One of the beautiful things about the English language is its vast nature. One of the worst things about the English language is its vast nature. Take the word crane for example. It can describe a type of bird, a machine that lifts objects, or a specific type of neck movement. How about Derrick Rose saying “kill yourself” the other day? In a vacuum, it’s a terrible thing to say, but if you delve into the context, it does make some sense. It’s basically slang for “shut the F up.” Now, what about the expression “god damnit?” It’s usually used to express frustration or angst, but it’s also a military expression of encouragement. Thanks urban dictionary. Anyways, I’m going through all of this because of what Landry Shamet did last night:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
29 3 1 1 0 1 8/14 8/15 5/5

In 24 minutes off the bench! God Shamet! Am I calling Shamet a God? Am I expressing awe and amazement? Am I frustrated because I did not play him in DFS? It’s all about context, right? At the same time, I could answer yes to all three. Gotta love the English language. Shamet has appeared in every game this season, so he has the trust of the coaching staff and fills a specific need for the Sixers, which is to space the floor and knock down shots. From a fantasy perspective, he doesn’t have that much value, as he doesn’t play enough minutes or jack up the necessary shots. On the season, he’s averaging 4.4 threeecola attempts per game and, outside of last night, he had only one other game with more than 10 attempts. With that said, it was nice to have him as the lede, as it was getting boring talking about the same guys over and over. In addition, he’s someone to monitor if injury strikes or he does take on a more significant role as the season progresses.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Back in 2008, iHeartRadio and SiriusXM changed the landscape of radio. Listeners could customize their listening experience, had access to out-of-market stations, and were given a cornucopia of options (podcasts, news, sports, and channels for specific genres). Options equal versatility which enhances a product. That concept isn’t just for the radio world, though, as it has become the defining characteristic of the modern day, positionless basketball that has taken root. Last night, Josh Hart was a perfect example:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
14 12 6 5 0 2 1/5 5/13 3/3

Hart played a team-high 44 minutes. At 6′ 5″ and 215 pounds, Hart can play the 1, 2, or 3. He’s strong enough to handle himself down on the block, but possesses the agility to guard on the perimeter. He does get burned from time to time, but more often than not plays sound fundamental defense. Hart can shoot from beyond the arc or finish strong at the rim. He’s a willing passer and is able to rack up steals. Now, since LeBron James went down with an injury, Hart has been given an opportunity and has not disappointed. He’s been a top 50 player and has averaged 34.6 minutes, 12.4 points, 1.8 threeecolas, 6.8 boards, 2.1 dimes, 2.1 steals, and 0.6 blocks. The only bugaboo has been the 38% shooting from the field. When LeBron does return, Hart will likely shift back to the bench and lose 7-9 minutes of run per game. With that said, because of his versatility, he will still contribute across the board and provide top 125-ish numbers.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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The Division of the Up and Comers
The Atlantic Division consists of up-and-coming teams, with the Toronto Raptors at the top of the league in wins, yet they are still learning how to incorporate Kawhi Leonard into their mix.  The Sixers are also integrating a new player in Jimmy Butler.  Boston struggled with offensive effectiveness early on, but they have started to figure things out, including an overtime thriller on Christmas against the 76ers.   The Nets have done well, winning nine of their last 10 games, a streak of success not seen in Brooklyn in many a day.  The Knicks, though, are going in the opposite direction, as they have lost nine of their last 10, but are still considered in the up and coming conversation because they have a stable of young players gaining valuable experience while their Latvian superstar, Kristaps Porzingis, mends.

Many feel the NBA season really doesn’t start until Christmas, as teams have now played about a third of the season with the strengths and weaknesses of each being exposed.  In addition, players are available as trade targets and teams that look to be lottery participants will begin to look toward the future and acquire draft assets. 

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I was a sucker for all the James Bond movies growing up. There was always action, women, lots of cool toys, and more action. What most confused me early on, but later fascinated me, was the overtness of the Bond character. At his core, he was a spy after all, and a spy is defined as “a person who secretly…” I don’t need to continue the definition. Could a ninja ever be famous? Wouldn’t that go against the fundamental premise of being a ninja? With all that said, Bond took the spy game to the next level. Everyone knew he was a spy, and he knew that everyone knew, yet he did his spy thing while everyone else played along. Translation: Bond was a freaking boss. Which is exactly what Harden, James Harden is.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
41 6 7 2 1 6 5/16 15/35 6/7

That’s seven straight games scoring 30+ points, with two games over 40 and one 50-burger in there. The overtness that Harden exhibits is just as bold as Bond. Defenders know his moves, yet still get played. Now, with Chris Paul out for an extended period of time, the usage rate spikes to the mid-40s. The comparable analogy would be Bond walking into a casino with both hands flashing the bird, acquiring the information that he came for, and of course bringing the D for the girl.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Frank Sinatra was a cool cat. A member of the Rat Pack, Sinatra was a singer, actor, producer, and was considered one of the most iconic performers of his generation. “Ol’ Blue Eyes” would make the women swoon and get Son to sing one of his most famous tunes….My Way….at a K-Town karaoke establishment.

“Regrets, I’ve had a few…But then again, too few to mention. I did what I had to do…And saw it through without exemption. I planned each chartered course….Each careful step along the byway….And more, much more than this….I did it my way.”

Sounds like my fantasy career, which brings me to Langston Galloway.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
24 3 3 2 0 0 4/10 9/20 2/3

Played 37 minutes yesterday. The prior game, Galloway played 31 minutes and attempted 15 shots, with nine from downtown. The Pistons are banged up right now, as Ish Smith, Reggie Bullock, and Stanley Johnson are all down with injuries. You could regret picking up Galloway, as he’s a career 38% shooter from the field. But then again, he is a career 35% from downtown. Sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do. If you need threeecolas, Galloway has attempted 19 in the past two games. Chart the course. With each injury that the Pistons endure along the way, there will be minutes and shot attempts….and more, more like this….realize that you did it Galloway.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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In the 1980s, WrestleMania was the merde. Pardon my French. They were spectacles of extraordinary frenzy. Rabid fans would pack 90,000 strong into stadiums to watch freakishly athletic men do freakishly mind-numbing things. And there in lies the crux of everything: the men. For all the Barnum and Bailey antics that Vince McMahon could project, without those freakishly athletic men doing freakisly mind-numbing things, he’d have to take off three or four zeros from that 90,000 figure. As Coach SamWinters from The Program so eloquently stated, “When’s the last time 80,0000 people showed up to watch a kid do a damn chemistry experiment?” The same concept applies to the NBA. Teams wouldn’t be worth billions of dollars without the freakishly athletic men doing freakishly mind-numbing things. One of the biggest stars in the NBA is Russell Westbrook and last night he went HAM.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
23 19 15 2 0 3 2/5 10/17 1/2

By messing around last night, Westbrook moved into a tie for third place with Jason Kidd for the most triple-dubs all-time. Oscar Robertson had 181, Magic Johnson 138, and Westbrook and Kidd are both at 107. That in of itself is impressive, but he wasn’t far away from a 20/20/20 game, which got me thinking….has anyone ever attained the double-triple-dub? Wilt Chamberlain in 1968 with 22 points, 25 rebounds, and 21 assists. Ha! That is so sick. Anyways, hope you enjoyed RussellMania last night.

Beep. Boop. Bop. The Stocktonator must love wrestling because it had Westbrook as it’s #4 player last night.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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I’ve watched the West Wing, House of Cards, and Designated Survivor, so I consider myself one of the preeminent experts on how things operate in our nation’s capital. It’s bipartisan wrangling to further agendas. It’s projecting power and showing force. Ultimately, it’s sound bites and photo/video ops, because image is everything. Two of the more contentious issues floating through the streets of DC have been the wall being built on the border of Mexico and John Wall on the court for the Washington Wizards. A few months ago, whispers echoed throughout the city: We don’t need no stinking Wall. Each passing day turned the volume up a notch to when it crescendoed to: WE DON’T NEED NO STINKING WALL!!! Entering last night’s game, the Wizards were 5-11, 15th in offensive efficiency, and 27th in defensive efficiency. Wall will be paid $169 million over the next four years. Why is every damn Wall so expensive?! Yet, Wall put all the questions to bed. At least for one night.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
30 4 8 2 2 1 5/12 9/24 7/10

The Wizards were down 21-40 after the first period, but Wall was a catalyst in bringing the Wizards back for a 125-118 victory over the Clippers. After the game, smiles and handshakes abounded with cameras flashing pictures of joyful jubilee. A senator, who was sitting courtside, texted the Press Secretary a selfie with he and Wall. Under the picture were the words: Washington Wizards Wall. Four more years!

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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I’m old enough to remember when # was something located at the bottom right of the phone dial pad. Geez, I’m old. I’m also old enough to remember when Stan was a person’s name. Now? It has a definition in the dictionary: an overzealous or obsessive fan of a particular celebrity. Shoutout to Eminem. That’s what you call influence. Anyways, Khloe Kardashian must be a Tristan, right? How about you? No?

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
19 16 4 0 1 3 0 9/12 1/3

How about now? Damn Tristan! He played 34 minutes and produced his third double-dub of the season. We all thought Larry Nance Jr. would be the man at center for the Cavaliers, yet he only played 14 minutes last night and has failed to reach the 20 minute mark in each of the past four games. If you need boards, Tristan is your guy. Just don’t expect much else and the free throw shooting is craptastic. I figured there wouldn’t be many other instances to stan for Tristan this season, and I’m an equal opportunity writer, so enjoy being a Tristan for a day.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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I often reminisce about the 2011 Oklahoma City Thunder squad: Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, and…..Cole Aldrich. I kid, I kid. Serge Ibaka aka I-block-a…aka Air Congo….aka Serge Protector was a freaking animal, blocking over 3.7 shots a game and grabbing 7.5 rebounds. Man, that team. One of the greatest video game teams of all time? Anyways, Ibaka was raw from an offensive stand point, but was a maven on the glass and defensive end of the floor. If he could hone his offensive game, we were looking at the next superstar. The athleticism was that profound. Well, he did ascertain an offensive game and extended his range out to beyond the arc. Unfortunately, the rebounds went down and the block numbers cratered to the 1.3 mark set last season. He lost a lot of that dog, as he preferred to just chill on the perimeter and shoot jumpers all night. Well, it looks like Bow Wow made a visit because, so far, Ibaka is grabbing more rebounds (over 7 for the first time since 2014) and the blocks have ticked back up. We will never see the 3.7 level again, but any increase is a good increase. We are not here to talk about the blocks and boards, though. We are here to talk about the scoring Serge Ibaka exhibited last night:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
34 10 2 2 0 1 1/1 15/17 3/3

A career-high!!! And he wasn’t just camped out outside. He was running in transition and making hard cuts to the basket in the half court. Ferocious dunk after ferocious dunk. Now, he may not start every game, as Jonas Valanciunas will likely go up against bruisers, but he should consistently get around 28 minutes regardless, as Coach Nurse does like play small-ball with Ibaka at the 5. I think a huge change for Ibaka this season is the fewer attempts from downtown. It’s allowed him to shoot a higher percentage from the field and gets him more involved for rebounds, as he’s not just spectating on the perimeter. Don’t ever expect any assists from him, but points, rebounds, and blocks with good percentages are on the menu. Ibaka is currently the #36 player according to Basketball Monster.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Entering last night’s game, Giannis Antetokounmpo was 131st on Yahoo rankings, mainly due to the high turnovers, low free throw percentage, and lack of threeecolas. Well, Giannis said F U to all the rankings and went HAM last night:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
31 15 4 0 2 3 1/3 13/29 4/6

Granted, it was the Knicks but I don’t see many teams being able to slow him down, especially in this Budenholzer offense. He’s averaging a ridonkulous 16.5 rebounds, 25.5 points, 6.4 assists, 1 block, and 1 steal so far. The usage rates for each game have been 41, 38, and 37! The lack of threeecolas have always been an issue, and I don’t see that improving too much this year. The poor free throw shooting should improve, as he’s a career 74% from the charity stripe, and the turnovers should abate by a huge margin. Currently, he’s at 7 per game, while his career rate is 2.5. Ain’t nothing but a G thang, baby! G will be that top 10 player you drafted sooner rather than later.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?