Last night I was able to test out a new Seuss-style story during my kids’ bedtime:

“An Ant-man with cool fluffy hair, who went the nation’s capital and let it rain from behind the arch. He was hitting ‘em on the pull up. He was hitting ‘em on the spot up. He nailed 3s on the swing. He nailed 3s on the run. He hit 3s from the corner, at the top. He created a skookum of 3s like it was a skookum of tallywade  ….”

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Let’s get one thing straight from the jump — until the Sacramento Kings actually conclude the year with a top-6 record (or top-10, if you must) and qualify for the Playoffs in the Western Conference, there is reason to be suspicious that this is finally their year. Yes, at 27-19 they’re currently the number three team in the West, the leader of the Pacific Division, and the winningest team in California. And yes, their overall net rating of +2.7 is good enough for seventh in the NBA, ahead of recent Finals participants like the Bucks, Suns, and Warriors. But these are still the Sacramento Kings, right? Owners of the longest playoff drought in basketball (16 years and counting) and the franchise most closely associated with mismanagement, bad ideas, and poor execution. Dysfunction has been living in the capital city for a long time, and the legacy of failure cannot be overlooked until absolutely proven otherwise. Skepticism, a necessary body armor for long-suffering fans, is warranted and advisable. All that said, there’s also reason to believe the worm has finally turned. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Magic have been everyone’s favorite fantasy outlet this season, from Bol Bol Euro-stepping into monster jams to Paolo Banchero compiling historic rookie numbers. The play of Franz Wagner has by no means been lost in all the excitement, but his games of late have been next level good. Over his last six games, he’s averaging 24 points on 55% shooting, 68.3 TS%, pitching in about 4 boards, 3 assists, a steal and 3 threes per game. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If you haven’t watched the ending, it’s everything that makes basketball great.  Kudos to Will Hardy, the Jazz coach, for not calling a timeout and letting the end game flow.

My first take is that the Jazz may not be as big of sellers as we all assumed they would be.  They have a solid young coach, a breakout star in Lauri Markkanen (28 and 8 tonight), and, when Mike Conley (18 points, 7 dimes, 3 swipes) plays, they are downright good.   I was monitoring guys like Walker Kessler, but I’m thinking now they keep the group together and figure things out.

Kelly Olynyk (5 points, 6 boards) would be a logical piece to move if they decide to do so, as is the aforementioned Conley.  I just give the Jazz some credit for not going scorched earth on this and playing well and hard, even if the end result was a close loss to the surprising…………..

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Earlier this week, Mr. Hooper outlined his redemption attempt from a lackluster RazzJam performance with a mid-season 12-team roto league draft (which starts counting stats Dec. 26) that I managed to snag a spot in as well. 

How’s my RazzJam team doing? Oh, well, thanks for asking. Pretty dang well! I’ve been the pace car most the season in my league, currently with a healthy lead over second place Guiseppe Racco. I was in the Top 10 overall for a bit, but have dropped back to 16th in the last few days. Still a long way to go, so definitely not doing any early celebrating. 

But I digress. I thought it would be fun to compare rookie draft ranking in the current draft, making the turn into round 21 of 25 as I write this, to preseason ADP to gauge the market for rookie performances so far this season. I’m using NFBKC for the pre-season ADP and Monster Basketball for current rankings.

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In this life, do-overs are rare. The opportunity to go back and change the mistakes of the past is reserved for science fiction plots or melancholy discussions over a pint in dimly-lit watering holes. But over this last week, I was presented with an opportunity to do just that – to go back with the knowledge of hindsight and fix where I failed, to atone, to set things right. I had screwed up once and now I was gifted a second chance. Please, I told myself, don’t blow it again. 

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I was prepared to lead this Friday Night Recap with a fancy take on Aaron Gordon, but King James had other plans. With Anthony Davis sitting the second half with a bum foot in the Lakers-Nuggets game, Denver had a double-digit third quarter lead and were cruising to a road win. Then LeBron James stepped into the center spot and ran circles around Nikola Jokic and friends, finishing with 30 points (13-20 FG, 1-4 3pt, 3-4 FT), 9 boards, 4 dimes and 2 steals along with a +26 in the 126-108 victory.

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The 2022 NBA Draft class has been quite a delight, right?

No. 1 overall selection Paolo Banchero is averaging 22 points, seven rebounds and four assists per game; 15/4/4 for Jaden Ivey (No. 5 pick), 18 PPG for Bennedict Mathurin (No. 6), and 12 and seven for Jabari Smith Jr. (No. 3). We’ve also seen promising flashes from Jalen Duren (leading all rookies with 7.3 rebounds per game), Keegan Murray (12 and four) and Andrew Nembhard (leading in three-point percentage at 40.4). All this positivity comes even without uber-popular Chet Holmgren, the No. 2 overall pick who suffered a season-ending Lisfranc injury before ever taking the floor in an NBA regular season game. Big things comin’ in the future, for sure.

That leads us into Wednesday night in fantasy basketball, one highlighted by two of the rising rookies I referenced above.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

You can’t win a championship at the beginning of a season, but you can lose one. Much as it pains me to say, I think I’ve already lost.

After a successful Writer’s League last year that ended against Kostas in the semifinal and a pretty intensive offseason of thinking about hoops, I came into this year’s draft feeling like I was in decent shape to post a good showing again. But this year ain’t last year. Stats and success don’t carry over, and if you’re resting on laurels rather than applying lessons learned, there’s no way to bank Ws on account of “experience.” If you’ve been following Kelder’s weekly recaps, you might have noticed that my team isn’t anywhere in the mix. Indeed, you’ve got to scroll almost the way to the bottom of the table to see my name. A record of 19-34-1 is good enough for 11th and I feel all but certain the hole that I’ve put myself in is going to be too deep to recover from. I’m not quite ready to quit on some other struggling squads, but I think it’s safe to let go of preseason expectations at this point and set a different goal for the remaining three-quarters of the season here in the Writer’s League.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“Houston, we have a problem” … is the headline I had to fight off for days when contemplating an article on the early returns (or lack thereof) from No. 3 pick Jabari Smith Jr. And that’s just wrong. Literally. The astronauts of Apollo 13 actually said to mission control, “Houston, we’ve had a problem.” While we’re at it: Forrest Gump said, “Life was like a box of chocolates;” Marie Antoinette wanted them to eat a pastry, not cake; Manfred Mann was “Revved up like a deuce;” the cornfield winds whispered “If you build it, he will come;” and Darth Vader’s famous line is, “No, I am your father” (either way, its hilarious to say into a fan). Thanks to my Master’s degree in Web Searchography, I know those formations of false collective memories are called the Mandela Effect. What does this have to do with Smith? I have no idea, but it was a fun way to cut through some writer’s block.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Back in the day when I used to go to malls just to hang out (ah, those were the days), a must stop every time was Sharper Image. It was like the in-flight magazines, but in person! All sorts of shiny, new, modernized gadgets and gizmos, tech-driven household items I otherwise wouldn’t care about, random game, sporting and, especially, golf novelties and, of course, a few minutes in the latest and greatest massage chair. It was a blissful time of next-level window shopping between stops at Sam Goody, Sbarro, Zumies, and more. Sharper Image was great because it was all eye candy without any inclination that I’d actually be buying something. Aside from the fact I couldn’t afford anything in there as a teenager, I also didn’t need it, as cool and flashy as it was. 

And that’s Shaedon Sharpe in his rookie season for fantasy basketball. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?