Despite the Warriors attempt in further cementing their place among the historically great franchises in all of sports, the speed bump of having half your team’s knee explode was almost as a traumatic experience as learning that Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were going to be teammates. But after this past season’s freefall, a bright future awaits with returning stars and three picks in this year’s draft.

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Fantasy basketball forces you to take a critical look at the NBA’s unmitigated success stories. Will a breakout performance translate from one season to the next? Should we expect the dreaded faux-scientific sophomore slump for rookies? Will a natural year-to-year fluctuation in shooting push a player out of fantasy relevance? These are the relevant questions we have to weigh as the NBA season winds down and the fantasy playoffs start. It will be the fantasy offseason before you know it—it’s never too early to start planning for the future.

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By any objective measure, the Milwaukee Bucks are a historic team. They have the best record in the league at 41-6, they have the reigning MVP in Giannis Antetokounmpo, and they’re on pace to win 71 games. The Bucks rank first in Defensive Rating and second in Offensive Rating, behind a historic Dallas Mavericks offense. They would pass any old school eye test—they score in the paint (3rd in the league in points in the paint), get to the free-throw line often, and prevent teams from getting to the basket by walling off the paint with a conga-line of seven-footers (1st in the league in opponent points in the paint). At the same time, Daryl Morey would have few complaints with their offense. They are first in the league in fast break points at 18.8 a game, they take the fifth most threes a game at 38.5, and they attempt the fifth most free-throws a game at 24.7. They give up only the least desirable three-pointers and there is a full season’s worth of data validating this unique defensive strategy—they were first in the league in Defensive Rating last year.

The only thing the Bucks are incapable of doing is drawing the interest of the average fan. The Bucks are so dominant in such a specific, ruthlessly efficient way, as to make the outcome perfunctory, eliminating most if not all intrigue…..

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The NBA is a heart-stopping, fist-pumping, high-fiving, chemical-imbalance-inducing procreator of basketball nirvana. The squeak of the shoes, talk of the trash, swish of the nets, and thunder of dunks fill our ears with melodic harmony. We gawk at the freakishness of the giants who jump like fleas and midgets who careen around defenders like a cheetah about to catch lunch. We mental masturbate over pick-and-rolls, alley-oops, Euro-steps, and ICE defense. Bascially, the NBA is faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnntastic! Now, what happens when you combine the NBA with MMA? You get elbowing, pushing, eye gouging, headlocks, and submissions…..which is exactly what happened last night in, coincidentally, the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia. Karl-Anthony Towns (meow) and Joel Embiid got tangled up, started shoving each other, then went sumo style to the ground. Benches emptied, players sprinted, and Ben Simmons ended up with the fatality….

I don’t condone violence, but it’s refreshing to see things actually going down; instead of the “hold me back” shenanigans. Anyways, both KAT and Embiid were ejected and will likely get some sort of suspension. Ben Simmons as well. Probably a bunch of other players for leaving the bench. The main thing I took away from the whole fracas, though, was that KAT is truly a different animal this season. Not only has he taken his game to the next level, but he’s showing that he has some…..dog in him.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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After an animal or person dies, the joints of the body stiffen. Did you know that death is the number one killer in this country? If you know what movie that’s from, then we are kindred spirits. Anyways, this stiffened state of the body is called rigor mortis, and lasts around three days. Last night, the Chicago Bulls were dealt a fatality by the New York Knicks, 105-98. A big reason why was due to the play of Bobby Portis, who put up a line of:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
28 11 2 0 2 0 4/4 10/14 4/5

Portis did this in 30 minutes off the bench and is responsible for the Bulls experiencing Rigor Portis. Good thing the effects last only three days because they play the Cavs in two days (a game they should win while deceased) and then the following game isn’t until Friday. Now, we often hear about the revenge narrative in sports. It’s mainly cockamamie, but if there’s one sport where it could be feasible, it’s basketball. Portis was drafted by the Bulls with the 22nd overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft. After four years with the team, he was traded to the Washington Wizards, then signed with the Knicks over the summer. So…..REVENGE! Ha! I kid, I kid. From a fantasy perspective, Portis can provide points, boards, and tres, but the minutes and production will be inconsistent.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Two nights ago, Andre Drummond punked the Indiana Pacers worse than Dr. Dre and Snoop did Eazy-E in Dre Day. 32 points, 23 boards, 2 dimes, 3 steals, and 4 blocks! With no Blake Griffin in the lineup, it’s all about Dre. I contemplated making his performance the lede, but Kyrie’s 50-burger took precedence, so Dre Day was overshadowed. Last night, Dre was nice again, putting up a line of:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
21 12 2 4 1 4 0 8/12 5/6

Dre is stuffing the stat sheet and shooting 13-for-16 from the free throw line so far in two games!!! Yet, he was once again overshadowed by Trae Young, as last night was Trae Day.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
38 7 9 1 0 6 6/10 11/21 10/12

He shoots from the logo at halfcourt, breaks down defenders if they get up too close, and dishes exquisite dimes. The Hawks play at a hyper-fast pace and have a plethora of shooters surrounding Trae, so every game could be a Trae Day. Do we have to start calling him Trae Souffle? Because he cooks his opponents? How about Trae Sensei? Because he educates his defenders. Put your suggestions in the comments. Anyways, Trae isn’t going to shoot so efficiently from the field every game, and the turnovers will be high, but the points, tres, dimes, and excellent free throw percentage should be there every night. If he chips in boards, then…..

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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DeAndre Jordan is 6′ 11″ 265 pounds. He is a literal giant, but when thinking about giants, DeAndre rarely enters the consciousness. Michael? Maybe. Andre? Definitely. San Francisco and New York? For sure. But we need a #Movement to educate the haters and short people in the world. Did you know that there are 2800 people who are seven feet or taller in the world? There are 7.4 billion people on Earth. If my handy dandy abacus hasn’t failed me, that’s 0.000038% of the population. There are 43 seven-footers in the NBA. He’s a giant. End of story. For you smart asses, 1 inch doesn’t make that much of a difference when it’s 6′ 11″ versus 7′. Now, 6″ compared to 7″ is huge. Anyways, if that doesn’t do it for you, then check out his line from yesterday:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
20 13 4 2 2 3 0 7/10 6/7

In 34 minutes! He had played 20, 18, and 22 minutes the prior three games, so the Fizdale risk always has to be factored in. With that said, when DJ plays, the music is bumping, as he provides boards, some dimes, stocks, and excellent field goal percentage. The most eye-opening statistic has been the 82% free throw shooting on 3.3 attempts over the past six games. A GIANT improvement from the 70% he’s been posting on the season and 46.5% career number.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

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Who doesn’t like a good favor? Go to a wedding or a birthday party and get a gift bag? Cool, unless it’s filled with soap, then not cool. Ask a friend to do something and they do it? Precious. When everyone raises their hands after you ask, “All in favor?” Nothing better, unless it’s to vote you off the island. Then…..that just makes me sad. Anyways, after his perfomance last night, we should all like  Derrick Favors:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
15 15 1 2 1 2 0 6/10 3/3

The matchup against the Hawks was ideal, but even so, Favors has been a top 60 player over the past eight games. He doesn’t play an exhorbitant amount of minutes (23 per game), which obviously caps his upside, but he is efficient and produces when he’s on court. His main source of production is in blocks and stocks. PaRappa the Rappa would be proud.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?