There was a time when the streets were flooded with bookstores: B. Dalton, Borders, Coles, Crown Books, and Encore Books. Then the internet came along and changed the whole paradigm. No longer did people have to get off their asses to buy books. Instead, a click here and a click there and…poof…like magic, the book would appear at their door. As a result, brick-and-mortar locations became obsolete and the aforementioned stores went kaput. But one company, Barnes & Noble, was able to rise from the carnage and remain relevant. While there was no need to have a bookstore at every corner, some people still enjoyed that walk-in experience. As a result, Barnes & Noble has remained and continues to serve the community. Which brings me to Harrison Barnes. A five-star recruit and Mr. Basketball USA in high school, All-Conference and All-American in college (North Carolina), and All-Rookie in the NBA, business was booming in the Barnes household. But then he got scared of his own shadow during the NBA playoffs (2015) , in a contract year no less, and kaput. No more Golden State. Mark Cuban, though, saw value and paid $94 million over four years to acquire his services. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ During his time in Dallas, Barnes has averaged 18.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.7 steals, 1.4 threeecolas, and 0.2 blocks. Not great, but serviceable. Is that worth $94 million? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ But every once in a while, Barnes does deliver:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
30 9 1 0 1 3 3/9 11/28 5/5

Over the past six games, Barnes has been a top 60 player, but he’s more like a top 100 player. Since 2014, he’s finished as the 109th, 119th, 79th, and 90th player. Barnes doesn’t provide much of a ceiling but the floor is pretty high, as he shoots a ton of shots. Not everyone likes bookstores, but they do provide a function for some. That’s the best way to describe Harrison Barnes for fantasy.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Ok, so he might not really be better than Nikola Jokic in real life, but heading into the game against Phoenix, Nikola Vucevic was ranked a mind-boggling 5th in overall fantasy value for standard leagues. Can we stop pretending like he’s not a superstar? He’s a complete player with no real holes, excels at scoring, grabbing boards, is sneaky good at assists, manages great percentages, and averages a triple one. What’s not to love?

Nikola Vucevic

FG FT 3PT Points Reb Assists Steals Blocks TO
11/20 1/2 2/5 25 15 3 1 1 2

What a beast. 25/15/3 with 2 3’s, 1 steal, and 1 block is such a nice all around contributing line. He’s way above his career averages in scoring and percentages, so a lot of fantasy GMs have been trying to move him. He won’t retain that top 5 ranking, but for a player that most GM’s drafted after pick 50, he’s paid off a ton. I love his game (scoring, shooting, boards, nice playmaking, and a triple 1, with very good percentages) and is my type of player.

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In the 1980s, WrestleMania was the merde. Pardon my French. They were spectacles of extraordinary frenzy. Rabid fans would pack 90,000 strong into stadiums to watch freakishly athletic men do freakishly mind-numbing things. And there in lies the crux of everything: the men. For all the Barnum and Bailey antics that Vince McMahon could project, without those freakishly athletic men doing freakisly mind-numbing things, he’d have to take off three or four zeros from that 90,000 figure. As Coach SamWinters from The Program so eloquently stated, “When’s the last time 80,0000 people showed up to watch a kid do a damn chemistry experiment?” The same concept applies to the NBA. Teams wouldn’t be worth billions of dollars without the freakishly athletic men doing freakishly mind-numbing things. One of the biggest stars in the NBA is Russell Westbrook and last night he went HAM.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
23 19 15 2 0 3 2/5 10/17 1/2

By messing around last night, Westbrook moved into a tie for third place with Jason Kidd for the most triple-dubs all-time. Oscar Robertson had 181, Magic Johnson 138, and Westbrook and Kidd are both at 107. That in of itself is impressive, but he wasn’t far away from a 20/20/20 game, which got me thinking….has anyone ever attained the double-triple-dub? Wilt Chamberlain in 1968 with 22 points, 25 rebounds, and 21 assists. Ha! That is so sick. Anyways, hope you enjoyed RussellMania last night.

Beep. Boop. Bop. The Stocktonator must love wrestling because it had Westbrook as it’s #4 player last night.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Remember those times when that girl or guy would call or text and mention that the parents were gone? Ooohhh, how I miss those times? I would get so excited. Well, the last two games in Houston, Chris Paul has been a good neighbor and notified the team that he’s out. Oooohhhh, that means it’s James Harden‘s time to get us Harden excited. On the season, Harden is leading the league with a 36.5 usage rate, but when Paul is off the court, that number spikes to 45.8!!! On Saturday, Harden scored 40 points and dished out 13 dimes. Last night….

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
54 8 13 3 0 11 7/15 17/32 13/15

A fifty burger with 13 assists and 11 turnovers. That’s truly messing around. Anyways, even with the 5.8 turnovers per game (which leads the league by over 1 per game), Harden is still the #4 player in fantasy. If that doesn’t get you Harden excited, then you’ve got issues I don’t want to subscribe to. Beep. Boop. Bop. The Stocktonator was Harden excited, as it had him as the #1 player last night. Now that’s something you can subscribe to.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Ok, maybe they didn’t forget him, but Andre Drummond definitely doesn’t get the credit he’s due. He might have gotten lost in a massive 13-game night, filled with double-doubles, but let’s give Dre his due. He’s leading the league in rebounding, going for 16 boards a game, and averaging a career-high 19.4 points.

FG FT 3PT Points Reb Assists Steals Blocks TO
9/18 5/8 0/1 23 20 1 3 5 1

I’m not sure what’s more impressive, the 23 and 20 or the 8 combined stocks. Over the past three seasons, Drummond had been averaging 1.5 steals per game (those are guard number!) So far this year, he’s only averaging 0.9 steals, but that is still great for a center. If the steals come back up, so will his fantasy value, but the free throw percentage will always be his anchor. If you punt free throw percentage, Drummond is a clear-cut top 10 player. 

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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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Julius Caesar was a brilliant tactician and politician, who expanded the Roman Empire. He got greedy, though, when he declared himself dictator. As a result, members of the Roman Senate conspired and stabbed him in the back, both literally and figuratively. Julius Randle is a no-nonsense player who bullies defenders down low. Bull in a china shop is an apt description, especially since he’s 6′ 9″ and 250 pounds. After he spent the first four years of his career in Los Angeles, he took his talents to New Orleans and didn’t mess around. He was the same bull that he had been with the Lakers. Last night, though….

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
21 14 10 1 0 0 0/1 9/13 3/3

….Julius did mess around, notching his sixth career triple-dub. In only 25 minutes! There’s been nothing but love for Julius in New Orleans, as he provides the team with a physical presence down low, who can also be a playmaker in the third-fastest team in the NBA for offensive pace. Ain’t nobody stabbing this Julius in the back. From a fantasy perspective, though, don’t go slicing and dicing your team to acquire his services. He’s a fine player, as he’s currently the 87th player according to Basketball Monster. The issues are the limited minutes, lack of threeecolas, low assists, and miniscule defensive contributions. Hopefully no one comes and stab me in the back now.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Consistency has been a hallmark for the career of LeBron James. Year in and year out, you could Sharpie him in for 27 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists. Within that consistency bubble, though, are different shades of LeBron. There’s “Deferential” LeBron, who props up his teammates and lets them shine. There’s “We’ve Lost How Many Games?” LeBron, who could probably stop a flower from blooming. There’s “Playoff” LeBron, but the shade of LeBron that I want to discuss is “You Forgetting About Me” LeBron, which is my favorite because he announces it with the force of Thor’s hammer screaming to the ground. It all started two games ago against the Portland Trail Blazers. Entering that game, LeBron was averaging 26.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 7.1 assists. Yawn, but then he exploded for 44/10/3. Last night….

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
51 8 3 2 1 2 6/8 19/31 7/10

….A fifty-burger usually brings out the cops, but not for LeBron. It’s just another shade. Beep. Boop. Bop. The Stocktonator knows all the different shades, as it had LeBron as the #1 player yesterday. For the season, LeBron is the #4 player according to Basketball Monster. Long live the King!

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

 

Most of the teams in this division are what we thought they were. The Dallas Mavericks are more competitive with their new additions, but still not playoff ready. The Memphis Grizzlies, with a healthier roster, are returning to Grit-and-Grind, playing at a pace nobody wants to play. The New Orleans Pelicans will go as far as AD takes them, while hoping to capitalize on the momentum of sweeping the Trail Blazers in last year’s playoffs, but ultimately realizing the rest of the roster has a second-round ceiling. The Spurs are the Spurs, so even with multiple roster changes, the Kawhi Leonard drama, loss of veteran leadership, injuries, and adjustments, Coach Greg Popovich is still the master puppeteer who will figure out how to win more than he loses. He would probably do that even if you gave him a roster of Lilliputians. Which leaves the exception and the outlier, the Houston Rockets, who have not been what we thought they were. We all thought they would take a step back defensively, but who thought they would forget how to shoot? They seem to be finding their sea legs, and even beat the World Champion Golden State Warriors, but who would have guessed the team with the best record in the league last year would be happy to be 7-7 after 14 games?

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Juan is twenty THREE years old. This is year THREE in the NBA for Juan. Entering last night’s game, Juan had made an average of two point THREE shots and one point THREE THREE-pointers. Juan had attempted THREE minus zero point one THREE-pointers. Last night was start number THREE for Juan. Well, Juan is the lede so he must have done something good.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
25 9 1 1 0 1 2/5 9/12 5/7

THREE more points and Juan would have set a new career-high! Before I get internet tomatoes thrown at my internet head, I focus on THREE because the boy can shoot from beyond the arc. He’s a career 38% shooter from downtown, but that mark should be higher because it’s tainted by a 28% mark in a 25 game sample last season. Juan is starting, getting minutes, and should continue providing THREEs and rebounds. When Will Barton returns, Juan will likely return to the bench, but that won’t be for at least a couple more weeks. Ready? Juan, two, THREEE!!!

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?