I am 25 years old. I idolized Michael Jordan, but was too young to watch him live when he built his legend. On the contrary, the player that my generation grew up with is Kobe Bryant. We got to witness him build his dynasty with the Lakers, hit tough shot after tough shot, return from gruesome injuries and give his absolute all for the game he loved so much. And after his retirement, we watched him grow as a businessman, a community leader, an ambassador for basketball, and a motivator for any young player that wants to get better through hard work and devotion.

His influence is not easy to grasp or describe and that’s why his loss has that enormous an impact to the whole basketball world. Kobe was unique in every way, a true sports titan and he will be remembered for a long time to come, whether from basketball fans appreciating his game and mentality or by anyone shooting a piece of paper to a can and yelling “Kobe”. It is always a reality check when these tragic things happen as people of his stature, so famous and successful, seem invincible. It’s an instant reminder of our own morality and how fragile and precious human life is. It’s not a great time to talk about player performances and fantasy contributions but I’ll try my best.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Back in 2008, D. J. Augustin was awarded the Bob Cousy Award, which was given to the top collegiate point guard. That summer, the Charlotte Bobcats selected him with the ninth overall pick in the NBA draft. This D. J. obviously produced good music and got the crowd to throw their hands in the air, and wave them like they just didn’t care. In 2010, D. J. averaged 33.6 minutes, 14.4 points, and 6.1 dimes. But then the lights came on and people realized that the selection of songs were limited. He didn’t have the resources to expand the library, so D. J. tried to compensate by mixing and scratching more. That just ended up in more skipping and booing from the crowd. Realizing his limitations, he stopped trying to be fancy and just kept things simple. And it worked, as he’s been getting gigs for 12 years now. Every once in a while, though, he thinks about what could have been and channels something from within. It happened last night.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
25 3 9 2 0 1 2/6 7/15 9/10

In 31 minutes off the bench. Now, Markelle Fultz had some foul trouble last night, so D. J. got some extra run. In addition, Fultz is and will be the starter for the Magic. With that said, over the past four games, D. J. has been spinning the goods, as he’s been a top 85 player, averaging 28.3 minutes, 14.5 points, 1.5 tres, 5 boards, and 1 steals. He’s been shooting 90% from the line on 5.5 attempts. Not bad. The shooting efficiency, though, has only been 42%. Orlando plays at one of the slowest offensive paces in the league, but if you need dimes and tres, D. J. can be of value. Plus, he will go retro and spin the goods from time to time. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what spins the goods all the time? The Stocktonator.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Lyndon Baines Johnson presidency was a misunderstood one. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what’s never misunderstood? The Stocktonator. Most view the administration unfavorably due to the Vietnam War, but LBJ did much to improve the domestic situation in the United States. He passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, created Medicare and Medicaid, increased funding for education, and declared a “War on Poverty.” Historians rank him as an above-average president. The people, though, gave him two thumbs down. The NBA LBJ administration, on the other hand, hasn’t been an administration at all. It’s been more a reign, as LeBron James aka The King has ruled over The League….not one….not two…..not three….not four…..not five…..but 15 seasons. It should be 16, but many viewed him as #TheWashedKing last year as he missed many games due to injury. As his play this season has shown, LBJ didn’t go anywhere. He continues to dominate and reign over the NBA. Last night was but the latest example:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
32 13 7 1 3 4 4/10 12/21 4/7

LeBron is the #12 player for fantasy on the season. He’s leading the freaking league in dimes with 10.8 per game. The usage rate is 32.4 and he’s taking 20.1 field goal atttempts per game. The 34.6 minutes per game seem like a lot, right? Well, that’s a career low!!! Which is a good thing because health and Father Time are the only things that will stop this reign.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The fact that James Harden can drop 50 points in a night without anyone batting an eye is ridiculous. The story line shouldn’t be about how he scored 54 last night, topping the 50-point mark for the second consecutive night. It should be about how no one is talking about it. He had 10 threes and everyone just shrugs and goes about their business. Like, how is such an incredible feat just happening without it being the headline on every major sports media source? It’s mind boggling. This happened three times in between 1980 and 2000. Three times only. Trivia: try and guess who they were in the comments for absolutely no prize at all!

But Harden has done it two separate times this year alone!! And no one is talking about it!! Insanity. Here’s his stat line from last night:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
54 5 7 2 3 3 10-15 19-31 6-6

He single-handedly can bring your roster to the top of the league in multiple scoring categories, and is currently the top asset in fantasy basketball. Let’s go around the league and take a look at the rest of Friday night’s action.

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There are few things in life that get me hard and excited. Let’s see, all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ, 9-0 h2h victory for fantasy, PornHub, and watching the LeBron/AD pick-and-roll. I have to add James Harden to the list. I try not to write up the same player for the lede, but Harden is a freaking basketball savant and could be one of the best one-on-one players of all time. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what’s also an all-timer? The Stocktonator. The jumper from downtown is so pure that Skunk Works is reverse engineering it. The handles have caused many of sleepless nights for Ricky Jay. He’s also 6′ 5″ 220 pounds, so he can stampede to the rim against smaller players and big men have no chance on the perimeter, as he just makes them dance. Last night was yet another example of his brilliance:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
55 3 8 2 2 6 10/18 20/34 5/5

This was Harden’s 22nd career game scoring at least 50 points, which is good for fourth all time. Kobe Bryant had 25 while Michael Jordan had 31. Laughably, Wilt Chamberlain posted 118 50-point games!! LOL. Anyways, Harden is the numero uno player for fantasy on the season. He’s AVERAGING 37.9 minutes, 38.7 points, 4.9 tres, 5.9 boards, 7.5 dimes, 2 steals, and is shooting 88% from the line on 14 attempts! The turnovers are sky-high at 5 per game, but the production is so bountiful in the other categories that it is but a fly on the windshield. Are you not Harden excited?

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

He stands 7′ 4″  and weighs 290 pounds. Each hand is 10.75 inches long and 12 inches wide. The size of his hands are more impressive than the 7′ 4″ and 290 pounds for some reason. Do you realize how big 12 inch wide hands are? Go get a ruler. Now place the left edge of the ruler to the edge of your left hand. Exactly. He can dunk without jumping. He battles John Wick and gets in more than a few decent blows in….before getting munched with a book in the mouth. When on the court in a NBA game, though, he does all the munching. You don’t mess with the Boban:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
15 16 2 0 2 2 0 6/7 3/4

In 23 minutes, a season high! Now, the game was a blowout, so Boban got run. Normally, he doesn’t get much playing time because he can’t be effective in the modern game of pace and space. The first person who figures out how to time travel, better have taking Boban back to the 1950s as priority number one. Let’s see how George Mikan deals with a little Boban in his life. Anyways, Boban obviously isn’t fantasy worthy due to the few minutes he receives. He’s a circus act, but it’s always nice to give him a shout out and watch exactly how dominant he could be if basketball players didn’t have to actually run around.

Here’s what else I saw last yesterday:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I know the “Player of the Week” award is not that important. I know the return of Carmelo Anthony has been a pleasant surprise for many and I can freely admit, as evidenced here, that I was not a believer. But for the love of everything that is holy, Carmelo shouldn’t be the winner of the award this week by averaging 22.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 2.37 assists. Not when Luka Doncic had 30.3/8.7/9.0 and especially not when James Harden had 47.0/4.5/6.5 during the same span.

Maybe it was the “Comeback Player of the Week” Award. Or the “Western Conference Player with a Last Name Starting with “Ant” Week Award”, since Giannis also won the Eastern Conference. I am definitely glad the league is highlighting other players besides the MVP candidates, but Harden’s week was too unreal to ignore.

Last week’s “Buy” suggestions fared pretty well, with both Nerlens Noel and Glenn Robinson III having productive weeks, while Frank Ntilikina was useful until he got ruled out due to a bad back. Finally, Cody Zeller lost his starting spot and has done nothing to convince me he is not a “Sell” candidate.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Luka Doncic was a name most fans of European basketball knew long before he was drafted. We knew all about his potential and, most importantly, his experience that was uncharacteristic for a player of his age. His rookie year was already promising but we are currently witnessing the birth of a true superstar in his sophomore year. Luka is currently averaging 30.1/3.1/10/9.5/1.4/0.2/4.7. I’ll give you a moment to let that sink in….That’s almost a triple-double from a second-year player at age 20. Truly unreal…

Also, check out this response to “Why the Dallas defense has improved this year?”

Dirk was notorious for his humor so Luka looks like a deserved heir both on and off the court.

Regarding last week’s suggestions, Markelle Fultz had a great week and is trending up in a hurry while Moritz Wagner and Jaxson Hayes performed well but not spectacularly. Finally, Kevin Love justified being a “Sell” candidate as the rest days started and they should be a regular occurrence moving forward.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The stage was set.

After having a two-week long stretch of fantastic performances night after night, capped by a 27 point, five assist, seven rebound, and four steal pseudo-revenge game against the Bulls, all signs were pointing to Jimmy going OFF in the real revenge game on Saturday night.

The boos poured down from the Wells Fargo Center as he was introduced. It just felt like he was ready to explode and lead his Heat to their sixth-straight win. But alas, the opposite occurred. Harvard Sports Analysis actually found that superstars perform worse by a pretty good margin in “revenge” games, so maybe we should reverse that narrative. Here’s the line that Jimmy put up:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
11 5 3 2 0 1 0-2 4-13 3-4

Here’s what else happened around the league on Saturday night.

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2-18, 2-16, 9-19, 8-22.

In the four recaps that I’ve written this year that James Harden was a part of, those have been his three-point shooting lines. For you math whizzes, that averages out to 18.75 attempted threes per game, and expanded across an 82-game season, that means Harden will have chucked up 1,537 threes.

Pause. One thousand, five hundred thirty-seven. The NBA record, held by Harden himself, is 500 fewer than that total.

With that said, the four times I’ve written about Harden happen to be his four highest attempt totals from beyond the arc so far. But maybe it’s not totally coincidental. I write the recaps for Friday night and Saturday night games. Maybe there’s some sort of correlation between looking forward to the weekend and getting three-point happy?

A Reddit user, Angry Centric, found a pretty significant correlation between Harden’s performance and the quality of the strip clubs in the city he’s playing in. When the strip clubs are better, the quality goes down. Maybe, just maybe, this could factor into Harden’s three-point shooting. Could he hoist up more threes when he’s excited to go out to a strip club after the game? We’ll keep looking into this as the season goes on.

I guess Minnesota doesn’t have the best strip clubs, though, as Harden exploded last night:

PTS REB AST STL BLK FG-FGA 3p-3pA FT-FTA TO
49 5 6 0 0 16-41 8-22 9-11 4

Here’s what else I saw from around the league on Saturday night.

Please, blog, may I have some more?