It’s a contentious time in our nation’s capital. Bryce Harper may be departing, the name White House is being taken a little too literally, and questions abound regarding the viability of the Wall. That is why I propose that we, as a fantasy nation, Kneel4Beal 2020. Good things come from kneeling: marriage proposals, getting knighted, […]

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Once a decade or so, a rookie comes into the league and, not only is it extremely obvious that they are special, they immediately hit the floor running. Not since LeBron has a rookie demonstrated All-Star level production, keeping up with and often times dominating seasoned pros in the best basketball league in the world. Luka Doncic provides matchup issues for opposing teams and is such a dynamic offensive force for the Mavs, making every teammate better. While making serious waves in the NBA, in fantasy he still has plenty of areas he can improve. Currently, he’s been hovering around the top 80 in standard category leagues. The main culprits of keeping his fantasy value anchored are his percentages and turnovers. He also has room to grow in the steals department. For now, he’s an exciting, yet flawed player to roster on your fantasy squad, but he’s already one of the most fun players in real life and fantasy.

Luka Doncic

FG FT 3PT Points Reb Assists Steals Blocks TO
10/23 7/10 2/9 29 8 12 2 0 1

Luka was 2 boards short of messing around and was just a savage in this one. He scored at all 3 levels and was the obvious leader of the Mavs. When the percentages start to creep up, look out, because the sky’s the limit for Doncic.

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There was a lot of crying going on yesterday. And it started at precisely 12:00:01 am, as cries of joy echoed for the start of the new year. At the same time, there were countless cries of disappointment, as guys (too many to be honest) tried to kiss their NYE dates and got denied. There were cries of the sexual passion variety, and cries to the Porcelain God. Cries of pain for trying to get back into shape, and cries of elation from the millions of couch potato football fans. But, the biggest Kawhi came from Toronto, as Kawhi Leonard did this to the Utah Jazz:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
45 6 1 0 0 2 0/3 16/22 13/17

A career-high! Over the past six games, he’s averaged 31.3 points, 1.2 threeecolas, 7.5 boards, 1.8 dimes, 1.2 steals, and been the #15 player in fantasy. He’s had a usage rate of 33.5! I was so wrong about Kawhi in the offseason, as I had my doubts about his health and mental motiviation. Well, I just want to scurry to the corner and sit on the stool with a dunce cap and Kawhi. The only blemish has been the decrease in blocks. Currently, he’s averaging 0.5 per game. The last four seasons, Kawhi has averaged 1, 0.7, 1, and 0.8 blocks per game. I think that number ends higher, but even if it doesn’t, I won’t shed a tear for his owners, as (outside of injury) he will still likely be a top 10 player for fantasy.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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If you remember Young Joc, you lived through the downfall of hip-hop. OK, no one can really pinpoint when Rap music really started to go downhill, but there was a time when Young Joc captivated the minds and ears of 13-year-old children everywhere. Similarly, last night Jamal Murray captivated the minds of NBA fans by going 9-46-6-8-0-1-5 on 16-of-24 shooting and 5-of-6 FTs. It’s been a bit of a down year for Jamal, but he had 31 on Friday and 77 points in two games is going to help your team a lot, especially with 13 three-pointers. He’s been kind of a disappointment on the year, but could end up having a solid season.

Here’s what else went down in the NBA last night:

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Luke Kornet played four years at Vanderbilt University, where he averaged 13.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.5 steals, and 2 blocks on 47% shooting from the field and 32% from beyond the arc his senior year. No wonder he went undrafted in the 2017 NBA draft. But he’s the left-handed pitcher of basketball, in that he’s 7′ 1″, 250 pounds, and can shoot from outside. The New York Knicks took a chance and signed him to a two-way contract in 2017. Kornet spent most of his rookie year down in the G League, but still managed to play 20 games with the big club and exhibited the ability to shoot the threeecola and block shots. To begin this season, Kornet played a total of 12 minutes in the first 29 games, but Coach Fizdale inserted him into the lineup for game 30 against the Hornets and Kornet scored 13 points, grabbed 6 rebounds, blocked 3 shots, stole 2 passes, and shot 3-for-5 from downtown in 24 minutes. Although he continued to get playing time in the next five games, Kornet never received more than 14 minutes in any game. Then, last night happened.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
23 3 5 0 1 1 7/11 8/17 0

Kornet received the start and played 34 minutes. The start may have been matchup based, as he would have more success defending Brook Lopez on the perimeter and the Bucks defensive philosophy allows teams to beat them from downtown (MIL is dead last in number of opponent three-pointers attempted per game). With that said, Coach Fizdale said that he wanted to change up the lineup to get more shooting on the floor so that Emmanuel Mudiay and Kevin Knox would have more space to operate. In addition, Kornet does protect the rim better than Enes Kanter, which isn’t saying much, but it is what it is. I never understood why the Knicks continued rolling out Kanter, especially since he’s an UFA after this season. Play the young kids and “Try for Zion.” Having a center rotation of Kornet and Mitchell Robinson would make the most sense, as it would be a offense/defense combination, but Coach Fizdale has shown that he will change up the rotation in a heartbeat. With that said, Kornet is worth a pick up, as the reward for threeecolas and blocks far outweighs the risk of…..free.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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I was a sucker for all the James Bond movies growing up. There was always action, women, lots of cool toys, and more action. What most confused me early on, but later fascinated me, was the overtness of the Bond character. At his core, he was a spy after all, and a spy is defined as “a person who secretly…” I don’t need to continue the definition. Could a ninja ever be famous? Wouldn’t that go against the fundamental premise of being a ninja? With all that said, Bond took the spy game to the next level. Everyone knew he was a spy, and he knew that everyone knew, yet he did his spy thing while everyone else played along. Translation: Bond was a freaking boss. Which is exactly what Harden, James Harden is.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
41 6 7 2 1 6 5/16 15/35 6/7

That’s seven straight games scoring 30+ points, with two games over 40 and one 50-burger in there. The overtness that Harden exhibits is just as bold as Bond. Defenders know his moves, yet still get played. Now, with Chris Paul out for an extended period of time, the usage rate spikes to the mid-40s. The comparable analogy would be Bond walking into a casino with both hands flashing the bird, acquiring the information that he came for, and of course bringing the D for the girl.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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I remember watching Reggie Miller at UCLA and being mezmerized. Man, oh man could he shoot. Chants of Reggie! Reggie! Reggie! would reverberate throughout Pauley Pavilion. Then, he got drafted by the Indiana Pacers and the same chant was sung. One of the greatest shooters I’ve ever witnessed. He was a career 39% shooter from downtown. At the zenith, he attempted 6.6 while making 2.8 threeecolas per game. Back then, those were amazing numbers. The game certainly has changed, as Steph Curry leads the league with 11 threeecolas attempted with 5.1 makes per game. What hasn’t changed, though, is the Reggie! Reggie! Reggie! chant, only this time it’s for Reggie Bullock.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
33 3 1 1 0 0 7/12 12/21 2/2

Played 43 minutes in an overtime game. Bullock missed five games due to an ankle injury earlier this month. Since returning three games ago, he’s scored 15, 24, and 33 points and shot 4-for-10, 5-for-7, and 7-for-12 from downtown. Did the Pistons go all Steve Austin on him or something? Bullock is a 40% shooter from downtown, but this most recent heater of 55% is something else. He’s been a top 30 player for fantasy over the three-game stretch without contributing much in any other category! Now, the efficiency is obviously going to come in, unless the Pistons truly did turn Bullock into the modern day, six million dollar man. With that said, he’s been getting a ton of open looks because defenses have to sag down on Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond down low. There will be adjustments, so the volume of threeecolas will come back down. On the season, Bullock is averaging 5.6 attempts per game. Until then, enjoy the ride and chant at the top of your lungs, Reggie! Reggie! Reggie!

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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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:

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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.

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Man…I really feel for Markelle Fultz. He was the #24 recruit out of high school and received scholarships from over 20 colleges, participated in the McDonald’s All-American Game, was a member of the Team USA Under-18 squad, First-Team All-Pac-12 and Third-Team All-American in college, and was selected with the first overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. On top of the world, as they say, at the tender age of 19 years old. But then the yips surfaced. “The condition occurs suddenly and without apparent explanation…It is poorly understood and has no known treatment or therapy. Athletes affected by the yips sometimes recover their ability, which may require a change in technique. Many are forced to abandon their sport at the highest level.” The most well-known athletes to succumb to the yips are Chuck Knoblauch, Nick Anderson, Mike Vanderjagt, and Rick Ankiel. Is Fultz about to join them?

It’s looking likely, as TheAthletic wrote an article yesterday saying that Fultz is dealing with wrist and shoulder issues AND would prefer to move to another team. I’ve been a mental midget at times in my life and have dealt with depression as well, so I empathize but understand some of the realities of the shituation. I was able to hunker down in my cave and deal with my demons, but he’s in the public sphere with everyone all up in his business. The pressure and attention must be debilitating. I feel for you Fultz and wish the best.

This is a fantasy website, though, so I must address the implications from a fantasy perspective. The Fultz stops here. Do not use the Fultz, as the issues seems to be mental. He took an entire season off to deal with it, yet it’s only gotten worse. If he’s having trouble with this, imagine Draymond Green yapping about the yips in his ear. He’s a drop in most formats. I guess in the deepest of leagues, you could stash him as a lottery ticket, but that’s about it.

Did the Boston Celtics sabotage him? I guess the most important thing to take away from all of this is that one should always be cynical when a team is willing to pass on the consensus number one overall pick in the draft.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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