The Mavericks finished just above the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference last season. The future, however, is so bright that they need sunshades, as the roster now boasts two of the top young stars in the Association. ESPN has Luka Doncic listed as a SF and Kristaps Porzingis as a PF, but talk to any real basketball savant and they will tell you they both defy positional description. KP is built like a telephone pole but shoots like a shooting guard, while Doncic is built like a tight end but passes like a willow the wisp PG. Mark Cuban can’t wait to see how their skill sets merge on the court, and we can’t either. There is not enough talent around them to make the playoffs, but their development as a duo will be must-see TV.

Having given up this year’s first-rounder to move up to draft Luka, and having traded 2nd rounder Lithuanian Deividas Sirvydis to the Pistons, the Mavs have no drafted rookies in camp. But youth still abounds in developing players Justin Jackson, acquired in the Harrison Barnes trade, Delon Wright, acquired from Memphis in a sign-and-trade deal, and last year’s 2nd round rookie, Jalen Brunson.

It will definitely be a wait and see season for the Mavs. Wait and see how healthy KP is. Wait and see how all the pieces mesh. Wait and see if Rick Carlisle can meld these pieces into a reasonable team.

Will the Mavs better last year’s 33-49 record in a decidedly stronger Western conference? We will have to wait and see.

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The NBA trade deadline is upon us! There are already some deals that have been finalized and more are sure to be done by tomorrow, so this week’s article will be structured in a different format than usual. Instead of looking at Buy/Sell players individually, we will review each trade for fantasy winners and losers, in chronological order. But first, as per usual, let’s take a quick look at last week’s suggestions.

Patrick Beverley has been a steady contributor for the short-handed Clippers and only stands to benefit without Tobias Harris (more on this trade later). Another trade influenced Trey Burke’s value but unfortunately, he takes a huge hit in Dallas and is an easy cut candidate. Shabazz Napier and Jerryd Bayless had good performances this past week and will continue to produce until their respective teams get healthier. Finally, I still maintain that D’Angelo Russell is a prime sell candidate and his shooting this past week only reinforced this belief.

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Look ahead—Trade Deadline Edition

Now we are just past the halfway mark of the season and into the annual fun that masquerades as the trade deadline.

Teams are either hoping to find the one additional piece to move them into championship contention, ensure that playoff slot which has eluded the home fans for several seasons, or offload some contracts to save a few bucks and better the future.

The interesting thing is figuring out who the sellers and buyers are. More intriguing for us fantasy hoop heads is how it affects/changes/improves/negates the numbers of current players and what kind of new opportunities can now be found for players in new situations.

We will take a look at the Eastern Conference first – identify some trade targets and discuss what that might mean.  Then we will do the same with the West.

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The Division of the Up and Comers
The Atlantic Division consists of up-and-coming teams, with the Toronto Raptors at the top of the league in wins, yet they are still learning how to incorporate Kawhi Leonard into their mix.  The Sixers are also integrating a new player in Jimmy Butler.  Boston struggled with offensive effectiveness early on, but they have started to figure things out, including an overtime thriller on Christmas against the 76ers.   The Nets have done well, winning nine of their last 10 games, a streak of success not seen in Brooklyn in many a day.  The Knicks, though, are going in the opposite direction, as they have lost nine of their last 10, but are still considered in the up and coming conversation because they have a stable of young players gaining valuable experience while their Latvian superstar, Kristaps Porzingis, mends.

Many feel the NBA season really doesn’t start until Christmas, as teams have now played about a third of the season with the strengths and weaknesses of each being exposed.  In addition, players are available as trade targets and teams that look to be lottery participants will begin to look toward the future and acquire draft assets. 

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What’s up Razzballers? With the season coming to a close in the next few days, this will obviously be my last Any Given Saturday of the season. It’s been a pleasure writing for y’all! Anyway enough of that, let’s get to the juicy stat lines. Anthony Davis put up another huge rainbow, going for 34/12/4/2/4 on 13-for-24 FG (0-for-1 3P, 8-for-10 FT) and only two TOs as he led the Pelicans over the Warriors on the road in Golden State. He’s been an absolute monster all year, and especially so in the second half of the season. Best of all, he’s managed to stay relatively healthy. I don’t think anybody is even close to him in terms of fantasy MVP. Long live the Brow. Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

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When I was younger, I used to love watching The Jeffersons. Always made me laugh. It wasn’t until later in life that I fully appreciated what the show was about, though. Race and the American Dream. It was possible for people of color to achieve success and move up the proverbial ladder. In the case of George Jefferson, he was able to accomplish it through the opening of a chain of dry cleaning stores. But there are a myriad of ways to accomplish the feat. Which brings me to Al Jefferson of the Indiana Pacers. The 33-year-old has played 14 seasons in the NBA. A once 20/10 player had been relegated to bench mob, averaging less than 15 minutes a game over the past two seasons. Last night, though, he got his opportunity due to injuries for both Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 20 12 2 1 1 0 0 9/15 2/3

What year is it? Anyways, it was a season-high for points, rebounds, and minutes played. With Sabonis out until next week and Turner possibly out as well, Jefferson is movin on up that depth chart.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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We all know what B.C. is. Before Christ. So, A.D. means After Dagagsfgbaerta[rhfasivgpvhfamrgfviargiusefav. How the F did we end up with A.D., Anno Domini, which means “in the year of the Lord?” Seriously? A.B.C., After Birth of Christ, didn’t work? Easy as 1-2-3. Instead, the powers that be decided to go full Latin on everyone. And not any Latin, but Medieval Latin no less. I guess in that context it kind of makes sense. Anyways, there are people that believe in Jesus Christ and there are people that do not. This post is not about that. What it is, though…..and I need to tread mighty carefully here…..is a post about A.D., Anthony Davis. In the year of the Lord? That’s right. A.D. is our fantasy Lord and the Savior to one lucky owner in your league. Did he sacrifice more virgins than you? Abstain from jerking off for a year? Whatever the case may be, A.D. is currently the #1 player in fantasy. Yeah, I know, lot of games left and he will likely get hurt, but you know what? For all the crap we give him about missing time due to injury, take a look at where his final ranking was at the end of each year: 45th (rookie season), 5th, 2nd, 17th, and 2nd. For those that are not aware, last night A.D. did this:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 53 18 3 1 5 1 0/1 16/29 21/26

As StatMuse tweeted out last night, the number of 50-point, 15-rebound games in the last 17 years has been six. AD has three of them. He also fouled out three Suns. For us mere mortals, all we can do is this. For those of you that have been blessed with good fortune, I’d expect plenty of this the rest of the year.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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“ Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” (Aaron Levenstein)

 

There are two weeks left in the regular season for fantasy. With the injury to Jimmy Butler, joining the club of DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall, Kristaps Porzingis, and Kawhi Leonard, this year seems like an elimination game. On the other hand, Anthony Davis has been video game-esque. Over the last five games, he’s averaging 42.3 pts, 14.8 rebs, 3.8 stls, and 3.0 blks.

Here is how the action went down in Week 18 & 19 across our 12 RCL Leagues:

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