I’ve been watching Curb Your Enthusiasm lately. I know, I know. I’m like 20 years late but keep in mind that I finally watched (and absolutely loved) The Wire last year. Anyways, I just saw an episode of Curb in which a kid does a card trick for Larry David. Larry is impressed and asks the kid to tell him how he did it. The kid responds that he can’t because a magician never reveals his secrets. Well, Larry then asks how he learned the trick and the kid responds that a magician taught him the trick. Larry looks at him and tells him that when the magician taught him the trick that he was not a magician, so if he wasn’t a magician when he learned the trick, then he could tell Larry how the trick was performed. The kid responds that he’s a natural magician and that Larry is not. Ha! I love that show. Anyways, not all magic tricks are hidden secrets. Domantas Sabonis made the Magic disappear last night, as the Pacers defeated the Magic 109-102. How?

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
21 16 7 1 1 2 0/2 9/18 3/4

On the season, Sabonis is a top 25 player, as he’s averaging a whopping 35.6 minutes, 20 points, 13 boards, and 4.1 dimes. The percentages are excellent as well (52% from the field and 85% from the free throw line). Now, Myles Turner missed his fourth game in a row, so that’s been a boon for his short term production. The usage rate has fluctuated all over the map, but the assist and rebound percentages are significantly higher without Myles on the court. Makes sense. When Myles returns, Sabonis will likely return to being a top 50-60 player. It’s not smoke and mirrors that he’s a top 25 player, though. He is legit, but he’s not going to be the lone ranger all season long. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what’s not smoke and mirrors and is straight legit? The Stocktonator.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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With the release of Joker – a truly chilling and exceptional movie, by the way – the Jokic and Joker puns and references are becoming a bit tired. So let’s take this a different route: who gets a place on the Mount Rushmore of seemingly out-of-shape athletes? Jokic is certainly making a case for a position. He doesn’t look like the most trim guy out there.

So I got to thinking, and in terms of basketball, people like Bryant Reeves, Glen Davis, and Eddy Curry came to mind. Other sports have some really strong contenders, with baseball throwing out some especially heavy competitors. CC Sabathia, David Wells, Pablo Sandoval, and the Babe himself could create a fairly heavyset Mount Rushmore. The NFL is a different case, with guys like Vince Wilfork needing to be as big as they were in order to dominate the opposition.

It’s really an interesting discussion, so comment your picks below. But I digress. The point here is that Jokic was able to outwork the Greek – or rather Cameroonian – God himself, Joel Embiid, in the ultimate matchup of chiseled vs. flabby.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
26 10 6 2 2 1 2-9 10-22 4-5

The three-point efficiency is really the only thing to be mad about here… but the game-winning three that sealed the deal helped make up for that showing for Denver fans.

Here’s what else we saw from around the league on Friday night:

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Brandon Ingram

The long-awaited Brandon Ingram breakout is here in earnest. So far this season, Ingram is averaging 25.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 4.3 assists, while shooting 55.2 percent from the field, 48.6 percent from three, and 74.3 percent from the free-throw line (all career highs). Ingram is not a legitimate 48 percent shooter from three, especially on five attempts a game. The dreaded regression to the mean is coming. Before this season, he had never shot 40 percent, topping out at 39 percent on 1.8 attempts a game in his sophomore season. Even with that in mind, there is reason to believe he’ll shoot better this year. Ingram’s field goal percentage has improved each season he’s been in the league and he entered the NBA with solid form and touch. The Pelicans play at a fast pace. They are currently sixth in the league in pace and increased transition opportunities should lead to more lightly-contested shots. Furthermore, when Zion returns the Pelicans will have yet another ball-handler who commands defensive attention, which could lead to more spot-up opportunities for Ingram.

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I always enjoyed the cartoons with the little red devil on one shoulder while the white angel was on the other. Maybe it’s my appreciation for the duality of life. Or maybe it’s because I understand there’s a time for talking shit and another time for just letting the results speak for themselves. Gordon Ramsay is the ultimate shit talker. How someone hasn’t grabbed a souffle and shoved it down his throat is beyond me. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what doesn’t talk shit and just delivers results? The Stocktonator. With that said, his Hell’s Kitchen franchise is a rousing success. The reality show was viewed by millions, primarily due to his berating of chefs. The restaurants seem to be popular (I’ve never gone), but I’ve heard that Ramsay isn’t just some shit talker with nothing behind it. He’s actually a good cook, but the shit-talking persona is why most people are familiar with him and his food. Gordon Hayward Heaven’s Kitchen is the complete opposite. Hayward is unassuming and has that All-American look. His game isn’t flashy but very effective. Last night, though, he put on a heavenly performance that was almost flawless:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
39 7 8 0 0 2 1/4 17/20 4/4

Unfortunately, the 40-burger wasn’t on the menu but there were plenty of goodies to go around. Granted, it was against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who don’t have the most stifling defense, but Hayward looked smooth, attacked the basket when given the opportunity, and his mid-range game was lethal. Fully healed from his gruesome leg injury two years ago, Hayward is currently the #28 player in fantasy and will likely end up in the 30-40 range come season’s end.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Yesterday, I was walking in the woods. The booty call chirps from the male birds filled my ears while the wind blew crispness onto my face like a bug on a windshield. Since the season is autumn, the ground was layered with leaves of many colors; red, brown, and orange. It was pleasing to the eyes, but depressing when I got philomosophical about what I was seeing. The leaves were that color and on the floor because they were dead. As I crunched one leaf, then smooshed another, I began to fall deeper and deeper into a depressive state when……I saw it; a sole Leaf hovering in the air with a ray of light shining upon it. It was center stage, floating, wavering, then eventually started dancing; making a mockery of the autumn wind. This Leaf was none other than T. J. Leaf of the Indiana Pacers, who danced to a line of:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
15 15 1 1 1 2 1/2 6/13 0

Before we mental masturbate over the prospects of this Leaf flying forever, keep in mind that he only played 22 minutes off the bench, and those 22 minutes only came as a result of Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis not playing. Leaf has some potential, as he’s a big who can rebound, shoot from downtown, and run the floor. Unfortunately, his defense is suboptimal and he’s buried on the depth chart.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

After news came out that Kyrie Irving had completely shut himself out to teammates and coaches during one of his infamous mood swings on the team’s trip to China, it was worth questioning whether or not this experiment would work out. He clearly had chemistry issues towards the end of his run in Cleveland and in his brief stop in Beantown.

After the point guard’s effort against the powerhouse Houston Rockets, though, it’s tough to deny that he does a tremendous job of leading the team once he’s on the court. Maybe it makes sense that Kevin Durant, when asked if he’d try to intervene during these mood swings, said he’d rather just let him be and watch him do his thing. Though the Nets suffered some heartbreaking losses early on, as Kyrie stole the stat-sheet show, he played a much more mature game this time around and led a nice team win.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT  FG   FT  
22 4 10 0 1 6 5-8 7-18 3-4

His numbers took a slight hit, but as the current No. 1 player in fantasy, this line isn’t a disappointing one. Unlike the other games, Kyrie had some help along the way.

Here are some of the other significant performances from around the rest of the NBA last night:

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Kawhi & The Clips

Kawhi Leonard entered the 2019-20 season as a first-round fantasy talent and one of the best two or three players in the NBA. He’s lived up to that billing and then some to start the season. Over the first four games, Kawhi is averaging 27 points, 6.5 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 1.8 steals, and 1.3 blocks. He’s shooting 51.9 percent from the field, 36.8 percent from three, and 84 percent from the free-throw line. The 7.5 assists per game are particularly noteworthy since prior to this season, Kawhi had never averaged more than 3.5 assists a game, which he did in the 2016-17 season. Yes, the sample size is microscopic, but the evidence is hard to ignore. In the second game of the season against the Golden State Warriors, Kawhi matched his career high for assists in a game with nine. In game three against the Phoenix Suns, he set a new career high with 10 assists. This is no blip on the radar. Of the very few weaknesses in Leonard’s game, playmaking was the largest.

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After a season opener in which he was practically a non-factor, Dallas’s offseason acquisition of Delon Wright had a much more encouraging performance on Friday night.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
20 7 3 5 0 0 0-1 8-12 4-4

This all around contribution is what we saw from him in small doses after he broke out last season, and he should be a valuable contributor going forward on a dynamic Mavericks team. Here are some other notes from Friday’s nearly-full slate of games.

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I maintain, that when Steph Curry gets going, he’s the best show in the NBA. There are certainly other contenders for the NBA’s best show on hardwood, but Curry’s blend of fundamental and evolutionary NBA skills are what separates him from the competition. Curry walked into the league as an offensive engine in the mold of Reggie Miller, who shot 35.5 percent from three in year one and 40.2 percent from three in his second season in the NBA. Curry shot 43.7 percent from three in his first season. As a young player, Curry was not the statistical outlier he has become, as he only attempted 4.8 threes a game his rookie year. Miller took 2.2 threes as a rookie, but he was up to 4.4 attempts in his third season. Curry’s early career numbers were the result of the game’s natural evolution and increased acceptance of the three-point shot. In Curry’s early years, he did a lot of his work off-ball, running off screens and mirroring more traditional shooting guards like Miller and Ray Allen. It’s part of the reason many people insisted Curry wasn’t a true point guard. His conditioning allows him to run around for part of or even the entirety of some possessions. This non-stop movement draws a lot of attention and fatigues the defense, both mentally and physically—hence all the back-cut layups for Curry’s teammates. Check out this illuminating breakdown from the 2018-19 NBA Finals by Ben Taylor.

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P. S., the postscript, is something that needs to be eradicated. Why? Because it’s a symbol of laziness, and we can’t have that in our modern day society. Hmm, now that I think about it, there’s good lazy and bad lazy. Good laziness fosters innovation, as some of the greatest inventions were created because of it. Bad laziness is smoking weed, eating donuts, and watching tv all day and night. P.S. is bad lazy. Back in the day, when folks would dip their brushes in ink and write via candle light, the P. S. made perfect sense. Imagine spending hours writing a letter, then at the end you remember something. It wouldn’t make sense to scrap the entirety of the letter, hence the postscript. Even after society was blessed with Whiteout, the postscript still had function. Now? There’s no need for the P. S., as everything is done on computer. For those of you who still write letters…..WHY? For you heathens who use P. S. while typing on the computer, you some lazy mofos. Last night in Toronto, a P. S. was getting busy and was definitely no afterthought. Pascal Siakam went bonkers and put up a line of:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
34 18 5 0 1 4 2/5 11/26 10/11

Now, the game went to OT, but whatever. Siakam did most of the damage during regulation and had a usage rate of 35!!!! Kawhi Schawhi. I guess that preseason ADP of 20 wasn’t too high after all.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?