Being in the middle is…..

Bad for a sports team, as perpetual mediocrity permeates. No chance at the trophy and no possibility to draft a franchise-changing player. Bad if you are a piece of lettuce or meat between two slices of bread. I guess everything in that situation sucks as they all get eaten. Bad if you’re an avid surfer that lives in Nebraska. There’s good, though. You ain’t poor. Malcolm did alright. You’ll never be first or last. In the NBA, being a part of the bourgeoisie is great. You’re not the worst of the 1% of the ballers on the planet. But, imagine if you are a part of the 1% of the 1%? Kyrie Irving doesn’t have to imagine because he’s living the dream. Yesterday, he went:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 40 7 5 0 1 1 5/7 14/23 7/8

The Celtics lost to the Magic, 103-95. That should’ve been grounds for automatic disqualification from being the lede, but….a 40-burger is a 40-burger. You drop one of those and you’re always going to be a contender. Now, it’s felt like Kyrie has been a relatively quiet member of the fantasy elite, as he hasn’t been messing around or going nuts on a nightly basis. He’s the 14th player for fantasy and his numbers are almost identical to last year. Imagine if he was on a shitty team that didn’t play any defense?

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

According to our good friends at Wikipedia, the word leprechaun is thought to come from “the Old Irish luchorpan, a compound of the roots lu (small) and corp (body). Looks at depth chart for the Boston Celtics. Nods head. Looks at mascot for the Boston Celtics. Nods head. The glove fits. Looks at OJ nodding his head vociferously from side to side. So, this iteration of the Celtics is perfect for the new-age positionless basketball, but it’s one that makes Celtics old timers cringe. Bill Walton. Dave Cowens. Robert Parish. Bill Russell. All big men that brought the pot of gold to Boston. Now, the 2017 Celtics are 34-12, the second-best record in all of basketball. Brad Stevens for President! But, a huge glaring weakness is facing off against dominant big men. Over the past two weeks, Anthony Davis went 45/16. Karl-Anthony Towns went 25/23. Even Tristan Thompson went 10/11. Tristan Thompson people! Which brings me to Joel Embiid. Last night, Embiid went:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 26 16 6 1 2 4 0/1 10/19 6/7

He was a true Sixer: 6 free throws made. 6 assists. 16 boards. 26 points. Nods head vociferously like OJ. Ok, back to reality. You don’t need me to tell you that Embiid is awesome. What would be of interest, though, is that the 76ers may allow Embiid to play in back-to-back games. He’s a top 25 player for fantasy right now. If he starts getting full run, that might get OJ to nod his head vociferously up and down.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday was Martin Luther King day. It’s a day that many take for granted. Many focus on the fact that there’s basketball all day or that there’s no school or work or something about someone having a dream. MLK day is about celebrating the greatness of a man. Who called out the establishment. Who stood up for the rights of the oppressed. Who wanted to “transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.” The King was truly a great man, which brings me to the King of the NBA, LeBron James. Last night, the LeBrons faced off against the Warriors and lost 118-108. In defeat, James went:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 32 8 6 3 4 8 0/2 12/18 8/13

I almost did not make him the lede for this post. There were players that scored more points. There were players that collected double-dubs. There were multiple players who almost messed around. There were players that led their team to victory. I almost overlooked LeBron, but then I came to my senses. Look at that line! It’s freaking amazing. Ok, the turnovers aren’t great but I said he’s a King, not God. Anyways, sometimes we don’t truly appreciate the greatness of LeBron. We hold him to such a high standard that we expect more. The crazy thing is that “more” is usually attainable. Think about that. Anyways, it’s only appropriate that I made the King of the NBA the lede for a post on the day after Martin Luther King day. Both are great, yet both are underappreciated at times. Let’s never forget either.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As you are reading this, men around the world are patiently waiting for their more classic facial hair looks (beards, mustaches, etc.) to come into being. These men, and some ladies, have bought their ticket to ride the raucous, risky, and really ridiculous rollercoaster of emotions and doubt that is growing out your beard.

Not Anthony Davis though. Davis walks a different path: a path where down is up and left is right and birds walk and pigs fly. Davis has been chosen by a higher power to take the journey of the Uni-Brow.

The life of “The Brow” can be a difficult one. Despite being 7-feet tall and stupid rich, The Brow can have a difficult time getting dates. You see, women just do not understand The Brow. In fact, many men do not understand The Brow. The Brow not only makes social interactions even more awkward, but it also affects the individual’s ability to stay healthy. As the eyebrows (which evolved to be separate for a reason) come together, a complex series of chemical interactions take place within the body of The Brow leading to more brittle bones, a strange desire to land on objects around the basketball hoop, and an inability to heal quickly and properly.

However, despite all of the negatives, The Brow is still one of the most dominant basketball players of his generation. We may never fully understand The Brow, but we can all understand this juicy slash: 2/48/17/0/4/3. The Brow led his Pelicans to a big win over the Knicks in overtime, showing that we are all capable of overcoming our flaws and rising to the occasion.

Here is what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Does anyone even remember the Wiz? I don’t know if I’ve ever set foot in one before they went out of business. Bismack Biyombo got busy last night against the Wizards, but it still wasn’t enough to get the win. He might have won you some DFS tourneys last night though, as he went 21-13-4-1-2-0 on 8-of-9 FGs and 5-of-6 FTs, and in season long leagues, he definitely helped your percentages. With Nikola Vucevic still out with a hand injury, you can enjoy at least a few more games of Biyombo starting. If you can sell-high, handle that Bis-ness. If no one’s biting, then mind your own Bis-ness.  Either way, he’s mostly a short-term asset.

Moving right along, here’s what else went down Friday night in Fantasy Hoops:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Somehow, we’re already halfway through the NBA season. You know your team(s). The only major unknowns left are who else will get hurt, who will get shut down, and who will get a big value increase due to those injuries and the shutting down of said teammates. Aside from trying to grab some young guys that might get some extra run down the stretch, what else can you do to increase your odds of winning at this point? Well, staying active and streaming hot players will work wonders. But beyond that, I suggest checking out your team’s standing in each of what I’ll call the forgotten stats. Even the most astute fantasy player is going to be drawn to points, rebounds, assists, and threes out of habit and because of the way that we’re most often presented with stats.

I’m going to update you on the leaders in the boring and unsexy categories of field goal percentage, free throw percentage, steals, and blocks (in addition to FG% + FT% and steals + blocks). I’m sure some of you might be much more focused on the % categories than I just mentioned, but I think most players treat them as an afterthought. So, since others are more likely to ignore these forgotten stats, take advantage of that and focus on them if you can stand to gain points there. I think you’ll find that these categories are often led by some lesser names that can be had more cheaply than the points/rebounds/assists stars. Many are even available in most leagues.

Here are your most effective players in order of Basketball Monster’s per-game values (percentages are weighted) by category or combined categories through 1/9.

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?

What’s up Razzball Nation! Welcome back to another edition of Any Given Saturday. I just feel like I haven’t talked about LeBron James enough. The man just turned 33 and is putting up MVP numbers. Hell, with James Harden injured, LeBron is probably the frontrunner. This season he’s putting up career-highs in assists, 3PM, FT%, and he’s even putting up 1.0 blocks, the most since his first Cleveland stint. He was built in a Nike laboratory to be the perfect basketball specimen. Anyway, against the lowly Magic on Sunday, LeBron messed around and almost got a quadruple-double, going for 33/10/9/6/1 on 12-for-23 FG (4-for-7 3P, 5-for-7 FT) with three turnovers. His usage might go down with the return of Isaiah Thomas, but it’s not like Kyrie Irving dug into LeBron’s stats in previous years. LeBron might even average more assists and be more efficient with IT in the fold. Good lord. Anyway, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

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?

First things first. Happy New Year to everyone! For myself, long gone are the days of trying to time orgasms with my wife at the stroke of midnight. Now, the orgasm comes from getting the kids to sleep. There’s no mess or slipping one by the goalie! Anyways, I hope you all had a good holiday season and are ready to usher in 2018. Wishing you all prosperity for the new year. With all that said, let’s get it on!

I flew to the Wrong Coast for the holidays. To this day, it still boggles my mind that we are able to fly in the air. Keep in mind, that I still can’t fully comprehend how a bunch of 0’s and 1’s allow me to do what I’m doing right now. So, flying to outer space? Fugget about it. I even watched a ton of Robotech as a kid and still….As a result, whenever I hear or read about the Apollo 13 mission, my brain pretty much explodes. A spacecraft was launched back in 1970! To fly to the moon! But a few days after launch, there was an explosion that crippled the craft, which prompted the “Uh, Houston, we’ve had a problem.” Only by channeling their inner MacGyver, were the crew and craft able to return safely to Earth. James Harden of the Houston Rockets boggles my mind. He mesmerizes defenders with his dribble like what snakes do with their prey, and always gets them to reach so he can blow by them. His step back J allows him to get his shot up over any defender. Last night in a double overtime game against the Lakers, Harden went:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
40 2 11 2 2 1 3/8 10/20 17/21
Mind boggled. But….”Uh, Houston, we’ve had a problem.” Harden left the game in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury. Ruh oh. We will have to keep an eye on the situation, like “CSI at scene” eye. Chris Paul should see a massive uptick in usage, while Eric Gordon and newly acquired Gerald Green should both see more minutes.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?