Whatâ€™s up Razzball Nation! Welcome back to another edition of Any Given Saturday. I just feel like I havenâ€™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 heâ€™s putting up career-highs in assists, 3PM, FT%, and heâ€™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 ofÂ Isaiah Thomas, but itâ€™s not like Kyrie Irving dug into LeBronâ€™s stats in previous years. LeBron might even average more assists and be more efficient with IT in the fold. Good lord. Anyway, hereâ€™s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Remember Carlos Boozer? He of the lead feet on defense, yelling “HEY!” every time he missed a shot in hopes of getting a foul call? At least that’s my recollection of him during his Bulls years. He actually did play decent enough team defense to not hurt the team much while putting up 15 and 10 many nights with his no-jump fade-away rainbows. Anyway, sometime around the end of his Bulls tenure, I remember finding out that this old man on the decline was younger than me. So, I guess I couldn’t really call these NBA players that were considering retirement “old” any longer. Over the years, I’ve even embraced these guys and found that veteran players can be fantasy steals because of our ageist tendencies. And if you play in a dynasty league, they come even cheaper, of course.
Of course it’s fun to pick, trade for, and add young players right before they break out. We all want upside. But I think a lot of us don’t realize that older, boring players do have upside because of their depressed draft values. Let’s see how the NBA’s advanced age players are doing on the ESPN Player Rater compared to their Average Draft Position. I do this to hopefully show that you can win with old reliable dudes, even if they’re on the decline. You can even take this information to help you figure out who to target in trades for young, upsidey players.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Good morrow to thee, neighbours! It was a fun night for hoops, especially if youâ€™re a fan of mediocre basketball teams! The Atlanta Hawks scraped by the previously decent Orlando Magic and what a matchup it was! A special shoutout goes to Ersan Ilyasova who went for 26/3/4 on a perfect 9-for-9 FG with five threes, 3-for-5 FT. and no turnovers. It was a pretty spectacular game for Ersan. With Dewayne Dedmon and John Collins (and Mike Muscala) all missing from the Hawksâ€™ frontcourt, thereâ€™s minutes to go around and Ilyasova is definitely the man in line to take them. Hereâ€™s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
I try not to use the same player twice as the lede for this post. You’d think with over 300 players in the NBA, that wouldn’t be a problem. Unfortunately, teams do not play every day and most of the players are not worthy. Sure, I could write up Nik Stauskas and how he didn’t score, rebound, assist, steal, or block in eight minutes of run. I could go into detail how he turned the ball over twice and picked up a personal foul, but even Momma Stauskas would be like, “I had to pause the curling match for this crap?” So, as much as I try not to use the same player for the lede, sometimes a performance is just too good. Last Wednesday, Devin BookerÂ was The Razzballer after he dropped 33 points on the hapless Bulls. That was nothing compared to what he did to the Philadelphia 76ers:
Booker started the game shooting 1-for-8. So, according to my handy dandy desktop abacus, he shot .666 the rest of the way. Ahhhh, the Devil lives!
Once upon a time I was falling in love
But now I’m only falling apart
And there’s nothing I can do
A Joel eclipse of the heart
Good morning/afternoon/night sports fans. Welcome back to another special edition of the Saturday Daily Notes presented by Razzball. We had a bit of a rivalry game (I guess?) between the Pistons and the 76ers last night, with Andre Drummond and Joel Embiid jawing at each other over social media then battling it out on the court.Â Drummond had a great game going for 14/11/6/5/1 on 4-for-8 FG and 6-for-8 FT and only one turnover, but Embiid had 25/10/0/1 with six turnovers on 7-for-21 FG and 11-for-12 FT along with the all-important win. It was a battle between two of the gameâ€™s best centers and hopefully a matchup weâ€™ll be seeing many times going forward. Anyway, hereâ€™s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:
Oh yes. Kemba was top shelf last night. 5-47-6-5-0-0-1. Took a lot of shots, no pun intended. 27 was the final tally, but he was hitting them (17 FGM). Kemba has been just a tiny bit of a letdown to start the year, but this game puts him right back on track. It wasnâ€™t enough to beat the powerhouse Chicago Bulls though, as they fell 123-120 and dropped to 5-9 on the season. Man, the East is not goodâ€¦The Knicks might make the playoffs! There were a lot of games last night, so Iâ€™ll try to touch on the most important/interesting stat lines. Anywho, hereâ€™s what went down on Friday in the NBA:Please, blog, may I have some more?
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:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Whatâ€™s up Razzballers? I have the pleasure of taking over the Saturday Daily Notes going forward. A little about myself: Iâ€™m 22, Iâ€™m Canadian, I like long walks on the beach, I cannot feel pain, and Iâ€™ve defeated a man of every race in formal combat. A medical doctor and two priests have written and signed a document confirming that I have no soul. But you didnâ€™t come here to read about me, you came to read about sports! So let’s get into it. Hereâ€™s what I saw yesterday in fantasy basketball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Man, you guys don’t even know. There’s been a mob outside my house every night for the past two weeks carrying tiki torches and screaming, “We want the Top 200 with stats!” Or at least I think that’s what they were saying. Anyways, big shout out to Rudy who waved his magic wand and created the beautiful looking spreadsheet below. It even sorts. Here is Rudy in his lab:
Please, blog, may I have some more?
FIVE… DAYS. The NBA “offseason” has kept us almost constantly entertained with a loaded draft, free agency rumors, the best summer league ever, and multiple superstar trades. But, it’s time for some real, official action. And by that, I mean actual stats that count in our fantasy leagues, of course. This season, more than any other, I’m just a huge fan of the entire NBA and my fantasy teams. You see, I’m a longtime Bulls fan. And while I’m an optimist that’s been quite obsessed with the Sixers rebuild and their amazing potential, the Bulls have messed up their tank job in half a dozen ways prior to even getting it off the ground. So, I’m really itching for some Lonzo outlets, CP3-to-Capela lobs, and an unexpected six-steal game from my most recent free agent acquisition. Let’s get going already with this new crop of talent!
Last week, I talked about ways to find advantages by removing certain stats your team doesn’t need for various reasons and shuffling up player values so you have a better idea of who’s actually the most helpful for your team during drafts. That’ll be a theme as the season goes on, because it really leads us to trades that can help us a ton, while helping the other team enough that they pull the trigger. But we’ve got another weekend of drafting to go, so I’ve compiled a list of a few more places to take advantage of what I see as market inequities. If you’ve already drafted, maybe this can spark some trade proposal ideas, too.Please, blog, may I have some more?