Average. Middle. Meh? I guess it all depends on perception. Someone born into poverty would be praised if he/she achieved average economic status. On the flip side, if you are a one-percenter, I assume that average would prompt seppuku. Average is often associated with boring. He/she was average in the sack. The higher above the line probably correlates well with intenstity of orgasm. For flip side? Supplant higher with lower. Why does average get such a bad rap? It ain’t great, but it puts food on the table. It often gives 1.5 children and a white picket fence, if you are so inclined to have either. With that said, we are a “what have you done for me lately” society. We are all about celebrating the highs, while conveniently eschewing the trials and tribulations. Well, yesterday Joe Harris was not your Average Joe.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 30 7 2 1 0 1 6/7 11/14 2/2

The CLE defense is atrocious, but let’s not forget about the……REVENGE!!!! Harris was drafted by the Cavaliers back in 2014. He played two seasons there, never averaging more than 10 points or scoring 3 points a game. During the 2016 season, though, Joe underwent surgery on his foot and was traded to ORL a week later. Then he was immediately waived. BKN picked him up and the rest, as they say, is history. Two years with the Nets has produced…..wait for it (an homage to HIMYM)…..average results. This season, in particular, Joe is averaging 10.3 points, 3.3 boards, 1.5 dimes, and 1.8 downtowners in 25.1 minutes a game. He’s scored double figures in 41 of 71 games played, but has not eclipsed the 20 point threshold once. Anyways, I clowned him earlier in the season, but Harris is no Average Joe, and the Nets don’t think so either. Even with all the wing players that they have, Joe has been getting consistent playing time for most of the season. He can shoot and is able to drive strong to the rack and finish. An Average Joe on most nights, but yesterday, he was anything but.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If you are wondering about the title, just look at the postscript at the end of the article. It’s not basketball related but some things are far greater.

The playoffs have started for most fantasy leagues and I hope your teams are competing in them. May the basketball gods bless you with no injuries to your key players (ahem Stephen Curry) and good percentages to lead you to the championship. If you are instead in a Roto league, like I prefer for the most part, these injuries affect you less but it’s still a good time to focus on the categories that can give you the most points in the standings and shape your team accordingly.

On a completely different subject, as soon as I saw Josh Richardson and James Johnson celebrating after a made triple, I knew I had to include it in the article.

Master Yoda, you sure look taller…..The phrase “teamwork elevates you” gets a new meaning with these guys.

As per usual, let’s check the performance from last week’s suggested players, but before that, an extra shout out to my man Nemanja Bjelica, who I mentioned 2 weeks ago and is straight carrying my teams for the past weeks (ranked 18th during this period). Larry Nance Jr. has taken full advantage of the starting role in Cleveland, with three double-doubles in his last 5 games and will maintain this production for as long as Tristan Thompson is sidelined. On the other hand, Jakob Poeltl’s impressive defensive numbers faded this week as he averaged only 1.0 block after going for 2.7 per game during the previous two weeks. Finally, Skal Labissiere had two solid games before going down with a minor injury, while Marcin Gortat and Al-Farouq Aminu proved good drop calls as they had at best forgettable performances.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I recently reviewed the transactions that happened during the offseason and realized how much of an impact they had for this year’s playoff-bound teams. And while Kyrie Irving, Paul George, and Victor Oladipo had a huge impact on their teams, I personally think the most successful one was Daryl Morey’s acquisition of Chris Paul. The Rockets are playing D’Antoni basketball, racking up threes at a historic pace and are currently on a 16-game winning streak. The opposition does not seem to have an answer for their P&R and the fact that either Paul or James Harden are always on the floor spells double trouble. And unlike another Team Rocket, they don’t seem likely to go away easily…

And now, after trying to shamelessly exploit your childhood nostalgia by including a Pokemon reference, let’s move on to the usual review of last week’s calls. Alex Len was useful when he played, but Tyson Chandler’s return demoted him to a bench role again and he is an easy drop in my book. David Nwaba and Nemanja Bjelica, on the other hand, are getting starter minutes and look capable to maintain them going forward. The same can be said for JaMychal Green, who enjoyed a great week averaging 14 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 blocks. With Memphis going nowhere, he has a great ROS outlook. On the sell front, there is a rumor that Adam Silver warned the Chicago Bulls to stop benching their healthy veterans, but even if they do return to the rotation it won’t be for more than a handful of minutes each game. Finally, Ersan Ilyasova’s minutes took a major hit in Philadelphia as predicted and will struggle to maintain fantasy relevance in standard leagues.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

What’s up Razzballers? In one of the more surprising finishes of the night, the Nuggets went into Cleveland strong and snatched a convincing win from under the Cavaliers. The King was slain in his own castle, mostly at the hands of Gary Harris. Harris was a beast tonight, much like he has been all week, and went off for 32/2/4/1 on 10-for-17 FG (6-for-10 3P, 6-for-6 FT) and no TOs. He’s been somewhat overlooked all season but is poised for an extremely strong finish as one of, if not the main guy on offence for a team jockeying for playoff position. Anyway, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Don’t take Anthony Davis in the top 5. He’ll miss at least 25 games. Avoid Old Man LeBron James, because he rests all the time. Tyreke Evans has only played 65 games in the last two years combined. Not even worth drafting.

A few of the prevailing opinions going into the season that I thought had gotten a bit overblown. The risk of missing games is scary, but it’s not often very predictable. And yes, I’m cherry picking examples, but AD has played 54 of the first 60 games and is #4 on the ESPN Player Rater (#3 per game). LeBron hasn’t sat one game yet, is among the league leaders in minutes per game again, and is #1 (#5 per game). Tyreke  has played 49 of 59 games, sitting five of those when the team was holding him out before the trade deadline. He’s #58 (#44 per game). And sure, that’s partly due to Mike Conley missing almost the whole season. Yes, there are examples of injury fears being once again substantiated, like in the case of Danilo Gallinari. It’s all guesswork. It’s part of the fun, predicting what a season will bring. But, figuring out the puzzle can drive you mad.

Today, I thought we’d have a little fun revisiting some preseason predictions. Maybe we can learn a bit about what types of projections are more trustworthy than others. Maybe not. I also don’t think this would be a great way to figure out who’s great at predicting things like sleepers and breakouts, because this is a small sample size. Continue to look at the methodology behind the predictions to see if it’s backed up by reason. I just figured that we rarely actually go back to see what was right and what was way off. If it teaches us something for next preseason, great.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Last night it was obvious that the All-Star break did a lot of bodies good. There were some huge, I mean massive, fantasy lines last night. Some of the juiciest slash we have seen all season.

The Sixers grab the lead because of their two young stars that have #TrustTheProcess perpetually trending on (anti) social media. Joel Embiid returned from his first of many All-Star appearances with a stat line prettier than Fergie’s angelic voice. 11-of-17 from the floor, including 3-for-3 from deep and 5-for-8 from the line (the only ugly part), 30 points, 13 boards, 5 assists, 3 steals, and 4 blocks with only 1 turnover in 34 minutes. When talking about future number one overall fantasy picks, I rarely hear Embiid’s name mentioned. Now that he is playing in back-to-backs and through minor injuries, I have a feeling that this will change by the end of the season.

His partner in crime, Ben Simmons, would have grabbed the headline if not for Embiid’s epic slash. Simmons finished with: 0 (no surprise)/32/7/11/1/1 including the game winning shot. He did hit only 6-of-11 free throws, however, which along with his lack of an outside shot will continue to keep him out of the first round of fantasy drafts and is probably what kept him out of the All-Star game this year (something tells me this will change next season).

Let’s take a look at what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“Champions keep playing until they get it right” (Billie Jean King)

The trade deadline offers weird results, with teams in both fantasy and reality changing rosters. The biggest moves over the past week in the RCLs involved those players that moved in real life; Larry Nance Jr., Jae Crowder, Rodney Hood, George Hill, Emmanuel Mudiay and D.J. Augustin.

I’m happy to announce the creation of a Champions League for next year, which will pit all of this year’s league winners and some Razzball writers against each other. I will keep you all informed as things progress.

 

Here is how the action went down in Week 17 across our 12 RCL Leagues:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I was a big subscriber of superstitions and curses in my younger days. Sports team I root for wasn’t playing well? Had to move to another seat, like I was some antenna made out of aluminum foil. Never drafted a player in fantasy football if he graced the cover of Madden. I mean, come on. Without fail, either a player got injured or production fell off hard the following year. We have grown as a society, though. I have grown as well. We now utilize our brains to explain things that were previously unexplainable. For the Madden Curse, a logical explanation was that players are celebrated by being on the cover of the videogame because they have reached the pinnacle of their careers.

pin·na·cle
ˈpinək(ə)l/
noun
              “he had reached the pinnacle of his career”
There’s literally no place to go but down. Add in the age factor and number of games played, and the “curse” doesn’t seem so mysterious after all. How things have gone down the past couple of weeks in the NBA, I’m beginning to reevaluate my stance on the issue. In late January, LeBron James and Steph Curry particiated in the All-Star Draft.

First, DeMarcus Cousins went down with injury. Then, Kevin Love. John Wall. The latest victim? Kristaps Porzingis. Last night, he tore the ACL in his left knee after this. I will think of you everytime my 2-year-old daughter puts on My Little Pony. Michael Beasley is the obvious get, but he’s probably been rostered already. Kyle O’Quinn is also an interesting pickup, as he would be the big off the bench to give either a break. Yo, LeBron. Whatever you’re doing? STOP!!!

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I grew up before cable television, when a remote control was, “Son, get your ass off the couch and change the channel.” The number of channels could be counted on two hands. So, many of my fond memories were from watching infomericals. Tom Vu was one and will always have a special place in my heart, while the other one was Billy Blanks and his Tae Bo. That was the OG. Seriously, everything now should pay homage and pay royalties to Blanks. Anyways, after more than 20 years, Tae Bo is still going strong. There are fitness centers and classes all across the county and Billy Blanks still has, not only an operational website, but one that looks legit. Which brings me to Zach Randolph, aka Z-Bo. He’s so OG that his friends…in middle school….named him Z-Bo after Deebo. This is his 18th season in the NBA, yet, like Tae Bo, is still going strong. Last night, Z-Bo went:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 26 12 2 1 0 4 3/6 11/23 1/2

He played 32 minutes. So, that thing about the Kings going young. Yeah…..Z-Bo has actually played 32, 32, and 28 minutes the past three games. But he did not see the court the two games before that. He’s only a streaming option or a DFS play in the right matchup. He must’ve been licking his lips when he saw that Dante Cunningham would be guarding him last night. He went so OG that he knocked him out of the game with injury. I’m getting all nostalgic and will try one of the Tae Bo workouts. Shit, I shouldn’t have done that. Still effective, like Z-Bo.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?