What else is there to say about James Harden? He’s been so consistently amazing that it’s easy to lose sight of just how good he is playing. Fantasy GMs that roster him have held a serious advantage all season. Every way you slice this line, it’s amazing. On one hand, he was one board away from a 40 point triple-double. If you look even closer, he was just 2 blocks away from a 5×5. That’s just ridiculous.

FG FT 3PT Points Reb Assists Steals Blocks TO
12/25 14/17 3/11 41 9 11 6 3 6

Everything about this line is massive. The turnovers are tough, but we all knew that going in. He continues to be the top play and should keep it going through the rest of the fantasy playoffs. Any team facing Harden better come correct.

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Mike Conley has really had some tough luck with injuries and never playing for an elite team. Now that Memphis appears to be in the midst of a confusing rebuild, it creates even more of a question mark surrounding Conley and his role on the team. You start to feel bad for him, but then you remember the sweet contract he signed. Still, it has to be rough to be at his level and rarely be in conversations about current great NBA players. He shows up, plays with this roster, and puts up his stats, which have him inside the top 30 for the season.

FG FT 3PT Points Reb Assists Steals Blocks TO
11/18 3/3 3/7 28 3 11 2 0 3

This marks back-to-back excellent games for Conely. The double-digit assists are really nice, as are the 3 3’s. It’s tough to say how things will go down for Conley the rest of the season, but for now, he’s humming along nicely and fantasy GMs should be excited about the production.

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Los Angeles, we have a problem. A season that started with nothing but optimism has quickly spiraled into a whirlwind of under-performance, coach questioning, and rumors, as the Lakers are currently the 11th seed in the West, six wins below the Spurs, who are currently holding onto the final playoff position. What is more discouraging is that they have won only five of their last 18 games and the chemistry is visibly mediocre, to say the least.

LeBron’s defense has come into question, and for valid reasons, as at times he seems disinterested on that end of the floor. The only player that seems to have come alive, proving me completely wrong in the process, is Rajon Rondo, but the Lakers have a long way to go. It is going to be a very interesting summer for them and I expect many changes both in the coaching and player personnel.

Apart from Rondo, last week’s buy suggestions of Joakim Noah and Tyus Jones were also misses, as the former saw his minutes reduced and the latter disappeared due to the return of Jeff Teague. On the contrary, Luke Kennard is starting to look like a must own player and I encourage you to hurry and get him because he won’t be available for long. Finally, both sell candidates, Harrison Barnes and Justise Winslow, have not done anything to convince me that they should be removed from the trading block of your team.

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A month or so ago, in this very fantasy corner, a young center of the New York Knicks was featured as a buy candidate. He began the year as the 3rd option behind Enes Kanter and Luke Kornet and had the occasional foul-plagued game but, and I’m quoting myself from the aforementioned article, “As long as he can stay on the court, he is both a great stash for the second half of the season and immediate help for boards and blocks.” I hope you took that advice because the second half of the season is upon us and Mitchell Robinson is beasting, averaging 10.3/0/8.2/0.4/0.8/3.3/0.4 on 71%/62.5% shooting. The blocks are outright RIDICULOUS! He even improved his per-36 stats and with DeAndre Jordan’s contract expiring this summer, he is already very high on my draft board for next season.

When taking a quick look at last article’s suggestions, Dion Waiter’s name pops out as the big hit, as he is having a great scoring month both from the paint and from beyond the 3pt line. The duo of Landry Shamet and Allen Crabbe have contributed in points and triples, with the former offering higher rest of season upside. Finally, Tobias Harris is proving me wrong by keeping his usage in Philly and scoring at his usual clip. This is a situation to monitor going forward, and we have to take into account that Joel Embiid was sidelined, but my projections of a top 50 finish look a bit pessimistic now.

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P. S. stands for postscript, which comes from the Latin word postscriptum and literally means “written after.” It’s used for an afterthought, not cool enough to be a part of the main piece. Like, oh by the way, I forgot to mention this but blah blah blah. It gets a bad rap, but as Shaun Usher of the Wall Street Journal wrote, “The P. S. is the most charming part of a letter. It’s the wink you give as you walk away.” It’s the cherry on top, the bam for the wham, and the mic drop. Like, P. S. – You the shiznitz. What? What?! Which segues perfectly to Pascal Siakam.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
44 10 2 0 3 4 4/5 15/25 10/12

A career-high in points scored. On the season, Siakam has been a top 40 player, but over the past four games, he’s been top 25. The usage rate has spiked to 28 and he’s averaged 35.3 minutes, 26 points, 1.5 tres, 9 boards, 3 dimes, 1.3 steals, and 1 block while shooting 50% from the field and 81% from the line on 8 attempts! He literally does it all. Like literally, as he can play center or be a point forward. The improvement in his game has been nothing short of amazing. P. S. is no longer an afterthought and has to be a no-brainer for Most Improved Player.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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I live in Los Angeles and enjoy skiing and snowboarding. I also like long walks on the beach while strumming tunes on my ukulele. Although there are ski resorts less than two hours drive away, it doesn’t rain often here. Los Angeles averages around 12.8 inches of rain per year. Last year, LA received 4 inches of rain. Only Las Vegas, Phoenix, and San Diego average less. For perspective, New Orleans averages 62.7 inches, while many of the big cities in the U. S. are in the 40-50 range. If it doesn’t rain often, then it doesn’t snow often, which means the slopes are no bueno, even with the artificial snow makers. Now, recently it’s been raining so much that I’ve been Googling ark blueprints. All that rain has been like frozen manna for the local resorts. A picturesque perfection of powder. Which describes the situation for JaVale McGee.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
21 13 1 1 1 1 0 10/15 1/3

McGee has started the last two games because Ivica Zubac was traded to the Clippers. He’s played 26 and 30 minutes, and averaged 19 points, 10.5 boards, 1 block, and 0.5 steals. Per 36, he’s averaging 18.3 points, 11.2 boards, 1 steal, and 3.4 blocks! He’s probably not going to get 36 minutes of run per night, but with only Tyson Chandler, Moritz Wagner, and Mike Muscala the only threats to playing time, McGee should get close to 30 minutes per night. The conditions are pristine at McGee Mountain. Enjoy your stay.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

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Kenneth Faried
has come out of obscurity, buried deep on the Nets bench, and has exploded onto the court for the Rockets and savvy fantasy GMs in less than a week. He keeps showing up and putting up big numbers. Not only has he immediately provided his normal points and boards with high efficiency, but he has suddenly added steals and blocks. He even hit a 3! The free throw shooting is still horrific, but the diverse offering he’s served up so far have been great.

FG FT 3PT Points Reb Assists Steals Blocks TO
8/11 5/9 NA 21 14 0 0 2 0

This was his best scoring and rebounding performance yet. He was all over the court in this one and made his presence known. While he’s been an incredibly fun story this week, this has sell high written all over it. With Clint Capela returning in a few weeks, there probably won’t be a better time to gauge his value than immediately after a big performance in a nationally televised game. Otherwise, just sit back and enjoy all the fun of rostering a player called the Manimal.

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All eyes were on Boogie last night, as he finally made his return from an Achilles injury and did not disappoint. He looked a little rusty, but overall gave reason for all Warriors fans to smile. He displayed the ability to hit three-pointers, as he was frequently left wide open, and made the Clippers pay. On the downside, he somehow managed to foul out in just 15 minutes, which is impressive in it’s own right and an obvious Boogie move.

DeMarcus Cousins

FG FT 3PT Points Reb Assists Steals Blocks TO
5/11 1/2 3/4 14 6 3 1 1 1

Cousins showed up and quickly made his presence felt in this one. He’ll be up and down for a while, as he gets in shape and manages his return from injury. Still, this was very promising for Boogie and his fantasy GMs and a scary prospect for the other 29 NBA teams.

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While perusing the standings the other day, I was surprised to see we’re already past the half-way mark of the NBA season. And for those in head-to-head leagues, that means we’re almost 2/3rds of the way through the fantasy regular season! It’s time to take stock of our team(s) and see where injuries, pick-ups, and dropped busts have left us situated. For example, half my starters this week on one team have been free agent pickups. I have some idea of my team’s strengths and weaknesses, but it’s a vastly different group than what I started with. Once we identify our short-comings, it’s as simple as grabbing a couple centers for a pair of guards to make up ground in boards and blocks, right? Maybe. But there are constraints that might make it more complicated than that. You may be losing stats you need by doing that and you may not be able to fit two extra centers into your lineup, anyway.

This week I’d like to bring up a concept many of you are probably familiar with, but often goes forgotten: Out-of-position stats. What if you’re low in rebounds, but you don’t have room to add/start a center? Well, you could trade a traditional point guard (assuming you were set with PG stats) for Dejounte Murray (9.5 rebounds per 36 minutes last season, and yes, by the way, I’m choosing an alternate universe in which he’s healthy for this hypothetical situation). Considering trading for or picking up players that get atypical stats for their position can make a ton of sense for a lot of reasons. Maybe you lost a big assist guy like John Wall or your dominant rebounder in Clint Capela. Maybe you’ve got another out-of-position stats guy that hurts you because of what he lacks (Dejounte’s assists and three-pointers, for example). Also, when you have out-of-position stats, like say Nikola Mirotic’s 3s, you can afford to have additional atypical players that others in your league might devalue, like Elfrid Payton, a guard that doesn’t hit many threes. Get creative and check out some of the players I’ve listed below.

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KRS-One was one of the greatest to ever do it. He never won a Grammy, and didn’t win a Tony, yet he smashed rappers and made girls go “Illllll!” He made you bob your head from side to side, and up and down, but ultimately he made you think about what was said, as Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everybody. At the core, though, he brought it to those MC’s that acted like they didn’t know that KRS was willing to go toe for toe and made them hope that their defense mechanism could divert his heat-seeking lyricism. Joel Embiid is the KRS-One of the NBA. He puts victims in a body bag both on the Twitter machine and on the court. Last night…

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
31 13 3 0 1 4 4/6 10/17 7/8

In only 27 minutes, as the 76ers body bagged the Timberpuppies, 149-107. On the season, Embiid is the #10 player, averaging 33.5 minutes, 27 points, 1.2 threeecolas, 13.3 boards, 3.4 dimes, 0.5 steals, and 2 blocks on 48% shooting from the field and 80% from the free throw line on 9.9 attempts. The usage rate is 32.1! Such a boss. As KRS said, “If you don’t know me by now, I doubt you’ll ever know me.” Embiid gonna keep trying, though.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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