The big news last season for the Washington Wizards was the shuffle at the top, as Tommy Sheppard replaced team president Ernie Grunfeld as the key personnel decision maker for the team. Since then, Sheppard has been busy. In the 2019-2020 NBA season, the Wizards were involved in six trades and twelve signings. That doesn’t even include all the Exhibit 10 contracts they executed to get a look at young talent.

But no contract was bigger than Bradley Beal’s 2-year, $72 million extension. Getting Beal to extend his contract was the team’s top objective for the season and his enthusiastic acceptance was their best case scenario. It was a “lost” year for the Wizards, as John Wall never returned from a ruptured Achilles tendon, so making sure they secured Beal for the future was the only good potential outcome.

Sheppard did a great job nabbing a lot of “no risk” gambles. Every player he signed or traded for had high potential at dirt cheap cost. Jerome Robinson, Isaac Bonga, Admiral Schofield, Gary Payton II, and Moritz Wagner all fit that mold. None of them panned out to be a monster given the opportunity, but with another year of development, one of them may surprise us. Bonga is the most appealing to me because of his 6’8″ frame combined with the rumors he has the court vision to be a “point forward.” However, he only managed 2.2 assists per 36 minutes this past season. I’m quickly losing faith in NBA scouts.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Kendrick Nunn went undrafted in the 2018 NBA Draft, despite leading the NCAA Division I in three-point shooting with 4.47 per game and finishing second to Trae Young in scoring with 25.9 points per contest. He played his rookie season with the Warriors G-League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors, and averaged 19.3 points in 29 minutes. In the offseason, the Miami Heat took a chance on him and were shown the Power of Nunn. In a preseason game against the Rockets, Nunn dropped a 40-burger. As a result, he entered the starting lineup, which he hasn’t relinquished in 40 straight games. Now, despite starting every game, it’s been a rollercoaster in terms of production. He got out of the gates on fire, then cooled off, then picked it up, then plateaued for a bit. Well, last night, he reminded us of what the Power of Nunn looks like.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
33 3 4 2 0 2 5/7 13/18 2/2

Nunn is averaging a little over 28 minutes per contest. The usage rate is in a healthy range of 23-25 and he’s jacking up 13 shots per game. He will provide a handful of boards and dimes with the occasional steal, but he’s primarily a points and tres player. Nunn is obviously not going to shoot 72% every game. On the season, he’s converting 45% of his shots. Not bad. The turnover rate is miniscule at 1.8, so that should endear him to the coaches, which provides a relatively high floor for fantasy. If you ain’t on the court, then you ain’t good for us. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what never leaves the court? The Stocktonator. Nunn is currently a top 120 player on the season. If he continues to start, then that’s a reasonable expectation of where he ends the season.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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There are many different types of volcanoes. Cinder cones are the most common and are fairly small in both diameter and height. Stratovolcanoes are layered with lava, ash, and unmelted stone. These erupt with great violence because pressure builds in the magma chamber then…KABOOM! Like a shaken bottle of soda. Shield volcanoes are massive, with a huge base and gentle sloping sides. Eruptions are not explosive like stratovolcanoes. Instead, lava just flows out over the sides. Think Mauna Loa in Hawaii. Hassan Whiteside aka Mt. Whiteside is no cinder cone, as he stands 7′ 0″ and weights 235 pounds. He’s more stratovolcano due to his explosive performances in the past. Back in November of 2018, Mt. Whiteside erupted for 29 points, 20 boards, and 9 blocks! It was the consistency that was lacking, though. Sometimes it was injury, other times it was being in the coach’s doghouse. This season, though, Mt. Whiteside has been a hybrid shield/stratovolcano. Last night was the most recent example:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
23 21 1 0 5 1 0 8/14 7/8

He’s been erupting on the regular, but it’s felt like fantasy goodies have been just oozing over the edge, producing a fantasy island of extraordinary magnitude. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what oozes fantasy goodies on the regular? The Stocktonator. Mt. Whiteside is the #6 player for fantasy on the season. Points, boards, blocks, excellent field goal percentage, and the free throw shooting has been a robust 76%! I doubt Jusuf Nurkic returns and makes Mt. Whiteside dormant, so enjoy the nightly eruptions.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I would like to ask for the internet’s help with something. I won’t be asking you intensely-online people to creepily track down the trilingual, poetry obsessed woman I chatted with during a Denver layover on a return flight from Hawaii, whom, I’m certain was charmed by my decidedly average height and intelligence. None of that. I’m sitting here today, in front of a loaned laptop from a college IT department, neurotically scratching at the dry scalp beneath my messy afro, in custom full-body face pajamas—the face being my ex-girlfriends—and asking you to work a little post-holiday magic for yours truly. I’m asking you, people of the internet, to do something you’ve already successfully done before, so it should be easy.

Before James Harden won the 2018 MVP Award, before he and Chris Paul pushed a historic Golden State Warriors team to the brink of playoff elimination, before he broke isolation and pull-up three-point records, and before he began flirting with historic scoring numbers not seen since Wilt Chamberlain, James Harden had to prove that he belonged in the upper echelon of NBA players. Harden had largely existed in the shadow of Kevin Durant and Russel Westbrook in Oklahoma City. The first order of business for Harden was to stake his claim to NBA superstardom by dominating on the offensive end and to do so with panache. Harden quickly established himself as a bona fide superstar, but his singular allegiance to the offensive end of the floor was, to put it mildly, concerning.

Harden was an all-star and made it to the playoffs in his first two seasons in Houston, but he was also eliminated in the first round of the playoffs each year. As Harden settled in to his new position as front-page daily news, he also built an endless lowlight reel of defensive lethargy. It was this backdrop of increased attention coinciding with mild playoff failure and a noxious disinterest in defense that provided the perfect platform for the internet’s only example of helpful public shaming. In a show of intense, wide-spread harmony, the NBA watching populous banded together to shame James Harden into playing defense. There’s no other way to read the situation. Fans, sportswriters, and analysts alike took to YouTube, NBA Twitter, and any other available medium to share clips of Harden’s avant-garde interpretation of defense. Harden was so comically bad, so plainly allergic to defense that a novice fan could watch 10 minutes of a Houston Rockets game and realize something was amiss. It was almost as if Harden had his brain wiped every time his team’s offensive possession ended

We’ve moved past Harden’s patented space cadet method acting, to viewers wrongly, but not completely irrationally suggesting that James Harden is a good defender. He’s not. He’s a good post-defender in 2020, which if you know anything about NBA basketball means he rarely gets the opportunity to be good. The Houston Rockets have crafted a switch everything defense in large part, so Harden never has to endure the unpleasantness of fighting over a screen. In fairness, the Rockets have the personnel to make a switch defense work and they did so to great effect in the 2018 playoffs when they befuddled the Warriors historic offense. Eric Gordon, P.J. Tucker, and now Russell Westbrook are all capable of battling with bigger players in the post as well as defending on the perimeter.

This brings me to Trae Young. You, beautiful people, have already worked your magic once before and I beseech you to do it again. It’s time we start the shaming of Trae Young (SHAME SHAME SHAME!).

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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?

Yesterday’s game between Miami and Atlanta was not supposed to be as epic as it ended up being. The 17-6 Heat were against the 6-17 Hawks and the symmetry of their records was appeasing my order-obsessed mind. After a close game, Atlanta went up by six and Trae Young declared the game was over…

However, two triples from Jimmy Butler and Duncan Robinson forced overtime, where the Heat completed a 22-0 run to win it by 13. The most impressive stat from an already impressive boxscore was that Kendrick Nunn, Bam Adebayo, and Duncan Robinson combined for 100 (!!) points, with Adebayo and Jimmy Butler becoming the first teammates in Miami’s history with triple-doubles in the same game and Robinson hitting 10 triples. Miami has steadily developed seemingly fringe players into valuable rotation pieces and this has become a huge part of their success early in the season.

Regarding last week’s suggestions, Davis Bertans has been on fire and has climbed to 33rd in per-game value. Hope you got him as he will no longer be available after those performances. Tim Hardaway Jr. also performed admirably, as he poured in 29 points with nine triples in his last game, while Tyus Jones chipped in with assists and steals but is a drop now that Ja Morant is healthy.

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I’ve never eaten veal, but according to the Google machine, it “has been treasured for centuries for its delicious, succulent flavor.” Veal comes from the meat of young calves and has been referenced in the Bible as the choicest of animal food. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what’s the choicest for fantasy basketball projections? The Stocktonator. Unfortunately, many feel bad for eating veal because of how the calves are raised on factory farms: extreme confinement and cruelty. This doesn’t sound too much different than Bradley Beal and his shituation in Washington. Beal is a phenomenal player and revered in fantasy circles. Many feel bad for him, though, because the Wizards are a terrible team. He experiences extreme confinement being the lone star on the team and the shituation is just cruel. With that said, last night the Beal was cooked a little differently; in a 40-burger!

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
42 6 4 1 0 3 3/6 16/30 7/10

In 42 minutes!!! Beal has now cooked 15 40-burgers and one 50-burger in his career! What makes this Beal so damn good is that he averages 28.7 points, 2.7 tres, 4.4 boards, 7.2 dimes, and 1.1 steals per game. The percentages are both excellent; 47% from the field and 82% from the line. The usage rate is 30.9. Now, the blocks are non-existent and the turnovers are a little high, but 3.3 per game won’t cause the Beal to be returned back to the kitchen. Top 15 player for fantasy and one of the highest floor players because he averages 36.8 minutes per contest! Mmm, mmm, delicious.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Tom and Jerry. Batman & Robin. Peanut Butter & Jelly. Magic and Kareem. Jordan and Pippen. Shaq and Kobe. Some of the greatest duos of all time. Are we witnessing the genesis of the next one? Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what’s great already? The Stocktonator. Paul George and Kawhi Leonard have joined forces in Los Angeles, just in case your alien ship just docked yesterday. And early indications are that the Clippers are going to be a f’ing problem for the rest of the league due to their partnership. They are two of the best two-way players in the game currently. Both can get their shot up at anytime, while making the opposition wish they were ticketed for the next flight out to the nether regions of space. Last night, in Dallas, the duo helped limit the Mavericks to 99 total points while sharing the offensive load down the middle.

Kawhi Leonard

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
28 8 4 1 0 2 1/2 11/21 5/5

Paul George

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
26 4 2 6 0 2 4/11 8/21 6/6

To begin the season, Kawhi was a sole assassin, producing borderline top 10 production for fantasy. Then George returned to action and things have shifted a bit. In the four games that both have played together, Kawhi has been a top 45 player, while George has been a top 15 player. George has a 29.5 usage rate, while Kawhi is still garnering a 32.2 usage rate. The differences in overall value come from the tres for George (4.3 vs 2) and steals (2.8 vs 1.8). Kawhi is shooting a much better percentage, though (44% vs 35%). Things will even out as the season progresses. The floor and potential ceiling combo for both is elevated. The only things that can bring the house down are injury and load management.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Imagine you just got crossed up really badly by James Harden, allowed a massive three, and fouled out of the game with under two minutes left to go. Harden’s three allowed his Rockets to go up by five against your team. You exit the game with this stat line:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
6 3 0 1 0 1 1-2 2-6 1-2

You probably wouldn’t be too arrogant, or braggadocious, if you will. But you’re not Pat Beverley, and Pat Beverley isn’t you.

Because after Russell Westbrook missed a three to take the lead after a late Clippers surge in the final 100 ticks, Beverley was seen mocking Russell Westbrook’s three-point stroke from the bench. Jumping around, giddy as hell, looking right at the opposing bench while he mimicked the missed three and the subsequent loss for the Rockets. The cojones on this guy!

Luckily, his teammates were there to bail him out and allow for that celebration. Here are notable stats from that game and from around the league on Friday night.

Please, blog, may I have some more?