For playoff bound teams, every win at this point in the season is huge. This was not only a big win for the Washington Wizards, it was avoiding a terrible loss. Yes, they are missing All-Star point guard John Wall, but the Boston Celtics were starting someone named Guerschon Yabusele.
I did some digging and discovered that Mr. Yabusele, before donning a jersey and being announced with the Celtics’ starting five, was one of those giant security guards that stand at the bottom of each staircase with their arms crossed and their backs to the court during the game. In fact, prior to playing 18 minutes in last night’s double-OT loss against the Wizards, the most exciting thing to ever happen to Guerschon on a basketball court was high-fiving Marky Mark Wahlberg after a Kyrie Irving game winner.
The Celtics may have ultimately lost the game, but to get as close as they did is a real testament to just how much the Wizards play down to an opponent’s level. I am pretty sure a Division II high school basketball team could take Washington down to the wire.
Besides the Wizards almost losing the Celtics G-League squad, here is what else I saw last night:
When I was growing up, I would always hear these words…..Be quiet…..Listen…..Don’t cry…..Have no fear…..Don’t worry…..It was as if everyone wanted me to be a robot. I get it. Being robotic brings many beneficial things, like efficiency, discipline, and the ability to perfect technical things that can be achieved through repetition. But I’m human. We are human. It is emotion that allows us to experience the full gamut of life. It is emotion that allows us to access realms of our brain that no robot can. It is emotion that allows us to feel, for better or for worse. Last night, I was both happy and sad when I watched Larry Nance Jr. get his first start for the Cavs.
He played 32 minutes, but it could have been a bigger night. Unfortunately, the Cavs blew out the Pistons, 112-90. I’ve been wanting to see Nance play the small ball 5 for both the Lakers and the Cavs. He can shoot from the perimeter J, grab boards, and play D. His basketball IQ is high, he’s unselfish, and he plays his ass off. He is fleet of foot, able to switch multiple positions on D, and has the hops of a flea. A little undersized, but he makes up for it with all the things I just listed. As a Lakers fan, I was happy to see him ball out because he showed that ability in Los Angeles. As a Lakers fan, I was also sad because he is now in Cleveland. Now, Tristan Thompson did not play due to injury, but how can the Cavs not go with Nance going forward? Anyways, there’s a perfect song from back in the day that filled me up with emotion and made me bob my head and made me wanna dance. Enjoy. Both the song and fantasy production that Nance will deliver.
Bullshitting is bad. Or is it? There are four reasons why people lie. 1) To hide or protect something. Good if you were harboring a Jew in Nazi Germany. Bad if you have a mistress. 2) Fear. Of getting caught. I guess that ties into protecting oneself. 3) To elevate one’s self-perception. You went to which school? You’re how tall? You slept with how many women? 4) It is the wise thing to do. Do I look fat in these jeans? BS’ing is often annoying or straight up lame, but it is an integral part of life. There are many situations in which being brutally honest serves no purpose other than to hurt the other person, which is lame. Damn it, is everything in life lame then? Last night, we had another example of BS’ing being bad….the good bad, though….as in dope. Now that I think about it, sometimes we just BS to mess around, which is what Ben Simmons did last night against the Bulls. Ironic, huh?
Simmons has now messed around five times on the season. He had been in a slump lately, looking disinterested and lacking aggression. It’s mindblowing to think that he can dominate a game without being able to shoot from the perimeter. He’s that good. Anyways, BS is a nightly triple-dub threat and will contribute with the D stats. As we established above, there’s good and bad with BS. The bad? Literally no 3s, like he hasn’t made one the entire year. The turnovers are plentiful. As I always say, good if you are high in a pastry shop. Not so good for fantasy. The free throw shooting is abysmal, like 55% bad. DeAndre Jordan, with his 60% on the year, is like, “Yo, Ben. You really need to practice bro.” Simmons is the 75th player for fantasy on the year. For the last month? The 110th. There are just too many holes in his game to approach Top 50 territory, but for punt FT% and 3 teams, BS is lovely.
In 2016, Daryl Morey hired Mike D’Antoni as head coach. It was a match made in heaven, as Morey believed that three-pointers, layups, and free throws were the most efficient shots to take. D’Antoni? Did someone say three-pointers? Three-coooooola. The Rockets improved from 41-41 in 2015 to 55-27 with D’Antonio at the helm. They blitzed the league with 115.3 points per game, just 0.6 fewer than the vaunted Golden State Warriors. They hoisted up an absurd 40.3 three-pointers a game and made a league-high 14.4. Then the playoffs happened. After disposing of the Oklahoma City Thunder, D’Antoni and Morey were bested by Greg Popovich. Pop did not figure out the magic formula to shut down the Rockets O. What he did do was disrupt the rhythm and force the Rockets to do what they were most uncomfortable doing: shoot the midrange. Pop would use Kawhi Leonard to chase James Harden all over the court and plant Pau Gasol in the middle of the lane. The other three players would be paparrazi and follow their subjects wherever they went. As a result, three-pointers, layups, and free throws were defended. Everything in the midrange was conceded. Result? Spurs 4. Rockets 2. There was only one option to pursue. Better Call Paul, as in
A capella music is singing without instrumental accompaniment. According to choraldirectormag.com, here’s what’s needed to create an a capella group: soloist, great bass, original music, time together, and momentum. That basically describes the Houston Rockets. Let’s break it down. Mike D’Antoni doesn’t micromanage possessions like some coaches. Things flow naturally. Soloist. James Harden. Great bass, the voice that’s low and powerful. Clint Capela fills that role by battling down low and doing the dirty work on the glass. Original music. Mike D’Antoni’s “Seven Seconds or Less” offense from the Phoenix days combined with the analytics of Daryl Morey equals “Game the Math.” Time together. Self explanatory. Momentum. The Rockets offense in a nutshell. Yesterday’s game against the Indiana Pacers was a microcosm of the synergy they’ve displayed all season enroute to an 11-3 record, with six victories in a row. Harden led the way with 26 points, five boards, 15 dimes, and two steals. Capela provided the base with 20 points, 17 boards, one dime, and one block. Eric Gordon filled his gunner role by hoisting up 11 downtowners. He finished with 21 points, one board, four dimes, two steals, and one block. If this was college, you’d think he was trying to get laid. Trevor Ariza scored 15 points, grabbed five boards, dished out a dime, and pilfered two. He’s Mr. Versatility. Can hit the high, low, and middle notes. Luc Mbah a Moute and P.J. Tucker provide toughness while still being an offensive threat. It’s going to be interesting when Chris Paul returns to the fray.
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…
Brooklyn Nets (21-61)
G Jeremy Lin
F Trevor Booker
G Greivis Vasquez
F Luis Scola
F Anthony Bennett
G Chris LeVert (Rookie)
C Justin Hamilton
G Isaiah Whitehead (Rookie)
F Thaddeus Young
G/F Joe Johnson
G Jarrett Jack (wahhhhhh!)
G Shane Larkin
G Donald Sloan
The Fountain of Youth
Ewwwwww, the Nets. I still can’t fathom how anyone could be a fan of this team. It just exudes boredom. Nothing exemplifies this better than what they did at PF, but we’ll get there.
While you’d expect a team this bad to overhaul they A) traded all their picks in that horrific Celtics deal and B) gave big contracts to Brook Lopez and Thad Young last year, apparently happy to stay in the status quo. If there was ever a team that looked stuck in the mud, it would be this one. Get ready to start yawning!
Follow the white Babbitt! If you had told me Luke Babbitt would be a critical add over the fantasy finals weekend, I would’ve beaten you to death with a sack full of lucky rabbit’s feet. Would that be a …lucky way to die?
No, it’s not an April Fool’s joke that Babbitt went 22/10/3/2/1 last night. No, it’s a joke he took a team-high (and an absurdly-high!) 25 shots. And no, it’s not a joke that the Pelicans won a game led by Luke Mother F Babbitt! That’s right, a guy with a last night that sounds like how Grey incorrectly pronounces “BABIP” on the Razzball Baseball Podcast is all the sudden a must-own wing over the final 3 H2H days. Such a Velveteen Babbitt! “He said it was because I know you like rabbits, and I know you like cheese…” The Pelicans have no reason not to throw (double negative police!) their scrubbiest of scrubs into the starting 5 and see what wet noodles stick on the wall, so I fully expect him to be a starter for you in most 12-team leagues or deeper on the final Sunday @BKN. Throw him in your Babbitt Stew! OK, enough rabbit puns, as Monty Python would say – “get on with it!” Oh yeah, I shoulda used a Holy Grail reference. TOO LATE NOW! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:
Well, kids…we have officially entered the NBA silly season.
Coaches for teams locked into the post-season are only too happy to rest their starters, as evidenced Tuesday by LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka all receiving healthy DNPs.
Coaches for teams destined for the lottery are exercising extreme caution with future core players, as seen last night with the Nets’ Rondae Hollis-Jefferson & Thaddeus Young getting a precautionary rest day, and franchise center Brook Lopez sitting for the entire second half of a blowout loss.
Even teams not in action on Tuesday were making headlines by shutting down players or announcing their plans to rest star players periodically as the 2015-2016 season draws to a close. DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay, Rajon Rondo, Danilo Gallinari, Ryan Anderson, and Jrue Holiday have all been added to the “shutdown watch” list. (And in Jrue’s case, you can officially stick a fork in him. He’s done.)
Additionally, DeMarre Carroll suffered a setback in his recovery from knee surgery and won’t be of use to fantasy players until next year, Nikola Vucevic can’t get cleared to return from what was believed to be a mild groin strain, and the starting Philly frontcourt of Nerlens Noel & Jerami Grant is going to be treated with kids’ gloves due to knee injuries.
It’s bad, folks. It’s real, real bad.
Thankfully for fans of the NBA and fantasy owners grinding through the final days of their season, a select few professional basketball players did, in fact, decide to earn their pay checks last night. Let’s take a look at who shined brightest, who fell short of expectations, and who else made waves on a six-game Tuesday slate.
But you wanna know who DID study for all of his exams?! Harvard’s own Jeremy Lin. “Ohhohohohoho look at me, I’m from the Ivy League!” Linsanity is book-smart, plays in the NBA, and can get away with an Elmer’s Glue mohawk that makes that moron from Blink-182 jealous. On top of all that, he’s fantasy relevant as a H2H finals pickup! In RCL leagues with the “daily-tomorrow” setting, he’s going to be an early stream for me in the finale with a Tuesday matchup against the Sixers. Sure he’s cooled off a little bit his last two games, but 9/4/4/5/0 is still pretty saucy – his damage against the Bucks – which he put up last time out. In the finals, it’s all about streaming and anything that isn’t nailed down can go. It’s like Pirates of the Caribbean when they use their silverware in their cannons. Would it work in real life? Probably not. But in fantasy, dream away! This metaphor has gone wayyyyy downhill, if only I had an Ivy League edjamucation I might be more creative… Good luck in the Finals if you’re still in the playoffs, Razzball Nation! Here’s what went down this weekend in fantasy hoops action, plus the 7 Ahead for Week 22:
Trust me, I’ve never run a marathon – mostly because I don’t want to have to pay for one of those dumb 26.2 bumper stickers – but I ended up cutting Myles Turner as a desperation stream in a cutthroat 5-4 playoff win last week in one of my RCLs. It feels like I sold out to sprint past 1st place during mile 24! Now I’ve lost control of my bowels, my muscles are spasming out of control, and I’m probably sputtering into not completing the race. Fortunately in the JB vs. Slim RCL I had the luxury of the bye and held strong. Strong and steady wins the race (as does 1st round byes…)! Turner went nuts for 24/16/1/0/3 on 11-17 FG last night, in a hell of a way to celebrate his 20th birthday. Dude can play pro ball like this, vote, drive, and CAN’T celebrate with a beer?! It was a strong way to break through that nebulous rookie wall, even though he’d been pretty solid lately anyway. And with a possible DNP from your main Pacer, another big game could be coming to close out your week in the semis. Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops action: