And I’m not talking about Christmas.

Despite vaccination numbers north of 95%, a new variant of the Coronavirus has breached the walls of the NBA and is wreaking havoc on a league that is already being thinned out by non-virus injuries that stem from playing three seasons in two years. The sick are just getting sicker (Tuesday night’s Brooklyn/Washington matchup was postponed) and as a result, the NBA has thrown off some of their normal roster restrictions to ensure that teams can field full squads. Names that are normally reserved for the silly season of March and early April are now turning up before the unofficial start of the season on Christmas Day. Consider Marquese Chriss, one of the newest Dallas Mavericks, as an example. A lottery pick in 2016 who has never found his footing in the Association, Chriss was added as a reinforcement to the Mavs roster amid a Covid outbreak in Dallas. To his credit, Chriss looked springy, played well, and actually closed the game for Dallas against Minnesota before the ink dried on his contract. Chriss was joined out there by luminaries like Theo Pinson and Sterling Brown, and all across the league there were was a mix of old names and new showing up in NBA box scores. Guys like Wayne Seldon in New York and Tony Snell in Portland resurfaced after time spent in the NBA hinterland, while Marcus Garrett saw some burn in Miami, and Leandro Bolmaro and Nathan Knight popped up for the Timberwolves.

Amid these strange times in the NBA, it was good to see that Damian Lillard is still good for a bucket or two.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

After a heartbreaking first-round exit, the Dallas Mavericks made relatively small adjustments over the offseason.  That’s not to say the past few months have been without drama in The Big D.  At the center of the post-season speculation was Kristaps Porzingis, who had a rough series against the Clippers.  While there may have been some talk of shopping him, it likely dissipated when the Mavs realized the extent of the decrease in trade value.  Other trade rumors involved the Mavs making a deal with the Raptors to bring Goran Dragic to Dallas.  That deal hasn’t materialized, but stay tuned.  In the meantime, the Maverick core remains intact, as Porzingis remains on the roster and Dragic is still in Toronto.  With real-world expectations running high for another season, let’s take a look at the roster from a fantasy perspective.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Jeremy Lamb went back to the bench, but it didn’t affect his game at all. Lamb still played the most minutes he has in the month of February and was ridiculously efficient, making six of his seven field-goal attempts, all three of his triples, and both of his freebies for 17 points. For the season, he’s shooting 51 percent from the floor, 52 percent from downtown, and 97 percent at the line. This level of accuracy is unsustainable so see if you can get anyone to bite while he’s on fire.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Shouts to Gabe Vincent on a 20-point, 8-assist outing in a rare start, but not much to take away for Miami with several players out due to “Health & Safety Protocols” (replacing “Load Management” as the hot new phrase in DNP lingo). It might be time to re-evaluate Tyler Herro. He’s been…fine (and he was again on Thursday), but he hasn’t had the anticipated breakout that made him a top-80 selection in drafts (currently ranked No. 160 in Yahoo! leagues). It isn’t due to a lack of playing time or touches. Maybe “The Leap” is still coming this season, but if I could get draft-day value for him in a trade I’d do it.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Bucks fans, rejoice. On December 15th, Giannis Antetokounmpo signed a five-year/$228 million super-max contract extension to remain with the Milwaukee Bucks. He even broke the news himself on Twitter which was an undoubted baller move that received mixed responses. Some people, like myself, cried tears of joy because of the loyalty he showed to a small market and the commitment to the franchise that drafted him, while others went on to trash him and the Bucks, saying that he will never win a championship with this team. However, what remains to be seen is if this retooled team (shout out to my new favorite player Bobby Portis) has what it takes to take the Bucks to the promised land. Let’s break it down.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Julius Caesar was a successful military general who turned powerful politician in the ancient Roman days. His power became so immense that he was named “dictator for life”. Unfortunately, he pissed off the wrong people (i.e. the elites) and was eventually assassinated via stabbing, or as the kids be saying, “he got shanked”. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what never pisses off the people? The Stocktonator. After the early returns from the three-year, $63 million contract given to Julius Randle, Knicks fans were ready to hive up and Twitter shank Randle. Then….

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
30 7 4 2 1 1 3/5 12/17 3/5

The 30 points were a season-high and it was only the second time this season in which he’s notched at least one steal and one block in a game. Now, before you start mental masturbating, keep in mind that last night’s game was against the Cavaliers. Need more? Kevin Love did not play and Cedi “Not So” Osman started at power forward. Any wonder why Julius went nuts? For fantasy, Randle provides points, boards, and some dimes. He even chips in some tres now. With that said, the percentages from both the field and free throw line are poor, and he provides little in the defensive categories. As a result, he’s outside the top 200 right now and will likely be a top 100-ish player.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Points guards are the Mother Teresas of the fantasy basketball world, as they like to give. Shooting guards are….the cavemen. See ball, shoot ball, take ball, then shoot ball. Rinse and repeat. These are obviously generalizations, but shooters shoot, and that’s what this post is all about. I kid, kind of. The elite at this position are across-the-board contributers, while the rest are indeed cavemen.

To see my per-game value projections for each player, click HERE. In the “Pos” box (which stands for position, not the other thing you were thinking), type in “sg” and the table will sort by just shooting guards.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There have been some interesting storylines surrounding Giannis Antetokounmpo this offseason. The 2018-19 MVP accepted his award humbly and gave an emotional speech before telling ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk that he’s only reached “60% of his potential.” Uh-oh. Then, the Milwaukee Bucks went out and made a splash in free agency, signing veteran sharpshooter Kyle Korver. As one of the best shooters in the world, he’s a worthy mentor and has been helping the Greek Freak to develop his jumper. Uh-oh. And then, NBA coaches and executives went ahead and voted Kawhi Leonard as the best player in the league. Because why not incite the 25-year-old Milwaukee mainstay to play even better this year?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I used to enjoy watching Get Smart, a satirical secret agent show. Agent Maxwell Smart is a fumbling, bumbling, stumbling secret agent who always saves the day somehow. One of the catch phrases of the show is “Missed it by that much!” Which would’ve been appropriate to say whenever Marcus Smart jacked up a shot, as he could barely hit the side of a barn in past seasons. This season, though, he’s vastly improved the shooting and is therefore able to put up lines like this:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
21 6 4 3 1 1 2/5 8/14 3/3

The 21 points tied a season high! Smart is shooting 42% from the field and 36% from downtown this season. Over his first four seasons in the league, he had never posted a mark better than 37% from the field and 33% from downtown. As a result, while he always provided boards, dimes, and stocks, he was never able to crack the top 100 for fantasy on a per-game basis. This season, he’s a top 85 player and has had streaks where he’s been a top 60 player. Get Smart y’all!

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I don’t care. I don’t care. I don’t care. I’m not supposed to write about the same player in the lede. I’m supposed to change it up and give others a chance. I’m all about equal opportunity but I ain’t no commie. I don’t care. I don’t care. I don’t care. Because what James Harden is doing right now, I’d be doing a disservice if I didn’t make him the lede every single night. Since December 13th, 2018, Harden has played 18 games. Over that span, he’s AVERAGING 42 points per game. There’s been three 50-burgers and eight games with at least 40. He hasn’t scored less than 32 points. W. T. F…..He’s AVERAGED 38.7 minutes and had a usage rate of 43.4%!!! The true shooting percentage has been 62% while the assist percentage has been 48.5%! W. T. F….W. T. F…..W. T. F!!!! Last night, in an overtime loss, Harden was ridonkulous:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
58 10 6 1 1 4 5/19 16/34 21/23

He scored 57 the prior night! I’ll never forget 2003 Kobe when he went nine straight games scoring at least 40 points. That was sick. This is…..illmatic. Shout out to Nas.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?