Being in the middle is…..

Bad for a sports team, as perpetual mediocrity permeates. No chance at the trophy and no possibility to draft a franchise-changing player. Bad if you are a piece of lettuce or meat between two slices of bread. I guess everything in that situation sucks as they all get eaten. Bad if you’re an avid surfer that lives in Nebraska. There’s good, though. You ain’t poor. Malcolm did alright. You’ll never be first or last. In the NBA, being a part of the bourgeoisie is great. You’re not the worst of the 1% of the ballers on the planet. But, imagine if you are a part of the 1% of the 1%? Kyrie Irving doesn’t have to imagine because he’s living the dream. Yesterday, he went:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 40 7 5 0 1 1 5/7 14/23 7/8

The Celtics lost to the Magic, 103-95. That should’ve been grounds for automatic disqualification from being the lede, but….a 40-burger is a 40-burger. You drop one of those and you’re always going to be a contender. Now, it’s felt like Kyrie has been a relatively quiet member of the fantasy elite, as he hasn’t been messing around or going nuts on a nightly basis. He’s the 14th player for fantasy and his numbers are almost identical to last year. Imagine if he was on a shitty team that didn’t play any defense?

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Jordan Clarkson drops 33 points as Lakers “Breakaway” from the Pacers on Friday night. Clarkson, “Because of You” Lakers were able to win a game while shooting 14.3% from the free throw line; an NBA record for lowest FT% in a win.  Clarkson was the only Laker to actually make any free throws (2-for-3), while the rest of the team went 0-for-11.  Despite this weird anomaly, the Lakers were able to “Walk Away” with a a victory against a pretty good Pacers team. The Pacers were coming off a back-to-back, but the Lakers have now won five of their last seven after a really rough stretch.

Anyway, here’s what else happened on Friday in Fantasy Hoops:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

My Charlotte Bobcats fandom reached it’s peak during the 2006-2007 NBA season. My Bulls had been one of the worst teams in the NBA for nearly a decade and I liked cheering for the recent expansion team. I had NBA League Pass back then, since I was providing live box scores for a website more nights than not. The Bobcats weren’t one of the in-demand teams to cover, so I got to do a lot of their games. While the Bulls had just drafted LaMarcus Aldridge at #2 and traded him for #4 Tyrus Thomas and Victor Khryapa (yes, that happened), the Bobcats selected one of my favorite players right between those picks to join forces with other favorites Gerald Wallace and Emeka Okafor. That’s right, Adam Morrison was going to light up my tiny 19-inch box TV that sat beside my giant desktop computer as he turned (yes, people thought this) into Larry Bird 2.0! It was going to be fun watching this franchise, in just it’s third year, develop into a contender with those pieces.

Check it out! That weird, slippery ball they used briefly!

Okay, so the ‘Cats never really went anywhere, though Morrison did have some fun 3-point shooting streaks. I still love the snubbed and rightful 2012 Las Vegas NBA Summer League MVP and two-time NBA Champ (true). And, I still wear my Bobcats hat proudly (also true). Why am I going on and on about a player who only played in 161 career games and was out of the NBA four years after he was drafted? Because, he’s the theme of today’s strategy: The ‘Stache! I guess it’s The Stash, but at least I got to talk about Adam Morrison and Victor Khryapa.

This is a good time to stock up on and stash the players that might take off toward the end of the season and lead you to a championship.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday was Martin Luther King day. It’s a day that many take for granted. Many focus on the fact that there’s basketball all day or that there’s no school or work or something about someone having a dream. MLK day is about celebrating the greatness of a man. Who called out the establishment. Who stood up for the rights of the oppressed. Who wanted to “transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.” The King was truly a great man, which brings me to the King of the NBA, LeBron James. Last night, the LeBrons faced off against the Warriors and lost 118-108. In defeat, James went:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 32 8 6 3 4 8 0/2 12/18 8/13

I almost did not make him the lede for this post. There were players that scored more points. There were players that collected double-dubs. There were multiple players who almost messed around. There were players that led their team to victory. I almost overlooked LeBron, but then I came to my senses. Look at that line! It’s freaking amazing. Ok, the turnovers aren’t great but I said he’s a King, not God. Anyways, sometimes we don’t truly appreciate the greatness of LeBron. We hold him to such a high standard that we expect more. The crazy thing is that “more” is usually attainable. Think about that. Anyways, it’s only appropriate that I made the King of the NBA the lede for a post on the day after Martin Luther King day. Both are great, yet both are underappreciated at times. Let’s never forget either.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

What’s up Razzballers? We had a doozy of a game last night in Toronto between the Raptors and the Warriors. I don’t typically like to give the lede to players on the losing team, but this was the best game in a night of great games, and DeMar DeRozan was the star of the show. He was a big reason the Raptors were even competitive as he went for 42/5/3 on 17-for-31 FG (0-for-4 3P, 8-for-10 FT) and two TOs. This was in a game the Raptors lost by just two after being down 81 to 54 (!) at halftime. The end was a big clusterfrick too. No other Raptor  played more than 30 minutes, as the almost-comeback was mostly led by DeMar and the bench since Kyle Lowry was out with injury. Anyway, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

First, we lost Gilligan’s Island. Then, Fantasy Island met it’s doom. Now, the unthinkable has happened. Waiters Island has been shut down for the season. Dion Waiters is expected to have season-ending surgery on his left ankle, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo.com. The Heat can go in many directions. Tyler Johnson can start at shooting guard with Josh Richardson at small forward and Wayne Ellington the main guy off the bench. Or, Derrick Jones Jr. could start at shooting guard, which would keep Tyler Johnson in a reserve role to back up Goran Dragic. Since Waiters hasn’t played since late-December, the preferred lineup has been Dragic at the point with Johnson at shooting guard and Richardson at small forward. Ellington has been the main scorer off the bench and should continue to be an excellent source for 3s. It’s safe to drop Waiters if you haven’t already. I’m going to miss the antics of Waiters for the remainder of the season, but at least he should return next season, unlike the other famous islands of tv past.

Here’s what else I saw last nig

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Somehow, we’re already halfway through the NBA season. You know your team(s). The only major unknowns left are who else will get hurt, who will get shut down, and who will get a big value increase due to those injuries and the shutting down of said teammates. Aside from trying to grab some young guys that might get some extra run down the stretch, what else can you do to increase your odds of winning at this point? Well, staying active and streaming hot players will work wonders. But beyond that, I suggest checking out your team’s standing in each of what I’ll call the forgotten stats. Even the most astute fantasy player is going to be drawn to points, rebounds, assists, and threes out of habit and because of the way that we’re most often presented with stats.

I’m going to update you on the leaders in the boring and unsexy categories of field goal percentage, free throw percentage, steals, and blocks (in addition to FG% + FT% and steals + blocks). I’m sure some of you might be much more focused on the % categories than I just mentioned, but I think most players treat them as an afterthought. So, since others are more likely to ignore these forgotten stats, take advantage of that and focus on them if you can stand to gain points there. I think you’ll find that these categories are often led by some lesser names that can be had more cheaply than the points/rebounds/assists stars. Many are even available in most leagues.

Here are your most effective players in order of Basketball Monster’s per-game values (percentages are weighted) by category or combined categories through 1/9.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Dennis Smith Jr. went off in the Big Easy, going 5-21-10-10-1-0-7. It was his first career triple-double and hopefully, this is a sign of things to come for him. Carlisle gave him vote of confidence after the Mavs’ last game, so hopefully this is a sign of things to come. Yeah, definitely a sign of things to come, if I’ve ever seen a sign of things to come. He’s been garbaggio as the Italians say, in his last four games, so hopefully this is a sign of things to come. Yes, I own him, so you know what I’m hoping for. Anyway, here’s what else went down on Friday in fantasy hoops:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Merry Christmas Razzball nation. Hope you guys had a great time with your family and friends and continue to enjoy the holiday season! I always felt weird watching NBA games on Christmas Day, as they felt like the absolute contrast. On the one hand, you have elite athletes competing against each other in high-paced, tiring games while there’s me, contemplating whether I should stop on the fourth or fifth refill of my dinner plate.

Anyways, me and my five extra kilos will review last week’s calls, as always, before we move to the new suggestions. Both Nikola Mirotic and Josh Richardson continued their excellent play, rewarding owners that were quick enough to add them. The same can’t be said for Larry Nance Jr., who saw Andrew Bogut get the majority of Brook Lopez’s minutes while Alex Len continued his musical chairs winning streak and had an above average week. Lastly, I am pretty happy with the Jonas Valanciunas call, as his recent success was indeed matchup-dependent and he returned to his usual underwhelming self last week, firmly closing the sell opportunity for his owners.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Why did you do this to me Jahlil?? I trusted you. I placed my faith in you to turn your career around in Brooklyn. I even criticized the Sixers for not wanting to develop you and what is the return? Three DNP-CDs and a meh 10 points/4 rebounds game in 23 minutes played. I rushed to pick you up everywhere but dropped you in all but one very deep league. Even his coach admitted he is out of shape and that it is going to “take some time to integrate him more into the system”. The vegan diet doesn’t seem to work that well….

I think I support Ron Swanson’s opinion on this matter more…

Thankfully, the rest of last week’s calls were much better than the gentleman above and Marvin Williams, who was also below average. J.J.Barea and Yogi Ferrell continue to hold down the fort until Dennis Smith Jr returns, Taurean Prince had a great week averaging 15.0/3.3/5.0/2.7/0.7/1.0/2.3, Lebron James’s Fg% dropped a bit as predicted, and Andrew Wiggins continues to disappoint so much that he was ranked 264th in per game value for last week.

Please, blog, may I have some more?