There have been some interesting storylines surrounding Giannis Antetokounmpo this offseason. The 2018-19 MVP accepted his award humbly and gave an emotional speech before telling ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk that he’s only reached “60% of his potential.” Uh-oh. Then, the Milwaukee Bucks went out and made a splash in free agency, signing veteran sharpshooter Kyle Korver. As one of the best shooters in the world, he’s a worthy mentor and has been helping the Greek Freak to develop his jumper. Uh-oh. And then, NBA coaches and executives went ahead and voted Kawhi Leonard as the best player in the league. Because why not incite the 25-year-old Milwaukee mainstay to play even better this year?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Cedi Osman was selected with the 31st overall pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves back in 2015. His draft rights were immediately traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Osman was stashed away in Europe for two years. When he finally made it over to the States, the playing time was inconsistent but he did show that he could play in the league and had two games in which he logged 39 minutes. Osman showed the ability to contribute across the board, so it wasn’t a surprise when he performed well to begin this season: 32.4 minutes, 13.1 points, 5.3 boards, 3.6 dimes, and 1 steal were his averages in the month of October. While he shot 42% from downtown on 4.7 attempts, the overall field goal percentage was only 38%, something that would plague him as the season progressed. In addition, the peripheral stats all decreased, which resulted in many jumping off the Osman ship. But then something happened. Maybe something clicked, as he’s still only 23 years old and this is only his second season in the NBA. Or maybe it’s small sample size, but whatever the case may be, last night Cedi was freaking Osman!

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
26 5 7 2 1 3 4/8 10/16 2/8

Well, everything but the free throw shooting, but he was instrumental in leading the Cavs to a 116-113 victory over the Wizards. For much of the season, Osman had been a top 200 player for fantasy, but over the three games prior to last night, he’d been top 30, averaging 37.1 minutes, 23.7 points, 3.7 threeecolas, 6.7 boards, 2.7 dimes, and 1.3 steals. He’d been shooting 52% from the field and had a usage rate of 23. Now, the efficiency will likely come down, but there’s also a chance that he’s more comfortable and has improved. Regardless, the Cavs straight stink so Osman is going to get tons of run. Cedi has been Osman. Hopefully, he continues to be.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I was a sucker for all the James Bond movies growing up. There was always action, women, lots of cool toys, and more action. What most confused me early on, but later fascinated me, was the overtness of the Bond character. At his core, he was a spy after all, and a spy is defined as “a person who secretly…” I don’t need to continue the definition. Could a ninja ever be famous? Wouldn’t that go against the fundamental premise of being a ninja? With all that said, Bond took the spy game to the next level. Everyone knew he was a spy, and he knew that everyone knew, yet he did his spy thing while everyone else played along. Translation: Bond was a freaking boss. Which is exactly what Harden, James Harden is.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
41 6 7 2 1 6 5/16 15/35 6/7

That’s seven straight games scoring 30+ points, with two games over 40 and one 50-burger in there. The overtness that Harden exhibits is just as bold as Bond. Defenders know his moves, yet still get played. Now, with Chris Paul out for an extended period of time, the usage rate spikes to the mid-40s. The comparable analogy would be Bond walking into a casino with both hands flashing the bird, acquiring the information that he came for, and of course bringing the D for the girl.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I remember watching Reggie Miller at UCLA and being mezmerized. Man, oh man could he shoot. Chants of Reggie! Reggie! Reggie! would reverberate throughout Pauley Pavilion. Then, he got drafted by the Indiana Pacers and the same chant was sung. One of the greatest shooters I’ve ever witnessed. He was a career 39% shooter from downtown. At the zenith, he attempted 6.6 while making 2.8 threeecolas per game. Back then, those were amazing numbers. The game certainly has changed, as Steph Curry leads the league with 11 threeecolas attempted with 5.1 makes per game. What hasn’t changed, though, is the Reggie! Reggie! Reggie! chant, only this time it’s for Reggie Bullock.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
33 3 1 1 0 0 7/12 12/21 2/2

Played 43 minutes in an overtime game. Bullock missed five games due to an ankle injury earlier this month. Since returning three games ago, he’s scored 15, 24, and 33 points and shot 4-for-10, 5-for-7, and 7-for-12 from downtown. Did the Pistons go all Steve Austin on him or something? Bullock is a 40% shooter from downtown, but this most recent heater of 55% is something else. He’s been a top 30 player for fantasy over the three-game stretch without contributing much in any other category! Now, the efficiency is obviously going to come in, unless the Pistons truly did turn Bullock into the modern day, six million dollar man. With that said, he’s been getting a ton of open looks because defenses have to sag down on Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond down low. There will be adjustments, so the volume of threeecolas will come back down. On the season, Bullock is averaging 5.6 attempts per game. Until then, enjoy the ride and chant at the top of your lungs, Reggie! Reggie! Reggie!

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I have to start this article by saying that I’m a big fan of Stephen Curry, but simultaneously I’m a bigger fan of science. And those two seemed to have a conflict recently with Curry suggesting that the moon landing didn’t happen during a recent podcast. NASA’s response was immediate.

This is the second occurrence of an NBA player making such a comment after Kyrie Irving’s infamous flat earth theory. My humble personal opinion is that these guys are role models for millions of children worldwide and as role models, they ought to have a more well-informed opinion on scientific matters. Their opinions may shape the views of millions that look up to them, so their statements carry a significant weight. I would love to hear your opinion on that matter in the comments. I’m interested to see your point of view. OK, Rant over, let’s review last week’s calls and move on to this week’s suggestions!

Tim Frazier is doing exactly what is expected from him, with elite assists and contributions in steals and triples, and I really like him as long as Elfrid Payton is sidelined. Kevin Huerter has seen his minutes increase and is becoming a deep-league asset, while Marvin Williams returned quicker than expected and somewhat capped Miles Bridges’ upside. Finally, Kevon Looney and Jordan Bell will have low end value until DeMarcus Cousins returns.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This is the Division of New Instruction because, with one year plus the 26 games the Pacers have played so far, Nate McMillan is the senior member of the division’s coaching membership. Two teams, the Pistons and the Bucks had new coaches to begin the year, and the other two teams, the Cavs and the Bulls, changed leadership during the season.

Instruction and teaching do matter in the NBA. So many players are coming into the league with only a year of college ball, so today’s coaches must have staffs that can teach them to play the game. Coaches have to find ways to make players with limitations productive, and the coaches who can do it the best are the ones who are successful.

We witnessed Indiana’s improvement last year under the tutelage of McMillan, and the Bucks and Pistons under new leadership sport winning records this year while looking like different teams.

Three of the teams have records in the top five of the Eastern Conference, while the other two which jettisoned their head coaches early this season, are languishing at the bottom. Also, alphabetically, the records go from worst with Chicago to best in Milwaukee, for whatever that means.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Mondays can be rough for many. Some may be recovering from too many adult beverages, while others may still have the bass bumping in their heads from the clubbing. There are those that went out of town and….are still mentally there. Whatever the case may be, for those that don’t work on the weekends, Mondays are a recuperation and recovery day. Which is apparently what happened in the NBA, as players were scratched left and right, and many others got injured during the game. I’m not saying that the nightlife was the culprit, but I just wrote it so….All jokes aside, yesterday was one of the craziest slates I’ve seen in a while. Below is a list of the inactives:

Pre-game:

John Wall (heel)
Ish Smith (groin)
Kyrie Irving (shoulder)
Gordon Hayward (illness)
Al Horford (knee)
Aron Baynes (ankle)
Blake Griffin (rest)
Reggie Bullock (ankle)
Hassan Whiteside (personal)
Evan Fournier (personal)
Stanley Johnson (knee)
E’Twaun Moore (rest)
Dennis Smith Jr. (wrist)
Giannis Antetokounmpo (neck)
Jamal Crawford (knee)
During the game:

Jimmy Butler (groin)
Henry Ellenson (ankle)
Glenn Robinson III (ankle)
Otto Porter Jr. (knee)
Nikola Mirotic (ankle)
Tristan Thompson (foot)
Lou Williams (hamstring)
Thank goodness tomorrow is Tuesday.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We are recuperating from the Thanksgiving holiday, but no rest for the weary, as preparations are beginning in earnest for Christmas. Then, it’s a quick turnaround for New Year’s followed by Groundhog Day. What? You don’t bow down to Punxsutawney Phil? You heathen. Valentine’s Day is next with Chinese New Year right after that. I married Chinese to hedge against the possibility that they rule the world in my lifetime. You don’t need to take it that far, but you may want to start celebrating that particular holiday. Just in case. St. Patrick’s Day, Good Friday, Easter, Patriot’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day….I think you get the point. The holidays keep coming and going, which is exactly what Jrue Holiday does on the basketball court, as he played 42 minutes last night.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
32 4 14 4 1 1 4/8 12/23 4/6

On the season, Holiday is averaging over 36 minutes per game. Since the holiday seasons are usually about giving, it’s only appropriate that he’s third in the NBA in assists (9 per game). The turnovers are a little high (3.7) and the free throw percentage is a little low (75%), but he’s providing 20.6 points, 1.4 threeecolas, 4.6 rebounds, 1.6 steals, and 0.8 blocks, which is good for the #27 player in fantasy. This Holiday always be working and providing.

Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what else doesn’t take holidays off? The Stocktonator, which is probably why it had Holiday so high last night.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Full exposure: I had to look up what a sexton actually is. Apparently it’s something like a groundskeeper for a church, but their duties have traditionally included digging graves. And that’s exactly what Collin Sexton did to the Rockets last night. They rested Chris Paul, in what I’m sure the Cavs viewed as a slap in the face, and used that to fuel their play. Sexton had a night, going 1-29-4-2-0-0-3 on 14-of-21 shooting with nary a free throw and I’m sure it helped that CP3 was not guarding him. The 29 points were a career high, and he’s actually turning in a pretty nice rookie campaign so far. He had a lot of doubters coming into the season, myself included, but with George Hill out, he’s made the most of his opportunities.  He won’t give you much outside of points and good percentages, but for a last guy on your bench you could do much worse.

Here’s what else went down on a slightly light schedule night for a Saturday, (7 Games):

Please, blog, may I have some more?

 

Most of the teams in this division are what we thought they were. The Dallas Mavericks are more competitive with their new additions, but still not playoff ready. The Memphis Grizzlies, with a healthier roster, are returning to Grit-and-Grind, playing at a pace nobody wants to play. The New Orleans Pelicans will go as far as AD takes them, while hoping to capitalize on the momentum of sweeping the Trail Blazers in last year’s playoffs, but ultimately realizing the rest of the roster has a second-round ceiling. The Spurs are the Spurs, so even with multiple roster changes, the Kawhi Leonard drama, loss of veteran leadership, injuries, and adjustments, Coach Greg Popovich is still the master puppeteer who will figure out how to win more than he loses. He would probably do that even if you gave him a roster of Lilliputians. Which leaves the exception and the outlier, the Houston Rockets, who have not been what we thought they were. We all thought they would take a step back defensively, but who thought they would forget how to shoot? They seem to be finding their sea legs, and even beat the World Champion Golden State Warriors, but who would have guessed the team with the best record in the league last year would be happy to be 7-7 after 14 games?

Please, blog, may I have some more?