March 31, 2019, 1:11 pm
Well, my friends, for most of us the season is over.
We struggled through maintenance days, injuries, “Fiz” being used as a verb, tanking, the Bulls’ and Pels’ special brand of tanking and had a new phrase introduced to our lexicon – “load management” (AKA I’m really healthy but I’m a diva and I want the LeBron treatment if I’m to re-sign in %*^@#$! Canada, so I’ll take the day off), brought to you by Kawhi Leonard (I mean, he’s a robot – how hard is it fix a faulty pump or replace a wonky motherboard?).
I know many of you overcame this increased randomness – and it does seem to be getting worse – and many of you succumbed (both for some of you in multiple leagues). Compliments are due to those who won and my word of encouragement to those who didn’t, especially the inexperienced, is to not be disheartened. The randomness that did you a disfavor this time can just as easily bless you the next time around – even the basketball gods are subject to sovereignty of the great random.
Getting my Mr. Rogers on: No matter what the outcome, I hope you enjoyed our time together and moreover I hope you learned something about fantasy basketball. I also hope you accompany me by using the offseason to decompress and put fantasy as far from mind as possible. I’ll enjoy the playoffs (I hope) and after that, there are a few basketball books I have but have yet to read – When the Game Was Ours and Breaks of the Game (though I might acquire and read Seven Seconds or Less first). While I’m deliberating, I can always catch up on some short-from exposition and get my ‘memberberries on from when Bill Simmons used to dominate ESPN, way back from when people used to read. I realize the irony seeing as I write this column weekly but I’ve increasingly been feeling like a vestigial tail (his Book of Basketball is a must-read imo; I’m waiting for an update/sequel).
Outside of that, I’m ready for sleep, the sun and la pachanga. It’s been cold as we roll into April (literally snowing outside now in Chicago) so it looks like we might blow right past spring love and get straight to summer love.
We live in crazy times and I can just about guarantee a crazy summer no matter where you live. I’m too old to be tryin’ to get into $#*! so I’ll be extra chill except when I have to get some exercise.
I didn’t mean to gloss over those of you still in it – it’s just that we’re in Silly Season and there’s no rhyme or reason as to what kind of foolishness might go down. I have a Warrior song but this one might be more appropriate. Embrace the randomness; play the game.
THE SILLY SEASON (Weeks 25 & 26: 4/1 – 4/10)4 Games: LAC, NOR, WAS
5 Games: ATL, BKN, BOS, CHI, CLE, HOU, IND, LAL, MEM, MIL, OKC, ORL, PHX, SAC, SAS, TOR
6 Games: CHA, DAL, DEN, DET, GSW, MIA, MIN, NYK, PHI, POR, UTA
Monday has 9 games: Motors at Racers, Fire at Leprachans. Deer at Twine, Bovines at Manhattanites, Illusions at Dinosaurs, Hipsters at Canines, Bells at Horses, Insects at Quarter Notes and Royalists at Ra.Tuesday has 4: Bodies of Water at Sound of Lightning, Birds of Prey at Cowboys, Space Cruisers at Royalty and Miners at Pugilists.Wednesday has 12: Racers at Motors, Manhattanites at Illusions, Bovines at Sorcerers, Bells at Birds of Prey, Dinos at Twine, Leprechauns at Fire, Insects at Fish Hunters, Canines at Horses, Cowboys at Miners, Quarter Notes at Ra, Ursidae at Hipsters and Space Cruisers at Boats.Thursday has 3: Deer at Bells, Royalists at Royals and Pugilists at Bodies of Water.Friday has 13: Dinos at Insects, Birds of Prey at Illusions, Cowboys at Sorcerers, Leprechauns at Racers, Manhattanites at Space Cruisers, Fire at Canines, Motors at Sound of Lightning, Ursidea at Horses, Royals at Quarter Notes, Water Birds at Ra, Hipsters at Miners, Royalists and Pugilists and Bodies of Water at Boats.Saturday has 2: Twine at Deer and Bells at Bovines.Sunday has 14: Fire at Dinos, Cowboys at Royalists, Sound Clap at Canines, Insects at Motors, Twine at Racers, Horses at Ursidae, Birds at Deer, Illusions at Leprechauns, Sorcerers at Manhattanites, Ra at Space Cruisers, Boats at Pugilists, Miners at Hipsters, Water Birds at Royals and Quarter Notes at Bodies of Water.Monday has zero games.Tuesday has 11: Bugs at Royalists, Ursidae at Motors, Leprechauns at Sorcerers, Bells at Fire, Manhattanites at Bovines, Dinos at Canines, Pugilists at Water Birds, Ra at Horses, Miners at BeBoppers, Propulsion at Sound of Lightning and Hipsters at Water.
Wednesday has 11: Racers at Birds, Fire at Twine, Slight of Hand at Bugs, Motors at Manhattan, Bovines at Bells, Pugilists at Ursidae, Sound at Cervidae, Equidae at Cowboys, Avant Garde at Sailors and Emperors at Rip City.
For my Streamers*all light schedule days in bold: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The lightly scheduled days are really light while except for Monday, the heavily scheduled days are really loaded with 11-plus games, which means you’re likely to have a bunch of full/overbooked days. Check your schedules and stream accordingly. Some days are so stacked it’s like tacit acknowledgement that a bunch of young guys, G-leaguers and 10-dayers will be playing a bunch.ATL: 5- Tu, W, F, Su…W
BRK: 5- M, W, Sa, Su…W
BOS: 5- M, W, F, Su…Tu
CHA: 6- M, W, F, Su…Tu, W
CHI: 5- M, W, Sa…Tu, W
CLE: 5- M, Th, F, Su…Tu
DAL: 6- M, W, F, Su…Tu, W
DEN: 6- Tu, W, F, Su…Tu, W
DET: 6- M, W, F, Su…Tu, W
GSW: 6- Tu, Th, F, Su…Tu, W
HOU: 5- Tu, W, F, Su…Tu
IND: 5- M, W, F, Su…Tu
LAC: 4- W, F, Su…W
LAL: 5- Tu, Th, F, Su…Tu
MEM: 5- W, F, Su…Tu, W
MIA: 6- M, W, F, Su…Tu, W
MIL: 5- M, Th, Sa, Su…W
MIN: 6- M, W, F, Su…Tu, W
NOR: 4- W, F, Su…Tu
NYK: 6- M, W, F, Su…Tu, W
OKC: 5- Tu, F, Su…Tu, W
ORL: 5- M, W, F, Su…W
PHI: 6- M, W, Th, Sa…Tu, W
PHO: 5- M, W, F, Su…Tu
POR: 6- M, W, F, Su…Tu, W
SAC: 5- Tu, Th, F, Su…W
SAS: 5- Tu, W, F, Su…W
TOR: 5- M, W, F, Su…Tu
UTA: 6- M, W, F, Su…Tu, W
WAS: 4- W, F, Su…Tu
Sun of Week 24/Mon: CHA, DAL, MIL
Tues/Weds: ATL, DEN, HOU, SAS
Thurs/Fri: CLE, GSW, LAL, SAC
Tues/Weds: CHA, CHI, DAL, DEN, DET, GSW, MEM, MIA, MIN, NYK, OKC, PHI, POR, UTA
3 games in 4 nightsMon/Weds/Thurs: PHITues/Weds/Fri: ATL, DEN, HOUTues/Thurs/Fri: LAL, SACWeds/Thurs/Sat: PHIThurs/Fri/Sun: CLE, GSW, LAL, SACThurs/Sat/Sun: MILSun/Tues/Weds: CHA, DAL, DEN, DET, GSW, MEM, MIA, MIN, NYK, OKC, PHI, POR, UTA
Tu/Thurs+ GSW, LAL, SAC.
Working the Wire
Point GuardsDelon Wright shot it poorly (40.6 & 63.6) but the 12 steals and 2 blocks he got over his last three games probably put a considerable amount of you guys in the lead for one or both of the defensive cats. He’s top-50 so far and his 11.3 points and 7.0 dimes also helped as well. Go ‘head Delon, flex on ’em.Tyus Jones had 11.3 points, 1.7 threes and 6.0 assists on good efficiency and still didn’t crack the top-150 in 9-cat. Moreover he was benched two games in a row for Jerryd Bayless – 10.3 points, 0.7 threes, 5.3 assists and 1.0 steals. Remember when fantasy guys were calling for Thibs’ head for not playing Tyus enough? Turns out he’s just not that good and once again shows how fantasy guys, even pros, have a bias for stat accumulation at the cost of real-life affect. I think even an antiquated Thibs and a young Saunders knows more about the game so I defer in those matters. Much of fantasy success is being reactive as opposed to predictive.Shaq Harrison is still chugging along with 17.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.0 steals last week. I wish he could hit 3s (and FTs) but can’t complain with that top-75 value. Keep an eye on Walt Lemon Jr., too. The hometown kid who idolized Derrick Rose growing up (thus earning the love of Bulls Twitter) got called up from the Gigli and in his first game in the United Center, he had 19 points, six assists, four boards, four steals and a block in 31 minutes (which would be the No. 6 ranked line on Friday per BBM). Lemon could get some serious run for the tanktastic Bulls.Jalen Brunson was still out of the top-150 with 14.0 points, 2.5 threes and 3.5 assists. Not horrible but not that great but Luka Doncic will miss Sunday’s game and if he’s shut down, Brunson looks a lot more appealing.Emmanuel Mudiay was in the top-150 with 20.3 points, 1.3 threes, 5.0 boards and 4.0 assists over his last three and although Dennis Smith Jr. is back, it doesn’t look like Mudiay will get Fizzed.
Dwayne Bacon made the most of his opportunity and has scored at least 20 points in three straight games in a massive 35.8 minutes. Add to that 4.0 trey bombs, 4.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals on 54.5 shooting and he landed in the top-50. The shooting can’t last but the usage certainly can.
Josh Okogie was bringing in top-50 value last week but fell to the top-70 with his dud on Friday. Still, he’s averaging 11.7 points, 1.0 threes, 4.3 rebounds and a very healthy 2.3 steals.
Wayne Ellington cooled off only slightly and his 11.8 points, 3.0 threes and 1.5 steals was still very useful.
Pat Connaughton is still getting good minutes (28.7 minutes over his last three) and his 9.7 points, 2.0 treys, 6.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, over 2 stocks and 1.0 goofs. That was good for top-60 in 9-cat and if Giannis (ankle) misses any games, he’ll get even more run.
Seth Curry got 15.8 points, 2.5 threes, 2.5 rebounds and 0.8 steals in almost 32 minutes over his last four games (top-120), but the extra burn is clearly getting to him (almost double the turnovers and a weird 77.8% from the line).
Tyler Dorsey is the starting 2-guard in Memphis whether Mike Conley is playing or not and in 35 minutes over his last three, he’s getting 13.3 points, 1.7 threes, 5.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists on meh efficiency (top-155). You’ll be seeing a lot of Grizzlies here, especially one from Brazil.
Wayne Selden is also getting serious tic in Chicago (31.4 mpg) and is averaging 13.3 points, 1.3 threes, 5.3 boards and 1.7 steals over his last three. Go Bulls!
Bryn Forbes has been shooting over 50% over his last six games and has out up 13.0 points, 2.3 threes, and a steal. He’s not playing that much (27.7 mpg) so he’s useful in standard leagues only while he’s hot.
Alex #$@*%! Caruso went back to being Alex Caruso, and now he’s #$@*%! Alex Caruso, SMH. With the news that LeBron has been shut down for the season, we might be rearranging the order of words once again.Frank Jackson: INJ
Justin Holiday was back to putting up Bulls-like numbers (top-40 in 9-cat) with 13.3 points, 2.7 threes and 3.0 steals. Sometimes the Silly Season gives in abundance.
Miles Bridges landed himself in the top 40 as well with 14.3 points, 2.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and over a stock and a half in almost 34 minutes. The 60% shooting won;t hold, but like Dwayne Bacon, the burn might.
Dion Waiters took advantage of all the injuries in South Beach and got some top-50 value with 23.7 points, 4.7 triples, 3.0 dimes and a steal with not horrible efficiency. Okay then.
Lance Stephenson (top-155 last week in almost 28 minutes a game) might go nuts with no LeBron. He’s like an A&R mountain who plays an electric guitar. I don’t know if he climbs mountains, though.
Mikal Bridges was crap when I needed him to be not crap. 1.0 steals ain’t gon’ cut it.
Josh Jackson was back in the action and got 10 points, a trey, four boards, an assist, a block and only one turnover in 30 minutes.
Moe Harkless didn’t miss any games with his bum knee but was not quite as good (top-155) with 8.8 points, 0.5 threes, 7.3 rebounds and 2.3 stocks last week.
Kenrich Williams got his 1.7 steals and 1.0 threes but continues to shoot it like Allen Crabbe (27.3%).
Chandler Parsons– INJ: well, that didn’t last long.
Bruno Caboclo was top-15 over his last three with 17.7 points, 3.0, 10.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.0 steals. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a Silly Season MVP! If you got those stats you might be on the award tour already.
Maxi Kleber stayed productive this week with 11.1 points, 2.5 threes, 7.0 rebounds and 0.5 blocks in 26 minutes a game.Bam Adebayo is already owned but Kelly Olynyk might have (justifiably) been dropped. He double-doubled on the Knicks and watch out if he starts heating up.Nemanja Bjelica: INJ (it sucks when your streamer gets injured, lol)
Christian Wood had two dominating games in a row, where’s he’s averaging 24.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and a ridiculous 3.0 steals and 3.0 blocks in almost 30 minutes a game. Wood was tearing it up in the summer and he’s certainly got more fantasy upside than Jah Okafor or Cheick Diallo. Hopefully, the Brow doesn’t get in the way of any of you rolling with him. More time = more stats. It’s mathematics.
Jonah Bolden put up 19 points, five treys, eight rebounds, three assists, three blocks and a steal in 32 minutes with Embiid (knee) getting his load managed for the next game or two. You won’t get these stats again, but the talent is there and Bolden produces when JoJo sits. You might be able to plug-and-play him for a game or two if you have sufficient adds for further moves.
Jakob Poeltl got 2.3 blocks and 6.3 boards over his last three and he probably there if you need some blocks.
Zach Collins had 9.5 points, 1.3 threes, 5.0 rebounds and 0.5 blocks on 54.2% from the field in 18 minutes a game.
Ivica Zubac got 8.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 0.5 steals and 0.5 blocks over his last four in 19 minutes a game. If the Clippers ever lock in their seeding, Zu could pick up some extra minutes.Mason Plumlee got 7.3 points, 7.0 boards, 2.5 assists and hit 87.5% of his freebies but 0.3 steals and 0.5 blocks make it a rather ordinary line.
Ed Davis got 9.7 boards over his last three. It’s your last chance to boss and I’ll miss this narrative.
Gorgui Dieng had two decent games in a row and you need Sam Cassell-sized cajones if you’re taking the plunge in a standard league.
Random Observations–I though of a new fantasy setting/format- some H2H leagues give a bonus to the regular season winners in addition to the playoff winners. What if instead of (or in addition to) the regular season payout, there was an NBA playoffs payout. Basically, whatever players you have on your roster that make it to the NBA postseason record stats.
At the end of the Finals, whoever has the most points wins. All playoff-eligible players would remain eligible for all teams on waivers.
I wonder how this would affect the draft and streaming strategies late season – are you sever streaming your P.J. Tuckers or Fred VanVleets, knowing they’re likely to advance deep into the playoffs?
Are you keeping your Kuzmas and Bogis knowing that they won’t?–My sole roto team is looking like it’ll finish No. 10, my worst finish ever in rotisserie. With Kawhi and CP missing so many games in an unlimited games, weekly format, I had no chance. I’ll say it for the last time since I’ll never play in this format again -a weekly roto leeg with a no games-cap is garbation.
–H2H Team update:
Team Splash Robinson – my assists and efficiency squad – is going agains John’s Algo Team and I knew going in that I needed to get steals and one of the %s to win. Kawhi and Pat-Bev missing games have not helped. Delon Wright is the only one keeping me at 4-4-1 rolling into Sunday we have an equal number of games. I could really use Jrue right about now. >>> Lost by 5 points, 1 steal and a few percentage points- basically a game of Kawhi. Damn that basketball robot and damn John and his algos. First time I lost a third-place matchup since 2009. FOURTH PLACE
Team Floppy Divac is going into Sunday with both me and the No. 1 team having a full lineup. It’s a lot closer than my 6-3 advantage would suggest – one game of Kawhi (and no Jrue) will do that. >>> WON
Team The Brothers Curry (formerly ‘and then there was 1’) is down 4-5 going into Sunday with an even games count. Losing Zach, Lauri and having Love and Conley miss games could be the nail in the coffin despite my streaming. >>> WON
In the Hoop-Ball league, Team Jake’s Affliction is up 7-2 and my opponent dipped after his Semifinals loss. There’s no thrill of the win since he wasn’t competitive but I guess this’ll help my Yahoo ranking stay diamond and I’ll take the bronze trophy so I’ll stop complaining. >>> THIRD PLACE
In the home league,Team Diva – is 4-4-1 and Kawhi and Love have killed me since I ran out of moves. Still, there’s not much of a difference between a fifth and sixth place finish and it’s not looking like the fifth with me at a games disadvantage and Luka sitting. >>> SIXTH PLACE
I’ll drop a final update all of my H2H results after the remaining games but I’ll be too excited or depressed tonight, and either way I’ll probably have some beers and be so drunk either way, so very late Monday is what I’m thinking (and is it just me, or does Kyle Kuzma look like an early Simpsons character?)
–LeBron was on pace to move past Kobe for the No. 3 spot on the All-Time Scoring list – all he had to do was average a measly 22-23 points a game since his return from the groin injury. As the great random would have it, the Lakers were hit by other injuries and were eliminated from playoff contention fairly early so they went to late-season tank mode and started giving LBJ games off before declaring him out for the season. We’ll have to wait until next year to see it happen though the cynic in me notes that LeBron would presumably get booed by many Lakers fans if he passed the venerated Bean Bryant in a season he didn’t make the playoffs; he’ll now get a fresh season, one pregnant with hopes, before he takes down Mamba.
May 31, 2020, 8:10 pmKz OkpalaF, Miami Heat
Kz Okpala's offensive game has come a long way since January according to Heat Vice President and Assistant GM, Adam Simon.
Okpala is already viewed as an NBA-ready defender, and once his offensive game is up to speed the Heat will have a hard time not getting him into the rotation. He spent 20 games in the G League and five with the Heat before the suspension slowed down his progression in 2020. Okpala got off to a slow start due to injuries, and a trade on draft day took away his chance to play in summer league. While this season is unlikely to amount to anything, Okpala is someone to watch in deeper leagues next year.
Source: Miami Herald
May 31, 2020, 8:03 pmGabe VincentPG, Miami Heat
Heat Vice President and Assistant GM, Adam Simon, stated that Gabe Vincent's knee is "good to go".
It sounds like Vincent would have no problem being NBA ready if the Heat decided to call up the two-way guard when play hopefully resumes July 31. Vincent is a strong 3-point shooter with the ability to attack a closeout, but it is still unlikely the Heat will need to put him on the floor for the remainder of the 2019-20 season.
Source: Miami Herald
May 31, 2020, 7:51 pmShake MiltonSG, Philadelphia Sixers
According to projections by Mike O'Connor and Derek Bodner of The Athletic, Shake Milton will be a starter for the Sixers whenever play relaunches.
Milton was thriving for the Sixers when the season was suspended due to COVID-19, and some risk remains that Ben Simmons will bump him from the rotation when the stoppage in play is lifted. In 16 starts with the Sixers, Milton averaged 14.1 points, 2.2 3-pointers, 3.6 assists, 3 rebounds and 1.1 steals. As a 3-pointer specialist along, Milton has earned a slot in 12-team formats, but things are going to be more difficult when he is forced to play off-ball in a fully healthy lineup in Philadelphia
Source: The Athletic
May 31, 2020, 7:42 pmKevin DurantSF, Brooklyn Nets
On a recent ESPN podcast featuring Adrian Wojnarowski and his colleague Zach Lowe, Wojnarowski stated that Kevin Durant (torn Achilles) would not play for the Nets this year.
Wojnarowski went onto say that he had no source that had relayed that information to him. The Nets have largely been deferring to Durant and the medical staff when it comes to his prospects for playing this year. While the organization may get hopeful that KD will lace it up for a playoff run, all signs are still pointing to him waiting until 2020-21.
Source: Anthony Puccio on Twitter
May 29, 2020, 7:43 pmEric GordonSG, Houston Rockets
Rockets guard Eric Gordon has improved his diet, focused on sprints, and has apparently shed 12 pounds in the process, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic.
Gordon has battled knee ailments for essentially his whole career and has dealt with his fair share of nagging injuries this season as well. Losing weight to create a lighter frame would seem sensible, especially with the knee issues. The Rockets, remember, fully adopted the "small ball" lineup and move fast so Gordon is smart to keep his endurance and fitness at high levels. He's going to have to play well and make shots for the Rockets when the NBA returns to action, otherwise coach Mike D'Antoni won't be able to justify giving Gordon minutes. We don't anticipate much fantasy value out of him if and when the league starts back up.
Source: The Athletic
May 29, 2020, 6:03 pmLeBron JamesSF, Los Angeles Lakers
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN is reporting that the NBA is planning for a Board of Governors vote on Thursday, during which they are expected to approve Adam Silver's proposal for re-starting the season in Orlando.
The trend lines are all moving in this direction, and this adds another bullet point on the schedule as the league prepares for launching games on July 31. Adam Silver has been able to bridge any divides between ownership and the players, and has been taking into account all his key constituent's views as we approach approval of a plan for moving forward. We still have plenty of items to resolve before we see game action, but the NBA is gaining momentum as these details come into place.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
May 29, 2020, 4:44 pmBradley BealSG, Washington Wizards
On Friday, the Wizards resumed holding voluntary workouts at their practice facilities.
The Wizards have joined a chorus of teams that are returning in limited capacities to their facilities at this point. The NBA as a whole is continuing its march towards the resumption of play with a target date of July 31 now established. The District of Columbia also entered phase one of reopening today, and it makes sense for the team to proceed on a similar trajectory.
Source: Candace Buckner on Twitter
May 29, 2020, 4:03 pmJulius RandlePF, New York Knicks
Part of the Knicks' off-season thinking is to shape the roster around RJ Barrett, and it unclear where Julius Randle will fit in those plans.
Barrett and Randle have similar offensive styles, as they typically have an advantage relying upon their strength to attack the basket, but neither has a component deep ball at this stage in their careers. As Barrett is the younger option it makes sense that the Knicks want to sign shooters to give him more space to operate with. Randle's lousy percentages and turnovers has made for a disappointing season with the Knicks thus far, and Barrett will also need to make some strides in the shooting department to become a 12-team asset. Randle is under contract for next season is owed at least $4,000,000 in 2021-22.
May 29, 2020, 3:46 pmJayson TatumSF, Boston Celtics
On Friday, the Celtics' announced that their practice facilities would reopen on June 1.
That leaves us with four NBA teams without access to their facilities. Things are beginning to accelerate throughout the league as teams ramp up activities in hopes of resuming competition in Orlando on July 31. So far so good, but the NBA still has many hurdles to overcome on the path to resuming the season.
Source: Celtics PR on Twitter
May 29, 2020, 3:40 pmRJ BarrettSF, New York Knicks
The Knicks reopened their practice facility for voluntary workouts on Friday.
Another step in the right direction for the NBA's return to action at the end of July. It's still unclear if the Knicks will even be involved in whatever plan is agreed upon, but it is good to learn that the players can now access their facilities in New York. Only five team facilities have not opened up in some capacity at this point.
Source: Knicks PR on Twitter