“Champions keep playing until they get it right” (Billie Jean King)

The trade deadline offers weird results, with teams in both fantasy and reality changing rosters. The biggest moves over the past week in the RCLs involved those players that moved in real life; Larry Nance Jr., Jae Crowder, Rodney Hood, George Hill, Emmanuel Mudiay and D.J. Augustin.

I’m happy to announce the creation of a Champions League for next year, which will pit all of this year’s league winners and some Razzball writers against each other. I will keep you all informed as things progress.

 

Here is how the action went down in Week 17 across our 12 RCL Leagues:

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What’s up Razzballers? Anthony Davis went absolutely nutty in a double overtime win over the Nets last night, rainbowing for 44/17/2/6/3 on 16-for-35 FG (3-for-5 3P, 9-for-14 FT) and just three TOs in almost 50 minutes. Losing DeMarcus Cousins is a big blow, in fantasy and in real life, but Davis should be able to ball out in his absence. Anyway, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

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I love watching National Geographic, Animal Planet, etc. Always so fascinating. Sometimes you see why many think God exists. Other times you see where the inspiration for man-made objects came from. All the shows, all the channels….everything, though, comes down to survival. One particular video that’s always etched in my brain is the one where 30 Japanese hornets kill 30,000 honey bees. Crazy. I immediately pictured that video when I saw what Kemba Walker did in Portland.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 40 1 3 4 0 3 6/11 13/26 8/8

Kemba was an All-Star last year, and his numbers are almost identical this year, so it’s only appropriate that he is filling in for Porzingis. Kemba does it all. 2.8 downtowners, 3.4 boards, 5.8 dimes, 1.1 steals, and 22.6 points. The only thing he doesn’t contribute in is blocks. That just makes him the most thick-skinned person on Twitter.

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What’s up Razzball Nation! Welcome back to another edition of Any Given Saturday. I just feel like I haven’t talked about LeBron James enough. The man just turned 33 and is putting up MVP numbers. Hell, with James Harden injured, LeBron is probably the frontrunner. This season he’s putting up career-highs in assists, 3PM, FT%, and he’s even putting up 1.0 blocks, the most since his first Cleveland stint. He was built in a Nike laboratory to be the perfect basketball specimen. Anyway, against the lowly Magic on Sunday, LeBron messed around and almost got a quadruple-double, going for 33/10/9/6/1 on 12-for-23 FG (4-for-7 3P, 5-for-7 FT) with three turnovers. His usage might go down with the return of Isaiah Thomas, but it’s not like Kyrie Irving dug into LeBron’s stats in previous years. LeBron might even average more assists and be more efficient with IT in the fold. Good lord. Anyway, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

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Gary Harris sounds like the name of your mailman. And much like your mailman, he delivers without anyone really noticing. Gary Harris is a top fifty player, but for some reason you never see his name in the fantasy headlines, until now. Gary deserves our love. Gary deserves our respect. Gary deserves a nickname. I want to see your Gary Harris nickname suggestions in the comments. I will throw a few out there and see if any stick (we cannot use The Mailman, obviously): Gary Harris Buehler’s Day Off, Gary Harris Wheel, Gary Sexual Harrisment, Gary Harrison (the long lost Harrison triplet), Gary Harristanbul Not Constantinople…

At this point you are probably asking yourself, “Self, has Brent even told us why Gary Harris is the lead of this recap? And I better take a second shower since I had to poop right after my first one.”

Yeah, I hate that too! Anyway, here’s the slash:  3/36/4/3/2/0 on 14-of-17 shooting and 5-for-5 from the line.

Besides Gary “TBD” Harris, here is what else I saw last night:

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Remember Carlos Boozer? He of the lead feet on defense, yelling “HEY!” every time he missed a shot in hopes of getting a foul call? At least that’s my recollection of him during his Bulls years. He actually did play decent enough team defense to not hurt the team much while putting up 15 and 10 many nights with his no-jump fade-away rainbows. Anyway, sometime around the end of his Bulls tenure, I remember finding out that this old man on the decline was younger than me. So, I guess I couldn’t really call these NBA players that were considering retirement “old” any longer. Over the years, I’ve even embraced these guys and found that veteran players can be fantasy steals because of our ageist tendencies. And if you play in a dynasty league, they come even cheaper, of course.

Of course it’s fun to pick, trade for, and add young players right before they break out. We all want upside. But I think a lot of us don’t realize that older, boring players do have upside because of their depressed draft values. Let’s see how the NBA’s advanced age players are doing on the ESPN Player Rater compared to their Average Draft Position. I do this to hopefully show that you can win with old reliable dudes, even if they’re on the decline. You can even take this information to help you figure out who to target in trades for young, upsidey players.

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First things first. Happy New Year to everyone! For myself, long gone are the days of trying to time orgasms with my wife at the stroke of midnight. Now, the orgasm comes from getting the kids to sleep. There’s no mess or slipping one by the goalie! Anyways, I hope you all had a good holiday season and are ready to usher in 2018. Wishing you all prosperity for the new year. With all that said, let’s get it on!

I flew to the Wrong Coast for the holidays. To this day, it still boggles my mind that we are able to fly in the air. Keep in mind, that I still can’t fully comprehend how a bunch of 0’s and 1’s allow me to do what I’m doing right now. So, flying to outer space? Fugget about it. I even watched a ton of Robotech as a kid and still….As a result, whenever I hear or read about the Apollo 13 mission, my brain pretty much explodes. A spacecraft was launched back in 1970! To fly to the moon! But a few days after launch, there was an explosion that crippled the craft, which prompted the “Uh, Houston, we’ve had a problem.” Only by channeling their inner MacGyver, were the crew and craft able to return safely to Earth. James Harden of the Houston Rockets boggles my mind. He mesmerizes defenders with his dribble like what snakes do with their prey, and always gets them to reach so he can blow by them. His step back J allows him to get his shot up over any defender. Last night in a double overtime game against the Lakers, Harden went:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
40 2 11 2 2 1 3/8 10/20 17/21
Mind boggled. But….”Uh, Houston, we’ve had a problem.” Harden left the game in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury. Ruh oh. We will have to keep an eye on the situation, like “CSI at scene” eye. Chris Paul should see a massive uptick in usage, while Eric Gordon and newly acquired Gerald Green should both see more minutes.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Santa Claus is known by the names of Saint Nicholas or Kris Kringle. Rajon Rondo is known by the names of Johnny, Swag, and The Yoga Instructor (nicknames courtesy of Basketball Reference). Claus’ height and weight are classified. Rondo is 6′ 1″ 186 pounds. Claus moves around via reindeer-drawn sled. Rondo uses his own two legs to run around the court. Claus is a global icon. Rondo could be if he hired the right marketing agency. Claus and Rondo are different on so many levels, but both are some of the most generous entities that man has ever known. Claus gives gifts to children that are well-behaved and coal to the bad children. Has anyone ever figured out why Claus is so freaking generous? Like, what’s his motivation? We are taught not to accept candy from strangers, especially those that stick their heads out from a windowless van. And for good reason. The candy is the bait to lure us in. And Claus? Anyways, regardless of motivation, Claus is a generous dude. Rondo is also generous. He dishes out dimes that enable his teammates to score buckets easier. In fact, he is so generous that he had dished out 6,216 dimes, good for 31st on the all-time list, before the start of last night’s game.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 2 7 25 1 0 3 0/1 1/5 0

Make that 6,241 dimes, good for 30th on the all-time assist list. The 25 assist game was the ninth-best of all time! Scott Skiles, of all people, holds the record with a 30 assist game. Go figure. Rondo is not going to contribute much outside of assists and rebounds, but the dimes will definitely be plentiful. As for Claus vs Rondo, the edge has to go to Claus, as he has no rival and always seems to deliver. Rondo has his off nights.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Back in the 80’s, Hasbro came out with My Buddy, a doll marketed for boys to teach them about caring for their friends. It was controversial at the time because dolls were traditionally for girls. Yep, took until the 80’s. Anyways, there were two things that always stuck with me regarding My Buddy. First, the catchy commercial song. Second, the fact that My Buddy eventually morphed into Chucky from Child’s Play. In a way, it perfectly captures the duality of the world, which segues perfectly to Buddy Hield of the Sacramento Kings. Selected with the sixth overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, big things were expected from the guard out of Oklahoma. Even bigger things were expected a year later when he was a fundamental piece in the trade for DeMarcus Cousins. Vivek Ranadive, owner of the Kings, said, “Buddy Hield has Steph Curry potential.” As my momma always told me, “potential don’t mean shit.” Buddy had some ugly shooting performances: 1-for-10, 2-for-10, etc. As a result, he was allotted 30 or more minutes in a game just twice. Every time he sucked, we threw him into the proverbial trash and eradicated him from our memories. But….he kept resurrecting. Just like Chucky. Last night in Philly, Buddy helped the Kings best the 76ers 101-95. Buddy went:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 24 5 2 3 0 3 3/9 9/19 3/3

Until I see the Kings actually commit to Buddy, I’m hesitant to trust him. He can get hot, for extended stretches of time, but he will just end up disappointing you. Then you will throw him in the trash and the circle of life will resume once again.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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In 2016, Daryl Morey hired Mike D’Antoni as head coach. It was a match made in heaven, as Morey believed that three-pointers, layups, and free throws were the most efficient shots to take. D’Antoni? Did someone say three-pointers? Three-coooooola. The Rockets improved from 41-41 in 2015 to 55-27 with D’Antonio at the helm. They blitzed the league with 115.3 points per game, just 0.6 fewer than the vaunted Golden State Warriors. They hoisted up an absurd 40.3 three-pointers a game and made a league-high 14.4. Then the playoffs happened. After disposing of the Oklahoma City Thunder, D’Antoni and Morey were bested by Greg Popovich. Pop did not figure out the magic formula to shut down the Rockets O. What he did do was disrupt the rhythm and force the Rockets to do what they were most uncomfortable doing: shoot the midrange. Pop would use Kawhi Leonard to chase James Harden all over the court and plant Pau Gasol in the middle of the lane. The other three players would be paparrazi and follow their subjects wherever they went. As a result, three-pointers, layups, and free throws were defended. Everything in the midrange was conceded. Result? Spurs 4. Rockets 2. There was only one option to pursue. Better Call Paul, as in

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