Happy New Year to all the Razzball readers out there. I hope the new year brings health, peace, and fantasy silverware from all your competitive leagues. So we are officially at 2020. It’s incredible how mind-blowingly fast time passes. It seems like it was yesterday when Dirk led the Mavericks to one of the most satisfying championships of all time or since the Boston’s Big 3 brought the Larry O’Brien trophy back to where it is used to be, for the 17th time. But it’s been nine and 12 years respectively. Did I mention how quickly time flies? On a more optimistic note, you just have to love the symmetry of the new Year’s number, which of course plays a major role in how good and productive it will turn out to be. Joking aside, I decided to take a look at the three best individual fantasy games from the start of the season so far, and all of them reminded me how NBA players can produce truly spectacular performances when they are locked in.
No 3: James Harden vs ATL 60/8/3/8/3/1/3 on 66.7%/87%
No 2: Anthony Davis vs MIN 50/0/7/6/4/1/1 on 69%/100%
No 1: James Harden vs ORL 54/10/5/7/2/3/3 ON 61.3%/100%
Where to begin and where to end…Especially the last line by Harden is dazzling. Truly magnificent performances overall and I can’t wait to see them try to best them.
Oh yeah! Big Bad Blake, the Earthquake Griffin is the first player to get highlighted twice by me this year! Clap it up! I really wanted to give the lede to anyone else, but no-one else’s line came close to what Blake did last night. Blake Griffin went 5-44-8-5-3-1-4 on 13-of-23 shooting and 13-of-14 FTs as Detroit topped the Clippers 109-104. Detroit inches closer to that highly coveted 8th seed in the East, and Blake is licking his chops at the prospect of a seven-game series with the Raptors. I had to shoutout Blake for bringing the defensive stats last night for once. It was his first block in the last six games so I wouldn’t get used to this level of elite blocks production.
A lot went down last night so let’s dive on in to the daily notes!
I worked on a trading floor before the Internet Bubble went snap, crackle, and pop. Crazy times I tell ya. I always felt bad for the IT guys, though. They used to get shitted on all day, everyday. It didn’t help that they would say, “Did you turn it off then back on?” I kid. They were a vital cog to the operation because without them, things would cease to function. But dudes on the floor could be ruthless, especially when making or losing money were at stake. The IT guy was always the punching bag. Sound familiar? Isaiah Thomas has had a rough season. He struggled mightily in Cleveland and took much of the brunt for the Cavs’ struggles. Now in LA, things are looking a little brighter, as last night he went:
He played 30 minutes coming off the bench. Now, Josh Hart did not play due to injury so that gave IT some extra run. With that said, he was getting around 25 minutes of run per game. Around January, I did start writing in the recaps that I was bullish on IT. He was getting the minutes and the shot attempts were there. I just felt like he was getting his legs under him. Let’s not forget that he was recovering from a hip injury. After the trade to LA, I thought it was a pretty good situation for him, as the Lakers like to play free and fast. I just had questions about how many minutes he would get and what the rotations would be. I think we have our answer now. IT is the microwave. Instant offense off the bench. The Lakers with IT on the court have a 114.9 offensive rating, highest on the team. Without him on the court, that number drops to 105.6. Crazy. Granted, it’s only been seven games, but still. He’s getting healthy and is mighty motivated, as he’s essentially playing for a big contract right now.
The headline should serve as a warning: one of the most exciting days of the entire NBA season is fast approaching, and the results of said day could make every bit of what I’m about to write a moot point. If that happens I’ll be gloriously thrilled, because every year I cheer for the chatter to come to fruition on…NBA TRADE DEADLINE DAY!
The All-Star Game is tonight, and then three days of rest for the whole league (which is actually a full week for every non-All-Star). But the day everyone comes back to the court is the day the madness can occur. As a result, the names I’m mentioning are either hot hands or stand in line to get a boost from the hired hands that left their team. It’s certainly a tricky week, and the limited games only add to the nuance.
So, go play with the Trade Machine, let me hear the proposal you want to happen for your team, and let’s get ready for…
For the three people who wondered, the most enjoyable Trade Machine scenario I can find for my Hawks is (and no, it’s not for Carmelo Anthony: the expiring contracts of Mike Scott and Tiago Splitter with a 2nd round pick to the Lakers for Nick Young and Jose Calderon. Gives Hawks a legit second-team scorer, gives Lakers cap flexibility and a pick.
James Johnson is the man of the hour in terms of waiver pickups. Over the past week he has a 16/4.8/3.3/1.5/1 slash line with 2.3 treys and is shooting 48% from the field. He’s 37% owned, so you’ll need to run quickly to the wire, but he should be viable for at least as long as Justise Winslow is out, and possibly after that as well!
Last night marked the first return of Dwyane Wade to Miami. Unfortunately, it was the second game of a back to back for Wade, and his shooting just wasn’t there. He put up a solid line, and the Bulls won, so I doubt he’s complaining. Those hoping for a vintage performance were severely disappointed though. 5-17 shooting just doesn’t cut it. He threw in 7 boards, 4 assists, and a steal, along with the 13 points, so it wasn’t a complete waste though.
[Editor’s Note – No podcast today due to a funny story of JB having to go to the ER, he’s fine though! We’ll be back with the Pod on Thursday]
As the biggest and most surprising player dealt before the Trade Deadline, Tobias Harris arguably has more eyes on him now in Detroit than ever before in Orlando. Brought in to fill the Rashard Lewis role of playmaking 4 in Stan Van Gundy’s quest to reincarnate the 2010 Magic, Harris development with the Pistons will be one of the most intriguing story lines over the rest of the season.
With 16 and 21 points respectively in his previous two outings, Harris has flashed potential in his roll off the bench as a playmaker capable of finding his own shot. Due to any injury to Anthony Tolliver, Harris found himself in the starting lineup at power forward, a potential glimpse into Detroit’s long-term future.
Scoring 14 points to compliment 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals, his debut may have lacked a flashy statline to pair with his status as one of Pistons new core pieces. However, Harris is undoubtedly in a better situation right now than his previous tenure in Orlando.
As a result, fantasy owners should be monitoring his value accordingly. While Detroit is in win-now mode to secure a playoff birth, Harris will be acclimating to his new role and teammates for the rest of the year. Not to temper expectations, but I don’t view his multi-cat impact materializing over the last 30 games.
There may be flashes of his potential, but the Harris move is about 2016 and beyond, not just the last two months of the season.
The draft is here! I’m so excited that I pushed through a hectic day to have a live post throughout the night, something I told Slim I probably wouldn’t be able to get to. He’s all like, “5,000 ranty words on Interstellar, and you can’t do a live draft post?!” And I’m like, “MUUURRRPPPHHHHH!!!!!”
Let me start with this question to loyal Razzball Nation readers – is the NBA draft the best of the professional sports drafts? My vote is hell yea! Better trades, it flows faster, rooks impact right away… Ugh, I wish the MLB draft got a little more interesting at the top. And the NFL draft, well, 2/3 of the players who get picked don’t impact fantasy so I care a lot less…
There’s some sort of postseason going on, Stephen Curry is flying through the air, Klay Thompson is luckily OK after a Vincent Van Gough scare, there’s only two teams left… but all of that is less exciting to us than the new blood to enter the 2015-16 Fantasy player pool! As we’ve done for the second straight year (is two years considered a tradition yet?!), Slim and I mocked the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft by alternating picks for their respective teams with a fantasy outlook for each rook. 2014 didn’t… um… go quite to plan. But hey! We got a couple right and this year doesn’t quite offer the top-to-bottom talent as 2014. With a little bit more of an even playing field, I have a feeling this Draft will feature even more trades and more surprising risers and fallers… Hopefully we get a good portion of the lottery right! The optimist in me is ready ta go! Here’s our 2015 Mock NBA Draft: