I was never a huge fan of D’Angelo Russell when he was a Laker. The shooting efficiency was poor, the D was porous, and the decision-making and decisiveness were lacking. It was as if DLoading was a picture loading back in the dial-up internet days; one line of pixels at a time. At least now the buffering just shows a ring with a percentage number. Anyways, Russell was a young pup back then. Only 19 and 20 years old. Now, he’s a grizzled, 22-year-old veteran. I kid, but he’s really developed and improved his game, to the point where he’s leading his team to victory over one of the top teams in the NBA.
In his first three years in the league, Russell was a 41% shooter from the field and never topped 80% from the line. Now, he’s a 43% shooter from the field and 81% from the line. He’s averaging a tick under 20 points per game, 2.7 tres, 3.7 boards, 6.4 dimes, and 1.1 steals. He’s increased both the tres and dimes by almost 1 per game. In addition, he’s jacking up over 17 shots per game, has a usage rate north of 30, and is a top 50 player on the season for fantasy. When Caris LeVert returns from injury, things could change and Russell could cede some usage, but Russell will continue being a vital part of this Nets team. All the pixels have been revealed and the picture is a glorious one.
Here’s what else I saw last night: Please, blog, may I have some more?
Look ahead—Trade Deadline Edition
Now we are just past the halfway mark of the season and into the annual fun that masquerades as the trade deadline.
Teams are either hoping to find the one additional piece to move them into championship contention, ensure that playoff slot which has eluded the home fans for several seasons, or offload some contracts to save a few bucks and better the future.
The interesting thing is figuring out who the sellers and buyers are. More intriguing for us fantasy hoop heads is how it affects/changes/improves/negates the numbers of current players and what kind of new opportunities can now be found for players in new situations.
We will take a look at the Eastern Conference first – identify some trade targets and discuss what that might mean. Then we will do the same with the West. Please, blog, may I have some more?
October is upon us and that is a wonderful thing. The leaves turn beauteous colors while the weather provides crisp breezes. Both adults and kids get to dress up. Kids to beg for huge bags of candy. Adults to fantasize and act silly. There is even a holiday when some folks get to stay home from work to celebrate the “discovery” of America by Christopher Columbus! But the real greatness of October lies in the fact that it is the month where our sports converge together like women for the 70% off sale at Nordstroms. College football, which if you haven’t heard, is its own religion in the South, and the NFL are into their second month. The guys in the US and Canada start wielding sticks and slapping pucks around, as the NHL season begins. Our national pastime breaks into its glorious playoff season. But for fantasy hoopheads, the most important thing that happens is the NBA season kicks off in earnest.
It is almost here. We have just a few days until October 16, and there are mock drafts, real drafts, online drafts, auction drafts, snake drafts, and dynasty drafts scheduled over the next two weeks in every hamlet in this fair country.
On September 28th, we saw Gordon Hayward in the Boston Green to kick off the preseason. Each team will play five games that don’t count in preparation for those that do. What then to watch for to help you hoodwink all your buddies and have the best draft imaginable?
I will look Division by Division to give you some keys to watch that might provide some guidance. Please, blog, may I have some more?
The roster of the Sacramento Kings reminds me of a second-hand jigsaw puzzle that is bought from a car boot sale, only to get home and find that it has too many pieces. Despite drafting De’Aaron Fox, one of the fastest point guards in the 2017 Draft, the Kings complicated matters by not only playing at the league’s second slowest pace at just 98.1 possessions per game, but also signing George Hill as a veteran presence. Fast forward 12 months and things are more clear, as the over-priced Hill is no longer on the roster and the current personnel portends for an uptempo style of play to utilize the strengths of Fox and this years premium draft pick of Marvin Bagley III. The Kings have complicated matters in the front-court, though, with Harry Giles now healthy and the acquisitions of Nemanja Bjeilica, Wenyen Gabriel, and Deyonta Davis added to an already stacked core of Willie Cauley-Stein, Kosta Koufas, Skal Labbissiere and Zach Randolph. Please, blog, may I have some more?
We’re getting into the last week of the fantasy regular season for most of us, so I’m not going to bore you with all of the decent lines from star players. You’re not getting Harden in a trade at this point. DeMar DeRozan scoring 23 points isn’t really vital information if he’s not on your team. We’re getting down to crunch time. The nitty-gritty. Absolute pond scum that might have value for one game or two. Sacramento Kings games where Z-Bo is resting and D’Aaron Fox is nursing a minor injury. No one will remember how you won your championship, just that you won it. Okay, after a few years most people will forget you won it too, but you’ll remember. You’ll take it to your grave remembering, “Hey, I added Kosta Koufos and won the 2018 Fantasy basketball championship because I studied the schedule grids, and plotted my moves four weeks in advance.” But, I digress… Here’s what went down last night in fantasy hoops: 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?
This might be more of a somber lead for your fantasy liking, but someone has to speak truths. So here I am taking the responsibility upon myself to teach lessons to those who play in Head-to-Head leagues and find themselves wondering, why? Think about it. As the level of NBA entertainment rises, the fantasy-friendly confines begin to fall. Excitement levels reach all-time highs, along with your heart rate, when Karl-Anthony Towns only has 2 games this week. There are a few schools of thought for teams around the NBA. Either said team is so far ahead, they rest their starters, team is so far behind, they play their youngsters, or team is right in the middle and do things just right. We tried something new in my league this year. We started the playoffs at the end of February. Sounds crazy right? We tried to avoid the problem sweeping the fantasy NBA realm, and that is the art of navigating the sit. H2H, distant cousin of H2O, is so very common, but so very flawed, and you’ll find yourself dropping Taj Gibson because he doesn’t play for another 6 days. Maybe you drop Bobby Portis who’s hot as hell because you need more games that week than your opponent. Then your friends brother picks him up, and you just lost a friend. It’s a complete numbers game and one hell of a slippery slope. So, I’m not going to write a thesis on how to fix this. That’s for another time, but I will hand you some hot pickups to help you get through the end of the year and weather the storm. 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?
I loved the Chappelle Show. My favorite episode was The Racial Draft, but right behind was Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories: Rick James. When he first met James, Charlie saw an “orange……auro” around him, as if he were some transcendental god. After getting to know him a bit, he realized that James was “mad niggerish.” He would “walk up to any chick and lick the whole side of their face” then yell, “I’m Rick James, bitch!” I think Rick and LeBron James are the same person, except for the whole “licking the whole side of the face” thing, but…..I don’t know what LeBron is into. Anyways, LeBron has been a trancendental figure in the sport of basketball since he was in high school. He’s a savant on the court, and polished and refined off the court, but when it comes down to it, he don’t take any shit. Last night, he messed around.
The triple-dub was his 12th of the season. I’m LeBron James, bitch! But, it doesn’t end there. For the month of February (11 games), he AVERAGED a triple-dub: 26.6 points, 10.3 boards, and 10.4 dimes. I’m LeBron James, bitch! But, it doesn’t end there. With last night’s performance, LeBron became the FIRST player in NBA HISTORY to score 30,000 points, dish out 8,000 dimes, and grab 8,000 rebounds. I’m LeBron James, bitch!
Here’s what else I saw last night: Please, blog, may I have some more?
“ Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” (Aaron Levenstein)
There are two weeks left in the regular season for fantasy. With the injury to Jimmy Butler, joining the club of DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall, Kristaps Porzingis, and Kawhi Leonard, this year seems like an elimination game. On the other hand, Anthony Davis has been video game-esque. Over the last five games, he’s averaging 42.3 pts, 14.8 rebs, 3.8 stls, and 3.0 blks.
Here is how the action went down in Week 18 & 19 across our 12 RCL Leagues: 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?
With a wife, two kids, and fantasy sports to play and write about, the videogaming has taken a back seat. Wait? Isn’t that where all the action happens? That’s when you know you are washed. Anyways, I always enjoyed fantasy drafting teams, whether it be football, basketball, and/or baseball. I’d spend hours upon hours…..who am I kidding? I’d spend months upon months drafting, playing, scouting, etc. Usually, I’d eschew the awareness categories and just focus on the physical attributes. As a Raiders fan, I probably received drafting strategy from Al Davis via osmosis: size and speed. As we all know, physical attributes are not the end all be all in the real world, though. Remember Harold Miner? Exactly. Fundamentals and IQ are important characteristics for any player, but they are often overlooked, as we always get enamored with the physical traits. Case in point, Nikola Jokic. Pre-draft scouting report from nbadraft.net. Strengths: Very high basketball IQ. Strong personality. A team player. Has a great work ethic. My favorite part was that he “doesn’t drink or smoke.” Ha! Weaknesses: An average athlete lacking great speed and leaping ability. Well, last night, Nikola messed around:
It ain’t about how high you jump or how fast you run. It’s about understanding the game of basketball and making plays. That’s why Nikola ain’t no Jokic. And he’s only 22 years old! He is going to be such a beast.
Here’s what else I saw last night: Please, blog, may I have some more?