Good morning, and welcome back to another edition of Any Given Saturday. A huge slate of games last night, but the most impressive performance of them all came from The Rocky Horror Victor Show himself, Victor Oladipo. Our boy put forth a pristine 38/4/6/1/1 on 13-for-23 FG (2-for-8 3P, 10-for-10 FT) and no TOs, as he led the Pacers to the overtime win over the Nets. Dipo has been a top-10 guy in 9-cat so far and it doesn’t look like he’s going to slow down any time soon. I was higher than most on Dipo coming into the season, but I don’t think anybody predicted a season like this. If you got him near his ADP, you’re laughing. Anyway, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I was very surprised when I Googled Triple D’s. Triple D’s Place, a Jamaican restaurant and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Where were the big, beautiful breasteses? We have truly advanced as a society. Anyways, it’s bad if you get a D in school. Mcy D’s is good when you are hungry. How about for fantasy? Double D, DeMar DeRozan, has been a valuable fantasy player for quite some time. He has averaged over 20 points per game in each of the last five seasons. He has grabbed around 4.5 boards, dished out close to four dimes, 211’d around one, knocked down 82% of his free throws, and shot 45% from the field. The two areas that he lacked in were blocks and threes. Well, last night, DD was lighting it up from three-land.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
45 5 3 2 1 2 6/9 13/21 13/15

It’s only appropriate that he shot 6-of-9 from downtown, huh? The Universe is awesome. Now, before you start getting all excited, DD’s season high for threes was only three. On the year, he’s making 0.7 on 2.5 attempts. Well above his career average, but fewer than the 0.8 on 2.7 attempts back in 2013 season. Last night’s game was more than likely an outlier, but we can all dream. I guess that’s the only thing one can do regarding Triple D’s. Unless you like Jamaican food and Guy Fieri.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Why did you do this to me Jahlil?? I trusted you. I placed my faith in you to turn your career around in Brooklyn. I even criticized the Sixers for not wanting to develop you and what is the return? Three DNP-CDs and a meh 10 points/4 rebounds game in 23 minutes played. I rushed to pick you up everywhere but dropped you in all but one very deep league. Even his coach admitted he is out of shape and that it is going to “take some time to integrate him more into the system”. The vegan diet doesn’t seem to work that well….

I think I support Ron Swanson’s opinion on this matter more…

Thankfully, the rest of last week’s calls were much better than the gentleman above and Marvin Williams, who was also below average. J.J.Barea and Yogi Ferrell continue to hold down the fort until Dennis Smith Jr returns, Taurean Prince had a great week averaging 15.0/3.3/5.0/2.7/0.7/1.0/2.3, Lebron James’s Fg% dropped a bit as predicted, and Andrew Wiggins continues to disappoint so much that he was ranked 264th in per game value for last week.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In my younger days, I used to run with a pretty deep crew. Most of them were older and more experienced than me. Most were better looking and had more charisma then me. Emphasis on most. Not being the man was just fine. You’d be surprised at how many layups you’d get by just being. All of this happened on the basketball court as well. Anyways, with so much attention on the alphas, dudes like me would be afforded all sorts of opportunities to score. At some point, the stars would align and everything would come to a climax. Whether it be on the court or at the club, there’s always that moment. Last night, Clint Capela had his moment.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 24 20 3 0 2 2 0 10/12 4/5

It was his first 20/20 game of the season and he actually hit his free throws. Chris Paul, James Harden, and Eric Gordon all had great games, but it was all about Capela last night. Now, most of his opportunities came because of all the attention given to the superstars on the team. No matter. Production is production. And that’s how it’s going to be all season. Capela is a top 30 fantasy player right now. Imagine if he shot better than 58% from the charity stripe.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In 2016, Daryl Morey hired Mike D’Antoni as head coach. It was a match made in heaven, as Morey believed that three-pointers, layups, and free throws were the most efficient shots to take. D’Antoni? Did someone say three-pointers? Three-coooooola. The Rockets improved from 41-41 in 2015 to 55-27 with D’Antonio at the helm. They blitzed the league with 115.3 points per game, just 0.6 fewer than the vaunted Golden State Warriors. They hoisted up an absurd 40.3 three-pointers a game and made a league-high 14.4. Then the playoffs happened. After disposing of the Oklahoma City Thunder, D’Antoni and Morey were bested by Greg Popovich. Pop did not figure out the magic formula to shut down the Rockets O. What he did do was disrupt the rhythm and force the Rockets to do what they were most uncomfortable doing: shoot the midrange. Pop would use Kawhi Leonard to chase James Harden all over the court and plant Pau Gasol in the middle of the lane. The other three players would be paparrazi and follow their subjects wherever they went. As a result, three-pointers, layups, and free throws were defended. Everything in the midrange was conceded. Result? Spurs 4. Rockets 2. There was only one option to pursue. Better Call Paul, as in

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Off the court, Russell Westbrook is a goofy, fun-loving guy. He jokes around and dons himself with whimsical articles of clothing. Get him to the arena, though, and he transforms into a raging, psychopathic maniac. He dunks like Thor whomping his hammer downwards. The millions of people affected by Colonialism and Imperialism have a voice when he Euro-steps. Barreling down the court on a fast break, there is no game of chicken. Only mincemeat. So, it’s no surprise that he messed around last night.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 34 13 14 1 1 7 2/9 12/25 8/9

I agree that the triple-dub is an overrated stat, but it is what it is. After last night’s performance, Russ now has 86 for his career. 1 more gets him to 87. 187. Damn, the Universe is too good. Anyways, Russ got off to a slow start this season, as he kind of did the Kobe. You know? Where he chills out the first couple of quarters and tries to let his teammates do their thing. With the Thunder 11-12 on the season, Russ has hit the switch to make the ass drop and will be freakin brothers everyway like MJ. Every day will be a good day the rest of the way. At least for fantasy owners.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I try not to use the same player twice as the lede for this post. You’d think with over 300 players in the NBA, that wouldn’t be a problem. Unfortunately, teams do not play every day and most of the players are not worthy. Sure, I could write up Nik Stauskas and how he didn’t score, rebound, assist, steal, or block in eight minutes of run. I could go into detail how he turned the ball over twice and picked up a personal foul, but even Momma Stauskas would be like, “I had to pause the curling match for this crap?” So, as much as I try not to use the same player for the lede, sometimes a performance is just too good. Last Wednesday, Devin Booker was The Razzballer after he dropped 33 points on the hapless Bulls. That was nothing compared to what he did to the Philadelphia 76ers:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 46 8 1 2 1 3 5/8 17/32 7/8

Booker started the game shooting 1-for-8. So, according to my handy dandy desktop abacus, he shot .666 the rest of the way. Ahhhh, the Devil lives!

The Wells Fargo Center used to be located at 3601 Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19148. You can now just input 46 Booker St, Philadelphia, PA 00100 into your GPS from now on.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Once upon a time I was falling in love
But now I’m only falling apart
And there’s nothing I can do
A Joel eclipse of the heart
Good morning/afternoon/night sports fans. Welcome back to another special edition of the Saturday Daily Notes presented by Razzball. We had a bit of a rivalry game (I guess?) between the Pistons and the 76ers last night, with Andre Drummond and Joel Embiid jawing at each other over social media then battling it out on the court. Drummond had a great game going for 14/11/6/5/1 on 4-for-8 FG and 6-for-8 FT and only one turnover, but Embiid had 25/10/0/1 with six turnovers on 7-for-21 FG and 11-for-12 FT along with the all-important win. It was a battle between two of the game’s best centers and hopefully a matchup we’ll be seeing many times going forward. Anyway, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

For the first few weeks of the season, I try not to focus on the standings. I look, of course, but I do so knowing that there have been outlier games, whose impacts are more pronounced due to the small sample size. Also, most teams have a player or two that’s missed the majority of the games and they might also have been starting a replacement player that’s not going to keep it up much longer. However, we’re now about a quarter of the way through the NBA season. The data is relatively predictable. You should know which categories you need to focus on in order to gain points and which ones to ignore, either because you’re stuck at the bottom or entrenched at the top of a category (or if you always win or lose the category by a ton in head-to-head).

Today, we’ll look at the ESPN Player Rater. Tony RP’s Player Rater updates will give you a picture of who’s most valuable by position. I thought I’d go by category to see who’s doing what for us. Here are the top 20 players by category plus the bottom 20 for relevant ones, skipping players that have hardly played. So, it’s just the per-game stat leaders you may be familiar with, except that the percentage categories are weighted by volume. Turnovers are from BasketballMonster, since ESPN doesn’t include them.

So, how is this useful? Obviously, you want players that score well overall on the Player Rater. But, if you’re like me, you’ll be surprised to see some of your players pop up on these lists. Also, keeping in mind which categories you need help in, this can help you find some trade targets. Or, if you’re out of it in points or FG%, maybe ship off a guy that’s in the top 20 that’s not doing much else for you. If you’re in the middle of the pack in FT% and you see that you have one of the worst offenders there, maybe you can ditch him and gain points (just keep in mind what you might be losing in other categories from him). A lot can be gained by learning what’s actually happening compared to what we assume is happening based on previous years or projections.

Next week, I’ll get back into multi-category rankings for those that are ignoring categories, whether intentionally or as a matter of the hand you’ve been dealt. Think punt FG% & TOs, or for FT% punters: 3PTM+AST+ST+PTS+TO rankings, which are what you want to complement your FT% anchors with. That’s when you can really find trade value, since all players now have a new value to your specific team.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In the Batman movies, Commissioner Gordon is portrayed as a subservient, damsel in distress character. “Oh no! There’s trouble in Gotham. Let me run up to the rooftop to signal the Batman so that he can take care of everything.” I kid. Commissioner Gordon was old and needed the youth, strength, and resources that Batman could provide. But, before he became a useless POS, Jim Gordon served in the US Marine Corps and was a Special Forces veteran who could kick some serious ass. That’s where we are at with Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic. He’s only 22 years old and 6′ 9″ 220 pounds. He can dribble, shoot, rebound, block, pass, jump like a flea, and run like a gazelle. He’s basically the new and improved version of Blake Griffin. Sad to see the Matrix slowly phasing out Blake for Aaron. Anyways, last night the NBA’s Commissioner Gordon put up the first 40-burger of his career:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 40 15 4 4 1 1 6/12 13/23 8/11

He led his team to a 121-108 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder, a team led by Russell Westbrook, aka Beastbrook but I prefer to call him the Hulk. Off the court, Westbrook seems like a funny, charismatic guy. On the court, SMASH….SMASH….SMASH! Dude plays with reckless abandon, which results in an abundance of turnovers, but he will dunk on your grill at every opportunity. And keep coming. And coming. And coming. He truly leaves everything on the court, which is why I’d always want the Hulk on my side, because I know he’d always have my back. As for last night:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 37 11 5 5 0 7 7/10 11/23 8/12
Please, blog, may I have some more?