Victor Oladipo missed 11 games due to a right knee injury two months ago. Since returning from that injury, he’s been a top 65 player (19 games), averaging 17.3 points, 1.9 threeecolas, 4.9 boards, 5.8 dimes, 1.8 steals, and 0.2 blocks. The shooting efficiency was a putrid 40%. A far cry from the 47% efficiency and top 10 production from last season. His owners were not happy. Our very own “I Just Wanna Kawhi” couldn’t take it anymore and shipped him away last week. I need to hit him up for the upcoming Powerball numbers because his owners will no longer have to worry due to the injury Oladipo suffered yesterday. Defending a full court pass, Oladipo jumped and his knee gave out, the same knee that caused him to miss those 11 games. The trainers draped a towel over his leg and he was taken to the locker room via stretcher. Prayers up for Oladipo and his family. Since this is a fantasy website, we need to discuss who replaces him and how it affects the Pacers rotations. The most obvious replacement is Tyreke Evans, who was scooped right away in a few of the RCLs I’m in. Y’all are too sharp and fast on the draw. In 715 minutes without Oladipo on the floor, Evans has a 29.3% usage rate and produces 1.05 fantasy points per minute. The player that saw the biggest increase in usage with Oladipo off the floor, though, was Bojan Bogdanovic, with an increase of 2.1% to a 23.2% usage rate. Domantas Sabonis is the Pacer that scores the most fantasy points per minute at 1.39 with Oladipo off the floor. If you want to do a little speculating, Aaron Holiday could be a nice pickup. He’s played 275 minutes without Oladipo on the court and has garnered a 24.1% usage rate and scored 1.06 fantasy points per minute. Granted, most of that run came earlier in the year, as he hasn’t received 10 minutes of run in any game this month, but someone to keep an eye on. Anyways, hate to see injuries and let’s all send good vibes towards the Oladipo family. Oladipo Ho! Oladipo Ho! Oladipo Ho! 

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Oklahoma City Thunder are Russell Westbrook’s team. Or are they? Westbrook was drafted by the Thunder and has known no other team in his 11-year career. He also leads the team in usage with a 31.2 rate. But….it can be argued that Paul George has been the best player for the Thunder this season. George is averaging more points, more threeecolas, shoots more efficiently from both the field and line, and takes care of the ball better. Last night, George put up:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
36 8 4 5 1 3 3/6 10/21 13/15

Westbrook also had a great game, which I will discuss further below, so it’s an interesting debate as to who’s been the better player, but there’s no question that George has been a beast this year. From a fantasy perspective, he’s been a top 10 player, consistently for the entire season. That type of performance must place him in the pantheon of Georges: Boy George, Curious George, and now Paul George.

Beep. Boop. Bop. The Stocktonator had George as the #2 player last night.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

While perusing the standings the other day, I was surprised to see we’re already past the half-way mark of the NBA season. And for those in head-to-head leagues, that means we’re almost 2/3rds of the way through the fantasy regular season! It’s time to take stock of our team(s) and see where injuries, pick-ups, and dropped busts have left us situated. For example, half my starters this week on one team have been free agent pickups. I have some idea of my team’s strengths and weaknesses, but it’s a vastly different group than what I started with. Once we identify our short-comings, it’s as simple as grabbing a couple centers for a pair of guards to make up ground in boards and blocks, right? Maybe. But there are constraints that might make it more complicated than that. You may be losing stats you need by doing that and you may not be able to fit two extra centers into your lineup, anyway.

This week I’d like to bring up a concept many of you are probably familiar with, but often goes forgotten: Out-of-position stats. What if you’re low in rebounds, but you don’t have room to add/start a center? Well, you could trade a traditional point guard (assuming you were set with PG stats) for Dejounte Murray (9.5 rebounds per 36 minutes last season, and yes, by the way, I’m choosing an alternate universe in which he’s healthy for this hypothetical situation). Considering trading for or picking up players that get atypical stats for their position can make a ton of sense for a lot of reasons. Maybe you lost a big assist guy like John Wall or your dominant rebounder in Clint Capela. Maybe you’ve got another out-of-position stats guy that hurts you because of what he lacks (Dejounte’s assists and three-pointers, for example). Also, when you have out-of-position stats, like say Nikola Mirotic’s 3s, you can afford to have additional atypical players that others in your league might devalue, like Elfrid Payton, a guard that doesn’t hit many threes. Get creative and check out some of the players I’ve listed below.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There are some things in life that we can’t refrain from doing. When you text a crush and you see the reply bubble, you writhe with anticipation. When you drive by an accident and talk shit about all the people rubber necking, of course you gawk because traffic has slowed down anyways. When you buy a lottery ticket, you mental masturbate about what you would do if you won. When James Harden plays basketball, no matter how many times I’ve written him as the lede, I have to do it again because he keeps doing ridiculousness.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
57 9 2 2 1 5 6/15 17/33 17/18

In 34 minutes! With a supporting cast of P. J. Tucker, Daniel House Jr., Nene Hilario, and Austin Rivers!! Harden had a usage rate of 57.5 last night!!! His true shooting percentage was 69.6!!!! Exclamation points are no longer sufficient to capture the essence of what he’s doing. You ever seen the movie Boomerang?

That’s where we’re at with Harden. He’s making it difficult for NBA defenses. He’s making it difficult for me not to write him as the lede every night. He’s making it difficult for us to even comprehend what he’s doing. Harden difficult indeed.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m going to keep it pretty simple this week. I’d like to check in on category leaders to help figure out who the best specialists might be this season. There’s a lot of value sitting out in the free agent pool just waiting for you to stream it. Adding and rotating through these category specialists applies in roto leagues when you notice individual categories in which you stand to gain a few points. But, this information will probably help the most in head-to-head leagues where you should be swapping out at least a couple players each week (assuming you can) to customize and maximize your stats in a way that nets you the most category wins against your opponent.

“So… you’re just pasting an NBA stat leaders’ page?” Nope. I’m only going to feature players rostered in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues. Italicized players are owned in less than 25%. For shooting percentages, I’m using Basketball Monster’s values that are weighted for volume. Next week, I’ll do sorta the opposite and list the punt specialists (value rankings with each individual category removed), as well as the rankings according to some other helpful stat combinations. I’ll leave out the flukey or injured players to save you some time here, as well.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Remember the first videogame system you got as a kid? The excitement you felt when you unwrapped it at Christmas? For many of us, the first gaming system was like the Red Rider BB gun of our childhoods. That’s how Doc Rivers probably feels watching Shai Gilgeous-Alexander blossom before his eyes.

The Bucks and the Clippers squared off in an epic afternoon overtime battle yesterday and fantasy owners reaped the benefits. Probably, the biggest takeaway from this one was Shai Gilgeous-Alexander getting the start and getting 40 minutes of run going 2-16-6-4-1-3-2 on 5-of-13 shooting and 4-for-4 FTs. SGA is in the Genesis of his career and Doc Rivers has expressed his love for this kid. His percentages are very good and he gets those out-of-position blocks we all love. His arrow is pointing up and he should be owned in most leagues going forward.

Sorry for burying the lede, because the real news in the NBA is that Jimmy Butler got traded to the 76ers in exchange for Robert Covington, Dario Saric, and Jerryd Bayless. I think Covington and Butler’s value should remain relatively in tact, while Saric’s value can only go up. This may put a pretty big damper on Taj Gibson however. Keep an eye on Wilson Chandler, who could slide into the four-spot for the Sixers.

It was a busy Saturday Night so let’s dive on into into the Daily Notes!

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For those who are new here, welcome and know that I often clown Blake Griffin. Not because he can jump over cars and triple-dub on any night. That would be stupid. I make fun of him because he rarely brings the D, which could be a reason he is no longer with Kendall Jenner. I kid. For a man of his height and athleticism, he should be blocking more than 0.5 shots a game. Hence, the reason I call him Ricky Lake Griffin. He doesn’t deserve that B. I had so much fun comparing the block number to Serge Ibaka’s assist number last season. If that was a drinking game, no one would get drunk. But it is I who dons the clown suit today. Actually, I’m the one who should be donning the clown suit everyday, but let’s not completely crush my self worth. Anyways, Blake Griffin was absolutely fantastic last night. He was so good that….what’s that sound I hear?

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
50 14 6 0 1 1 5/10 20/35 5/11

A freaking 50-burger and, more importantly, 1 block! 35 shot attempts and only 1 turnover! AND he led his team to a 133-132 victory over the 76ers in overtime. You da man, Blake! You da man.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Before we embark upon a new endeavor, we often count one…two…three…then go! For the rookie down in Hotlanta, the start to this new season has gone uno…dos…Trae Young is here!

GM PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
1 14 6 5 0 0 4 1/5 5/14 3/4
2 20 2 9 1 1 3 4/9 7/18 2/3
3 35 2 11 1 0 1 6/14 13/23 3/3

Young has improved each game in points, assists, turnovers, threeecolas, and field goals. Maybe it’s a case of “Third time is a charm,” but I’m more inclined to believe that it was a case of warming up the engine. You know who’s with me? The Stocktonator, as it liked him yesterday. Beep. Boop. Bop. There’s a reason he was the overall #5 pick in the NBA Draft and has been compared to Stephen Curry. Now, yesterday was likely a ceiling game and there will be plenty of ups and downs, but oh what a ceiling it is. Played 38 minutes and led his team to a 22 point victory over the Cavs. Make it rain, Trae.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

Please, blog, may I have some more?