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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 31 12 11 1 0 1 2/4 13/25 3/3

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:

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“ 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:

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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:

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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:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 23 13 11 0 1 1 2/5 8/15 5/6

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:

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The Player Rater is a tool to evaluate the performance of a player with only one number. This is not a perfect tool and will not guarantee victory in fantasy, but this is useful to help improve and evaluate your team.

In each category of scoring, a number is calculated to represent the average total in that category. If a player has the average, his rating in that category is 0.00. The numbers represent how much a player is above or below the average.

If the rating is positive, that player is an above-average fantasy player in that category. If the rating is negative that player is below-average. The sum of all ratings in each category gives us a number (the PR), and then we rank the players accordingly.

I have not included turnovers, as the evaluation in PR is very controversial in my opinion, so if you’re in a league with turnovers, you must keep in mind this.

If you have any question let me know.

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