Apologies for last week’s DNP. I had a bit of a breakdown after digging out of almost a foot of snow and decided it was time to take matters into my own hands by driving to Punxsutawney to strong-arm a groundhog into making it stop. When I woke up in my bed the next morning with a driveway buried in snow and not a single groundhog pelt to be found, I understood that I had failed. Resigned and bitter, I’ve come to understand that violence against large marmots is not the solution to my winter problems. Endurance is the only way.

Keeping this lesson in mind, this week’s Hangin’ looks at three shooters who have disappointed thus far. Must they also be endured or is more dramatic action required?

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Nikola Tesla was of Serbian descent and is considered one of the most influential people of all time. He invented the Tesla coil, the magnifying transmitter, Tesla turbine engine, shadowgraph, radio, neon lamp, Niagra Falls transformer house, the induction motor, radio-controlled boat, but his crowning achievement was inventing alternating current, which allowed electricity to be sent over long distances more efficiently. Ranker.com has him at the top among famous people named Nikola. That’s fair, but Nikola Pekovic is number two? Granted, there is no number but the logical assumption would be that the next Nikola listed would be the number two Nikola, right? What about Nikola Jokic? Scrolls down. Nope. Scrolls down more. Where he at? Keeps scrolling, Nopenopenopenope. Finally CTRL-F. Big. Fat. Zero. Man, F#@! Ranker.com. As for Tesla, he’s dope and even has an awesome car named after him but when’s the last time he did this?

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The alerts on Channing’s phone have been going bonkers since I wrote this article. “Honey, I’m getting Google alerts for Step Up!” Jenna rolled her eyes, then placed her hand on her husband’s back, and slowly moved it in a circular motion that Miyagi would be proud of. “It’s been almost 15 years, hon. Are you sure you’re ready for this?” The reviews were not kind: This hokey, formulaic romantic drama is every bit as appalling as it sounds. Ouch. As Channing clicked on the alert, he responded with “That [email protected]#!er Son is writing about Jayson Tatum again!”

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Comparing the Denver roster from last season with their current roster leaves a lot to be desired from a team that competed in the Western Conference Finals a season ago. On paper, the Nuggets lost their best defensive player in Jerami Grant and their backup center in Mason Plumlee. The hope is that what we saw from Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. in the Bubble were for real.

Before the Bubble, Murray averaged 18 points a game and exploded for 26.5 over 19 playoff games in the Bubble. During the playoffs, Murray shot 45% from deep, but that hot shooting won’t hold up for the career 35% three-point shooter. What could hold up is the shot selection. Murray shot more pull up three-point shots in the playoffs and was hunting for those looks inn the pick and roll. Denver also believes the guard is going to step up his defense this year. Michael Porter Jr. showed flashes of brilliance in the Bubble over the summer with his increased role.

Overall I think we see more of the same from the Nuggets this season, one of the better regular-season teams in the West, but I am not sure they got enough better to make it to the finals.

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So I did a nice value picks list last week, and it was good for about a day until Yahoo decided to update their rankings and pretty much took away all the value on my list. Well played Yahoo, well played. I actually do think the Yahoo list is solid now that they tightened up their rankings, so I will be focusing on the value that you can find later on in the draft. Here is a list of guys I’m targeting after pick 100 in 9 cat H2H leagues.

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There are a lot of differences between Jimmy Butler and myself. I, for example, am not a five time NBA All-Star. I’ve also never been named the Most Improved Player, won a gold medal, or screamed at Karl-Anthony Towns with such vigor that I had to be sent to Philadelphia. But perhaps the biggest wedge between Jimmy and myself is our feelings toward rear-view mirrors. 

See, I’m a look back kind of guy. There’s wisdom (and cars!) back there if you care to investigate. This willingness to wallow, to ruminate, to linger and consider all the roads not traveled means that I signed myself up to do the tedious work of taking long, wistful gazes at how this first ever RazzJam went down and try to glean something useful from it. Son, our fearless leader and fellow RazzJam League 14 draftee, is here to keep an eye on my blind spots. You strike me as a reasonable guy, Son, you’re pro-mirror, right?

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We’ve come to the end of the road of the rankings/projections. Sniff. Sniff. I’m sad, but don’t cry, dry your eye, as this means the season is almost upon us. If you want to see the players past the 150, click HERE.

If you missed previous editions, here you go:

Top 10
Top 25
Top 50
Top 75
Top 100

Before I begin…

THESE RANKINGS MUST BE UTILIZED IN THE CONTEXT OF YOUR LEAGUE SETTINGS, TEAM ROSTER CONSTRUCTION, AVERAGE DRAFT POSITION, AND PERSONAL PHILOSOPHIES.

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It was a clear black night, a clear white moon. T. J. Warren was on the courts, trying to score. Some skirts for the eve, so he could get some funk. Just jacking up shots, all alone. Over the past six games, Warren has been a top 25 player for fantasy. He’s averaged 32.7 minutes, 21.7 points, 1.2 tres, 4.7 boards, and 1.2 steals. The turnovers have been a miniscule at 0.8 while the percentages have been excellent; 54% from the field and 90% from the line on five attempts. Last night, he mounted up and regulated those averages and the Hornets.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
36 5 3 1 1 1 0/2 15/24 6/6

Warren goes on these heaters from time to time, so this is not unexpected. It helps that Malcolm Brogdon has been out as well. Now, he’s not going to continue shooting 54% from the field. He is a good shooter, so 49%-50% isn’t out of the question. The main concern is health when it comes to Warren. Over the past five seasons, he’s played 43, 65, 66, 47, and 40 games. Now, we can’t predict injury but that’s an ominous trend. Enjoy the heater while it lasts, but I fear the party will end one way or another. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what never stops delivering the goods? The Stocktonator.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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It’s amazing how time can cause us to forget some of the greatest talents in our midst. The NBA, like any other sport, is a “what have you done for me lately” league. We sometimes forget that a potentially transcendent talent has yet to make his NBA debut. All the summer hype slowly disappears when the player, who’s talents surpass narrative, has been missing in action. The high school hype, the college hype, the draft hype, and injury hype, all wither away into the abyss, before sprouting it’s head once more, and injecting something special into our veins. The NBA needs a savior, in a dark time when stars are injured and ratings drop. The savior I am speaking of is not Zion Williamson, shocker, I know. I am talking about Michael Porter Jr.

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Be ready for some James Bond references. 

It’s an Oddjob guarding James Harden. And De’Andre Hunter found out the Harden way. Because Agent 0013 tied Agent 0023, one Michael Jordan, for the third-most 60-point games in NBA history with his fourth such game (it only took him three quarters). And he had the Goldfinger going as well, dishing out eight assists, which is also tied for the third-most assists in a 60-point effort (Harden is also first on that list, putting together the only recorded triple-double in a 60-point game when he had 10 rebounds and 11 assists two years ago). 0013 knows that You Only Live Twice, and He Only Missed Thrice from the free throw line, going 20-for-23 and continuing to lead the league with a staggering 14.4 attempts per game, leading runner-up Giannis Antetokounmpo by more than three attempts in each contest. He’s the Man with the Golden Shot, sinking eight threes for the third time this year. And most importantly, Harden was Dr. No in allowing the Hawks to even get close in this one… his +/- of 50 trails the highest +/- of the past two decades by only 7 points (Luc Mbah a Moute with the Rockets, believe it or not). Here is his full stat line:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
60 3 8 3 1 5 8-14 16-24 20-23

Alright, that’s it with the Bond references. Was that enough? For me it was, but for 0013, the World is not Enough. Here’s what else occurred in a four-game slate on Saturday.

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