I enjoy playing poker. Am I good at it? After 30 minutes, I’m still looking for the sucker. Anyways, a common scenario I often see play out is this. Player, which is sometimes me, pushes all the chips into the middle of the table and says, “All you can eat, baby!” Either the chip stack get bigger or said player takes the walk of shame to the ATM. That’s what I thought about the Raptors offseason. They are either making it to the Finals or taking that rebuilding walk of shame. Respect.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Every fantasy basketball season there are players who come out of nowhere and decide fantasy championships. Donovan Mitchell and Tyreke Evans were those guys last year. Both were overlooked for two totally different reasons, as Mitchell was a rookie and Evans had struggled with injuries over his brief career. But both got an opportunity due to injuries on their respective teams and proceeded to go nuts. So let’s take a look at five guys who are available late in drafts and have the talent to be fantasy basketball difference makers:

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There are two points of a fantasy basketball season where seasons can be won and lost: the first is at the draft and the second is when there are about twenty games left in the season. The draft is obvious. That is when you set the foundation of your team. The second point is a little more subtle.

For those owners in head-to-head leagues, this second point is important because you are setting your team up (hopefully) for the playoffs. You want players who have a lot of games and are on teams who will not be resting them during the critical time. The subtle part is directed more at owners in roto leagues. There are still enough games left to make moves in categories you can climb in or maintain your lead in categories you are ahead in.

The waiver wire is your tool to win the league at this point. Young players are finally putting it together and playing well and injuries are opening up time for bench guys who have played well when given minutes. The Golden State Warriors, and their massive amount of injuries to star players, is a team to focus on in order to find one or two players who can help you with that late season charge.

Quinn Cook is the player I want to focus on in this recap, and if you need threes, points, assists, steals, I will pause for a moment so you can go and pick him up. While we are waiting for those owners to get back can we just talk about how dumb they are for not picking up Cook yet and having him active for this game against the lowly Suns? Wait, wait, quiet, they’re coming back…

Welcome back, we were just waiting quietly for you. I hope you were able to add him. Cook is a 2-way player, no, that is not sexual. It means that he is one of two players each team can send back and forth to the G-League during the season. Cook has dominated G-League play for most of the year and now, because of injuries to Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Kevin Durant, Cook is getting 40 minutes per game and putting up more than decent fantasy point guard stats. Last night Quinn Cook went for: 5/28/4/4/2/0 with only 2 turnovers in 40 minutes. This was on 11-17 shooting, including 5-7 from three. Pick him up.

Here is what else I saw on a busy St. Patrick’s Day:

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Russell Westbrook gets triple-doubles so often that I think most fans take for granted the greatness that we are witnessing. Like NBA history making greatness. Last night, Russ picked up the 100th triple-double of his career, as he led the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 16-0 run late in the fourth quarter to seal the victory over the lowly Atlanta Hawks in a game they were supposed to win.

Westy scored 32 points, dropped 12 dimes, and pulled down 12 rebounds to become the third-fastest player to reach the 100 trip-dub mark. Only Oscar Robertson (277 games) and Magic Johnson (656 games) got to number 100 quicker than Russ, who accomplished the feat in just his 736th game. These stats tell me two things: 1) Russell Westbrook is really awesome and we are lucky to be able to witness his greatness and 2) The Big O was friggin’ unbelievable! 277 games? I mean, what? Nikola Jokic better hurry if he wants to even come close to sniffing that kind of epic-ness.

LeBron James, the so called “King,” has played in over 1,000 NBA games and he is not really even that close to 100 triple-doubles (ok, he’s pretty close, but still). I am saying (typing) all of this in an effort to put Westbrook’s greatness in perspective (because I am sensing that he is not getting the kind of love he deserves, most likely because ya’ll jealous of the man’s killer threads and overall sense of style). But anyway, yeah he’s good. Russell Westbrook also only trails Robertson (181), Johnson (138), and Jason Kidd (107) on the career triple-double list and trails only Kidd on the my head’s shaped like a basketball list.

However, since we are a fantasy basketball website I will stop boring you with general NBA history and give you Russ’ final line from last night: 0/32/12/12/1/1. I know, zero threes, what a bum.

Here is what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“ Winners never quit and quitters never win.” (Vince Lombardi)

We’re now in the final week of the regular season with a lot of teams fighting for the last spot of the playoffs. This is my first season playing against our Razzball readers and friends, and I’m enthusiastic about the great level across all the leagues. The best part of the season is coming, but first an electrifying last week. Good luck guys!

 

Here is how the action went down in Week 20 across our 12 RCL Leagues:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Don’t take Anthony Davis in the top 5. He’ll miss at least 25 games. Avoid Old Man LeBron James, because he rests all the time. Tyreke Evans has only played 65 games in the last two years combined. Not even worth drafting.

A few of the prevailing opinions going into the season that I thought had gotten a bit overblown. The risk of missing games is scary, but it’s not often very predictable. And yes, I’m cherry picking examples, but AD has played 54 of the first 60 games and is #4 on the ESPN Player Rater (#3 per game). LeBron hasn’t sat one game yet, is among the league leaders in minutes per game again, and is #1 (#5 per game). Tyreke  has played 49 of 59 games, sitting five of those when the team was holding him out before the trade deadline. He’s #58 (#44 per game). And sure, that’s partly due to Mike Conley missing almost the whole season. Yes, there are examples of injury fears being once again substantiated, like in the case of Danilo Gallinari. It’s all guesswork. It’s part of the fun, predicting what a season will bring. But, figuring out the puzzle can drive you mad.

Today, I thought we’d have a little fun revisiting some preseason predictions. Maybe we can learn a bit about what types of projections are more trustworthy than others. Maybe not. I also don’t think this would be a great way to figure out who’s great at predicting things like sleepers and breakouts, because this is a small sample size. Continue to look at the methodology behind the predictions to see if it’s backed up by reason. I just figured that we rarely actually go back to see what was right and what was way off. If it teaches us something for next preseason, great.

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I usually reserve the lede for the best statistical performance of the night, as numbers don’t lie. Neither do hips. I learned that from Shakira and my elementary school basketball coach. Anyways, last night James Harden‘s line was:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
25 3 7 2 1 4 3/10 7/14 8/9

For Harden, that’s one half of basketball. No matter, though, because Harden went Cobra Kai on Wes Johnson and put him in a body game. Literally. Figuratively. Twitterively. Spiritually.

Damn…….

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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A holiday, as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is a day marked by a general suspension of work in commemoration of an event. Outside of those that are affected by a business shut down, most love holidays. No work. All play? Probably not, but at least no work. There are 11 federal holidays. As a society, we have created a number far greater than that, though. After all, we do live in a capitalist society. Valentine’s Day. St. Patrick’s Day. Halloween. Cyber Monday. Mother’s Day. Father’s Day. There really is a “holiday” for every occassion. Law Day. Loyalty Day. National Librarian’s Day. Native American’s Day. Ha! That one makes me chuckle. Anyways, all of the above mentioned are listed as holidays, but I don’t remember ever getting a day off for them. Ok, we just making shit up now? Cool. Let’s make everyday a holiday then. This would kind of fit into our advertisement/marketing-dominated society. The concept of work will just be rebranded. Play for pay? Or has that already been trademarked by the NCAA? Anyways, Madonna put it best when she sang this. Yesterday, Jrue Holiday had himself a day.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 36 9 6 1 1 2 2/5 16/31 2/2

34.4 usage rate!!! He’s been en fuego the past four games: 28.2 points, 5.75 boards, 9.5 assists, 0.5 blocks, 2 steals, and 1.25 3s on 21.5 shot attempts per game. See, this everyday Holiday thing may not be such a bad idea after all. But….there’s always a but….Holiday is prone to the occasional 3-of-13 shooting night and sub-20 usage rate game. The inconsistency makes him a mid-20s player, rather than a fringe top 10 one. One thing that must be mentioned is that, since Boogie went down, the Pelicans are playing at the fastest pace in the league (105.70). Holiday. Celebrate.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“Champions keep playing until they get it right” (Billie Jean King)

The trade deadline offers weird results, with teams in both fantasy and reality changing rosters. The biggest moves over the past week in the RCLs involved those players that moved in real life; Larry Nance Jr., Jae Crowder, Rodney Hood, George Hill, Emmanuel Mudiay and D.J. Augustin.

I’m happy to announce the creation of a Champions League for next year, which will pit all of this year’s league winners and some Razzball writers against each other. I will keep you all informed as things progress.

 

Here is how the action went down in Week 17 across our 12 RCL Leagues:

Please, blog, may I have some more?