July 24, 2016, 8:27 pm
Hey folks! I just want to take a quick minute to thank the NBA for being so interesting on a weekly basis. It’s the offseason, the season is over, the draft is over, free agency is essentially over – I should have nothing of value to talk about, and you could certainly argue that there is nothing of value here to begin with, but at least this column’s valuelessness will have relevant NBA headlines in it. For that, I thank you, basketball.
The Olympics are great. All potential disasters in Rio aside, I cannot wait for Team USA basketball. I mean, I also cannot wait for Team USA badminton, but we’ll try to keep this on-brand. Basketball is great, the Olympics are great, thus Olympic basketball is super great.
Yeah, The United States of America should win the gold medal for basketball in Rio, and yet, the perceived lack of parity doesn’t really bother me. It’d be very interesting to see how this insane mixture of superstar basketball players react with each other if they were up against equal competition, but hey, it’s competitive, fun basketball during a month where we usually don’t have competitive, fun basketball, and that’s all right by me.
And just because Team USA should win, it doesn’t mean they will. They probably will, yes, but those last couple of rounds should be reasonably competitive, and as we see with March Madness every year, in a single elimination tournament, the most talented team doesn’t always win.
Besides, this is the first Olympic tournament for a lot of these guys, and beyond that, the players that are either Olympic, or FIBA veterans are stepping into a much larger role this summer. DeMarcus Cousins is a prime example. For a player who could use more help on his public image than just about anyone in the NBA, leading, or at the very last, largely impacting a Team USA gold medal could do wonders for his reputation. Not that he really cares, of course.
I also believe it is extremely therapeutic for Team USA players who play on perennial losers in the NBA. This year, only DeMarcus Cousins and Carmelo Anthony fit into that box, but you can’t help but feel like those guys need this more than anyone. Both the Knicks and Kings have failed to surround their stars with quality talent, yet they still take most of the blame for their NBA teams’ failures.
I’m just saying, it must feel good to play winning basketball again. To play basketball with good players, and without frustration, after years of 82 games of exactly that, has to be a much-needed breath of fresh air. They’ll have fun playing basketball again.
For DeMarcus Cousins, he’ll have fun playing basketball for the first time, maybe ever, and I think that sort of positive momentum could, if channeled, carry over into the NBA regular season.
And I didn’t even mention how fun some of these international Olympic teams are! And one perk of hosting the Olympics in Rio is that’ll you’ll get all sorts of funky tipoff times! Who doesn’t love 6 AM basketball? It’s going to be awesome. Did I mention that the Olympics are great? The Olympics are great. Also, I’m Greek. We get to walk first in the opening ceremony. That might have something to do with it.
The Charlotte Mess
I won’t pretend like I know every detail regarding the anti-LGBTQ legislature that forced Adam Silver to move the All-Star Game out of Charlotte, but I really respect his decision on a couple of different levels.
First and foremost, organizations, or in this case, associations, rarely put social justice over the bottom line. Of course, the NBA will still make bucket loads of money wherever they decide to host the All-Star Game, but I’m sure they would prefer it if everything just went according the plan they had laid out when Charlotte was announced as the host.
But beyond the dollars, the thing I respect the most about the NBA is that they are trying. They are trying to be socially conscience, they are trying to do the right thing, and we can argue for days over what is the right or wrong thing, I certainly can’t answer that question, but I am so proud of the NBA for putting themselves out there like this.
While other sports leagues, and similarly large, if not larger organizations, sit on the sidelines and do nothing and say nothing about nothing, at least the NBA is telling you where they stand. You can like it, you can hate it, but at least you know.
And I feel for NBA fans in Charlotte. I really do. They just lost out on a once in a lifetime experience over something they cannot control. It’s a bummer. I do think the NBA will return to Charlotte, and make this up to those NBA fans someday, but that doesn’t really take away the sting of having something like this ripped away from you.
If you want more coherent thoughts on this whole mess, I’d like to direct you to Tom Ziller’s column on SB Nation. It’s not an easy topic to discuss, but I thought Tom did an excellent job looking at the NBA’s decision from all the right angles.
January 22, 2020, 11:44 pmElie OkoboPG, Phoenix Suns
Elie Okobo saw 27 minutes off the bench on Wednesday, turning in a line of 11 points, five rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block.
This game wasn't close, which could have afforded Okobo a few extra reps. It's an encouraging sign to see what he did with it, but he is likely only worth a stream at most if the Suns fall victim to injuries.
January 22, 2020, 11:42 pmJeff TeaguePG, Atlanta Hawks
Jeff Teague started on Wednesday and scored three points on 1-of-7 shooting with eight assists in 25 minutes.
Trae Young (right thigh contusion) sat this game out and Teague was still unable to eclipse 25 minutes. The trade to Atlanta has hurt Teague's value in a big way and he is only an assists specialist for 16-team leagues.
January 22, 2020, 11:40 pmKelly Oubre Jr.SF, Phoenix Suns
Kelly Oubre Jr. was one rebound shy of a double-double on Wednesday night, ending with 17 points (5-16 FG), nine rebounds and a block to his name.
Oubre's shooting slump continues, but remains a top-50 player on the season. He relies on steals to keep his value afloat, so nights like this really hurt his stock. No one on the Suns had a great night and he'll hope to turn things around in his next contest.
January 22, 2020, 11:38 pmTJ WarrenSF, Indiana Pacers
T.J. Warren made his presence felt on both ends of the floor in Wednesday's 112-87 blowout win over the Suns, recording 25 points on 11-of-18 shooting with two rebounds, three assist, three steals and one block in 30 minutes of action.
Warren isn't normally notable for his efforts on the defensive end, so those combined four steals and blocks was a welcome sight for his owners. Warren got his revenge-game face on in this one and was successful in punishing his former team. He will be a top-60 to top-75 moving forward, accounting for Victor Oladipo's return.
January 22, 2020, 11:37 pmJohn CollinsPF, Atlanta Hawks
John Collins broke out on Wednesday for 33 points, 16 rebounds, three steals and three triples while shooting 12-of-22 from the field and 6-of-6 from the line in a 102-95 victory over the Clippers.
Collins carried the Hawks with Trae Young out and is a top-10 player in per game value after Wednesday's monster performance. Collins has increased his blocks from 0.6 per game last season to 2.2 per game this season. He should be a top-20 player moving forward and congrats if you bought low or held on to him through his suspension.
January 22, 2020, 11:29 pmTerance MannPG, Los Angeles Clippers
Terance Mann disappointed in a start on Wednesday with one point, two assists and two blocks in 15 minutes.
At least he brought the blocks to salvage something for those who streamed Mann or started him in DFS. Mann got the start with Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Patrick Beverley all sitting out. Mann is out of the rotation most nights and proved on Wednesday that he can't be trusted as a streamer even when he's starting.
January 22, 2020, 11:28 pmRussell WestbrookPG, Houston Rockets
Russell Westbrook stuffed the stat line in Wednesday's 121-105 win over the Nuggets, finishing with 28 points (11-of-25 shooting), 16 rebounds, eight assists, four steals and a block.
Westbrook was in command of this game and has really seen his value start to skyrocket. On the edge of the top-50 on the season, Westbrook has been a top-20 player over the last two weeks. His backcourt-mate, James Harden, dropped 27 points on 6-of-13 shooting with five rebounds, five assists and two steals of his own.
January 22, 2020, 11:25 pmLandry ShametSG, Los Angeles Clippers
Landry Shamet started on Wednesday and scored 13 points on 4-of-10 shooting with two threes in 36 minutes.
Patrick Beverley (sore right groin) sat this game out, allowing Shamet to get the start. Shamet is on a hot streak over his last five games, averaging 13.4 points with 3.0 triples in 31.9 minutes per game. He's a three point streamer in standard leagues while he's hot.
January 22, 2020, 11:20 pmClint CapelaC, Houston Rockets
Clint Capela played rim protector on Wednesday night, swatting five shots while also scoring 14 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
Capela is a top-15 player currently. He is about as consistent as it get for double-double production and the five blocks tonight demonstrate tremendous upside.
January 22, 2020, 11:20 pmMontrezl HarrellPF, Los Angeles Clippers
Montrezl Harrell scored 30 points on 12-of-23 shooting with seven rebounds and three blocks in a 102-95 loss to the Hawks on Wednesday.
Harrell tanked his owners' percentage, shooting 6-of-13 from the line. The bad free throw percentage is something you need to accept if you have Harrell on your fantasy team. He will be a strong source of points, rebounds and field goal percentage but will struggle to reach mid-round value with his poor free throw percentage (.572 on 5.8 attempts per game) and mediocre blocks (1.1 blocks per game).