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.
June 26, 2019, 7:55 amKevin Durant - SF - Golden State Warriors
Appearing on ESPN last night, Adrian Wojnarowski said that the Nets plan to offer Kevin Durant, a four-year max contract.
Brooklyn is in a great position to offer Kyrie Irving a max contract and then use that to pursue KD or perhaps another free agent. Zach Lowe added that the idea of Kyrie as a solo doesn’t appear to be the plan but the Nets would ultimately take on Irving as a solo act, although there would probably be a divide within the organization. KD is expected to miss the majority of the next season but it looks like teams won’t have any second thoughts offering him the max.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski
June 25, 2019, 8:11 pmBobby Portis - PF - Washington Wizards
Tony Jones and Fred Katz of The Athletic are reporting Bobby Portis is looking for as much as $16 million in free agency and has interest from multiple teams.
According to Jones and Katz, the Wizards aren't expected to match a huge offer sheet on Portis. As a restricted free agent, the Wiz declining to match would allow him to go elsewhere. The Utah Jazz have been a team at the top of the list on the rumor mill. Portis averaged 14.3 points and 8.6 rebounds in 28 games for the Wiz last season.
Source: Tony Jones on Twitter
June 25, 2019, 6:55 pmNikola Vucevic - C - Orlando Magic
Per Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News, the Mavs like how Nikola Vucevic fits alongside Kristaps Porzingis, but his expected salary would cost too much for the Mavs to sign.
The Mavs will enter free agency with a ton of cap space, but after the expected max contract that they'll extend to Porzingis, they may be more inclined to spread the wealth around or target Kemba Walker than committing a max contract to Vucevic. Vucevic had a career year as an All-Star for the Magic this past season, but his next destination remains a crapshoot.
Source: Dallas News
June 25, 2019, 6:38 pmJimmy Butler - SG - Philadelphia Sixers
Per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Rockets' ideal plan in free agency is to get Jimmy Butler by a sign-and-trade deal with the Sixers.
Butler is going to be a sought after commodity once free agency opens as the Sixers, Lakers, and others are also going to be looking to ink him to a long-term deal. Butler regained his level back to max contract level after his play during the playoffs this season. The Rockets don't have any cap space to sign Butler outright, so they'll have to get a commitment from him to take a pay cut, while also getting the Sixers to agree to help facilitate a deal. This is going to be interesting.
June 25, 2019, 5:08 pmKhem Birch - C - Orlando Magic
The Magic have extended qualifying offers to C Khem Birch and F Amile Jefferson, rendering both restricted free agents ahead of free agency which is set to begin on June 30th.
Birch, who averaged 4.8 points and 3.8 rebounds in just 12.9 minutes per game this past season, is seemingly a priority for the Magic to bring back, and now they'll get the opportunity to match any contracts he may fetch from other teams. Jefferson was in the G-League for the majority of the season, where he was very productive. Both may take on larger roles, should they stay with the Magic, as star C Nikola Vucevic is an unrestricted free agent.
Source: Magic PR on Twitter
June 25, 2019, 4:58 pmJR Smith - SG - Cleveland Cavaliers
According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports, the Lakers could eventually take a look at signing J.R. Smith should he be released by the Cavs, or traded and bought out by another team.
Smith is likely to become a free agent one way or the other by the end of the month, and the Lakers will be looking at cheap floor-spacers to fill out their roster. Smith and LeBron James are familiar with one another after winning a championship together with the Cavs, and it looks like Smith to the Lakers is a real possibility.
Source: Chris Haynes on Twitter
June 25, 2019, 4:00 pmKristaps Porzingis - PF - Dallas Mavericks
Shams Charania of The Athletic is reporting that the Mavs will meet with restricted free agent Kristaps Porzingis (torn ACL) once free agency opens on June 30th, and the team will offer him the full five-year, $158 million max contract.
This was expected ever since the Mavs traded for Porzingis mid-season while he recovered from his knee injury. Porzingis is fully expected to sign with the Mavs and become reigning ROY Luka Doncic's running mate for the foreseeable future.
Source: Shams Charania on Twitter
June 25, 2019, 3:54 pmJordan Clarkson - PG - Cleveland Cavaliers
Cavs combo guard Jordan Clarkson changed agents and signed with Klutch Sports and Rich Paul.
Clarkson is likely to be a trade target for competitive teams ahead of next year's trade deadline, as a quality player on an expiring contract. Clarkson will enter free agency next offseason looking for the best deal possible.
Source: Joe Vardon on Twitter
June 25, 2019, 3:46 pmJulius Randle - PF - New Orleans Pelicans
Per Marc Spears of The Undefeated, Pelicans forward Julius Randle and the Knicks have mutual interest as free agency approaches.
The Pelicans drafted their PF of the future in Zion Williamson last week, and will seemingly let Randle walk in free agency as they are unlikely to pay him what he deserves. After a productive finish with the Lakers in 2017-18, Randle had to settle for a one-year deal from the Pelicans last summer. After another productive season on an expiring contract, it looks like at least one franchise is ready to invest in Randle as their PF of the future. Randle averaged 21.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 0.9 threes to boot this past season and makes for a good mid-round selection in drafts next season if he finds himself in a similar role.
Source: The Undefeated
June 25, 2019, 3:32 pmAndre Iguodala - SF - Golden State Warriors
Speaking about Kevin Durant's injury situation during this year's playoffs, Andre Iguodala said that he fractured his left leg against the Rockets in the 2018-19 playoffs and the Warriors listed him out with a "left lateral leg contusion.”
There has been a lot of smoke in regards to how the Warriors dealt with Durant's injury, as it did not appear to be as minor as the team led the public to believe when he injured himself backpedaling after a made basket. A non-contact injury is always a major red flag, but the Warriors called Durant's initial injury a "first-grade calf strain," which is the lowest graded injury designation. Weeks later, when Durant rushed back to help his team out of a 3-1 Finals deficit, he fully ruptured his Achilles in only 12 minutes of action. This is all just speculation, but this revelation from the 2015 NBA Finals MVP is an alarming development for a franchise who could seemingly do no wrong the past half-decade. The league may take a deep-dive into these claims soon enough.
Source: NBC Sports