I love craps. Not the sitting on the toilet kind, but the rolling of them two dice. It’s the one game that feels like I have some modicum of control. I shoot the dice, can decide when and where to bet, move chips around, and finally take money off the table if I so choose. It’s all an illusion, though. Yes, money management can always help, but the numbers are not in my favor over the long run. The probability of rolling a 7 is 16.67%. 13.89% to roll a 6 or 8, 11.11% to roll a 5 or 9, and 8.33% to roll a 4 or 10. The hardway bets? 2%. Even though I know the numbers, the game is too freaking fun. And I have those stories when I was down to my last chip and proceeded to go on a crazy heater, hitting multiple points, and making everyone jump around. It’s those times that keep me going back to the tables to replicate that feeling. That is what it must be like to own Tim Hardaway Jr.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 37 5 1 2 0 3 6/9 14/24 3/3

Every once in a while, he will go on a heater that gets you all excited. More often than not, though, he will shoot 4-of-13 and make you cry like that guy in the casino bathroom that just lost the proverbial house. Since the Knicks lost Porzingis, THJ has seen usage rates of 29.4, 21.9, and 28.3. The high usage rate and minutes should continue to be plentiful. But like my experiences at the craps table, the likely scenario will be “7 OUT!” As long as you keep expectations in check, THJ will have some value. Just beware of emotionally point-chasing the performance from last night.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Dennis Schroder scored 28 points, grabbed three boards, and dished out nine dimes to lead the Hawks to a 117-115 victory over the Cavaliers. He did turn the ball over six times and did not accumulate any defensive stats, but we still love him. The Mitchell family still loved their little Dennis, even though he caused mischief whenever and wherever he went. Now, things are looking promising going forward. His usage rate is at 31%, he’s hoisting up almost 19 shots per game, averaging over 21 points, and dishing out six dimes a game. Granted, it was against the Cavs, a team with Derrick Rose and Jose Calderon starting at point that gives up fantasy manna to the position. HINT: play all point guards against the Cavs. With that said, The Menace is a top-50 player and should finish there when all is said and done.

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Marc Gasol has come a long way from being the King Kong of the basketball court in high school and Pau’s little bro. He is now a superstar in the NBA, but an underappreciated one. Hmmm, does that mean I cannot call him a superstar? Does that inherently knock him down a rung to just “star?” What’s the protocol here? Merriam-Webster defines superstar as: a star who is considered extremely talented, has great public appeal, and can usually command a high salary. Extremely talented? Check. Great public appeal? X. Commands a high salary? Does $113 million work? You know what? F Merriam-Webster. Gasol is a freaking superstar and he’s making his fourth All-Star appearance this year! Last night against the Mavericks, Gasol scored 25 points, grabbed 13 boards, and dished out three dimes. So far in five games, he’s averaging 25 points, 10.3 rebounds, three assist, 1.8 blocks, 0.8 steals, and 2.3 threes a game while shooting 83% from the charity strip, 48% from the field, and 47% from downtown. Yes, small sample size alert. Damn, that happens way too often in this household. Anyways, we like seeing aggressive Gasol. He’s hoisting up 16 shots per game, which is in-line with the 15.7 he put up last year. The thing that really stands out is the rebounding. 13, 11, 5, 14, and 11 to start the season. He’s never averaged 10 per game and has languished in the 6-7 range for the past five years. We know he’s going to shoot a high percentage from the field, downtown, and charity stripe. We know he’s going to dish out dimes, pilfer, and block. But, if he gets that rebounding number anywhere close to 10 a game…..

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(image courtesy of Courtside Attire)

Ben Simmons became the first player, since Hambone Williams in 1967, to post a triple-dub within his first four career games last night (stat courtesy of ESPN Stats). Freaking Oscar Robertson put up three triple-dubs in his first four career games. GOAT. Anyways, the final stat line for Simmons: 21 pts, 12 boards, 10 dimes, and one steal on 8-for-11 shooting. So this is what everyone’s been talking about! Before he even played a professional game, the City of Philadelphia nicknamed Simmons the “Fresh Prince.” After last night’s performance, it may be an apt nickname but….let’s not completely dismiss the OG Fresh Prince.

Did Ben ever grab the opening tip and drain a half-court shot before his feet touched the ground? Did Ben ever cut across the lane, catch the ball at the left elbow, then scoop it underhanded without turning to face the bucket? And banking it in? Huh? Huh? So, before we go crowning his ass, let’s pay some respect to the OG. I’ll be honest. I had some doubts regarding Ben coming into this year. I did think that he would grab boards and drop a ton of dimes, but would his lack of outside shot hold him down? After watching him play, he can get to the rim at will. He is so long and such a graceful strider that resistance is futile. He kind of reminds me of Giannis in that aspect. Ben has trouble finishing strong, though, while Giannis….uh…uh….oh my…..awwwwwwwwwww. Sorry, I just had to “take care” of something real quick. I also had some concerns that the Sixers would be conservative with Ben. Well, he’s playing 34.6 minutes on average over the first four games. Concern eradicated. He’s shooting 49.1% from the field, grabbing 10.8 boards, dishing out seven dimes, and pilfering one a game. There are no threes in his game with very few blocks (0.3). And he’s turning the ball over three times a game, but Ben is going to improve as the season rolls along. Who’s better? Will Smith or Ben Simmons? Will has a more diverse and explosive offensive game. He straight up clowns his opponents, but gotta knock him for level of competition. I gotta go with Ben here. It’s just no fun playing with Black Holes.

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Image result for official atlanta hawks logo

When I was in college, a buddy of mine would always talk about Freaknik. A party/musical festival down in Atlanta that truly put the H.O.T. in Hotlanta. Dancing. Drinking. Partying. Music. Hoops. I was intrigued, especially since I had never been to the South. I never made it, though, then…POOF. It was gone. Maybe it’s something about Atlanta, but that’s been my experience with the Hawks. The team has made the playoffs for 10 consecutive years and I’ve been intrigued at times, but I always overlooked them. Well, I won’t have to worry about that now because…POOF. The team is rebuilding and will most probably be bad. At least there are some young exciting pieces which should, at least, make them an interesting watch.

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Austin Rivers is finally busting out, and showing the ability that we all knew he had.  It appears that biggest factors in this breakout are minutes and confidence.  Rivers is playing with swagger now, and the numbers bear that out.  Over the last two weeks he’s averaging a slash line of 17.2/2.3/4.3/0.5/0.3 with 2.2 treys, 48% FG and 80% from the stripe.  He’s a must-own while CP3 is out, and frankly, he should be a solid part of the Clippers future from here on out.  Unfortunately he’s now just over 50% owned in most leagues, so this is the last call on Rivers.  Please go get him…

Secondly, I would just like to point out what a miserable team the Sacramento Kings are.  Rudy Gay is out now, yet nobody gained any value.  How is that even possible??? Gay’s injury opened up 34 minutes per game of playing time, and the result is negligible!  Come on man!

Anywaysssssss, here are the updated wire recommendations for the week:

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Uggghhhhhhh. I hate when the intro has to be about a bad injury, but alas, tis what tits with fantasy sports. After playing pretty well against the Pacers last night (21/4/0/2/1 in 28 minutes), Rudy Gay went down in the third quarter and had to be carried off the court, with tests indicating he tore his Achilles. He’s had issues with that Achilles in the past with a partial debridement, but it gave out at absolutely the worst time. Yeah, maybe he didn’t handle wanting to get out of Sacramento the most gracefully (who WOULD want to play there?!), but at least he showed up, ya dig?! Now he has to stick it out while rehabbing, this was going into a contract year… It just sucks. I’ve never been the “biggest” Gay fan, but I’ll be rooting for his rehab and hopefully he can be vintage Gay a few more years on a new squad.

In the meantime, it opens up a ton of wing minutes in SAC. Arron Afflalo of DNP-ville got 31 minutes last night, aided by Garrett Temple having to play backup PG because Ty Lawson is nursing a kankle. A R Ron! went for 11/1/1/0/1 in his usual snoozefest line, with Temple going 9/4/3/0/0 with a trey. Yikes. Matt Barnes might move back into the starting 5, but he’s hit-or-miss, depending on how drunk he is at the night club. Hey oh! 7/4/4 for Barnes in 20 minutes, and Ben McLemore only got 4 minutes this game. It’s a real trainwreck without Gay, and I don’t see any sort of clear answer on this team to fill in the void. So you’re likely looking elsewhere on the wire for Gay’s scoring, and hopefully you sold high after a red hot start through the first stretch of the season. Get well soon, Rudy! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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Over the last few games, Kelly Olynyk has established himself in the Boston front-court.  His ability to space the floor really makes him a deadly weapon in the Celtics already stacked lineup.  At only 26% ownership, I highly recommend his solid mix of points, boards, and 3s.  Plus, he’s been assisting at a high rate, and even blocking a shot here and there.   Give him a look!

Without further ado, here are this weeks updated pickups.

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Ya know, playing a typical “bad” team can help cure all ills, but then there’s playing a New York team that goes full Poppycock… To kick off MLK day, the Knicks continued their epic collapse, by being forced to start doofy Ron Baker and Mind Games Koozie Mints. I’m kinda guessing at that second guy, I don’t know why Razzball isn’t linking to his name though! It’s about right! Baker got 22 minutes of 12/3/1/2/0 and was OK, and I guess Mindaugas Kuzminskas was OK too for 14/5/2/2/0 in 38 minutes, and well, the Hawks only beat this make-shift roster by 1, so there’s that! But the big thing to watch in this game (for me) was Dennis Schroder, who is off two horrid games where he got out-minutesed by Malcolm Delaney. Fortunately Das German broke out of his funk, and went 28/3/3 on a mad hot 13-16 shooting with a trey.

The trey being the game winner! Still got 2 TO and no D stats, but hey, at least he kept another split-PG situation from developing. Already have seen to much of that in the NBA! It was an action-packed, holiday-filled day of basketball last night, so let’s daily notes it up!

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