Iiiiitttt waaaas k-k-kiiiinnnd-uhhhv a slooooow F-f-frrrriiiiidayyyy niiiite innn thaaaa Ennn-Beeee-Aaaaa, wiithh-th ooonnnleeeee fiiiiiive gammmmess ooon the d-d-dooockkkkett …

It is difficult to write in slow motion. It’s got to be even harder to play a professional sport in slow motion. But the man they call Slo Mo [still wondering why his nickname isn’t The Sloth, since he even resembles the lovable creature], Kyle Anderson, is the enigma [another nickname possibility!] of the modern day game where stinging athleticism makes headlines. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Welcome to your midweek guidance for Week 15!  In this post, I identify widely available players who can help you win your head-to-head matchup.  Depending on who’s on your roster, this week has offered its fair share of ups and downs so far.  We witnessed the long-awaited return of Anthony Davis, Brandon Ingram, and Khris Middleton, while lamenting fresh injuries to Kristaps Porzingis, Bobby Portis, and Steven Adams.  In Adams’ case, we were left wondering who would gain the most minutes between Xavier Tillman, Santi Aldama, and Brandon Clarke.  After a promising showing on Monday, Tillman’s minutes fell off a cliff on Wednesday, as Clarke and Aldama gobbled up the lion’s share of time at the five.  Suffice it to say, that situation is still developing…

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The Magic have been everyone’s favorite fantasy outlet this season, from Bol Bol Euro-stepping into monster jams to Paolo Banchero compiling historic rookie numbers. The play of Franz Wagner has by no means been lost in all the excitement, but his games of late have been next level good. Over his last six games, he’s averaging 24 points on 55% shooting, 68.3 TS%, pitching in about 4 boards, 3 assists, a steal and 3 threes per game. 

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Welcome to your midweek guidance for Week 14!  In this post, I identify widely-available players who can help you win your head-to-head matchup.  We’re now at the point in many fantasy leagues when the playoff race and its participants are well defined.  For struggling managers, you have to adopt a more aggressive mindset that prioritizes streaming over holding long-term injuries and/or stashing guys who might benefit from a trade.  As an example, if you’re in a battle for one of your league’s final playoff spots in a tournament that starts February 27th (Week 19), there’s not much use in holding Devin Vassell when he might be ready to play after the All-Star Break.  He’ll hurt you in the interim by occupying a valuable IL slot, and will likely miss games even after he returns as the Spurs adopt a cautious (tanking) mindset.  I’ll give one more example: Isaiah Jackson.  Is it worth holding him just in case Myles Turner gets traded if you’re taking L’s in the meantime?  Probably not.  Time to move on and free up that spot for guys that can help you right now.

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Not that there was anything else much to talk about with the normal slate of games, but even on a night with a full schedule of matchups, Donovan Mitchell’s career-high 71 points in a comeback win against the Bulls would have probably taken the lede no matter what. Unless of course someone with the name that rhymes with Buka Fonkitch did something like his normal self. But enough about Harry Potter characters, Mitchell just didn’t create a loathing from Chicago fans. Nope. His 71/8/11 night also created so much self-loathing in Minnesota and Utah that they actually might raise up, the dozen or so of them, and actually, well, I don’t know what they’d do to be honest. I guess throw bad midwestern accents and Mormons at the rest of the world. I’m sure that’s a metaphor for something. Regardless, while Mitchell will have some hype follow him, don’t forget that, while a good basketball player, he’s still just a scorer. A scorer that the T-Wolves should have traded for instead and a scorer that the Jazz should have built around, sure. But for now, the Cavaliers have the spotlight in Cleveland, and whatever takes away from the eternal dumpster fire (now with added gasoline for obvious reason) from the Browns, well, something-something goose-goose and the gander. My homies in the Midwest know what’s up. Maybe? Here’s what else I saw during last night’s games…

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Or at least the front offices of the Association are. I just want the regular Winter Wonderland. You know, the one that comes with snow? Now, I know the weather, I see the report, and a large swath of the country is due to be beat down by climate change at the end of the week, but not I. Nope, just rain. And more rain. I lived in Seattle folks, why am I here with the rain? But who cares, because we have the Raptors (Rapture? harhar) to talk about and it’s not looking good. Toronto has now lost six in a row and nine of their last 11. Of course, the reactionaries are ready to tear this team down and reset, especially since one of those losses was against the Magic (Apologies Orlando). There are theories out there that the Raptors should go the opposite direction and shed assets for a star to line up with Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes, but I’m not sure what assets they have. While I personally think its too early to have such thoughts, even after coming off a loss where aforementioned Siakam went HAM against the Sixers with 38 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists in 47 minutes. Then again, can you imagine the Mavericks with Siakam? Scary. Almost as scary as Siakam and Fred VanVleet having a good game together! Here’s what else I saw during last night’s slate of games:

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In this life, do-overs are rare. The opportunity to go back and change the mistakes of the past is reserved for science fiction plots or melancholy discussions over a pint in dimly-lit watering holes. But over this last week, I was presented with an opportunity to do just that – to go back with the knowledge of hindsight and fix where I failed, to atone, to set things right. I had screwed up once and now I was gifted a second chance. Please, I told myself, don’t blow it again. 

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I was prepared to lead this Friday Night Recap with a fancy take on Aaron Gordon, but King James had other plans. With Anthony Davis sitting the second half with a bum foot in the Lakers-Nuggets game, Denver had a double-digit third quarter lead and were cruising to a road win. Then LeBron James stepped into the center spot and ran circles around Nikola Jokic and friends, finishing with 30 points (13-20 FG, 1-4 3pt, 3-4 FT), 9 boards, 4 dimes and 2 steals along with a +26 in the 126-108 victory.

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Now that Thanksgiving is over and done with, I feel I can now safely state what I’m not thankful for. Balance in all things! And you know, I’m totally willing to accept that I bring this on myself, but I tend to get all the lame headlines this season heading into the NBA midweek. A roller coaster ride, as we’ve held the funeral for Kawhi Leonard’s career (a roller coaster in of itself), we’ve dealt with Ben Simmon’s fear of approaching the basketball rim in any shape and form. We’ve, of course, seen the drama of Kyrie Irving (and others, yikes) and we even missed the resurrection of Wilt Chamberlain in the form of Ivica Zubac and 29 rebounds… you’d think it’s timed that I miss all the fun things and have to talk about all the dumb things. But the one shining light has been the consistent and amazing play from Tyrese Haliburton. Coming off a nail-biting 116-115 win against the Lakers, it was Haliburton’s third straight game of 10+ assists with 0 turnovers, and in his last three games, has 30 assists and no turnovers. To insulate myself, I hereby declare Tuesday “Tyreseday” in hopes I can just talk about him the rest of the season. Just please, I don’t want to talk about Kyrie anymore…  Here’s what else I saw during last night’s games:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

You can’t win a championship at the beginning of a season, but you can lose one. Much as it pains me to say, I think I’ve already lost.

After a successful Writer’s League last year that ended against Kostas in the semifinal and a pretty intensive offseason of thinking about hoops, I came into this year’s draft feeling like I was in decent shape to post a good showing again. But this year ain’t last year. Stats and success don’t carry over, and if you’re resting on laurels rather than applying lessons learned, there’s no way to bank Ws on account of “experience.” If you’ve been following Kelder’s weekly recaps, you might have noticed that my team isn’t anywhere in the mix. Indeed, you’ve got to scroll almost the way to the bottom of the table to see my name. A record of 19-34-1 is good enough for 11th and I feel all but certain the hole that I’ve put myself in is going to be too deep to recover from. I’m not quite ready to quit on some other struggling squads, but I think it’s safe to let go of preseason expectations at this point and set a different goal for the remaining three-quarters of the season here in the Writer’s League.

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I’m pretty sure Ivica Zubac doesn’t have a pocket full of rocks. He’s definitely not skinny and likely has never gotten his ass kicked. He was probably doing the ass kicking. He’s not smoking blunts but has made millions without having to cut a quarter ounce. That said, if Zubac wants to continue making millions, he’s gotta keep dealing and ballin’. And ballin’ he did as no one can take Sunday’s game away from young Z:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
31 29 3 0 3 5 0 14/17 3/3

Holy schiztnitz. It was a White Man’s World. The only other player who has put up a 30-point, 29-rebound, 3-assist, and 3-block game was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar back in 1978 when he went for 37 points, 30 rebounds, 5 assists, and 6 blocks! As a Lakers fan, it makes me sad that the Lakers traded him away. And to the Clippers no less for Mike Muscala. And by Jerry West, who is the greatest general manager in the history of the game and ended up consulting for the Clippers.

“The Clippers, sources said, never even called the Lakers to inquire about Zubac. The Lakers made the offer and the Clippers gladly accepted. Sources said that those at the dinner table shared a hearty laugh at the Lakers’ expense.”

Excuse me as I go perform seppuku for the eighth time in my life. I guess I’ll find out soon if I’m a cat or not.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

Please, blog, may I have some more?