I love music. Fortunately, my young daughter does, too. We started her early on all sorts of stuff, but she eventually started requesting almost exclusively “girl songs.” So, I started combing through my CDs and mp3s for our daily drive to school, finding a decent amount of great female singers, mainly from the 90s. She really took to some (Gwen Stefani, Shania Twain), but not as much to others that I’d hoped she would (The Cranberries, Veruca Salt). We added in some more current stuff that she loves (Taylor Swift, Meghan Trainor), and we have a great time. Now, I know there’s a good chance this isn’t resonating with you as much as it would if I said I’d kept trying to slip in more funk (she likes “Car Wash” and “Jungle Boogie”, at least), rock (Down on the Corner is popular with her, but there are only a few songs by Disturbed that are appropriate for four year-olds!), and rap (“Tricky” was a favorite for a while, fortunately), but stick with me, please. Because, I found something very enlightening when I introduced the very, very 90s classic, “Stay”, by Lisa Loeb. Was it that we only hear what we want to? That we won’t live forever? No, it’s this powerful line:
“You said you caught me ’cause you want me, and one day you’ll let me go. You try to give away a keeper, or keep me ’cause you know you’re just so scared to lose.”
It’s like a record scratch every time I hear that line. YOU TRY TO GIVE AWAY A KEEPER??? She was brilliantly pointing out that YOU DON’T JUST GIVE AWAY A KEEPER! But at the same time, you don’t keep a player only because you’re scared to lose! Such wisdom. For decades, I swear I didn’t know that lovely song was about fantasy basketball keeper leagues.
Lisa Loeb. Fantasy Oracle.
While we’re still quite a few games away from a large enough sample of current season stats to really trust them, let’s talk keeper/dynasty strategy (dynasty being a league in which you keep a large amount of your team for next season). I thought I’d share some tips and have some fun looking back at what we thought of past rookies so that we don’t get overly excited about these 19 year-olds that we’re currently trusting to save our teams.
Here’s the matchup grid updated prior to the 1030 ET time games last night.
I don’t want to go in depth on this today as I’d like to spend some time talking about a specific player below. The next in-depth discussion will be in a couple of weeks when we have a nice full month of data. Just wanted to point out that GSW remains near the top of teams to target, albeit they seem to have tightened it up a bit on the rebounding category compared to last week.
Hello Razzballers! Welcome to the inaugural edition of the “The Numbers Game”. I know, plain vanilla title but hopefully there will be some interesting golden nuggets of actionable information each week for everyone. And I promise to not make it sound as boring as Statistics class.
This weekly segment will dig a little deeper into some league, team and players stats WITHOUT (hopefully) having to use the words Standard Deviation, Z-Scores, and all those weird stat symbols. Who needs those when we can all exchange friendly banter in the comments section, criticize coaches and go through the roller coaster ride we submit ourselves each NBA season in the comments section.
The season is young and therefore take all of these stats with a grain of salt. Nothing like the lack of sample size to skew numbers as outliers can easily move the numbers. There is also the subjective aspect of it–whether it be a coaching change (did I hear someone say Asshat?) or a major lineup change or even just a relatively higher number of back to back games so far.
So without further ado, let’s get down to the it. This is a grid provided by BBM to its readers. You might want to open it up in another tab as you might want to look back at it while reading further below.
On what should have been a relatively quiet evening in the NBA, there sure wound up being a lot of noise. And not a lot of it was good noise. For a lot of fantasy owners, Tuesday probably sounded a bit like this.
Mid-game injuries, late-breaking inactives, and low minutes due to a few blowouts seemed to be the consistent narrative of the night.
We’ll get to all that depressing stuff, but let’s start out on a high note – Mo Williams had himself a game. On nearly perfect shooting (8-9 FGs, 9-10 FTs, 4-4 from 3-point range), Mo helped the Cavaliers slip past the Utah Jazz 118-114 in the best game of the night. In addition to the stellar percentages, Williams chipped in six boards, six dimes, and stole the ball twice just for funzies. Five turnovers took a bit of shine off an otherwise brilliant outing, but this still goes down as one of the top fantasy lines of the evening. Mo Williams will continue to be a must-start player until Kyrie Irving comes back, and common sense would suggest that if Mo keeps balling at a high level and the Cavs keep winning, there’s no reason to rush Kyrie back anytime soon. So it’s a bit of a snowball effect in that the immediate returns are great, but they’re also likely to help extend Mo’s opportunity for a 30+ MPG role on a title contending team. People waiting on Irving to return won’t enjoy hearing that, but it’s championship-or-bust in Cleveland, so Kyrie isn’t coming back with health a single percentage point below 100.
Not to be outdone, LeBron James had himself a phenomenal fourth quarter, scoring 17 points (6-8 FGs), 4 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal as the Cavs scored 38 points in the final frame against one heck of a good defensive team. LBJ finished the game with 31/7/8/2/0 and dropped in a three pointer. He matched Mo Will’s five giveaways and missed four of his 12 freebies, but for all intents and purposes this was a win for LeBron owners as he made it out of the game healthy after soldiering through an owwy on his thigh.
After making history this weekend with arguably the best Halloween costume from an NBA player of all time, LeBron James made his way into the NBA record books becoming the youngest player to score 25,000 career points. Despite the record-breaking basket coming against the hapless Philadelphia 76ers, the feat nonetheless is one of the most impressive in recent memory. With all the scrutiny surrounding the potential decline of the Artist Formerly Known as King James, tonight’s performance was an instant reminder of how effectively he can impact the game not only on the hardwood, but the fantasy box score as well.
Registering 22 points, 11 assists, 9 rebounds, 4 steals, and 2 blocks on 9-19 shooting, James had his most well-rounded performance of the season. Moving forward, James should begin to impact other areas of the box score (assists, rebounds, steals, and FG percentage) as the Cavs offense clicks.
As the Cavs begin to realize the full potential of their All-Pro floor spacer in Kevin Love, James ability to facilitate and control the pace of the game will open up his true fantasy potential. Pencil him in for at least 20 points, 8 boards, and 6 assists on .500+ shooting. All hail the King.
Another week, another rash of injuries to some of the NBA’s top players. All-Star Chris Bosh was admitted into a hospital last week with flu-like symptoms. Unfortunately, his diagnosis was much worse than initially thought. On Friday, doctors diagnosed him with a blood clot in his lung and Bosh will miss the remainder of the season. Bosh is safe to drop in redraft leagues and isn’t the only player to have their season cut short to blood clots. Brooklyn Nets forward Mirza Teletovic also has blood clots in his lungs. Left untreated, blood clots can cause sudden death, like what happened to former-Trail Blazer Jerome Kersey.
Bosh is expected to be out of commission for at least six months, as he’s on blood thinners to address the blood clot. Blood thinners will make it easier for him to bleed, hence why he won’t be able to play contact basketball for a while.
[We’ve got the Trade Deadline Podcast up! Slim and I react to all this hooblah as this post continues to be updated – you can find the Pod the post below this one as well as that link.]
The Trade Deadline is nigh, which is to say, soon. Can I trade the start of this open with a different one…? “Did you hear the one about how the Hawks got nothing for the broke ass of Josh Smith last trade deadline?!” Imagine the Hawks with a lottery pick as well… I guess as fortune-tellers, they knew they didn’t need anything for Smoove!
The 2015 NBA Trade Deadline will pass at 3:00 PM EST, and up until the closing moments, I’ll be updating this post as each trade moves across my virtual news desk. Fantasy spins galore! That’s the younger sister of Pussy Galore… So be sure to constantly ping that refresh like Goldfinger on Kitco! Here’s what’s gone down so far:
Last year, I think Jonas Valanciunas might have won the “most annoying player for JB” award. Eh, Jeff Green was up there too… But we’ve got a clear front-runner for 14-15!
If you had money on Brandon Jennings racking up the first double dimebag of the season, then all praise be onto you! Great game against the Magic, as he gashed their “defense” for a 24/0/21/0/0 line. Pretty empty to me, only two cats in there! First 20-assist game this season, doubling up the dimebags and making BJ’s value as high as Katt Williams. You’re probably looking like this as a Jennings owner right now! He’s only the 4th guy to put up a 20/20 game since 2000, and I guess all my sell Jennings high hooblah is looking a little dumb now… I still think if you can get one of the higher-tier guys like a Jeff Teague you have to do it, but otherwise I guess it’s a strong hold and ride the wave. Upside of two dimebags on any given night?! That’s a friend you need to keep for life! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:
I pretty much wanted to kill the open right there, but “journalistic integrity” or whatever… In a horrific shooting display, BJ flat out sucked for 5-18 shooting and it was equally as painful to watch as Josh Smith at shootaround. A few fadeaway treys, bricked layups… You name it. I honestly think a big part of the Pistons game plan right now is have BJ shoot like a hot dog, and rely on the O-boards from Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe. Drummo’s OREB gave me an O-face last night, that’s for sure! Racked up 7 OREB and Monroe had 5, and I’m guessing almost all of those came on BJ’s bricks. If terrible shots leading to OREB and putbacks counted as assists, Jennings would be John Stockton. Of course, sometimes there’s some Flubber on the ball and it goes in, but this is an immense sell-high window. Probably a Sportscenter Top-10 layup, and has been playing fairly well lately. Even D.J. Augustin at 8-18 FG 19/0/5 couldn’t get Stan Van to flip-flop PG down the stretch. We’re used to seeing flip-flops! Stan Van coaching like Laguna Beach. Jennings is a big name on the trading block as well, and the Pistons aren’t hesitant to give players away, as in cutting J Smoove. One rumor I read was Houston… They would be the worst shooting team in NBA history! Success for Houston would obviously be bringing in two guys from a former 5-23 team… Then again, the Pistons just won on the road in San Antonio for their 6th straight, and they are – you won’t believe this – now 3.5 games out of a playoff spot in the East. Hah! Trade or no trade, labradoodle-city Jennings could probably fetch an interesting ransom in the fantasy market as this current run is unsustainable. Here’s what else went down in last night’s two games: