The Celtics’ impressive 16-game winning streak is now over. Is it a coincidence that 16 is half of 32, which is the number of games that the ’71 Lakers won in a row? I do not believe in coincidences, until I do. Which makes this iteration of the Celtics half the team of that glorious Lakers squad. All kidding aside, it was an impressive run. The team stepped up when they lost Gordon Hayward, Brad Stevens is now a legitimate Presidential candidate, Kyrie is…..well, Kyrie, and the defense has been the league’s best, by a big margin according to defensive efficiency. I tried everything in the book to jinx the streak. Voodoo dolls, shrines, sacrificing of virgins, and rubbing my scrotum with four-leaf clovers. All to no avail. I had to harken back to the past. All the way back to the ancient days of the early 1990’s. It was during that time, the secret was unlocked by the Leprechaun movies. You see, in the original, the leprechaun is defeated when the well it falls into is blown up. Explosion. Fire. In the third movie, the lepechaun is defeated via flamethrower. Heat was needed and Heat we got Wednesday night, as the Miami Heat took down the Boston Leprechauns 104-98. Who led the way? None other than Goran Dragic, aka the Dragon, who was spewing fire from all over the court: 27 points, five boards, four dimes, and one liberation. He shot 8-of-17 from the field and 2-of-4 from downtown. Waiters Island was booming, as Dion Waiters scored 26 points, grabbed two boards, and dished out six dimes. He shot 11-of-24 from the field and 4-of-10 from downtown. How do you beat the Celtics? Shoot 49.4% from the field, which was 4% higher than their season average. Translation: bring the Heat.
I’m old enough to remember when a simple “ha or hee hee” sufficed when conveying happiness and/or laughter over the internet. Granted, that was at a time when laughter would literally be heard because phones were strictly for voice communication. What a time to be alive. Anyways, now we are all a bunch of digital Shakespeares. Our expressions are so vast and deep that they require acronyms. ROTFL, IMMD, GTFO, WYSIWYG……Get off my lawn!!! It’s only appropriate that the player in today’s lede is none other than LaMarcus Aldridge. LMA as many call him. Unfortunately, his play the first two years in San Antonio caused many to LMAO! The points, steals, assists, rebounds, and field goal attempts all decreased from the lofty levels of his Portland days. Prompting fans in Texas to yell things NSFW. Then, a funny thing happened over the offseason. Pop sat LMA down and told him to change the O from off to offense. Essentially, turning that frown upside down. Then, the Spurs gave LMA a three-year, $72.3 million contract extension and Kawhi Leonard went down. It’s all LMA Offense now. Every offensive category has shown an improvement from last year. Yes, it’s only been 13 games, but it’s no longer a laughing matter. He’s currently a top 20 fantasy player and last night led the Spurs to victory with 32 points, five boards, four dimes, a steal, and two blocks.
A capella music is singing without instrumental accompaniment. According to choraldirectormag.com, here’s what’s needed to create an a capella group: soloist, great bass, original music, time together, and momentum. That basically describes the Houston Rockets. Let’s break it down. Mike D’Antoni doesn’t micromanage possessions like some coaches. Things flow naturally. Soloist. James Harden. Great bass, the voice that’s low and powerful. Clint Capela fills that role by battling down low and doing the dirty work on the glass. Original music. Mike D’Antoni’s “Seven Seconds or Less” offense from the Phoenix days combined with the analytics of Daryl Morey equals “Game the Math.” Time together. Self explanatory. Momentum. The Rockets offense in a nutshell. Yesterday’s game against the Indiana Pacers was a microcosm of the synergy they’ve displayed all season enroute to an 11-3 record, with six victories in a row. Harden led the way with 26 points, five boards, 15 dimes, and two steals. Capela provided the base with 20 points, 17 boards, one dime, and one block. Eric Gordon filled his gunner role by hoisting up 11 downtowners. He finished with 21 points, one board, four dimes, two steals, and one block. If this was college, you’d think he was trying to get laid. Trevor Ariza scored 15 points, grabbed five boards, dished out a dime, and pilfered two. He’s Mr. Versatility. Can hit the high, low, and middle notes. Luc Mbah a Moute and P.J. Tucker provide toughness while still being an offensive threat. It’s going to be interesting when Chris Paul returns to the fray.
Welcome back everybody to the Friday NBA Daily Notes! Hopefully, I don’t hit the Sophomore slump, but let’s be honest; it’s going to be tough to top my first article. Only seven games last night, but there were some good ones with the Wolves topping OKC 119-116 and the Warriors beating the Wizards 120-117, both on national television. Without further ado, here’s what I saw on Friday in the NBA:
Two days ago, Ben “Fresh Prince” Simmons was the toast of the fantasy basketball world after posting his first career triple-dub. He got the title, picture, and intro paragraph for my nightly recap post. The amount written about him required six scrolls of the mouse. Now, my computer monitor is 12″ in height. I use Google Chrome, so the post without the ad at the top is nine inches in height. Each scroll of the mouse moves the page one inch. That sounds much more impressive than the 387 words I actually typed. Anyways, last night Lebron “King” James reminded us that he’s still one of the best basketball players on the planet. You don’t know how many times I clicked the back arrow. Is he the best or is he one of the best? I initially went with best, but eventually settled with one of the best because Lebron is not blemish-free and there are a couple of players that are in the vicinity. Anyways, 29 points, 10 boards, 13 dimes, and four blocks in 41 minutes of run last night. He shot 12-for-20 from the field and 1-for-2 from downtown. This came against the Brooklyn Nets and he did turn the ball over eight times, though. In addition, 4-for-8 from the charity stripe. Whatever.
Any excuse to post some Run DMC. Now, Lebron may be in store for an epic, epic fantasy season. Key word being may. It’s early in the season, but the Cavs may not waltz through the Eastern Conference this year. Look at the roster. Outside of Kevin Love, who’s getting buckets? Jeff Green? Dwayne Wade and Derrick Rose? They will contribute in spurts but can they be counted on consistently? The Cavs just lost to the Nets in a game Lebron went HAM. Granted, it was on a back-to-back. Cavs are now 0-2 on back-to-backs by the way. That just makes the probability of Lebron going bonkers this season even higher. We all know he’s gone after this season. At least I know. This will be Lebron’s Last Stand. On a side note, why is Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer of Custer’s Last Stand so revered and famous? Didn’t he and his men get slaughtered? The FT% will hold Lebron back in fantasy, but the counting stats could be of epic proportions.
Sorry for the long intro paragraph. I just wanted to make sure it was 388 words long.
The Toronto Raptors are #good. They won 51 games last season and 56 games the prior year. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan are bonafide stars. Yet….they seem to always get overlooked. Or is it just me? Maybe it’s because they are based in Canada. Maybe it’s because they have a #WeTheNorth slogan. Probably both. Regardless, one of their stars missed over a month of action and their identity changed mid-season, but they still were able to finish tied for second in the Eastern Conference and make it to the Eastern Conference Finals.
In the wake of the draft, I embarked in many interesting conversations with people in the industry. I wanted to share with you a conversation that I found fascinating with a good buddy of mine, Steve Connell, an independent scout who also happens to be a Boston Celtics fan, on his theory as to why the Celtics traded the No. 1 overall pick and why it wasn’t just to stockpile more assets.
Wow. What a riveting week for basketball fans. And not a single game was played! It harkened me back to the days of drafting on the PS2, then sitting back and simming the season. Then making my big board for the incoming rookies. Then drafting, with a bite of pizza here and a sip of Coke there. I would zone out for hours, enthralled by the team building process. And that’s what makes the NBA Draft so great. The new crop of players are entering the league and the general managers are filling in the pieces of the puzzle. Hope and optimism pervade fan bases across the country. Sorry Bulls fans. I didn’t mean you. Which segues nicely to my first rant…
How the flying F does Jimmy Butler get traded for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, and the No. 7 pick (Lauri Markkanen)? AND the Bulls threw in the No. 16 pick (Justin Patton). The only explanation I can come up with is that Tom Thibodeau has a suitcase worth of “things” that he’s been waiting for the proper moment to utilize. I believe I’ve just figured out what’s in the Pulp Fiction briefcase. Remember, back in 2015, the Bulls kicked Thibs to the curb in a rather unceremonious way. Finally, Thibs got his revenge. I mean, what other possible explanation could there be? LaVine is an explosive athlete, but he tore his ACL last season. Kris Dunn….I think this tweet explains it all:
Wow, how quickly time flies. Feels like only yesterday when I was sitting here bringing you my Top-60 dynasty league rookie rankings and awaiting the new season with excitement, optimism, and hope. Yet, here we are again looking to delve deep with our diving masks and oxygen tanks to dissect the new crop of fresh-faced hopefuls looking to be the next big thing.
It is no secret, to those of you who have read my previous work, how high I was on this draft class. Now that we know the the destinations that this crop will call home, we can delve deeper into expectations for each players’ role with their new organizations. In the upcoming three weeks you will be privy to my Top-60 rookie rankings, but for now, let’s look at some of the players who might have landed themselves into a new dream destination.
I am sure you have read enough articles over the past several weeks covering Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball. Here is my comparison piece from January: http://basketball.razzball.com/dynasty-deep-dive-the-college-bird-vs-bird. So, let us look at some of the less obvious names, whose long-term fantasy outlook received a nice boost after a dramatic draft night.
The holiday season is here Razzball nation; a magical time for all and especially us NBA fans. Presents, Christmas dinner, time with family, and if you’re lucky some time to feast on a bunch of ball whilst digesting a drink or two. Fantasy football season might just about be over, but hoops is really starting to heat up and 2017 promises to be one bumper hamper for fantasy basketball fans.
So what do we have look forward to in 2017? Well for one the appearance of number 1 overall pick Ben Simmons and the promise of PG duties for the point forward; an MVP race where from a fantasy standpoint just bewilders the mind; and of course an upcoming draft class that is touted as one of the best freshman classes for a long long time.
So sit back and relax, open a bottle of Vino, and let me guide you through some of the significant happenings in the last 7 days for those developing their game to one day become a household name of the NBA: