This week we take a look at the Northwest Division, which boasts some exciting teams to watch, some great individual offensive talents, and one seriously unresolved soap opera situation. This division is filled with teams that keep coming at you; hardworking, team-oriented outfits that don’t stop until the whole tree is on the ground. In other words, what the Timberwolves want to be.

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A good friend will tell you not to reply to the Nigerian prince. A good friend will spend time with “that girl’s” friend. A good friend will say you look good when you actually look like shit. A good friend will tell you not to draft Carmelo Anthony.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
2 5 0 0 0 1 0/6 1/11 0

In the offseason, I thought the acquisition of Melo would be a detriment for the Rockets….on the defensive side of the ball. Little did I know that he’d literally suck the life out of the offense. Melo, the most powerful Black Hole in the universe. All jokes aside, Melo does provide threeecolas and some rebounds. The turnovers are miniscule as well. It’s tough to turn the ball over when you have no intention of passing. Other than that, you’re not getting much….literally. A combined 1.6 assists, steals, and blocks per game. 40% shooting from the field and 68% from the line? Melo is the 150th player according to BM. I’m actually surprised he’s that high. Now, he can get hot, as he had a streak when he scored over 20 points in three of four games. Here’s a little story for you. I recently joined Periscope. Every day, at least three hot women follow me. I know I’m a good looking guy, but come on! It’s tempting, but you know nothing good can come from it. Friends don’t let friends Melo.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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I’m old enough to remember when # was something located at the bottom right of the phone dial pad. Geez, I’m old. I’m also old enough to remember when Stan was a person’s name. Now? It has a definition in the dictionary: an overzealous or obsessive fan of a particular celebrity. Shoutout to Eminem. That’s what you call influence. Anyways, Khloe Kardashian must be a Tristan, right? How about you? No?

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
19 16 4 0 1 3 0 9/12 1/3

How about now? Damn Tristan! He played 34 minutes and produced his third double-dub of the season. We all thought Larry Nance Jr. would be the man at center for the Cavaliers, yet he only played 14 minutes last night and has failed to reach the 20 minute mark in each of the past four games. If you need boards, Tristan is your guy. Just don’t expect much else and the free throw shooting is craptastic. I figured there wouldn’t be many other instances to stan for Tristan this season, and I’m an equal opportunity writer, so enjoy being a Tristan for a day.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Watching Chris Paul can be so fun. When he’s not catching spit followed by hooks from fellow old man Rondo, CP3 is hustling, using his old man tricks to take down young teams that dare challenge him. He’ll drive the lane, fake passes, shoot from 8 feet behind the line. He doesn’t care. Trying to keep the ship afloat without Harden is his responsibility and he’s gonna do it. Like the old curmudgeon in your neighborhood that refuses to offer candy to trick-or-treating kids, this grumpy old man will shoo you off his lawn and do what he wants.

FG FT 3PT Points Reb Assists Steals Blocks TO
13/27 1/1 5/12 32 7 11 2 2 2

We got classic, but still grumpy CP3 tonight! Paul had a sensational game, carrying the Rockets on his back and beating an up-and-coming Brooklyn team. It always amazes me how he gets so many rebounds for someone who looks to be 5’11 tops. Ride him while Harden is out, but if he keeps playing 37 minutes, expect some rest games soon.

Here’s what else happened last night:

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The end of October is upon us, which means that Thanksgiving is right around the corner and preparations are already being made for Christmas. It’s crazy I tell ya! So, it’s only appropriate that I present a little jingle for you:

Noel, Noel. Noel, Noel. The First Noel, the degens did say. Was to certain poor managers on teams where he lay. In leagues that weren’t too deep. Causing many a restless night’s sleep. Noel, Noel. Noel, Noel. Born was the King of saying farewell….

….to a four-year, $70 million offer in 2017. Doh. The pursuit of self interest is good, but greed? Not always the case. By turning down that $70 million to shoot for a max contract, Noel is now making $1.9 million and is an unrestricted free agent after this season. For all you kids out there: greed is not always good, especially when the career averages are 9.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.4 blocks. As a result, the fantasy world said goodbye to the King of saying farewell, but like Jason on Halloween, he’s baaaaaack.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
20 15 2 4 1 1 0 9/14 2/3

With Steven Adams sitting due to injury, Noel got the start and played 26 minutes. He’s still only 24 years old and possesses crazy athleticism. In an uptempo environment with Russell Westbrook leading the action, it’s a prime spot for Noel to succeed. With that said, he was averaging only 14 minutes per game when Adams was healthy, so it’d be tough to rely on him outside of the deepest leagues, but he was a boards and blocks contributer during his limited action. When Adams sits, you know what to do. Cue up the Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

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My first introduction to hip hip was The D.O.C. Then came N.W.A., 2Pac, Too Short, and Cypress Hill. I was strictly Westside. I then moved out to the east coast for college, which is when the Notorious B.I.G, Nas, Mobb Deep, KRS-One, Wu-Tang, and Tribe Called Quest all started making noise. It was a glorious time. In addition, I was exposed to the Beastie Boys, De La Soul, and the OGs like Grandmaster Flash and Run D.M.C. West coast boy and east coast music melded together beautifully, even with all that stupid drama back then. Anyways, the world was all about West Coast vs East Coast, but then Andre 3000 came onto the scene with his southern funk and swag. It was fantabulous. I always admired Andre 3000 because he adapted, changed, and was diverse, as he was not just a music star, but became an actor and fashion entrepreneur. That’s how I think about Andre Drummond. When he started get full run in the NBA, he was a straight beast. Accumulating double-dubs (points and rebounds) and provding those D stats. But the free throw shooting was worse than atrocious and dimes? Fuhgeddaboudit. He improved in both categories, though, last season. Upping his free throw shooting to 60%, after languishing in the 38% range, and the assist number vaulted up to 3, after being around the 1 mark. Outlier? Possibly, but at least he’s shown that it’s within the range of outcomes. As for last night…..

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
26 22 0 0 1 5 0 11/17 4/6

Andre 2622.

Beep….Boop….Bop. By the way, the Stocktonator loved him last night, as it had Dre as the fifth best play on the slate.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Before we embark upon a new endeavor, we often count one…two…three…then go! For the rookie down in Hotlanta, the start to this new season has gone uno…dos…Trae Young is here!

GM PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
1 14 6 5 0 0 4 1/5 5/14 3/4
2 20 2 9 1 1 3 4/9 7/18 2/3
3 35 2 11 1 0 1 6/14 13/23 3/3

Young has improved each game in points, assists, turnovers, threeecolas, and field goals. Maybe it’s a case of “Third time is a charm,” but I’m more inclined to believe that it was a case of warming up the engine. You know who’s with me? The Stocktonator, as it liked him yesterday. Beep. Boop. Bop. There’s a reason he was the overall #5 pick in the NBA Draft and has been compared to Stephen Curry. Now, yesterday was likely a ceiling game and there will be plenty of ups and downs, but oh what a ceiling it is. Played 38 minutes and led his team to a 22 point victory over the Cavs. Make it rain, Trae.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

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Superman was born on the planet Krypton, a fictional planet far removed from our consciousness. Ben Simmons was born in Australia, also a place far removed from our consciousness. Superman landed in America. Ben Simmons played high school ball in Florida and college ball in Louisiana. Superman can fly, has superhuman strength and speed, and possesses x-ray vision. Ben Simmons can dunk, is 6′ 10″ tall and can go coast-to-coast in less than 5 dribbles, and delivers passes as if he has eyes in the back of his head. Superman does have a weakness though: kryptonite. Ben Simmons also has a weakness: outside shot. The evidence is compelling, counselor. Ben Simmons is indeed Superman. Don’t believe me?

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
19 15 8 4 2 3 0 7/14 5/11

Who does that? Seriously, if/when he learns how to shoot, Simmons may break the game of fantasy basketball.

Here’s what else I saw last night, in the glorious return of the game that we all love and adore:

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With the season minutes away, and drafts likely complete, there is still time to dig deep for those watch list wonders and sneaky waiver pickups. Whether these players are in a new scheme, new location, getting more minutes or just primed for a breakout, there are potential underrated stars to be had on every team. I highlighted the Eastern Conference earlier in the week, now we’ll tackle the Western Conference and look for players who can be had for cheap and can make an impact sooner than later.

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I live in LA, so rain is not a common occurence. According to the Google machine, LA averages 36 days of year with measurable precipitation. Last night, though, we experienced thunder and lightning. That’s akin to most people seeing Haley’s Comet. The way lightning lights up the sky is kind of cool. Just don’t think about the 300 kilovolts it delivers when it touches the Earth. Thunder by itself is scary, as it rumbles, stumbles, and bumbles. In unison with lightning? A smorgsabord of emotions that make the most diesel of men shiver and quiver. That is your Oklahoma City Thunder. Russell Westbrook and Paul George are amazing basketball players individually, but when the two combine forces….Thunderstruck.

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