There was plenty of basketball to watch on Christmas Day, 13 hours worth to be exact. What figured to be a disappointing slate of easily predictable outcomes turned out to be a surprisingly fun, upset-filled NBA gift. A Golden State Warriors team full of two-way and minimum contract players managed to beat James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and the rest of the Houston Rockets. Joel Embiid played grinch for Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks, leading to fans firing up all of the familiar “Bucks are a regular season team” takes. The solid, wing-heavy Boston Celtics comfortably beat an injury ravaged Raptors team and a newly rejuvenated New Orleans Pelicans squad pulled out a victory against the Denver Nuggets. And in the most anticipated game of the day, Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers outlasted and outshot LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. I enjoyed myself.

I viewed the Christmas day outcomes as a reminder of all there is to love about the NBA. Star-players duking it out for legacy supremacy and short-lived bragging rights. Yes, the regular season isn’t the most accurate prediction of playoff success, but it is still entertaining and compelling nonetheless. Wednesday’s games continued to reinforce my belief that, if you’re truly interested in the NBA, there is more than enough nightly entertainment to satisfy your intrigue.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Bruce Lee was the man. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. He was an actor, director, philosopher, teacher, and professional ass-kicker. His speed and quickness would mesmerize and put me into a trance. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what always mesmerizes? The Stocktonator. But what I most admired about him was his mind. My favorite Bruce Lee quote is, “Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless – like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash.” When he first arrived to the United States, he was all about the Wing Chun style, but he realized it was too rigid for the chaos of street fighting. As a result, he developed “the style of no style” which emphasized “practicality, flexibility, speed, and efficiency.” Brother-from-another-mother, Damion Lee utilized the same techniques as he led the Warriors to a victory over the Rockets, 116-104.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
22 15 4 3 0 2 2/2 5/9 10/10

Made his fifth start in a row and played 31 minutes. He was efficient from the floor, displayed speed in getting his 211 on, showed flexibility in his game by dishing out dimes, and was practically impossible to bottle up. He flowed like water through and around the Rockets. Now, Lee is a two-way player, and he has 15 days left before he’s sent down to the G-League. The Warriors cannot waive anyone to free up a spot because they are right at the hard cap. They could trade someone like Marquese Chriss, Alec Burks, or Glenn Robinson III, but that is unlikely. Translation: this will probably not last. With that said, he’s been a top 25 player over the past three games. He’s averaged 31.4 minutes, 18.7 points, 2.7 tres, 9.7 boards, 2.7 dimes, and 1.3 steals. The turnovers have been low while the percentages have been good. Like brother-from-another Bruce, the party will likely end prematurely, but there will be plenty of ass-kicking until that happens.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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The Lyndon Baines Johnson presidency was a misunderstood one. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what’s never misunderstood? The Stocktonator. Most view the administration unfavorably due to the Vietnam War, but LBJ did much to improve the domestic situation in the United States. He passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, created Medicare and Medicaid, increased funding for education, and declared a “War on Poverty.” Historians rank him as an above-average president. The people, though, gave him two thumbs down. The NBA LBJ administration, on the other hand, hasn’t been an administration at all. It’s been more a reign, as LeBron James aka The King has ruled over The League….not one….not two…..not three….not four…..not five…..but 15 seasons. It should be 16, but many viewed him as #TheWashedKing last year as he missed many games due to injury. As his play this season has shown, LBJ didn’t go anywhere. He continues to dominate and reign over the NBA. Last night was but the latest example:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
32 13 7 1 3 4 4/10 12/21 4/7

LeBron is the #12 player for fantasy on the season. He’s leading the freaking league in dimes with 10.8 per game. The usage rate is 32.4 and he’s taking 20.1 field goal atttempts per game. The 34.6 minutes per game seem like a lot, right? Well, that’s a career low!!! Which is a good thing because health and Father Time are the only things that will stop this reign.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I have much to be thankful for. A loving wife. Beautiful kids. Razzball. Beep. Boop. Bop. The Stocktonator. I’m thankful that there’s a holiday to remind us to be thankful, which gives us Black Friday and Cyber Monday so that companies can show their thanks by taking all our money. Gotta love capitalism. What’s next? Thankful Thursdays? At this point, might as well. The other week, someone texted me about Happy International Men’s Day. Are you f’ing kidding me? Does that imply that there’s a Domestic Men’s Day? Anyways, what I’m most thankful for this year has been drafting Bam Adebayo in every fantasy basketball league I could. Why? Just look what he did yesterday:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
17 16 1 1 1 4 0 6/14 5/7

Bam is only 22 years old. He’s 6′ 9″ 255lbs, so he can bang down low with the big boys, yet he’s agile enough to Euro step in transition for a dunk. The 7′ 1″ wingspan allows him to gobble up rebounds, while his vision and passing acumen have him dishing out 4.2 dimes per game. Bam is averaging 1.5 steals and 1.2 blocks. The only thing he doesn’t contribute are tres, and the free throw shooting is poor (65%), although he’s been converting 72% of the freebies over the past seven games. Put it all together and Bam is a top 50-ish player for fantasy. Arigato Adebayo.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

For the first five games of the season, Nicolo Melli played an average of 15.2 minutes per game, with a high of 20. He showed the ability to shoot from downtown, but little else. The first four games of November, Melli played 10, 10, 5, and 17 minutes. He was rotting on the bench. But then….

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
14 6 4 3 0 0 1/6 4/10 5/5

Nelli got the call on the celli to notify him that he would play 27, 27, and 28 minutes over the past three games. Did I just time travel there? Anyways, Melli has responded by scoring 14, 16, and 10 points with a decent amount of boards and dimes. What really stands out is three steals in two separate games. Who knew this Italian was a smooth criminal? Perhaps he’s mafioso? He’s been a top 60 player over the past four games. This could be a short-term thing while the Pelicans are banged up, or it could be the start of something. I may be able to time travel, but I cannot predict the future. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what can predict the future? The Stocktonator.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I used to spend hours upon hours upon hours upon hours playing franchise mode in NBA 2K. I was a fantasy draft guy, so I’d draft my team. Then I’d go into the playbook and select all the plays I wanted for my offensive system. The rotations and minutes distribution would be all taken care of. I’d make sure the players were happy with their roles, and ensure contracts were all taken care of. Finally, I’d spend hours upon hours upon hours upon hours tweaking the sliders so that the game would play as realistically as possible. One slider in particular would always cause me much consternation: the injury slider. If I put it too low, then no one would ever get injured and the simulation experience would be tainted. On the other hand, if I put it too high, then I’d want to throw my controller into the wall….repeatedly. Well, whoever is handling the NBA matrix has put the injury slider too high! Just yesterday, Brandon Ingram’s knee tightened up before the game and will now have an MRI on Tuesday. Danuel House suffered back contusions and left the game after 12 minutes. De’Aaron Fox sprained his ankle during practice and will be out at least 3-4 weeks. Finally, Gordon Hayward will be out six weeks after undergoing surgery on his injured hand. Whew! Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what never gets injured and is always there working for you? The Stocktonator. O. G. Anunoby left after 2 minutes due to an eye injury. Landry Shamet only played 12 minutes due to an ankle injury. Now, from a fantasy perspective, if Ingram misses time, then Josh Hart will likely start in his place. Jrue Holiday should be the one to soak up the most usage. If House is unable to play, Ben McLemore would likely replace him in the starting lineup. With Fox out for a while, Cory Joseph will likely start but Bogdan Bogdanovic probably benefits the most. There’s been talk that Fox could be out more than 3-4 weeks, and when he does return, he won’t be as explosive. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson should see a bump in playing time if Anunoby misses time. As for Shamet, Rodney McGruder could see more run or Lou Williams may get a few more minutes. Not sure there’s a direct beneficiary from the situation, but we will monitor to see how Doc decides to play it. Since we can’t rage quit and press reset on the box, we must make do with what we have and offer sacrifices to the injury gods.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I was supposed to go to a Greta Van Fleet concert with my brother. If you don’t know Greta, definitely check them out. They’re today’s version of Led Zeppelin and are quickly rising to prominence in the rock and roll world. Anyway, I was supposed to see them. Keyword supposed.

The lead singer developed the flu and had to cancel the remainder of the shows on the tour. This came just six months after I was supposed to see a Led Zeppelin tribute concert at the House of Blues in New Orleans before it got canceled due to the band’s Boeing 747 being grounded. And that came just six months after I was supposed to see Avenged Sevenfold, a band that pushes my music fandom to the brink of heavy metal music, when their lead singer developed a rare vocal cord infection and had to cancel.

In sum, my history as a concert-goer is similar to Gordon Hayward’s career as a Celtic. Setback after setback has made it a difficult run in Boston, and the latest was just a freak accident that could keep him sidelined for over a month. It’s especially a shame, too, because he was really starting to gain momentum this season and bring his game back to days of old.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
9 2 1 1 1 1 1-3 4-9 0-0

He’ll end his season, for the time being, as the No. 28 player in fantasy with an impressive line of 18.9 ppg, 7.1 rpg, and 4.1 apg.

Here’s what else we saw in five games of Saturday night action:

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Ah, centers. The literal giants of the fantasy basketball world. There are 56 centers listed below, with the shortest being Montrezl Harrell who stands at 6′ 8″ tall. In the United States, the average height of a male is 5′ 9″, which puts Montrezl in the 99.988 percentile. But he’s the shortest player in this piece. Many, if not most, are seven feet or taller. In the entirety of the world, there are approximately 2800 people seven feet or taller, which translates to 0.000038% of the population on Planet Earth. And 1.7% play in the NBA! Crazy! The outliers don’t stop there, though. Nikola Jokic is the only center who is projected to average over 4 dimes per game, with a whopping 7.5! Since these literal giants tower over the landscape, it would make sense that they dominate the blocks and boards categories. There are 15 players projected to grab at least 10 boards per game. 12 are centers. For blocks, 19 players are projected to reject at least 1.5 shots per game. 13 are centers. Let’s all bow down and pay homage to these titans of the fantasy basketball world.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The defending champs are back for yet another year of dominance…Oh wait, they didn’t win last year. Sorry, I’m so used to it that in my mind they’re still somehow the champs, even though it’s really my precious Raptors. The NBA championship is up for grabs again, and for the first time in awhile the Warriors are not the heavy favorite to win the title. Some are even saying they may struggle to make the playoffs. Key pieces in Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala left town, and Klay Thompson will be out for the majority of the season, leaving gaping holes in their starting line up. Newcomers D’Angelo Russell and Willie Cauley-Stein will look to step into the new system and fill some giant shoes. If Steph Curry can stay healthy, I expect the Warriors to be contenders yet again.

Please, blog, may I have some more?