This is the Division of New Instruction because, with one year plus the 26 games the Pacers have played so far, Nate McMillan is the senior member of the division’s coaching membership. Two teams, the Pistons and the Bucks had new coaches to begin the year, and the other two teams, the Cavs and the Bulls, changed leadership during the season.

Instruction and teaching do matter in the NBA. So many players are coming into the league with only a year of college ball, so today’s coaches must have staffs that can teach them to play the game. Coaches have to find ways to make players with limitations productive, and the coaches who can do it the best are the ones who are successful.

We witnessed Indiana’s improvement last year under the tutelage of McMillan, and the Bucks and Pistons under new leadership sport winning records this year while looking like different teams.

Three of the teams have records in the top five of the Eastern Conference, while the other two which jettisoned their head coaches early this season, are languishing at the bottom. Also, alphabetically, the records go from worst with Chicago to best in Milwaukee, for whatever that means.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We choose to supersize that meal or put cheese on the burger so that our stomachs look like Kuato in Total Recall. That’s our choice. We choose to wear the jimmy hat or live dangerously. That’s our choice. We choose to draft KAT over Anthony Davis in fantasy. That’s our choice. But there is so much out of our control. The world we were born into. Our parents. What we look like. In a videogame, we choose what difficulty level we play on. In life, that has been chosen for us. Some play on hard, while others get cheat codes. Willy Hernangomez hit the genetic lottery. 6′ 11″ 240 pounds, athletically skilled, and good looking. Sure, he worked his ass off to get where he’s at. Lifting weights, running, and plucking eyebrows, but he had a nice base to work with. Last year during his rookie campaign, he was a monster per-36: 16 points, 13.6 boards, 2.6 dimes, 1.1 steals, 1.0 blocks, 53% field goal percentage, and 73% free throw percentage. Unfortunately, he only played 18 minutes per game. Out of his control. Regardless, Willy was viewed as a franchise piece, but then the Knicks acquired Enes Kanter. The minutes plummeted to 9 a game, even though the per-36 numbers were still robust. Out of his control. If you go back to my earlier blurbs regarding Willy, I mentioned that he hooked up with Hornacek’s daughter. I’d hit up the Google machine right now. Wouldn’t you? I’m still not dismissing that angle, so maybe Willy had some control in the matter. Anyways, after bitching and complaining, he finally got his wish and was shipped to the Hornets. Too bad the Hornets had some guy named Dwight Howard. Can’t forget about Cody Zeller as well. So, Willy was not freed and the situation looked identical to the one in New York. But, Zeller is out for the season due to injury and yesterday, Willy played a season-high 22 minutes.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 15 11 0 2 0 0 0/1 2/3 11/14

Per-36 in CHA, Willy is at: 17.7 points, 14.9 boards, 1.8 dimes, 1.1 steals, and 1.6 blocks. The Hornets are out of the playoff picture and there’s no reason to push Dwight, so Willy should see significant run to end the season. Free at last….free at last….Willy is free at last.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

First of all, Joel Embiid is ok and it is probable that he makes it back for the game in Atlanta on Friday. Now, the second most important thing out of Philadelphia is Dario Saric’s huge game. Super Dario went off for 2/26/14/5/2/0 with only 2 turnovers in 36 minutes. The 76ers are rolling right now and I would not want to play this team in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Sorry for the quick open but it is getting late here in Arizona. So here is what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We’re getting into the last week of the fantasy regular season for most of us, so I’m not going to bore you with all of the decent lines from star players. You’re not getting Harden in a trade at this point. DeMar DeRozan scoring 23 points isn’t really vital information if he’s not on your team. We’re getting down to crunch time. The nitty-gritty. Absolute pond scum that might have value for one game or two. Sacramento Kings games where Z-Bo is resting and D’Aaron Fox is nursing a minor injury.  No one will remember how you won your championship, just that you won it. Okay, after a few years most people will forget you won it too, but you’ll remember. You’ll take it to your grave remembering, “Hey, I added Kosta Koufos and won the 2018 Fantasy basketball championship because I studied the schedule grids, and plotted my moves four weeks in advance.” But, I digress… Here’s what went down last night in fantasy hoops:

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What’s up Razzballers? In one of the more surprising finishes of the night, the Nuggets went into Cleveland strong and snatched a convincing win from under the Cavaliers. The King was slain in his own castle, mostly at the hands of Gary Harris. Harris was a beast tonight, much like he has been all week, and went off for 32/2/4/1 on 10-for-17 FG (6-for-10 3P, 6-for-6 FT) and no TOs. He’s been somewhat overlooked all season but is poised for an extremely strong finish as one of, if not the main guy on offence for a team jockeying for playoff position. Anyway, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Last night it was obvious that the All-Star break did a lot of bodies good. There were some huge, I mean massive, fantasy lines last night. Some of the juiciest slash we have seen all season.

The Sixers grab the lead because of their two young stars that have #TrustTheProcess perpetually trending on (anti) social media. Joel Embiid returned from his first of many All-Star appearances with a stat line prettier than Fergie’s angelic voice. 11-of-17 from the floor, including 3-for-3 from deep and 5-for-8 from the line (the only ugly part), 30 points, 13 boards, 5 assists, 3 steals, and 4 blocks with only 1 turnover in 34 minutes. When talking about future number one overall fantasy picks, I rarely hear Embiid’s name mentioned. Now that he is playing in back-to-backs and through minor injuries, I have a feeling that this will change by the end of the season.

His partner in crime, Ben Simmons, would have grabbed the headline if not for Embiid’s epic slash. Simmons finished with: 0 (no surprise)/32/7/11/1/1 including the game winning shot. He did hit only 6-of-11 free throws, however, which along with his lack of an outside shot will continue to keep him out of the first round of fantasy drafts and is probably what kept him out of the All-Star game this year (something tells me this will change next season).

Let’s take a look at what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

With a wife, two kids, and fantasy sports to play and write about, the videogaming has taken a back seat. Wait? Isn’t that where all the action happens? That’s when you know you are washed. Anyways, I always enjoyed fantasy drafting teams, whether it be football, basketball, and/or baseball. I’d spend hours upon hours…..who am I kidding? I’d spend months upon months drafting, playing, scouting, etc. Usually, I’d eschew the awareness categories and just focus on the physical attributes. As a Raiders fan, I probably received drafting strategy from Al Davis via osmosis: size and speed. As we all know, physical attributes are not the end all be all in the real world, though. Remember Harold Miner? Exactly. Fundamentals and IQ are important characteristics for any player, but they are often overlooked, as we always get enamored with the physical traits. Case in point, Nikola Jokic. Pre-draft scouting report from nbadraft.net. Strengths: Very high basketball IQ. Strong personality. A team player. Has a great work ethic. My favorite part was that he “doesn’t drink or smoke.” Ha! Weaknesses: An average athlete lacking great speed and leaping ability. Well, last night, Nikola messed around:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 23 13 11 0 1 1 2/5 8/15 5/6

It ain’t about how high you jump or how fast you run. It’s about understanding the game of basketball and making plays. That’s why Nikola ain’t no Jokic. And he’s only 22 years old! He is going to be such a beast.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If you’re a loyal reader, you know my weekly calendar consists of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Rondae. Unfortunately, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has been out six games due to injury and wasn’t the model of consistency when he did play. Of all the things in this world that you want consistency from, the calendar has to be top 3, right? The other two would have to be the effort played on defense by the squad you root for and the lack of lag when streaming something online. The All-Star game is scheduled for Sunday, February 18th. What if the calendar shows it to be on Monday one day then Friday the next? With the proliferation of digital calendars, I forsee this to be a huge problem in the future.  Address me as futurist Son from now on. Anyways, the way Andre Drummond has been playing recently, everday should be called Dre Day. Last night, he went:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 17 27 2 3 2 1 0 5/17 7/10

He’s had eight straight double-dubs, with two of those being 20/20 and one 30/20. Outside of downtowners and free throws, Dre has literally stuffed the stat sheet, as there has not been one bagel in any category. Borderline top 5 player over the past eight games. Everyday is Dre Day.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When Blake Griffin was traded to the Detroit Pistons there were a lot of concerns. In the interest of time I will stick to just those relevant to fantasy basketball. Ok, actually that only leaves one major concern: Would Andre Drummond continue to be the rebounding machine he was prior to the arrival of the Kia-jumping, oft-injured, polarizing, human-highlight film come-again Blake Griffin?

Yes, the answer is yes. The dude is a beast. He sucks in rebounds like black holes suck in matter. And while black holes spit out gamma rays, Andre Drummond spits out sick slash lines. Forget the 3-point shooting, point-forward, stretch-four big men we are calling unicorns. The true unicorns are the old-school low-post bangers like Drummond, who even Charles Oakley would agree, could hang during any era of NBA basketball.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
23 20 1 4 4 6 0/0  11/15   1/3

Here is what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?