The 2018-19 Golden State Warriors have one of the greatest rosters ever assembled and are huge favorites to win their third NBA Championship in a row, which would be their fourth in five years. This offseason they added one of the best big men playing in the NBA today, DeMarcus Cousins, to a roster that already includes four returning All-Stars: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green. The bench is also incredible with the likes of Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, and Jordan Bell. End of preview.
Just kidding…kind of. If this was just a preview for the regular NBA season, then my work would be done. But this is a fantasy basketball preview my friends, so I am going to go down the roster and point out which Warriors you should target for your fantasy team. Some will be obvious *cough* Curry *cough*, Durant, but there are a few guys ready to make the jump from fantasy zero to fantasy hero.
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:
Don’t take Anthony Davis in the top 5. He’ll miss at least 25 games. Avoid Old Man LeBron James, because he rests all the time. Tyreke Evans has only played 65 games in the last two years combined. Not even worth drafting.
A few of the prevailing opinions going into the season that I thought had gotten a bit overblown. The risk of missing games is scary, but it’s not often very predictable. And yes, I’m cherry picking examples, but AD has played 54 of the first 60 games and is #4 on the ESPN Player Rater (#3 per game). LeBron hasn’t sat one game yet, is among the league leaders in minutes per game again, and is #1 (#5 per game). Tyreke has played 49 of 59 games, sitting five of those when the team was holding him out before the trade deadline. He’s #58 (#44 per game). And sure, that’s partly due to Mike Conley missing almost the whole season. Yes, there are examples of injury fears being once again substantiated, like in the case of Danilo Gallinari. It’s all guesswork. It’s part of the fun, predicting what a season will bring. But, figuring out the puzzle can drive you mad.
Today, I thought we’d have a little fun revisiting some preseason predictions. Maybe we can learn a bit about what types of projections are more trustworthy than others. Maybe not. I also don’t think this would be a great way to figure out who’s great at predicting things like sleepers and breakouts, because this is a small sample size. Continue to look at the methodology behind the predictions to see if it’s backed up by reason. I just figured that we rarely actually go back to see what was right and what was way off. If it teaches us something for next preseason, great.
For most things in life, more is better. More digits and commas in your bank account is good. When walking down a dark alley, more companions by your side is beneficial. Having more points than an opponent in any competition is usually optimal. For E’Twaun Moore of the New Orleans Pelicans, though, less has been Moore. In November, Moore was averaging 29.4 minutes per game. So far in December, he’s averaging 37.5 minutes per game. But Son! You said that less is Moore. Patience my grasshoppers. In November, Alvin Gentry had a pretty deep rotation. Nine players were playing over 15 mpg. In December, that number has dropped to seven. See? Less is Moore. Now, what happens when AD can’t play due to injury (shocker)? Three players get 40+ minutes, with another one at 39. Last night against the Houston Rockets, Moore played 42 minutes and went:
The 36 points were a career-high and he’s not going to shoot 75% from the field every night. With that said, he’s scored in double digits in seven of the last eight games and, as mentioned above, he’s been playing a ton of minutes. With teams focused on Boogie, Rondo, Holiday, and AD (when he plays), Moore is going to get a ton of open looks. Translation: LESS defensive attention equals MOORE points.
There will come a time when you look back and regret not taking the plunge and picking up a player, who at this point in time, is averaging just 10 minutes a game. That time spent on the court has amassed stats of four points and three rebounds on under three shots per outing. The thing is, if we dig a little deeper, over the last seven days, a span of merely three games, this same player is averaging 13 minutes per contest, with 7.5 points, 3.3 boards, 1 steal, and 1.3 blocks on 78% shooting. Come again…. 78% shooting? Yes sirs and small group of ladies.
If you had a time machine, when/where would you travel to? Use the space below to write down your answers, then print, and finally frame it.
You never know. A philanthropic time traveller could visit one day and offer to take you on three trips. On the condition that you can name the destinations in five seconds or less. Since you already have it printed and framed, you good to go. My first destination would be 25 years into the future Biff Tannen-style. The Sports Almanac from 2017 to 2042 would be the most logical thing to get. Then, I’d go back to the time of Jesus. I have to know. Finally, I’d want to see Wilt Chamberlain play. Since 1963, there had been 152 instances in which a player scored at least 40 points with 20 rebounds in a game. Wilt had 74 of those. The crazy thing is the query on basketballreference.com only went back to 1963. Wilt started his NBA career in 1959. I could go into the game logs for those years, but I’m lazy and we are not here to talk about Wilt. We are here to talk about DeMarcus Cousins aka Boogie.
Make that 153 times a player has gone 40/20. Boogie now has two two of them, with the other one back in October of this year. Now, we know that Anthony Davis is out for a while. In the games that he’s missed, Cousins’ usage rate has been 46.4, 30.1, and 44.0 last night. If you’re a Cousins owner, dance with the boogie get high ’cause boogie nights are always the best in town.
I used to live right down the street from MSG. At the old YMCA on W 34th & 9th Ave. So, even though I’m from LA, I can appreciate what’s going on with the Knicks right now and feel the energy. Entering last night’s game, they were sporting a 7-5 record. 2012 was the last season they started out with at least seven wins in the first 12 games. They’ve been so hot that the Sixth Burough of Porzingis is being constructed. How come Lin didn’t get a burough? Shit, he couldn’t even get a contract extension. Anyways, the big bad King of Akron was scheduled to come to town. And come he did. Or was it cum? The King trumpeted that the Knicks should have drafted Dennis Smith Jr. instead of Frank Ntilikina. Then, the King took his merry band of hoopsters and wreaked “havoc” on the subway. Causing the citizens of New York to respond with profanity-laced tirades on Twitter. The Knicks had their backs, though. They pushed the King. Shoved the King. Went face to face with the King. Were even beating the King and his merry band of hoopsters by 23 points at one point. Then….the King showed why he is the King. LeBron James scored 23 points, grabbed nine boards, dished out 12 dimes, and blocked three to lead the Cavs to a 104-101 comeback win. He would’ve messed around, but the stat crew changed one of his rebounds to a team rebound. Ha! I love it. And the Knicks responded with quotes like this. After the game, LeBron most definitely took his merry band of hoopsters and hit all the clubs in NYC. Because, for at least one night, he was the King of New York.
I’ve had fun writing these team previews, so I’m sad that this will be the final one for this season. I hope that you’ve enjoyed the journey with me. Not all is poo poo, though, because it means the season starts tomorrow night! Yaaaaaassssssss! Any of you remember Voltron, Defender of the Universe? Five robot lions, that each had specialized skills and roles, would come together and form a super robot to protect the universe from evil? That’s what the Warriors are. Five players that can do damage individually, but go to a completely different level when playing with a collective consciousness. What if the response by the aliens to one of the SETI signals beamed out to outer space is: Game on, bitches! Putting all hate aside, the Warriors would be the squad we’d send, right? They are the NBA’s Voltron.
Razznation! I can’t even begin to express how pumped I am to join the Razzball staff and help you beat all who have yet to discover this fantasy sports behemoth. With that said, allow myself to introduce… myself. I’m Mel, an avid fantasy baller, Razzball truther, and Will Ferrell enthusiast. I root for players, not for teams, which makes me your perfect fantasy resource. Yes, I do have some player biases, but the information you’ll find here will have nothing to do with Grant Hill or Michael Redd, I promise. What you’ll find here on a weekly basis is some in-depth analysis on the players who can win you a week, or win you a season. You see, the NBA decided to start a few weeks early this year, which will only make things more confusing for us all. Less preseason games, less draft prep, less games per week. Fantasy Basketball is taking a beating and will be more complicated than ever before. But not for you, extraordinary gentlemen and five lady folk that I write to today. I will have you prepared with those deep sleepers who will make your league mates wonder what the hell you are doing. How great does that sound?
The biggest news of the night comes from a guy who barely played at all. Less than 2 minutes into the game between Golden State and Washington, Warriors’ center Zaza Pachulia (12 points, 8 rebounds) fell into Kevin Durant’s left knee. KD walked away gingerly before heading to the bench and being whisked away into the locker room. Diagnosed with a hyperextended left knee, Durant did not return to the game.
Is this karma from the Basketball Gods for his comments about not wanting to come home to play for the Wizards? Kidding aside, this is terrible news to the Warriors, fans of the NBA, and fantasy owners. Hopefully KD’s injury isn’t long-term, but more will be known after examining the MRI results.
In the meantime, the Warriors wasted no time in reaching out to free agent Matt Barnes and are expected to sign him later this week. Released by the Kings after trading DeMarcus Cousins to the Pelicans, Barnes is excited to rejoin the Warriors, after playing for them from 2006-2008. I wouldn’t rush to add Barnes until more is known about KD’s injury, but Barnes has been useful for fantasy purposes before.
On happier notes, here are the other nightly notables: