There are a lot of differences between Jimmy Butler and myself. I, for example, am not a five time NBA All-Star. I’ve also never been named the Most Improved Player, won a gold medal, or screamed at Karl-Anthony Towns with such vigor that I had to be sent to Philadelphia. But perhaps the biggest wedge between Jimmy and myself is our feelings toward rear-view mirrors. 

See, I’m a look back kind of guy. There’s wisdom (and cars!) back there if you care to investigate. This willingness to wallow, to ruminate, to linger and consider all the roads not traveled means that I signed myself up to do the tedious work of taking long, wistful gazes at how this first ever RazzJam went down and try to glean something useful from it. Son, our fearless leader and fellow RazzJam League 14 draftee, is here to keep an eye on my blind spots. You strike me as a reasonable guy, Son, you’re pro-mirror, right?

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The New York Knicks. Where do we even start? The front office? The coaching? The players? I guess I’ll start with this. I’ve been on this Knicks roller coaster ever since my dad took me to my first Knicks game at Madison Square Garden when I was about 7 or 8 years old. Since then, I’ve been met mostly with disappointment. I have been staying positive, though, and have been looking towards our future here in New York for however many years Knicks’ fans have been saying that. But, I must say it, the future starts now. 

Last season, the Knicks ended that peculiar and condensed season with a 21-45 record. They ended that season on a 4-3 run, which seemed promising, off the back of some mostly competent coaching from Mike Miller after David Fizdale had overstayed his welcome. However, this season, the coaching staff, the front office, and roster has changed. Yes, James Dolan still owns the team, but sshh, you win some and you lose some. 

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There’s always a lot of attention on who is the top dog in fantasy basketball and who to take early on, but the back end of the draft is often ignored. This makes sense since a lot of leagues allow for picks ups and drops, so the guys you snag in the end could very well end up on the waiver wire multiple times throughout the season.

But what if I told you that it’s entirely possible to find great value at the end of your drafts? Snagging a mid round value play in the final rounds is my bread and butter, and it sets up a lot of interesting scenarios, as you will have more trade chips to dangle and dominate your league even if your top guys have to miss some time. Pro tip: They will. Even more pro tip: It’s a lot more likely this year with COVID.

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Joel Embiid is 7 feet and weighs 249 pounds. There are only around 2800 people in the world who are 7 feet or taller. With 7.4 billion people, that comes out to 0.000038% of the population! Add in the fact that he’s as nimble as a ballerina, possesses the feathery touch of players much smaller than him, and is almost as witty as Grey…..it all culminates in a human that is…..is he even human? Regardless, Embiid is truly a unique breed. Last night was just the most recent display of his uniqueness.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
49 14 3 3 1 4 1/3 17/24 14/15

The #11 player for fantasy on a per-game basis, which is key because he’s missed 16 games on the season. That is the only chink in the armor. It’s a massive one for sure, but things can change quickly. Just look at KAT. On the season, Embiid is averaging 23.8 points, 1.3 tres, 12 boards, 3.2 dimes, 0.9 steals, and 1.4 blocks with 47% shooting from the field and 82% from the line. He literally does it all. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what literally does it all day in and day out? The Stocktonator. Now, Ben Simmons did not play last night and could be out for a while. Without Simmons on the court, Embiid garners a usage rate of 36.4, and increase of 4.2%. He scores 1.59 fantasy points per minute! Here’s praying for the health of this outlier of a human.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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I am 25 years old. I idolized Michael Jordan, but was too young to watch him live when he built his legend. On the contrary, the player that my generation grew up with is Kobe Bryant. We got to witness him build his dynasty with the Lakers, hit tough shot after tough shot, return from gruesome injuries and give his absolute all for the game he loved so much. And after his retirement, we watched him grow as a businessman, a community leader, an ambassador for basketball, and a motivator for any young player that wants to get better through hard work and devotion.

His influence is not easy to grasp or describe and that’s why his loss has that enormous an impact to the whole basketball world. Kobe was unique in every way, a true sports titan and he will be remembered for a long time to come, whether from basketball fans appreciating his game and mentality or by anyone shooting a piece of paper to a can and yelling “Kobe”. It is always a reality check when these tragic things happen as people of his stature, so famous and successful, seem invincible. It’s an instant reminder of our own morality and how fragile and precious human life is. It’s not a great time to talk about player performances and fantasy contributions but I’ll try my best.

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Now that Thanksgiving is in the rearview mirror, all hands are on deck for Christmas. The neighbors adorn the houses with electric bling, the empty lots are filled with trees standing in Terracotta formation, and we all become tolerant of elevator music. It’s a happy time indeed. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know how you can always be happy? By using the Stocktonator. In fact, one could say that it’s a jubilant time with voices singing Jingle Bells and hands literally jingling bells. Guess who was jubilant and jingled something last night in the NBA?

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
31 4 2 1 2 2 2/8 10/19 9/9

Jaren Jackson Jr. was unbelievable. The 31 points were a season-high and he jingled the stat box to make sure there was a little something something in each box. He was in foul trouble….again….What else is new? But at least he was able to navigate around it. Now, before you take off your clothes and run around jingling your parts, know that Jonas Valanciunas and Brandon Clarke were both unable to play. Coach Jenkins had no choice but to leave him out there. With that said, this is the ceiling that JJJ can access. He’s young, but it’s only a matter of time before he contributes these kind of lines on a consistent basis. Don’t expect that to happen this season, so expect the inconsistencies, but mental masturbate over what the future entails.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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I have much to be thankful for. A loving wife. Beautiful kids. Razzball. Beep. Boop. Bop. The Stocktonator. I’m thankful that there’s a holiday to remind us to be thankful, which gives us Black Friday and Cyber Monday so that companies can show their thanks by taking all our money. Gotta love capitalism. What’s next? Thankful Thursdays? At this point, might as well. The other week, someone texted me about Happy International Men’s Day. Are you f’ing kidding me? Does that imply that there’s a Domestic Men’s Day? Anyways, what I’m most thankful for this year has been drafting Bam Adebayo in every fantasy basketball league I could. Why? Just look what he did yesterday:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
17 16 1 1 1 4 0 6/14 5/7

Bam is only 22 years old. He’s 6′ 9″ 255lbs, so he can bang down low with the big boys, yet he’s agile enough to Euro step in transition for a dunk. The 7′ 1″ wingspan allows him to gobble up rebounds, while his vision and passing acumen have him dishing out 4.2 dimes per game. Bam is averaging 1.5 steals and 1.2 blocks. The only thing he doesn’t contribute are tres, and the free throw shooting is poor (65%), although he’s been converting 72% of the freebies over the past seven games. Put it all together and Bam is a top 50-ish player for fantasy. Arigato Adebayo.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

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My-my-my-my Melo is back. To play. And jack up. Plenty of shots. He won’t. Play any D. Or grab a board or thank the Lord. Ok, time to quit the Pa Rappa da Rappa because…..Stop! It’s Melo time. The Portland Trail Blazers signed Carmelo Anthony to a non-guaranteed contract yesterday. Melo fans are running through the streets naked, screaming, and turning over cars. Their Messiah has returned to deliver them to Melo bliss. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what always provides fantasy bliss? The Stocktonator. Now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty and dig into this signing for the Trail Blazers and see what his fantasy prospects could be. Melo is 35 years old now, so he will likely be a statue, both on offense and defense. The lack of desire to play defense gives him a floor of….out of the league. If he can still shoot, though, he could actually be an interesting piece for the Blazers. I know, I know. I’m regurgitating the puke myself. Here’s the thing, though. Many of teams, with the Raptors the most recent example, have been doubling Damian Lillard and C. J. McCollum….daring anyone else to beat them. Well, when opponents see Nassir Little, Mario Hezonja, and Anthony Tolliver littering the depth chart of the Blazers, they start doing the MC Hammer dance. Oh-oh. Oh oh. Oh-oh-oh. The last two seasons, Melo has played for the Thunder and Rockets. In 88 games, he played around 30 minutes per game and provided 14.8 points, 2.2 tres, and 5.6 boards. Not bad. He shot 40% from the field. That’s bad. If you have the roster spot, he’s worth a speculative add if you need points and tres. Just know that this could amount to nothing and he’ll be back playing at the YMCA. With that said, Andrew Wiggins is currently a top 30 player so anything is possible.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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The only thing that could have made NBA Jam better was if each player had their own custom announcing package. The generic lines were fantastic and made up a good portion of the top lines in sports video game history, but personalized reactions to certain player performances would have just been epic. Like if Ben Simmons hit a three-pointer in today’s NBA Jam equivalent, announcer Tim Kitzrow having an absolute meltdown would have just taken the game to another level.

Bam Adebayo’s custom line is just built into the script. It’s too easy. There would have been a LOT of “BAM SHAKALAKA” last night after his performance.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
19 13 8 0 1 3 0-1 5-9 9-12

His everyday starter role has benefitted him tremendously through two games and he’s showing why he’s deserving of that spot. Losing Whiteside, which has benefits in its own right, is also made a little easier when Bam is producing like this. Here are some other notable performers from Saturday night action.

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