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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Jeremy Lamb was selected with the 12th overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft by the Houston Rockets. A few days before the start of the regular season, Lamb was traded in a package for James Harden to Oklahoma City. Sacrificial Lamb? In three years with the Thunder, Lamb never averaged more than 19 minutes per game and was traded to the Charlotte Hornets in 2015. The first two years in Charlotte didn’t seem much different, as he averaged 18 minutes per game in each season. Then, in 2017 Lamb received close to 25 minutes per game and averaged over double-digits for the first time in his career, but during the 2017 NBA draft, the Hornets selected Malik Monk with the 11th overall pick. Sacrificial Lamb? Signs were pointing to Monk taking the starting shooting guard duties away from Lamb, as he seemed to have a higher upside. Well…..

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
31 6 3 2 0 0 3/3 11/18 6/7

Lamb played a team-high 49 minutes in a double-overtime game. For the season, he’s averaging 14.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.1 steals, and 1.4 threeecolas per game. He’s shooting 43% from the field and 34% from downtown. Don’t expect many assists or blocks. Just solid top 60 production. No sacrificial Lamb this time because he’s baaaaaaaaad.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Merry Christmas Razzball readers! I hope you enjoy the holiday season and take advantage of the extra free time to watch more NBA by the fireplace! This year, Christmas coincided with the opening of the All-star voting so, if you haven’t already, give your favorite players the Christmas gift of your vote and drop a comment below on who is the most underrated player that should be an All-star this year!

Taking a look at last week’s suggestions, both Cody Zeller and Nemanja Bjelica had a pretty low-scoring week, but I still like them going forward. The same can be said for Jarrett Allen. Regarding the Sell candidates, Kent Bazemore is still going strong, but Taurean Prince’s return is getting closer, while James Johnson had one great and three mediocre games.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We know the NBA is a serious business, but even it is not immune to the occasional mix up. Such an occurrence happened last week, sparked by a three-team trade centered around Trevor Ariza. Per reports, part of the deal that Memphis agreed was to send MarShon Brooks to the Phoenix Suns, but Phoenix thought they were getting Dillon Brooks. I guess that’s what happens when you have two players with the same surname on the same team and you are trading with a team whose coach also has the same surname. And with that, the deal was off, only to happen two days later without the involvement of Memphis. Now that I think about it more, maybe the Wizards’ master plan was to trade their head coach, but Memphis found out before it was too late. Imagine a team with all three members of the Holiday family: Jrue, Justin, and Aaron. How about a team with all four members of the Antetokounmpo family: Giannis, Thanasis, Alex, and Kostas? I would pay just to hear trade discussions involving players from those two families.

Taking a look at last week’s suggestions, Wendell Carter Jr. has hit the well-documented “rookie-wall,” but I still think he is an excellent Buy option, as he is too good to struggle for much longer. Nicolas Batum had a breakthrough performance vs the Knicks and I think he can improve more as we approach the second half of the season, while De’Anthony Melton maintained his minutes and production even with Devin Booker back. Finally, Trey Lyles has been underwhelming with his increased opportunity, but has the ability to get hot in a hurry, in contrast to Rodney McGruder, for whom I maintain the opinion that he should be off standard league rosters.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I loved Biggie. Being born and raised on the West Coast, that may be viewed as blasphemy, but whatever. Even though I went to school in NY and worked in the City for many of years, the simple fact of the matter was that he was a smooth, lyrical genius. He was Unbelievable. “Live from Bedford-Stuyvesant, the livest one…Representing BK to the fullest.” Indeed he did, which is exactly what Spencer Dinwiddie did last night.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
39 2 5 1 0 4 4/6 11/18 13/14

All in 30 minutes off the bench. He was Unbelievable. The 39 points were a career-high and, over the past four games, he’s been a top 40 player with an insane usage rate of 34.1!!! Now, he’s not going to start and will likely average a tick under 30 minutes per game, but Dinwiddie is a professional getter of buckets and will chip in 2 threeecolas, 5 rebounds, and 0.5 steals per game, which will place him in the top 110 range. But, as last night showed, he will Hypnotize from time to time.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Buffalo Wild Wings has a chart for the spiciness of the sauces in their menu: smilin’, sizzlin’, and screamin’. An Indonesian restaurant I saw on the internet had a chart of spiciness on the wall: 1 pepper, 2 peppers, 3 peppers, 4 peppers, and 5 peppers. The greatest spiciness chart, though, comes from my Korean brethren:

  1. Don’t worry
  2. I’m OK
  3. So So
  4. Hot
  5. Too hot
  6. Oh my god
  7. F**k

Last night, Steph Curry was at 8.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
42 9 7 1 0 2 9/14 11/20 11/12

Played 34 minutes last night. After missing 11 games due to injury, Curry has played 34, 29, and 37 minutes in the three games since. With the nine threeecolas, that brings his total for the season to 80, which places him second in the league behind James Harden’s 83. Curry has played five fewer games!!! It’s only been 15 games, but Curry is the #2 player for fantasy om a per-game basis. The 30.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 1.1 steals per game are ridiculous. The 93% from the free throw line on 4.8 attempts is fantastic. The 51% from the field when he attempts 10.4 threeecola attempts a game is ludicrous. But the most laughable stat for Curry is the 5.3 threeecolas he makes per game. That’s almost more than the rebounds and assists per game. Harden is second with 4.2. Third place? Lauri Markkanen with 3.5. Way past F**k, right?

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

 

 

 

 

The SouthLEAST Division

Here we are at the quarter turn, as teams have played approximately 25% of their games.

We know enough to be able to make some pretty cogent observations. Try this one on: this division is the worst in the NBA. Last year, the Heat won the division with 44 wins, while the Wizards had 43. Most thought it would be those two teams battling again, but alas, the Hornets and Magic currently sit atop the divisional heap. Any of these teams will be hard pressed to win 44 this year, although since they have to play each other four times each, somebody might get close. We could easily see a sub-.500 Division champion. What has been evident is that there are four coaches who are doing a notable job with inadequate star power, while one coach has been doing an inadequate job with notable star power.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Allonzo Trier seemed destined for greatness from an early age. Dubbed a hoops prodigy at the tender age of 13 years old, Trier was featured on the cover of New York Times Magazine in 2009. He utilized the childhood workouts of Pete Maravich found on the internet, travelled and starred in the A.A.U. circuit, and even had his own line of clothing with the signature: “When the lights come on, it’s time to perform.” Throughout middle school, he and his mother moved to four different cities (Seattle, Dallas, Oklahoma City, and Tulsa) all for basketball. In high school, he was a McDonald’s All-American, a five-star recruit, and the Washington Post wrote that he “may be the purest high school basketball scorer in the county and the most devoted to his craft.” At the University of Arizona, he was the Most Outstanding Player of the the Pac-12 Tournament and Second-team All-Pac-12 in 2017. The following season he earned First-team All-Pac-12 honors. Unfortunately, he tested twice for PEDs, which Trier said was medication given to him due to a car crash. As a result, he was ruled ineligibile and declared for the 2018 NBA draft. Then one team did not believe. Then two. Then three. Then thirty? Like a bad nightmare that was set on loop, the 30 teams passed over him again. Undrafted. There were no believers in Trier, but on July 3, 2018, the New York Knicks signed him to a two-way contract. After balling out in the preseason, coach David Fizdale conveyed that he was indeed a believer in Trier, and declared that he would spend most of the time in the NBA, rather than the G-League. Fizdale kept his word and Trier received close to 21 minutes per game….and Iso Zo was born. Or better yet, Trier was Carmelo Anthony reincarnate. There were inconsistencies and plenty of bricks early on, but Trier eventually shed his Melo mask and….

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
24 10 7 0 0 1 1/2 7/11 9/12

Played 31 minutes off the bench. Trier had his Iso moments, but more often than not, he was initiating offense via pick-and-roll action and dishing out dimes. He’s explosive and finishes strong when he attacks the rim, but he always looks smooth and composed with the ball, and never seems to rush anything. He’s averaging only 1.8 turnovers per game and is shooting 49% from the field, 45% from downtown, and 82% from the charity stripe. I’m a believer in Trier.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In 2008, Dwayne Wade averaged 30.2 points, 1.1 three-pointers, 5 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 2.2 steals, and 1.3 blocks in 38.6 minutes per game. In 9-cat leagues, he finished as the 3rd player in fantasy that year and it started a Golden Age. The following three seasons, Wade finished as the 7th, 7th, and 5th overall player. No wonder the property taxes in Wade County skyrocketed. But then Father Time started collecting his pension and Wade declined after his age 30 season: 95th, 96th, 72nd, and 222nd finishes. As a result, his 16th season in the NBA was to be a farewell tour. Maybe a token 20 minutes a game with a couple of rocking chairs were on the menu. But Wade a minute!

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
35 5 6 0 1 3 4/7 13/22 5/7

Played 34 minutes and led the team in shot attempts. Wade is averaging 24.5 minutes and 11.5 shot attempts per game on the season, but the efficiency has been inconsistent. He still has ceiling, though, as evidenced by last night’s game. I’m just waiting for April 9th, when he plays his final home game. Kobe shot 50 times and dropped a 60-burger in his final home game. I believe!

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

Please, blog, may I have some more?