When you have the initials JC, you’ve already got a lot to live up to. John Collins is definitely on his way. Okay, not going to get into the religious stuff, but 3-30-12-5-0-1-1 on 12-of-20 shooting and 3-for-4 FTs in a win against a good Nuggets team is pretty Godly. I seriously underestimated the jump Collins would take from year one to year two. Especially, with the injury setback. He’s already averaging nearly eight points more than last year. The blocks should come up as well as he averaged 1.1 last season in four fewer minutes. I expect his FG% to come down a bit from 62.2%, especially since he’s attempting 2.5 3-pointers at a 25.9% clip, up from his 0.6 attempts last year. Enjoy him if you drafted him, but I doubt you’ll be able to pry him from his owners’ icy grip in your league.

Here’s what else went down in the NBA on Saturday night:

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For this week’s article, I’m going to break down the rookies into 1st/2nd/3rd teams based on their performances over roughly the first third of the season. This is solely my own opinion, mostly based on statistical performance but also some other intangibles thrown in there. Feel free to drop your own teams in the comments! Let’s go!

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In the 1980s, WrestleMania was the merde. Pardon my French. They were spectacles of extraordinary frenzy. Rabid fans would pack 90,000 strong into stadiums to watch freakishly athletic men do freakishly mind-numbing things. And there in lies the crux of everything: the men. For all the Barnum and Bailey antics that Vince McMahon could project, without those freakishly athletic men doing freakisly mind-numbing things, he’d have to take off three or four zeros from that 90,000 figure. As Coach SamWinters from The Program so eloquently stated, “When’s the last time 80,0000 people showed up to watch a kid do a damn chemistry experiment?” The same concept applies to the NBA. Teams wouldn’t be worth billions of dollars without the freakishly athletic men doing freakishly mind-numbing things. One of the biggest stars in the NBA is Russell Westbrook and last night he went HAM.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
23 19 15 2 0 3 2/5 10/17 1/2

By messing around last night, Westbrook moved into a tie for third place with Jason Kidd for the most triple-dubs all-time. Oscar Robertson had 181, Magic Johnson 138, and Westbrook and Kidd are both at 107. That in of itself is impressive, but he wasn’t far away from a 20/20/20 game, which got me thinking….has anyone ever attained the double-triple-dub? Wilt Chamberlain in 1968 with 22 points, 25 rebounds, and 21 assists. Ha! That is so sick. Anyways, hope you enjoyed RussellMania last night.

Beep. Boop. Bop. The Stocktonator must love wrestling because it had Westbrook as it’s #4 player last night.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Reliable rookies are usually tough to find in any sport, with basketball being no exception. They usually show flashes of fantasy goodness only to disappear for a similar amount of time, ultimately hitting the rookie wall and hoping to ‘come back strong next year’. Roughly 20 games into the season for all teams and I’m just about ready to make that claim on several players this year. Some are just reliable, while others are truly special talents. Dynasty owners who grabbed them will be happy for years.

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Full exposure: I had to look up what a sexton actually is. Apparently it’s something like a groundskeeper for a church, but their duties have traditionally included digging graves. And that’s exactly what Collin Sexton did to the Rockets last night. They rested Chris Paul, in what I’m sure the Cavs viewed as a slap in the face, and used that to fuel their play. Sexton had a night, going 1-29-4-2-0-0-3 on 14-of-21 shooting with nary a free throw and I’m sure it helped that CP3 was not guarding him. The 29 points were a career high, and he’s actually turning in a pretty nice rookie campaign so far. He had a lot of doubters coming into the season, myself included, but with George Hill out, he’s made the most of his opportunities.  He won’t give you much outside of points and good percentages, but for a last guy on your bench you could do much worse.

Here’s what else went down on a slightly light schedule night for a Saturday, (7 Games):

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Collin Sexton is in a no-win situation. Cleveland is terrible (2-12), LeBron left, and he was selected with the big prize draft pick from the Kyrie Irving trade. He needs to be good for Cleveland to have some hope for the future. Luckily, he was this last week, putting up back-to-back solid games and carrying on the momentum from the prior week, when he was inserted into the starting lineup. He averaged 20 PTS, 3 AST, 4 REB, and 2 3PM while playing just over 30 minutes. He also had 4 TO’s in each game but, if he is going to be productive, you can find worse than a rookie point guard on a miserable team. If for some reason he is still sitting on your waiver wire, go add him now!

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I’m going to keep it pretty simple this week. I’d like to check in on category leaders to help figure out who the best specialists might be this season. There’s a lot of value sitting out in the free agent pool just waiting for you to stream it. Adding and rotating through these category specialists applies in roto leagues when you notice individual categories in which you stand to gain a few points. But, this information will probably help the most in head-to-head leagues where you should be swapping out at least a couple players each week (assuming you can) to customize and maximize your stats in a way that nets you the most category wins against your opponent.

“So… you’re just pasting an NBA stat leaders’ page?” Nope. I’m only going to feature players rostered in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues. Italicized players are owned in less than 25%. For shooting percentages, I’m using Basketball Monster’s values that are weighted for volume. Next week, I’ll do sorta the opposite and list the punt specialists (value rankings with each individual category removed), as well as the rankings according to some other helpful stat combinations. I’ll leave out the flukey or injured players to save you some time here, as well.

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Muhammad Ali was one of the greatest athletes of the 20th century. At 6′ 3″, 236 pounds, Ali was a physical giant in his era. The average height/weight of a male in 1960 was 5′ 8″, 166 pounds. In the ring, Ali could physically pummel foes into submission like a rhino, yet he was nimble enough to flutter around the opposition and peck them humming bird style. Wait? Why am I making this difficult? He could float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. It was the lyrical flow that unlocked the Pantheon, though. He would talk trash, spit rhymes, and back it all up in the process. Depending on your persepective, it was entertainment or a fly buzzing around your head. Joel Embiid could be the modern day Ali. At 7′ 0″, 260 pounds, he is a giant in his era. The average height/weight of a male in 2018 is 5′ 9″, 195 pounds. Thanks McDonald’s. On the court, Embiid can bully down low in the post or Euro step left and spin cycle right on the perimeter, leaving defenders in a tizzy. Like Ali, Embiid has the lyrical flow, both on and off the court. Man, imagine Ali on Twitter! Like Ali, Embiid walks the walk, backs up all the talk, and is the living embodiment of The Process. For all the messing around he does, though, last night was the first time he messed around…..

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
19 13 10 0 2 2 4/7 6/20 3/4

….and got a triple-double. Beep. Boop. Bop. I was wondering why I saw the Stocktonator watching old clips of Ali with Ice Cube blaring from the speakers yesterday morning. It liked Embiid a lot.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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LeBron James was born in Akron, Ohio, played high school ball for St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, which is located in Akron, Ohio, and was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers, whose stadium is a 50 minute drive from Akron, Ohio. He is the SON that morphed into the King, but no reign endures forever and every SON eventually leaves the nest (two times now for LBJ). When LeBron left back in 2010, the Cavaliers went from winning 61 games and losing in the Eastern Conference Semis to losing 63 games. He did leave behind a couple of SONs, though: Daniel GibSON, J.J. HickSON, and Antawn JamiSON. Barf. Last year, the Cavaliers wont 50 games and lost in the NBA Finals. With LeBron moving to Hollywood, the Cavaliers were 1-11 entering last night’s game. Vomit. This time, though, LeBron left behind a different group of SONs (Tristan ThompSON, Jordan ClarkSON, and Andrew HarriSON), who produced a performance befitting a king last night for a 113-89 victory over the Charlotte Hornets.

Tristan ThompSON

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
11 21 5 0 0 4 0 5/6 1/2

TT has been en fuego lately, as he’s produced a double-dub in four straight games, has averaged 32 minutes over that span, has hoisted up 11 shots per game, and has been a top 100 player for fantasy! What world are we living in? If you need blocks and boards, this is one reality show you want to subscribe to. Beep. Boop. Bop. The Stocktonator must love reality tv because it liked Thompson last night.

Jordan ClarkSON

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
24 5 2 0 1 4 1/4 9/15 5/5

Clarkson is a professional hucker and chucker, as he’s jacked up 13.5 shots in 23.8 minutes on the season. Due to all the recent injuries, Clarkson has been receiving over 28 minutes per game (three games) and has been contributing in boards and assists. Seriously, we are living in a world where Tristan Thompson is a top 100 player for fantasy and Jordan Clarkson is contributing in other categories besides points.

Andrew HarriSON

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
2 2 2 0 0 1 0/2 0/3 2/2

Played 13 minutes. That’s when you know things are going good. Andrew is the forgotten SON because he sucks, but he’s family, so we have to show him some love.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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It is obvious to me now that this rookie class is paying close attention to these articles. Jaren Jackson Jr. saw that Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr. headlined this the last two weeks and was inspired to put up back-to-back excellent games against tough opponents in GSW(L) and MEM(W). The rookie passed the 30 minute mark in both games and averaged 17.5 PTS, 6.5 REB, 1.5 STL, and 4 BLK (including five in one game) with 1 3PM on top. He followed that up with a lackluster performance against PHI but that can be forgiven (especially since they got the W).

Please, blog, may I have some more?