic is certainly making a case for a position. He doesn’t look like the most trim guy out there.

So I got to thinking, and in terms of basketball, people like Bryant Reeves, Glen Davis, and Eddy Curry came to mind. Other sports have some really strong contenders, with baseball throwing out some especially heavy competitors. CC Sabathia, David Wells, Pablo Sandoval, and the Babe himself could create a fairly heavyset Mount Rushmore. The NFL is a different case, with guys like Vince Wilfork needing to be as big as they were in order to dominate the opposition.

It’s really an interesting discussion, so comment your picks below. But I digress. The point here is that Jokic was able to outwork the Greek – or rather Cameroonian – God himself, Joel Embiid, in the ultimate matchup of chiseled vs. flabby.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
26 10 6 2 2 1 2-9 10-22 4-5

The three-point efficiency is really the only thing to be mad about here… but the game-winning three that sealed the deal helped make up for that showing for Denver fans.

Here’s what else we saw from around the league on Friday night:

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Brandon Ingram

The long-awaited Brandon Ingram breakout is here in earnest. So far this season, Ingram is averaging 25.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 4.3 assists, while shooting 55.2 percent from the field, 48.6 percent from three, and 74.3 percent from the free-throw line (all career highs). Ingram is not a legitimate 48 percent shooter from three, especially on five attempts a game. The dreaded regression to the mean is coming. Before this season, he had never shot 40 percent, topping out at 39 percent on 1.8 attempts a game in his sophomore season. Even with that in mind, there is reason to believe he’ll shoot better this year. Ingram’s field goal percentage has improved each season he’s been in the league and he entered the NBA with solid form and touch. The Pelicans play at a fast pace. They are currently sixth in the league in pace and increased transition opportunities should lead to more lightly-contested shots. Furthermore, when Zion returns the Pelicans will have yet another ball-handler who commands defensive attention, which could lead to more spot-up opportunities for Ingram.

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We are only seven games into the season and already two of the most promising young players in the league have been suspended. DeAndre Ayton and John Collins both received a 25 game suspension due to violations of the NBA’s Anti-Drug program and, although they will appeal the decision, chances are they will have to sit out the entirety of those 25 games.

I will not voice my personal opinion as we rarely get to know the full story but in both cases it’s a huge blow for their respective teams, but simultaneously, more opportunity for other players to contribute in fantasy and real life.

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The pascal (Pa) is the unit of pressure used to quantify internal pressure, stress, and tensile strength. With all the injuries for the Golden State Warriors, the pascal readings have been off the charts in the Bay Area. The fans are freaking out, shots are being bricked, defensive lapses have become the norm, and the dynasty that was, is now a has been. Or is it? Because Eric Paschall has been making his mark and produced off-the-chart numbers last night.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
34 13 0 1 0 2 4/6 11/19 8/8

In 40 minutes and led the Warriors to a 127-118 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. This, two days after dropping 25 points on the Charlotte Hornets in 35 minutes of action! Paschall is currently a top 65 player, providing points, boards, and a little something something in tres, steals, and blocks. The percentages have been excellent; 60% from the field and 87% from the line. Now, when Draymond Green and D’Angelo Russell return to action, the usage and playing time will likely go down. With that said, the Warriors will likely be tanking, so there could be opportunites. There’s a lot of unknown with the Warriors shituation, so we need to monitor how Steve Kerr decides to handle things. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what knows all? The Stocktonator. Don’t be a zero. Be a hero.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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When I heard that Joel Embiid was suspended two games, I knew that my Sixers would need someone to step up if they wanted to win a tough contest against Portland. Al Horford was too obvious. The rest of the starters would fulfill their roles as usual. No… the Sixers needed to unveil a secret weapon. Furkan Korkmaz didn’t do much with the Sixers after they drafted him at 27th overall in 2016. In fact, he was such a non-factor that the team decided to declined his option heading into the 2019-2020 season. Korkmaz was going back home to play for Fenerbahce in the Turkish league.

That didn’t last long.

And, at least for one game, the Sixers are glad to have him around. Seriously, on a team with Tobias Harris, Al Horford, Ben Simmons, Josh Richardson and a few trusty bench weapons, who else but Furkan Korkmaz gets tasked with making the game-winning three pointer with 0.4 seconds left on the clock. Basketball is magical sometimes. And for anyone who drafted Korkmaz for their daily fantasy roster after some telepathic sensation advised them to take the 22-year old guard, kudos to you.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
11 3 2 0 2 0 3-6 4-9 0-0

With stats like these, it may seem like Korkmaz has some fantasy value, but he doesn’t… don’t be fooled by this strong showing. Let’s instead give one more nod of recognition to Korky, and then dive into some relevant fantasy performers from Saturday night’s action.

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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:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
28 11 2 0 2 0 4/4 10/14 4/5

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.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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The only thing that could have made NBA Jam better was if each player had their own custom announcing package. The generic lines were fantastic and made up a good portion of the top lines in sports video game history, but personalized reactions to certain player performances would have just been epic. Like if Ben Simmons hit a three-pointer in today’s NBA Jam equivalent, announcer Tim Kitzrow having an absolute meltdown would have just taken the game to another level.

Bam Adebayo’s custom line is just built into the script. It’s too easy. There would have been a LOT of “BAM SHAKALAKA” last night after his performance.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
19 13 8 0 1 3 0-1 5-9 9-12

His everyday starter role has benefitted him tremendously through two games and he’s showing why he’s deserving of that spot. Losing Whiteside, which has benefits in its own right, is also made a little easier when Bam is producing like this. Here are some other notable performers from Saturday night action.

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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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?