Mondays can be rough for many. Some may be recovering from too many adult beverages, while others may still have the bass bumping in their heads from the clubbing. There are those that went out of town and….are still mentally there. Whatever the case may be, for those that don’t work on the weekends, Mondays are a recuperation and recovery day. Which is apparently what happened in the NBA, as players were scratched left and right, and many others got injured during the game. I’m not saying that the nightlife was the culprit, but I just wrote it so….All jokes aside, yesterday was one of the craziest slates I’ve seen in a while. Below is a list of the inactives:
John Wall (heel)
Ish Smith (groin)
Kyrie Irving (shoulder)
Gordon Hayward (illness)
Al Horford (knee)
Aron Baynes (ankle)
Blake Griffin (rest)
Reggie Bullock (ankle)
Hassan Whiteside (personal)
Evan Fournier (personal)
Stanley Johnson (knee)
E’Twaun Moore (rest)
Dennis Smith Jr. (wrist)
Giannis Antetokounmpo (neck)
Jamal Crawford (knee)
During the game:
Jimmy Butler (groin)
Henry Ellenson (ankle)
Glenn Robinson III (ankle)
Otto Porter Jr. (knee)
Nikola Mirotic (ankle)
Tristan Thompson (foot)
Lou Williams (hamstring)
Thank goodness tomorrow is Tuesday.
When you have the initials JC, you’ve already got a lot to live up to. John Collins is definitely on his way. Okay, not going to get into the religious stuff, but 3-30-12-5-0-1-1 on 12-of-20 shooting and 3-for-4 FTs in a win against a good Nuggets team is pretty Godly. I seriously underestimated the jump Collins would take from year one to year two. Especially, with the injury setback. He’s already averaging nearly eight points more than last year. The blocks should come up as well as he averaged 1.1 last season in four fewer minutes. I expect his FG% to come down a bit from 62.2%, especially since he’s attempting 2.5 3-pointers at a 25.9% clip, up from his 0.6 attempts last year. Enjoy him if you drafted him, but I doubt you’ll be able to pry him from his owners’ icy grip in your league.
Here’s what else went down in the NBA on Saturday night:
Here we are at the quarter turn, as teams have played approximately 25% of their games.
We know enough to be able to make some pretty cogent observations. Try this one on: this division is the worst in the NBA. Last year, the Heat won the division with 44 wins, while the Wizards had 43. Most thought it would be those two teams battling again, but alas, the Hornets and Magic currently sit atop the divisional heap. Any of these teams will be hard pressed to win 44 this year, although since they have to play each other four times each, somebody might get close. We could easily see a sub-.500 Division champion. What has been evident is that there are four coaches who are doing a notable job with inadequate star power, while one coach has been doing an inadequate job with notable star power.
I’ve watched the West Wing, House of Cards, and Designated Survivor, so I consider myself one of the preeminent experts on how things operate in our nation’s capital. It’s bipartisan wrangling to further agendas. It’s projecting power and showing force. Ultimately, it’s sound bites and photo/video ops, because image is everything. Two of the more contentious issues floating through the streets of DC have been the wall being built on the border of Mexico and John Wall on the court for the Washington Wizards. A few months ago, whispers echoed throughout the city: We don’t need no stinking Wall. Each passing day turned the volume up a notch to when it crescendoed to: WE DON’T NEED NO STINKING WALL!!! Entering last night’s game, the Wizards were 5-11, 15th in offensive efficiency, and 27th in defensive efficiency. Wall will be paid $169 million over the next four years. Why is every damn Wall so expensive?! Yet, Wall put all the questions to bed. At least for one night.
The Wizards were down 21-40 after the first period, but Wall was a catalyst in bringing the Wizards back for a 125-118 victory over the Clippers. After the game, smiles and handshakes abounded with cameras flashing pictures of joyful jubilee. A senator, who was sitting courtside, texted the Press Secretary a selfie with he and Wall. Under the picture were the words: Washington Wizards Wall. Four more years!
After years of being a superstar-dominated team, Miami now has a plethora of good players with potential. Bucking the trend of Go Big or Rebuild, maestro Pat Riley and his protege head coach Eric Spoelstra seem perfectly content running it back with what they have; a good but not great squad that can be willed to elite status with leadership, coaching, and some luck. Being underrated like the Garfield Halloween Special can be a good thing. The lack of big name talent leaves Miami as the forgotten team. In a wide-open East anything can happen and, while Miami is not expected to crack the top 4, they have as good a chance as any to grab one of the remaining playoff spots and potentially advance in the playoffs. Also, keep in mind that Riley is very much in the hunt for Minnesota Timberwolves Jimmy Butler. Adding Butler to the equation would catapult Miami into the upper echelons of the East.
October is upon us and that is a wonderful thing. The leaves turn beauteous colors while the weather provides crisp breezes. Both adults and kids get to dress up. Kids to beg for huge bags of candy. Adults to fantasize and act silly. There is even a holiday when some folks get to stay home from work to celebrate the “discovery” of America by Christopher Columbus! But the real greatness of October lies in the fact that it is the month where our sports converge together like women for the 70% off sale at Nordstroms. College football, which if you haven’t heard, is its own religion in the South, and the NFL are into their second month. The guys in the US and Canada start wielding sticks and slapping pucks around, as the NHL season begins. Our national pastime breaks into its glorious playoff season. But for fantasy hoopheads, the most important thing that happens is the NBA season kicks off in earnest.
It is almost here. We have just a few days until October 16, and there are mock drafts, real drafts, online drafts, auction drafts, snake drafts, and dynasty drafts scheduled over the next two weeks in every hamlet in this fair country.
On September 28th, we saw Gordon Hayward in the Boston Green to kick off the preseason. Each team will play five games that don’t count in preparation for those that do. What then to watch for to help you hoodwink all your buddies and have the best draft imaginable?
I will look Division by Division to give you some keys to watch that might provide some guidance.
What’s up Razzballers!? Considering this is either the final or semifinal playoff week for most leagues, I want to say I’m proud of anyone reading this. Even if you’re in the consolation bracket (or in a roto league), it was a fun season and I love all of you. You know who else loves you? Otto Porter, if you have him on your team (if you’re against him this week then he hates you deeply). He had a pretty forgettable game on Thursday, but made up for it in a big way on Saturday going for 26/11/2/1/2 on 10-for-15 FG (6-for-10 3P) and zero TOs. This line was cleaner than Tony Montana’s! Anyway, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:
Sorry Andre, but there is breaking news: Joel Embiid will have surgery to fix an orbital bone fracture and will miss at least 2 games but could be out as much as 4 weeks. I would wait to hear something more sound before dropping him, but it definitely makes Richaun Holmes a nice pick-up. Ok, back to your regularly scheduled recap:
Andre “Beast Mode” Drummond had his old school ground and pound game working last night as he led the Pistons to an 11 point win over the playoff-bound Washington Wizards. Even without Blake Griffin, who went through warm-ups but could not play and is now headed for an MRI on his injured ankle, the Pistons were able to blow the game wide-open in the 3rd quarter mostly because of Drummond’s pure dominance in the paint.
Andre put the beat down on Marcin Gortat and Ian Mahinmi to the tune of 0/24/23/4/0/1 with only 1 turnover in 37 minutes. Drummond shot 10-16 from the floor and 4-7 from the line, which is the type of efficiency spoiled fantasy owners have come to expect from Mr. Drummond this season. The free-throw shooting still isn’t Curry-esque, but it has become strong enough to elevate Drummond to the elite fantasy player level.
Besides the lesson in classic center play that Drummond gave the Wizards, here is what else I saw last night:
When my wife was pregnant, the experience was…..interesting. At least for me. I can’t even begin to try and understand what my wife was feeling. All I know is that women are the GOAT. Anyways, after the initial gamut of emotions, things became very business-like. Doctor’s office. One month. Two months. Three months. Everything was mapped out and the “ride” was slow and steady. Then, the due date approached and….well, I was Robert DeNiro in Heat. The bags were packed and the routes were mapped out with contingencies for all possibilities. At the same time, though, I was like my five-year-old son in the back of the car on a long trip: “Are we there yet? When will we be there? Why is it taking so long?” Damian Lillard and his girlfriend had been expecting the birth of their child for the past few days. Lillard had been struggling a bit with his shooting efficiency, but the raw production was still there. It could have been the matchups or anxiousness with the pregnancy. Regardless, it was Lillard Time for the whole family last night.
A 40-burger!!! On Damian Jr.’s birthday. Y’all know what time it is.
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!