• Welcome to the Fantasy Facepalm. Like many of you, I discovered hoop-ball.com for the insightful analysis and top-notch basketball content that provides me with all the tools I need to help me win my league en route to all the spoils, riches, groupies and accolades that come with a fantasy championship.

    And like many of you, I consume this information like Johnny 5 does input and do my best to execute based on that material to the best of my abilities. And like many of you, despite my best efforts, things just go sideways.

    That’s what I’m here for, to share that you’re not alone. That even with the best fantasy minds providing you with their tips to win, things don’t work out the way you expect them to. The best-laid plans can go awry. Happens to me all the time. Sometimes plunking down some cash, there are times you wish it came with an actual injury policy for when basketball makes you want to bang your head into steel beam.

    But don’t despair. Let me be your fantasy hoops drinking buddy. Lets shoot the bull on what to do when we need to break out of a fantasy rut. Lets share our wisdom only to have it blow up in our faces. We all have our own misadventures on our pursuit to championship glory.

    Lets revel in this fantasy mayhem together.

    A Stretch Four Approach to the Deadline

    The NBA’s trade deadline may have passed, but many fantasy league deadlines are approaching.  So I say it’s time to capitalize on the work you’ve done up until this point. Or hold a fire sale of the guys who haven’t panned out and make you wish awful things on them while they remain on you team. Either way, it’s dealmaking time.

    When I become President, trade deadlines will be a national holiday and will have a beer and chicken wings sponsor. That’s how much I love trading days. But not everyone approaches your league’s deadline with such zeal. It will take effort on your part to maximize your trade potential and get more people in your league involved in a good swap.

    Well good people of Hoop-Ball land, here is my guide for executing good fantasy basketball trades that I will dub ‘The Stretch Four’. By reading through this I hope that you will be ready to throw yourself head first into the trading pool and no longer be afraid of making the first move. Now, who’s ready for more forced dating references.

    1 – STUDY

    Fantasy trades are no different than starting a new relationship, especially if you’re like me and are in leagues where you might not know all the owners. It’s an awkward dance for sure and if you’re in a fantasy basketball league you probably have two left feet to begin with and think a Foxtrot is De’Aaron trying to dribble his way through a double team.

    So what to do when you want to start trading? First, you should really take the time to understand yourself and to know your own team. It’s your team. You built it, grew up with it, you pet it. You love your naughty fantasy team, you’re naughty! So instead of squashing it with bad deals, take the time to really understand your team’s identity, how you’ve reached this point in season and secured spot in the standings. Once you do, you can then realize that even though you’re in a playoff hunt, you have a Shaq-sized hole at point guard and a need for a scoring boost.

    Once you feel better about your own team, ask yourself, how well do you know the partner you’re about to enter this budding relationship with? I suggest that you do your homework on your potential trade partner. Are they weak in a particular category? Do they show favoritism to certain positions? Perhaps they have a swooning affection for a certain team. Maybe it’s the Warriors. Of course it’s the Warriors. I bet they’re not even from the Bay Area. Check the league’s message board for clues. You never know what you may spot. Hell, they could also share Dwyane Wade’s preference in Merlots and walks on the beach. That info could be a deal sweetener!

    Once you’re confident in your own team’s needs and equally confident in another team’s needs as well, you’re then ready to actively engage with your new trade mate. Don’t be shy. Make the first move. Kobe Bryant missed 100% of the shots he passed to teammates. So take responsibility, step up and shoot your shot this trade deadline.

    2 – STALK

    I know what you’re thinking.

    ‘Whoa whoa whoa. All this relationship talk and you want me to stalk? We only just met. What kind of creepy nonsense is this? And aren’t you supposed to wait a couple days before you check in on a 2nd date? Why would you ignore the advice that every Hollywood RomCom has taught me?’

    Well here’s the thing. This is fantasy basketball and actively pursuing trades requires active follow up. If you’re not vigorously trying to get the attention of the other teams in the league, then they’ll just wind up trading with someone else. If you put an offer out there and don’t hear back, then by God, keep at the team until you get a response. If they’re not responding to league email, try getting a phone number to text them from another owner who knows them. Tweet at them. Send smoke signals. Whatever it takes. What’s the worst that happens? They say no? A potential fantasy trade partner isn’t going to file for a restraining order so do what you can to engage in trades no matter what it takes.

    The rules are different in fantasy hoops. Stalking is frowned upon, but you can and should be vigilant in what you know will help your team and the team you’re trading with.  In a league of 10-12 likeminded people, they’ll get it. But again, only do this in your fantasy league. Don’t behave in real life the way you would in your fantasy league. But you guys know that. I think you know that. No seriously, stop doing that in real life. For real, stalking is not cool you guys.

    3 – SELL

    So you figured out a good trade partner and you’ve connected with them about deals. There are some offers starting to brew. On top of that there’s been jokes shared and you realized that you and your new trade partner have a mutual distaste of the Lakers and olives. Seriously, olives are the worst. And the Lakers. You’re getting along on league email swimmingly. You’re dancing now baby!

    But a deal still isn’t done. You’re thinking ‘What’s going on? I brought a solid offer built around a player of need along with candles, champagne and mood music, why can’t we take this relationship to the next level! Kemba Walker is the player I need to round out my team and they want to trade him since they already have Steph Curry and a lot of depth at the point. What’s the hold up?’

    Well it turns out that your trade partner, who needs a center and big man stats, isn’t a fan of Hassan Whiteside, your big piece to get Kemba.

    Fantasy players will always have their preconceived notions and biases about certain players. It happens. We’re all emotional creatures after all. But then the onus is on you, dear reader, to convince them that their biases are misguided and that they should really open up their eager eyes and reconsider Mr. Whiteside.

    First of all, understand their concerns. Don’t dismiss them, but address their concerns head on and try to spin it differently. ‘Yes, he’s an injury risk and his minutes are down, but he’s already missed time this year. That’s in the past. He’s played in 77 and 73 games the past couple of seasons. That’s no more significant an injury history than anyone else.’

    Next, focus on the positive. ‘Well I also know his minutes are down, but Miami is trying to keep him fresh. And it’s been helping! His per 36 numbers are as good as ever! And now Kelly Olynyk is banged up and do you really think that Miami is going to start giving an unpolished rookie major minutes in the thick of a playoff chase? Whiteside has been one of the most consistent contributors in the league the past couple seasons and is still going strong.’

    Then present your option as the best option. ‘Look, I have solid centers on my team, but not every team does. The guys in 1st lost Boogie and are also in the hunt for a C. It would cost you way more to try to pry Towns or The Joker away from the 2nd place team and the 3rd place team has been happy to wait for Nik Vucevic to come back. And sure you could talk to the guy that has both DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard who have both been hot lately, but do you really want to risk dealing with those free throw anchors? Whiteside is clearly your best bet.’

    4 – SMILE

    Because you’ve just executed a solid fantasy basketball trade! All kidding aside, trading is meant to be fun and the best part of making trades is the build up to the deal. Even if you don’t strike the deal, don’t be that guy who rants and tells the other guy to shove it. If you have fun with it, then you never know what deals may come in the future. Don’t take yourself and the process to seriously. This isn’t the NBA where jobs and millions are at stake. If you have fun, you’ll come off confidently. And that confidence is key to managing a successful trading relationship.

    Now that you’ve been properly educated, go off and consummate your new trade relationships and get your teams ready for the home stretch.

    Player of the Week Who Has a Personal Vendetta Against Me

    I’m in a big 24-person dynasty league (Thanks Besbris!) and I took T.J. McConnell with a late pick. The draft had gone on for what felt like weeks and at that point I saw McConnell and thought, well he gets assists, that’s good enough for me. It turned out to be one of my better picks with Markelle Fultz missing nearly the entire season with a busted shoulder and shooting motion.

    But with the playoffs looming, I saw an opportunity to acquire a molten hot Tomas Satoransky. John Wall will be on the shelf for the next several weeks and into playoff time and I could be getting a difference maker for the rest of the season. I saw the writing on the wall for McConnell. Minutes heading down, Redick and Bayless back from injury, Fultz possibly coming back, Philly a possible trade buyer, offense going through Simmons regardless. I thought, you’ve served me nicely TJ, let me move on.

    So I strike a deal for Satoransky and Dwyane Wade for McConnell and a future 1st rounder. Then what happens? I play McConnell this week in a different league as well as a head to head DFS and he goes four friggin steals shy of a quadruple-double against the Knicks. DAMN YOU T.J. MCCONNELL. This is how you treat me after I was so good to you! Revenge narratives are real people. Especially when they involve my team.

    Adventures in DFS

    Last week the Smoothie King Center has a leak in the roof due to non-strawberry banana flavored rain. It meant that the Pacers would not be playing the Pelicans that night.

    When the game was officially postponed, DFS players went nuts on Twitter and couldn’t recoup what they committed to entry. I too lost money as I was waiting for Jrue Holiday to take the court only for the league to postpone the game. The result was a big fat zero for a fairly pricey shooting guard.

    My first reaction was to throw a shoe across my bedroom. My second more rational reaction was that well, these kinds of things happen. Guys get hurt or are late scratches. We’re all on the same playing field and these kinds of breaks can happen to anyone. Demanding a refund for events that occur beyond anyone’s control seems excessive. The entire concept of any fantasy sport is that it’s all beyond our control and FD and DK aren’t in the business of handing back money when that non-basketball related bad luck strikes your team. My final thought on the matter is rage and scream away at your misfortune, then take the L and move onto the next night.

    Guys I Like After the Break

    Here are some top-100 or so players I like after the All-Star break. This is me giving these players a kiss of death.

    Elfrid Payton – Fits perfectly for Suns and has chip on his shoulder

    John Collins – Hawks are tanktastic and want to get the most out of him

    Bogdan Bogdanovic – Hope that Joerger stops messing around and gives his yunguns all the minutes they can handle

    Kyle Kuzma, – Steadier role with Nance gone

    Dwight Powell – Dirk can’t do it all and there’s no size on the Mavs

    Jarrett Allen – Rebuilding Nets love him and starting center gig is all his

    JaMychal Green – Should have a lot of opportunity for Grizz, sneaky good FT shooter

    BONUS: Delon Wright & Fred VanVleetKyle Lowry makes it a habit of being banged up late in the season and these guys are already top-150 playing with only reserve minutes.

    Guys I Will Avoid After the Break

    Here are some top-100 or so players I don’t like after the All-Star break. This is me ensuring that they will stick it to me for the rest of the year.

    Spencer Dinwiddie – Shooting has been terrible and D’Angelo will likely cut into his usage

    Justin Holiday – Even more LaVine as the season goes on

    Lonzo Ball – As much as I think he and Isaiah Thomas will coexist just fine, it could also blow right up in everyone’s faces

    Rodney Hood – Logjam in Cleveland at the two between JR, Clarkson, and Korver. May alternate big nights and the initial trade euphoria will wear off

    Austin Rivers – Clippers are healthy again and have options. Plus he’s Austin Rivers

    Trey Lyles – Matter of time before Millsap returns

    Bloody Sunday

    If you play in head to head leagues, whether categories or points, you know how this goes. Saturday night, you’re up on your opponent, but there’s still another day of games yet to be played. You want to hang onto where you have a lead and not blow anything to either a big game from your opponent or a dud from your players.

    Then it happens. The games go on, your opponent’s players go bananas and your players look like they’re still recovering from a bender in Vegas. You entered Sunday with a 6-3 lead and now you finish the week 2-6-1.

    That friends, is Bloody Sunday and we’ve all experienced it.

    If you have a Bloody Sunday hoops story you want to share, the floor is open. Reach out to me on twitter @JoshMillman and I’ll post the best ones during the week.

Fantasy News

  • Trevon Bluiett
    PF, Utah Jazz

    Trevon Bluiett and Juwan Morgan sign with the Jazz in the hopes of one day playing in an NBA game.

    Bluiett was on a two-way contract with the Pelicans last season while Juwan Morgan played for the Jazz in the 2019 Summer League. They will both compete for a roster spot in training camp but neither is a guarantee to make the final roster. They both have yet to see the court in an NBA game and can be ignored from a fantasy perspective until that day comes.

    Source: Tony Jones on Twitter

  • Zach Collins
    C, Portland Trail Blazers

    Zach Collins (ankle) began daily contact workouts on Monday and is on pace to head into training camp fully healthy.

    Collins is heading into what could be a breakout season as he is likely to start at the power forward position. In the 2019 playoffs, the Gonzaga product blocked a shot in 11 of the 16 games including three games in which he blocked three, four and five respectively. Collins has averaged around 33% from distance throughout his career which is exactly what he shot in the postseason (7-21). If he is able to improve from long range and plays starters minutes, Collins is a can't-miss player. It's far from a guarantee though as the 21-year-old has never finished with standard-league value. It does seem like Collins will be ready for training camp barring a major setback.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Cory Joseph
    PG, Sacramento Kings

    Nick Nurse said that reports of Cory Joseph missing the FIBA World Cup are “incorrect”.

    Nurse added that he spoke to Joseph on Wednesday and that the guard has his flights booked to China. Joseph was in Canada’s camp at home earlier this month, but did not make the trip to Australia and has missed the past four exhibition games. The situation has become a little bit murky but Canada Basketball keeps holding out hope that Joseph will rejoin the team before they depart for China, which doesn’t happen until Monday.

    Source: John Casey on Twitter

  • Tyronn Lue
    PG, Los Angeles Clippers

    Shams Charania of The Athletic is reporting former Cavs championship-winning coach Tyronn Lue has agreed to join the Clippers as their top assistant coach to Doc Rivers.

    The Lakers and Clippers rivalry continues to heat up. Lue was very close to a deal with the Lakers in May to become their head coach, but the sides couldn’t reach an agreement. Lue now joins Kawhi Leonard as another person to spurn the Lakers this offseason.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • PJ Tucker
    SF, Houston Rockets

    P.J. Tucker says he is optimistic about signing a contract extension soon.

    The 34-year-old 3-and-D wing hopes to extend his deal with the Rockets, but a potential extension wouldn't begin until his age-36 season. Houston has him under contract for two more seasons at this point, so they may not be motivated enough to get something done this offseason. However, a maximum Tucker extension would only have him in the $10 million per year range. Even as a 37-year-old, that could be a great deal if he can keep up his current production. Tucker remains a sneaky source of threes and steals late in fantasy drafts or off the wire.

    Source: Kurt Helin on Twitter

  • Jaylen Adams
    PG, Milwaukee Bucks

    The Bucks officially announced the signings of guards Jaylen Adams and Rayjon Tucker on Tuesday.

    Adams and Tucker have their work cut out for them in their bid to claim a roster with the big club, as the Bucks have a reasonably deep guard rotation. Adams and Tucker are more than likely competing to get playing time in the G-League this season and can be ignored in fantasy.

    Source: NBA

  • Jeff Ledbetter
    G, San Antonio Spurs

    The Spurs have offered summer league guard Jeff Ledbetter an Exhibit 10 deal, but he is still mulling over his options which include playing in Europe.

    Ledbetter had a productive summer league and now finds himself with a chance to play for the Austin Spurs of the G-League. Ledbetter is sure to be staring at a bigger payday in Europe, so his choice will be an interesting one. We should have a decision soon.

    Source: Nicola Lupo on Twitter

  • Eric Mika
    C, Sacramento Kings

    The Kings announced on Tuesday that they signed summer league standout C Eric Mika to an exhibit 10 contract.

    The former BYU big man is now set up to play for the Stockton Kings of the G-League. The Kings have a deep big man rotation, and it's unlikely that we'll see much, if any, of Mika on the roster this season.

    Source: Sean Cunningham on Twitter

  • JA Morant
    PG, Memphis Grizzlies

    Ja Morant (right knee) said that he is completely healed from the minor knee surgery earlier this summer, saying he is "100 percent right now."

    Morant will look to get back into the swing of things in the coming weeks as he prepares for his rookie season. Morant has the talent and the role on rebuilding team and is undoubtedly going to cost a pretty penny in fantasy drafts.

    Source: Peter Edmiston on Twitter

  • Derrick Alston
    Team, New York Knicks

    The Westchester Knicks have named Derrick Alston as the new head coach, replacing Mike Miller who was promoted to join David Fizdale’s staff.

    Alston, a former NBA player, has been an assistant for Westchester for four years. Before that, Alston was a player development coach with the Rockets. This will be Alston’s first head coaching gig as he continues to move up the ladder.

    Source: Ian Begley on Twitter