20 years ago, UPS had an ad campaign with the slogan, “What can Brown do for you?” 

Brown says: Make your life easier

Brown tells me that you have all the choices you want

Brown says to me: Get your shipments to your customers, when they need it and where they need it

Brown says: Relax, we’ll get it done

Brown says: How about some more pie?

Brown didn’t say that

What a stupid ass commercial but it serves our purpose today because Jaylen Brown freaking delivered the goods on Sunday.

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Most things in life have an ebb and flow to them. Some have steady drumbeats while others are volatile like an illiquid capital market. In order to get to the top of any venture, there is usually a combination of both. At some point, there are breakthroughs and jumps of multiple levels. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was selected by the Clippers with the 11th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. He averaged 26.5 minutes per game as a rookie and showed that he belonged, putting up 10.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.5 blocks while shooting 47% from the field and 80% from the line. He was the 141st player for fantasy on a per-game basis. He was then traded to the Thunder in the Paul George deal and immediately played 34.7 minutes per contest. He finished as the 53rd player for fantasy, the first significant jump in his career. He improved in each of the next two seasons, but at a pace akin to the sink filling up, drip by drip, finishing 44th then 32nd. Then 2022 happened, and Shai rocketed up to where he is now, as a top 5 player. Yesterday, he continued to show that he is now one of the best and most well-rounded players in the NBA:

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If Charles Barkley and Zach Randolph had a baby, it would be weird because as far as I know, men still can’t have babies [you’re canceled!]. But metaphorically speaking, if they had a basketball baby, it very well could look like Kenneth Lofton Jr. – and it sure as heck would play like him. 

The undrafted rookie got his first taste of NBA rotation minutes last night, and helped the Grizzlies overcome a 29 third-quarter deficit to beat the Spurs in overtime, 126-120. K-Loft finished with 11 points (4-6 FG, 1-2 3pt, 2-4 FT), 7 rebounds, an assist and a block in 14 minutes. Most of his production came during an 8-minute second-half stretch. 

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I’ve heard Florida is where woke goes to die, which seems like a pretty fair assessment. I remember my dad living in the Tampa Bay area back in the day and generally napping all the time, so I have to assume America’s nursing home has only gotten more sleepy. And while this war on being awake continues, it’s always important to remember that America’s armpit is home to one of our country’s most sacred of figures: the Florida Man. I’d say any rational character would legitimately wonder how they got themselves into this poor state (Pun Achievement Unlocked), but then again, I am no Ja Morant. As the Grizzlies continue their underdog (and somewhat hated?) push into the playoffs (garnering their 41st win last night against the now 34-35 Mavs), Morant has kept himself in the headlines in the most audacious ways possible, from flashing a piece on IG, to a dumping of negative stories ranging from terrible parenting practices to wholesome strip club experiences. Range on and off the court, I say.

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It’s playoff season, and in standard head-to-head leagues like the Razzball Writers’ League, every waiver wire pickup is critical at this point. Facing Beats By Dray in the first round,  I head into the weekend hoping I didn’t chum the waters on (as in, threw up all over) my chances to advance. 

All week, San Antonio second-year big man, Charles Bassey, has been discussed as a hot wire add for the tanking Spurs. Bassey has been a borderline standard league over the last few weeks, averaging about 8 points, 7 boards, 2 assists a steal and a block a game in 17.5 minutes. 

I’ve been trolling around the Bassey interest all season, which he spent much of tearing up the G League. In 14 games in the minors, he was 3rd in fantasy points (yes, G League keeps track of fantasy points per game leaders on its stats page), averaging about 23-10-2-1-2 on 67% shooting. The Spurs saw enough positives in his development to fully guarantee the former Western Kentucky Hilltopper’s contract for its first two years. With that vote of confidence, and the tank rolling, it makes sense to believe Bassey could be a strong asset for fantasy playoffs. 

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If you’ve been reading my NBA Wednesday fantasy recaps throughout the season, then you’ve probably noticed that I like to give a different team the focus each and every week. Gotta keep it fresh for you, right?

Well, this week I’m happy to finally land on the New Orleans Pelicans, one of the most interesting teams in the entire NBA. To me, the Pelicans are the No. 1 what if? team in the league. What if they could ever keep superstar Zion Williamson (hamstring this time) healthy? What if they could ever roll out their optimal starting lineup: C.J. McCollum, Brandon Ingram, Herbert Jones, Zion and Jonas Valanciunas? What if Jones (24 years old), Trey Murphy III (22) and Dyson Daniels (19) all happen to pan out? There are a lot of different ways things could potentially work out for these young Pelicans, but none of those ways have come to fruition just yet.

But Wednesday marked a step in the right direction, as the pesky Pelicans booked a huge 113-106 win over the reeling Dallas Mavericks. With the victory, New Orleans stayed a half-game ahead of the talented young Thunder for the final position in the West’s playoff ladder. Let’s dive in and take a closer look at Wednesday’s performances from a fantasy perspective.

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The Bulls lose and refuse to play Patrick Williams and Coby White in an effort to make the play in.  Noble goal, but I was hoping to see more minutes go to these guys.  Nikola Vucevic ruined a 4 three-pointer evening with 6 turnovers.  Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan both disappointed with less than 20 points.  The Bulls really aren’t interesting, but keep an eye on them if they tank and go to young guys at the end of the season.  Keep in mind though that Williams and White aren’t actually very good.

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Over the summer, I sauntered….No, I ran to the NFBKC lobby room like a ravenous wild boar, gorging and feasting on draft after draft after draft. I have a couple of teams in contention, but most of them are S. H. I. T. T. Y. The reason? Probably because I suck, but another reason was that I completely faded Brook Lopez. I’m a stupid, stupid man. He was so cheap in drafts (124th player in NFBKC drafts), and those require two centers. There were good reasons, though. He’s 34 years old and was coming off a season in which he played only 13 games due to a back injury. I thought the end was nigh. He did have two seasons early in his career when he played 5 and 17 games, but outside of that, he’s been a relative iron man. This season, he’s played 59 games and put up top 25-ish numbers. On Sunday, he twisted the knife once again to remind me of my stupidity with cannon ball after cannon ball, as I stand sheepishly on the Brook taking the splashes in the face like a man.

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Did you know that the title for every episode of the USA series “Monk” started “Mr. Monk …” As in, “Mr. Monk Goes to the Circus”; “Mr. Monk Joins a Cult”; and who could forget, “Mr. Monk and the Man Who Shot Santa Claus”?

I feel like the Kings should be working up a cross-promotion deal to revitalize the series (originally set in the Bay Area), but set up the road in Sacramento and with Malik Monk casted as Tony Shalhoub’s sidekick. Or maybe that’s just the cabin fever settling in since I am in Oregon, where anything more than 3 inches of snow causes mass hysteria and shuts everything down. 

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After the news that Zion reaggravated his injury and will likely miss more weeks after the All-Star break, it got me thinking how many games Zion actually has managed to play since entering the league. And then I stumbled upon a very interesting statistic that reaffirmed my initial thoughts. Zion has only played in 39.4% of the available games in the last four years and this is a great cause of concern for his career and for the New Orleans Pelicans in general, who are fighting for one of the last playoff spots in the West and could certainly use Zion’s help.

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Look, I understand that like 70% of my lede’s this season have been Nets-centric, and I don’t even care about them. I’m a Clippers fan, I already hate myself enough to add another heart-breaking franchise. But to be fair, they’ve only been Nets-centric because any time Kyrie Irving opens his dumb mouth, it attracts all the hot takes. You think I’m gonna watch all these hot takes and not bring the hottest of takes as well? SEO baby. As reported yesterday, a role player for the Cavaliers gave some behind-the-scenes look at Irving’s flat Earth theory and its originations. The entire read is worth it, but here’s the money quote:

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After being elevated to the All-Star team as an injury reserve, De’Aaron Fox helped the Sacramento Kings play spoiler to the debut of the Dallas Mavericks’ new dynamic duo. After missing his last two shots in regulation, Fox went into takeover mode in overtime, scoring 14 of the Kings’ 19 points.

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