Who came up with the names for the forward positions? There’s small and power. Why didn’t they go small and big? Or weak and power? Maybe there was a power struggle within the name manufacturing plant and small/power was the compromise to appease all parties. Politics, man. Anyways, you will find some of the best two-way players in the league here. There are also 3-and-D, 3-without-the-D, and D-without-the-3 players. Enjoy!

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The Hawks won 29 games last year, but were a much tougher opponent in the second half. 29-53 is 12 games under .500, but the Hawks were only three games under .500 over the last 41. That was due to the young’uns getting better as the season progressed. The Hawks brain trust is optimistic the growth spurt continues, as they have added even more youth to the mix.

De’Andre Hunter’s Final Four heroics moved him up the draft board, and the Hawks paid a ransom to acquire him, but leadership has earned the benefit of the doubt. Their picks, combined with the teaching style of coach Lloyd Pierce and his staff, have drawn visible dividends, but will the expected leaps turn into hops? Not paying Dewayne Dedmon, when they could afford to, may hurt more than they realize.

Most projections have the Hawks winning 30-ish games. That may be conservative, but I expect a minor flirtation with .500 and another round of ping pong balls, as youth continues to mature.

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I used to enjoy watching Get Smart, a satirical secret agent show. Agent Maxwell Smart is a fumbling, bumbling, stumbling secret agent who always saves the day somehow. One of the catch phrases of the show is “Missed it by that much!” Which would’ve been appropriate to say whenever Marcus Smart jacked up a shot, as he could barely hit the side of a barn in past seasons. This season, though, he’s vastly improved the shooting and is therefore able to put up lines like this:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
21 6 4 3 1 1 2/5 8/14 3/3

The 21 points tied a season high! Smart is shooting 42% from the field and 36% from downtown this season. Over his first four seasons in the league, he had never posted a mark better than 37% from the field and 33% from downtown. As a result, while he always provided boards, dimes, and stocks, he was never able to crack the top 100 for fantasy on a per-game basis. This season, he’s a top 85 player and has had streaks where he’s been a top 60 player. Get Smart y’all!

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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J. J. Redick has never been the lede for this world famous site. In fact, I don’t recall ever writing a blurb for him. I’m sure I have, but now that I think about it, I’m not so sure anymore. Whether I have or not is irrelevant, though, because he’s been Mehdick for most of the season. That’s not to say he hasn’t been good. He’s been useful for what you drafted him for; treys with a handful of boards and dimes, good for around top 90 value. Last night, all the parallel universes must have intersected because Redick was ridic and produced a stat line that was, frankly, out of this world.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
27 10 8 0 0 1 7/14 8/19 4/5

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalmost messed around. The 10 boards were a career high! The 8 dimes were a season high. He’s never posted a trip-dub and last night was the first dub-dub of his career! See, some funky stuff was going on in the universe last night. Anyways, it was a ceiling game for Redick, one that we will likely never see again. Enjoy the Redickulousness for a day, then go prepare for the return of Mehdick.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Clint Capela was producing at a top 20 level, averaging 17.1 points, 12.5 boards, and 1.8 blocks. Then, he suffered a thumb injury and missed 14 games. Upon his return, D’Antoni gave him 33, 28, and 34 minutes of run, in which Capela produced top 100 value. Every performer needs a warm up or time to get into the groove. Well, if last night was any indication, Capela is done with rehearsing and reading for prime time.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
23 17 2 1 1 0 0 10/16 3/4

Capela played a team-high 41 minutes. Now, Kenneth Faried did miss some time last night due to injury, so that may explain some of the minutes bump, but Capela looks ready to go for the stretch run. Prior to the injury, he was averaging close to 35 minutes per game and produced three 20/20 games. The Rockets are getting healthy and I can’t wait to see what the main act provides.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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This year’s trade deadline moved talent to the East, which strengthened the talent level of the Conference. The Bucks, Raptors, and 76ers improved their rosters and, with the always strong Boston Celtics, form a formidable group of teams that could produce great playoff battles. It is a welcome change from the Lebron-dominated era and one I’m greatly looking forward to watching. If anyone wants to talk basketball besides fantasy, drop a comment below about which team you think ends up with the Eastern Conference title. Due to the nature of last week’s article there is no review of the suggestions, so off we go to the new ones.

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Even though Trae Young was selected with the number five overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, there were haters and skepticism as to whether he would be able to perform in the League. He’s too small. He turns the ball over too much. He’s going to get abused on defense. All of those things were evident early on. Yet, he showed flashes of why some were infatuated with him. In his third professional game, he scored 35 points and dished out 11 dimes, while turning the ball over only once. Granted, it was against the Cleveland Cavaliers, but that’s a professional team with professional ball players. Hmmm, maybe that’s debatable but they do collect checks for playing basketball so…As the season progressed, there were trials and tribulations mixed in with performances of rapture. Last night was pure bliss.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
22 6 14 1 1 6 3/9 6/19 7/9

Yes, the turnovers were high, but he was in total control running the offense last night. The Lakers defense was/is truly offensive, but Young carved them up with expert precision, even nutmegging LeBron James. Most of the hype surrounding Trae was due to his range on his jump shot, but his vision and passing ability are just as lethal. They just didn’t get as much pub. Trae has duds from time to time, but the consistency has been much better than earlier in the season. Hey, he’s still only 20 years old! The mental fortitude, calmness, and development have been impressive to watch. Trae was outside the top 200 for fantasy earlier in the season. Now, he’s just outside the top 100. I didn’t think Trae would be a fantasy asset until next year, but I can see him finishing in the top 100. It’s good to be Young.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

 

 

 

 

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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Last year, I mentioned that I was a big baseball card collector as a kid, having been the perfect age when that really became a big thing. I was fortunate to have a group of friends who loved to trade cards and a dad that would take me to baseball card shows to build my collection. I had chosen Ken Griffey Jr. early on as my favorite player, so fortunately, I was on the lookout mainly for his cards. If I can ever decide to part with them, at least I have hundreds of cards featuring a Hall of Famer. The same cannot be said, however, for my brief foray into the world of basketball card collecting. I decided to complete a small set of the 1993 NBA Draft first-rounders. And from this group, like when I picked Griffey as my favorite player when he was a rookie, I chose an exciting young player to focus on. The decision to collect Isaiah “J.R.” Rider cards for a few months did not return the same joy and imaginary wealth, unfortunately. But it certainly was easy to trade for his cards!

Speaking of trading, as I write this, the trade deadline, one of my favorite days of the year, is only 15 days away. Now, after a trade goes down that day, do you want to be one of the people rushing to your app, hoping you’re the first to see if the guy that’s getting a huge bump in minutes and usage is still available? Or, do you want to be the one that they all curse when they find out you picked him up a week earlier? Obviously, we can’t stash all the players that could be in line for a big increase in fantasy value, but today I’m going to try to identify a handful of players to either stash now or to keep an eye on, depending on your league size, as the trade rumors continue to come out. And with that list, I’ll provide their per-36 minute stats. No, most won’t get that many minutes even if they are the beneficiaries of a deadline deal, but it’ll at least give you an idea of what they could do with an increase in minutes… plus, it’s fun.

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KRS-One was one of the greatest to ever do it. He never won a Grammy, and didn’t win a Tony, yet he smashed rappers and made girls go “Illllll!” He made you bob your head from side to side, and up and down, but ultimately he made you think about what was said, as Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everybody. At the core, though, he brought it to those MC’s that acted like they didn’t know that KRS was willing to go toe for toe and made them hope that their defense mechanism could divert his heat-seeking lyricism. Joel Embiid is the KRS-One of the NBA. He puts victims in a body bag both on the Twitter machine and on the court. Last night…

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
31 13 3 0 1 4 4/6 10/17 7/8

In only 27 minutes, as the 76ers body bagged the Timberpuppies, 149-107. On the season, Embiid is the #10 player, averaging 33.5 minutes, 27 points, 1.2 threeecolas, 13.3 boards, 3.4 dimes, 0.5 steals, and 2 blocks on 48% shooting from the field and 80% from the free throw line on 9.9 attempts. The usage rate is 32.1! Such a boss. As KRS said, “If you don’t know me by now, I doubt you’ll ever know me.” Embiid gonna keep trying, though.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?