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.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Out of all the sports, basketball is the most projectable, as there are more possessions to provide a larger sample size. But that doesn’t mean variance doesn’t exist. Blake Griffin can miraculously block a shot one game or DeAndre Jordan can shoot 8-for-9 from the free throw line on any given night. The LA nightlife can affect a team’s performance or the hotel wifi could cause players to go on tilt which affects their performance on the court. Whatever the reason, shit happens sometimes.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
33 3 0 0 0 2 8/12 11/16 3/4

C. J. Miles did that. C. J. Miles never does that. He hasn’t scored more than 15 points in any game this season. To be fair, C. J. Miles used to do that. His career high is 40 points, back in 2010. In his prime, he’d only average around 12-13 points, but he’d go off for 30+ points every once in a while. Anyways, he will likely score 5 points in the next game, so in no way am I advocating walking 500 Miles with him. With that said, it’s always nice to acknowledge greatness, even if it probably won’t be replicated.

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When I used to drink back in high school, it’d be a lot of 40 ounces of Olde English 800. Too many 40’s of OE. Way too many 40’s of OE. I was/am a stupid, stupid man. But they were so cheap and it was nice to just have to carry around one bottle. I had repressed all those memories until I saw Kemba’s line last night:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
40 10 7 0 1 4 6/6 14/20 6/7

In 40 minutes! And that was without Cody Zeller (knee), who helps Kemba post positive numbers when he’s on the court. Anyways, the matchup last night against the Rockets was a great one, as Houston is the 6th-worst at defending the pick-and-roll, a play that Kemba is a master at running. With that said, he has been hot recently regardless, as he’s been a top 25 player over the past seven games. The usage rate is above 30 and he’s been jacking up 20 shots per game. Kemba does contribute across the board, even chipping in 0.4 blocks. Yo, Blake Griffin. You seeing this? It all comes down to the shooting efficiency for Kemba. During his current heater, he’s converting 46% of his shots from the field. There were stretches during the season when he was sub-40%. Hopefully he continues his hot streak for the duration of the fantasy playoffs and entices you to seek out a bottle of Olde English.

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Mike Conley has really had some tough luck with injuries and never playing for an elite team. Now that Memphis appears to be in the midst of a confusing rebuild, it creates even more of a question mark surrounding Conley and his role on the team. You start to feel bad for him, but then you remember the sweet contract he signed. Still, it has to be rough to be at his level and rarely be in conversations about current great NBA players. He shows up, plays with this roster, and puts up his stats, which have him inside the top 30 for the season.

FG FT 3PT Points Reb Assists Steals Blocks TO
11/18 3/3 3/7 28 3 11 2 0 3

This marks back-to-back excellent games for Conely. The double-digit assists are really nice, as are the 3 3’s. It’s tough to say how things will go down for Conley the rest of the season, but for now, he’s humming along nicely and fantasy GMs should be excited about the production.

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It’s been a disappointing season for Khris Middleton, as the consistency and shooting efficiency have been lacking. With G one year more experienced and Coach Budenholzer implementing his offense, things were looking bullish before the season started. He did finish as the #25 player on a per-game last season. He’s playing 4 fewer minutes this year, but the shot attempts have remained the same, the tres have gone up, and so has the usage rate. It’s all about the shooting efficiency. Warm it up, Khris. Is he about to?

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
27 2 4 3 0 3 4/7 8/15 7/9

Let’s hope so. Middleton isn’t the flashiest player, as he’s got that YMCA old man game. Maybe that’s why he doesn’t get love. He’s a really good player and contributes a little something something in everything but blocks. Hopefully he can warm it up down the stretch and reward those that stayed strong.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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You’re all aware of the safety warning, “objects in the mirror are closer than they appear,” right? If not, please text me before you drive so I can stay home. Anyways, the warning is placed on the side mirrors of cars because the convexity of the mirror, while allowing one to see more area, also makes objects appear smaller. This gives the impression that an object is closer than it appears. So easy a SON can get it. Well, if you’ve been reading me all year, you know that I walked 500 Myles earlier in the season. It was a challenging endeavor, but all worth it in the end, as last night Myles Turner was able to post a career-high in…..

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
10 11 2 0 7 2 1/1 3/11 3/4

…..blocks. He had posted 6 blocks in a game five times in his career. Now, due to my loyalty when things were tough, Myles let me ride shotgun as we drove along the coast and reminsced. As he was telling me stories of his childhood, I got freaked out when I saw Brook Lopez’s face in the mirror. It kept getting bigger and bigger, like the T-Rex in Jurassic Park. I was about to pass out when Myles just turned, smirked, and said, “chill out, Son. Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.” He then calmly explained that Lopez was a distant second to him in blocks because he played seven fewer games. Myles has 159 blocks on the season in 57 games, compared to 143 in 64 games for Lopez. That breaks down to 2.79 vs 2.23. Whew. Anyways, from a fantasy perspective, the blocks are great and he provides tres from the big man position, but because he likes to hang out on the perimeter, the boards, points, and efficiency from the field are light. He also doesn’t provide dimes. With that said, over the past four games, he’s been a top 25 player primarily on the blocks alone, as he’s Myles ahead of the competition in that category.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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If you grew up in the 90s, there’s no doubt you heard “Steal My Sunshine” by Len. The radio stations only played it five times every hour for months on end. Remember, this was before iPods, iPhones, Spotify, and XM Radio. It was also a time when MTV and VH1 would actually….you know…play music videos, so the inundation was widespread and impossible to eradicate. The song had a nice summer vibe to it and made one feel happy, but if you dig into the lyrics, it’s about depression…at least in the beginning, but the song is ultimately about overcoming depression and being happy. Well, Alex Len has been a source of depression for fantasy owners for a long, long time. We’ve always been tantalized by the potential but he could never put it together on a consistent basis. Last night, though, it all came together….

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
28 9 2 0 2 0 5/8 9/18 5/8

…at least for one night, a career-high night in points no less. Now, don’t get gassed because he received his first start since late December, as John Collins and Omari Spellman both did not play due to injury. He did play 36 minutes in the prior game and put up 24/10, but that game went to triple overtime. In addition, both games were against the Bulls. Put your head down in shame Bulls. Anyways, when the Hawks get healthy, Len will return to coming off the bench and receiving fewer than 20 minutes of run, but keep in mind that when injuries strike, Len does have some upside. He has eight dub-dubs on the season.

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In a motorsport race, a pace car is utilized to….if you guessed set the pace, then winner winner chicken dinner! There are many reasons the pace car exists: to keep the competitors bunched up so that advantages of time and space are negated, to conserve fuel, and for safety concerns during bad weather or accidents on the track. In essence, they are the boring cars on the track because they don’t get to race and compete for victory. That’s not to say the pace cars are hoopties, though. They are often performance cars that would dust any commercial vehicle on the market. For example, the pace car for the Indianapolis 500 was a Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, which boasted 755 horsepower, could go from 0-60 in 2.85 seconds, and had a top speed of 212 mph! Bojan Bogdanovic is a pace car in the NBA. He’s boring and delivers steady production, but there’s muscle under the hood. Last night, Bojan was able to put the pedal to the metal and paced Indiana to victory.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
37 7 4 0 0 1 4/7 13/22 7/9

The 37 points and 22 shot attempts were both season-highs. His career-high was 44 points back in 2015. I told you. There’s muscle under the hood. Now, since Victor Oladipo succumbed to injury back on January 26th, Bogdanovic has played 15 games and averaged 32.2 minutes, 20.6 points, 3.7 boards, 2.1 dimes, and 0.7 steals. He’s shot 51% from the field on 15.3 attempts, 38% from downtown on 5.5 attempts, and 81% from the line on 3.5 attempts. He’s consistently been a top 100 player, has scored in double figures 18 straight games, and is garnering a usage rate close to 30. Bogdanovic won’t win many weeks for you, but he consistently delivers what you expect from him and has access to ceiling games.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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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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I’ve got to admit. I was a D’Angelo Russell hater before he came to the Nets. The incident where he exposed Nick Young as a cheater by filming him, talking about it, and posting it on social media made me think he was kind of a bonehead and a snitch. I also thought he was a guy who would never meet the expectations of being the number two overall draft pick. I also, was not a fan of his game from a fantasy perspective. He turned it over too much and he had poor shooting percentages, both from the field and the line, while contributing almost nothing in the way of D stats. However, since being traded to the Nets I have changed my tune on him, especially this season. He made a huge improvement in his FTs, going from 74% last season to 81.8% this season. He also upped his assists by 1.5 while not adding too many turnovers, and upped his scoring by nearly 5 points. He has also shown the ability to absolutely take over games and last night was one of those nights. D-Loading went 6-40-1-7-2-1-4 on 14-of-31 shooting and 6-for-6 from the line. It was also his 23rd birthday, so as a Nets fan I felt compelled to give him the lede. It’s hard to believe he’s already a four-year veteran, but that’s what happens with these one-and-done guys. They also can take some time to fully download.

There was a huge slate of games last night so let’s dive on in to the daily notes!

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