It pains me to write this, but I was never a big Kobe Bryant fan during his playing days, and I regret that fact, immensely. I never had him on my fantasy team. I never watched his games late at night on the east coast. I never applauded his championships and didn’t care much about his 60-point performance to end his career. With that said, his passing hit me much harder than I thought it would, and that was before I found out his daughter was alongside him, which made it all the more tragic. I have come to appreciate him more since his retirement. His business acumen, his desire to succeed in every facet of life, and his willingness to mentor young NBA players and aspiring professionals alike, is inspirational. Those are the types of things that I respect, as a professional and as a parent.

It occurred to me that Kobe Bryant had that Tom Brady effect on me. While my Knicks fandom was not directly affected by the Lakers’ success, I felt as if Kobe had the same suffocating hold on me as Tom Brady and the Patriots have on my Jets fandom. It turns out I was likely envious of the success my Lakers friends were witnessing, while I sat rooting for dysfunction.

Well, over the last few days I have taken the time to watch that final 60-point performance, along with tons of amazing highlights I have seen over the years, and I enjoyed every second of it. The culmination of the career of the immensely talented and competitive specimen that was Kobe Bryant came to a head on a historic night. I have taken the time to understand the competitiveness that drove Kobe, and I wish I had that Mamba Mentality on a daily basis. Seeing that Kobe’s passing has had such an impact nationally speaks volumes to who he was as a player, an icon, and a role model for so many, and he will be sorely missed.

Every year the trade deadline comes and goes. This year there are some intriguing names that could be hitting the market. The next man up mentality is true in all facets of the game, and trades open many opportunities for players to seize. Here are a few deep stashes for the upcoming trade deadline.

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Oladipo, Ho! That jam would always get me so pumped up, and it’s perfect for the return of Victor Oladipo to the NBA. Two years ago, after being traded to Indiana for Paul George, there were questions about Oladipo’s place in the league. Was he a bust? For fantasy, many said yes because he finished as the #87 player in 2016. Well…..Oladipo, Ho! He came out with a vengeance the following year, garnered a 30.2 usage rate and finished as the #10 player! 23.1 points, 2.1 tres, 5.2 boards, 4.3 dimes, 2.4 steals, and 0.8 blocks with 47% shooting from the field and 79% from the line! Oladipo, Ho! Unfortunately, the following season, he ruptured a tendon in his quad after 36 games and was done for the season. After year of grueling rehab, Oladipo made his season debut last night.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
9 2 4 0 0 2 1/7 2/8 4/4

In 21 minutes off the bench. The shooting efficiency was off, which was to be expected, but he did send the game to OT with a game-tying tres. Once a baller, always a baller. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what’s always balling and shot calling? The Stocktonator. Anyways, the Pacers have said that there will be a 24-minutes cap through the All-Star break for Oladipo. It’s just nice to have him back on the court. If he can remain healthy, there’s a chance he gets ramped up to 30 minutes per game and help teams in the fantasy playoffs. Oladipo, Ho! 

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Kendrick Nunn went undrafted in the 2018 NBA Draft, despite leading the NCAA Division I in three-point shooting with 4.47 per game and finishing second to Trae Young in scoring with 25.9 points per contest. He played his rookie season with the Warriors G-League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors, and averaged 19.3 points in 29 minutes. In the offseason, the Miami Heat took a chance on him and were shown the Power of Nunn. In a preseason game against the Rockets, Nunn dropped a 40-burger. As a result, he entered the starting lineup, which he hasn’t relinquished in 40 straight games. Now, despite starting every game, it’s been a rollercoaster in terms of production. He got out of the gates on fire, then cooled off, then picked it up, then plateaued for a bit. Well, last night, he reminded us of what the Power of Nunn looks like.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
33 3 4 2 0 2 5/7 13/18 2/2

Nunn is averaging a little over 28 minutes per contest. The usage rate is in a healthy range of 23-25 and he’s jacking up 13 shots per game. He will provide a handful of boards and dimes with the occasional steal, but he’s primarily a points and tres player. Nunn is obviously not going to shoot 72% every game. On the season, he’s converting 45% of his shots. Not bad. The turnover rate is miniscule at 1.8, so that should endear him to the coaches, which provides a relatively high floor for fantasy. If you ain’t on the court, then you ain’t good for us. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what never leaves the court? The Stocktonator. Nunn is currently a top 120 player on the season. If he continues to start, then that’s a reasonable expectation of where he ends the season.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I have sporadically mentioned in these articles how much I admire Gregg Popovic. Not only for his coaching ability, love for the game, and competitiveness, but also for his personality. The guy is a quote machine, always providing something clever/funny/deep to comment, depending on the situation. And after a game-winning performance by DeMar Derozan against the Raptors, he had this to say.

DeRozan got the star treatment on his return in Toronto but Pop was quick to bring him back to earth in his own unique way. It really makes you think about the culture of the San Antonio organization as a whole and appreciate their commitment to success through teamwork.

Regarding last week’s suggestions, Bradley Beal returned, but this hasn’t slowed down both Ish Smith and Jordan Mcrae, who continued their productive streaks. Sekou Doumbouya also looks like a big hit, as Blake Griffin should be out for the rest of the season and Daniel Gafford is a start-worthy player as long as Wendell Carter Jr. is out.

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History is written by the victors. Alexander III was a king of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon in 336 BC. Due to his undefeated record in battle and conquest of Persia, the III was replaced with The Great. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what’s always great? The Stocktonator. Now, over 2000 years later, Alexander the Great has been etched into the history books and permeated our minds. Last night, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander delivered a performance that imprinted him into the NBA archives.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
20 20 10 0 1 2 2/3 8/12 2/2

That was the 90th time since 1946 that a player has scored 20 points with at least 20 boards and 10 dimes. The last player to perform the feat was Russell Westbrook last season, when he went 20/20/21! Since 2000, it’s happened only six times before Shai’s performance. Now, for fantasy, Shai got off to a blazing start this season then cooled off. Over the past 16 games, though, he’s been a top 20 player for fantasy, averaging 36 minutes, 21.9 points, 0.9 tres, 6.6 boards, 2.7 dimes, and 1.4 steals. The field goal percentage has been a whopping 52% while the free throw shooting has been 85%. He’s garnered a usage rate of 23.9, yet Shai has only turned the ball over 1.6 times per game! Will this continue? Probably not. He’s not going to continue shooting 52% from the field. He shot 47% over the course of his rookie season, so that’s a reasonable expectation. The Logo, Jerry West, loved Shai and was instrumental in the Clippers drafting him. They had to trade him in order to get Paul George, so it’s understandable why they made the move, but West is one of the best talent evaluators in the league. If he’s high on someone, then so am I.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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As NBA fans and fantasy basketball players we all lust for the power of NBA general managers. Many of us wrongly assume we could do a better job heading our favorite team’s basketball operations—it isn’t hard to get those ideas if you happen to be a Knicks, Magic, Timberwolves, Suns, or Kings fan. But what we long for as much as the power, is the seriousness of the endeavor. NBA GM’s get to make decisions that carry weight. A draft pick is quite simply a choice—a highly public, decade-defining choice in some cases, but a choice all the same. We make choices every day—the blue or the red tie, Toyota Camry or Nissan Altima, Fleabag or The Good Place, two drinks or twelve, poetry or literally anything else that might actually pay the bills. We make applicable sports decisions as well. We choose between Kyrie Irving or Damian Lillard in our fantasy draft, we add Kendrick Nunn or Davis Bertans off the wire, we kill Russell Westbrook in the group chat, we build property on Julius Randle, Dion Waiters, or Lonzo Ball Island. We tweet, we engage, and we argue. We win our league or we don’t. In time, we are either vindicated or pilloried. At best, we have a lighthearted thing to lord over people we care about, at worst, we have to dye our hair, wear ugly ill-fitting clothes, or in a more recent trend, consume enough waffles to avoid sleeping in a Waffle House. But largely, no one notices or cares, as our sports opinions are indiscernible dots in a sea of data points.

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Over the first 10 games of the season, Tristan Thompson was must-see tv, as he averaged 33.5 minutes, 16.5 points, 11.4 boards, 2.3 dimes, 0.9 steals, and 1.4 blocks. He was even shooting 50% on 0.6 tres attempts! He was the #31 player for fantasy! At the time, I attributed the out-of-Tristan’s-world production due to the fact that he was going to be a free agent after the season. He wouldn’t be the first, and won’t be the last, to “play harder” due to chasing the bag. Then, the production inevitably fell and Tristan became the Tristan we were accustomed to; boards, blocks, and shitty free throw percentage. But then last night’s performance forced me to dig deeper.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
35 14 3 1 3 2 0/1 15/20 5/6

In 45 minutes during an overtime game! A career high in points! As Vince Lombardi yelled, “What the hell is going on here?” Now, lean back, light a cigarette, and take a trip down the rabbit hole I inexplicably ventured into last night. The things I do for you guys. And I didn’t even eat shrooms. Alright, here we go.

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OUCH…. If it was two or three years ago, Davis would have been already ruled out for the next two months., but the Lakers need to stay competitive so he should be back at the earliest opportunity. It is always a shock to see NBA athletes of that size take such falls or collisions, but it is a contact sport after all. However, Andre Robertson had a similar awful injury three years go and he has yet to return in any resemblance of form. Let’s hope AD is fine because he is having an awesome season and has ever so slightly gotten rid of the injury prone label.

Regarding last week’s suggestions, I will freely admit that it was a bad week. I blame it on too much food during the holiday season. Or I was just in a suggesting slump that I will surely shake off during the next game. Both help me sleep better at night so I’m sticking with them. More specifically, Gary Payton II’s hot start is a distant memory and Delon Wright’s emergence is not happening, unfortunately. Both were terrible this past week and I dropped them already in standard leagues. Only De’Anthony Melton was usable but, with the Memphis returning to full strength, he will also struggle to find meaningful minutes.

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The Adam’s apple is a lump in the neck, primarily seen in males. It’s size increases during puberty and is viewed as a secondary characteristic of males due to hormonal activity. It protects the vocal chords and produces a deepening of the voice. For those who travel to Thailand, figuring out who and who doesn’t have an Adam’s apple is a good skill to have. There’s no questioning the manhood of Steven Adams, though. He is 7′ 0″ and 250 pounds. He probably boxes kangaroos in this spare time and provides shade for the wild life. Last night, Steven went to the Big Apple and made sure everyone knew that he was THE man…….

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
10 18 3 2 0 2 0 3/5 4/7

….as he was instrumental in the Thunder being victorious over the Nets, 111-103 in OT. Earlier in the season, Adams was straight awful, and dropping him wouldn’t have been crazy. He eventually turned things around and, over the past two months, has been a top 55 player for fantasy. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what never turns things around because it’s always at the top? The Stocktonator. He’s a low usage player, so points won’t be voluminous, but boards, blocks, and excellent field goal percentage are the core of his value. The most surprising aspect of his season, though, has been the increase in dimes. He’s averaging 2.7 per game on the season. The last five years, he had never averaged more than 1.6. Now, he probably won’t finish as a top 50 player for fantasy, but top 80-90 wouldn’t be bad and is a reasonable expectation.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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The 1992 movie, Boomerang, is severely underrated. Rotten Tomatoes has a Tomatometer score of 44%, while the Audience Score is 59%. Rotten Tomatoes is stupid and so is the audience. Fine, the movie does suck but there are some great things about it. Eddie Murphy is in his prime, a young Halle Berry is so damn fine, and there are some of the greatest cinematic scenes of all time: GSCOAT #1. GSCOAT #2. GSCOAT #3. But the reason for referencing Boomerang in this post is because of this scene: Marcus, darling. Lady Eloise is old and over-the-hill, but she still has the gumption of a youngster, just like Marcus Morris Sr. of the New York Knicks.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
38 5 1 2 1 3 6/7 13/19 6/10

On the season, Morris is a top 65 player. Over the past three games, he’s been a top 40 one, averaging 34.5 minutes, 27 points, 4 tres, 5 boards, 2 dimes, 1.3 steals, and 0.7 blocks whille shooting 50% from the field on 18.3 shot attempts! LOL! Recently, Morris said that he would prefer to stay in New York. No shit! He’s getting paid $15 million this season to jack up a ton of shots on a shitty team and live in NYC. Plus, he knows the Knicks are so dumb that they may actually give him a multi-year extension. The Knicks have said that they would like to keep Morris. Maybe they are playing 3-D chess or are just dummies. I side with the latter. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what’s never a dummy? The Stocktonator. Regardless, what you think the Knicks do with Morris determines how you should view him for fantasy. If he stays on the Knicks, then he can be a top 75 player for fantasy, as the sheer volume and playing time would allow him to produce. If he gets traded, then there’s no way he sees the minutes or shot attempts, and would likely be outside the top 100.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

Please, blog, may I have some more?