I’m back after a one-week break due to unavoidable obligations (I know, boring real-life) and a lot happened while I was gone in the fantastic world of the NBA. Giannis and James Harden are literally going head-to-head for the MVP award, the Lakers are in a disarray without Lebron, but the most important news report surfaced yesterday. The Philadelphia 76ers are signing the one, the only, the real fantasy king and Son’s favorite player of this century, Corey Brewer!!

Get up from your chair at work, from your bed, or from your bathroom and run to pick up the player that was projected 91st this summer. Sorry Son, I had to do it. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, acquaint yourselves to our inside joke by searching for the 91st ranked player here and taking a look at the comments…

The only upside to not publishing an article last week is that my suggestions can be judged on a two-week basis, which is a markedly larger sample size, so let’s quickly go through them. Both Tomas Satoransky and Thomas Bryant had great performances and will continue to have solid value without John Wall around. The same cannot be said for Willy Hernangomez, who has so far failed to capitalize on his increased opportunity and is thus a tough hold in standard leagues. But to compensate for this bad suggestion and, if you allow me to toot my own horn, both Derrick White and Austin Rivers have outperformed expectations and possibly have won some matchups with their performance during the last two weeks. Finally, it’s been a rollercoaster ride with Luke Kornet, as he had three awesome games and three bad one. Enes Kanter missed some time but Mitchell Robinson’s potential return could complicate things for Luke. I will have the pleasure to watch him in all his awkwardness live in the London game, so you will have a first-hand report of his performance next week.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Off the top of my head, Phil and Joan are the most famous people with the last name Collins. Well deserved and they sit on the thrones in the pantheon of Collins’s. Is that right? Or would it be Colline? Whatever, English is my second language. Ebonics was my first. Perusing the list of Collins’s or Colline got me thinking that people that pursue fame are dumb because 99% of the time that you think you’re famous, no one gives a shit or remembers. I guess that’s something someone who’s not famous writes. Anyways, John Collins has been making a case to be on the list.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
30 14 1 1 0 3 1/2 12/21 5/6

Collins has played 25 games, yet is 22nd in the NBA with 16 dub-dubs. For persepective, Joel Embiid leads the league with 36 in 40 games. Over the last eight games, he’s been a top 50 player, averaging 31.7 minutes, 19.3 points, 1.3 threeecolas, 11.8 boards, 2.3 dimes, with 57% shooting from the field and 75% on 4 attempts from the free throw line. The only thing he doesn’t contribute are the D stats. The Hawks play at the fastest pace in the league, so the environment is ripe for Collins to thrive. Unfortunately, the lack of D stats will keep him from challenging Phil or Joan for the throne, but that’s okay. At least he’s in the conversation.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When I was a preteen, I remember a super rare baseball card of Cal Ripken’s brother, Billy Ripken. The normal card had him holding a baseball bat without anything worth noting on the card. But there were a few prints of an original that showed where the goofball Billy decided to scribble a curse word that was gold to 12-year-old baseball card collectors. There were only a few copies of this card and I was lucky enough to find one in a fresh pack. It was so rare, that I managed to sell it to a classmate for $50, which I then wasted on more baseball cards. Sometimes an amazingly rare thing happens and you just have to enjoy the moment. Marcin Gortat managed to turn back the clock and post this out-of-nowhere gem on the Suns.

FG FT 3PT Points Reb Assists Steals Blocks TO
8/10 2/2 NA 18 13 1 0 1 2

Now, this was unexpected. Gortat has been a complete nonfactor this season, but managed a gem of a game. I wouldn’t expect a repeat any time soon, but it’s nice to be able to talk about the Polish Hammer once again.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As a grizzled fantasy veteran like many of you, I have most players’ typical stat sets from the last few years stuck in my head. It takes a long time for me to change my opinion, regardless of how hot or cold someone gets for a few weeks or so. I generally go with logic and think “small sample size — regression is coming”. But I wasn’t always so boring. It wasn’t always this way…

Flashback to the year 2000…

(Okay, sorry. I’ll try to stay focused. Stupid gifs of everything in history at the click of a button.)

…You’d find me in my dorm room, navigating my way through my first fantasy basketball season, loving our super-fast ethernet connection (no more AOL dial-up like at home!). Putting off homework by manually adding up my team’s stats on Yahoo each night in the pre-StatTracker days. It was an 8-cat Roto league (still my game of choice), so I didn’t need to get too crafty with weekly games played, matching up against specific teams, or checking NBA opponents. I’d been a big NBA fan, but I’d lost touch somewhat since my Bulls had disbanded in 1998. So, my main strategy was simple: Look at stats for the last month, and pick up whoever the best available guys were (I remember a guy I’d never heard of, Bo Outlaw, providing some sneaky stats for weeks and months at a time). Give them a couple of games to see if they’d keep it up, and if not, swap ’em for the next hot thing. Could it be so simple? Well, I ended up winning that league that season. And most seasons after that. You may not have found my friends in my league adding up their teams’ stats at 4 a.m., I guess.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Mondays can be rough for many. Some may be recovering from too many adult beverages, while others may still have the bass bumping in their heads from the clubbing. There are those that went out of town and….are still mentally there. Whatever the case may be, for those that don’t work on the weekends, Mondays are a recuperation and recovery day. Which is apparently what happened in the NBA, as players were scratched left and right, and many others got injured during the game. I’m not saying that the nightlife was the culprit, but I just wrote it so….All jokes aside, yesterday was one of the craziest slates I’ve seen in a while. Below is a list of the inactives:

Pre-game:

John Wall (heel)
Ish Smith (groin)
Kyrie Irving (shoulder)
Gordon Hayward (illness)
Al Horford (knee)
Aron Baynes (ankle)
Blake Griffin (rest)
Reggie Bullock (ankle)
Hassan Whiteside (personal)
Evan Fournier (personal)
Stanley Johnson (knee)
E’Twaun Moore (rest)
Dennis Smith Jr. (wrist)
Giannis Antetokounmpo (neck)
Jamal Crawford (knee)
During the game:

Jimmy Butler (groin)
Henry Ellenson (ankle)
Glenn Robinson III (ankle)
Otto Porter Jr. (knee)
Nikola Mirotic (ankle)
Tristan Thompson (foot)
Lou Williams (hamstring)
Thank goodness tomorrow is Tuesday.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There was a time when the streets were flooded with bookstores: B. Dalton, Borders, Coles, Crown Books, and Encore Books. Then the internet came along and changed the whole paradigm. No longer did people have to get off their asses to buy books. Instead, a click here and a click there and…poof…like magic, the book would appear at their door. As a result, brick-and-mortar locations became obsolete and the aforementioned stores went kaput. But one company, Barnes & Noble, was able to rise from the carnage and remain relevant. While there was no need to have a bookstore at every corner, some people still enjoyed that walk-in experience. As a result, Barnes & Noble has remained and continues to serve the community. Which brings me to Harrison Barnes. A five-star recruit and Mr. Basketball USA in high school, All-Conference and All-American in college (North Carolina), and All-Rookie in the NBA, business was booming in the Barnes household. But then he got scared of his own shadow during the NBA playoffs (2015) , in a contract year no less, and kaput. No more Golden State. Mark Cuban, though, saw value and paid $94 million over four years to acquire his services. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ During his time in Dallas, Barnes has averaged 18.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.7 steals, 1.4 threeecolas, and 0.2 blocks. Not great, but serviceable. Is that worth $94 million? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ But every once in a while, Barnes does deliver:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
30 9 1 0 1 3 3/9 11/28 5/5

Over the past six games, Barnes has been a top 60 player, but he’s more like a top 100 player. Since 2014, he’s finished as the 109th, 119th, 79th, and 90th player. Barnes doesn’t provide much of a ceiling but the floor is pretty high, as he shoots a ton of shots. Not everyone likes bookstores, but they do provide a function for some. That’s the best way to describe Harrison Barnes for fantasy.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?