Yesterday was Martin Luther King day. It’s a day that many take for granted. Many focus on the fact that there’s basketball all day or that there’s no school or work or something about someone having a dream. MLK day is about celebrating the greatness of a man. Who called out the establishment. Who stood up for the rights of the oppressed. Who wanted to “transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.” The King was truly a great man, which brings me to the King of the NBA, LeBron James. Last night, the LeBrons faced off against the Warriors and lost 118-108. In defeat, James went:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 32 8 6 3 4 8 0/2 12/18 8/13

I almost did not make him the lede for this post. There were players that scored more points. There were players that collected double-dubs. There were multiple players who almost messed around. There were players that led their team to victory. I almost overlooked LeBron, but then I came to my senses. Look at that line! It’s freaking amazing. Ok, the turnovers aren’t great but I said he’s a King, not God. Anyways, sometimes we don’t truly appreciate the greatness of LeBron. We hold him to such a high standard that we expect more. The crazy thing is that “more” is usually attainable. Think about that. Anyways, it’s only appropriate that I made the King of the NBA the lede for a post on the day after Martin Luther King day. Both are great, yet both are underappreciated at times. Let’s never forget either.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better” (Pat Riley)

With Week 13 in the books of history, fantasy basketball reaches a critical point this week. A lot of teams are looking up to 6th place and some may be thinking of throwing in the towel. This is a mistake. In a nine-cat league, two good weeks can make an apparently bad team into a monster, that can win a league. I remember last year when I won a Yahoo Fantasy Winner League and one of the ITL Satellite leagues. In both cases, I was out of the playoffs in week seventeen. The secret was working the waiver wire and buying low on the best players for the second half of the season (a constant in every fantasy season). I bought low on Chris Paul, Gary Harris, Khris Middleton, Marquese Chriss, and Nikola Mirotic, for example. This season these things will happen again, for sure.

 

Here is how the action went down in Week 12 across our 12 RCL Leagues:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Somehow, we’re already halfway through the NBA season. You know your team(s). The only major unknowns left are who else will get hurt, who will get shut down, and who will get a big value increase due to those injuries and the shutting down of said teammates. Aside from trying to grab some young guys that might get some extra run down the stretch, what else can you do to increase your odds of winning at this point? Well, staying active and streaming hot players will work wonders. But beyond that, I suggest checking out your team’s standing in each of what I’ll call the forgotten stats. Even the most astute fantasy player is going to be drawn to points, rebounds, assists, and threes out of habit and because of the way that we’re most often presented with stats.

I’m going to update you on the leaders in the boring and unsexy categories of field goal percentage, free throw percentage, steals, and blocks (in addition to FG% + FT% and steals + blocks). I’m sure some of you might be much more focused on the % categories than I just mentioned, but I think most players treat them as an afterthought. So, since others are more likely to ignore these forgotten stats, take advantage of that and focus on them if you can stand to gain points there. I think you’ll find that these categories are often led by some lesser names that can be had more cheaply than the points/rebounds/assists stars. Many are even available in most leagues.

Here are your most effective players in order of Basketball Monster’s per-game values (percentages are weighted) by category or combined categories through 1/9.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There were only two games on last night and since I grew up in the California Bay Area I will be making Stephen Curry the lead player in the recap. No, I am not a fair-weather Warriors fan. I grew up watching them through the ‘80s and ‘90s and early 2000s, where I learned to love the little things about a team and not just insignificant statistics like Wins and Losses.

Curry does deserve this honor, however. This is only Curry’s third game back after a pretty long recovery from an ankle injury, and he has been nothing short of spectacular. While Curry was out, Kevin Durant moved himself into the MVP conversation and the Warriors only lost twice. Now it is Curry’s turn to remind the world why he won back-to-back MVP awards and changed the Warriors from a fun, fast-paced team with amazing fans into arguably a Top 3 team of ALL-TIME (go ahead, argue with me).

Steph’s juicy slash: 4/29/9/5/1/0 in 36 minutes. He hit 10-of-20 shots, including 4-of-10 from deep, and had only three turnovers. Yes, the Rockets did not have James Harden in this Warriors win, but the Dubs did not have Kevin Durant, so this win and performance were impressive nonetheless.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Gary Harris sounds like the name of your mailman. And much like your mailman, he delivers without anyone really noticing. Gary Harris is a top fifty player, but for some reason you never see his name in the fantasy headlines, until now. Gary deserves our love. Gary deserves our respect. Gary deserves a nickname. I want to see your Gary Harris nickname suggestions in the comments. I will throw a few out there and see if any stick (we cannot use The Mailman, obviously): Gary Harris Buehler’s Day Off, Gary Harris Wheel, Gary Sexual Harrisment, Gary Harrison (the long lost Harrison triplet), Gary Harristanbul Not Constantinople…

At this point you are probably asking yourself, “Self, has Brent even told us why Gary Harris is the lead of this recap? And I better take a second shower since I had to poop right after my first one.”

Yeah, I hate that too! Anyway, here’s the slash:  3/36/4/3/2/0 on 14-of-17 shooting and 5-for-5 from the line.

Besides Gary “TBD” Harris, here is what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Player Rater is a tool to evaluate the performance of a player with only one number. This is not a perfect tool and will not guarantee victory in fantasy, but this is useful to help improve and evaluate your team.

In each category of scoring, a number is calculated to represent the average total in that category. If a player has the average, his rating in that category is 0.00. The numbers represent how much a player is above or below the average.

If the rating is positive, that player is an above-average fantasy player in that category. If the rating is negative that player is below-average. The sum of all ratings in each category gives us a number (the PR), and then we rank the players accordingly.

I have not included turnovers, as the evaluation in PR is very controversial in my opinion, so if you’re in a league with turnovers, you must keep in mind this.

If you have any question let me know.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Although kinda late due to the fact it’s a Wednesday column, I wish to all you Razzball readers a Happy New Year! May all your wishes come true and your fantasy teams win it all this year. Except if you play in one of the leagues I also play…. If you do, I wish a happy Second Place and a great drafting position for next year’s draft.

Imagine an extra circle above the last zero in Chuck’s glasses because I lack the Photoshop skills to put it there myself and let’s review last week’s calls. Both Ish Smith and Bismack Biyombo have been on fire since getting the starting job, with Biyombo especially returning top 25 value during these games making me very happy for the calls. They were in fact so much on fire as Vangelis Ioannou, a Greek sportcaster, suggests in the video.

Jaycee Carroll’s face says it all…I admit we Greeks are not world-renowned for our English pronunciation skills. Moving on, Jordan Bell and Willie Cauley-Stein were also productive and look to maintain their value going forward. Finally on the sell front, Jonathon Simmons has seen his usage decline and has taken a backseat to Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier, while Dirk Nowitzki was solid but I still stand by my advice to sell. Let’s take a look at this week’s candidates now…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up” (Vince Lombardi)

 

Sports in the 20th century inspired many dramas, thrillers and comedy films.”Rocky”, “Raging Bull” and “Slap Shot” became instant classics. Now in the 21st century, we have many dramas, many many thrillers and some comedy in our leagues. Injuries are a drama, and we have a lot this season, one after another. Players with O (out) and GTD (game time decision) are usual on any team, and if you drafted Willy Hernangomez or acquired Jahlil Okafor in the waiver… no more words.

 

 Here is how the action went down in Week 11 across our 12 RCL Leagues:
Please, blog, may I have some more?

What’s up Razzballers? We’re back with another edition of Any Given Saturday. Speaking of being back, professional basketball player Steph Curry returned after missing 11 games with his ankle injury and went nuts in a win over the Grizzlies. Steph went for a cool 38/4/3 on 13-for-17 FG (10-for-13 3P, 2-for-2 FT) and nary a turnover. All this in only 25 minutes. What a monster. Anyway, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Like most of you, I’ve been through more fantasy drafts than I can remember. Online with old friends thousands of miles away, in-person with coworkers I’d deal with every day of the season. Basements, bars, over wings. Once, I was driving from one draft to another while the second draft was beginning, pulling over to make each of my picks until I arrived. There was a draft via text on a road trip before phone apps existed, a manual auction in an AOL chat room (not advisable), drafting online for one league while drafting in-person for another, slow-drafting, making it so that I was checking my phone every 10 seconds when the next pick might not be made for 17 more hours. Some day, I’d really like to do something on par with the show The League and draft in-person at one of the NBA Summer Leagues.

I did end up having a pretty sweet drafting experience this season. So, one of my favorite bands is 311, and I’d never seen them live in the 20+ years I’ve been listening to them repeatedly. When I found out they’d be relatively close to me last fall, I decided I wasn’t going to miss them this time. Okay, October 15th… why did that sound familiar? CRAP! My favorite league, my dynasty league, was having it’s seven-round draft that night! Yeah, I could’ve pre-ranked… but, I’d traded up in the draft enough that I’d only be drafting on my phone for about 20 minutes… and it looked like the draft would be during the opening act. I determined I’d do both, draft at the concert and just ignore the opening act and hope I’d be done by the time 311 took the stage. I didn’t count on the opening act being crazy-fun, but you can’t have too much of a good thing. So, there I was, leaning against the back wall with Tropidelic providing a great soundtrack to me drafting some top rookies I’d been drooling over for months (we keep 18 players, so the draft is all about the rookies). I finished my last pick just in time for 311 to rock my face off (and psychedelically funk my face off) while I dreamed of my rookies turning into top 20 fantasy players.

See me? Riiiiight…. there.

So, how are these rookies doing? Usually around this point, we’re nervous about our rookies’ future, since they’re getting DNP-CDs and G-League stints. But this year at Christmas time, we’ve seen the best crop of fantasy rookies in many years. Though, it’s not all the guys we expected doing the damage. For those of you that love trying to spot the future stars as much as I do, I’d like to take a look at the per-36 stats of the rookies we’ve seen. In case that’s not familiar, it’s their stats prorated to 36 minutes. It’s not a perfect projection, of course, but I figure, in most cases, the rookies at their career peaks are going to play closer to 36 minutes than what they’ve played so far. And, while they likely won’t get to 36 minutes exactly, they should make up for some of that shortcoming by greatly improving (a lot of these guys are 19 or 20) and by becoming larger parts of their teams’ offenses in the future. It’s not one-size-fits-all, as guys like Tatum, Simmons, and Kuzma might already be relatively close to what their peak minutes and team involvement might be (think of who’s likely to join their teams in the next season or two). Some rookies have hardly played or have only been role players in garbage time against third-stringers, so this isn’t going to be too predictive for them, either. But, I’d guess this’ll give us a rough estimate of the type of players the rooks might be if they keep improving as we’d hope. I left out guys that have barely played, but that still leaves 45 rookies to check out.

Please, blog, may I have some more?