Just like how Denial is not just a river in Egypt, so too has Kawhi Leonard risen above the ashes in this new final form of continued limited play. But, it’s quite the improvement from the semi-obituary I wrote several weeks ago, essentially a long-winded sigh followed by some comments about muscle sprains. That’s basically Leonard’s entire Clippers career in a nutshell. But over the last few weeks, Kawhi has slowly started getting more minutes and, while he looks a bit hobbled still (and is there a landing he doesn’t grimace on?), there’s only a handful of players you’d like to have on your last few possessions and I don’t think there’s a better closer out there when healthy. It’s just that, you know, he’s never that… But the dude has taken on and beaten peak LeBron and Steph and has a career 70%+ win percentage, not many modern names on that list. And so of course when given the chance, he’ll do the same thing to the Hornets, nailing an elegant step-back two-pointer with 1.4 seconds and securing the 119-117 win. Kawhi is definitely back, but at rate and for how long? No one can really know, but I do know that the Association is a better place when he’s on the floor and that’s all that matters… Here’s what else I saw during last night’s games:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Lakers lost eight of their first 10 games. Anthony Davis did not play in one of those contests and he put up fewer than 50 DraftKings points in seven. Since then, Davis went over 50 DK points in every game with three over 70 and a high of 84.8. The Lakers won seven games during that span. On Sunday, Davis said “Hold my beer” to no one in particular. Maybe to the world that is filled with despicable keyboard warrior haters that populate mom’s basements across the world. And he did this:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Buy Low. Sell High. 

It’s a simple concept, projected every week of every season in fantasy sports. And for good reason. It’s the foundational strategy to get the most out of in-season trades and improve your roster. The only problem is that it’s all based on general consensus of which players are performing below ADP and should improve, and who’s overplaying their hand and is due for regression. There’s always variable opinions on what the best moves are in the buy low / sell market. But, for the most part, there’s agreement of what players fit in that box on any given week.

So – if for nothing else other than a matter of practice – let’s think outside the box for a moment, using as an example the biggest sell high candidate of the moment. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If you have been reading my rumblings throughout the years you will have figured by now that I love niche statistics from the NBA world. And much to my delight yesterday, I found this tweet and that led me to a long rabbit hole to research stats from the Knicks season. The tweet mentions that the Knicks are currently 5-5 with a 0.0 points differential, 16th in offense, 16th in defense and are also 1-1 in overtime games. What I also found out with some digging is that they are also 4-4 vs the East and 1-1 vs the West! And to complete the perfectly balanced picture they are also 3-3 in October and 2-2 in November! Thanos from the Marvel universe must have front row season tickets for the Knicks this year…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Welp.  Went up against the first place team and predictable things happened. JokerSmoker outclassed the Infector 6-2, but I did manage a glorious tie in the blocks category!  I was within ten points in every category.  My strategy of well-rounded guys to start, then fill in the gaps has failed.

What do do when your plan fails?  Trade!  Scottie Barnes, Jayson Tatum, and Anthony Edwards should be able to fetch good big guys.  I’m in good shape with rebounds and blocks.  I’m finna make some bad offers on paper but try to magnify my strengths and maybe get some Ws.  I’m also guessing none of the writers read this site trying to defeat an Infector.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The NBA on Friday Night rolled back the clock two nights too early (the end of daylight savings is Sunday 2 a.m.), harkening the days where big men ruled the professional basketball roost. There were myriad starting backcourts taking the night off with injuries and “injuries” (the league loves it when teams rest their stars on Friday night!), leading to a slew of point-forward play and 7-footers trying out for the 3-point contest.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I try to keep most introductions in this little internet corner throughout the years as humorous or as closely related to basketball as possible. I also try to have a title with a word pun or something to keep the mood light and funny. The world is already at a pretty unpleasant state and fantasy is a good way to escape from the problems of everyday life, even for a little. Both for me when I research or write this article and hopefully for you when you read it.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Indiana Pacers enter the 2022-23 season as everyone’s favorite punching bag. The organization, in recent vintage, has been unwilling to execute an all-out tank like the 76ers in the Hinkie era or the current Sam Presti-led iteration of the Oklahoma City Thunder. This year is shaping up to be a notable exception to that history. The Pacers will begin the season without any reliable small forwards on the roster and a dearth of quality wing defenders. Buddy Hield will likely start at that spot in what will be a three-guard starting lineup of Tyrese Haliburton, Bennedict Mathurin, Buddy Hield, Jalen Smith, and Myles Turner. The chatter in league circles (as reported by just about every reputable NBA media member) is that Turner will be traded sooner rather than later. Of course, it should be noted, that we’ve heard that story before and, at least for now, Turner remains on the roster

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Long-suffering Kings fans are back on the hopium, and since 2006 was the last time we witnessed playoff basketball in Sacramento, who can blame them? But after February’s blockbuster trade, an outstanding Summer League performance from their first round pick, and a pair of free agent guard acquisitions, there is a sense that the optimism is warranted.  On paper, the Kings have a more focused roster built around the playmaking abilities of De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis.  They get a fresh start to a season after shedding players who didn’t want to be there – Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley III.  They have arguably more depth with Richaun Holmes shifting to the bench, Malik Monk playing significant minutes off the pine, and Davion Mitchell continuing to develop.  They have a new head coach in Mike Brown who will seek pull them out of the bottom half of the defensive rankings.  This time may be different…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The path should be crystal clear now for your squad. If not, then it may be time to order those seppuku knives on Amazon. Don’t forget the sharpener. I kid, I kid. Drafts are fluid so pivoting and changing lanes are always within the range of outcomes, especially when there are snipers and ADP jumpers to your left, to your left, to your left. Then you have all those heathens to your right. This is why we must always adhere to the wise and venerable Bruce Lee:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’ll be honest, my original plan was to have this piece written and published at the end of last season, back when the failed chase for the top spot in the RazzJam was still fresh in my mind. But the NBA season is long and the Playoffs are so good, so when I fell just short of a championship, it seemed just fine to me to put this on the shelf for a bit. So, I sat on this with it being 95% completed and rested instead. Then Middleton went down and the Bucks got beat. The sun came out, the Celtics ran out of gas, and another Golden State summer onto my shores like a warm wave, even though I’ve traded in the Bay Area for Bay View. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?