Whaddup Razzball nation! Welcome back to another edition of Any Given Saturday! Last night, the Thunder walked into Cleveland and embarrassed the Cavs, dropping a whopping 148 points. It was a team effort, but Russell Westbrook was especially impressive, dropping a double dimebag and going for 23/9/20/2 on 9-for-17 FG (1-for-1 3P, 4-for-5 FT) and five TOs. Russ’s efficiency is trending up nicely after being abysmal to start the season. All of a sudden, the Thunder look like an incredibly scary team. Anyway, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

All units. All units. Be advised. We have reports of a 187 at 7000 Coliseum Way. Subject is armed and considered dangerous. Over. 

Lou Williams is a bad, bad man. No Blake. No Milos. No Rivers. No problemo.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 50 2 7 0 0 4 8/16 16/27 10/10
Armed with but a jump shot, Lou single-handedly took down the Warriors, 125-106 in Oakland. Five-Oh. You know what sound that is. Now, he played 35 minutes and had a 39.4 usage rate last night. Here was the rest of the Clippers starting lineup: Jawun Evans, CJ Williams, Wesley Johnson, and DeAndre Jordan. That usage rate seems a little light to me. Obviously, Lou isn’t going to bring out the men in blue every night and Lou will transition back to the bench when the team gets healthy. Regardless, he’s a professional scorer of buckets and will flourish in any capacity. It wouldn’t surprise me if the men in blue make a few more appearances before the end of the season.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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?

Kris Dunn- 4-32-2-9-4-0-4. Four steals last night and is second in the league in steals per game behind Paul George. If it wasn’t for his poor FT%, he’d be a top 40 player in fantasy. That being said, the Bulls have been way ahead of schedule, especially since Mirotic has returned. I doubt they’ll make any noise in the East this year, but they have some young pieces in place to do so in the near future.  Zach LaVine’s imminent return may put a damper on Dunn’s numbers, but you have to think he’ll maintain a decent role through the end of the season.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw in fantasy hoops last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Gary Harris sounds like the name of your mailman. And much like your mailman, he delivers without anyone really noticing. Gary Harris is a top fifty player, but for some reason you never see his name in the fantasy headlines, until now. Gary deserves our love. Gary deserves our respect. Gary deserves a nickname. I want to see your Gary Harris nickname suggestions in the comments. I will throw a few out there and see if any stick (we cannot use The Mailman, obviously): Gary Harris Buehler’s Day Off, Gary Harris Wheel, Gary Sexual Harrisment, Gary Harrison (the long lost Harrison triplet), Gary Harristanbul Not Constantinople…

At this point you are probably asking yourself, “Self, has Brent even told us why Gary Harris is the lead of this recap? And I better take a second shower since I had to poop right after my first one.”

Yeah, I hate that too! Anyway, here’s the slash:  3/36/4/3/2/0 on 14-of-17 shooting and 5-for-5 from the line.

Besides Gary “TBD” Harris, here is what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Remember Carlos Boozer? He of the lead feet on defense, yelling “HEY!” every time he missed a shot in hopes of getting a foul call? At least that’s my recollection of him during his Bulls years. He actually did play decent enough team defense to not hurt the team much while putting up 15 and 10 many nights with his no-jump fade-away rainbows. Anyway, sometime around the end of his Bulls tenure, I remember finding out that this old man on the decline was younger than me. So, I guess I couldn’t really call these NBA players that were considering retirement “old” any longer. Over the years, I’ve even embraced these guys and found that veteran players can be fantasy steals because of our ageist tendencies. And if you play in a dynasty league, they come even cheaper, of course.

Of course it’s fun to pick, trade for, and add young players right before they break out. We all want upside. But I think a lot of us don’t realize that older, boring players do have upside because of their depressed draft values. Let’s see how the NBA’s advanced age players are doing on the ESPN Player Rater compared to their Average Draft Position. I do this to hopefully show that you can win with old reliable dudes, even if they’re on the decline. You can even take this information to help you figure out who to target in trades for young, upsidey players.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Although kinda late due to the fact it’s a Wednesday column, I wish to all you Razzball readers a Happy New Year! May all your wishes come true and your fantasy teams win it all this year. Except if you play in one of the leagues I also play…. If you do, I wish a happy Second Place and a great drafting position for next year’s draft.

Imagine an extra circle above the last zero in Chuck’s glasses because I lack the Photoshop skills to put it there myself and let’s review last week’s calls. Both Ish Smith and Bismack Biyombo have been on fire since getting the starting job, with Biyombo especially returning top 25 value during these games making me very happy for the calls. They were in fact so much on fire as Vangelis Ioannou, a Greek sportcaster, suggests in the video.

Jaycee Carroll’s face says it all…I admit we Greeks are not world-renowned for our English pronunciation skills. Moving on, Jordan Bell and Willie Cauley-Stein were also productive and look to maintain their value going forward. Finally on the sell front, Jonathon Simmons has seen his usage decline and has taken a backseat to Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier, while Dirk Nowitzki was solid but I still stand by my advice to sell. Let’s take a look at this week’s candidates now…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Santa Claus is known by the names of Saint Nicholas or Kris Kringle. Rajon Rondo is known by the names of Johnny, Swag, and The Yoga Instructor (nicknames courtesy of Basketball Reference). Claus’ height and weight are classified. Rondo is 6′ 1″ 186 pounds. Claus moves around via reindeer-drawn sled. Rondo uses his own two legs to run around the court. Claus is a global icon. Rondo could be if he hired the right marketing agency. Claus and Rondo are different on so many levels, but both are some of the most generous entities that man has ever known. Claus gives gifts to children that are well-behaved and coal to the bad children. Has anyone ever figured out why Claus is so freaking generous? Like, what’s his motivation? We are taught not to accept candy from strangers, especially those that stick their heads out from a windowless van. And for good reason. The candy is the bait to lure us in. And Claus? Anyways, regardless of motivation, Claus is a generous dude. Rondo is also generous. He dishes out dimes that enable his teammates to score buckets easier. In fact, he is so generous that he had dished out 6,216 dimes, good for 31st on the all-time list, before the start of last night’s game.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 2 7 25 1 0 3 0/1 1/5 0

Make that 6,241 dimes, good for 30th on the all-time assist list. The 25 assist game was the ninth-best of all time! Scott Skiles, of all people, holds the record with a 30 assist game. Go figure. Rondo is not going to contribute much outside of assists and rebounds, but the dimes will definitely be plentiful. As for Claus vs Rondo, the edge has to go to Claus, as he has no rival and always seems to deliver. Rondo has his off nights.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?