I’ve never eaten veal, but according to the Google machine, it “has been treasured for centuries for its delicious, succulent flavor.” Veal comes from the meat of young calves and has been referenced in the Bible as the choicest of animal food. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what’s the choicest for fantasy basketball projections? The Stocktonator. Unfortunately, many feel bad for eating veal because of how the calves are raised on factory farms: extreme confinement and cruelty. This doesn’t sound too much different than Bradley Beal and his shituation in Washington. Beal is a phenomenal player and revered in fantasy circles. Many feel bad for him, though, because the Wizards are a terrible team. He experiences extreme confinement being the lone star on the team and the shituation is just cruel. With that said, last night the Beal was cooked a little differently; in a 40-burger!

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
42 6 4 1 0 3 3/6 16/30 7/10

In 42 minutes!!! Beal has now cooked 15 40-burgers and one 50-burger in his career! What makes this Beal so damn good is that he averages 28.7 points, 2.7 tres, 4.4 boards, 7.2 dimes, and 1.1 steals per game. The percentages are both excellent; 47% from the field and 82% from the line. The usage rate is 30.9. Now, the blocks are non-existent and the turnovers are a little high, but 3.3 per game won’t cause the Beal to be returned back to the kitchen. Top 15 player for fantasy and one of the highest floor players because he averages 36.8 minutes per contest! Mmm, mmm, delicious.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Potential, Potential, Potential

Potential is enticing, if fickle. Potential is a first date. A 0-0 count in the top of the first. Potential is a stray glance or wink, a few perfectly volleyed bits of of banter between two people soon to be lovers. Potential is the essay before its written, the hazy four-line outline in the mind. Potential is the moment before the moment, where dream and reality meet, if only for an instant.

Potential is not, however, negative capability, as Keats described it: “I mean Negative Capability, that is when man ‘or woman’ is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without, any irritable reaching after fact or reason.” Potential implies a payoff, a return on investment. The hung curveball must be sent screaming to the seats. The alley must be ooped. The first date must lead to a second.

In the poem, the reward is the exploration of uncertainty itself. In fantasy sports, that irritable reaching after fact or reason is all we know. With that in mind, here are some players who’ve been blessed with the wicked kiss of potential.

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Tom and Jerry. Batman & Robin. Peanut Butter & Jelly. Magic and Kareem. Jordan and Pippen. Shaq and Kobe. Some of the greatest duos of all time. Are we witnessing the genesis of the next one? Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what’s great already? The Stocktonator. Paul George and Kawhi Leonard have joined forces in Los Angeles, just in case your alien ship just docked yesterday. And early indications are that the Clippers are going to be a f’ing problem for the rest of the league due to their partnership. They are two of the best two-way players in the game currently. Both can get their shot up at anytime, while making the opposition wish they were ticketed for the next flight out to the nether regions of space. Last night, in Dallas, the duo helped limit the Mavericks to 99 total points while sharing the offensive load down the middle.

Kawhi Leonard

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
28 8 4 1 0 2 1/2 11/21 5/5

Paul George

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
26 4 2 6 0 2 4/11 8/21 6/6

To begin the season, Kawhi was a sole assassin, producing borderline top 10 production for fantasy. Then George returned to action and things have shifted a bit. In the four games that both have played together, Kawhi has been a top 45 player, while George has been a top 15 player. George has a 29.5 usage rate, while Kawhi is still garnering a 32.2 usage rate. The differences in overall value come from the tres for George (4.3 vs 2) and steals (2.8 vs 1.8). Kawhi is shooting a much better percentage, though (44% vs 35%). Things will even out as the season progresses. The floor and potential ceiling combo for both is elevated. The only things that can bring the house down are injury and load management.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Imagine you just got crossed up really badly by James Harden, allowed a massive three, and fouled out of the game with under two minutes left to go. Harden’s three allowed his Rockets to go up by five against your team. You exit the game with this stat line:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
6 3 0 1 0 1 1-2 2-6 1-2

You probably wouldn’t be too arrogant, or braggadocious, if you will. But you’re not Pat Beverley, and Pat Beverley isn’t you.

Because after Russell Westbrook missed a three to take the lead after a late Clippers surge in the final 100 ticks, Beverley was seen mocking Russell Westbrook’s three-point stroke from the bench. Jumping around, giddy as hell, looking right at the opposing bench while he mimicked the missed three and the subsequent loss for the Rockets. The cojones on this guy!

Luckily, his teammates were there to bail him out and allow for that celebration. Here are notable stats from that game and from around the league on Friday night.

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2-18, 2-16, 9-19, 8-22.

In the four recaps that I’ve written this year that James Harden was a part of, those have been his three-point shooting lines. For you math whizzes, that averages out to 18.75 attempted threes per game, and expanded across an 82-game season, that means Harden will have chucked up 1,537 threes.

Pause. One thousand, five hundred thirty-seven. The NBA record, held by Harden himself, is 500 fewer than that total.

With that said, the four times I’ve written about Harden happen to be his four highest attempt totals from beyond the arc so far. But maybe it’s not totally coincidental. I write the recaps for Friday night and Saturday night games. Maybe there’s some sort of correlation between looking forward to the weekend and getting three-point happy?

A Reddit user, Angry Centric, found a pretty significant correlation between Harden’s performance and the quality of the strip clubs in the city he’s playing in. When the strip clubs are better, the quality goes down. Maybe, just maybe, this could factor into Harden’s three-point shooting. Could he hoist up more threes when he’s excited to go out to a strip club after the game? We’ll keep looking into this as the season goes on.

I guess Minnesota doesn’t have the best strip clubs, though, as Harden exploded last night:

PTS REB AST STL BLK FG-FGA 3p-3pA FT-FTA TO
49 5 6 0 0 16-41 8-22 9-11 4

Here’s what else I saw from around the league on Saturday night.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

My-my-my-my Melo is back. To play. And jack up. Plenty of shots. He won’t. Play any D. Or grab a board or thank the Lord. Ok, time to quit the Pa Rappa da Rappa because…..Stop! It’s Melo time. The Portland Trail Blazers signed Carmelo Anthony to a non-guaranteed contract yesterday. Melo fans are running through the streets naked, screaming, and turning over cars. Their Messiah has returned to deliver them to Melo bliss. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what always provides fantasy bliss? The Stocktonator. Now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty and dig into this signing for the Trail Blazers and see what his fantasy prospects could be. Melo is 35 years old now, so he will likely be a statue, both on offense and defense. The lack of desire to play defense gives him a floor of….out of the league. If he can still shoot, though, he could actually be an interesting piece for the Blazers. I know, I know. I’m regurgitating the puke myself. Here’s the thing, though. Many of teams, with the Raptors the most recent example, have been doubling Damian Lillard and C. J. McCollum….daring anyone else to beat them. Well, when opponents see Nassir Little, Mario Hezonja, and Anthony Tolliver littering the depth chart of the Blazers, they start doing the MC Hammer dance. Oh-oh. Oh oh. Oh-oh-oh. The last two seasons, Melo has played for the Thunder and Rockets. In 88 games, he played around 30 minutes per game and provided 14.8 points, 2.2 tres, and 5.6 boards. Not bad. He shot 40% from the field. That’s bad. If you have the roster spot, he’s worth a speculative add if you need points and tres. Just know that this could amount to nothing and he’ll be back playing at the YMCA. With that said, Andrew Wiggins is currently a top 30 player so anything is possible.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I used to spend hours upon hours upon hours upon hours playing franchise mode in NBA 2K. I was a fantasy draft guy, so I’d draft my team. Then I’d go into the playbook and select all the plays I wanted for my offensive system. The rotations and minutes distribution would be all taken care of. I’d make sure the players were happy with their roles, and ensure contracts were all taken care of. Finally, I’d spend hours upon hours upon hours upon hours tweaking the sliders so that the game would play as realistically as possible. One slider in particular would always cause me much consternation: the injury slider. If I put it too low, then no one would ever get injured and the simulation experience would be tainted. On the other hand, if I put it too high, then I’d want to throw my controller into the wall….repeatedly. Well, whoever is handling the NBA matrix has put the injury slider too high! Just yesterday, Brandon Ingram’s knee tightened up before the game and will now have an MRI on Tuesday. Danuel House suffered back contusions and left the game after 12 minutes. De’Aaron Fox sprained his ankle during practice and will be out at least 3-4 weeks. Finally, Gordon Hayward will be out six weeks after undergoing surgery on his injured hand. Whew! Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what never gets injured and is always there working for you? The Stocktonator. O. G. Anunoby left after 2 minutes due to an eye injury. Landry Shamet only played 12 minutes due to an ankle injury. Now, from a fantasy perspective, if Ingram misses time, then Josh Hart will likely start in his place. Jrue Holiday should be the one to soak up the most usage. If House is unable to play, Ben McLemore would likely replace him in the starting lineup. With Fox out for a while, Cory Joseph will likely start but Bogdan Bogdanovic probably benefits the most. There’s been talk that Fox could be out more than 3-4 weeks, and when he does return, he won’t be as explosive. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson should see a bump in playing time if Anunoby misses time. As for Shamet, Rodney McGruder could see more run or Lou Williams may get a few more minutes. Not sure there’s a direct beneficiary from the situation, but we will monitor to see how Doc decides to play it. Since we can’t rage quit and press reset on the box, we must make do with what we have and offer sacrifices to the injury gods.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The moment we exit the womb, it’s our birthday. Then we become woke and realize that Mondays suck because the weekend is over and the work begins, but Wednesday gets us over the hump to prepare for Friday, which is the beginning of the good times….hopefully. There are holidays, too many to name. Yeah, capitalism! There are leg days and cardio days, but it’s the emotionally dramatic days, both happy and sad, that are unforgettable. Where were you on 9/11? How about when the team you root for won the championship? Last night, Dejounte Murray had one of those moments:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
17 8 10 1 0 2 0 7/12 3/3

Before some random dude takes the above a little bit too seriously….it’s a joke!!! Writing that was probably fruitless, as people that go on tilt over such matters don’t read the entirety of a post, but whatever. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what never jokes around or goes on tilt, but just spits out fruitful projections? The Stocktonator. Now, what made Murray’s performance so promising was that he played 26 minutes. The Spurs are managing his minutes and, prior to last night, he was stuck in the 22-24 minute range. At some point, the Spurs could get him up to 28-30 minutes per game. He will still sit in back-to-backs, but he will be a per-game beast. Chew on this: In 23.1 minutes per game, Murray is the #53 player for fantasy. He’s averaging 8 boards, 5.4 dimes, 1.7 steals, and 0.6 blocks!!! You won’t get tres, but that’s the easiest thing to find anyways. Come seasons end, we will all be asking ourselves, “Where were you on Dejounte?”

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?