The Phoenix Suns liked Deandre Ayton during the 2018 NBA draft. So much so that they drafted him with the number one overall pick. In hindsight, the pick looks silly because they selected him over the likes of Luka Doncic and Trae Young. If you look at the Suns history of drafting in the first round, it makes sense why they selected Ayton.

2017 – Josh Jackson. G-League.
2016 – Dragan Bender. Bucks.
2015 – Devin Booker. Yipee!
2014 – T. J. Warren. Pacers.
2013 – Alex Len. Hawks.
2012 – Kendall Marshall. LOL!
2011 – Markieff Morris. Knicks.
2010 – No first

Luka and Trae both had some perceived risks. Ayton was the safe pick because he was a big man who could shoot. Now, Luka should’ve been the pick, but it’s not like Ayton is a bust. Last night was an example of the fantasy goodies he can provide.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
26 21 2 0 2 2 0 11/15 4/4

Prior to last night’s game, the Suns were bringing Ayton off the bench, like a bunch of bobos. Regardless if he starts or comes off the bench, though, Ayton produces. Over the past seven games, he’s averaged 32.9 minutes, 18.1 points, 11.9 boards, 2.1 dimes, and 1.7 blocks. He’s converted 58% of the 14.1 shot attempts and shooting 78% from the line. That’s been good for top 30 production for fantasy. He can score down on the block or from the top of the key. The stroke is pretty. Is he a transcendent player like Luka? Negative, but he’s very, very good and could finish as a top 15 player. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what is transcendent like Luka? The Stocktonator.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

What is love? Haddaway asked that question many decades ago. Did he find the answer? Naw, just more questions but the one thing he wanted us to know is that he didn’t want to get hurt anymore. As we well know in the fantasy world, Love hurts. Last night, the Phoenix Suns were singing the same tune, as Kevin Huerter kept bringing the pain.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
23 15 8 1 0 2 4/5 8/14 3/4

Baby don’t Huerter, don’t Huerter, no more. It was a career game in terms of boards and dimes. As I’ve written in the past, the thing that most impressed me about Huerter’s game was the playmaking ability. He is an excellent ball handler and can navigate pick-and-roll action competently. He’s been averaging 4.8 dimes over the past four games. I thought he would strictly be a 3-and-D player when he was drafted, but his game is multi-dimensional. Case in point, over the past seven games, he’s averaged 7.1 boards per game. Now, he’s been shooting 49% from the field over that stretch. I was always bullish on his shooting acumen, but he was only shooting 42% from the field for most of the season. If the efficiency is real, then top 50 is attainable. I have my doubts, at least this season. Maybe going forward, but top 100 production this season is reasonable, with averages of 13 points, 2 tres, 4 boards, 4 dimes, 1 steal, with 43% shooting from the field and 83% shooting from the line.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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:

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?

There was plenty of basketball to watch on Christmas Day, 13 hours worth to be exact. What figured to be a disappointing slate of easily predictable outcomes turned out to be a surprisingly fun, upset-filled NBA gift. A Golden State Warriors team full of two-way and minimum contract players managed to beat James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and the rest of the Houston Rockets. Joel Embiid played grinch for Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks, leading to fans firing up all of the familiar “Bucks are a regular season team” takes. The solid, wing-heavy Boston Celtics comfortably beat an injury ravaged Raptors team and a newly rejuvenated New Orleans Pelicans squad pulled out a victory against the Denver Nuggets. And in the most anticipated game of the day, Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers outlasted and outshot LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. I enjoyed myself.

I viewed the Christmas day outcomes as a reminder of all there is to love about the NBA. Star-players duking it out for legacy supremacy and short-lived bragging rights. Yes, the regular season isn’t the most accurate prediction of playoff success, but it is still entertaining and compelling nonetheless. Wednesday’s games continued to reinforce my belief that, if you’re truly interested in the NBA, there is more than enough nightly entertainment to satisfy your intrigue.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Bruce Lee was the man. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. He was an actor, director, philosopher, teacher, and professional ass-kicker. His speed and quickness would mesmerize and put me into a trance. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what always mesmerizes? The Stocktonator. But what I most admired about him was his mind. My favorite Bruce Lee quote is, “Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless – like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash.” When he first arrived to the United States, he was all about the Wing Chun style, but he realized it was too rigid for the chaos of street fighting. As a result, he developed “the style of no style” which emphasized “practicality, flexibility, speed, and efficiency.” Brother-from-another-mother, Damion Lee utilized the same techniques as he led the Warriors to a victory over the Rockets, 116-104.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
22 15 4 3 0 2 2/2 5/9 10/10

Made his fifth start in a row and played 31 minutes. He was efficient from the floor, displayed speed in getting his 211 on, showed flexibility in his game by dishing out dimes, and was practically impossible to bottle up. He flowed like water through and around the Rockets. Now, Lee is a two-way player, and he has 15 days left before he’s sent down to the G-League. The Warriors cannot waive anyone to free up a spot because they are right at the hard cap. They could trade someone like Marquese Chriss, Alec Burks, or Glenn Robinson III, but that is unlikely. Translation: this will probably not last. With that said, he’s been a top 25 player over the past three games. He’s averaged 31.4 minutes, 18.7 points, 2.7 tres, 9.7 boards, 2.7 dimes, and 1.3 steals. The turnovers have been low while the percentages have been good. Like brother-from-another Bruce, the party will likely end prematurely, but there will be plenty of ass-kicking until that happens.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Dallas Mavericks are powered by two nuclear reactors. Unfortunately, the Luka Doncic Reactor was damaged a week ago and needed to be shut down. The Kristaps Porzingis Reactor has been throttled up in the meantime, but more power was required. Mark Cuban was wise to have alternative power sources at the ready. Bunsen burners don’t provide a ton of heat and are primarily just used in laboratories, but they provide a continuous source of fire. That is exactly what Jalen Brunson provides. Yesterday, the dial was turned up to full max:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
21 4 9 1 0 2 2/5 8/14 3/3

In 34 minutes. Now, the Doncic Reactor’s repairs are almost finished, so the Brunson Burner will be relegated once again to just laboratory experiments, but he’s someone to keep in mind if injury strikes again. In seven games as a starter this season, Brunson has averaged 29.8 minutes, 12.4 points, 1.4 tres, 4.3 boards, and 6.9 dimes. The shooting efficiency has also been excellent; 46% from the field and 100% from the line. In 22 games off the bench, he averages a meager 14.7 minutes. The Brunson Burner will never be able to fully power the Mavs on a consistent basis, but he’s more than capable of providing fire when called upon. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what always brings the heat? The Stocktonator.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Brooks are serene, calm, and picturesque. But looks can be deceiving. I was once fishing at the local brook (I don’t fish and I live in Los Angeles), when I heard some commotion behind me. There were two squirrels holding onto my bait box and trying to drag it back to the tree from which they came from. As I turned around and rose from the log I was parked on, I heard a splash behind me. A beaver had pulled the pail, which housed all the fish I caught, into the stream. A coordinated attack. After my inital anger, I was truly impressed. From that day, I always watched my six and didn’t fall for the old “bird singing then shitting on my head” distraction. Anyways, Brook Lopez is big, tall, and lumbers around the court. He should bang down low, grab boards, and operate in the paint. But looks can be deceiving. Lopez likes to hang out on the perimeter and launch salvos from downtown. When he first entered the league, he was a boarding maniac. Now? Not so much. Business decisions. The most baffling aspect of his game, though, is his penchant for getting his 211 on. Don’t believe me?

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
10 4 2 4 3 1 0/3 3/8 4/4

Last night was the fifth time in his career that Lopez has pilfered four in a game. Not something you expect from a lumbering giant such as Brook. Anyways, the one predictable and not surprising aspect of Brook’s game is in the block department. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what’s always predictable? The Stocktonator. He’s fifth in the league with 2.2 blocks per game. From a fantasy perspective, Brook is a top 70 player. The free throw shooting is excellent (90% on 2 attempts) and there’s the aforementioned blocks. He provides 1.4 tres per game, but the scoring is way down from previous years due to the 38% shooting from the field. The minutes are also down to 26 from 28.7 last season. Brook is too good of a shooter to continue converting sub-40% from the field. I’d expect that to normalize as the season progresses.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Roses go through many stages of existence. First, there are the seed and germination stages, when life is created. Then, the flowers grow and reproduce. Finally, it’s all about spreading the seeds so that the circle of life can be completed. Derrick Rose knows all about that, as he’s played in Chicago, New York, Cleveland, Minnesota, and now Detroit. At 31 years old and coming off two knee surgeries, Rose obviously isn’t the bright flower he once was, but with proper pruning, he can still blossom with the best of them. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what allows you to blossom? The Stocktonator.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
22 6 8 1 0 3 2/5 8/17 4/4

Played 29 minutes off the bench, a season high. as the Pistons roster was pruned last night because both Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond did not play. Over the past three games, Rose has been a top 65 player for fantasy, providing points, tres, dimes and steals. The usage rate has been 33 while the percentages have been good from both the field and line. When everyone is healthy, expect top 100-ish production, as he will likely receive around 24 minutes of run per game.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

A ravine is a “deep, narrow gorge with steep sides” according to Google. LaVine’s RaVine is a sight to see. The drop off in his stats based on the outcome of the game is truly something to witness. In wins, he’s great… he averages 27.1 points per game, with an offensive rating of 119, a FG% of 51.7, and an absolutely absurd 3Pt% of 57.5. And that’s similar to the LaVine we saw last night, in the Bulls’ unexpected victory over the Kawhi-less Clippers:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
31 4 2 2 0 3 4-7 11-21 5-6

In losses? LaVine’s scoring output falls to 20.2 points per game, with an offensive rating of 95 and FG and 3Pt percentages of 38.5% and 32.4%, respectively. That’s some sort of drop off, and it speaks to how much the Bulls depend on him if they want any chance of winning. His usage is nearly identical in both, but his inability to consistently perform at a top level makes us question his future as the leader of a team.

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?