I’ve been on hiatus, probably since about a month to go in the 2017-18 season. I blame myself, and my schedule, for not being loyal to my readers. My league had ended, as I ranted about in my last piece, but yours probably didn’t. For those looking for the league winners I had been providing throughout the season, I apologize. For those who are reading my column for the first time ever here in July, I applaud and welcome you to Beyond the Glory. For those who don’t remember, I was literally two game 7 wins away from being the only Razzball writer to have the Rockets and Celtics in the finals, and then I got neither. I would have basked in that glory for at least a year, but being bold only brought me close to brilliance. Either way, I am back and will be knocking out more content in the offseason, before going back to weekly columns for your reading pleasure. Oh, the offseason. The start of the NBA season is many months away, yet something inside of me is far too excited for fantasy basketball. Call it what you will. We are the midst of the baseball season and fantasy football prep has begun in earnest. With all of this going on, though, I come home at night and turn on the NBA Summer League. I don’t know why, but my remote leads me there. The only reasonable explanation is that I am pumped for the new draft class. I am pumped to see free agent signings and I am pumped for LeB… I promised myself I wouldn’t go there. I am going to hold strong, because in truth, I’m not excited for anything but basketball, fantasy basketball, and Kevin Knox (more on him later) for 2018-19. So let’s get into the recent draftees and who they may compare to this upcoming year, giving us some pre-pre-preseason sleepers.
You know a team is peaking at the right time when its role players are shining. The Pacers are getting set for an epic playoff run led by their All-Star Victor Oladipo (3/27/3/5/3/0) and their breakout star Domantas Sabonis (0/30/8/3/3/0). Yes, the 30 points were a career high and, yes, both players were acquired via trade (for Paul George) in the off-season, but that is not even the most amazing thing about the Pacers’ season. The crazy thing is that the person who was supposed to be their can’t-miss stud has been an all-time dud. Myles Turner has had an extremely disappointing season in both real-life and fantasy (funny how those are tied together) and last night he may have finally hit rock-bottom: 0/0/1/0/0/0 in just 6 minutes. No, it wasn’t injury-related. It was foul-trouble related, which should be strictly a rookie problem for big-men. The Pacers could end up being a very dangerous playoff team if somehow Turner can figure out his issues. My money is on…..drumroll…..no, no he won’t. This has been a problem the entire season, so there is no reason to believe he will suddenly be the team star again. I do think he will have some good nights, but overall he will be the same. The good news is that the Pacers can win without him (maybe that is messing with his head and confidence), so it is not really that big a deal. The bad news is the Pacers cannot win a championship without him. But more good news, nobody expected them to even be in the playoffs, so they are playing with house money. Anyway, here is what else I saw last night:
MarShon Brooks has come on late in the season for the lowly Grizzlies. 1-23-8-3-1-2-3 on 11-of-20 shooting in 37 starter minutes. This is the best performance by a Grizzly since The Edge. You thought I was going to say The Revenant? Nah. The Edge with Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin was a far superior performance by a bear in a movie, and yet I made a Shawshank Redemption reference in my headline, which is superior to any movie with a bear in it. Anyhow, the ex-(NJ) Net killed it last night. I never thought I’d see him again in the NBA, but he has seemingly resurrected his career in Memphis. I can’t believe the Nets drafted him over Jimmy Butler… Bitter, party of one! Any-anyhow, welcome one and all to the Saturday daily notes! Sure it’s the last week of the season. Sure, this post probably is meaningless to you if you have A) already won your league, or B) have been out of it and want to gain a leg up on next year, or C) you’re demented, and want to see what could have been if your team was healthy. Anyway, I’m going to attempt to break down some of the relevant lines that could help you next year, because, you blew it this year, or your league has gone on way too long. Either way, you’re a bad guy if you don’t read this article, but I guess you wouldn’t know if you’re not reading this. Convoluted open aside, here’s what went down on the last Friday of the regular season:
There are always a few players that magically appear at fantasy playoff time and help propel some teams to victory. Championship teams know this and they read sites like Razzball and closely watch the waiver wire so they can be the team that snags the hot rookie who finally put it all together or, in the case of MarShon Brooks, the veteran that nobody even still thought was playing professional basketball in America. Brooks popped up a few games ago and had a huge night, but he was injured and missed the next game, which is why he is still on waivers in most leagues. Last night he showed that the big game was not a fluke, however, as he finished with a line of: 5/25/4/7/2/0. He hit 9-17 from the floor, including 5-10 from deep. Wow! I thought he would be a nice THRAGNOF at the end of the year, but his all-around line makes him a must-add in every league and a must-start in nearly all formats. So stop reading this and go get him! Here is what else I saw last night:
LaMarcus Aldridge must hate Jazz music, because he destroyed the Jazz last night. I know some people might listen to it to put themselves to sleep, but LaMarcus clearly doesn’t understand the complex rhythms or appreciate the skill of the musicians, and LaMarcus must destroy what he does not understand. LaMarcus killed the Jazz last night, going 1-45-9-2-1-3-4 on 19-of-28 shooting and 6-for-8 from the line. Although the game went to OT, LMA has been killing it all year, posting top 20 value. Four quarters and overtime wasn’t enough for Aldridge, because after the game ended, he smashed some Thelonious Monk records and stomped on a picture of Dizzy Gillespie. On a more serious note, I could see Aldridge going in the second round next year, while you most likely got him in the fourth round this year. That’s value. There were ten games last night so many of your fantasy playoff fates were decided yesterday. This could have been the night that made your dreams come true, or shattered them to tiny pieces. Hopefully, for most of you it was the former…Anyway, let’s dive on in to the Friday Daily Notes!
Basketball is a funny game. The Atlanta Hawks were riding a six-game losing streak and heading to Utah to face off against one of the best defensive teams in the league. Dennis Schroder, the point guard for the Hawks, had failed to score 20 points in each of the six losses. Then, a funny thing happened. The D went missing. Did Dennis change his name to Ennis? No!
Forty burger! Against a team that was 8th in defensive efficiency against the point guard position. Against Ricky Rubio, who was 10th in defensive real plus minus. Schroder had a 42.7 usage rate last night! Going forward, though, I wouldn't expect too many performances like last night. Taurean Prince, who had been the alpha in terms of usage, got Prince'D, so someone had to step up. In addition, while Schroder has had a couple of big games this season, they have been too few to count on. Expect scoring to be in the 18-20 point range with 5-7 assists, and 2-3 boards.
Here's what else I saw last night:
What do you think of when you hear the phrase "messing around?" Perhaps a joke. Maybe it takes you back to high school. First base. Second base. Third base with Peggy Sue or Billy Bob. How about Ice Cube when he called up the homies and asked them which park are y'all playin' basketball? Whatever it may be, "messing around" is not associated with being of the serious variety. For fun. For shits and giggles. For Russell Westbrook? "Messing around" ain't no joke. It's 100% pedal to the metal. It's I'm going to dunk on your head and shoot in your eye. It's I'm grabbing every rebound because the ball is mine. That reminds me of Shaq's T.W.I.S.M. Any of you remember that? Ha! Anyways, for Russ, it's I'm dishing every dime because I will not be denied of my stat orgy. Yesterday, Russ notched his 102nd career triple dub.
That's now five straight triple-dubs. For the season, he's 0.3 rebounds shy of AVERAGING a triple-dub, which would make back-to-back seasons of accomplishing the feat. Damn, Russ ain't no joke, espccially when it comes to "messing around."
Here's what else I saw yesterday:
Man, the Warriors cannot catch a break… I mean, I don’t feel bad for their fans a bit, because they’ve been one of the most dominant teams in all of sports the last couple of years, but lately their luck has been running out. Kevin Durant will miss two weeks with an apparent rib injury he sustained against the Wolves back on March 11th. Obviously, this is a a heavy blow for his fantasy owners. You’re probably gonna have to stream heavy to win. Good luck is all I’ve got to say to you. Steph Curry is going to miss at least the next week and Klay Thompson is out for the foreseeable future. One of the main winners in this horrible situation is Quinn Cook. Last night, he went 5-25-4-3-3-0-1 on a scalding 10-of-13 shooting in 40 starter’s minutes. He’s probably worth the add with all the injuries to the Warriors if you want to gamble, but it’s relatively unknown what he’s capable of. March Madness is in full effect. Shout out to The University of Maryland, County of Baltimore for ruining my bracket… Unfortunately, fantasy hoops playoffs also started this week, so many of us are going to just OD on Bball these next few weeks, as we slip slowly into baseball season. Anyway, here’s what went down in professional basketball last night:
For playoff bound teams, every win at this point in the season is huge. This was not only a big win for the Washington Wizards, it was avoiding a terrible loss. Yes, they are missing All-Star point guard John Wall, but the Boston Celtics were starting someone named Guerschon Yabusele. I did some digging and discovered that Mr. Yabusele, before donning a jersey and being announced with the Celtics’ starting five, was one of those giant security guards that stand at the bottom of each staircase with their arms crossed and their backs to the court during the game. In fact, prior to playing 18 minutes in last night’s double-OT loss against the Wizards, the most exciting thing to ever happen to Guerschon on a basketball court was high-fiving Marky Mark Wahlberg after a Kyrie Irving game winner. The Celtics may have ultimately lost the game, but to get as close as they did is a real testament to just how much the Wizards play down to an opponent’s level. I am pretty sure a Division II high school basketball team could take Washington down to the wire. Besides the Wizards almost losing the Celtics G-League squad, here is what else I saw last night:
What’s up Razzballers? In one of the more surprising finishes of the night, the Nuggets went into Cleveland strong and snatched a convincing win from under the Cavaliers. The King was slain in his own castle, mostly at the hands of Gary Harris. Harris was a beast tonight, much like he has been all week, and went off for 32/2/4/1 on 10-for-17 FG (6-for-10 3P, 6-for-6 FT) and no TOs. He’s been somewhat overlooked all season but is poised for an extremely strong finish as one of, if not the main guy on offence for a team jockeying for playoff position. Anyway, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball: