Brooks are serene, calm, and picturesque. But looks can be deceiving. I was once fishing at the local brook (I don’t fish and I live in Los Angeles), when I heard some commotion behind me. There were two squirrels holding onto my bait box and trying to drag it back to the tree from which they came from. As I turned around and rose from the log I was parked on, I heard a splash behind me. A beaver had pulled the pail, which housed all the fish I caught, into the stream. A coordinated attack. After my inital anger, I was truly impressed. From that day, I always watched my six and didn’t fall for the old “bird singing then shitting on my head” distraction. Anyways, Brook Lopez is big, tall, and lumbers around the court. He should bang down low, grab boards, and operate in the paint. But looks can be deceiving. Lopez likes to hang out on the perimeter and launch salvos from downtown. When he first entered the league, he was a boarding maniac. Now? Not so much. Business decisions. The most baffling aspect of his game, though, is his penchant for getting his 211 on. Don’t believe me?

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
10 4 2 4 3 1 0/3 3/8 4/4

Last night was the fifth time in his career that Lopez has pilfered four in a game. Not something you expect from a lumbering giant such as Brook. Anyways, the one predictable and not surprising aspect of Brook’s game is in the block department. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what’s always predictable? The Stocktonator. He’s fifth in the league with 2.2 blocks per game. From a fantasy perspective, Brook is a top 70 player. The free throw shooting is excellent (90% on 2 attempts) and there’s the aforementioned blocks. He provides 1.4 tres per game, but the scoring is way down from previous years due to the 38% shooting from the field. The minutes are also down to 26 from 28.7 last season. Brook is too good of a shooter to continue converting sub-40% from the field. I’d expect that to normalize as the season progresses.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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There was a time when Channing Tatum was an international sensation, as he starred in blockbusters such as Step Up, G. I. Joe, 21 Jump Street, White House Down, and the Lego Movie. Ok, maybe some hyperbole but 43 movies are 43 movies. Don’t forget about the TV shows, video games, music videos, Saturday Night Live, and MTV Awards. Times started getting lean around 2014, though. The Google queries declined. The downloading of pics ceased. But then his phone began beeping incessantly in 2017, as he set up notifications whenever anyone Googled his name. He was back! Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what never leaves? The Stocktonator. Life was good again. Unfortunately, the queries all consisted of, “Is Jayson Tatum related to Channing Tatum?” Whatever, he took whatever he could get. Jayson Tatum was drafted by the Boston Celtics with the third overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. He was a sensation his rookie year, to the point where some were saying that they wouldn’t trade him for Anthony Davis. Crazy. Anyways, the sophomore slump came and so did Channing’s pain, as his phone stopped buzzing. But here we are in 2019, as Channing’s phone has been off the hook, as his brother-from-another- mother has been balling out this season. Last night, he…..

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
19 11 2 2 2 4 4/6 7/14 1/2

His rookie year, Tatum ended as the 63rd player for fantasy. The following year, he finished as the 59th player. So far this season, he’s the 33rd player. Over the past six games, Tatum has been a top 10 player!!! The points, tres, boards, dimes, and steals have all increased. The shooting efficiency has declined, which sucks because the volume has increased, but that’s been the only blemish. The usage rate is 28 on the season, but it’s ticked up to over 32 at times. People are going to be Googling Tatum’s name for a long, long time. That makes Channing very happy.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Potential, Potential, Potential

Potential is enticing, if fickle. Potential is a first date. A 0-0 count in the top of the first. Potential is a stray glance or wink, a few perfectly volleyed bits of of banter between two people soon to be lovers. Potential is the essay before its written, the hazy four-line outline in the mind. Potential is the moment before the moment, where dream and reality meet, if only for an instant.

Potential is not, however, negative capability, as Keats described it: “I mean Negative Capability, that is when man ‘or woman’ is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without, any irritable reaching after fact or reason.” Potential implies a payoff, a return on investment. The hung curveball must be sent screaming to the seats. The alley must be ooped. The first date must lead to a second.

In the poem, the reward is the exploration of uncertainty itself. In fantasy sports, that irritable reaching after fact or reason is all we know. With that in mind, here are some players who’ve been blessed with the wicked kiss of potential.

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Imagine you just got crossed up really badly by James Harden, allowed a massive three, and fouled out of the game with under two minutes left to go. Harden’s three allowed his Rockets to go up by five against your team. You exit the game with this stat line:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
6 3 0 1 0 1 1-2 2-6 1-2

You probably wouldn’t be too arrogant, or braggadocious, if you will. But you’re not Pat Beverley, and Pat Beverley isn’t you.

Because after Russell Westbrook missed a three to take the lead after a late Clippers surge in the final 100 ticks, Beverley was seen mocking Russell Westbrook’s three-point stroke from the bench. Jumping around, giddy as hell, looking right at the opposing bench while he mimicked the missed three and the subsequent loss for the Rockets. The cojones on this guy!

Luckily, his teammates were there to bail him out and allow for that celebration. Here are notable stats from that game and from around the league on Friday night.

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It took 171 games, over two seasons, and 5800 minutes played, but Ben Simmons finally did it. He drained his first tres.

I know you have doubts, but tape don’t lie….

The fact that I’m making Simmons the lede for making a tres is sad, but what’s worse is that it took him 171 games, two seasons, and 5800 minutes! Now, let’s not forget that on this historic and momentous night, Simmons actually played a great overall game:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
18 7 13 1 1 1 1/1 7/9 3/4

In a whopping 42 minutes! Yes, it was against the Knicks but whatever. Production is production. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what always provides the production? The Stocktonator. For fantasy, Simmons is such an interesting player because he leads you down the punt one, punt two, punt three category strategy (tres, ft%, and turnovers). But, but, but….he has nightly “mess around” potential and will get his block and steal on. On the season, he’s a top 40 player despite his shortcomings.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Brandon Ingram

The long-awaited Brandon Ingram breakout is here in earnest. So far this season, Ingram is averaging 25.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 4.3 assists, while shooting 55.2 percent from the field, 48.6 percent from three, and 74.3 percent from the free-throw line (all career highs). Ingram is not a legitimate 48 percent shooter from three, especially on five attempts a game. The dreaded regression to the mean is coming. Before this season, he had never shot 40 percent, topping out at 39 percent on 1.8 attempts a game in his sophomore season. Even with that in mind, there is reason to believe he’ll shoot better this year. Ingram’s field goal percentage has improved each season he’s been in the league and he entered the NBA with solid form and touch. The Pelicans play at a fast pace. They are currently sixth in the league in pace and increased transition opportunities should lead to more lightly-contested shots. Furthermore, when Zion returns the Pelicans will have yet another ball-handler who commands defensive attention, which could lead to more spot-up opportunities for Ingram.

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Kawhi & The Clips

Kawhi Leonard entered the 2019-20 season as a first-round fantasy talent and one of the best two or three players in the NBA. He’s lived up to that billing and then some to start the season. Over the first four games, Kawhi is averaging 27 points, 6.5 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 1.8 steals, and 1.3 blocks. He’s shooting 51.9 percent from the field, 36.8 percent from three, and 84 percent from the free-throw line. The 7.5 assists per game are particularly noteworthy since prior to this season, Kawhi had never averaged more than 3.5 assists a game, which he did in the 2016-17 season. Yes, the sample size is microscopic, but the evidence is hard to ignore. In the second game of the season against the Golden State Warriors, Kawhi matched his career high for assists in a game with nine. In game three against the Phoenix Suns, he set a new career high with 10 assists. This is no blip on the radar. Of the very few weaknesses in Leonard’s game, playmaking was the largest.

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P. S., the postscript, is something that needs to be eradicated. Why? Because it’s a symbol of laziness, and we can’t have that in our modern day society. Hmm, now that I think about it, there’s good lazy and bad lazy. Good laziness fosters innovation, as some of the greatest inventions were created because of it. Bad laziness is smoking weed, eating donuts, and watching tv all day and night. P.S. is bad lazy. Back in the day, when folks would dip their brushes in ink and write via candle light, the P. S. made perfect sense. Imagine spending hours writing a letter, then at the end you remember something. It wouldn’t make sense to scrap the entirety of the letter, hence the postscript. Even after society was blessed with Whiteout, the postscript still had function. Now? There’s no need for the P. S., as everything is done on computer. For those of you who still write letters…..WHY? For you heathens who use P. S. while typing on the computer, you some lazy mofos. Last night in Toronto, a P. S. was getting busy and was definitely no afterthought. Pascal Siakam went bonkers and put up a line of:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
34 18 5 0 1 4 2/5 11/26 10/11

Now, the game went to OT, but whatever. Siakam did most of the damage during regulation and had a usage rate of 35!!!! Kawhi Schawhi. I guess that preseason ADP of 20 wasn’t too high after all.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?