I was never a huge fan of D’Angelo Russell when he was a Laker. The shooting efficiency was poor, the D was porous, and the decision-making and decisiveness were lacking. It was as if DLoading was a picture loading back in the dial-up internet days; one line of pixels at a time. At least now the buffering just shows a ring with a percentage number. Anyways, Russell was a young pup back then. Only 19 and 20 years old. Now, he’s a grizzled, 22-year-old veteran. I kid, but he’s really developed and improved his game, to the point where he’s leading his team to victory over one of the top teams in the NBA.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
27 6 11 0 0 3 6/9 10/23 1/1

In his first three years in the league, Russell was a 41% shooter from the field and never topped 80% from the line. Now, he’s a 43% shooter from the field and 81% from the line. He’s averaging a tick under 20 points per game, 2.7 tres, 3.7 boards, 6.4 dimes, and 1.1 steals. He’s increased both the tres and dimes by almost 1 per game. In addition, he’s jacking up over 17 shots per game, has a usage rate north of 30, and is a top 50 player on the season for fantasy. When Caris LeVert returns from injury, things could change and Russell could cede some usage, but Russell will continue being a vital part of this Nets team. All the pixels have been revealed and the picture is a glorious one.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The NBA trade deadline is upon us! There are already some deals that have been finalized and more are sure to be done by tomorrow, so this week’s article will be structured in a different format than usual. Instead of looking at Buy/Sell players individually, we will review each trade for fantasy winners and losers, in chronological order. But first, as per usual, let’s take a quick look at last week’s suggestions.

Patrick Beverley has been a steady contributor for the short-handed Clippers and only stands to benefit without Tobias Harris (more on this trade later). Another trade influenced Trey Burke’s value but unfortunately, he takes a huge hit in Dallas and is an easy cut candidate. Shabazz Napier and Jerryd Bayless had good performances this past week and will continue to produce until their respective teams get healthier. Finally, I still maintain that D’Angelo Russell is a prime sell candidate and his shooting this past week only reinforced this belief.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

At 3:50 pm EST on January 31, 2019, Kristaps Porzingis, along with Courtney Lee, Tim Hardaway Jr., Trey Burke, and two future first-round picks (one unprotected) were traded to the Dallas Mavericks for Dennis Smith Jr., Wes Matthews, and DeAndre Jordan. Whoa. There are so many layers to address that let’s just get right into it. WTF! Porzingis just got traded! 7′ 3″ and 240 pounds, Porzingis can do it all; post up, break defenders down on the perimeter, shoot from downtown, and protect the rim on defense. Really, the only thing he didn’t do much of was dish out dimes (1.3 career assists per game). He was rightfully nicknamed The Unicorn.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I don’t particularly believe in second chances. It is usually hard for me to forget the disappointment and give someone another shot. But boy, I’m glad I gave one to Jahlil Okafor last week, despite the letdown from the previous season. He has been on fire since getting the starting job with 21.2/0/11/0.4/0.4/2.6/2 on 74.6%/63.2% shooting and is therefore ranked 17th during that span. The most encouraging stat is the blocks and he has looked rejuvenated and more mobile than ever, surfacing as a feel-good story this season. Anthony Davis’ return will hurt him (I will talk about his potential trade probably next week when the dust has settled a bit and we have a clearer picture) but until that happens….JAH RULE !!

Apart from the obvious success of Okafor, the other big man from last week’s article, Mitchell Robinson, is providing blocks (2.8) and steals (1.2) and has been a top 50 player. Despite Fitzdale’s comments about finding more minutes for him, he is only averaging 16.9, so watch out if he can increase those closer to 25. Finally, Rajon Rondo has been doing Rondoian things (I claim this word as mine) with 5.7 rebounds and 11.7 assists and will continue to provide standard league value until Lonzo Ball returns. On the contrary, the Lakers’ Sell candidate from last week, which was Kyle Kuzma, got hurt and the impeding return of LeBron James won’t do him any favors.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Cedi Osman was selected with the 31st overall pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves back in 2015. His draft rights were immediately traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Osman was stashed away in Europe for two years. When he finally made it over to the States, the playing time was inconsistent but he did show that he could play in the league and had two games in which he logged 39 minutes. Osman showed the ability to contribute across the board, so it wasn’t a surprise when he performed well to begin this season: 32.4 minutes, 13.1 points, 5.3 boards, 3.6 dimes, and 1 steal were his averages in the month of October. While he shot 42% from downtown on 4.7 attempts, the overall field goal percentage was only 38%, something that would plague him as the season progressed. In addition, the peripheral stats all decreased, which resulted in many jumping off the Osman ship. But then something happened. Maybe something clicked, as he’s still only 23 years old and this is only his second season in the NBA. Or maybe it’s small sample size, but whatever the case may be, last night Cedi was freaking Osman!

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
26 5 7 2 1 3 4/8 10/16 2/8

Well, everything but the free throw shooting, but he was instrumental in leading the Cavs to a 116-113 victory over the Wizards. For much of the season, Osman had been a top 200 player for fantasy, but over the three games prior to last night, he’d been top 30, averaging 37.1 minutes, 23.7 points, 3.7 threeecolas, 6.7 boards, 2.7 dimes, and 1.3 steals. He’d been shooting 52% from the field and had a usage rate of 23. Now, the efficiency will likely come down, but there’s also a chance that he’s more comfortable and has improved. Regardless, the Cavs straight stink so Osman is going to get tons of run. Cedi has been Osman. Hopefully, he continues to be.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

A nuclear warhead was launched and detonated by agent Rich Paul yesterday when he notified the New Orleans Pelicans that Anthony Davis has no intention of re-signing with the team and has requested a trade. Let the madness begin. All the dots connect to him being in Los Angeles sooner than later, but I have heard some alternative theories that could land him elsewhere. I’m both intrigued and entertained. The L. A. Times reported that any offer from the Lakers would have to begin with Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Ivica Zubac, and a first-round pick. The salaries of Ball, Kuzma, and Zubac equal $10.7 million. Davis will make $25 million, so that won’t be enough from a money perspective. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope makes $12 million (expiring contract), so he’d likely have to be included in any deal. Rob Perez @WorldWideWob laid out the scenario of Kyrie Irving going to the Lakers, with Davis going to Boston, and Ball, Jayson Tatum, Brandon Ingram, and Lance Stephenson going to New Orleans. The Knicks have been mentioned as serious players, as they may be willing to part with Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., and a first-round pick for Davis. Portland has been mentioned with C. J. McCollum, Al-Farouq Aminu, and a first-round pick for Davis. AD is 25 years old and moon walks over the rest of the competition. He’s a player that teams should be willing to push all the chips into the middle of the table. Yes, he’s missed some games in his career (82 in 6 1/2 years) but he’s that freaking good. I can’t wait to see who else emerges in the sweepstakes and where he eventually ends up, because it has a chance to completely change the landscape in the NBA. AD is resetting. Can’t wait to see where year 0 A. D. begins.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

 

 

 

 

Look ahead—Trade Deadline Edition

Now we are just past the halfway mark of the season and into the annual fun that masquerades as the trade deadline.

Teams are either hoping to find the one additional piece to move them into championship contention, ensure that playoff slot which has eluded the home fans for several seasons, or offload some contracts to save a few bucks and better the future.

The interesting thing is figuring out who the sellers and buyers are. More intriguing for us fantasy hoop heads is how it affects/changes/improves/negates the numbers of current players and what kind of new opportunities can now be found for players in new situations.

We will take a look at the Eastern Conference first – identify some trade targets and discuss what that might mean.  Then we will do the same with the West.

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?

Back in 2008, iHeartRadio and SiriusXM changed the landscape of radio. Listeners could customize their listening experience, had access to out-of-market stations, and were given a cornucopia of options (podcasts, news, sports, and channels for specific genres). Options equal versatility which enhances a product. That concept isn’t just for the radio world, though, as it has become the defining characteristic of the modern day, positionless basketball that has taken root. Last night, Josh Hart was a perfect example:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
14 12 6 5 0 2 1/5 5/13 3/3

Hart played a team-high 44 minutes. At 6′ 5″ and 215 pounds, Hart can play the 1, 2, or 3. He’s strong enough to handle himself down on the block, but possesses the agility to guard on the perimeter. He does get burned from time to time, but more often than not plays sound fundamental defense. Hart can shoot from beyond the arc or finish strong at the rim. He’s a willing passer and is able to rack up steals. Now, since LeBron James went down with an injury, Hart has been given an opportunity and has not disappointed. He’s been a top 50 player and has averaged 34.6 minutes, 12.4 points, 1.8 threeecolas, 6.8 boards, 2.1 dimes, 2.1 steals, and 0.6 blocks. The only bugaboo has been the 38% shooting from the field. When LeBron does return, Hart will likely shift back to the bench and lose 7-9 minutes of run per game. With that said, because of his versatility, he will still contribute across the board and provide top 125-ish numbers.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Karl-Anthony Towns is an amazing player. He’s a seven-foot, 250 pound player who can post up down low, break ankles on the perimter, and drain threeecolas. While I question if he has enough dog in him to lead a team to the promised land, there is no denying his status as one of the elite fantasy players. Since entering the league, KAT has finished as the 12th, 6th, and 5th player in fantasy. So far, he’s the #7 player this season and puts up funky lines like this:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
28 18 3 2 4 3 1/4 11/20 5/5

I want to go to Funky Towns, though.

Can we Voltron up and get Andrew Wiggins out of Minnesota? KAT is averaging 16.2 shot attempts per game, good for 31st in the league. Wiggins is at 15.5 shots per game. Imagine a place sans Wiggins where KAT attempts over 20 shots per game and sees an uptick in usage and assist rate? That’s a place I want to go. The beyond funky contract of Wiggins makes it an almost impossible task, but one can dream.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?