“You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get.” (Michael Phelps)

 

Trees don’t grow to the sky, but James Harden has made me rethink that statement. The last two weeks, he’s averaging 34.9 points, 5.3 3pts, 10.9 assists, and 2.0 steals, an unreal line and the number one spot in fantasy.

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A capella music is singing without instrumental accompaniment. According to choraldirectormag.com, here’s what’s needed to create an a capella group: soloist, great bass, original music, time together, and momentum. That basically describes the Houston Rockets. Let’s break it down. Mike D’Antoni doesn’t micromanage possessions like some coaches. Things flow naturally. Soloist. James Harden. Great bass, the voice that’s low and powerful. Clint Capela fills that role by battling down low and doing the dirty work on the glass. Original music. Mike D’Antoni’s “Seven Seconds or Less” offense from the Phoenix days combined with the analytics of Daryl Morey equals “Game the Math.” Time together. Self explanatory. Momentum. The Rockets offense in a nutshell. Yesterday’s game against the Indiana Pacers was a microcosm of the synergy they’ve displayed all season enroute to an 11-3 record, with six victories in a row. Harden led the way with 26 points, five boards, 15 dimes, and two steals. Capela provided the base with 20 points, 17 boards, one dime, and one block. Eric Gordon filled his gunner role by hoisting up 11 downtowners. He finished with 21 points, one board, four dimes, two steals, and one block. If this was college, you’d think he was trying to get laid. Trevor Ariza scored 15 points, grabbed five boards, dished out a dime, and pilfered two. He’s Mr. Versatility. Can hit the high, low, and middle notes. Luc Mbah a Moute and P.J. Tucker provide toughness while still being an offensive threat. It’s going to be interesting when Chris Paul returns to the fray.

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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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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 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.

And now for Week 3:

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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 tj warrenImage result for bradley beal

Please click THIS. Now listen and let the beat percolate. Do what you do when you get down. Now read this:

It was a twelve-game slate, in the NBA
TJ Warren in DC, had himself a game
He hoisted 22 shots, and made 16
Just droppin’ a 40 burger, like it was no thing

But Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards
Was not going to let number 12 steal his thunder
So he launched 25 shots with no regard for life
And you know what happened next? The 40 burger was matched

Ok, I won’t ruin the song anymore than I need to. Warren also grabbed 10 boards, dished out one dime, pilfered one, and blocked two. This is what I wrote two days ago: The range of outcomes is so huge with Warren. He can play 39 minutes, score 20 points, and stuff the stat sheet OR get 24 minutes of run and shoot 1-for-6 from the field. Enjoy the ride. Man, it’s kind of cool quoting myself. Anyways, Beal grabbed six boards and dished out two dimes as a side dish for his burger. The Stocktonator liked him last night. Speaking of the Stocktonator….

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Image result for arvydas sabonis domantas sabonis

Domantas Sabonis had a tough rookie season. He averaged 5.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1 assist, 0.5 steals, and 0.4 blocks in 20.1 minutes per game. The NBA was a lot different than playing the Santa Claras and Pepperdines night in and night out. He needed a break, so he called up pops after the season ended. “Tetis, let’s take a trip somewhere this summer. You good for Fourth of July weekend?” Arvydas replied, “Taip, good idea. It’s been a long time since we went to Gotland. I’ll make the arrangements.” After spending five days lounging at the beach and drinking quarts of beer, Arvydas decided that he wanted to check out some of the old castles littered around the country. “Domantas, you want to join me?” “No thanks,” was the reply. “I just want to relax on the beach.” So off Arvydas went to visit Lojsta Castle, where he wandered aimlessly until he saw a tent with a woman sitting inside. “Come in, come in” she said. Intrigued, Arvydas sat down and marveled at how the tent was able to accomodate his massive frame. “What would you give to be able to play in the NBA again?” she asked. As a man that never got flustered, Arvydas looked her straight in the eyes and replied, “My soul.” On July 6, 2017, Domantas Sabonis and Victor Oladipo were traded to Indiana for Paul George. Is it a coincidence that Bill Walton once said that “he had the skills of Larry Bird?” I think not. Last night, Arvydas…I mean Domantas scored 12 points, grabbed 16 boards, and dished out five dimes in 25 minutes. If the game wasn’t such a blowout, he would’ve put up more numbers. Sabonis has grabbed at least 10 boards in each of the past five games and scored in double-digits in four. He’s also had two games with at least five assists. Remember that stat line from his rookie year? Well, so far, granted in a super small sample size of six games, he’s averaging 13 points, 10.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.3 steals, and 0.5 blocks in 25.8 minutes. Arvydas lives! Now, Myles Turner should be returning soon so Sabonis should cede minutes. But, but, but….he’s likely sewed up the backup center spot and could play alongside Myles at times to give the Pacers an interesting frontcourt combo. What if Arvydas and Domantas really did switch bodies?

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A commissioner is a powerful person. They are elected to oversee or regulate an entire entity. I’ve always fronted on them, though. As a little kid, I always thought Commissioner Gordon from the Batman comics was a little [email protected]#ch. Always running to the rooftop to send the Bat Signal when a problem arose in Gotham City. I always likened it to a little kid running home and screaming, “Moommmmmmy….” Then, my metabolism started to slow down, I began to grow sideways instead of vertically, and my mind no longer viewed the world through pure lenses. Roger Goodell showed that a commissioner is often just an employee. A puppet so to speak. But last night, the NBA’s Commissioner Gordon (Aaron Gordon) brought everything together for me. A commissioner is not a [email protected]#ch. Jim Gordon may have summoned the Batman via searchlight, but he did deputize the Batman making him the [email protected]#ch. A commissioner is not a puppet. Roger Goodell proved that when he pulled a Brutus and stabbed Robert Kraft in the back and went after the NFL’s Golden Boy. A commissioner is a boss and Aaron Gordon proved that as he scored 41 points, grabbed 14 boards, and dished out two dimes on 14-for-18 shooting (5-for-5 from three-land). He’s such a boss that he doesn’t need a searchlight to transpose his symbol in the air. He just jumps.

Image result for best aaron gordon dunks

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