Michael Porter Jr. was one of the top overall recruits in high school. At 6′ 10″ and 218 pounds, he was literally a giant amongst boys. Unlike most big men, though, he did most of his damage from the perimeter. He possessed both the handles and jump shot of a guard. With his height and athleticism, he would rise up over any challenger and drain shots from all over the court. Because of the stupid rule that forces players to showcase their talents in college for one year before entering the NBA, MPJ eventually decided to play for Missouri. Unfortunately, he injured his back and underwent surgery, forcing him to miss most of the season. As a result, he fell in the NBA draft before the Denver Nuggets selected him with the 14th overall pick. Back injuries are tricky, and the Nuggets selected MPJ for the long game, so the process was going to be a slow and tedious one. For the first 31 games of the season, MPJ played in 22 of them and averaged 9 minutes per game. Then, on December 29th, he received his first start and did what he do, which is score, score, and score some more. He scored 19 points, grabbed 6 boards, and dished out 1 dime in 26 minutes. The Nuggets were short-handed that game, so I dismissed it as a one-off thing, but it looks as if the genie may be out of the bottle. Last night….

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
25 5 1 0 0 1 2/3 11/12 1/2

In 23 minutes off the bench. He posted up smaller defenders, broke down bigs on the perimeter, showcased the Harden-esque step-back J, and attacked the rim on closeouts with dexterity. Over the past four games, he’s been a top 60 player for fantasy, despite averaging only 19.6 minutes. Now, before we go crowning his ass, MPJ is not going to shoot 74% from the field, which is what he’s done over the past four games. When that happens, the points will obviously go down, which will be an issue because most of his fantasy value is derived from scoring. He may be a hero right now, but he’s a zero in the defensive stats and dimes. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what’s never a zero, and always a hero? The Stocktonator. In addition, his real-life defense isn’t great, which could be an issue regarding playing time because the Nuggets are legitimate contenders this season. I’ve added MPJ in every league where he was available, as the scoring upside is immense, and there’s always that small percentage chance that he could be the greatest thing since….most people go with sliced bread. I get it but not really. How about the internet? Nike Airs? Deodorant? I’m going with the Apple Pan banana cream pie. For those in LA, you know. For the unfortunate, you know what to do if you ever go to LA. Anyways, I’m not expecting much from MPJ to be honest, but willing to see where it leads.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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There are few things in life that get me hard and excited. Let’s see, all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ, 9-0 h2h victory for fantasy, PornHub, and watching the LeBron/AD pick-and-roll. I have to add James Harden to the list. I try not to write up the same player for the lede, but Harden is a freaking basketball savant and could be one of the best one-on-one players of all time. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what’s also an all-timer? The Stocktonator. The jumper from downtown is so pure that Skunk Works is reverse engineering it. The handles have caused many of sleepless nights for Ricky Jay. He’s also 6′ 5″ 220 pounds, so he can stampede to the rim against smaller players and big men have no chance on the perimeter, as he just makes them dance. Last night was yet another example of his brilliance:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
55 3 8 2 2 6 10/18 20/34 5/5

This was Harden’s 22nd career game scoring at least 50 points, which is good for fourth all time. Kobe Bryant had 25 while Michael Jordan had 31. Laughably, Wilt Chamberlain posted 118 50-point games!! LOL. Anyways, Harden is the numero uno player for fantasy on the season. He’s AVERAGING 37.9 minutes, 38.7 points, 4.9 tres, 5.9 boards, 7.5 dimes, 2 steals, and is shooting 88% from the line on 14 attempts! The turnovers are sky-high at 5 per game, but the production is so bountiful in the other categories that it is but a fly on the windshield. Are you not Harden excited?

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Potential, Potential, Potential

Potential is enticing, if fickle. Potential is a first date. A 0-0 count in the top of the first. Potential is a stray glance or wink, a few perfectly volleyed bits of of banter between two people soon to be lovers. Potential is the essay before its written, the hazy four-line outline in the mind. Potential is the moment before the moment, where dream and reality meet, if only for an instant.

Potential is not, however, negative capability, as Keats described it: “I mean Negative Capability, that is when man ‘or woman’ is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without, any irritable reaching after fact or reason.” Potential implies a payoff, a return on investment. The hung curveball must be sent screaming to the seats. The alley must be ooped. The first date must lead to a second.

In the poem, the reward is the exploration of uncertainty itself. In fantasy sports, that irritable reaching after fact or reason is all we know. With that in mind, here are some players who’ve been blessed with the wicked kiss of potential.

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It took 171 games, over two seasons, and 5800 minutes played, but Ben Simmons finally did it. He drained his first tres.

I know you have doubts, but tape don’t lie….

The fact that I’m making Simmons the lede for making a tres is sad, but what’s worse is that it took him 171 games, two seasons, and 5800 minutes! Now, let’s not forget that on this historic and momentous night, Simmons actually played a great overall game:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
18 7 13 1 1 1 1/1 7/9 3/4

In a whopping 42 minutes! Yes, it was against the Knicks but whatever. Production is production. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what always provides the production? The Stocktonator. For fantasy, Simmons is such an interesting player because he leads you down the punt one, punt two, punt three category strategy (tres, ft%, and turnovers). But, but, but….he has nightly “mess around” potential and will get his block and steal on. On the season, he’s a top 40 player despite his shortcomings.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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I’ve been watching Curb Your Enthusiasm lately. I know, I know. I’m like 20 years late but keep in mind that I finally watched (and absolutely loved) The Wire last year. Anyways, I just saw an episode of Curb in which a kid does a card trick for Larry David. Larry is impressed and asks the kid to tell him how he did it. The kid responds that he can’t because a magician never reveals his secrets. Well, Larry then asks how he learned the trick and the kid responds that a magician taught him the trick. Larry looks at him and tells him that when the magician taught him the trick that he was not a magician, so if he wasn’t a magician when he learned the trick, then he could tell Larry how the trick was performed. The kid responds that he’s a natural magician and that Larry is not. Ha! I love that show. Anyways, not all magic tricks are hidden secrets. Domantas Sabonis made the Magic disappear last night, as the Pacers defeated the Magic 109-102. How?

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
21 16 7 1 1 2 0/2 9/18 3/4

On the season, Sabonis is a top 25 player, as he’s averaging a whopping 35.6 minutes, 20 points, 13 boards, and 4.1 dimes. The percentages are excellent as well (52% from the field and 85% from the free throw line). Now, Myles Turner missed his fourth game in a row, so that’s been a boon for his short term production. The usage rate has fluctuated all over the map, but the assist and rebound percentages are significantly higher without Myles on the court. Makes sense. When Myles returns, Sabonis will likely return to being a top 50-60 player. It’s not smoke and mirrors that he’s a top 25 player, though. He is legit, but he’s not going to be the lone ranger all season long. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what’s not smoke and mirrors and is straight legit? The Stocktonator.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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The NBA is a heart-stopping, fist-pumping, high-fiving, chemical-imbalance-inducing procreator of basketball nirvana. The squeak of the shoes, talk of the trash, swish of the nets, and thunder of dunks fill our ears with melodic harmony. We gawk at the freakishness of the giants who jump like fleas and midgets who careen around defenders like a cheetah about to catch lunch. We mental masturbate over pick-and-rolls, alley-oops, Euro-steps, and ICE defense. Bascially, the NBA is faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnntastic! Now, what happens when you combine the NBA with MMA? You get elbowing, pushing, eye gouging, headlocks, and submissions…..which is exactly what happened last night in, coincidentally, the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia. Karl-Anthony Towns (meow) and Joel Embiid got tangled up, started shoving each other, then went sumo style to the ground. Benches emptied, players sprinted, and Ben Simmons ended up with the fatality….

I don’t condone violence, but it’s refreshing to see things actually going down; instead of the “hold me back” shenanigans. Anyways, both KAT and Embiid were ejected and will likely get some sort of suspension. Ben Simmons as well. Probably a bunch of other players for leaving the bench. The main thing I took away from the whole fracas, though, was that KAT is truly a different animal this season. Not only has he taken his game to the next level, but he’s showing that he has some…..dog in him.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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After an animal or person dies, the joints of the body stiffen. Did you know that death is the number one killer in this country? If you know what movie that’s from, then we are kindred spirits. Anyways, this stiffened state of the body is called rigor mortis, and lasts around three days. Last night, the Chicago Bulls were dealt a fatality by the New York Knicks, 105-98. A big reason why was due to the play of Bobby Portis, who put up a line of:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
28 11 2 0 2 0 4/4 10/14 4/5

Portis did this in 30 minutes off the bench and is responsible for the Bulls experiencing Rigor Portis. Good thing the effects last only three days because they play the Cavs in two days (a game they should win while deceased) and then the following game isn’t until Friday. Now, we often hear about the revenge narrative in sports. It’s mainly cockamamie, but if there’s one sport where it could be feasible, it’s basketball. Portis was drafted by the Bulls with the 22nd overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft. After four years with the team, he was traded to the Washington Wizards, then signed with the Knicks over the summer. So…..REVENGE! Ha! I kid, I kid. From a fantasy perspective, Portis can provide points, boards, and tres, but the minutes and production will be inconsistent.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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There have been 59 players in the history of the NBA who have scored 50 points in a game more than once. Laughably, Wilt Chamberlain produced a 50-burger 118 times. For perspective, Michael Jordan is second on the all-time list, and he was “only” able to do it 31 times. Only nine players have accomplished the feat at least 10 times. What I’m trying to say is that scoring fifty points in a game is freaking hard and few are able to do it. You know who knew, though? The Stocktonator, as it had Kyrie as the #3 player last night. Entering last night’s game, Kyrie Irving had accomplished the feat two times.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
50 8 7 0 1 0 7/14 17/33 9/10

Make that three now. When a player drops a 50-burger, the world is truly his. Look, it’s an auto intro in my daily recaps. Now, since the world is Kyrie’s, if he says the world is flat, then the world is flat. Do you think it’s a coincidence that the 50-burger was dropped on the corner of FLATbush Avenue and Atlantic Ave inside the Barclays Center? Me thinks not. But then I remembered something about history, in that it is written by the victors. Despite Kyrie’s heroics, the Nets fell to the Timberwolves in OT, 127-126. You round Earthers live to fight another day.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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After being in the playoff hunt for a nice portion of the season, the final stretch saw the Magic pull ahead and make a playoff appearance. As a result, the Hornets slowly shifted to the youth movement, seeing their young core get meaningful minutes. Franchise cornerstone, Kemba Walker, moved on to greener pastures, literally and figuratively, and will be running the show in Boston. Jeremy Lamb will assume an important role for the revamped Pacers. The Hornets will be infused with youth and will likely be bottom feeders, but the fantasy landscape is bright.

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Who came up with the names for the forward positions? There’s small and power. Why didn’t they go small and big? Or weak and power? Maybe there was a power struggle within the name manufacturing plant and small/power was the compromise to appease all parties. Politics, man. Anyways, you will find some of the best two-way players in the league here. There are also 3-and-D, 3-without-the-D, and D-without-the-3 players. Enjoy!

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