Back in 2004, Dwight Howard was an affable kid with human heads as shoulders. Selected #1 overall by the Orlando Magic out of Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy, Dwight looked to be the next superstar of the NBA. Look was an understatement. He averaged a double-dub, played in every game his rookie season, and was named to the All-Rookie Team. The next three years, Howard got bigger, stronger, and led the Magic to the playoffs. In 2008, he became Superman when he donned the cape in the dunk contest. All was good in the world of Dwight. But then things began turning the other way. The Magic couldn’t advance in the playoffs and the league started to employ the Hack-a-Dwight, due to his atrocious free throw shooting. Then, in 2012, he asked to be traded, tried to get his coach fired (allegedly), but ended up signing with the Magic and hugging his coach. Huh? It got worse, though. Dwight had back surgery and missed the rest of the 2012 season. Then, asked to be traded to BKN, but got shipped to LA instead, where Kobe ripped him a new one. Houston for three years, then Atlanta, then finally Charlotte. I can’t wait for the ESPN 30 for 30 on Dwight, but I’m not writing about that. I’m writing about that fact that Dwight went:
The first 30/30 game since Kevin Love accomplished the feat in 2010. Harvey Pollack, the Sixers’ Director of Statistical Information back in 2010, told John Hareas of NBA.com that “there have been 131 30/30 performances.” Wilt Chamberlain did it 103 times! Ha! Well, add Dwight to the list.
I love music. Fortunately, my young daughter does, too. We started her early on all sorts of stuff, but she eventually started requesting almost exclusively “girl songs.” So, I started combing through my CDs and mp3s for our daily drive to school, finding a decent amount of great female singers, mainly from the 90s. She really took to some (Gwen Stefani, Shania Twain), but not as much to others that I’d hoped she would (The Cranberries, Veruca Salt). We added in some more current stuff that she loves (Taylor Swift, Meghan Trainor), and we have a great time. Now, I know there’s a good chance this isn’t resonating with you as much as it would if I said I’d kept trying to slip in more funk (she likes “Car Wash” and “Jungle Boogie”, at least), rock (Down on the Corner is popular with her, but there are only a few songs by Disturbed that are appropriate for four year-olds!), and rap (“Tricky” was a favorite for a while, fortunately), but stick with me, please. Because, I found something very enlightening when I introduced the very, very 90s classic, “Stay”, by Lisa Loeb. Was it that we only hear what we want to? That we won’t live forever? No, it’s this powerful line:
“You said you caught me ’cause you want me, and one day you’ll let me go. You try to give away a keeper, or keep me ’cause you know you’re just so scared to lose.”
It’s like a record scratch every time I hear that line. YOU TRY TO GIVE AWAY A KEEPER??? She was brilliantly pointing out that YOU DON’T JUST GIVE AWAY A KEEPER! But at the same time, you don’t keep a player only because you’re scared to lose! Such wisdom. For decades, I swear I didn’t know that lovely song was about fantasy basketball keeper leagues.
Lisa Loeb. Fantasy Oracle.
While we’re still quite a few games away from a large enough sample of current season stats to really trust them, let’s talk keeper/dynasty strategy (dynasty being a league in which you keep a large amount of your team for next season). I thought I’d share some tips and have some fun looking back at what we thought of past rookies so that we don’t get overly excited about these 19 year-olds that we’re currently trusting to save our teams.
Two days ago, Ben “Fresh Prince” Simmons was the toast of the fantasy basketball world after posting his first career triple-dub. He got the title, picture, and intro paragraph for my nightly recap post. The amount written about him required six scrolls of the mouse. Now, my computer monitor is 12″ in height. I use Google Chrome, so the post without the ad at the top is nine inches in height. Each scroll of the mouse moves the page one inch. That sounds much more impressive than the 387 words I actually typed. Anyways, last night Lebron “King” James reminded us that he’s still one of the best basketball players on the planet. You don’t know how many times I clicked the back arrow. Is he the best or is he one of the best? I initially went with best, but eventually settled with one of the best because Lebron is not blemish-free and there are a couple of players that are in the vicinity. Anyways, 29 points, 10 boards, 13 dimes, and four blocks in 41 minutes of run last night. He shot 12-for-20 from the field and 1-for-2 from downtown. This came against the Brooklyn Nets and he did turn the ball over eight times, though. In addition, 4-for-8 from the charity stripe. Whatever.
Any excuse to post some Run DMC. Now, Lebron may be in store for an epic, epic fantasy season. Key word being may. It’s early in the season, but the Cavs may not waltz through the Eastern Conference this year. Look at the roster. Outside of Kevin Love, who’s getting buckets? Jeff Green? Dwayne Wade and Derrick Rose? They will contribute in spurts but can they be counted on consistently? The Cavs just lost to the Nets in a game Lebron went HAM. Granted, it was on a back-to-back. Cavs are now 0-2 on back-to-backs by the way. That just makes the probability of Lebron going bonkers this season even higher. We all know he’s gone after this season. At least I know. This will be Lebron’s Last Stand. On a side note, why is Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer of Custer’s Last Stand so revered and famous? Didn’t he and his men get slaughtered? The FT% will hold Lebron back in fantasy, but the counting stats could be of epic proportions.
Sorry for the long intro paragraph. I just wanted to make sure it was 388 words long.
In Thibs We Trust? Tom Thibodeau was hired in April of 2016 to become the head coach and president of basketball operations for the Timberwolves. Prior to his arrival, the team had not had a winning record since the days of Kevin Garnett. All newude. My favorite commercial of all time. Anyways, defense has been an issue for this team and Thibs is known as a defensive coach. During his five-year coaching stint with the Chicago Bulls, the team was ranked 1st, 1st, 5th, 2nd, and 11th in defensive efficiency. So, of course in Thibs’ first year, the defense got worse. This dynamic reminds me of Brian Billick, a head coach in the National Football League. Billick was known as an offensive guru and got his head coaching job on this premise. “Our team can’t score, so let’s hire a coach that can fix that,” said the owner of the team….probably. Anyways, Billick tried to sprinkle his offensive magic on the team, but you know what? He realized that he is indeed not a magician and that there are things called players. Coaches can put players in the best positions to succeed but, at the end of the day, players make the coach. Billick was smart enough to realize that the strength of the team was on defense, so he placated to that strength and eventually won a Super Bowl as a result. Will Thibs be as flexible? He was out of coaching for a year and travelled the basketball landscape taking notes so….Read on to find out what I think.
Nope, not talking about baseball here. Hopefully most of the us reading this advanced into the 2nd round of the fantasy playoffs. As for me, I got knocked out in the JB vs. Slim Razzball Year 3 League. I was somewhat disappointed, but with no KD and a combination of missed and sub par games from Poison Goose it was inevitable. No excuses, all part of the game. I’m in the midst of trying to advance in JB’s ‘Secret Attack’ RCL League so hopefully I can advance…at the expense of Mr. JB himself.
Planning for the remaining games this week is tricky and I think the margin of error is slimmer – not just in terms of what’s at stake, but due to the scheduling. Friday and Sunday are slated to have 10 games each. Now, if you wait until Saturday before making any moves, your team might not even make use of it due to the number of teams playing on Sunday. So you really have to look at your Friday-Sunday rosters and see if it makes sense to wait before adding for Sunday’s games.
Players on teams playing on Saturday should be a target as there are only 5 games being played.
WAS/MIN/CLE are the only teams that play on Fri. & Sat.
POR/LAC are the only teams that play on Sat. & Sun.
You see what I’m getting at here? You need to be really clever about your moves trying to shore up or catch up on some cats you’d need to advance to the next round.
The Bulls came into Toronto having beat the Raptors in 11 straight games. It took overtime, but the Raptors snapped the losing streak behind DeMar DeRozan’s 42 points, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds. Double D shot 17-38 and helped erase a 16-point deficit in the 4th quarter to secure the win.
DeRozan battled all game against Jimmy Butler, who also went off for 37/10/6. Despite these two all-stars’ phenomenal performances, the game was overshadowed by the fight between Serge Ibaka (16 and 6) and Robin Lopez (12 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 blocks):
Usually Lopez only fights mascots, but took exception to Ibaka’s shove in the back. Fortunately the guys were separated rather quickly, but the league will obviously review the fight and make a decision later on whether either player will be suspended any games. Personally, I’d expect both guys to miss at least one game, but hopefully it’s just a fine and they return for their teams’ next game.
Welcome to the semis! If you’ve survived this long in your standard H2H formats, then you’re merely 2 wins away from a title. Hard to believe after the marathon! Just think of how many more games the NCAA title hopefuls have to win to get a National Title!
With a mere two weeks left, there’s only 14 more days of streaming on the docket, making every add/drop count. So now’s the time (if you haven’t yet, whaaaaaaaaaaa?!) to check out The Stocktonator! Check out or new short-shorts robotics to help with your streaming decisions for each and every day this upcoming week.
And well, I have one RCL team that WON’T need The Stocktonator, due to The Omen getting absolutely possessed last week! Damian Lillard is now my least favorite player, after going 49/1/5/0/1 with 9 treys last night on 14-21 shooting. He scored 141 points last week, hitting 19 treys, and shot 55% from the field while doing so. Cost me the playoffs with narrow wins in FG% and points for my opp in a 4-5 loss. I’m done with you, Omen! Doesn’t help he shot 36-36 from the FT line either. What a preposterous week. Not to mention that after their bad loss to the Pels last Tuesday, he held a players-only meeting which led to a huge win at San Antonio Wednesday, followed by two big wins against the East besting Hotlanta and HotMiami over the weekend. Why is Atlanta hot, but Miami isn’t?! Whoever named it Hotlanta hasn’t been to many other cities! Portland is the hot city right now though! Here’s what else went down over the hot weekend in fantasy basketball action:
Injury karma, man… The injury gods love to play with our emotions, and they really jacked with the Bucks last night! First with the good – The Duchess returned to the court with great fanfare! Sooooo good to get Khris Middleton back, after it was initially thought he might miss the entire 2016-17 season. The Duchess got 15 minutes off the bench for 5/2/2/0/1 on 2-5 shooting.
Looked pretty healthy out there! He’s going to be on a 15-20 minute limit until the All-Star Break, but that’s in a mere week, so we could see him getting unleashed sooner than later. Then on the flip side, a mere 2 quarters after the long-awaited season debut of Middleton, Jabari Parker suffered a scary knee injury, and is scheduled for an MRI today. From all reports it didn’t look good (I don’t like to watch injury highlights…), and it’s the same knee he tore his ACL in his rookie year, so we’re all holding our breath here. Would be a big shame to see him miss a lot of time after putting together this breakout campaign… Well, let’s be all happy and pie in the sky the rest of the daily notes today! Here’s what went down on a busy Wednesday night in fantasy basketball:
Andrew Wiggins will turn 22 in less than a month, but he knocked down what should be the first of many buzzer-beating game winners, becoming the youngest player of the season to do so:
A buzzer-beater win in Minnesota is rarer than a healthy Nikola Pekovic. The last one happened almost 5 years ago on a Luke Ridnour floater on February 22, 2012. About the same time as Pek’s last game.
In addition to the game-winner, Wiggins added 31 points (11-22 FG), 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 2 threes. Wiggins continues to develop in his third NBA season and makes the young Timberwolves roster a fun team to watch.
So my lead on Tuesday morning about Derrick Rose disappearing on his team (Gone Girl 2 – Gone Rose!) I thought would be a pretty bad low point for the Poppycockers. But I dunno, I think they may have hit it last night! Rose was surprisingly vintage Rose – considering all the rumors he wanted a buy out or the Knicks should suspend him for a while – for 25/2/4/1/0 on 11-16 shooting. That said, he was -21 in a 1-point loss, while the bench kept the Knicks in it. In the end though, the Poppycockers just didn’t have an answer for this new, upstart PG who is taking his offensive game in the league by storm! And of course I’m talking about T.J. McConnell!
Melo, you just got skeeted on! “What is that in your hair?! Is that hair gel?!” “No, Melo, it’s Dapper Dan!” Yup, hit the buzzer-beater to beat the Knicks 98-97, for NY’s 9th loss of their last 10. To quote the immortal Friends like I love to do, “There’s rock bottom, then 50-feet of crap, then” the Knicks! But hat’s off (because it would mess up the gel) to T.J. running away with the Sixers PG job, playing a team-high 34 minutes of 8/6/7/2/0 on 4-6 shooting with 2 TO. Pretty solid, efficient line. On the flip side, Sergio Rodriguez is turning into melted White Chocolate, going 14 minutes of 2/1/4/0/0 on 1-7 shooting with 3 TO. The two could still flip flop, but T.J. has always been a Brett Brown guy, and this was a pretty big moment. Dapper D should probably be owned in all 12ers, although if you have AST locked down, I’m not sure what else you’ll be happy with. 2 steals in 4 straight is nice I guess, but no 3s, low scoring, bad FG%… Wait, why do I hate on this guy but love Ricky Rubio?! I guess it’s all in the spiciness, baby! Here’s what else went down in fantasy hoops action last night: