Howdy basketboys and girls, welcome back to another Saturday recap special. There was a great game last night as Ben Simmons and the Sixers almost cooked Steph Curry’s Warriors. The Sixers jumped out to an early 47-28 lead after the first quarter, but the Warriors did Warriors things and pulled off their own 47-15 rout in the third quarter to take back the lead and put the game away. Simmons had 23/8/12 on 11-for-15 shooting and only one turnover in the close loss. Wow. We knew he was great, but he’s blowing past everyone’s expectations this season. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy basketball:

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What’s Gucci, sportsfans? It’s ya boy Baids and we’re back again for another installment of the Saturday Daily Notes. What I first noticed was my boy DSJ. It may have been in a loss, but local favourite, Dennis Smith Jr, came through in a big way, hitting a nice little rainbow for 21/5/6/2/2 with only one turnover on 8-of-16 shooting with two threes. He’s one of the most NBA-ready rookies I’ve seen, and I’d probably rather have him over the likes of Lonzo Ball in redrafts. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy basketball:

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A new era has dawned in Milwaukee. The Eric Bledsoe era! Hopefully, this malcontent doesn’t foul up Giannis’ MVP caliber season. Only time will tell, but from the looks of last night, he seems to be fitting in nicely. One game is a small sample size obviously, but they topped the Spurs in San Antonio which is a good sign. Any way there was an eight game slate of games on the night so let’s jump right in to the action.

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Part of fantasy basketball is forming a team using the predictable stats in a way that maximizes your roto points or head-to-head category wins. Another part is getting the less predictable stats right more often than your competition, whether that means you’re benefiting from an increase in value or avoiding a decrease.

It’s early, but I thought I’d take a look at what the biggest differences are in this season’s stats versus last season’s by using the ESPN Player Rater averages (per-game).

Aaron Gordon. This season’s highest leaper.

First, a quick detour while I’m talking player rater. Here’s something it teaches us that we should keep in mind. Many people think of rankings as linear. Like, the best player is the same amount better than the 5th player as the 5th player is better than the 9th player. Not so, and we see the difference especially among the top few players when we look at their overall rating. Like with most data sets, there are outliers. That’s these fantasy stars. The top five players with their per-game ratings in each of the past two seasons:

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Dennis Schroder scored 28 points, grabbed three boards, and dished out nine dimes to lead the Hawks to a 117-115 victory over the Cavaliers. He did turn the ball over six times and did not accumulate any defensive stats, but we still love him. The Mitchell family still loved their little Dennis, even though he caused mischief whenever and wherever he went. Now, things are looking promising going forward. His usage rate is at 31%, he’s hoisting up almost 19 shots per game, averaging over 21 points, and dishing out six dimes a game. Granted, it was against the Cavs, a team with Derrick Rose and Jose Calderon starting at point that gives up fantasy manna to the position. HINT: play all point guards against the Cavs. With that said, The Menace is a top-50 player and should finish there when all is said and done.

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Image result for eric bledsoe hair salon

Phoenix is on a self-imposed downhill slide, and Eric Bledsoe won’t have any of it.

Many are convinced that the firing of Earl Watson is in response to the soon-to-be infamous “I dont wanna be here” tweet by Bledsoe—that and, in a bigger part, because the Suns are having one, if not the most, horrendous start to a NBA season– losing by an average of 30.7 points in their first three games.  And yet, even with an assurance from Eric that he didn’t mean what he said, General Manager Ryan McDonough looks determined to trade him away for more, let’s say, programmable pieces and embrace, as if he still does not, the rebuilding process in Phoenix.

Who would’ve thought that it’d be tweet while in a hair salon that would finally do it for Eric Bledsoe? He’s been wanting a trade before the season started and now, at least according to McDonough, he’ll finally get his wish. Will it be a contender who’ll get him, or is the Suns management bitter enough to exile him to just another pigsty of a team? Well, as long as the deal would benefit them, I think they have the luxury to not care.

In no particular order, here are five takes on where Eric Bledsoe could be days from now.

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Marc Gasol has come a long way from being the King Kong of the basketball court in high school and Pau’s little bro. He is now a superstar in the NBA, but an underappreciated one. Hmmm, does that mean I cannot call him a superstar? Does that inherently knock him down a rung to just “star?” What’s the protocol here? Merriam-Webster defines superstar as: a star who is considered extremely talented, has great public appeal, and can usually command a high salary. Extremely talented? Check. Great public appeal? X. Commands a high salary? Does $113 million work? You know what? F Merriam-Webster. Gasol is a freaking superstar and he’s making his fourth All-Star appearance this year! Last night against the Mavericks, Gasol scored 25 points, grabbed 13 boards, and dished out three dimes. So far in five games, he’s averaging 25 points, 10.3 rebounds, three assist, 1.8 blocks, 0.8 steals, and 2.3 threes a game while shooting 83% from the charity strip, 48% from the field, and 47% from downtown. Yes, small sample size alert. Damn, that happens way too often in this household. Anyways, we like seeing aggressive Gasol. He’s hoisting up 16 shots per game, which is in-line with the 15.7 he put up last year. The thing that really stands out is the rebounding. 13, 11, 5, 14, and 11 to start the season. He’s never averaged 10 per game and has languished in the 6-7 range for the past five years. We know he’s going to shoot a high percentage from the field, downtown, and charity stripe. We know he’s going to dish out dimes, pilfer, and block. But, if he gets that rebounding number anywhere close to 10 a game…..

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(image courtesy of Courtside Attire)

Ben Simmons became the first player, since Hambone Williams in 1967, to post a triple-dub within his first four career games last night (stat courtesy of ESPN Stats). Freaking Oscar Robertson put up three triple-dubs in his first four career games. GOAT. Anyways, the final stat line for Simmons: 21 pts, 12 boards, 10 dimes, and one steal on 8-for-11 shooting. So this is what everyone’s been talking about! Before he even played a professional game, the City of Philadelphia nicknamed Simmons the “Fresh Prince.” After last night’s performance, it may be an apt nickname but….let’s not completely dismiss the OG Fresh Prince.

Did Ben ever grab the opening tip and drain a half-court shot before his feet touched the ground? Did Ben ever cut across the lane, catch the ball at the left elbow, then scoop it underhanded without turning to face the bucket? And banking it in? Huh? Huh? So, before we go crowning his ass, let’s pay some respect to the OG. I’ll be honest. I had some doubts regarding Ben coming into this year. I did think that he would grab boards and drop a ton of dimes, but would his lack of outside shot hold him down? After watching him play, he can get to the rim at will. He is so long and such a graceful strider that resistance is futile. He kind of reminds me of Giannis in that aspect. Ben has trouble finishing strong, though, while Giannis….uh…uh….oh my…..awwwwwwwwwww. Sorry, I just had to “take care” of something real quick. I also had some concerns that the Sixers would be conservative with Ben. Well, he’s playing 34.6 minutes on average over the first four games. Concern eradicated. He’s shooting 49.1% from the field, grabbing 10.8 boards, dishing out seven dimes, and pilfering one a game. There are no threes in his game with very few blocks (0.3). And he’s turning the ball over three times a game, but Ben is going to improve as the season rolls along. Who’s better? Will Smith or Ben Simmons? Will has a more diverse and explosive offensive game. He straight up clowns his opponents, but gotta knock him for level of competition. I gotta go with Ben here. It’s just no fun playing with Black Holes.

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