In all walks of life, we yearn for predictability. How long will the commute take? Is it going to rain tomorrow? Will the Big One occur tomorrow (I live in Cali)? What if we could predict the stats for every player on a nightly basis? That would be a good thing, right? Ever do a fantasy draft in NBA 2K or Madden against the computer? How about a fantasy basketball mock draft against the AI? What if your significant other did the exact same routine under the sheets every single time? Life would get boring and mundane. Imagine a world with no surprises. Imagine a world with no highs and lows. Just a living flat line. Fantasy sports would become an efficient market with everyone valuing players the same. I bring all this up because Victor Oladipo‘s career has been anything but predictable. Selected by the Orlando Magic with the second overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, greatness was expected. And why not? At 6’ 4″ 210 pounds with a 42″ vertical jump, Oladipo had the physcial tools. Judging from his production at Indiana University, he also had the skills. But then life happened. After three seasons in Orlando, the team traded him to Oklahoma City. After one season in OKC, he was shipped off to Indiana for Paul George. Maybe he wasn’t ready. Maybe he didn’t gel with his teammates. There are so many factors to consider, but one thing is certain: He’s found a home with the Pacers. Oladipo is scoring almost eight more points than last year on four more shot attempts, the shooting percentage has increased substantially (from both the suburbs and downtown), the rebounds are up, assists are up, steals are up, and blocks are up. I guess I could’ve just said every statistical category has improved, but I like the dramatic effect of spelling everything out. He’s the 14th overall player right now!!! Anyways, yesterday against the Nuggets, Oladipo played 45 minutes in an OT game and went:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 47 7 6 2 1 4 6/12 15/28 11/13

Oladipo Ho! Oladipo Ho! Oladipo Ho!

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Urbandictionary.com is one of my favorite sites to visit on the internet. When I want the full essense of a word, I go there. It’s like when I travel to another city. If I truly want to get a feel for the new place, I’ve got to go where the streets are not lined with Louis Vuitton stores and people are hovering their selfie sticks in the air. Anyone remember this scene from Boomerang? Ha! Still cracks me up. Anyways, dictionary.com defines booker as: (n) booking agent. Boring. Now, let’s see what the urban site has to say. Booker: 1) In pro wrestling, basically he’s the one running the show. 2) All around awesome person with unhuman skills a very badass person. 3) A half of a blunt removed of its inerts and replaced with “trees”, smoked half way, and saved. 4) An offensive term for a US county sheriff. 5) A type of masturbation that involves…No! Why?! 6) A term used for denying previous sexual intercourse with another person. 7) A person that can run faster than the wind. I was familiar with three of those definitions. How about you? If you knew 5, then I don’t know what to say. Good times? So, I titled this piece as “Devin is a Booker.” He’s not a booking agent. He’s not a professional wrestler, but he does run the show. He seems like an all around awesome person. He does exhibit unhuman skills on the basketball court and he is a badass person. He is not a blunt, but he does catch on fire like one. He ain’t no 5-0, but he did score over 50 once. I’ll skip over 5. He’s probably turning down ladies left and right. He does run pretty fast. And, his last name is Booker, so he’s undeniably a Booker. With all that said, he made pops very proud last night as he went:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
33 9 4 1 1 3 5/9 10/23 8/10

I’m not writing 300 words for a chump. We knew Booker could score, but he’s pulling down a board a game more than last year and dishing out almost a dime more as well. The defensive stats remain the same, but he’s still only 21 years old. If he can continue to harness the rest of his game, he could be a top 25 player. As it stands, top 40-50 player is a reasonable expectation.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I always enjoyed Outkast when I was younger. Their music would always get me to bob my head from side to side and up and down. The thing I most admired about them, though, was their ability to change. Early on, they were a more “traditional” rap group. As time progressed, they started experimenting and adding elements to their music which made them more funky. End result? My head continued to bob from side to side and up and down. The lead singer was Andre Benjamin, who performed under the stage name “Dre.” As the group changed their style, Benjamin changed his name to “Andre 3000.” The new and improved version, perhaps? Well, the same evolution has been taking place in Detroit, as Andre Drummond has been a beast. On the season, he’s averaging:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 13.7 15.2 3.4 1.4 1.2 3.5 0 99/188 49/81

The boards, assists, and free throw percentage are all at career-highs! The turnovers are at a career-high as well, but that’s a residual effect of being a playmaker. I should’ve known big things were coming when I saw highlights of him playing at the Drew League over the summer. Splashing step back 20-footers? What? The most impressive improvement has obviously been the free throw shooting. The Pistons broadcasters analyzed the differences here. Now, it all culminated last night for Drummond against the Boston Celtics:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 26 22 6 4 0 3 0 10/12 6/8

Season-high in points, rebounds, and field goal percentage. Let’s cut to Andre performing and get a glimpse of how all his fantasy owners are feeling right now:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Hey y’all. We’re back again, like we never left, with another Saturday Special. Today we’re kicking it off with none other than the Tall Baller From the G himself, Dirk Nowitzki. He had a nice little vintage performance, as he led the Mavericks to a win over the Thunder, going for 19/5/4/2 on 7-for-10 shooting with four threes. Dirk’s no longer a fantasy stud, but it’s nice to be able to show love to one of the greats when they deserve it. Dirk might get sporadic rest days as the season goes on, but he’ll generally be given free reign to do as he pleases while the Mavericks happily tank for a pick. Anyway, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Celtics’ impressive 16-game winning streak is now over. Is it a coincidence that 16 is half of 32, which is the number of games that the ’71 Lakers won in a row? I do not believe in coincidences, until I do. Which makes this iteration of the Celtics half the team of that glorious Lakers squad. All kidding aside, it was an impressive run. The team stepped up when they lost Gordon Hayward, Brad Stevens is now a legitimate Presidential candidate, Kyrie is…..well, Kyrie, and the defense has been the league’s best, by a big margin according to defensive efficiency. I tried everything in the book to jinx the streak. Voodoo dolls, shrines, sacrificing of virgins, and rubbing my scrotum with four-leaf clovers. All to no avail. I had to harken back to the past. All the way back to the ancient days of the early 1990’s. It was during that time, the secret was unlocked by the Leprechaun movies. You see, in the original, the leprechaun is defeated when the well it falls into is blown up. Explosion. Fire. In the third movie, the lepechaun is defeated via flamethrower. Heat was needed and Heat we got Wednesday night, as the Miami Heat took down the Boston Leprechauns 104-98. Who led the way? None other than Goran Dragic, aka the Dragon, who was spewing fire from all over the court: 27 points, five boards, four dimes, and one liberation. He shot 8-of-17 from the field and 2-of-4 from downtown. Waiters Island was booming, as Dion Waiters scored 26 points, grabbed two boards, and dished out six dimes. He shot 11-of-24 from the field and 4-of-10 from downtown. How do you beat the Celtics? Shoot 49.4% from the field, which was 4% higher than their season average. Translation: bring the Heat.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Howdy basketboys and girls, welcome back to another Saturday recap special. There was a great game last night as Ben Simmons and the Sixers almost cooked Steph Curry’s Warriors. The Sixers jumped out to an early 47-28 lead after the first quarter, but the Warriors did Warriors things and pulled off their own 47-15 rout in the third quarter to take back the lead and put the game away. Simmons had 23/8/12 on 11-for-15 shooting and only one turnover in the close loss. Wow. We knew he was great, but he’s blowing past everyone’s expectations this season. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy basketball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This is a crazy time of year. Halloween just ended and now we prepare for Thanksgiving, which basically means that Christmas is almost here, which signifies the end of the year, but also means new beginnings. Whew….So much. Too much. Last night, though, everything was straightforward, as it was simply a Jrue Holiday. 34 points, five boards, and 11 dimes in 42 minutes. While the calendar year is littered with holidays (Thanks Hallmark), each one occurs once a year. That’s how we should look at Jrue’s year. We know that there will be big games littered throughout the year. Just don’t expect them to occur on a daily basis. Through 12 games, Jrue has a 19% usage rate. Anthony Davis has a 28% usage rate, while DeMarcus Cousins a 33% rate. His numbers are down across the board, except in boards. Ha! The Universe is awesome.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Part of fantasy basketball is forming a team using the predictable stats in a way that maximizes your roto points or head-to-head category wins. Another part is getting the less predictable stats right more often than your competition, whether that means you’re benefiting from an increase in value or avoiding a decrease.

It’s early, but I thought I’d take a look at what the biggest differences are in this season’s stats versus last season’s by using the ESPN Player Rater averages (per-game).

Aaron Gordon. This season’s highest leaper.

First, a quick detour while I’m talking player rater. Here’s something it teaches us that we should keep in mind. Many people think of rankings as linear. Like, the best player is the same amount better than the 5th player as the 5th player is better than the 9th player. Not so, and we see the difference especially among the top few players when we look at their overall rating. Like with most data sets, there are outliers. That’s these fantasy stars. The top five players with their per-game ratings in each of the past two seasons:

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It’s the third installment of Buy/Sell and I’m already out of prologue ideas. That’s not good. And I’ve just burned the “I don’t have a prologue” prologue. Hmmm, to divert your attention let’s talk about some of the calls from last week. TJ McConnell has been more than serviceable, Lillard predictably started knocking down his shots (shutting down his buy low window in the process), and Moore and Crowder were blah. The controversial Murray pick confirmed his inconsistency scoring. Six, 26, 20, 24, three, nine, and four points in his last seven. I remain optimistic, but the dud against the Nets (one of the worst teams defending the PG spot) definitely hurt. Boogie and the Virgin continued dominating, but I stand by my advice to sell. The best call may end up being Henson who, with Monroe going to Phoenix, has a great opportunity to maintain his value for the rest of the season. With all that out of the way let’s look at our new candidates.

Please, blog, may I have some more?