Kobe Bryant is the NBA’s third all-time leading scorer with 33,643 points. He could shoot from downtown, break your ankles and flush it down your throat, and pump fake, pump fake, pivot, spin, then fade away and splash from the mid-range. Bottom line: Kobe was a professional getter of buckets. He’s often viewed as a ball hog, though. Some of it is fair.

Some of it isn’t. Many of his shots came with the shot clock or game clock near zero. The ultimate argument against it, though, is the 2005 Lakers. After Lamar Odom and his 11.6 field goal attempts that season, it was Smush Parker with 9.5, Chris Mihm with 7.8, Brian Cook with 6.3, Devean George with 6, Kwame Brown with 5.4, Luke Walton with 4.8, Sasha Vujacic with 3.8, Laron Profit…..Can I stop now? Kobe against three defenders gave the Lakers a better chance than Smush Parker wide open, right? Anyways, I kind of kid, as Kobe was an all-around player who averaged close to 5 dimes per game over the course of his career. With that said, even I as a Lakers fan can consider him a ball hog. You can’t score if you don’t shoot. Anyways, Kobe didn’t play much his rookie year (15.5 minutes per game) and he only averaged 5.9 shots per game. His second year in the league, the minutes went up to 26 and the field goal attempts were at 11.6. It was the third year when he started to go bonkers, averaging 37.9 minutes and 15.6 shots per game. Coby White of the Chicago Bulls scoffs at those numbers, as he’s only averaging 24.2 minutes but jacking up 12.4 shots per game!

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
27 3 1 1 0 1 7/11 8/14 4/4

Can’t score if you don’t shoot, and Coby did plenty of both last night. Granted, it was against the Knicks so value must be cut in half. With that said, this is the second time scoring at least 25 points in a game. Now, on the season, the field goal percentage is at 36%, so the range of outcomes is 1 point to somewhere in the 20s. The most promising development, though, has been the playing time. White has played 27, 27, 30, 24, and 25 minutes over the past five games. Will it continue? Tough to say because Tomas Satoransky and Kris Dunn are still receiving playing time in the low 20s. This looks to be a “hot hand” situation, which sucks for fantasy. If White starts getting consistent minutes in the 30s or one of the other guards gets injured, then I’d consider him for fantasy. Until then, he’s best viewed as a streamer.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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We are only seven games into the season and already two of the most promising young players in the league have been suspended. DeAndre Ayton and John Collins both received a 25 game suspension due to violations of the NBA’s Anti-Drug program and, although they will appeal the decision, chances are they will have to sit out the entirety of those 25 games.

I will not voice my personal opinion as we rarely get to know the full story but in both cases it’s a huge blow for their respective teams, but simultaneously, more opportunity for other players to contribute in fantasy and real life.

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Finally, the fantasy season has started! At last we get to see our favorite players, the teams we support, the storylines that will unfold and, for the third straight year, my usual Buy/Sell column will be here every Wednesday to provide invaluable suggestions that are correct 110 % of the time. Don’t question it…I said don’t! And certainly don’t check my post history…

If you are a new reader, the articles usually start with a review of last week’s suggestions, followed by the “Buy” and “Sell” candidates. Comments regarding the proposed players are always welcome at the end of the article, along with general fantasy questions and suggestions. So, without further ado and with the hype that the early part of the season always brings let’s get to it!!

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After an animal or person dies, the joints of the body stiffen. Did you know that death is the number one killer in this country? If you know what movie that’s from, then we are kindred spirits. Anyways, this stiffened state of the body is called rigor mortis, and lasts around three days. Last night, the Chicago Bulls were dealt a fatality by the New York Knicks, 105-98. A big reason why was due to the play of Bobby Portis, who put up a line of:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
28 11 2 0 2 0 4/4 10/14 4/5

Portis did this in 30 minutes off the bench and is responsible for the Bulls experiencing Rigor Portis. Good thing the effects last only three days because they play the Cavs in two days (a game they should win while deceased) and then the following game isn’t until Friday. Now, we often hear about the revenge narrative in sports. It’s mainly cockamamie, but if there’s one sport where it could be feasible, it’s basketball. Portis was drafted by the Bulls with the 22nd overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft. After four years with the team, he was traded to the Washington Wizards, then signed with the Knicks over the summer. So…..REVENGE! Ha! I kid, I kid. From a fantasy perspective, Portis can provide points, boards, and tres, but the minutes and production will be inconsistent.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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The only thing that could have made NBA Jam better was if each player had their own custom announcing package. The generic lines were fantastic and made up a good portion of the top lines in sports video game history, but personalized reactions to certain player performances would have just been epic. Like if Ben Simmons hit a three-pointer in today’s NBA Jam equivalent, announcer Tim Kitzrow having an absolute meltdown would have just taken the game to another level.

Bam Adebayo’s custom line is just built into the script. It’s too easy. There would have been a LOT of “BAM SHAKALAKA” last night after his performance.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
19 13 8 0 1 3 0-1 5-9 9-12

His everyday starter role has benefitted him tremendously through two games and he’s showing why he’s deserving of that spot. Losing Whiteside, which has benefits in its own right, is also made a little easier when Bam is producing like this. Here are some other notable performers from Saturday night action.

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After a season opener in which he was practically a non-factor, Dallas’s offseason acquisition of Delon Wright had a much more encouraging performance on Friday night.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
20 7 3 5 0 0 0-1 8-12 4-4

This all around contribution is what we saw from him in small doses after he broke out last season, and he should be a valuable contributor going forward on a dynamic Mavericks team. Here are some other notes from Friday’s nearly-full slate of games.

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I now understand why this forward position is named power, as it is a microcosm of society at large. There is the 1% vs everyone else. For fantasy basketball, there is Giannis Antetokounmpo vs womp womp womp. While all the other positions have multiple players who could legitimately vie for the top spot, everyone bends the knee to G. This is 1985-1989 Mike Tyson-esque domination. Could a Buster Douglas come out of nowhere? Sure, as black swan events can never be discounted, but outside of injury to G, that scenario is highly unlikely.

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I used to enjoy watching Get Smart, a satirical secret agent show. Agent Maxwell Smart is a fumbling, bumbling, stumbling secret agent who always saves the day somehow. One of the catch phrases of the show is “Missed it by that much!” Which would’ve been appropriate to say whenever Marcus Smart jacked up a shot, as he could barely hit the side of a barn in past seasons. This season, though, he’s vastly improved the shooting and is therefore able to put up lines like this:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
21 6 4 3 1 1 2/5 8/14 3/3

The 21 points tied a season high! Smart is shooting 42% from the field and 36% from downtown this season. Over his first four seasons in the league, he had never posted a mark better than 37% from the field and 33% from downtown. As a result, while he always provided boards, dimes, and stocks, he was never able to crack the top 100 for fantasy on a per-game basis. This season, he’s a top 85 player and has had streaks where he’s been a top 60 player. Get Smart y’all!

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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When I used to drink back in high school, it’d be a lot of 40 ounces of Olde English 800. Too many 40’s of OE. Way too many 40’s of OE. I was/am a stupid, stupid man. But they were so cheap and it was nice to just have to carry around one bottle. I had repressed all those memories until I saw Kemba’s line last night:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
40 10 7 0 1 4 6/6 14/20 6/7

In 40 minutes! And that was without Cody Zeller (knee), who helps Kemba post positive numbers when he’s on the court. Anyways, the matchup last night against the Rockets was a great one, as Houston is the 6th-worst at defending the pick-and-roll, a play that Kemba is a master at running. With that said, he has been hot recently regardless, as he’s been a top 25 player over the past seven games. The usage rate is above 30 and he’s been jacking up 20 shots per game. Kemba does contribute across the board, even chipping in 0.4 blocks. Yo, Blake Griffin. You seeing this? It all comes down to the shooting efficiency for Kemba. During his current heater, he’s converting 46% of his shots from the field. There were stretches during the season when he was sub-40%. Hopefully he continues his hot streak for the duration of the fantasy playoffs and entices you to seek out a bottle of Olde English.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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For some of us fantasy basketball players, this week doesn’t matter much. We’ve locked up our playoff spots and are just waiting for them to begin. For others, these last few games are critical to seeding. If you own Karl-Anthony Towns, you’ve most likely locked up a playoff spot by now, because he’s been a beast all year. If that’s your situation, you probably just wanted the game last night between the T-Wolves and the Wizards to come to an end, but it went into OT and KAT hurt his knee in the waning moments of the game. Although it doesn’t seem to be serious, he is still headed for an MRI and the Wolves could play it safe with him given their place in the standings. This is obviously bad news if your playoffs start next week and you don’t have a first-round bye. Towns played exceptionally well prior to the injury going 4-40-16-2-2-1-1 on 15-of-25 shooting and 6-for-6 from the line. More will be known in the coming days regarding his knee, but this would be the worst possible timing, as he’s been cruising all year.

On a lighter note, here’s what else went down last night in the NBA:

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