I always enjoyed Outkast when I was younger. Their music would always get me to bob my head from side to side and up and down. The thing I most admired about them, though, was their ability to change. Early on, they were a more “traditional” rap group. As time progressed, they started experimenting and adding elements to their music which made them more funky. End result? My head continued to bob from side to side and up and down. The lead singer was Andre Benjamin, who performed under the stage name “Dre.” As the group changed their style, Benjamin changed his name to “Andre 3000.” The new and improved version, perhaps? Well, the same evolution has been taking place in Detroit, as Andre Drummond has been a beast. On the season, he’s averaging:
The boards, assists, and free throw percentage are all at career-highs! The turnovers are at a career-high as well, but that’s a residual effect of being a playmaker. I should’ve known big things were coming when I saw highlights of him playing at the Drew League over the summer. Splashing step back 20-footers? What? The most impressive improvement has obviously been the free throw shooting. The Pistons broadcasters analyzed the differences here. Now, it all culminated last night for Drummond against the Boston Celtics:
Season-high in points, rebounds, and field goal percentage. Let’s cut to Andre performing and get a glimpse of how all his fantasy owners are feeling right now:
In the animal kingdom, lions hang with lions, while gazelles chill with gazelles. Makes sense, as one group likes to eat the other. In the human world, things are a bit more complicated. Humans come in different sizes, shapes, colors, and live in different environments and locations all throughout the world. With that said, a human is still a human. It’s cool to identify with another person or group that has similarities to you, as it brings a level of comfort and security. I get it. But most of the problems of this world arise when we focus on the differences to discriminate and differentiate. When I was younger, I’d often see kids referred to as “sellouts” if they didn’t hang out with kids of their own race. Seriously, who gives a shit? I’m not hanging out with someone just because they are Korean. If said person is cool, that’s all that f***ing matters. So, it is with tremendous angst that I must voice my displeasure for the cat community, which texted me all Sunday about Karl-Anthony Towns. Yes, cats and dogs are basically humans. They think KAT is one of theirs. He’s been meowing and purring for the past couple of years, but on Sunday, a transformation occurred. KAT was howling like a wolf. KAT was playing like the dog that he is. 32/12/2/0/1/1. 12-of-26 from the field, 2-of-6 from downtown, and 6-of-6 from the charity stripe. Ahh-woooooooooo! KAT is not a sellout. KAT is just a baller. A very, very, very good baller.
There was a time when Top Ramen was life. Cheap, easy to make, and quite delicious. It’s a good thing I didn’t stay poor for long because researchers concluded that eating too much ramen noodles could increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Hold on. Let me go smoke a cigarette real quick. Ok, I’m back <cough cough>. I knew I had made it in the world when I was able to eschew the Top Ramen and scrape open a box of Golden Curry. Still easy to make, but to fully experience the awesomeness of each packet, rice and some veggies were a necessity. You need a cooker to make rice. That’s a huge step up in the hierarchy. It’s akin to when man figured out how to make tools and weapons to hunt and gather. Anyways, thinking about those wonderful days of my life got me thinking to the brothers, Seth and Steph Curry. Seth is Top Ramen, while Steph is Golden Curry. Both are productive and satisfy one’s fantasy appetite, but Steph takes it to a level that only a few can appreciate. Last night, Steph scored 39 points, grabbed 11 boards, dished out seven dimes, and pilfered three on 14-of-24 shooting from the field and 4-of-10 from downtown. The 39 points and 11 boards were both season highs. Now, Kevin Durant did not play in this game and the opposition was the Brooklyn Nets. With that said, this Curry has been hot and spicy to the tune of the number two overall player in fantasy.
A commissioner is a powerful person. They are elected to oversee or regulate an entire entity. I’ve always fronted on them, though. As a little kid, I always thought Commissioner Gordon from the Batman comics was a little [email protected]#ch. Always running to the rooftop to send the Bat Signal when a problem arose in Gotham City. I always likened it to a little kid running home and screaming, “Moommmmmmy….” Then, my metabolism started to slow down, I began to grow sideways instead of vertically, and my mind no longer viewed the world through pure lenses. Roger Goodell showed that a commissioner is often just an employee. A puppet so to speak. But last night, the NBA’s Commissioner Gordon (Aaron Gordon) brought everything together for me. A commissioner is not a [email protected]#ch. Jim Gordon may have summoned the Batman via searchlight, but he did deputize the Batman making him the [email protected]#ch. A commissioner is not a puppet. Roger Goodell proved that when he pulled a Brutus and stabbed Robert Kraft in the back and went after the NFL’s Golden Boy. A commissioner is a boss and Aaron Gordon proved that as he scored 41 points, grabbed 14 boards, and dished out two dimes on 14-for-18 shooting (5-for-5 from three-land). He’s such a boss that he doesn’t need a searchlight to transpose his symbol in the air. He just jumps.
Things are so bad for the Nets that Jay-Z doesn’t want to be an owner of the team anymore. Ok, he sold his stake because of Roc Nation Sports, a sports agency firm he started, which would have been a conflict of interest, but still…Things are so bad that my brother-in-law, who was born and raised on 16th Avenue, still roots for the Knicks. Think about that for a sec. I get it, though. It’s a franchise that used to reside in New Jersey. Ewwwwwww. That’s where New Yorkers used to dump their garbage. It’s a franchise that gave up three first round picks, as well as the right to swap another, for a 38-year-old Kevin Garnett and a 36-year-old Paul Pierce. That trade was so ridiculous that I can’t even come up with an analogy. If I tried to replicate that trade in a videogame, it wouldn’t go through, even if I selected the override trade option. It’s a franchise that acquired Linsanity, but without the sanity. But things are looking up. General Manager Sean Marks has come in and done some competent things. Hopefully he brings it back Crooklyn Style…
We’re about 2/3 the way into the fantasy basketball regular season, but in the midst of the holidays and breaking down the per position opportunities, I wasn’t able to present the overall opposing ease rankings. Hopefully, most of you reading this are doing alright, or at least within striking distance of the few remaining playoff spots in your leagues. There’s still plenty of games to be played, for coaches (ahem, Earl Watson and Vogel to name a few) to mess up, and injuries to pop up (Chris Paul). For those who are clinging onto some borderline standard league players due to their name, this is usually the time of the year when you have to make decisions on whether holding such players become an obstacle for your team to make the playoffs or end up being anchor(s) to your team that could have your team lose a playoff spot you’ve held for most of the season. By looking at the matchup rankings, you can look to increase the number of slots to stream if your team needs some help in the standings.
DeMar DeRozan didn’t have his usual backcourt mate, with Kyle Lowry given the day off for rest, but it didn’t matter. After starting slowly, Double D took over after halftime, producing a game high 36 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 assists. He was also a perfect 10-10 from the line.
And the guy replacing Lowry in the starting lineup, he was pretty good too. Cory Joseph slid into the starting lineup and responded with a career high 33 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists.
DeRozan is playing some of his best basketball of his career. That is now 20+ points in 13 straight games, a span that features all three of his double-doubles. While DeRozan should still remain a great player, the lack of threes and defensive stats will keep him from being elite. Now is a great time to see what you can get for him.
As for Joseph, he will return to the bench for the next game, but has shown top 150 value over the last 14 days for deep leaguers.
Robert Covington came onto the fantasy radar last year due to his ability to add threes, steals, and blocks in bunches. He started this season slowly, but has been picking it up lately. That continued on Tuesday with 13 points (4-14 FG), 10 rebounds, 4 steals, and 1 block. But no shot was bigger than his buzzer beater:
His offensive production may remain inconsistent, but his nightly contributions in steals, blocks, and rebounds have made him a viable fantasy contributor in all leagues. Now is a perfect time to buy low, before it’s too late.
Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, Christmas Day is a great day for basketball fans. With the exception of the shortened 1998 lockout season, games have been played on Christmas Day every year since 1947 and often feature the best of the best. And this year was no exception.
We saw a rematch of the NBA Finals, a battle for Los Angeles, and a matchup of exciting young players between Minnesota and OKC.
For a while there, it looked like the makeshift Memphis Zombies might sneak by a crazy victory in Toronto over the Raps. But just like in World War Z, the Zeds tried to follow the humans north, but eventually froze up.
In his first start in the non-Mike Conley-era, Andrew Harrison was surprisingly capable with the added onus of driving the offense, going 21/2/4/3/0 on 7-12 FG (4-5 3PTM 3-4 FT) with only 2 TO in 35 minutes. Looked good in transition, hit contested, fadeaway treys… I didn’t expect this to get off to such a good start, and against the Raps no less!
It’s obviously only one game, and he’s not gonna shoot 80% from deep while filling in for Conley, but this was mad encouraging and you’re certainly grabbing him in most leagues off this showing. He has already proven he can handle big NBA minutes – albeit in a more complimentary role – so I think this can work as a PG 3 or 4 on your fantasy roster. On the flip side, Wade Baldwin played 24 minutes and went only 2/3/2/0/0 with 3 TO and 4 fouls, shooting 1-6 FG, bringing his sexy-efficient FG% back down to 31.5%. There might not be a Wade Baldwin V, with accuracy like that! Gus Ayonin’! Here’s what else went down last night in Fantasy Basketball action: