First of all, I want to wish all of you a happy new year with peace, health, and happiness! May 2019 also bring fantasy glory to all your teams. This week was a bit frantic in terms of players for the Buy column, with many injuries creating opportunities, so you will notice a bigger number of proposed players than normal. However, as per usual, let’s first take a look at last week’s suggestions in order to evaluate their performance.

Jeff Green proved to be a productive streamer last week, and may have some more value to give, but watch out for the imminent return of Otto Porter Jr. Marcus Smart was his usual self, racking up steals and missing shots. You know what you are getting out of him, while Javale McGee’s return erased Ivica Zubac, who can be safely dropped. It’s funny that it’s 2019 and I wrote a sentence about McGee returning and making such an impact in fantasy basketball.

Finally, both Dennis Schroder and Terrence Ross continue to be in cold shooting streaks and thus, continue to be high on my Sell list.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If you remember Young Joc, you lived through the downfall of hip-hop. OK, no one can really pinpoint when Rap music really started to go downhill, but there was a time when Young Joc captivated the minds and ears of 13-year-old children everywhere. Similarly, last night Jamal Murray captivated the minds of NBA fans by going 9-46-6-8-0-1-5 on 16-of-24 shooting and 5-of-6 FTs. It’s been a bit of a down year for Jamal, but he had 31 on Friday and 77 points in two games is going to help your team a lot, especially with 13 three-pointers. He’s been kind of a disappointment on the year, but could end up having a solid season.

Here’s what else went down in the NBA last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Luke Kornet played four years at Vanderbilt University, where he averaged 13.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.5 steals, and 2 blocks on 47% shooting from the field and 32% from beyond the arc his senior year. No wonder he went undrafted in the 2017 NBA draft. But he’s the left-handed pitcher of basketball, in that he’s 7′ 1″, 250 pounds, and can shoot from outside. The New York Knicks took a chance and signed him to a two-way contract in 2017. Kornet spent most of his rookie year down in the G League, but still managed to play 20 games with the big club and exhibited the ability to shoot the threeecola and block shots. To begin this season, Kornet played a total of 12 minutes in the first 29 games, but Coach Fizdale inserted him into the lineup for game 30 against the Hornets and Kornet scored 13 points, grabbed 6 rebounds, blocked 3 shots, stole 2 passes, and shot 3-for-5 from downtown in 24 minutes. Although he continued to get playing time in the next five games, Kornet never received more than 14 minutes in any game. Then, last night happened.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
23 3 5 0 1 1 7/11 8/17 0

Kornet received the start and played 34 minutes. The start may have been matchup based, as he would have more success defending Brook Lopez on the perimeter and the Bucks defensive philosophy allows teams to beat them from downtown (MIL is dead last in number of opponent three-pointers attempted per game). With that said, Coach Fizdale said that he wanted to change up the lineup to get more shooting on the floor so that Emmanuel Mudiay and Kevin Knox would have more space to operate. In addition, Kornet does protect the rim better than Enes Kanter, which isn’t saying much, but it is what it is. I never understood why the Knicks continued rolling out Kanter, especially since he’s an UFA after this season. Play the young kids and “Try for Zion.” Having a center rotation of Kornet and Mitchell Robinson would make the most sense, as it would be a offense/defense combination, but Coach Fizdale has shown that he will change up the rotation in a heartbeat. With that said, Kornet is worth a pick up, as the reward for threeecolas and blocks far outweighs the risk of…..free.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I was a sucker for all the James Bond movies growing up. There was always action, women, lots of cool toys, and more action. What most confused me early on, but later fascinated me, was the overtness of the Bond character. At his core, he was a spy after all, and a spy is defined as “a person who secretly…” I don’t need to continue the definition. Could a ninja ever be famous? Wouldn’t that go against the fundamental premise of being a ninja? With all that said, Bond took the spy game to the next level. Everyone knew he was a spy, and he knew that everyone knew, yet he did his spy thing while everyone else played along. Translation: Bond was a freaking boss. Which is exactly what Harden, James Harden is.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
41 6 7 2 1 6 5/16 15/35 6/7

That’s seven straight games scoring 30+ points, with two games over 40 and one 50-burger in there. The overtness that Harden exhibits is just as bold as Bond. Defenders know his moves, yet still get played. Now, with Chris Paul out for an extended period of time, the usage rate spikes to the mid-40s. The comparable analogy would be Bond walking into a casino with both hands flashing the bird, acquiring the information that he came for, and of course bringing the D for the girl.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Oh Washington. Like the great Linkin Park song, you tried so hard and got so far (not that far), but in the end it doesn’t even matter.  The John Wall/Bradley Beal combo looks so good on paper, but they never really got the complementary pieces to make it work. Ownership tried to cobble together something resembling a good team, but they could only get second rate players, afterthoughts, and Dwight Howard. I feel for teams like them. You know they’re not going to win a championship, but they’re still pretty good. The timing was all wrong. A bunch of players who were great at certain times in their lives, just couldn’t all be great at once. Ok, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, John Wall was out for the Wizards and Bradley Beal went 4-40-11-15-0-1-8 on 17-of-33 shooting and 2-of-2 FTs in a mind-boggling 54 minutes of triple-overtime glory. He could be headed to the Lakers or elsewhere, and no one on Washington is really safe from being traded, so for now, Wizards fans are just going to have to enjoy what they have. Pretty much what they’ve been doing for their team’s entire existence… Hopefully, you had some players on the Suns or the Wizards.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In a galaxy far, far away, Anakin Skywalker designed and created a droid that would assist others in translation. It’s name was C3PO. In a land and time that seems so far away, Robin and Charles Paul created a child that would eventually assist others in getting buckets. His name was Chris Paul, immediately nicknamed CP3. C3PO played a pivotal role in the Star Wars franchise, as it served under many of the main protagonists. CP3 also played a crucial role in the history of the NBA: trade to the Lakers which got nixed and hamstring injury in Game 5 of the 2018 Western Conference Finals with the Rockets up 3-2. It was CP3 NO! then and CP3 NO! last night, as he suffered another hamstring injury in the second quarter and was not able to return. It’s likely that he will miss an extended period of time so, while Eric Gordon, Gerald Green, Brandon Knight, and Daniel House will likely pick up more minutes, when Paul has missed time this season, Michael Carter-Williams has seen a +4.5% usage bump. The main beneficiary of CP3 NO!, though, will be James Harden, who sees a 5% usage bump increase to a whopping 45.5% usage rate! Good for Harden owners. For Paul owners? CP3 NO!

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Wealth is a relative thing. I live in Los Angeles, where the average per capita income is $42,042. In Malawi, though, the per capita income is $250. An Angeleno would look like a king to a person from Malawi. That same Angeleno would be a peasant compared to any of the 103 billionaires living in New York City. This is where Forbes magazine comes in. With the Forbes 400 and Forbes Global 2000, there is no debate as to who the richest Americans and what the world’s top companies are. In addition, it includes countless articles on finance, investing, and marketing topics. “The Capitalist Tool” is money in the bank. So, it’s only fitting that Bryn Forbes did this last night:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
24 11 3 1 0 2 5/5 8/14 3/3

A ceiling outcome, no doubt, but money is money. With that said, the 25-year-old, third-year guard has started all 28 games this season. The minutes have been all over the map, as Pop does what Pop do, but he’s averaging a tick under five threeecolas and cashing in two per game. Unfortunately, Forbes does not have a diversified portfolio, so don’t expect much other than points and threeecolas, but he does play and it’s likely he trips into a few rebounds and assists from time to time.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I used to play a lot of fighting video games. Street Fighter 2, Mortal Kombat, and the like. I think I aged out around the time they were up to Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 and Super Street Fighter 2 Championship of Everything Ever Edition Turbo. But I know they kept going, adding more characters, merging games. And that’s sort of what I wanted to do this week. I’ve written a decent amount about stuff like category specialists, how scarce the stats in each category are, how volume skews percentage stats, and just how detrimental the percentage and turnover performances of your players can be. Well, today, we’re going to witness a 2018 battle royale of sorts. Using Basketball Monster, I took the standard deviation value of each individual’s statistical performance in each category, and ranked them. Other sites have slightly different values due mostly to alternate assumptions and weights. There are some writers out there who have explained fantasy basketball standard deviation values in depth and in ways that are much more exciting than those in my old college statistics books. So, if you’re really curious, you can find out more with a little searching. I’ll just say that, in general, a standard deviation score of 2 means that the performance is roughly better than almost 98% of the rest of the league. A score of 3 is about where you’d expect the best performance in the league to be, as it’s usually around the 99.9th percentile. Same thing for negative values, just reversed. So, if you see a value exceeding 3, and I’ve shared some of those insane standard deviation scores from the last few decades in previous posts, it’s super-valuable (turbo edition 64?). Some categories don’t have anyone reaching 2 or -2, meaning the numbers are more bunched up together. But some have some extreme outliers. That’s what we’re looking for today.

Boban’s gotta be in there somewhere, right?

I present to you the most and least valuable individual category performances of the year (per-game through 12/4, with some small sample players removed).

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ok, so he might not really be better than Nikola Jokic in real life, but heading into the game against Phoenix, Nikola Vucevic was ranked a mind-boggling 5th in overall fantasy value for standard leagues. Can we stop pretending like he’s not a superstar? He’s a complete player with no real holes, excels at scoring, grabbing boards, is sneaky good at assists, manages great percentages, and averages a triple one. What’s not to love?

Nikola Vucevic

FG FT 3PT Points Reb Assists Steals Blocks TO
11/20 1/2 2/5 25 15 3 1 1 2

What a beast. 25/15/3 with 2 3’s, 1 steal, and 1 block is such a nice all around contributing line. He’s way above his career averages in scoring and percentages, so a lot of fantasy GMs have been trying to move him. He won’t retain that top 5 ranking, but for a player that most GM’s drafted after pick 50, he’s paid off a ton. I love his game (scoring, shooting, boards, nice playmaking, and a triple 1, with very good percentages) and is my type of player.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Remember those times when that girl or guy would call or text and mention that the parents were gone? Ooohhh, how I miss those times? I would get so excited. Well, the last two games in Houston, Chris Paul has been a good neighbor and notified the team that he’s out. Oooohhhh, that means it’s James Harden‘s time to get us Harden excited. On the season, Harden is leading the league with a 36.5 usage rate, but when Paul is off the court, that number spikes to 45.8!!! On Saturday, Harden scored 40 points and dished out 13 dimes. Last night….

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
54 8 13 3 0 11 7/15 17/32 13/15

A fifty burger with 13 assists and 11 turnovers. That’s truly messing around. Anyways, even with the 5.8 turnovers per game (which leads the league by over 1 per game), Harden is still the #4 player in fantasy. If that doesn’t get you Harden excited, then you’ve got issues I don’t want to subscribe to. Beep. Boop. Bop. The Stocktonator was Harden excited, as it had him as the #1 player last night. Now that’s something you can subscribe to.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?