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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Welcome back Otto, we greatly missed you. After a painfully slow start to the season, and a missed game due to a toe injury, Otto Porter Jr. finally broke out yesterday with a 19/5/6/4/2/2/0 roto gem against the Mavericks. He was featured in the Buy column last week, so I hope you capitalized on the buy-low opportunity and got him at a discount. I have valid hope that he can continue improving due to the attention the P&R between Howard and Wall demands. As for the other suggested players, LaMarcus Aldridge predictably started making more shots and improved his value, Rodney Hood hasn’t really done anything great with his opportunity in Cleveland yet, and Josh Okogie has been OK, but I expect greater things from him with Butler set to miss more games. Finally, regarding the sell candidates, DeAndre Jordan continues making his free throws but I think that will eventually stop, and Wesley Matthews seems determined to prove me wrong because he continues scoring even with Harrison Barnes back. I still believe he is a sell high candidate because Barnes will eventually get back up to speed.

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What did you guys dress up as this Halloween?  Wendell Carter Jr. put on his FRANCHISE CENTER costume and then forgot to take it off.  What a week for the big man from Duke – 25 PTS, 8 REB, 5 AST, 3 STL, 3 BLK, and 2 3PM on Halloween followed by 11 PTS, 8 REB, 6 AST, 1 apiece BLK/STL and then 14 pts, 13 REB, 2 STL, and 4 BLK. He is becoming a bigger part of the offense in Chicago and using his high basketball IQ to make things happen.  Stock is way up.  If he is still available in your league or you have an owner sleeping on him, get on it!

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I often reminisce about the 2011 Oklahoma City Thunder squad: Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, and…..Cole Aldrich. I kid, I kid. Serge Ibaka aka I-block-a…aka Air Congo….aka Serge Protector was a freaking animal, blocking over 3.7 shots a game and grabbing 7.5 rebounds. Man, that team. One of the greatest video game teams of all time? Anyways, Ibaka was raw from an offensive stand point, but was a maven on the glass and defensive end of the floor. If he could hone his offensive game, we were looking at the next superstar. The athleticism was that profound. Well, he did ascertain an offensive game and extended his range out to beyond the arc. Unfortunately, the rebounds went down and the block numbers cratered to the 1.3 mark set last season. He lost a lot of that dog, as he preferred to just chill on the perimeter and shoot jumpers all night. Well, it looks like Bow Wow made a visit because, so far, Ibaka is grabbing more rebounds (over 7 for the first time since 2014) and the blocks have ticked back up. We will never see the 3.7 level again, but any increase is a good increase. We are not here to talk about the blocks and boards, though. We are here to talk about the scoring Serge Ibaka exhibited last night:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
34 10 2 2 0 1 1/1 15/17 3/3

A career-high!!! And he wasn’t just camped out outside. He was running in transition and making hard cuts to the basket in the half court. Ferocious dunk after ferocious dunk. Now, he may not start every game, as Jonas Valanciunas will likely go up against bruisers, but he should consistently get around 28 minutes regardless, as Coach Nurse does like play small-ball with Ibaka at the 5. I think a huge change for Ibaka this season is the fewer attempts from downtown. It’s allowed him to shoot a higher percentage from the field and gets him more involved for rebounds, as he’s not just spectating on the perimeter. Don’t ever expect any assists from him, but points, rebounds, and blocks with good percentages are on the menu. Ibaka is currently the #36 player according to Basketball Monster.

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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Derrick Rose early on Wednesday morning in a jovial mood. How could he not? It was Halloween, a day to have fun, dress up, scare little kids, and eat lots and lots of candy. But as he drove up to the practice lot of the Timberwolves practice facility a little after lunch, things just didn’t feel right. The cloud that’s been hovering over the building for the last month or so looked a little darker. When he stepped out of the car, the wind was brisk and sent shivers throughout his whole body. As he approached Coach Thibodeau’s office, there was an eery light emanating from the crack between the bottom of the door and floor. Then a BAM! And a BOOM! KA BOOOOOOOOOOOOYACKA SHAKALA! WTF??!! Lying on the floor, Derrick Rose and entered Coach Thib’s office. “What’s wrong coach?” Coach Thibs responded with, “We are 3-4. 25th in defensive rating! Andrew Wiggins has four years and $147 million left on his contract! Jeff Teague can’t play tonight and Jimmy Butler is playing hard ball and won’t play until we trade him!!!…..And your hair looks f**king ridiculous!!!!” Derrick was not fazed. “Coach, I got this.”

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
50 4 6 2 1 6 4/7 19/31 8/11

I’d say he did. Derrick Rose to the occasion with Jimmy Butler, Jeff Teague, and Tyus Jones all not playing by logging 41 minutes and bringing the Five-Oh. The fifty-burger was a career-high, which bested his prior mark of 42 points back in 2010. Now, Derrick is 30 years old and we all know about the injury history. He hasn’t played more than 66 games in a season since….2010. He’s obviously not going to bring the cops every night or shoot 31 times, but prior to last night, Derrick was a viable fantasy asset: 14.3 points, 4 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and 0.7 steals. No threeecolas and the field goal percentage was/is/won’t be pretty, but he was providing some decent counting stats. More importantly, he was getting over 28 minutes of run a game with the upside of moving into the starting lineup and getting more when someone sat. Scoop him up if he’s still available. If you own him, no one is going to buy high, so just let it ride. Happy Halloween!

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Perplexed by the title of the article? Wondering what the hell is this guy talking about? Perfect. Continue reading to find out how it is all connected to this week’s player. I shall call this “Titlebait” and it shall be the poor man’s “Clickbait”.

I have made lots of Buy/Sell calls in this column throughout the years. Some good (Butler last year), some bad, and some atrocious (ahem…Jahlil…ahem…Okafor). But no player has ever provided a quicker profit than Klay Thompson, who went completely bonkers on the Bulls with 52 points and a NBA record 14 triples in just 26 minutes, and is someone I just happened to highlight in last week’s Buy/Sell column.

We can safely assume that the buy-low window is shut. Just continue admiring the beauty of the GSW system and how they have perfected the art of off-ball screens and cutting without the basketball.

The other Warrior mentioned in my previous article was Draymond Green, who increased his scoring but still has room for improvement. Danny Green and Bryn Forbes have also helped fantasy owners this past week, with Green having an opportunity to hold his value for the rest of the season. As for the Sell candidates, Blake Griffin predictably slowed down a bit, but can still get you a great player in a potential trade (which I advise you to pursue). Danilo Gallinari has been awesome, but it’s all about health with him. Jordan Bell and Jakob Poeltl have done nothing to warrant ownership, even in deeper formats. I blame Obama and the preseason hype for these two.

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Klay Thompson was not having a good start to the 2018 season. He had failed to reach the 20-point mark in any of the first seven games and was shooting under 40% from the field and 14% from downtown. Klay is a career 45% shooter from the field and 42% from beyond the arc. Regression hit hard and heavy last night, though.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
52 5 0 1 0 2 14/24 18/29 2/2

The third time he has eclipsed the 50-point barrier in his career and the third time he has notched a record: 11 three-pointers during a playoff game (2016), 37 points in a quarter (2016), and the 14 threeecolas last night bested his teammate, Steph Curry, who held the previous record of 13 (2016). Klay has some of the most ridiculous heaters I’ve ever seen. Anyways, for fantasy, he’s currently the 76th player according to Basketball Monster. The minutes are down, assists are down, threeecolas are down, and field goal percentage is down. The only concern would be the minutes and assists, but the shooting will come around. He’s just too good, and reminded us all in a big way last night.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Ok Marvin, I’m sorry for only typing ‘Meh’ for your recap last week. You are clearly a Razzballer who read my recap, and it inspired you to go out and flash the potential that made you the #2 pick. Double-digit scoring in all three games last week, as well as 5 BLOCKS in a single game. I thought his athleticism would allow him to run into blocks on occasion by accident, but if he begins to show a knack for it watch out.

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When people visit Los Angeles, they often go to the intersection of Hollywood and Vine. The Hollywood Walk of Fame is centered on the intersection and it has a rich history in the entertainment industry. And entertainment is what Zach LaVine has been delivering for the hoops world and has many, especially our own Brent, clammoring that he is in fact an All-Star. I wonder which poster of LaVine that Brent is jerking off to right now.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
32 4 5 0 0 3 1/5 10/22 11/12

That now makes four straight games scoring at least 30 points. Before we put him in the Hall of Fame, he doesn’t even appear on the page when I query streaks with at least 30 points. For you inquiring minds, the leader is Kobe Bryant with 16 straight games back in 2003. As for the query itself, it stopped at 5 games. So, one more Zach and you’re on. Anyways, there’s no denying that Zach looks explosive and far removed from his knee injury. With that said, he’s shooting 62% from the field and 45% from downtown. His career rates are 44% and 37% respectively. The efficiency is going to come down. It’s just a matter of how much. Around 3 boards and 3 dimes are nice, but he doesn’t contribute much in the D department, so when the efficiency comes down, it’s….well, imagine you’re walking and you come to a ledge. It’s pitch black so you drop a coin down to see how low it goes. You drop it and you listen. And listen. And listen.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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