Most of the teams in this division are what we thought they were. The Dallas Mavericks are more competitive with their new additions, but still not playoff ready. The Memphis Grizzlies, with a healthier roster, are returning to Grit-and-Grind, playing at a pace nobody wants to play. The New Orleans Pelicans will go as far as AD takes them, while hoping to capitalize on the momentum of sweeping the Trail Blazers in last year’s playoffs, but ultimately realizing the rest of the roster has a second-round ceiling. The Spurs are the Spurs, so even with multiple roster changes, the Kawhi Leonard drama, loss of veteran leadership, injuries, and adjustments, Coach Greg Popovich is still the master puppeteer who will figure out how to win more than he loses. He would probably do that even if you gave him a roster of Lilliputians. Which leaves the exception and the outlier, the Houston Rockets, who have not been what we thought they were. We all thought they would take a step back defensively, but who thought they would forget how to shoot? They seem to be finding their sea legs, and even beat the World Champion Golden State Warriors, but who would have guessed the team with the best record in the league last year would be happy to be 7-7 after 14 games?

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Volcanoes are fascinating objects. They tower into the sky and blot out the horizon. Inside, there is magma that is being pushed up from the Earth’s core that is searching for ways to lather the surface. Now that I think about, they are the Earth’s pimples. Ewww. They are no laughing matter, though, because when they do erupt, the lava flows create a path of destruction and the smoke and plume can erase the sun and prohibit planes from flying. Yet, they can also be vehicles of creation, as many of the Earth’s island masses are formed as a result of the lava flows from volcanoes. Like I said, fascinating. Which brings me to Hassan Whiteside, one of the NBA’s most fascinating players. He’s 7′ 0″, 265 pounds, so he does blot out the horizon on the court for many and pummels the rim with a ferocity unmatched by many. Yet, he’s quick and nimble on his feet to hunt down rebounds and chase blocks. Inside, though, is a swirling mass of unknown, as he can disappear on the offensive end at times. But volcanoes eventually erupt, and that’s exactly what happened with Mt. Whiteside last night:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
29 20 2 0 9 1 0/1 10/18 9/11

For the season, Whiteside is the 38th player according to Basketball Monster. You’re getting elite rebound and block numbers with above average field goal percentage.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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If you think there was a changing of the guard in Cleveland, then you forgot about the Spurs’ offseason. This is a team whose slogan should be “out with the old, in with the new.” Losing one of the best players in the NBA is hard, but gaining youth while maintaining veteran leadership is impressive. What makes the Popovich era so great in San Antonio is his ability to rebuild while contending and, while last year was a down year, I think things pick up quite nicely for the Spurs in 2018-19. Now for the fantasy spin on this years Spurs squad.

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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:

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I often think about what it would be like if Denver never traded Jusuf Nurkic to the Trailblazers and they had a starting frontcourt of Nurkic and Jokic. Not that they would be a better team, but just that I am a big fan of rhyming teammates. My dream concludes with Denver trading for Bojan Bogdanovic, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Cole Aldrich. That team would be itchier than a dog with fleas rolling around in a bed of poison ivy.

Anyway, jumping back to reality, Nurkic makes the lead because of his line last night: 0/27/16/3/0/3. He has been relatively disappointing this season, but lately a double-double and a block or two has been an almost certainty. Not too shabby.

Here is what else I saw last night:

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In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be Dwight: and there was Dwight. Dwight Howard was vintage D12 against the Suns (I know, it’s the Suns) and tore them up for 30/12/1/1/4 on 10-for-15 FG (10-for-15 FT) with only one TO. He was fantastic across the board, and the FTs weren’t even that bad, all things considered. Dwight’s still one of the more valuable centers in the league, especially if you’re punting FTs, and it doesn’t look like he’ll be slowing down as the Hornets are still hanging on in the playoff race. As long as he doesn’t get hurt, he should be good to go every time. Anyway, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

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What’s up Razzballers? In one of the more surprising finishes of the night, the Nuggets went into Cleveland strong and snatched a convincing win from under the Cavaliers. The King was slain in his own castle, mostly at the hands of Gary Harris. Harris was a beast tonight, much like he has been all week, and went off for 32/2/4/1 on 10-for-17 FG (6-for-10 3P, 6-for-6 FT) and no TOs. He’s been somewhat overlooked all season but is poised for an extremely strong finish as one of, if not the main guy on offence for a team jockeying for playoff position. Anyway, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

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If you’re a loyal reader, you know my weekly calendar consists of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Rondae. Unfortunately, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has been out six games due to injury and wasn’t the model of consistency when he did play. Of all the things in this world that you want consistency from, the calendar has to be top 3, right? The other two would have to be the effort played on defense by the squad you root for and the lack of lag when streaming something online. The All-Star game is scheduled for Sunday, February 18th. What if the calendar shows it to be on Monday one day then Friday the next? With the proliferation of digital calendars, I forsee this to be a huge problem in the future.  Address me as futurist Son from now on. Anyways, the way Andre Drummond has been playing recently, everday should be called Dre Day. Last night, he went:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 17 27 2 3 2 1 0 5/17 7/10

He’s had eight straight double-dubs, with two of those being 20/20 and one 30/20. Outside of downtowners and free throws, Dre has literally stuffed the stat sheet, as there has not been one bagel in any category. Borderline top 5 player over the past eight games. Everyday is Dre Day.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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The Player Rater is a tool to evaluate the performance of a player with only one number. This is not a perfect tool and will not guarantee victory in fantasy, but this is useful to help improve and evaluate your team.

In each category of scoring, a number is calculated to represent the average total in that category. If a player has the average, his rating in that category is 0.00. The numbers represent how much a player is above or below the average.

If the rating is positive, that player is an above-average fantasy player in that category. If the rating is negative that player is below-average. The sum of all ratings in each category gives us a number (the PR), and then we rank the players accordingly.

I have not included turnovers, as the evaluation in PR is very controversial in my opinion, so if you’re in a league with turnovers, you must keep in mind this.

If you have any question let me know.

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Bullshitting is bad. Or is it? There are four reasons why people lie. 1) To hide or protect something. Good if you were harboring a Jew in Nazi Germany. Bad if you have a mistress. 2) Fear. Of getting caught. I guess that ties into protecting oneself. 3) To elevate one’s self-perception. You went to which school? You’re how tall? You slept with how many women? 4) It is the wise thing to do. Do I look fat in these jeans? BS’ing is often annoying or straight up lame, but it is an integral part of life. There are many situations in which being brutally honest serves no purpose other than to hurt the other person, which is lame. Damn it, is everything in life lame then? Last night, we had another example of BS’ing being bad….the good bad, though….as in dope. Now that I think about it, sometimes we just BS to mess around, which is what Ben Simmons did last night against the Bulls. Ironic, huh?

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 19 17 14 0 2 6 0 6/15 7/10

Simmons has now messed around five times on the season. He had been in a slump lately, looking disinterested and lacking aggression. It’s mindblowing to think that he can dominate a game without being able to shoot from the perimeter. He’s that good. Anyways, BS is a nightly triple-dub threat and will contribute with the D stats. As we established above, there’s good and bad with BS. The bad? Literally no 3s, like he hasn’t made one the entire year. The turnovers are plentiful. As I always say, good if you are high in a pastry shop. Not so good for fantasy. The free throw shooting is abysmal, like 55% bad. DeAndre Jordan, with his 60% on the year, is like, “Yo, Ben. You really need to practice bro.” Simmons is the 75th player for fantasy on the year. For the last month? The 110th. There are just too many holes in his game to approach Top 50 territory, but for punt FT% and 3 teams, BS is lovely.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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