Jordan Clarkson drops 33 points as Lakers “Breakaway” from the Pacers on Friday night. Clarkson, “Because of You” Lakers were able to win a game while shooting 14.3% from the free throw line; an NBA record for lowest FT% in a win.  Clarkson was the only Laker to actually make any free throws (2-for-3), while the rest of the team went 0-for-11.  Despite this weird anomaly, the Lakers were able to “Walk Away” with a a victory against a pretty good Pacers team. The Pacers were coming off a back-to-back, but the Lakers have now won five of their last seven after a really rough stretch.

Anyway, here’s what else happened on Friday in Fantasy Hoops:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

My Charlotte Bobcats fandom reached it’s peak during the 2006-2007 NBA season. My Bulls had been one of the worst teams in the NBA for nearly a decade and I liked cheering for the recent expansion team. I had NBA League Pass back then, since I was providing live box scores for a website more nights than not. The Bobcats weren’t one of the in-demand teams to cover, so I got to do a lot of their games. While the Bulls had just drafted LaMarcus Aldridge at #2 and traded him for #4 Tyrus Thomas and Victor Khryapa (yes, that happened), the Bobcats selected one of my favorite players right between those picks to join forces with other favorites Gerald Wallace and Emeka Okafor. That’s right, Adam Morrison was going to light up my tiny 19-inch box TV that sat beside my giant desktop computer as he turned (yes, people thought this) into Larry Bird 2.0! It was going to be fun watching this franchise, in just it’s third year, develop into a contender with those pieces.

Check it out! That weird, slippery ball they used briefly!

Okay, so the ‘Cats never really went anywhere, though Morrison did have some fun 3-point shooting streaks. I still love the snubbed and rightful 2012 Las Vegas NBA Summer League MVP and two-time NBA Champ (true). And, I still wear my Bobcats hat proudly (also true). Why am I going on and on about a player who only played in 161 career games and was out of the NBA four years after he was drafted? Because, he’s the theme of today’s strategy: The ‘Stache! I guess it’s The Stash, but at least I got to talk about Adam Morrison and Victor Khryapa.

This is a good time to stock up on and stash the players that might take off toward the end of the season and lead you to a championship.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

What’s up Razzballers? We had a doozy of a game last night in Toronto between the Raptors and the Warriors. I don’t typically like to give the lede to players on the losing team, but this was the best game in a night of great games, and DeMar DeRozan was the star of the show. He was a big reason the Raptors were even competitive as he went for 42/5/3 on 17-for-31 FG (0-for-4 3P, 8-for-10 FT) and two TOs. This was in a game the Raptors lost by just two after being down 81 to 54 (!) at halftime. The end was a big clusterfrick too. No other Raptor  played more than 30 minutes, as the almost-comeback was mostly led by DeMar and the bench since Kyle Lowry was out with injury. Anyway, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I was giddy when I watched Bam Adebayo during the Summer League. I knew he could rebound and block, but the Eurostepping and skill shown in the open court had me salivating like a submariner pulling into port after a six month deployment. I didn’t expect much from him this year, as he was buried on the depth chart, but then Miami turned into MASH and Hassan Whiteside missed 18 games due to injury. As a result, Bam played in 30 games and started 10. While the stats haven’t been great, he managed to compile two double-dubs. Not bad, but last night Bam went HAM and made me feel all tingly again.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
16 15 3 0 5 0 0/1 8/14 0
He played 33 minutes and definitely benefitted from the ejection of James Johnson. When JJ returns, Bam will probably slide back to the bench, but…but…but….Did I stutter mother f**cker? Actually I did. My bad. Anyways, he’s not a must pick up. Just keep him in mind if any of the bigs in Miami go down, as he’s shown more than capable of going HAM.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When the Nets acquired D’Angelo Russell in the offseason from the Lakers, it was expected that the former number two overall pick would be the face of the franchise. Made sense, as I’ve heard the rat population is huge in New York. I kid. I kid. Early on, Russell was playing like the face of the franchise, sporting a 35.8 usage rate. At the same time, a relative unknown started balling out, to the point where Atkinson could no longer deny what he was seeing. Every time he’d give him extended playing time, production would ensue. Coach Atkinson even moved Russell to shooting guard to accomodate. Then Russell went down with injury. And, as they say, the rest is history. Spencer Dinwiddie was made for New York City. He’s a tough, no-frills kind of player. Biggie would have been proud, as he went from “ashy to classy.” He was selected with the 38th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft and spent time in the D-League, before finding a home in Brooklyn. It all culminated with last night’s performance:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 31 5 8 2 0 1 3/10 10/24 8/9

Now, Russell is expected back soon from injury. The logical expectation is that he garners the 30+ usage rate from pre-injury, which would obviously nuke much of Dinwiddie’s value. With that said, I do expect Dinwiddie to play the point with Russell at shooting guard. I also think that Dinwiddie has built up some equity, with both the coach and teammates, so he won’t be one of those bodies with concrete blocks that were shoved into the Hudson River.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

What’s up Razzball Nation! Welcome back to another edition of Any Given Saturday. I just feel like I haven’t talked about LeBron James enough. The man just turned 33 and is putting up MVP numbers. Hell, with James Harden injured, LeBron is probably the frontrunner. This season he’s putting up career-highs in assists, 3PM, FT%, and he’s even putting up 1.0 blocks, the most since his first Cleveland stint. He was built in a Nike laboratory to be the perfect basketball specimen. Anyway, against the lowly Magic on Sunday, LeBron messed around and almost got a quadruple-double, going for 33/10/9/6/1 on 12-for-23 FG (4-for-7 3P, 5-for-7 FT) with three turnovers. His usage might go down with the return of Isaiah Thomas, but it’s not like Kyrie Irving dug into LeBron’s stats in previous years. LeBron might even average more assists and be more efficient with IT in the fold. Good lord. Anyway, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If Isaiah Thomas’ New Year’s resolution was to be awesome at basketball, then he may be the one in a million of us that actually follows through with it for the whole year.

Thomas returned from a seven-month absence with a hip injury suffered in last year’s playoffs to make his debut in a Cavalier’s uniform and preceded to ruin another point guard’s return to action. Thomas scored 17 points in just 18 minutes and he teamed up with Dwayne Wade to provide a crucial spark off the bench in the fourth quarter that put the Cavs ahead for good over the Blazers.

I know game recaps put fantasy owners to sleep, so let me get to the juicy slash: 3/17/0/3/0/0.

And here is what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

First things first. Happy New Year to everyone! For myself, long gone are the days of trying to time orgasms with my wife at the stroke of midnight. Now, the orgasm comes from getting the kids to sleep. There’s no mess or slipping one by the goalie! Anyways, I hope you all had a good holiday season and are ready to usher in 2018. Wishing you all prosperity for the new year. With all that said, let’s get it on!

I flew to the Wrong Coast for the holidays. To this day, it still boggles my mind that we are able to fly in the air. Keep in mind, that I still can’t fully comprehend how a bunch of 0’s and 1’s allow me to do what I’m doing right now. So, flying to outer space? Fugget about it. I even watched a ton of Robotech as a kid and still….As a result, whenever I hear or read about the Apollo 13 mission, my brain pretty much explodes. A spacecraft was launched back in 1970! To fly to the moon! But a few days after launch, there was an explosion that crippled the craft, which prompted the “Uh, Houston, we’ve had a problem.” Only by channeling their inner MacGyver, were the crew and craft able to return safely to Earth. James Harden of the Houston Rockets boggles my mind. He mesmerizes defenders with his dribble like what snakes do with their prey, and always gets them to reach so he can blow by them. His step back J allows him to get his shot up over any defender. Last night in a double overtime game against the Lakers, Harden went:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
40 2 11 2 2 1 3/8 10/20 17/21
Mind boggled. But….”Uh, Houston, we’ve had a problem.” Harden left the game in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury. Ruh oh. We will have to keep an eye on the situation, like “CSI at scene” eye. Chris Paul should see a massive uptick in usage, while Eric Gordon and newly acquired Gerald Green should both see more minutes.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Like most of you, I’ve been through more fantasy drafts than I can remember. Online with old friends thousands of miles away, in-person with coworkers I’d deal with every day of the season. Basements, bars, over wings. Once, I was driving from one draft to another while the second draft was beginning, pulling over to make each of my picks until I arrived. There was a draft via text on a road trip before phone apps existed, a manual auction in an AOL chat room (not advisable), drafting online for one league while drafting in-person for another, slow-drafting, making it so that I was checking my phone every 10 seconds when the next pick might not be made for 17 more hours. Some day, I’d really like to do something on par with the show The League and draft in-person at one of the NBA Summer Leagues.

I did end up having a pretty sweet drafting experience this season. So, one of my favorite bands is 311, and I’d never seen them live in the 20+ years I’ve been listening to them repeatedly. When I found out they’d be relatively close to me last fall, I decided I wasn’t going to miss them this time. Okay, October 15th… why did that sound familiar? CRAP! My favorite league, my dynasty league, was having it’s seven-round draft that night! Yeah, I could’ve pre-ranked… but, I’d traded up in the draft enough that I’d only be drafting on my phone for about 20 minutes… and it looked like the draft would be during the opening act. I determined I’d do both, draft at the concert and just ignore the opening act and hope I’d be done by the time 311 took the stage. I didn’t count on the opening act being crazy-fun, but you can’t have too much of a good thing. So, there I was, leaning against the back wall with Tropidelic providing a great soundtrack to me drafting some top rookies I’d been drooling over for months (we keep 18 players, so the draft is all about the rookies). I finished my last pick just in time for 311 to rock my face off (and psychedelically funk my face off) while I dreamed of my rookies turning into top 20 fantasy players.

See me? Riiiiight…. there.

So, how are these rookies doing? Usually around this point, we’re nervous about our rookies’ future, since they’re getting DNP-CDs and G-League stints. But this year at Christmas time, we’ve seen the best crop of fantasy rookies in many years. Though, it’s not all the guys we expected doing the damage. For those of you that love trying to spot the future stars as much as I do, I’d like to take a look at the per-36 stats of the rookies we’ve seen. In case that’s not familiar, it’s their stats prorated to 36 minutes. It’s not a perfect projection, of course, but I figure, in most cases, the rookies at their career peaks are going to play closer to 36 minutes than what they’ve played so far. And, while they likely won’t get to 36 minutes exactly, they should make up for some of that shortcoming by greatly improving (a lot of these guys are 19 or 20) and by becoming larger parts of their teams’ offenses in the future. It’s not one-size-fits-all, as guys like Tatum, Simmons, and Kuzma might already be relatively close to what their peak minutes and team involvement might be (think of who’s likely to join their teams in the next season or two). Some rookies have hardly played or have only been role players in garbage time against third-stringers, so this isn’t going to be too predictive for them, either. But, I’d guess this’ll give us a rough estimate of the type of players the rooks might be if they keep improving as we’d hope. I left out guys that have barely played, but that still leaves 45 rookies to check out.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When watching Kyle Kuzma play basketball, all I can think about is the Notorious B.I.G. One of my favorite songs is Juicy.

Many in the NBA thought Kuzma wouldn’t amount to nothin’. Now he’s in the limelight ’cause his hoops game is tight. Now honies play him close like butter played toast. Ha! What a line. Biggie Smalls was the illest. Anyways, Kuzma went from negative to positive and it all started when he was drafted 27th overall in the NBA Draft. The Summer League followed, where he dominated and led the Lakers to hoisting the trophy. Then the regular season started. He scored double figures in five of his first seven NBA games. It was on, baby bay-bee. In fact, there’s only been one other game in which he failed to score double digits. What’s even more remarkable is that he’s played 27 games, yet only started 11. Kuuuuuuuuuuuz! It all came to a culmination last night against the Rockets.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 38 7 4 0 1 0 7/10 12/17 7/10

This is no fluke. Kuz has been balling from day one and is only going to get better. It’s on, baby bay-bee!

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?