Lauri Markkanen was selected by the Bulls with the 7th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. I had seen a few of his games in college, so he seemed like a legit prospect, but I did not fully embrace him until I watched him play in the 2017 FIBA EuroBasket. You could see he had that….bow wow wow yippee yo yippe yay….dog in him, and it translated to his first year in the NBA, as he ended as the #66 player for fantasy: 15.2 points, 2.1 threeecolas, 7.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.6 blocks, 43% from the field, and 84% from the line. Naturally, big things were expected for his sophomore year, but he injured his elbow before the start of the season and missed the first 23 games.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
21 10 1 2 1 3 5/13 8/24 0

Well then. That didn’t take long. Played 32 minutes after logging 26 in his season debut. Markkanen is so skilled for a 7′ 0″, 240 pound player and, as mentioned above, he has that dog in him. As a result, I have a feeling that this is going to be Markkanen’s team, sooner rather than later, which puts a slight damper on Zach LaVine’s fantasy prospects.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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In 2008, Dwayne Wade averaged 30.2 points, 1.1 three-pointers, 5 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 2.2 steals, and 1.3 blocks in 38.6 minutes per game. In 9-cat leagues, he finished as the 3rd player in fantasy that year and it started a Golden Age. The following three seasons, Wade finished as the 7th, 7th, and 5th overall player. No wonder the property taxes in Wade County skyrocketed. But then Father Time started collecting his pension and Wade declined after his age 30 season: 95th, 96th, 72nd, and 222nd finishes. As a result, his 16th season in the NBA was to be a farewell tour. Maybe a token 20 minutes a game with a couple of rocking chairs were on the menu. But Wade a minute!

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
35 5 6 0 1 3 4/7 13/22 5/7

Played 34 minutes and led the team in shot attempts. Wade is averaging 24.5 minutes and 11.5 shot attempts per game on the season, but the efficiency has been inconsistent. He still has ceiling, though, as evidenced by last night’s game. I’m just waiting for April 9th, when he plays his final home game. Kobe shot 50 times and dropped a 60-burger in his final home game. I believe!

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

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I’ve watched the West Wing, House of Cards, and Designated Survivor, so I consider myself one of the preeminent experts on how things operate in our nation’s capital. It’s bipartisan wrangling to further agendas. It’s projecting power and showing force. Ultimately, it’s sound bites and photo/video ops, because image is everything. Two of the more contentious issues floating through the streets of DC have been the wall being built on the border of Mexico and John Wall on the court for the Washington Wizards. A few months ago, whispers echoed throughout the city: We don’t need no stinking Wall. Each passing day turned the volume up a notch to when it crescendoed to: WE DON’T NEED NO STINKING WALL!!! Entering last night’s game, the Wizards were 5-11, 15th in offensive efficiency, and 27th in defensive efficiency. Wall will be paid $169 million over the next four years. Why is every damn Wall so expensive?! Yet, Wall put all the questions to bed. At least for one night.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
30 4 8 2 2 1 5/12 9/24 7/10

The Wizards were down 21-40 after the first period, but Wall was a catalyst in bringing the Wizards back for a 125-118 victory over the Clippers. After the game, smiles and handshakes abounded with cameras flashing pictures of joyful jubilee. A senator, who was sitting courtside, texted the Press Secretary a selfie with he and Wall. Under the picture were the words: Washington Wizards Wall. Four more years!

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Consistency has been a hallmark for the career of LeBron James. Year in and year out, you could Sharpie him in for 27 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists. Within that consistency bubble, though, are different shades of LeBron. There’s “Deferential” LeBron, who props up his teammates and lets them shine. There’s “We’ve Lost How Many Games?” LeBron, who could probably stop a flower from blooming. There’s “Playoff” LeBron, but the shade of LeBron that I want to discuss is “You Forgetting About Me” LeBron, which is my favorite because he announces it with the force of Thor’s hammer screaming to the ground. It all started two games ago against the Portland Trail Blazers. Entering that game, LeBron was averaging 26.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 7.1 assists. Yawn, but then he exploded for 44/10/3. Last night….

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
51 8 3 2 1 2 6/8 19/31 7/10

….A fifty-burger usually brings out the cops, but not for LeBron. It’s just another shade. Beep. Boop. Bop. The Stocktonator knows all the different shades, as it had LeBron as the #1 player yesterday. For the season, LeBron is the #4 player according to Basketball Monster. Long live the King!

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

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I’m going to keep it pretty simple this week. I’d like to check in on category leaders to help figure out who the best specialists might be this season. There’s a lot of value sitting out in the free agent pool just waiting for you to stream it. Adding and rotating through these category specialists applies in roto leagues when you notice individual categories in which you stand to gain a few points. But, this information will probably help the most in head-to-head leagues where you should be swapping out at least a couple players each week (assuming you can) to customize and maximize your stats in a way that nets you the most category wins against your opponent.

“So… you’re just pasting an NBA stat leaders’ page?” Nope. I’m only going to feature players rostered in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues. Italicized players are owned in less than 25%. For shooting percentages, I’m using Basketball Monster’s values that are weighted for volume. Next week, I’ll do sorta the opposite and list the punt specialists (value rankings with each individual category removed), as well as the rankings according to some other helpful stat combinations. I’ll leave out the flukey or injured players to save you some time here, as well.

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A good friend will tell you not to reply to the Nigerian prince. A good friend will spend time with “that girl’s” friend. A good friend will say you look good when you actually look like shit. A good friend will tell you not to draft Carmelo Anthony.

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

In the offseason, I thought the acquisition of Melo would be a detriment for the Rockets….on the defensive side of the ball. Little did I know that he’d literally suck the life out of the offense. Melo, the most powerful Black Hole in the universe. All jokes aside, Melo does provide threeecolas and some rebounds. The turnovers are miniscule as well. It’s tough to turn the ball over when you have no intention of passing. Other than that, you’re not getting much….literally. A combined 1.6 assists, steals, and blocks per game. 40% shooting from the field and 68% from the line? Melo is the 150th player according to BM. I’m actually surprised he’s that high. Now, he can get hot, as he had a streak when he scored over 20 points in three of four games. Here’s a little story for you. I recently joined Periscope. Every day, at least three hot women follow me. I know I’m a good looking guy, but come on! It’s tempting, but you know nothing good can come from it. Friends don’t let friends Melo.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

We live in crazy times, when nothing can be trusted. That tweet? Better check for the blue mark and read the name AFTER the @. That picture or video? With photoshop and other editing software, it can be very difficult to distinguish what is real and what is fake. The boobs or the butt on the girl from across the room? How about a free trial period? Oh geez, that didn’t come out right. A certification of authenticity perhaps? The news? It’s always been used as a tool to further agendas and “inform” the people, but the lack of objectivity and amount of Hollywood-esque manipulation these days make my head hurt. Thank goodness for sports and De’Aaron Fox.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
31 10 15 1 0 3 3/4 9/13 10/11

Fox messed around last night, but it was all good. Entering last night’s game, the Kings were 5th in offensive pace. Fox has been a huge reason why. Anyways, he can score, grabs a good number of rebounds for a guard (4.6), is dishing out 7.8 dimes, and is shooting 50% from the field. Holla! Not all is good, though. The free throw percentage is only 67%, no threeecolas, and the turnovers are high at 3.3. Fox did shoot 72% from the line last year, so there’s reason for optimism. He’s only 20 years old and this is his second year in the league, so improvement should be expected. Fox is currently the 79th player according to Basketball Monster.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Klay Thompson was not having a good start to the 2018 season. He had failed to reach the 20-point mark in any of the first seven games and was shooting under 40% from the field and 14% from downtown. Klay is a career 45% shooter from the field and 42% from beyond the arc. Regression hit hard and heavy last night, though.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
52 5 0 1 0 2 14/24 18/29 2/2

The third time he has eclipsed the 50-point barrier in his career and the third time he has notched a record: 11 three-pointers during a playoff game (2016), 37 points in a quarter (2016), and the 14 threeecolas last night bested his teammate, Steph Curry, who held the previous record of 13 (2016). Klay has some of the most ridiculous heaters I’ve ever seen. Anyways, for fantasy, he’s currently the 76th player according to Basketball Monster. The minutes are down, assists are down, threeecolas are down, and field goal percentage is down. The only concern would be the minutes and assists, but the shooting will come around. He’s just too good, and reminded us all in a big way last night.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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My first introduction to hip hip was The D.O.C. Then came N.W.A., 2Pac, Too Short, and Cypress Hill. I was strictly Westside. I then moved out to the east coast for college, which is when the Notorious B.I.G, Nas, Mobb Deep, KRS-One, Wu-Tang, and Tribe Called Quest all started making noise. It was a glorious time. In addition, I was exposed to the Beastie Boys, De La Soul, and the OGs like Grandmaster Flash and Run D.M.C. West coast boy and east coast music melded together beautifully, even with all that stupid drama back then. Anyways, the world was all about West Coast vs East Coast, but then Andre 3000 came onto the scene with his southern funk and swag. It was fantabulous. I always admired Andre 3000 because he adapted, changed, and was diverse, as he was not just a music star, but became an actor and fashion entrepreneur. That’s how I think about Andre Drummond. When he started get full run in the NBA, he was a straight beast. Accumulating double-dubs (points and rebounds) and provding those D stats. But the free throw shooting was worse than atrocious and dimes? Fuhgeddaboudit. He improved in both categories, though, last season. Upping his free throw shooting to 60%, after languishing in the 38% range, and the assist number vaulted up to 3, after being around the 1 mark. Outlier? Possibly, but at least he’s shown that it’s within the range of outcomes. As for last night…..

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
26 22 0 0 1 5 0 11/17 4/6

Andre 2622.

Beep….Boop….Bop. By the way, the Stocktonator loved him last night, as it had Dre as the fifth best play on the slate.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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The Portland Trail Blazers are an odd team for fantasy basketball. They are a good regular season team, but for fantasy there are only two stars and Jusuf Nurkic, a borderline top 100 player. They’re in a tough spot because everyone knows they’re not going to compete for a championship, big free agents are hard to lure to Portland, Oregon, and the team is too good to get a high draft pick. Damian Lillard is locked up, for this year and the next, before he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2021. He has gone on the record stating that he’d like to stay in Portland, but if the Blazers front office doesn’t do something drastic, this team is going to be on the proverbial treadmill for years.

Please, blog, may I have some more?