LA’s “other” team no longer, the Clippers made a splash this offseason, putting together an unbelievable duo to complete with the other power couples throughout the NBA landscape. Arguably the signing and the trade of the off season belonged to the Clippers. With a newfound focus on defense, the Clippers still have enough fire-power to keep up on the offensive end while locking down teams 1 through 5. The length of Patrick Beverley, Paul George, and Kawhi Leonard is going to very hard to penetrate and having guys like Montrezl Harrell and Ivica Zubac waiting at the rim will make it hard to finish.
Karl-Anthony Towns is an amazing player. He’s a seven-foot, 250 pound player who can post up down low, break ankles on the perimter, and drain threeecolas. While I question if he has enough dog in him to lead a team to the promised land, there is no denying his status as one of the elite fantasy players. Since entering the league, KAT has finished as the 12th, 6th, and 5th player in fantasy. So far, he’s the #7 player this season and puts up funky lines like this:
I want to go to Funky Towns, though.
Can we Voltron up and get Andrew Wiggins out of Minnesota? KAT is averaging 16.2 shot attempts per game, good for 31st in the league. Wiggins is at 15.5 shots per game. Imagine a place sans Wiggins where KAT attempts over 20 shots per game and sees an uptick in usage and assist rate? That’s a place I want to go. The beyond funky contract of Wiggins makes it an almost impossible task, but one can dream.
When I was a preteen, I remember a super rare baseball card of Cal Ripken’s brother, Billy Ripken. The normal card had him holding a baseball bat without anything worth noting on the card. But there were a few prints of an original that showed where the goofball Billy decided to scribble a curse word that was gold to 12-year-old baseball card collectors. There were only a few copies of this card and I was lucky enough to find one in a fresh pack. It was so rare, that I managed to sell it to a classmate for $50, which I then wasted on more baseball cards. Sometimes an amazingly rare thing happens and you just have to enjoy the moment. Marcin Gortat managed to turn back the clock and post this out-of-nowhere gem on the Suns.
Now, this was unexpected. Gortat has been a complete nonfactor this season, but managed a gem of a game. I wouldn’t expect a repeat any time soon, but it’s nice to be able to talk about the Polish Hammer once again.
The young season has already provided some serious ups and downs, surprises, and plenty of excitement. We’ve seen several 50-point games, a Derrick Rose time machine experience, some thrilling overtime finishes, and one Javale McGee three-pointer.
One thing I don’t get is why players need rest when they have been chilling on the beaches of Jamaica, hanging out in Paris, or making some extra change running basketball camps, which they don’t really run, but is a way for their high school buddies to capitalize on their name and make a few dollars.
Yet, here they are resting in week 2. Gordon Hayward, I get. I certainly don’t get Kawhi resting. He rested all last year!
In this piece, I will provide some info on the basketball and fantasy trends of the teams in the Association. We will start this week with the teams located on the Left Coast.
Gilligan’s Island. A famous show from the 1960’s that most people remember for it’s quirky lines and personalities. Seven passengers on a tour boat end up stranded on an island and life never would be the same. A theme song you may know without even realizing it, due to it’s infectious nature. Fast forward to the 2018 Clippers. A team of misfits and outcasts. Marcin Gortat was ousted from Washington by John Wall.Tobias Harris, stud in his own right but known as the player who came over for Blake Griffin. The slew of players sent over from Houston for Chris Paul, including Montrezl Harrell and Patrick Beverley. Journeyman Lou Williams is still in LA. Avery Bradley is playing for a contract and joined Harris in the exodus from Detroit last season. The longest tenured player on this team is Danilo Gallinari, when he’s on the floor. This is a team that has seen tremendous turnover the last few season. Heck, Doc Rivers even threw his own son out of town. What is there to be excited about here on LA Island? Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
12 months ago, the biggest criticism of the Washington Wizards was a lack of roster depth, and this season offers a similar outlook. Out goes the Polish hammer, Marcin Gortat, and in comes Dwight Howard, in an attempt to create some of the pick-and-roll magic which brought the Wizards team from one of the worst in the East to a perennial playoff team. The heartbeat of the team still revolves around John Wall, and if preseason is anything to believed, we can look forward to an uptempo Wizards offense led by the former All-Star looking to push the pace, flanked by an excellent wing combo of Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr. Can Washington’s big three thrive with the arrival of Howard? History suggests no, as the last three teams Howard has played for have all seen a decline in the win totals. The East might be depleted this season, but for Washington to maintain the status quo, it must rely heavily on it’s starting rotation and pray for good health.
Charley Murphy, Eddie Murphy’s brother, is probably a decent actor and comedian in his own right, but I am sure he understands exactly how the LA Clippers have always felt, living under the shadow of the vaunted Lakers purple and gold. For a few seasons, though, the Clippers had the better record, a series of playoff finishes, the better nickname (Lob City), and a troika of stars that could not be matched in the other locker room. However, CP3 is now in Houston, DeAndre Jordan went to Dallas, and Blake Griffin is in Motown. Compound that with the fact that Lebron James wears purple and gold, and back to red-headed stepsister status go the Clippers. The Los Angeles Times is wasting barrels of ink on Lebron, his contingent of baby faced talents, and oddly matched veterans. The Clippers, though, are not completely bereft of talent, especially at the guard positions. A healthy season, which they are certainly due for, a little luck, and/or a Jimmy Butler trade could have the Clips fighting for a playoff slot.
It’s that time of year again Razzball Nation! The season is just around the corner, the draft season is starting with a bang, so what better way to help you prepare than to check out the predictions from your favorite Razzball fantasy writers. For those that did last season, you might have cashed in on Donovan Mitchell, highlighted as a sleeper pick by both myself and Son, and took my advice on avoiding Marcin Gortat, as my highlighted bust. Mel nailed Ben Simmons as Rookie of the year and Kris Middleton as comeback player of the year, while Tad was a game away (or even just a quarter way) from his Celtics vs Rockets finals matchup.
What’s up Razzballers!? Considering this is either the final or semifinal playoff week for most leagues, I want to say I’m proud of anyone reading this. Even if you’re in the consolation bracket (or in a roto league), it was a fun season and I love all of you. You know who else loves you? Otto Porter, if you have him on your team (if you’re against him this week then he hates you deeply). He had a pretty forgettable game on Thursday, but made up for it in a big way on Saturday going for 26/11/2/1/2 on 10-for-15 FG (6-for-10 3P) and zero TOs. This line was cleaner than Tony Montana’s! Anyway, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:
Sorry Andre, but there is breaking news: Joel Embiid will have surgery to fix an orbital bone fracture and will miss at least 2 games but could be out as much as 4 weeks. I would wait to hear something more sound before dropping him, but it definitely makes Richaun Holmes a nice pick-up. Ok, back to your regularly scheduled recap:
Andre “Beast Mode” Drummond had his old school ground and pound game working last night as he led the Pistons to an 11 point win over the playoff-bound Washington Wizards. Even without Blake Griffin, who went through warm-ups but could not play and is now headed for an MRI on his injured ankle, the Pistons were able to blow the game wide-open in the 3rd quarter mostly because of Drummond’s pure dominance in the paint.
Andre put the beat down on Marcin Gortat and Ian Mahinmi to the tune of 0/24/23/4/0/1 with only 1 turnover in 37 minutes. Drummond shot 10-16 from the floor and 4-7 from the line, which is the type of efficiency spoiled fantasy owners have come to expect from Mr. Drummond this season. The free-throw shooting still isn’t Curry-esque, but it has become strong enough to elevate Drummond to the elite fantasy player level.
Besides the lesson in classic center play that Drummond gave the Wizards, here is what else I saw last night:
There are two points of a fantasy basketball season where seasons can be won and lost: the first is at the draft and the second is when there are about twenty games left in the season. The draft is obvious. That is when you set the foundation of your team. The second point is a little more subtle.
For those owners in head-to-head leagues, this second point is important because you are setting your team up (hopefully) for the playoffs. You want players who have a lot of games and are on teams who will not be resting them during the critical time. The subtle part is directed more at owners in roto leagues. There are still enough games left to make moves in categories you can climb in or maintain your lead in categories you are ahead in.
The waiver wire is your tool to win the league at this point. Young players are finally putting it together and playing well and injuries are opening up time for bench guys who have played well when given minutes. The Golden State Warriors, and their massive amount of injuries to star players, is a team to focus on in order to find one or two players who can help you with that late season charge.
Quinn Cook is the player I want to focus on in this recap, and if you need threes, points, assists, steals, I will pause for a moment so you can go and pick him up. While we are waiting for those owners to get back can we just talk about how dumb they are for not picking up Cook yet and having him active for this game against the lowly Suns? Wait, wait, quiet, they’re coming back…
Welcome back, we were just waiting quietly for you. I hope you were able to add him. Cook is a 2-way player, no, that is not sexual. It means that he is one of two players each team can send back and forth to the G-League during the season. Cook has dominated G-League play for most of the year and now, because of injuries to Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Kevin Durant, Cook is getting 40 minutes per game and putting up more than decent fantasy point guard stats. Last night Quinn Cook went for: 5/28/4/4/2/0 with only 2 turnovers in 40 minutes. This was on 11-17 shooting, including 5-7 from three. Pick him up.
Here is what else I saw on a busy St. Patrick’s Day:
If you are wondering about the title, just look at the postscript at the end of the article. It’s not basketball related but some things are far greater.
The playoffs have started for most fantasy leagues and I hope your teams are competing in them. May the basketball gods bless you with no injuries to your key players (ahem Stephen Curry) and good percentages to lead you to the championship. If you are instead in a Roto league, like I prefer for the most part, these injuries affect you less but it’s still a good time to focus on the categories that can give you the most points in the standings and shape your team accordingly.
On a completely different subject, as soon as I saw Josh Richardson and James Johnson celebrating after a made triple, I knew I had to include it in the article.
Master Yoda, you sure look taller…..The phrase “teamwork elevates you” gets a new meaning with these guys.
As per usual, let’s check the performance from last week’s suggested players, but before that, an extra shout out to my man Nemanja Bjelica, who I mentioned 2 weeks ago and is straight carrying my teams for the past weeks (ranked 18th during this period). Larry Nance Jr. has taken full advantage of the starting role in Cleveland, with three double-doubles in his last 5 games and will maintain this production for as long as Tristan Thompson is sidelined. On the other hand, Jakob Poeltl’s impressive defensive numbers faded this week as he averaged only 1.0 block after going for 2.7 per game during the previous two weeks. Finally, Skal Labissiere had two solid games before going down with a minor injury, while Marcin Gortat and Al-Farouq Aminu proved good drop calls as they had at best forgettable performances.
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