It was a bit of a light week for watching games here in the Hooper house. I know this is a fantasy corner of the internet, but reality always manages to find a way in. The ratio of news to NBA games got flipped in the middle of the week, so instead of longer, deeper looks into one or two specific teams, this edition of Hangin’ will feature check-ins on past (incorrect) statements and some quick hitters on what I was able to catch this week. I’m aiming to get back on track this week — aren’t we all? — so hopefully next time will be less doom and gloom and more dimes and dunks.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There are a lot of differences between Jimmy Butler and myself. I, for example, am not a five time NBA All-Star. I’ve also never been named the Most Improved Player, won a gold medal, or screamed at Karl-Anthony Towns with such vigor that I had to be sent to Philadelphia. But perhaps the biggest wedge between Jimmy and myself is our feelings toward rear-view mirrors. 

See, I’m a look back kind of guy. There’s wisdom (and cars!) back there if you care to investigate. This willingness to wallow, to ruminate, to linger and consider all the roads not traveled means that I signed myself up to do the tedious work of taking long, wistful gazes at how this first ever RazzJam went down and try to glean something useful from it. Son, our fearless leader and fellow RazzJam League 14 draftee, is here to keep an eye on my blind spots. You strike me as a reasonable guy, Son, you’re pro-mirror, right?

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The only constant in life is change. In the NBA it seems like no place changes as often or as unsuccessfully as Sacramento, where tearing it down and starting over isn’t a one-off project but an organizational credo. A shuffle took place upstairs over the summer and now the Sacramento worm has begun to turn once more. The Kings aren’t taking it down to the studs this time around, though another regime shift ensures that there will be some moving pieces in California’s capitol and, hopefully, some growth.

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Whew. The action was hot and heavy at this year’s NBA trade deadline. But, as my wife often says while we’re wrestling in bed, certain parties were left unsatisfied. Damn, wifey. Why you gotta be airing our business to the world? Fear not, though, Son always takes care of business. Like recap the trades that went down and offer fantasy implications for relevant players.

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As NBA fans and fantasy basketball players we all lust for the power of NBA general managers. Many of us wrongly assume we could do a better job heading our favorite team’s basketball operations—it isn’t hard to get those ideas if you happen to be a Knicks, Magic, Timberwolves, Suns, or Kings fan. But what we long for as much as the power, is the seriousness of the endeavor. NBA GM’s get to make decisions that carry weight. A draft pick is quite simply a choice—a highly public, decade-defining choice in some cases, but a choice all the same. We make choices every day—the blue or the red tie, Toyota Camry or Nissan Altima, Fleabag or The Good Place, two drinks or twelve, poetry or literally anything else that might actually pay the bills. We make applicable sports decisions as well. We choose between Kyrie Irving or Damian Lillard in our fantasy draft, we add Kendrick Nunn or Davis Bertans off the wire, we kill Russell Westbrook in the group chat, we build property on Julius Randle, Dion Waiters, or Lonzo Ball Island. We tweet, we engage, and we argue. We win our league or we don’t. In time, we are either vindicated or pilloried. At best, we have a lighthearted thing to lord over people we care about, at worst, we have to dye our hair, wear ugly ill-fitting clothes, or in a more recent trend, consume enough waffles to avoid sleeping in a Waffle House. But largely, no one notices or cares, as our sports opinions are indiscernible dots in a sea of data points.

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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:

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The NBA has given us many highlights throughout the years, with most of them ending with a made basket. Dunks, buzzer beaters, assists, triples, you name it. But every once in a while, we are presented with something different that wows us and reminds everyone about how freakishly athletic NBA players are. Something like what De’Aaron Fox did yesterday against the Charlotte Hornets.

Mind you, he did that in his first game back after a Grade 3 ankle sprain, while Devonte’ Graham’s reaction is priceless, when he realizes Fox went over him. It’s also a weird call for the referees, as I’m sure they don’t often see a player go over another without making any contact whatsoever.

Regarding last week’s suggestions, Garrett Temple and Kevin Huerter had useful weeks, with the latter having the brighter outlook for the rest of the season. On a side note, his spike in assists seem like the real deal and hopefully he keeps them coming. Furthermore, Ish Smith’s value will take a hit with Isaiah Thomas back, but he was more than serviceable during the period he started, while Monte Morris never got his chance as Jamal Murray’s injury proved minor. I had Russell Westbrook in the “Sell” column last week and I still maintain this opinion, despite his awesome performances as of late. Cash out while you still can!!

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Weed. Pot. Grass. Dope. Reefer. Ganga. Hash. Herb. Chronic. These are all names for marijuana, but not all weed is the same. There’s swag, dank, kind, kush, etc. The quality, aroma, taste, and potency differ depending on which you choose. Obviously, the higher the quality, the better the high, but sometimes the bargain basement green can be just as productive as the most expensive. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what’s of the highest quality? The Stocktonator. The Sacramento Kings drafted Marvin Bagley with the second overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Yes, ahead of Luka Doncic. Regardless, Bagley is high quality, but unfortunately he fractured his thumb in the season opener. Enter Nemanja Bjelica. The Nemanja isn’t bargain basement, but he’s not the highest quality either. He is more than capable of producing and can even access the highest of high ceilings. Last night was one of those games:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
30 7 4 1 1 0 4/7 13/18 0

Nemanja has started 21 games this season and produced top 85 value for fantasy. He provides points, tres, boards, a handful of dimes, and a little something something in the defensive cats. The percentages are decent as well. Over the past four games, though, he’s been the #12 player, as he’s averaged 17.5 points, 2.5 tres, 7.8 boards, 3.3 dimes, 1.3 steals, and 1.3 blocks while shooting 53% from the field. The Nemanja has been potent! Now for the buzzkill. Bagley is set to return soon. Once that happens, he will likely get around 20 minutes of run per game.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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While the NFL dominates Thanksgiving Day, there is nothing better than taking the opportunity to reflect upon the early part of the fantasy basketball season. There have been a ton of surprises, some of which have been mentioned in these articles, and at a certain point, the hot starts become obvious sell highs. If nothing else, Thanksgiving is a time to make a trade. That’s right, for those who are devoted to fantasy basketball, there are two times a year when trading is universally craved, days when there is no basketball to watch. Those days are this coming Thursday and the All Star break. These are my favorite times to hit the trade market. Watch the full slate of games on Wednesday night, and take your early season surprise, say thank you and send them packing. You’ll be thanking on Thursday. It’s only fitting.

Here are some sell high, buy low, and waiver wire pickups to consider this week, because even in the time of giving thanks, we always live Beyond the Glory.

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I’ve often wondered what driving while being color blind would be like. Yeah, I have too much free time on my hand obviously. Anyways, a STOP sign would just be a sign. The lights at a traffic signal would just change by sequence instead of the red, yellow, and green. It’s a good thing that most lights are standard, in that red is either at the top or on the left in horizontal signals. What if I ventured to a place that had the red on bottom or right? I’d be f’d. Anyways, there are many of players in the NBA who are definitely color blind when it comes to shot selection. Or maybe they just see green. Hmmm, now that I think about it, dolla bills are green and teams pay dolla bills for shots made, so players shoot shots to get the green. Now, not all players can get away with this because one has to actually make the shots to get the green. If a player has the red light, but shoots for the green anyways…and misses….then he will no longer be in the league. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what helps you get the green? The Stocktonator. One player who does not have this issue is Buddy Hield of the Sacramento Kings. He averaged 16.6 shots per game last season and converted at a 45% clip. As a result, the Kings gave him a four-year extension worth $106 million. That is a lot of green. So far in 2019, he’s averaging 16.4 shots, but since De’Aaron Fox went down due to injury, he’s averaging 20 shots per game! Last night….

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
35 6 2 1 4 3 7/12 14/24 0

A season high in both points and shot attempts for Buddy. He’s been a top 25 player since Fox went down and the usage has ticked up close to 30. It was a tick under 28. Now, Buddy won’t provide many dimes or blocks and the uptick in steals is likely an outlier, but he will provide a ton of points, tres, and some boards.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?