Whaddup Razzball nation! Welcome back to another edition of Any Given Saturday! Last night, the Thunder walked into Cleveland and embarrassed the Cavs, dropping a whopping 148 points. It was a team effort, but Russell Westbrook was especially impressive, dropping a double dimebag and going for 23/9/20/2 on 9-for-17 FG (1-for-1 3P, 4-for-5 FT) and five TOs. Russ’s efficiency is trending up nicely after being abysmal to start the season. All of a sudden, the Thunder look like an incredibly scary team. Anyway, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If you have been reading my recaps this season, then you know one of my favorite terms is: Waiver Wire All-Star. I use this to refer to players who started the year undrafted in almost every fantasy basketball league out there. Even in my deeper leagues Tyreke Evans was sitting there just waiting to be added by some lucky owner who is probably competing for a championship right now.

A great draft is super important, don’t get me wrong, but it is these savvy waiver wire pick-ups that win leagues. ‘Reke has not only been a good pick-up, but he is returning top 40 value in most leagues. That means that a third or fourth round (depending on your league size) pick was just hanging out, playing video games, watching Netflix, waiting to get the call to the big show.

Last night Tyreke Evans went off again and almost messed around for the second night in a row putting up this juicy slash: 2/23/6/10/1/0. So congratulations if you snagged ‘Reke in your league. Here is what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday was Martin Luther King day. It’s a day that many take for granted. Many focus on the fact that there’s basketball all day or that there’s no school or work or something about someone having a dream. MLK day is about celebrating the greatness of a man. Who called out the establishment. Who stood up for the rights of the oppressed. Who wanted to “transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.” The King was truly a great man, which brings me to the King of the NBA, LeBron James. Last night, the LeBrons faced off against the Warriors and lost 118-108. In defeat, James went:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 32 8 6 3 4 8 0/2 12/18 8/13

I almost did not make him the lede for this post. There were players that scored more points. There were players that collected double-dubs. There were multiple players who almost messed around. There were players that led their team to victory. I almost overlooked LeBron, but then I came to my senses. Look at that line! It’s freaking amazing. Ok, the turnovers aren’t great but I said he’s a King, not God. Anyways, sometimes we don’t truly appreciate the greatness of LeBron. We hold him to such a high standard that we expect more. The crazy thing is that “more” is usually attainable. Think about that. Anyways, it’s only appropriate that I made the King of the NBA the lede for a post on the day after Martin Luther King day. Both are great, yet both are underappreciated at times. Let’s never forget either.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better” (Pat Riley)

With Week 13 in the books of history, fantasy basketball reaches a critical point this week. A lot of teams are looking up to 6th place and some may be thinking of throwing in the towel. This is a mistake. In a nine-cat league, two good weeks can make an apparently bad team into a monster, that can win a league. I remember last year when I won a Yahoo Fantasy Winner League and one of the ITL Satellite leagues. In both cases, I was out of the playoffs in week seventeen. The secret was working the waiver wire and buying low on the best players for the second half of the season (a constant in every fantasy season). I bought low on Chris Paul, Gary Harris, Khris Middleton, Marquese Chriss, and Nikola Mirotic, for example. This season these things will happen again, for sure.

 

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When the Nets acquired D’Angelo Russell in the offseason from the Lakers, it was expected that the former number two overall pick would be the face of the franchise. Made sense, as I’ve heard the rat population is huge in New York. I kid. I kid. Early on, Russell was playing like the face of the franchise, sporting a 35.8 usage rate. At the same time, a relative unknown started balling out, to the point where Atkinson could no longer deny what he was seeing. Every time he’d give him extended playing time, production would ensue. Coach Atkinson even moved Russell to shooting guard to accomodate. Then Russell went down with injury. And, as they say, the rest is history. Spencer Dinwiddie was made for New York City. He’s a tough, no-frills kind of player. Biggie would have been proud, as he went from “ashy to classy.” He was selected with the 38th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft and spent time in the D-League, before finding a home in Brooklyn. It all culminated with last night’s performance:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 31 5 8 2 0 1 3/10 10/24 8/9

Now, Russell is expected back soon from injury. The logical expectation is that he garners the 30+ usage rate from pre-injury, which would obviously nuke much of Dinwiddie’s value. With that said, I do expect Dinwiddie to play the point with Russell at shooting guard. I also think that Dinwiddie has built up some equity, with both the coach and teammates, so he won’t be one of those bodies with concrete blocks that were shoved into the Hudson River.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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?

If Isaiah Thomas’ New Year’s resolution was to be awesome at basketball, then he may be the one in a million of us that actually follows through with it for the whole year.

Thomas returned from a seven-month absence with a hip injury suffered in last year’s playoffs to make his debut in a Cavalier’s uniform and preceded to ruin another point guard’s return to action. Thomas scored 17 points in just 18 minutes and he teamed up with Dwayne Wade to provide a crucial spark off the bench in the fourth quarter that put the Cavs ahead for good over the Blazers.

I know game recaps put fantasy owners to sleep, so let me get to the juicy slash: 3/17/0/3/0/0.

And here is what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

What’s up Razzballers? We’re back with another edition of Any Given Saturday. Speaking of being back, professional basketball player Steph Curry returned after missing 11 games with his ankle injury and went nuts in a win over the Grizzlies. Steph went for a cool 38/4/3 on 13-for-17 FG (10-for-13 3P, 2-for-2 FT) and nary a turnover. All this in only 25 minutes. What a monster. Anyway, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Santa Claus is known by the names of Saint Nicholas or Kris Kringle. Rajon Rondo is known by the names of Johnny, Swag, and The Yoga Instructor (nicknames courtesy of Basketball Reference). Claus’ height and weight are classified. Rondo is 6′ 1″ 186 pounds. Claus moves around via reindeer-drawn sled. Rondo uses his own two legs to run around the court. Claus is a global icon. Rondo could be if he hired the right marketing agency. Claus and Rondo are different on so many levels, but both are some of the most generous entities that man has ever known. Claus gives gifts to children that are well-behaved and coal to the bad children. Has anyone ever figured out why Claus is so freaking generous? Like, what’s his motivation? We are taught not to accept candy from strangers, especially those that stick their heads out from a windowless van. And for good reason. The candy is the bait to lure us in. And Claus? Anyways, regardless of motivation, Claus is a generous dude. Rondo is also generous. He dishes out dimes that enable his teammates to score buckets easier. In fact, he is so generous that he had dished out 6,216 dimes, good for 31st on the all-time list, before the start of last night’s game.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 2 7 25 1 0 3 0/1 1/5 0

Make that 6,241 dimes, good for 30th on the all-time assist list. The 25 assist game was the ninth-best of all time! Scott Skiles, of all people, holds the record with a 30 assist game. Go figure. Rondo is not going to contribute much outside of assists and rebounds, but the dimes will definitely be plentiful. As for Claus vs Rondo, the edge has to go to Claus, as he has no rival and always seems to deliver. Rondo has his off nights.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?