Recently, I wrote about the per-36 numbers of this year’s rookie crop to try to figure out what we might see down the road from them if all goes well. Today, as we head into the All-Star Break, I thought it would be good to think more short term. Let’s see if this season’s per-36 (per-minute stats multiplied by 36) rankings can tell us a bit about who to target before fantasy trade deadlines. I’m looking specifically at players whose minutes can be expected to increase after the break that could be worthy of a roster spot (or at least a spot on your watch list). I’m going to use Basketball Monster’s per-36 player rater (8-category through 2/12) and pick out players, in order, who aren’t near the top of the overall rankings so that they’d come more cheaply or may even be unowned in your leagues. Now, remember that the order here is based on per-36 value, but many players down the list will likely play more minutes than many above them, so this isn’t the order in which we should value them. However, if you expect two players to play the same minutes, go with the higher ranked player. Also, very few of these guys will be sniffing 36 minutes per game, so don’t expect these numbers from any of them. They’re just to be used as a guide.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

With less than a third of the season remaining the battle for a playoff spot in the West is fiercer than ever. Utah’s latest winning streak has complicated matters even more and currently six teams are separated by just three wins.

Presumably, the Pelicans are the odd man out with DeMarcus Cousins done for the year, but anything can happen in the remaining games so I wouldn’t bet against any team. I’m very interested to see in the comments your own predictions about the final standings in the Western Conference. The commenter with the best prediction will win my eternal love, as it’s Valentine’s day today, and a Brian Scalabrine bobblehead. The last part is a lie, because if I ever get my hands on such a bobblehead I’m never giving it away….

Moving on to last week’s calls, Michael Beasley unsurprisingly took a big chunk of Kristaps Porzingis’ usage and during the last week averaged 19.7 points with 8.3 rebounds. Hope you were quick enough and scooped him off the waiver wire, as he can be a game changer for the fantasy playoffs. Josh Jackson also had a good scoring week and, if you can offset his bad percentages, is a great keep as the youth movement continues in Phoenix. Finally, Tyrone Wallace’s minutes are on a free fall and you can safely move on if you haven’t already, while Isaiah Thomas was one of the victims of Cleveland’s deadline frenzy and will close the year as a Laker. I think his outlook improves with this move, as he will try and prove he deserves the max deal he craves, but is bad news for Josh Hart’s ROS outlook. It will be interesting to see how Luke Walton tweaks his rotation when Lonzo Ball returns and if Thomas can embrace a sixth man role for the young Lakers.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

With a wife, two kids, and fantasy sports to play and write about, the videogaming has taken a back seat. Wait? Isn’t that where all the action happens? That’s when you know you are washed. Anyways, I always enjoyed fantasy drafting teams, whether it be football, basketball, and/or baseball. I’d spend hours upon hours…..who am I kidding? I’d spend months upon months drafting, playing, scouting, etc. Usually, I’d eschew the awareness categories and just focus on the physical attributes. As a Raiders fan, I probably received drafting strategy from Al Davis via osmosis: size and speed. As we all know, physical attributes are not the end all be all in the real world, though. Remember Harold Miner? Exactly. Fundamentals and IQ are important characteristics for any player, but they are often overlooked, as we always get enamored with the physical traits. Case in point, Nikola Jokic. Pre-draft scouting report from nbadraft.net. Strengths: Very high basketball IQ. Strong personality. A team player. Has a great work ethic. My favorite part was that he “doesn’t drink or smoke.” Ha! Weaknesses: An average athlete lacking great speed and leaping ability. Well, last night, Nikola messed around:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 23 13 11 0 1 1 2/5 8/15 5/6

It ain’t about how high you jump or how fast you run. It’s about understanding the game of basketball and making plays. That’s why Nikola ain’t no Jokic. And he’s only 22 years old! He is going to be such a beast.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“Champions keep playing until they get it right” (Billie Jean King)

The trade deadline offers weird results, with teams in both fantasy and reality changing rosters. The biggest moves over the past week in the RCLs involved those players that moved in real life; Larry Nance Jr., Jae Crowder, Rodney Hood, George Hill, Emmanuel Mudiay and D.J. Augustin.

I’m happy to announce the creation of a Champions League for next year, which will pit all of this year’s league winners and some Razzball writers against each other. I will keep you all informed as things progress.

 

Here is how the action went down in Week 17 across our 12 RCL Leagues:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Back in the 1960s, the Batman television show with Adam West would have POW graphics written across the screen. Although corny, they brought us back to the comic book roots and accentuated a fight scene. Or disguised the “terribly choreographed” ones. I never really thought about it like that until I came across that article, but it does make total scene. The acting and fight scenes were an abomination, but I guess that was part of the allure. Anyways, to get the bad taste out of my mouth from re-watching old clips and remembering the unfortunate state of much of my childhood, I went to the good ole YouTube search box and typed in Mike Tyson knockouts. I don’t feel so bad about my youth anymore. Now, those POWs had substance. Which brings me to Dwight Powell of the Dallas Mavericks.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
18 12 0 0 1 2 0 6/12 6/6

Got the start at center again and played 29 minutes. Since January 31st, Powell has played 29, 23, 31, 29, 31, and 28 minutes. There’s been only one game during that stretch he hasn’t started. Dirk Nowitzki did miss last night’s game, but Powell had been starting next to Dirk when he was in the lineup. With the Mavs out of contention, it only makes sense for Powell to continue getting run down the stretch. Over the past week, he’s been a top 50 player for fantasy, averaging over 15 points, 8 boards, 1 steal, 2 assists, and shooting over 70% from the field and 80% from the free throw line. Ka-POW!

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

What’s up Razzballers? Anthony Davis went absolutely nutty in a double overtime win over the Nets last night, rainbowing for 44/17/2/6/3 on 16-for-35 FG (3-for-5 3P, 9-for-14 FT) and just three TOs in almost 50 minutes. Losing DeMarcus Cousins is a big blow, in fantasy and in real life, but Davis should be able to ball out in his absence. Anyway, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I love watching National Geographic, Animal Planet, etc. Always so fascinating. Sometimes you see why many think God exists. Other times you see where the inspiration for man-made objects came from. All the shows, all the channels….everything, though, comes down to survival. One particular video that’s always etched in my brain is the one where 30 Japanese hornets kill 30,000 honey bees. Crazy. I immediately pictured that video when I saw what Kemba Walker did in Portland.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 40 1 3 4 0 3 6/11 13/26 8/8

Kemba was an All-Star last year, and his numbers are almost identical this year, so it’s only appropriate that he is filling in for Porzingis. Kemba does it all. 2.8 downtowners, 3.4 boards, 5.8 dimes, 1.1 steals, and 22.6 points. The only thing he doesn’t contribute in is blocks. That just makes him the most thick-skinned person on Twitter.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The City of Detroit has long been the s**thole of America. High crime. Low tax base. Corruption. Racial tension. Having the auto industry shut down plants and move them to other areas certainly didn’t help. One of my favorite movies of all-time, The Kentucky Fried Movie, put it best.

I remember during the housing crash, I’d log onto sites like Trulia, Zillow, and Redfin, to see the true carnage. There were places in Detroit that you could buy for under $1000. Insane. Not all was bad, though. The Pistons teams of the late-80s, early-90s brought bling and optimism. Yes, they were the Bad Boys but bad equaled good in that context. Could history be repeating itself? Since Blake Griffin was acquired by the Pistons, the team has rattled of four straight wins. His presence has been so immense that the team gets a win even when he doesn’t play. Last night, Blake went:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
21 9 6 0 0 3 3/7 9/20 0

Since arriving in Detroit, Blake is playing 36 minutes, scoring 20 points, grabbing 9.5 boards, dishing out 6 dimes, blocking 1, and stealing 0.5. It’s only been a three game sample, but things are looking on the up and up. The cheapest house that I can find on Zillow in the Detroit area for a 4bds, 1 ba, 1,777 sqft is $5,900. That’s progress.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When Blake Griffin was traded to the Detroit Pistons there were a lot of concerns. In the interest of time I will stick to just those relevant to fantasy basketball. Ok, actually that only leaves one major concern: Would Andre Drummond continue to be the rebounding machine he was prior to the arrival of the Kia-jumping, oft-injured, polarizing, human-highlight film come-again Blake Griffin?

Yes, the answer is yes. The dude is a beast. He sucks in rebounds like black holes suck in matter. And while black holes spit out gamma rays, Andre Drummond spits out sick slash lines. Forget the 3-point shooting, point-forward, stretch-four big men we are calling unicorns. The true unicorns are the old-school low-post bangers like Drummond, who even Charles Oakley would agree, could hang during any era of NBA basketball.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
23 20 1 4 4 6 0/0  11/15   1/3

Here is what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?