With the release of Joker – a truly chilling and exceptional movie, by the way – the Jokic and Joker puns and references are becoming a bit tired. So let’s take this a different route: who gets a place on the Mount Rushmore of seemingly out-of-shape athletes? Jokic is certainly making a case for a position. He doesn’t look like the most trim guy out there.

So I got to thinking, and in terms of basketball, people like Bryant Reeves, Glen Davis, and Eddy Curry came to mind. Other sports have some really strong contenders, with baseball throwing out some especially heavy competitors. CC Sabathia, David Wells, Pablo Sandoval, and the Babe himself could create a fairly heavyset Mount Rushmore. The NFL is a different case, with guys like Vince Wilfork needing to be as big as they were in order to dominate the opposition.

It’s really an interesting discussion, so comment your picks below. But I digress. The point here is that Jokic was able to outwork the Greek – or rather Cameroonian – God himself, Joel Embiid, in the ultimate matchup of chiseled vs. flabby.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
26 10 6 2 2 1 2-9 10-22 4-5

The three-point efficiency is really the only thing to be mad about here… but the game-winning three that sealed the deal helped make up for that showing for Denver fans.

Here’s what else we saw from around the league on Friday night:

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Points guards are the Mother Teresas of the fantasy basketball world, as they like to give. Shooting guards are….the cavemen. See ball, shoot ball, take ball, then shoot ball. Rinse and repeat. These are obviously generalizations, but shooters shoot, and that’s what this post is all about. I kid, kind of. The elite at this position are across-the-board contributers, while the rest are indeed cavemen.

To see my per-game value projections for each player, click HERE. In the “Pos” box (which stands for position, not the other thing you were thinking), type in “sg” and the table will sort by just shooting guards.

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Let’s recap the four-year Stan Van Gundy era in Detroit. One season above .500 (44-38). Three seasons with win totals of 39, 37, and 32 games. Acquired Blake Griffin and his five-year, $171 million contract for essentially a first-round draft pick and Tobias Harris, who put up 19.3 points, 6 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.6 blocks, and 2.2 threeecolas last season. Ricky Lake Griffin contributed 19.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.4 blocks, and 1.9 threeecolas. In the 2017 NBA Draft, SVG selected Luke Kennard ahead of Donovan Mitchell. Shaking my head vociferously. His previous draft picks were Henry Ellenson, Michael Gbinije, Stanley Johnson, Darrun Hilliard, and Spencer Dinwiddie, who has turned out to be the best of the group but, of course, was traded for Cameron Bairstow back in 2016. Re-reading what I just wrote makes me think of a part from my favorite movie. There’s hope, though, as the Wicked Witch of the East….urrr….I mean SVG is dead. Not literally of course.

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John Wall went from hero to zero back to hero in Washington this season. Nobody will argue that John Wall is the most talented player on the Wizards, but when he went down with a knee injury and the team started playing its best basketball of the season, people started questioning Wall’s value to the team. His selfish play was viewed as holding the team back in the day-and-age of the Hoosier method of at least three passes before a shot. The team’s hot streak wore off, however, and everyone started clamoring for Wall’s return. Now the Wizards are battling for a playoff spot and John Wall stepped up for one of his best games of the season: 4/29/7/13/3/3. I mean, wow, nice game and nice timing. Anyone still playing in fantasy who has John Wall is as excited about the timing of this as the city of Washington D.C.

Anyway, here is what else I saw last night as teams battle for the last playoff spot and just plain old last place:

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Image result for official pacers logo

Change is a part of life. Smoking is no longer allowed on airplanes. As an ex-smoker that took multiple trips to Asia, it boggles my mind that we were allowed to puff in the back of the airplane. GOOD CHANGE. Turning the channel when watching a game due to boredom, then missing the play that blows up Twitter. BAD CHANGE. The Texas Blind Salamander. A creature that had its eyes reduced to two black spots over time. WHEN SITUATION FORCES CHANGE. Before I continue, the Texas Blind Salamander truly fascinates me. It had eyes. So, a male and female salamander fell into a cave together one day millions of years ago? They obviously had sex and made baby salamanders. I gotta imagine that they all tried to find their way back up, but just continued having sex and figuring out ways to survive. Over time, evolution just said, F it. No need for those things anymore. Welcome to your New World Order. I salute you Texas Blind Salamander. Why am I talking about change in Pacers preview? Well, for starters, the state voted for Obama back in 2008. CHANGE. Then, eight years later, the state went back to its Republican roots and backed Trump. CHANGE. Alright, let me back off the politics before I get told to “go back to my country,” even though I was born here. Before the 2016 season, Larry Bird replaced Frank Vogel with Nate McMillan at head coach. After the season, Larry Bird stepped down. Then, Paul George, their best player was traded. Lot of change went down for the Pacers last season.

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Ah, the All-Star Break. The week where fantasy basketball goes to die, but fantasy basketball writers get a few days off! Hah, sorry I probably shoulda had this post go up yesterday, but I was lazy, OK! Speaking of lazy, did you see what kind of horrendous offer the Kings caved on to deal away DeMarcus Cousins?! Well, of course you did by now, that was the world’s most rhetorical question! Kings dealt Boogie and Omri Casspi to the Pels for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans (reunion!), Langston Galloway, and a 1st and 2nd round pick in this summer’s draft. I mean, it’s not THE WORST deal in the world, but the first round pick being top-3 protected is a little rough. Wouldn’t it be HILARIOUS if the Pels go in like 11th or 12th for the lottery, end up drawing one of those top 3 picks, then pair one of these elite guys going pro with Boogie, Brow and Jrue… Still feels like the Kings could’ve gotten more… Wait, what was that Vlade Divac?! You DID have more on the table?! Yeesh, the Kings get this brand-spankin’ new stadium, only to have their superstar dealt mid-season with the GM openly admitting he took a lesser deal…? Did Jeffrey Loria buy the Kings too?! Meanwhile, Pels fans be dancing like this:

I actually don’t think Anthony Davis takes too big of a hit here, and remains your primary guy. He’s only taken a range from 12-24 shots the last 9 games, which doesn’t seem tough at all to maintain even with a USG-whore coming to town. I actually think it might even HELP Brow, as his TO rate has soared to 2.6 this year, and we all know Boogie is a TO vortex. Boogie is who the big hit here; his range the last 9 games is 14-30 shots (given the 30 was an outlier in that surprise win over GSW), plus he’s playing with a much better facilitating PG in Jrue Holiday. I’d expect Boogie’s AST – 4.8 on the season and spiking as of late – to drop closer to the 3.0 range. It’ll be an interesting pairing, and suddenly the Pelicans look like they could make a little noise in the playoffs. We’ll have to see if they can get out of this 23-34 hole they’re in… Wait, the Kings at 24-33 have a better record, and made the sell out for the future deal?! Hah, NBA man, NBA… GMs must be bored during the ASB as well! l Here’s a few other notes from the last few days during our NBA respite:

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All we needed is a royal event! Unfurl the red carpet, roll it out in the The Colonies’ biggest city, and The Duchess will grace over his royal territory! Wow, I just made a Brooklyn Mess game sound like a big event. FOOL YOU!

As we continue to see Khris Middleton get his minutes ramped up, this was maybe the most encouraging game of the night for me yesterday, as he gets the ASB to rest up and looks ready for a big second half. Even though it’s more like a big final 1/3, but ya know, NBA… 20/3/7/3/0 for The Duchess K Middleton, with only 1 TO and shooting 7-13 with a trey. His most minutes thus far (played 26 off the bench) and I just loved this little glimpse of chemistry with Giannis Antetokounmpo with the big highlight from this game:

Guys are looking N’Sync! I would totally watch The Duchess and Greek Freak lead a boy band… Through his 4 games back, Middleton hasn’t looked like he’s lost anything, with a stellar 18:4 AST:TO, is shooting 47%, and has two 3 steal games. With Jabari Parker out and a line-up that will need a playmaker next to Greek, this could be a really fun upcoming stretch. Kudos if you were able to stash him all season on your IL, and get ready for a royal finish! Here’s what else went down on the last busy slate of action before the All-Star Weekend:

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Oh man, no rest for the wicked! Speaking of wicked, oh man quick shout out to the Wicked Weed Funkatorium, that brewery rocked! But yeah, an absolutely amazing slate to catch me back up on the daily notes, with 4 overtimes last night. Including a super size me doubler in Miami! Most of the other games stayed close too, and 20 of the 22 teams in action last night topped 100 points. Fantasy orgasm! And leading the charge on such a big-and-tall NBA night was of course Isaiah Thomas! Career-high 44 points for IT2/3, putting up a 4/3rd’s of a full line of 44/3/6/1/1 on 10-16 FG (7-10 3PTM, 17-17 FT) including a big three in extra time in the OT win.

I’m just glad this groin thing got worked out! …That sounded wrong… If you have a smaller groin muscle, does it heal faster?! I’m not saying he doesn’t have a kick stand down there with a line like this, but just wondering! After semi-breaking out last year (well he was only 2/3 better than his career year in 13-14 for the Kings), IT2/3 has taken an even further step up – scoring 26.6 PPPG, upping the FT volume to 8.8/per at 90% (remember when he was like 70% the first few weeks, that changed quick!), and even though the steals are only at 0.9, he’s drastically cut his TO rate to only 2.2 despite all the added USG. After a slow start due to injuries, the Celtics look like a pretty tough team at full strength right now, and maybe IT2/3 can lead this squad into a deep run. I’ll be cheering for them! (cough, REL bias, cough…) Here’s what else happened on an action-packed Tuesday night of Holiday Season basketball:

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So a little bit of a weird daily notes this morning, as I’m speaking to you from a day behind!  I’m out traveling as I add another notch to my belt as they say, and well in more ways than one!  Eating some good food and going on brewery tours is pretty much the pinnacle of life!  Long story short, notes are through Friday/Saturday games and I’ll be a little slow with comments until Tuesday.  Although I’ll likely pop in at some point with some horrible typos and weird drunken advice….

Anyway, we mentioned on the Pod last week how surprisingly bad the Wolves have been this year, and it looked like they might be turning the corner Saturday night, maintaining a big lead against the red hot Rockets.  But they collapsed in the final minute losing a 9 point lead pushing it to OT, the Rockets took over, Zach LaVine hit a big 3 with 5 seconds left, then on the last gasp, LaVine got nudged out off bounds throwing up the desperation shot.  Another game you throw up your arms and go “huh?!”; all the starters played well and they held Houston to 95 in regulation!  Plus Karl-Anthony Towns went off for a 40 burger!  41/15/5/0/1 on 15-28 shooting and 10-12 FT including this NBA Jam quality alley:

I don’t have much else to expand on here, except the Wolves are going to have to go through some sort of massive change.  Yes, they’re the youngest team/starting 5 in the NBA, but all of the starters are already too good for this team to be 7-19.  Obviously Ricky Rubio getting traded is what most point to, but we’ll see what happens.  And I think KAT is the kind of player that will keep his motor going every night, and not phone it in down the stretch (cough, Hassan Whiteside, cough)…  Here’s what else down over Friday and Saturday’s games in fantasy hoops action:

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