The Division of the Up and Comers
The Atlantic Division consists of up-and-coming teams, with the Toronto Raptors at the top of the league in wins, yet they are still learning how to incorporate Kawhi Leonard into their mix.  The Sixers are also integrating a new player in Jimmy Butler.  Boston struggled with offensive effectiveness early on, but they have started to figure things out, including an overtime thriller on Christmas against the 76ers.   The Nets have done well, winning nine of their last 10 games, a streak of success not seen in Brooklyn in many a day.  The Knicks, though, are going in the opposite direction, as they have lost nine of their last 10, but are still considered in the up and coming conversation because they have a stable of young players gaining valuable experience while their Latvian superstar, Kristaps Porzingis, mends.

Many feel the NBA season really doesn’t start until Christmas, as teams have now played about a third of the season with the strengths and weaknesses of each being exposed.  In addition, players are available as trade targets and teams that look to be lottery participants will begin to look toward the future and acquire draft assets. 

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I loved Biggie. Being born and raised on the West Coast, that may be viewed as blasphemy, but whatever. Even though I went to school in NY and worked in the City for many of years, the simple fact of the matter was that he was a smooth, lyrical genius. He was Unbelievable. “Live from Bedford-Stuyvesant, the livest one…Representing BK to the fullest.” Indeed he did, which is exactly what Spencer Dinwiddie did last night.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
39 2 5 1 0 4 4/6 11/18 13/14

All in 30 minutes off the bench. He was Unbelievable. The 39 points were a career-high and, over the past four games, he’s been a top 40 player with an insane usage rate of 34.1!!! Now, he’s not going to start and will likely average a tick under 30 minutes per game, but Dinwiddie is a professional getter of buckets and will chip in 2 threeecolas, 5 rebounds, and 0.5 steals per game, which will place him in the top 110 range. But, as last night showed, he will Hypnotize from time to time.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Remember the first videogame system you got as a kid? The excitement you felt when you unwrapped it at Christmas? For many of us, the first gaming system was like the Red Rider BB gun of our childhoods. That’s how Doc Rivers probably feels watching Shai Gilgeous-Alexander blossom before his eyes.

The Bucks and the Clippers squared off in an epic afternoon overtime battle yesterday and fantasy owners reaped the benefits. Probably, the biggest takeaway from this one was Shai Gilgeous-Alexander getting the start and getting 40 minutes of run going 2-16-6-4-1-3-2 on 5-of-13 shooting and 4-for-4 FTs. SGA is in the Genesis of his career and Doc Rivers has expressed his love for this kid. His percentages are very good and he gets those out-of-position blocks we all love. His arrow is pointing up and he should be owned in most leagues going forward.

Sorry for burying the lede, because the real news in the NBA is that Jimmy Butler got traded to the 76ers in exchange for Robert Covington, Dario Saric, and Jerryd Bayless. I think Covington and Butler’s value should remain relatively in tact, while Saric’s value can only go up. This may put a pretty big damper on Taj Gibson however. Keep an eye on Wilson Chandler, who could slide into the four-spot for the Sixers.

It was a busy Saturday Night so let’s dive on into into the Daily Notes!

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Klay Thompson was not having a good start to the 2018 season. He had failed to reach the 20-point mark in any of the first seven games and was shooting under 40% from the field and 14% from downtown. Klay is a career 45% shooter from the field and 42% from beyond the arc. Regression hit hard and heavy last night, though.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
52 5 0 1 0 2 14/24 18/29 2/2

The third time he has eclipsed the 50-point barrier in his career and the third time he has notched a record: 11 three-pointers during a playoff game (2016), 37 points in a quarter (2016), and the 14 threeecolas last night bested his teammate, Steph Curry, who held the previous record of 13 (2016). Klay has some of the most ridiculous heaters I’ve ever seen. Anyways, for fantasy, he’s currently the 76th player according to Basketball Monster. The minutes are down, assists are down, threeecolas are down, and field goal percentage is down. The only concern would be the minutes and assists, but the shooting will come around. He’s just too good, and reminded us all in a big way last night.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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For those who are new here, welcome and know that I often clown Blake Griffin. Not because he can jump over cars and triple-dub on any night. That would be stupid. I make fun of him because he rarely brings the D, which could be a reason he is no longer with Kendall Jenner. I kid. For a man of his height and athleticism, he should be blocking more than 0.5 shots a game. Hence, the reason I call him Ricky Lake Griffin. He doesn’t deserve that B. I had so much fun comparing the block number to Serge Ibaka’s assist number last season. If that was a drinking game, no one would get drunk. But it is I who dons the clown suit today. Actually, I’m the one who should be donning the clown suit everyday, but let’s not completely crush my self worth. Anyways, Blake Griffin was absolutely fantastic last night. He was so good that….what’s that sound I hear?

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
50 14 6 0 1 1 5/10 20/35 5/11

A freaking 50-burger and, more importantly, 1 block! 35 shot attempts and only 1 turnover! AND he led his team to a 133-132 victory over the 76ers in overtime. You da man, Blake! You da man.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Superman was born on the planet Krypton, a fictional planet far removed from our consciousness. Ben Simmons was born in Australia, also a place far removed from our consciousness. Superman landed in America. Ben Simmons played high school ball in Florida and college ball in Louisiana. Superman can fly, has superhuman strength and speed, and possesses x-ray vision. Ben Simmons can dunk, is 6′ 10″ tall and can go coast-to-coast in less than 5 dribbles, and delivers passes as if he has eyes in the back of his head. Superman does have a weakness though: kryptonite. Ben Simmons also has a weakness: outside shot. The evidence is compelling, counselor. Ben Simmons is indeed Superman. Don’t believe me?

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
19 15 8 4 2 3 0 7/14 5/11

Who does that? Seriously, if/when he learns how to shoot, Simmons may break the game of fantasy basketball.

Here’s what else I saw last night, in the glorious return of the game that we all love and adore:

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I love videogames and have played them ever since I was a little kid. Most games have some sort of level up feature. Win enough battles and collect points or currency to buy new gear or powers. The more items you accumulate, the stronger your character gets until you’re able to beat the Big Bad Boss. The thing is, this Process take time. The 76ers, after years of executing the Hinkie Manifesto, are now in beat the Big Bad Boss territory.

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A holiday, as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is a day marked by a general suspension of work in commemoration of an event. Outside of those that are affected by a business shut down, most love holidays. No work. All play? Probably not, but at least no work. There are 11 federal holidays. As a society, we have created a number far greater than that, though. After all, we do live in a capitalist society. Valentine’s Day. St. Patrick’s Day. Halloween. Cyber Monday. Mother’s Day. Father’s Day. There really is a “holiday” for every occassion. Law Day. Loyalty Day. National Librarian’s Day. Native American’s Day. Ha! That one makes me chuckle. Anyways, all of the above mentioned are listed as holidays, but I don’t remember ever getting a day off for them. Ok, we just making shit up now? Cool. Let’s make everyday a holiday then. This would kind of fit into our advertisement/marketing-dominated society. The concept of work will just be rebranded. Play for pay? Or has that already been trademarked by the NCAA? Anyways, Madonna put it best when she sang this. Yesterday, Jrue Holiday had himself a day.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 36 9 6 1 1 2 2/5 16/31 2/2

34.4 usage rate!!! He’s been en fuego the past four games: 28.2 points, 5.75 boards, 9.5 assists, 0.5 blocks, 2 steals, and 1.25 3s on 21.5 shot attempts per game. See, this everyday Holiday thing may not be such a bad idea after all. But….there’s always a but….Holiday is prone to the occasional 3-of-13 shooting night and sub-20 usage rate game. The inconsistency makes him a mid-20s player, rather than a fringe top 10 one. One thing that must be mentioned is that, since Boogie went down, the Pelicans are playing at the fastest pace in the league (105.70). Holiday. Celebrate.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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What’s up Razzball nation? We’re back with our first edition of Any Given Saturday since the All-Star break and last night was a nice, heavy slate to get us back into things. There weren’t a lot of marquee matchups, but Damian Lillard kept things interesting as he pushed his tired Blazers past the Suns. He went for 40/10/5/1 on 13-for-27 FG (3-for-11 3P, 11-for-15 FT), four TOs and a clean game-winning basket. Dame has been lighting it up recently and could be the type of guy to be the fantasy playoff MVP. Anyways, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

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I love craps. Not the sitting on the toilet kind, but the rolling of them two dice. It’s the one game that feels like I have some modicum of control. I shoot the dice, can decide when and where to bet, move chips around, and finally take money off the table if I so choose. It’s all an illusion, though. Yes, money management can always help, but the numbers are not in my favor over the long run. The probability of rolling a 7 is 16.67%. 13.89% to roll a 6 or 8, 11.11% to roll a 5 or 9, and 8.33% to roll a 4 or 10. The hardway bets? 2%. Even though I know the numbers, the game is too freaking fun. And I have those stories when I was down to my last chip and proceeded to go on a crazy heater, hitting multiple points, and making everyone jump around. It’s those times that keep me going back to the tables to replicate that feeling. That is what it must be like to own Tim Hardaway Jr.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 37 5 1 2 0 3 6/9 14/24 3/3

Every once in a while, he will go on a heater that gets you all excited. More often than not, though, he will shoot 4-of-13 and make you cry like that guy in the casino bathroom that just lost the proverbial house. Since the Knicks lost Porzingis, THJ has seen usage rates of 29.4, 21.9, and 28.3. The high usage rate and minutes should continue to be plentiful. But like my experiences at the craps table, the likely scenario will be “7 OUT!” As long as you keep expectations in check, THJ will have some value. Just beware of emotionally point-chasing the performance from last night.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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