As we prepare for the 2016-17 Fantasy Basketball Season, I’ll be taking a look at each NBA team with their major adds and drops to see if we can pan for any surprise rotational gold. This open is especially witty for the Nuggets. We’ll be counting down from worst NBA regular season to the best, mainly because I’m still figuring out how to rank the Warriors…
Phoenix Suns (23-59)
F Jared Dudley
F/C Dragan Bender (Rookie)
FMarquese Chriss (Rookie)
G Tyler Ulis (Rookie)
G Leandro Barbosa
F Markieff Morris
F Mirza Teletovic
F Jon Leuer
G Ronnie Price
G/F Chase Budinger
A Feeling of Complacency
Is it weird that I always really liked the Suns logo?! It just looks cool every time I see it!
What a draft day for the Suns! Absolutely loaded at guard, the Suns manage to snag two upside-y bigs that can stretch the floor, hit treys, and play some D. Of course, they’re 19-year-old projects and have a wide range of outcomes, but as a rebuilding team, they made awesome moves.
Besides the rookie class, the Suns hold off on free agency and only invest in a few Milk Duds. They still have one too many guards, but given the injury issues of Knight & Bledsoe, depth isn’t the worst thing. That said, it wouldn’t be surprising to see one of the two dealt at the deadline through Phoenix’s rebuilding efforts. But going into opening night, here’s how they’re looking:
I love Sports. WORST CLICHE OPEN EVER! But seriously, what makes sports awesome is you can have very little interest in one-particular game, then all the sudden you’re watching something unbelievable. A great example was that 2013 Alabama Auburn game that I flipped on for the 4th quarter then the way short field goal ended up being an Auburn TD. I had no stake in that game! But sooooo glad I just happened to flip to it… Then it happened again on Saturday night.
I know what you’re saying… “But JB, it’s GSW and OKC, you weren’t planning your whole weekend around that matchup?!” Well, I have none of those guys on my favorite teams (who are we kidding, none on my REL team), and was out Saturday night anyway at my buddy’s house. We kinda nonchalantly put it on in the background, then the next thing you know, Stephen Curry is running back out of the tunnel like a gladiator after his injury and we watched one of the best regular-season NBA games I’ve ever seen. If not THE best.
In case you missed it during the depths of the offseason, I wrote a pretty lengthy rant on the awfulness that was Interstellar. At some point during the movie, Anne Goaway says something like “Love is the ONE THING that can transcend time and space” or some crap expository dialogue… Well, Christopher Nolan, looks like you need to do a 4-years-too-late re-write! It should be “Stephen Curry’s jump shot is the ONE THING that can transcend time and space”! I don’t think I need to transpose his numbers ever again; he just is the best at basketball. And the game was a little bit of a microcosm of his career – started fine but not awesome, got a kankle, but persevered and was able to get back into the game, then was the best shooter the NBA has ever seen. Cleaning house of awards and records like Mad Max: Fury Road last night! To think he went to college less than a mile from my childhood house and I sat right behind him once at a Davidson College game! I should’ve tried to nab his mouthguard when it was hanging out on a FT shot… Here’s what else went down over the weekend of fantasy hoops action, plus The 7 Ahead for Week 18:
Like Radiohead’s Kid A album, we need to start off this morning with a reminder that even ThrAGNOFs can get Everything In Its Right Place treatment. Often ridiculed, thrown garbage at, excommunicated like lepers, they pretty much mope around like they’re listening to Radiohead… Even ThrAGNOFs are people too!
Just look at our conversation during the Pod yesterday. Slim hates on Mirza being a ThrAGNOF, I say he’s the only real consistent PF, and Slim has to begrudgingly agree. We say “Threes ain’t got no face” not because they have no existential meaning and are The Plague on Camus’s fantasy team, but because a player that hit 3s/scores/low TO are often overrated by the metrics. Last night, Mirza went 30/11/1/0/0, hitting 12-23 FG with 5 treys against his former Nets. Now, he didn’t have the normal low TO (4), but he grabs more boards than your typical wing ThrAGNOF, and brings it at an out-of-position PF spot. In the 4 games since the deadline, ThrAGNOFovic is 20.5/7.3/1.5 with 3.5 treys a game. He’s owned in all of my RCLs, but he’s still only 39% owned across the Yahoo-verse and still available in several leagues. Of course if you don’t need scoring and 3s, you’re not missing on too much, and his production is easily replaceable if he gets cold. But while hot, you gotta ride your ThrAGNOFs! Here’s what else went down in fantasy hoops action last night:
It was an exceptional weekend of NBA action after the wayyyyyyy too long layoff for the break, highlighted by a huge upset by the Blazers. Is anyone else getting annoyed by that Damian Lillard commercial on the NBA App?! The one where he semi-raps, then says “thanks for the motivation” when asked about his haters? Well, it’s kinda fitting now, with that performance after that All-Star snubbery! Dame went Insame on the Warriors for a career-high 51 points, going 51/0/7/6/0, shooting 18-28 from the field. But the crazier numbers were 9 treys, and not a single TO. 6 steals and no turnovers?! That’s winning hoops right there! He followed it up with a huge night last night as well, going 24/4/4 through 3 quarters before grandpa JB hit his bedtime. Portland bested Golden State with a crushing 137-105 W in that Friday epic win, solidifying the Blazers as a playoff contender. No one thought they would even be close, and as Slim and I talked on the Pod, Stotts deserves a ton of cred and maybe some Coach of the Year consideration. If you told me in October the Blazers would make the playoffs, I woulda said you’re Insame! Here’s what else went down over an exciting return to hoops over the weekend, plus The 7 Ahead for week 17:
Sorry folks, there will be no lengthy lead-in for this edition of the Daily Notes. (And likely very little attempt at clever humor.) I’m a bit under the weather and doing my best to spill any digital ink on the page at all. I hope everyone is cool with me just jumping right in to The Good, The Bad & The Noteworthy for Tuesday’s five-game slate so I can catch a few extra ZZZs.
Earlier in the year when the NBA released its schedule for the 2015/2016 season, one of the very first things I did was flip forward to December 25th. I was really stoked to see five games, neatly stacked one after the other, for our holiday viewing pleasure. The excitement continued to grow right up until the games went live and we quickly learned that putting the ball through the hoop is, apparently, quite a bit more difficult on Christmas.
Anthony Davis in South Beach for a noon eastern tip-off against the Heat. What a great way to kick off the afternoon after tossing back a few coffee & Baileys, scarfing down some cinnamon buns, and opening some presents, right? Yeah… no. They needed overtime and the Pelicans still couldn’t hit the 90-point mark. Brow was nice (29/15/4/4/3), as was Chris Bosh, but the game was not pretty. At all.
So I says to myself, I says: “Self, one stinker does not a bad day make. We just got the ugly one outta the way early. This will not be a harbinger of things to come. No, sir, it will not.” Next up we got the weirdly entertaining (and enigmatic) Bulls visiting the dynamic duo of Russell Westbrook & Kevin Durant in front of an always raucous Oklahoma City crowd. Well, Chicago doubled up OKC in the third quarter (32-16) to quiet the crowd and pulled away as nobody other than the Thunder’s two stars bothered to show up. The league’s second most efficient team on offense couldn’t crack the century mark and fell 105-96.
Congratulations to Dirk Nowitzki. He passed Shaquille O’Neal for number 6 on the all-time NBA scoring list.
While Kobe Bryant gains the headlines in his last season, Dirk and Tim Duncan have quietly shown how to adapt their game for the team’s sake, taking less money and adding more wins to their already impressive résumés.
At 37, Dirk isn’t the same fantasy monster that he used to be, but is still valuable. He’s scored 20+ points in three straight games and so far has posted better overall numbers than last season. His game is much different than Kobe’s, with much less wear and tear on his body, allowing him to remain relatively healthy later in his career. Personally, I don’t see any reason why Dirk has to tie the sneakers up anytime soon.
In addition to passing Shaqtus, Dirk hit the game winner in the Mavericks’ overtime win over the Nets. He finished with 22 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists. Not bad for a 37-year-old.
Overtime basketball is free basketball and it usually means great stat lines for everyone involved:
The race to see who will be the biggest historical figure from NYC named Langston!
In his first career start, another D-League darling in Langston Galloway had a career-high 21 points in a 21/5/3/0/0 line hitting 8-14 FG and 3-6 from deep. Probably the best stat from yesterday is that the Knicks are undefeated in Galloway starts. Kid doesn’t know how to lose! Starting a little bit out-of-position at the 2 guard, the Knicks seem intent on giving him minutes and seeing what they have. He played 31 yesterday to Jose Calderon‘s 23 minutes of rock-bottom garbage and Shane Larkin only popped up for 15. Definitely going Galloway over Larkin, I was on that side of the argument even last week, but is it crazy to roll the dice on Langston over terrible-aroni Calderoni? I would probably take Galloway unless a desperate need for assists-upside. Plus Calderon makes perfect sense as a trade candidate given the Knicks’ direction. Notice how I said Knicks. And not Poppycockers. Because they won a game! I’m giving our New York readers a day of respite… Keep the losses coming, Knicks, I wanna keep doling out the Poppycockers joke the rest of the year! Here’s what else has gone down since we last checked in on Friday in fantasy basketball action:
I’ve never been a huge fan of his, but at least Mo Williams makes it really easy to have a punny title…
I would’ve said you’re as high as Busta Rhymes if you told me Mo Will was about to drop 50 last night. What a crazy, crazy world we live in where the T’Wolves finally break out of their 15-game losing streak behind a franchise record 52-point game. Some really weird biguns for the Wolves, remember when Corey Brewer put up 51 last year? So both of those guys stay in the franchise record books as better scorers than Kevin Love or Kevin Garnett. Go figure. Makes me wanna headbutt something! Mo with an unbelievable line of 52/4/7 hitting 19-33 FG (6-11 3PTM 8-9 FT). Where to even start with the crazy?! Mo hadn’t scored 30 since MARCH 2012 (!!) according to our friends at Rotoworld. I would look at his game-logs to fact check, but we don’t fact check! And as good as this game is, he’s not even a good pickup! I think that’s the craziest thing… Ricky Rubio is almost back to retake the PG minutes, and even if Flip wanted to run some combo guard lineups out there, Kevin Martin (so many Kevins in Timberwolves history!) is almost back. Plus this game should make him easier to sell in the NBA. Might get the Wolves a first rounder. So while Mo is maybe worth an add for the very short-term (only 32% owned on Yahoo late last night), I’m certainly not losing anyone of value for him. Here’s what else went down on a crazy and injury-riddled night of NBA action:
Awwwwww, yeah! Yeah J-Val. Gimme a little peek. Gimme a little glimmer of hope!
Oh man, was it a tale of two halves for the Raptors last night! They were lobbin’ shizz all over the place like they were the Globetrotters against the… Who do they play again? That they always beat? Oh yeah, the Knicks, like they were the Globetrotters against the Knicks. Kyle Lowry had 9 dimes in the first quarter and Jonas Valanciunas put up 14 points on 7-8 shooting. Drummo playing uggo! Kinda a “but his D” lately… The Luminescent Lithuanian ended up going 14-15 for 31/12/0/0/1. The FT% is nice (3-4 last night and right at 80% on the year), but his combined – yes COMBINED – Ast/Stl/Blk this year are under 2. Sigh. I thought he could turn into something so much more special! There are some long-term nice things – per-36s he’s cut down a few TO, scoring more, fouls are down – but Casey is playing him lower minutes than last year (and wouldn’t consistently feed him after that hot start) and I don’t know if he’s ever going to be more than a slightly taller Zach Randolph. And with that, J-Val is all insulted, buttoning up his clothes, and not giving me that flash of hope. Dammit, I’m my own cockblocker! Me n Valaciunas are gonna be awkward for a while until safely in the friendzone. Here’s what else went down on a light night of Monday action: