Greetings from November Madness, AKA the NBA final play in tournament pool night!  Now that I read it, November Madness doesn’t work. No alliteration.  There were a few exciting games, though. Boston over Chicago This, however, was not one of the exciting games.  Wow is Chicago bad.  Like, they gave up a putback dunk to […]

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I started writing a movie plotline starring Damian Lillard in Canada as a male counterpoint to Stella in the Bahamas, but decided to spare you fine readers that pending trainwreck (and possible violation for racial insensitivity from the Razzball board of directors) and get right down to basketball.  With Giannis taking the night off, Lillard […]

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We’re back baby!  A lot of stuff to go into, and I promise I won’t write anything about any possibly disgruntled players who possibly might be traded to certain teams.  I will, however, talk about the effects of the offseason on certain players.

I’m working here on a series of risers and fallers.  One of my key tenants of fantasy hoops is that every player in the NBA is good.  Like, really good.  But not all players get minutes needed to put up statistics and thing like that, which we obviously count on for fantasy basketball.  My goal isn’t to figure out which sixth round pick will return 3rd round value.  I’m trying to figure out who is in line for minutes, like the late round guys who will pay off.

For fallers, that’s going to be more guys who I’m avoiding.  You’ll see, I’m just over-talking again.  Kelder should be seen and not heard.  Let’s just get into the content.

NBA Central division is first up, in order of my predicted finish in the standings…

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The poor Brooklyn Nets were swept off the court by a fully formed Sixers squad.  This of course was to be expected after the failed Big 3 was broken up after like 20 games.  The good news for all the Nets fans out there, and I’m taking it on faith that there are some since I’ve never met one, is that they have a really interesting offseason ahead.  But how did this year go?

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20 years ago, UPS had an ad campaign with the slogan, “What can Brown do for you?” 

Brown says: Make your life easier

Brown tells me that you have all the choices you want

Brown says to me: Get your shipments to your customers, when they need it and where they need it

Brown says: Relax, we’ll get it done

Brown says: How about some more pie?

Brown didn’t say that

What a stupid ass commercial but it serves our purpose today because Jaylen Brown freaking delivered the goods on Sunday.

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Dallas Mavericks vs. Portland Trail Blazer, Blazers win 136-119

Top Performers

Luka Doncic

15 6 10 7/19 0/5 1/6 1 1
Damian Lillard

36 5 10 11/20 4/11 10/10 0 0
Biggest Takeaways

The Portland Trailblazers snap their five-game skid with a win over the Dallas Mavericks by holding Luka Doncic to a season-low 15 points. That and Damian Lillard dropping 36 points is the story of the game. Hate to make it sound so simple, but you have to realize that Doncic has been terrorizing the league all season long the last time he scored under 20 was in the opening game against the Orlando Magic where he scored 16 points, but he only played 16 minutes. So, for the Blazers in the bottom ten in defensive rating, to hold him to his lowest-scoring total of the season is major.
Offensively though, the Blazers also reached their second-highest point total of the season with 136. This is due to seven players finishing in double figures including the trifecta of Lillard, Anfernee Simons, and Jusuf Nurkic combining for 80 points.
On the other hand, the Mavericks relied on Reggie Bullock, who was an absolute madman from three with all 24 of his points coming from hitting 8-of-10 from three. Spencer Dinwiddie led the team with 25 points and hit four three-pointers of his own, but the three-point barrage from these two just wasn’t enough.

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Buy Low. Sell High. 

It’s a simple concept, projected every week of every season in fantasy sports. And for good reason. It’s the foundational strategy to get the most out of in-season trades and improve your roster. The only problem is that it’s all based on general consensus of which players are performing below ADP and should improve, and who’s overplaying their hand and is due for regression. There’s always variable opinions on what the best moves are in the buy low / sell market. But, for the most part, there’s agreement of what players fit in that box on any given week.

So – if for nothing else other than a matter of practice – let’s think outside the box for a moment, using as an example the biggest sell high candidate of the moment. 

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The big Fin Lauri Markkanen put up a big stat line, hit a big shot and led the Jazz to a big win Friday night over the Suns. He scored a career-high 38 points on a silly 15-of-18 from the floor, 2-of-3 from deep and 6-of-8 at the line, and added 6 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal and a giveaway to the line. 

So far this season Markkanen has delivered late 2nd / early third-round value, which isn’t too  surprising. The skills were evident, it was just a matter of the fit and program in what was supposed to be a tanking Jazz team. And so far he’s fit like a glove worn by a big white dude in Utah. 

His counting stats aren’t too far from this 2019-20 breakout sophomore season, before things got stormy in the Windy City. The major difference is his ability to get shots inside, and being surrounded by willing and able passers helps, too. Markkanen is shooting 65.6% on 2-point shots with nearly 10 attempts a game, numbers comparable only to Nikola Jokic. The other improvement in the stat line is nearly 2.5 assists per game – again a result of playing in an offense that complements his skill set. 

Most of his career high points were actually easy buckets while taking advantage of a string of blown defensive plays. However, the difficulty level was high on this Kobe/Dirk vintage turnaround jumper:

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