For those who are new here, welcome and know that I often clown Blake Griffin. Not because he can jump over cars and triple-dub on any night. That would be stupid. I make fun of him because he rarely brings the D, which could be a reason he is no longer with Kendall Jenner. I kid. For a man of his height and athleticism, he should be blocking more than 0.5 shots a game. Hence, the reason I call him Ricky Lake Griffin. He doesn’t deserve that B. I had so much fun comparing the block number to Serge Ibaka’s assist number last season. If that was a drinking game, no one would get drunk. But it is I who dons the clown suit today. Actually, I’m the one who should be donning the clown suit everyday, but let’s not completely crush my self worth. Anyways, Blake Griffin was absolutely fantastic last night. He was so good that….what’s that sound I hear?

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
50 14 6 0 1 1 5/10 20/35 5/11

A freaking 50-burger and, more importantly, 1 block! 35 shot attempts and only 1 turnover! AND he led his team to a 133-132 victory over the 76ers in overtime. You da man, Blake! You da man.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The roster of the Sacramento Kings reminds me of a second-hand jigsaw puzzle that is bought from a car boot sale, only to get home and find that it has too many pieces. Despite drafting De’Aaron Fox, one of the fastest point guards in the 2017 Draft, the Kings complicated matters by not only playing at the league’s second slowest pace at just 98.1 possessions per game, but also signing George Hill as a veteran presence. Fast forward 12 months and things are more clear, as the over-priced Hill is no longer on the roster and the current personnel portends for an uptempo style of play to utilize the strengths of Fox and this years premium draft pick of Marvin Bagley III. The Kings have complicated matters in the front-court, though, with Harry Giles now healthy and the acquisitions of Nemanja Bjeilica, Wenyen Gabriel, and Deyonta Davis added to an already stacked core of Willie Cauley-Stein, Kosta Koufas, Skal Labbissiere and Zach Randolph.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When my wife was pregnant, the experience was…..interesting. At least for me. I can’t even begin to try and understand what my wife was feeling. All I know is that women are the GOAT. Anyways, after the initial gamut of emotions, things became very business-like. Doctor’s office. One month. Two months. Three months. Everything was mapped out and the “ride” was slow and steady. Then, the due date approached and….well, I was Robert DeNiro in Heat. The bags were packed and the routes were mapped out with contingencies for all possibilities. At the same time, though, I was like my five-year-old son in the back of the car on a long trip: “Are we there yet? When will we be there? Why is it taking so long?” Damian Lillard and his girlfriend had been expecting the birth of their child for the past few days. Lillard had been struggling a bit with his shooting efficiency, but the raw production was still there. It could have been the matchups or anxiousness with the pregnancy. Regardless, it was Lillard Time for the whole family last night.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 41 9 6 4 0 0 3/9 18/33 2/2

A 40-burger!!! On Damian Jr.’s birthday. Y’all know what time it is.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Nants ingonyama bagithi baba…..Sithi uhhmm ingonyama. Anyone recognize? How about now?

Now, let me make a few alterations and….Voila! Nants inKemba bagithi baba….Sithi uhhmm inKemba. Translation? There comes a Kemba…..Oh yes, it’s a Kemba. At least I think that’s how it translates. Anyways, Kemba Walker was the King last night. King of the court. King of the Grizzlies. And King of the hearts of fantasy owners everywhere…..at least the ones that had him on their squads.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
46 3 4 1 0 2 10/14 13/18 10/10

He did all of that in 28 minutes, outscoring the Grizzlies 17-14 in the first quarter. He almost outscored them for the half, but fell 7 points short of the feat (42-35). The Kembas defeated the Grizzlies by 61 points! 140-79. Insert Ron Burgundy impressed meme. For all the other contestants in the 2018 Tankathon, take notes and watch the tape. That’s how you tank. As for Kemba, he had been struggling a bit, failing to eclipse the 25 point threshold in eight straight games. With that said, he does have three 40-burgers on the season, so the potential is always there. I’m just not sure he’s going to get crazy run down the stretch, as the Hornets are out of the playoff picture and will want to get the young kids more playing time.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Whether you’re in your head-to-head playoffs or gearing up for the final month of the roto season, I’m here to help you figure out which moves to make to maximize your chances to win. Last week, I discussed the amount of games played per week and for the remainder of the season for each team and how to value their players accordingly. This week, I’ll go through some free agent specialists to consider picking up. Next week, I’ll return to my bread and butter: punting categories. As always, I don’t only mean those that went with a season-long strategy of punting free throw percentage. By this point, you have so much more information about exactly what your team needs and, almost as important, what it doesn’t need. Of course you know that you should be focusing on steals if you’re only about 20 behind two other teams in the roto category or going all in on field goal percentage if that’s the only category you need to swing the final score in your playoff matchup. But, from my own experience, I know that you’re probably still focusing on players and categories that can no longer help you. It’s so hard to decide to sit a 25-point scoring all-star for the final month of the season. But, if you’re running away with points in a landslide, those points do nothing for you anymore. I remember multiple seasons where I had to completely ignore all stats except for steals and blocks for the final few weeks of a roto league. Sitting a guy like Damian Lillard (past 30 days: 0.9 steals and 0.2 blocks) for someone like Dewayne Dedmon (1.3/1.2). Forget the names and focus on the stats.

So, today, I’ll give you some players you may be able to grab who can help you in the specific categories you need. This time of year, that’s going to include some surprise players that are getting extra run and/or usage. So, this will also be a reminder to focus on what’s going on now as opposed to the numbers we got used to in the first half of the season.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

For playoff bound teams, every win at this point in the season is huge. This was not only a big win for the Washington Wizards, it was avoiding a terrible loss. Yes, they are missing All-Star point guard John Wall, but the Boston Celtics were starting someone named Guerschon Yabusele.

I did some digging and discovered that Mr. Yabusele, before donning a jersey and being announced with the Celtics’ starting five, was one of those giant security guards that stand at the bottom of each staircase with their arms crossed and their backs to the court during the game. In fact, prior to playing 18 minutes in last night’s double-OT loss against the Wizards, the most exciting thing to ever happen to Guerschon on a basketball court was high-fiving Marky Mark Wahlberg after a Kyrie Irving game winner.

The Celtics may have ultimately lost the game, but to get as close as they did is a real testament to just how much the Wizards play down to an opponent’s level. I am pretty sure a Division II high school basketball team could take Washington down to the wire.

Besides the Wizards almost losing the Celtics G-League squad, here is what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We’re getting into the last week of the fantasy regular season for most of us, so I’m not going to bore you with all of the decent lines from star players. You’re not getting Harden in a trade at this point. DeMar DeRozan scoring 23 points isn’t really vital information if he’s not on your team. We’re getting down to crunch time. The nitty-gritty. Absolute pond scum that might have value for one game or two. Sacramento Kings games where Z-Bo is resting and D’Aaron Fox is nursing a minor injury.  No one will remember how you won your championship, just that you won it. Okay, after a few years most people will forget you won it too, but you’ll remember. You’ll take it to your grave remembering, “Hey, I added Kosta Koufos and won the 2018 Fantasy basketball championship because I studied the schedule grids, and plotted my moves four weeks in advance.” But, I digress… Here’s what went down last night in fantasy hoops:

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Like most of you, I’ve been through more fantasy drafts than I can remember. Online with old friends thousands of miles away, in-person with coworkers I’d deal with every day of the season. Basements, bars, over wings. Once, I was driving from one draft to another while the second draft was beginning, pulling over to make each of my picks until I arrived. There was a draft via text on a road trip before phone apps existed, a manual auction in an AOL chat room (not advisable), drafting online for one league while drafting in-person for another, slow-drafting, making it so that I was checking my phone every 10 seconds when the next pick might not be made for 17 more hours. Some day, I’d really like to do something on par with the show The League and draft in-person at one of the NBA Summer Leagues.

I did end up having a pretty sweet drafting experience this season. So, one of my favorite bands is 311, and I’d never seen them live in the 20+ years I’ve been listening to them repeatedly. When I found out they’d be relatively close to me last fall, I decided I wasn’t going to miss them this time. Okay, October 15th… why did that sound familiar? CRAP! My favorite league, my dynasty league, was having it’s seven-round draft that night! Yeah, I could’ve pre-ranked… but, I’d traded up in the draft enough that I’d only be drafting on my phone for about 20 minutes… and it looked like the draft would be during the opening act. I determined I’d do both, draft at the concert and just ignore the opening act and hope I’d be done by the time 311 took the stage. I didn’t count on the opening act being crazy-fun, but you can’t have too much of a good thing. So, there I was, leaning against the back wall with Tropidelic providing a great soundtrack to me drafting some top rookies I’d been drooling over for months (we keep 18 players, so the draft is all about the rookies). I finished my last pick just in time for 311 to rock my face off (and psychedelically funk my face off) while I dreamed of my rookies turning into top 20 fantasy players.

See me? Riiiiight…. there.

So, how are these rookies doing? Usually around this point, we’re nervous about our rookies’ future, since they’re getting DNP-CDs and G-League stints. But this year at Christmas time, we’ve seen the best crop of fantasy rookies in many years. Though, it’s not all the guys we expected doing the damage. For those of you that love trying to spot the future stars as much as I do, I’d like to take a look at the per-36 stats of the rookies we’ve seen. In case that’s not familiar, it’s their stats prorated to 36 minutes. It’s not a perfect projection, of course, but I figure, in most cases, the rookies at their career peaks are going to play closer to 36 minutes than what they’ve played so far. And, while they likely won’t get to 36 minutes exactly, they should make up for some of that shortcoming by greatly improving (a lot of these guys are 19 or 20) and by becoming larger parts of their teams’ offenses in the future. It’s not one-size-fits-all, as guys like Tatum, Simmons, and Kuzma might already be relatively close to what their peak minutes and team involvement might be (think of who’s likely to join their teams in the next season or two). Some rookies have hardly played or have only been role players in garbage time against third-stringers, so this isn’t going to be too predictive for them, either. But, I’d guess this’ll give us a rough estimate of the type of players the rooks might be if they keep improving as we’d hope. I left out guys that have barely played, but that still leaves 45 rookies to check out.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Back in the 80’s, Hasbro came out with My Buddy, a doll marketed for boys to teach them about caring for their friends. It was controversial at the time because dolls were traditionally for girls. Yep, took until the 80’s. Anyways, there were two things that always stuck with me regarding My Buddy. First, the catchy commercial song. Second, the fact that My Buddy eventually morphed into Chucky from Child’s Play. In a way, it perfectly captures the duality of the world, which segues perfectly to Buddy Hield of the Sacramento Kings. Selected with the sixth overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, big things were expected from the guard out of Oklahoma. Even bigger things were expected a year later when he was a fundamental piece in the trade for DeMarcus Cousins. Vivek Ranadive, owner of the Kings, said, “Buddy Hield has Steph Curry potential.” As my momma always told me, “potential don’t mean shit.” Buddy had some ugly shooting performances: 1-for-10, 2-for-10, etc. As a result, he was allotted 30 or more minutes in a game just twice. Every time he sucked, we threw him into the proverbial trash and eradicated him from our memories. But….he kept resurrecting. Just like Chucky. Last night in Philly, Buddy helped the Kings best the 76ers 101-95. Buddy went:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 24 5 2 3 0 3 3/9 9/19 3/3

Until I see the Kings actually commit to Buddy, I’m hesitant to trust him. He can get hot, for extended stretches of time, but he will just end up disappointing you. Then you will throw him in the trash and the circle of life will resume once again.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If you had a time machine, when/where would you travel to? Use the space below to write down your answers, then print, and finally frame it.

 

 

 

You never know. A philanthropic time traveller could visit one day and offer to take you on three trips. On the condition that you can name the destinations in five seconds or less. Since you already have it printed and framed, you good to go. My first destination would be 25 years into the future Biff Tannen-style. The Sports Almanac from 2017 to 2042 would be the most logical thing to get. Then, I’d go back to the time of Jesus. I have to know. Finally, I’d want to see Wilt Chamberlain play. Since 1963, there had been 152 instances in which a player scored at least 40 points with 20 rebounds in a game. Wilt had 74 of those. The crazy thing is the query on basketballreference.com only went back to 1963. Wilt started his NBA career in 1959. I could go into the game logs for those years, but I’m lazy and we are not here to talk about Wilt. We are here to talk about DeMarcus Cousins aka Boogie.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
40 22 4 0 4 6 2/6 12/25 14/21

Make that 153 times a player has gone 40/20. Boogie now has two two of them, with the other one back in October of this year. Now, we know that Anthony Davis is out for a while. In the games that he’s missed, Cousins’ usage rate has been 46.4, 30.1, and 44.0 last night. If you’re a Cousins owner, dance with the boogie get high ’cause boogie nights are always the best in town.

Please, blog, may I have some more?