I used to enjoy watching Get Smart, a satirical secret agent show. Agent Maxwell Smart is a fumbling, bumbling, stumbling secret agent who always saves the day somehow. One of the catch phrases of the show is “Missed it by that much!” Which would’ve been appropriate to say whenever Marcus Smart jacked up a shot, as he could barely hit the side of a barn in past seasons. This season, though, he’s vastly improved the shooting and is therefore able to put up lines like this:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
21 6 4 3 1 1 2/5 8/14 3/3

The 21 points tied a season high! Smart is shooting 42% from the field and 36% from downtown this season. Over his first four seasons in the league, he had never posted a mark better than 37% from the field and 33% from downtown. As a result, while he always provided boards, dimes, and stocks, he was never able to crack the top 100 for fantasy on a per-game basis. This season, he’s a top 85 player and has had streaks where he’s been a top 60 player. Get Smart y’all!

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When you think of the great basketball players this season, who does your mind gravitate towards? James Harden? Paul George? Steph Curry? Karl-Anthony Towns? Giannis Antetokounmpo? There are likely 15-20 other players you would list before arriving at Andre Drummond. The free throw shooting stinks and he doesn’t provide treys, but you know what?

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
21 21 5 2 1 1 0 9/20 3/6

That’s what’s up. Dre leads the league in dub-dubs with 58 and has posted a 20/20 game 12 times this season. He’s 10th in blocks per game, 11th in steals per game, 1st in rebounds, and 19th in field goal percentage. On the season, he’s a top 25 player for fantasy. Yes, the free throw shooting and lack of treys put a ceiling on his value, but he does so much in the other categories that…..we must never forget about Dre.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Domantas Sabonis missed five games due to an ankle injury. His first game back, he played 20 minutes and shot 1-for-7 from the field and scored 9 points. In the second game, Sabonis only played 18 minutes but shot 4-of-12 from the field and scored 10 points. Since we all live on Planet Earth, we have all experienced a storm. They don’t magically appear out of nowhere. A combination of low and high pressure systems merge, form clouds, and often produce high-speed winds. You can see the clouds approaching or feel the wind picking up. In its most severe form, a storm brings a deluge of rain, crackling thunder, and a light show that would make the greatest of deejays jealous. That’s what occurred in Indiana last night, as Sabonis made it rain and lit up the Thunder:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
26 7 4 0 1 0 0 7/12 12/13

In 28 minutes. When Sabonis is right, he provides points, boards, some dimes, and a smattering of stocks. He also shoots close to 60% from the field and over 70% from the line. The main issue for Sabonis is the minutes, though, as Nate McMillan likes to go with Thaddeus Young at power forward alongside Myles Turner. As a result, he only averages around 24-25 minutes per game. Last night against the Thunder, Sabonis was abusing Jerami Grant, so McMillan stayed big, but outside of obvious matchups or injury, I wouldn’t consider last night to be the norm going forward. Storms don’t happen often, and ones with both lightning and thunder are rare.

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I thought I’d send out a reminder for those of you in keeper leagues. This probably applies more to roto players than head-to-headers, since those in roto leagues aren’t scraping and clawing for every last game they can get with their limited moves. I’m talking about stashing some of next year’s potential breakouts. Yeah, just about everyone worth taking next year is on a roster already… just about. In my keeper league, I once grabbed this Draymond Green character in the last few weeks of the season, since he’d been on a hot streak. He ended up finishing as a top-30 player the following season. Nearly the exact same story for C.J. McCollum the next year. And if I’d have been on my game at the end of last season, I’d have grabbed Cedi Osman, preventing me from having to waste an early draft pick on him this season (we keep a lot of players). There’s a ton of unknown between now and next October’s fantasy drafts (gloriously entertaining unknown, by the way), but we can make some educated guesses at this point. Do you have some players you know you’re not keeping next season that also aren’t making a difference on your team? Replace ’em with lottery tickets, and maybe one or two will pay off. They could at least give you some extra trade value.Some keeper and dynasty leagues don’t have a trade deadline, so I’ll be including some players here that might be near-universally owned in addition to those who have a good shot at being free agents in your league. Speaking of free agents, that’s how we’re going to unearth some of our targets. The other aspect I’ll look at are rookies and second-year players that could be in line for a bump in playing time and usage. And there will be some nice overlap in who we find from each strategy, I’m sure.

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Speaking in generalities, I’d say people on the East Coast are more straight up. In New York, time is money so people don’t want to dilly dally. In Los Angeles, there’s the whole Hollywood vibe. I will say, though, that driving in rush hour may show the true colors of an individual. In Philly, they just don’t give a F. Santa Claus? Here are some batteries for your noggin. With that said, there’s been plenty of B. S. in Philly these days:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
26 10 8 1 0 2 0 10/16 6/8

Ben Simmons aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaallmost messed around. If my handy dandy abacus didn’t fail me, he has 10 trip-dubs on the season. There have been many other games where he’s been so close. Anyways, the turnover are plentiful and you won’t get any treys (the ultimate stay-in-yo-lane), but the points, boards, dimes, and steals are plentiful. He had been languishing in the top 60 area for much of the season, but over the past seven games, he’s been a top 25 player because he’s increased his free throw percentage from 60% to 72% on 5.1 attempts. Hopefully that ain’t no B. S.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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O is the most important letter in the alphabet. Without it, we cannot spell food. It is so amazing that it can transform into a number without changing shape, and without 0, a game can never end. Before you saying anything, ties are stupid. Let’s not forget about the Big O, often elusive but well worth the wait. So, is there any wonder why Kelly Olynyk is today’s lede?

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
22 11 1 2 1 1 5/7 8/14 1/1

Continues to start and played a whopping 45 minutes! Since entering the starting lineup 12 games ago, Kelly O has averaged 26.9 minutes, 13.7 points, 5.2 boards, 2.4 dimes, 0.8 steals, 0.7 blocks, and 1.7 tres. He’s been shooting 52% from the field, 43% from downtown, and 95% on 1.9 attempts from the line. Over the last eight games, though, the minutes have rocketed up to 32.3 minutes and he’s been a top 25 player! Oh, Kelly O! You make me want to bellow and bestow good tidings for providing fantasy inferno. A few weeks ago, I was worried what would happy to Kelly O once James Johnson returned to the mix. I no longer have any worries from that angle. The one concern I do have is will Spoelstra stick with him if the shooting efficiency comes down, because Kelly O is not going to shoot 57% from the field forever. He’s more like a 48% shooter. Until that time, though, enjoy the ride.

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It must be hard to be the second fiddle night in and night out. Constantly being ignored and written off while your teammate garners all the praise. I think the most obvious dynamic duo of this kind in the NBA is Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. A slightly less obvious one is the front court duo of Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert.  Gobert almost always has a better fantasy line and puts up the gaudier defensive numbers and Favors’ stats would easily benefit if Rudy were to go down with an injury or if he was on another team. Well, for one glorious night, Robin saved Batman and got the villain. Favors went off for the line of 23-18-0-1-3-2 on 10-of-12 shooting and 3-of-4 from the line and led the Jazz to a victory over the Bucks. Derrick Favors is a man who has enjoyed a solid, if unspectacular NBA career. He’s one of the few remaining players who have played for the New Jersey Nets, a team I remember fondly. He’s actually been with Utah for nine years and has been a staple in the starting lineup for pretty much all of that time. He’s shooting a career best 57.8% FGs and is having his best blocks season since 2016. So today, take a second to think about the sous-chef, the vice president, the Derrick Favors’ of the world and how important they really are.

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My wife grew up in Brooklyn, New York. More specifically, Bay Ridge. When I first met her, the neighborhood was primarily Italian. Now, it’s mainly Chinese. Everytime I head out there, I enjoy exploring, whether it be on foot, subway, or car. If I take the D train down towards Coney Island, it’s mainly Russian and Eastern European neighborhoods. If I drive a few miles north, the Orthodox Jews have laid down their roots. If I cross the bridge and enter Manhattan, Chinatown is right on the water front. But the landscape is always changing. Chinatown is now becoming hip with art gallerys and Trader Joe’s. And so it is with the basketball team in New York. Not too long ago, Kristaps Porzingis was the King of New York. Now, he’s in Dallas. But the vacuum has to be filled by someone. Welcome to Mister RobinSON’s Neighborhood.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
17 14 0 3 6 0 0 6/9 5/6

Mitchell RobinSON didn’t come out of nowhere, as he dominated in high school and was a McDonald’s All-American, but he did not play a game of college ball because he was suspended for violating team rules. At 7′ 1″ and 240 pounds, the physical talent was never questioned, yet he was an enigma and a risk because he did not play against college competition. As a result, he fell in the draft and was selected with the 36th overall pick. We saw what he could do in the Summer League, which would have gotten Mister Rogers to shout a few expletives. During the regular season, the minutes were sparse and erratic early on. He was blocked on the depth chart and he had a penchant for fouling. Despite that, Mr. RobinSON was among the league leaders in blocks per game. Then Enes Kanter got shipped off to Portland, DeAndre Jordan got hurt, and Coach Fizdale decided to give him more run. Over the past five games, Mr. RobinSON has been a top 15 player, averaging 24.6 minutes, 10.4 points, 10 boards, 1.4 steals, and 4.4 blocks! He’s even shooting 70% from the line on 4 attempts. The past two games, Mr. RobinSON has played 30 and 33 minutes. Now, Fizdale has been doing wonky things all season with the rotations, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he holds Mr. RobinSON down. The Knicks are “Not Tryin’ for Zion” after all, so Mr. RobinSON may be too good for that campaign. There’s also unknown as to how things will shake out when Jordan returns. Regardless, welcome to Mister Robinson’s Neighborhood, as he’s an important part of the community no matter how many minutes he gets.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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P. S. stands for postscript, which comes from the Latin word postscriptum and literally means “written after.” It’s used for an afterthought, not cool enough to be a part of the main piece. Like, oh by the way, I forgot to mention this but blah blah blah. It gets a bad rap, but as Shaun Usher of the Wall Street Journal wrote, “The P. S. is the most charming part of a letter. It’s the wink you give as you walk away.” It’s the cherry on top, the bam for the wham, and the mic drop. Like, P. S. – You the shiznitz. What? What?! Which segues perfectly to Pascal Siakam.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
44 10 2 0 3 4 4/5 15/25 10/12

A career-high in points scored. On the season, Siakam has been a top 40 player, but over the past four games, he’s been top 25. The usage rate has spiked to 28 and he’s averaged 35.3 minutes, 26 points, 1.5 tres, 9 boards, 3 dimes, 1.3 steals, and 1 block while shooting 50% from the field and 81% from the line on 8 attempts! He literally does it all. Like literally, as he can play center or be a point forward. The improvement in his game has been nothing short of amazing. P. S. is no longer an afterthought and has to be a no-brainer for Most Improved Player.

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G – General Audiences. PG – Parental Guidance Suggested. PG-13 – Parents Strongly Cautioned. R – Restricted. NC-17 – Adults Only. Then it jumps to XXX. Unfortunately, this is not a category for Xander Cage, but more of the Pornhub variety. That’s obviously NSFW. Well, we need to have a new category thanks to Paul George. PG NSFW.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
47 12 10 2 0 2 8/13 15/26 9/11

Children can still watch because there is no nudity or violence, but his performances have been NSFW because he’s been turning defenders into mush. Like the scorpion who injects venom into its prey and liquifies the insides. Plus, all the hooting, hollering, and people trying to copy his moves in the workplace is not safe. Man, I’m still so sad that PG is not a Laker. As you’ll see later, too much crying for me in one post. Anyways, PG has been freaking unbelievable this season. He’s the #3 player for fantasy, and he’s been there consistently all season long. Over the past six games, he’s the #2 player!!! The usage rate has been 33 and he’s been averaging 23 shot attempts, 38 points, 5,8 tres, 6.8 boards, 2.8 dimes, and 2.3 steals. His performance has been porn for his owners all season long.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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