2018-2019 NBA season

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2018-2019 NBA season

Post by C-Fan » 15 Oct 2018 08:25

NBA season starts tomorrow! Hooray!

New thread for the new season. I'm going to share my thoughts on the season, and would love to hear yours! I'm also going to post about my NBA fantasy season too. We had our draft last night, and I'll go into gory detail on that in a future post.

For the real season though, here are some thoughts and predictions:

:arrow: I'd be shocked if the Warriors don't win it all again. Their biggest challenger last year was the Rockets, and I think they got worse instead of better. As for the Warriors, they basically brought everybody back and added...DeMarcus Cousins. Sure, he'll be out until February, but if he's even 70% the player he was when he comes back, and he's your backup center? Game over.

:arrow: I'm curious to see how the Celtics distribute minutes. Last year they lost a couple key guys to injury, and were pleasantly surprised to find their backups were better than expected. This year if everybody is back and healthy, are there enough minutes for everybody to play?

:arrow: Giannis will win MVP. Honestly, he hasn't played for a good offensive coach his entire career, and he's already a beast. Now that he's playing for a legit coach (Budenholzer was amazing for the Hawks) in a system that will let him run more and get more touches, I wouldn't be surprised to see him crack 30/11/5 this season. If the Bucks improve to mid-50s for wins (not that hard in the East), I can see him getting MVP. Unleash the freak!

:arrow: Timberwolves are a car wreck. Can't look away from this crazy situation with Butler. They HAVE to trade him, right? It's just too toxic with him in the mix. But I can also see them being out of the playoffs again if they don't get anything good in return. And with him announcing he wants out, how can they get anything good in return?

:arrow: Lakers are a mystery to me. I've learned to not bet against LeBron, but I'm not as confident as everybody else that the Lakers will make the playoffs. Especially with all the knuckleheads they added in free agency after getting LeBron: Lance Stephenson, Javale McGee, Rondo. Oof. Even if Ingram and Lonzo make mini-leaps, will that team really be top 8 in a conference that includes: Warriors, Rockets, Blazers, Pelicans, Nuggets, and Jazz? I know that's just 6 teams, but I don't see LeBron's Lakers being better than those 6, so they'd also need to be better than 2 of the following group: Spurs, Clippers, Wolves, Mavs. Other than Phoenix and Sacramento, there are no weak Western teams. I'm not saying I'd bet against LeBron making the playoffs, but I also am not sure it's as much of a lock as people think either.

:arrow: I'm really excited for this year's rookie class. Doncic, Ayton, Bagley, and JJJ specifically. I don't think any will be consistently good all season, but I think they'll have some real bright moments.

So here's some wild predictions before the season even begins:

:arrow: Giannis gets MVP
:arrow: Doncic gets ROY
:arrow: Myles Turner gets most improved
:arrow: Warriors over Rockets in West Finals
:arrow: Celtics over Bucks in East Finals
:arrow: Warriors over Celtics in Finals

Here's to an exciting new NBA season!

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Fantasy draft results/analysis

Post by C-Fan » 16 Oct 2018 07:48

In something of an annual tradition, slash Monday morning quarterbacking, here's a rough analysis of the top 20 or so picks from my league's fantasy draft. In my experience, 60-70% of your season's success rides on how your draft goes, and then 30% is in season moves/trades and 10% is blind luck. So let's break down the most expensive picks from our draft:


:arrow: Giannis- $75. Most draft analysis I read had a consensus top 4 in some order, generally Davis, Harden, Giannis, KAT. Then a tier below them some combo of Jokic, LeBron, Durant, Curry, Lillard, Kawhi. Our draft mostly mirrored this with the top 5 picks being notably more expensive than anybody. In past years, I usually passed on the highest tier of expensive players and made my strategy to get as many good players as I could one to two tiers below. This year I flipped that strat on its head, and paid a premium to get 2 of the 4 best players. So I paid the highest price of any player, to build my team around Giannis.
:arrow: Anthony Davis- $74. Most drafts had him either #1 of #2, so it makes sense he was just $1 off from being the most expensive player. The gamble here is his health, since he has a bit of a history of missing games.
:arrow: Harden- $71. Safe pick, for one of the top producers in fantasy the past few seasons. I'd argue his ceiling is lower than Giannis or AD, but his floor is probably higher. Definitely feels less risky injury wise than Davis.
:arrow: KAT- $67. Bit of an interesting case here. He's played 3 seasons and never missed a game, so his durability is a big reason to pay this premium. The wild card here is that the Wolves situation with Butler is such a mess. If they trade Butler, then KAT has a high ceiling as the undisputed alpha of the team (with something to prove). If they keep Butler, it likely eats into KAT's production and maybe even his confidence. Even in that worst case scenario, I still can't imagine him dipping below 20/10 and playing 76+ games. Which is why I ponied up the big bucks and snagged him.
:arrow: Durant- $66. Feels like a bit of an overpay. He should be really good, but he's a tier below the four guys above, and only $1 cheaper than KAT? The concerns here are that the Warriors are expected to be really good again, and therefore may coast through the regular season and periodically rest KD/Curry/Klay/Green to save them for the playoffs. If Curry gets injured and KD steps up, then this price may be justified. But I just don't see KD going into the season as motivated or productive as the people above him.
:arrow: Westbrook-$58. Feels a bit high, but if he stays healthy he's certainly capable of justifying the price tag. Most mocks I saw had him in the 8-10 range, since he had knee surgery over the summer and isn't even probably to start the first game of the season. If you told me he came back fine and was as intense as ever, then $58 is OK. But I also wouldn't be surprised if you told me he took a couple months to regain his form, and that he plays one gear lower this season due to knee issues. Bit of a gamble pick for sure.
:arrow: LeBron- $57. Last year I bet against him, expecting a decline. I was wrong. Do I expect him to replicate last season though, where he played all 82 games for the first time in his career? No. I'm honestly not sure what to expect. I think it's just as likely LeBron dials his personal production back and mentors Ingram and Ball to pick up the load, as it is for him to get frustrated with the team and put the load on his own back.
:arrow: Jokic- $54. Now we're talking. I could see him returning top 3 or 4 value, and at this price that's a league winning move. Definitely like this pick at this price a lot better than the 3 picks that went before it.
:arrow: Kawhi/Curry- $52. I like both of these. Curry carries the same concerns as Durant, regarding the potential for the Warriors to rest/coast this season. But at 20% cheaper I feel a lot better about the Curry pick. Kawhi is a weird one. By all accounts he sounds healthy again, and a healthy Kawhi playing in the Eastern conference could be a beast. But if he gets unhappy with the Raptors, or gets injured again, then $52 could kill your team. So Curry at this price I liked a lot, while Kawhi at this price feels like a gamble. A good gamble, but still a gamble.
:arrow: Ben Simmons-$48. Love it. Super high ceiling, no reason to think he can't at least replicate last season statistically, and if Embiid gets injured he gets even more touches. Great value at this price.
:arrow: Dame Lillard-$47. Love this pick at this price. Super durable, no competition for stats, has something to prove this year. I think he'll be a top 6 or 7 player, and at this price that's a steal. Especially compared to the next 3 guys, who were basically taken at the same price.
:arrow: Kyle Lowry/Andre Drummond- $47. Not really seeing it for either of these guys at this price tag. I'd rather have Paul George or Oladipo at this price.
:arrow: Wall-$46. Not sure about him at this price. I could see him having a bounce back year, but he looked overweight in the off season, his team added Dwight Howard who always destroys team chemistry, and I could too easily see Wall getting a weight-related injury and missing 15 games.
:arrow: Butler- $46. So many unknowns here. If he gets traded to a bad team where he's the only superstar, I can see him returning top 10 value easily, which would make this a great pick at this price. But if he stays with the Wolves? I could see them sitting him, or him sitting out games. It's a weird situation you don't see often, but similar to Kawhi last year, that alone could kill your season. I think this owner was gambling that Jimmy gets traded soon. We'll see.
:arrow: Embiid-$42. Purely a bet on health. If you knew he'd play 70+ games, his price tag would be in the $60s. But its such a crap shoot with him, he dropped all the way to $42. I think that's a fair price for this gamble. Could be a league winner if he stays health.

More later maybe, or maybe I just analyze my own picks. Overall I was happy with my draft.

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My team analysis

Post by C-Fan » 18 Oct 2018 09:01

This is my 4th year in a row doing Fantasy NBA in the same league. The draft is auction style, with each owner having $200 to round out their roster. The past 2 years my strategy on draft night was to avoid bidding on the highest tier players, and instead try and nab 3-4 players in the tier just below. Not a bad strategy, and 2 years ago I won my league so you could say it paid off. Last year though I made a couple mistakes on draft night that really cost me. First, I finished the night with $15 left in my wallet. You don't get that money back, so that just means I didn't bid hard enough in the middle and top of my draft. My other mistake was born from a risky strategy I didn't pull off well. Basically, I'd nominate a bad player with the hopes that others would bid on them and eat up a roster spot, or spend money early on them which would reduce their ability to bid against me when good players came up later. This worked a few times, but in the later rounds I nominated some players nobody bid on, so I ended up wasting my own roster spots on those players. I dumped them on the waiver after the draft, but that still carried the opportunity cost that I didn't get to bid on good players on draft night. At the end of last season I summarized my experience as follows:
C-Fan wrote:
12 Apr 2018 09:09
Next year I'll have to approach the draft very differently. Less gambling on potential, be better about spending all my money, and maybe invest a lot more in blue chippers to anchor the team.

So going into this year's draft, I set some new goals:

1. Bid hard on the top level players, and have faith I can round out the bottom of the roster other ways. Basically, if I think I'm better at working the waiver wire and trades than the other owners, then my smartest bet is to spend the bulk of my money on the top players on draft night, and then worry about the final few spots during the season.

2. Finish the night with $0 in my wallet. In past years you could get decent roster filler for around $3-6 a player. Last year I finished draft night with $15 in my pocket and a couple players on my roster I cut immediately. I vowed not to finish with that kind of wasted opportunity cost this year. This basically translated as me bidding harder on top and mid-tier names than I would have in the past. I think it worked out.

3. Don't nominate any players for bid that I wouldn't be OK having on my roster. Or if I do, make sure it's not at a price I can't live with. So for example, I did nominate a couple players I didn't want, with the hope others would spend money and roster spots on them and thereby not bid as much on later players that I actually wanted. But I didn't participate in the bidding on those players once it exceeded a low minimum price. For the most part I pulled this off, with one possible exception. But even that player was only $9, so it's not like that was a disaster.

OK, without further ado, here's how my draft night went.
:arrow: Giannis and Davis came up for bid very early on, as I expected. My hope was to get one of the 2, to be the main anchor of my team. I ended up getting Giannis for $75, which was the highest price paid for any player all night. I was pretty stoked about this, since I do think he'll be even better than last year given the new coach and new offense they're running. I also like his durability more than Davis, so if I had to choose between the two at this price, I'd take Giannis.
:arrow: A few players later, KAT came up. I've had him on my team the past 3 years and have not been disappointed, since he's super durable and consistent. I thought I might have to duck out of the bidding if it got into the $70s, but I was able to get him at $67. Still the 4th most expensive player all night, and between him and Giannis I had spent 71% of my budget. While that may seem crazy, it was my strategy and I feel good knowing the core of my team is being built on 2 superstars who have been durable and consistent in the past, and have high ceilings where they can be even better.
:arrow: With 71% of my budget gone in the first 10 minutes, I had to sit out a bunch of good players for a few rounds. It was hard to do, but I reminded myself to have faith that there were still a lot of good players left and that I should be able to nab some in the $10 range towards the end. Every 10 turns I got to nominate a player for bid, so I kept picking players I didn't want so others would spend their money and roster spots on them first. Still, it was tough to see so many good names come up and know I couldn't bid in those ranges.
:arrow: My third player acquired was Gobert, for $18. Was surprised to get him this cheap, since just a year ago he was considered just outside the top 10 (last year somebody paid $46 for him). I know he had some injuries last year, but I still expect him to put up double digit points and rebounds with good percentages and blocks. 3 players in, I feel really good about my team. Giannis/KAT/Gobert is a solid core, even if it did eat 80% of my budget.
:arrow: My next pick makes me feel a lot worse. Harrison Barnes comes up, and for some reason I think people on autodraft will have him in the $20 range. So I get stuck with him at $9. I also didn't realize he's dealing with a minor injury now. Not horrible though, since he's still the key cog of his team's offense, and will probably still put up close to 20/6. Still, this is probably my worst pick of the night at this price.
:arrow: My next pickup is Wiggins for $6. I'm not a big fan of his game, and I didn't enjoy owning him last year. That said, if the Wolves trade Butler soon I expect Wiggins will benefit in touches and minutes, so a 20+ pt season is likely. For $6, and at a position I had empty (SG), this feels like a good value.
:arrow: I've now used 88% of my budget and filled...38% of my roster. I tell myself to trust the process, since the last 3 spots on the roster aren't worth the same as the first 3 spots. Still, kinda terrifying only having $25 left to fill over 60% of my roster.
:arrow: Brandon Ingram comes up, and I fight my last true bidding war of the night. I get him for $10, which is high but is also a bet on his upside. LeBron has been pumping him up, and I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up being second on the Lakers in scoring this season. It's a bit of a gamble, but the upside is there.
:arrow: My next 3 picks are Zach Lavine for $4, Myles Turner for $5, and Aaron Gordon for $2. They all had disappointing seasons last year, but I expect at least 2 will have bounceback seasons this year. And for those prices, I'm not risking much. I spent $31 on Turner last year and was let down, but for $5 I'd be OK with a 10/8 season, and I'd be shocked if his basement is even that low.
:arrow: At this stage I've spent 98% of my budget...and I still lack a point guard. Yikes. I try not to worry too much, since I can get one through a trade. Looking at whose left in the draft, I pick up Schroder for $1. Yeah he'll be a backup behind Westbrook, but I'm hoping he can still put up good numbers if he's playing against second units, or maybe the Thunder try playing Westbrook off ball some and Schroder is funtionally the starting PG. Or if Westbrook is hurt a lot this year, he should pick up the minutes. Either way, for $1 I'm happy to get him as my first and only PG.
:arrow: I'm down to my last $3, to spend on 3 roster spots. Here's where my knowledge of sleepers hopefully pays off. I'm hoping to get Caris LeVert but I'm outbid, but I pick up Gary Harris and Taurean Prince which both feel like wins.
:arrow: My final pick I panic, and select Gallo. I didn't feel great about it, and I'll likely cut him the second he gets injured, but for the last pick of my draft with my last dollar, I feel like I could have done worse.

Overall I felt really good about my draft. I stuck to my plan, I got 2 of the top 4 players to anchor my team, I finished the night with $0 in my wallet, I got a few players at under-market prices, and my few questionable moves weren't overly costly. My biggest issues/regrets are my lack of point guards, and some of the uncertainty around KAT/Wiggins that stems from the Butler trade demand. But I expect that will resolve itself one way or another by the playoffs, and if Butler does get traded that could significantly boost the value of both my guys. I think my plan for the next couple weeks is to either trade for a PG or do some kind of 2:1 trade to upgrade a position and open a roster spot, which I'll then fill with the best available PG on the waiver. Ultimately though, I'm hopeful that if KAT, Giannis, and Gobert all stay healthy and have strong years, my lack of PG depth won't matter much anyway.

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Young season highlights

Post by C-Fan » 22 Oct 2018 06:36

Couple stray thoughts on the season so far.

:arrow: I haven't gotten to see any games yet, but I've been enjoying the return of NBA podcasts especially for my dog walks.
:arrow: There was a fight at Rockets/Lakers? I only know this because Brandom Ingram got suspended for 4 games. He was off to a slow start in fantasy and now this...annoying.
:arrow: My fantasy team is off to a decent start. I still don't fully understand the opaque scoring system. On the second night of the season I had Giannis, Gobert, and Aaron Gordon all play. Their stat lines were something like 25/18/8, 19/15, and 26/16. You'd think that first or third stat line would be the highest points right? They weren't; the second one was. I guess due to percentages and turnovers? Still, not intuitive.
:arrow: I have trips to Sacramento and DC coming up. I was really hoping I could catch an NBA game in an arena on one of these trips, but the timing is off and their teams are all on the road while I'm there. Poop.

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10 days after the draft

Post by C-Fan » 24 Oct 2018 08:55

It's been 10 days since my league started. Amazingly, I haven't done any trades or even dropped any players yet. I've floated a couple trade offers out there, mostly 2:1s so I can upgrade at point guard and then fill my empty spot with somebody off the waiver. No bites though. I also received a trade offer of Klay Thompson for Gary Harris, which from a name recognition standpoint looks amazing but I still rejected. Crazy, since Tu drafted Klay for $14 and I got Harris for $1. So far Harris has been straight up better though.

On that note, here's how I feel about my roster and selections after 10 days.

:arrow: Giannis. My top pick, and the planned anchor of my team. So far so good. He's averaging something like 27/16/6, and the crazy thing is I don't even get the sense he's playing his best yet. But even if he closes the season averaging 24/12/5 I'd still feel good about him as my best player. I think we still haven't seen his ceiling yet.
:arrow: KAT. I was hoping he'd be co-anchor of my team, but so far he's off to a quiet start (17/10/2). I was hoping the Wolves would trade Butler and then KAT would thrive as the undisputed alpha, but that hasn't happened yet. I'm still hopeful though.
:arrow: Gobert. He's been about what I'd hoped for with my 3rd best player. 15/13 with great percentages. I still don't fully get the scoring system in my league, but Rudy does well because of his efficiency. Pleased with this pick, especially at the price I got him.
:arrow: Harrison Barnes. Probably the pick I felt worst about on draft night, and so far he's justified that. He hasn't played yet. Given how well my players at the top and bottom of my team have done, this has been easier to swallow. I'm still hoping he comes back and finished the season as a mid-level guy, giving me around 20 pts a night with meh percentages. But yeah, for $9 that's pretty bad.
:arrow: Wiggins. Basically giving me what I described Barnes hopefully giving me. Reliable source of points and fantasy pts, which is fine for the price I paid.
:arrow: Ingram. My second biggest disappointment so far. He played like 2.5 games with meh production, then got into a fistfight and was suspended 4 games. Even assuming he comes back and improves slightly, the fact that the first 7 games of the season he's splitting between zero production and disappointing production, this pick feels like a bust.
:arrow: Zach LaVine. I got him for $4, and he's averaging over 32 pts. His defense has been atrocious, but that doesn't matter in fantasy. I doubt he finishes the season averaging over 30, but his hot start has been a very welcome surprise.
:arrow: Myles Turner. Hasn't had the bounce back season I'd hoped for, but hasn't been awful either. For $5, it's OK roster filler. I don't regret gambling on his upside.
:arrow: Aaron Gordon. Averaging 16/10/2. So basically a hair less than KAT, but I paid $2 for AG versus $67 for KAT. Definitely a great value pick.
:arrow: Schroder. Had a good start, but as expected has come back to earth with the return of Westbrook. Still, as my only PG and having only cost me $1, I can't complain.
:arrow: Gary Harris. Basically averaging 21/4/3, and with some other Nuggets at his position injured I see him staying in this range. Like I mentioned earlier, I turned down Klay Thompson 1:1 for him.
:arrow: Taurean Prince: 21/5/3. Another $1 guy outperforming my $9-10 guys.
:arrow: Gallo. Felt like a panic pick, and I still don't trust him to stay healthy. But so far, he's given me excellent production for a $1 guy: 22/7/2.

Looking at my team so far, I feel like my draft night strategy was vindicated. My plan was to spend big to get 2 of the 4 best players, with the plan that I'd be able to round out the bottom of my roster with good value picks. While KAT has been disappointing so far, most of my bottom picks are way outperforming their pricetags. Assuming KAT, Ingram, and Barnes settle in somewhat closer to what I expected, I think I have a good shot at winning. Of course, we're only 10 days in, but compared to last year I feel a lot better about how I drafted.

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Curry cooking.

Post by C-Fan » 25 Oct 2018 11:21

C-Fan wrote:
24 Oct 2018 08:55
:arrow: Giannis. He's averaging something like 27/16/6, and the crazy thing is I don't even get the sense he's playing his best yet.
His next game: 32/18/10/2/3 on 50% shooting. I think they're going to let him steal rebounds to pad his numbers, similar to Westbrook's MVP season. This can only be good for my fantasy team.

Saw Curry scored 51 pts in 3 quarters. With a guy who shoots 3s like he does, you do wonder what his career high will end up being. Right now it's just 54, which he did 5 years ago. You telling me you don't think he could net 70 if he was on fire?

Lakers and Thunder are off to slow starts, but I think it's too early to overreact. Fantasy wise I do wonder if/when the Cavs shut down Kevin Love so they can do a proper tank job. I was kind of high on him on draft night, but looks like I may have dodged a bullet there.

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We have ourselves a tra-ayde!

Post by C-Fan » 07 Nov 2018 14:37

Still haven't watched a game. I do have some work trips coming up though, so hopefully that changes. It sounds like scoring is up this year, so I definitely want to check out some games.
C-Fan wrote:
25 Oct 2018 11:21
. Fantasy wise I do wonder if/when the Cavs shut down Kevin Love so they can do a proper tank job. I was kind of high on him on draft night, but looks like I may have dodged a bullet there.
Well, they're sitting Love now with an injury and they fired Lue as their coach, so I guess the tank is on!

A few random thoughts:

:arrow: Klay started the season with a bad shooting slump, and then broke it by setting a new NBA record for 3s. If you had to list the 3 players in the NBA capable of catching fire the quickest, you'd have to have Klay and Curry on there. And they're on the same team! Unfair.
:arrow: Thoughts on the MVP race: Kawhi is putting up good numbers on the 10-1 Raptors, but he's also sitting out games periodically. Giannis is putting up great numbers on the 8-2 Bucks, and hasn't missed a game yet. Anthony Davis is putting up similar numbers, but the Pels are slumping and he's missed a few games. Curry is shooting lights out in the West for the 10-1 Warriors. As of right now, the race really feels like its between Curry and Giannis.
:arrow: Carmelo jokes aside, I'm not sure why the Rockets are off to such a bad start. They did lose some nice defensive pieces over the summer, as well as the assistant coach in charge of their defense (who they have since rehired). Still, surprising to see them at 4-5. Harden has also missed some time.
:arrow: Thunder were only playing about 500 ball, and then Westbrook hurt his ankle. Its not clear how long he'll be out, but they were barely winning with him, so things could get grim.

On the Fantasy side, I've been a lot more hands-off this year than in past years. At least until yesterday, when I did a big trade. I gave up Gobert and Gary Harris for Kyle Lowry (and Saric, but I'm likely gonna cut him). Gobert has been pretty consistent, but he's not producing at the levels I expected. Gary Harris has been on fire to start the season, but that's partially due to Will Barton being out so far. Once Barton comes back in the next month, I expect Harris will have a dip in minutes and production. Lowry has been red hot, and I don't expect that will last forever, but I do expect his day-to-day basement will be higher than Gobert. He also fills my weakest position (I only had one PG before), and if Kawhi continues to sit out periodically that should also help ensure good production.

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An actual trade

Post by C-Fan » 16 Nov 2018 10:00

We had the first major trade of the NBA season last week, when the Wolves traded Butler to the Sixers for Dario and RoCo. I'm honestly not sure what to expect for either team long term. The Wolves seem happier in the short term, but are likely a bit worse talent wise. So we'll see how long their post-Butler bounce lasts. I don't think it's super sustainable. For the Sixers the big question for me now is what do they do with Fultz? Nobody wants him, but with Butler in town they really don't have time to develop him.

From a fantasy perspective I'm thrilled about the Butler trade, mostly because it'll increase the usage rates of Wiggins and KAT. I'm skeptical the real life NBA Wolves will continue winning like this, but I do expect the minutes and production bounce of these two guys will last.

The other big piece of NBA news is that the Rockets are waiving Carmelo after only 10 games. Reminds me a bit of Iverson towards the end of his career, where it was sad to see a former great having so much trouble adjusting to a reduced role in the twilight of their career.

I finally got to watch some games, since I was on a work trip this week. Warriors-Rockets was a blowout and no Steph, so that was barely a game. Clips-Spurs was great though, as its always fun watching Lou Will catch fire. So smooth, so much swagger.

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Season 1/3 mark check in

Post by C-Fan » 12 Dec 2018 14:14

Amazingly enough, the season is already 1/3 of the way through. I've only had the chance to watch a handful of games on TV, but they've been entertaining. In exciting news, I may be going to see the Nuggets-Raptors game in person this coming weekend. Fingers crossed on the logistics front.

While it's not even the halfway point of the season, I thought it'd be fun to revisit my preseason predictions to see how they're holding up:
C-Fan wrote:
15 Oct 2018 08:25

So here's some wild predictions before the season even begins:

:arrow: Giannis gets MVP
:arrow: Doncic gets ROY
:arrow: Myles Turner gets most improved
:arrow: Warriors over Rockets in West Finals
:arrow: Celtics over Bucks in East Finals
:arrow: Warriors over Celtics in Finals
I still feel good about the Giannis for MVP pick. It's not a lock or anything, but I'd say he's the front runner still at this point.

Doncic for ROY is looking very good so far. The #1 pick Ayton is putting up good numbers for the Suns, but they've won something like 4 games through the first 28? Luka on the other hand has won a few games himself, and has the Mavs in the playoff hunt. I don't think they'll finish the year in the playoffs, but I think most people are surprised the Mavs are over 500 25 games into the season. That's all Luka.

Turner for MIP looks like a bad pick, though he has been playing better lately. I think at this stage Pascal Siakam of the Raptors would get MIP.

Warriors winning the West still feels very safe, though I doubt the Rockets make it to the conference finals unless they pull of some crazy trade. I'm not sure who I'd put in the West finals with the Warriors to be honest. I don't know that I trust the Clippers of Nuggets to win 2 playoff series with their level of experience/talent. Could the Blazers make the conference finals?

In the East, I could still see a Celtics/Bucks conference finals happen. The Sixers seemed better after getting Butler, but I somehow don't fully believe in them either. It doesn't help that Fultz was basically a wasted #1 pick, and that Butler is injured again. I also don't know that playing Embiid this many minutes is the smartest move either. If I had to predict the East finals starting today though, I think I'd have the Raptors in there, playing either the Celts of the Bucks.

Given my uncertainty about the East, I don't know who I'd pick coming out of the conference. But I can't see any of them beating the Warriors still.

On the Fantasy front, I've been pretty hands off. I float trades here and there, but haven't been too actively involved. That could change if one of my guys gets badly injured, or if anybody accepts one of my 2:1 trades and I need to round out the roster. But at this stage, I'm happy coasting to the playoffs making fringe moves here and there, and just hope that my core of KAT and Giannis can win me the title on their own. It's not the worst plan in the world. In good news, the Butler trade did have the positive effect on KAT and Wiggins' production that I hoped it would.

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Random thoughts on NBA

Post by C-Fan » 07 Jan 2019 07:49

Actual NBA thoughts:

:arrow: John Wall's season is over due to surgery. Considering how bad they've been this season, how much salary is locked up in basically untradable contracts, and that they have very few other avenues to get better...this injury may be a blessing. If they dedicate themselves to tanking the rest of the season hard they may actually get a usable player in the lottery. But yeah, pretty depressing season for them.

:arrow: Something doesn't feel quite right in Philly. They've been better since getting Butler, but he's still pretty old and will ask for a lot of money in the off season. It also still feels like Embiid and Simmons don't quite gel. I wonder if they trade one of them soon to get a cleaner fit. I also don't want to jinx Embiid and his health, but part of me feels like its a matter of time until he gets injured again and everybody remembers he hasn't been very durable.

:arrow: The Pelicans have the second worst record in the West. Granted, they'd only need a short win streak to get back into playoff contention, but still...we're about halfway done with the season and they are only ahead of the tanking Suns in their conference. Can they hold onto Anthony Davis if they stay this bad?

:arrow: I was a believer of the Doncic hype going into the season, and picked him for ROY. Even so, I'm still amazed how many highlights I'm seeing of him. Great passer, great feel for the game, really nice stepback 3. I can see some of the Harden comparisons for sure.

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Re: Season 1/3 mark check in

Post by Dio » 12 Jan 2019 11:14

C-Fan wrote:
12 Dec 2018 14:14
In exciting news, I may be going to see the Nuggets-Raptors game in person this coming weekend. Fingers crossed on the logistics front.
Did you make it? :P

I think the Raptors can do it this year.

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Gimme some Raptors news!

Post by C-Fan » 14 Jan 2019 07:41

Hey Dante! Yes, I did make it to the game. Not the most mindblowing game I've been to, but there were some nice passes from Jokic and it was fun to be at a game again.

I do think this is the best Raptors team we've ever seen, apologies to DeMar. Siakam has really made a jump, and Lowry's shooting woes haven't appeared to impact their offense much. The two biggest concerns I have about them are:

1. Lowry's back is not right. He missed a bunch of games, and he hasn't looked 100% since getting back. He got a shot for his back, but by all accounts that kind of shot can work/last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. If he isn't 100%, the playoffs get a lot dicier.
2. Kawhi has been great for them this year, but the offense definitely flows differently with him. It's almost like they run two different styles completely when he's in game and not. If he stays next year, I don't think it'll be a problem. But it's definitely not a seamless integration yet.

I do think that the Raptors GM made the right call in trading DeRozan for Kawhi. They clearly hit their ceiling with the existing roster the past two years, and even if Kawhi doesn't stay long term (or if he never played this year) they'd probably have to blow it up in 2 years anyway. So why not take the gamble? I think they have as good a chance of making the Finals as the Celtics or Bucks, maybe better. That said, I don't see any of the Eastern teams beating the Warriors in the finals.

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Re: 2018-2019 NBA season

Post by Dio » 14 Jan 2019 16:00

Yeah the PG role is too important for Lowry to not be 100%, when he's not, it's really apparent. And I agree with the Kawhi integration bit, although the support from everyone else hides it well. And west is still best ...

Making it to the Finals would be a treat :D

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Giannis vs. AD at the midpoint of season

Post by C-Fan » 23 Jan 2019 15:11

Couple quick notes on my Fantasy NBA season.

1. Another owner gave up on Donovan Mitchell a few weeks ago, and dropped him to the waiver wire. I scooped him up and have enjoyed his resurgence. I was surprised the other owner gave up on him so early...I wouldn't be surprised if this ends up being my best move of the season.

2. I've been trying to trade Brandon Ingram for almost anything. I know its a matter of time before LeBron and Rondo return, and I expect that will knock him back to his low production. For the price I paid for him on draft night, I'd say Ingram has been my biggest disappointment.
C-Fan wrote:
18 Oct 2018 09:01
:arrow: Giannis and Davis came up for bid very early on, as I expected. My hope was to get one of the 2, to be the main anchor of my team. I ended up getting Giannis for $75, which was the highest price paid for any player all night. I was pretty stoked about this, since I do think he'll be even better than last year given the new coach and new offense they're running. I also like his durability more than Davis, so if I had to choose between the two at this price, I'd take Giannis.
For the first half of the season, it was looking like AD was the better choice due to his stats: 29/13/4 on good percentages compared to Giannis' 26/12/6. Also, Davis only missed 2 more games than Giannis. But now it looks like AD could miss 2-4 weeks with a hand injury, and with the Pelicans already in 12th place in the West there's the very real chance that they may shut AD down for the season even after he heals, if they're far enough out of the playoff picture. Meanwhile Giannis' Bucks are in 1st in the East, so I expect they'll keep playing him except potentially for a couple rest games at the end of the season if they've locked up their seed. Given all that, Giannis may end up being the better pick between the two.

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Brow requests to be traded!

Post by C-Fan » 29 Jan 2019 10:01

Just a few days after I compared AD vs. Giannis in Fantasy, Brow requested to be traded from the Pelicans! 8O Wow. Let's take a quick look at this from both the real basketball and the fantasy standpoints.

Real basketball:
:arrow: My first reaction when I saw he requested a trade was: New Orleans is going to lose its franchise. That's been one of the weakest markets since the team moved there, and when they traded CP3 I thought they were doomed. Conspiracy theorists would have you believe Commissioner Stern rigged the draft to get Brow, knowing he'd keep the franchise afloat. But with him leaving, I can't see that fan base having them survive a tank. I would not be surprised to see the team bought out and moved to Seattle or somewhere else.

:arrow: Brow hasn't requested a specific team to be traded to, other than wanting to go to a winning culture. He also hasn't specified a time frame, so he may not be traded until the summer. Regardless of the team or timeframe of a trade, the Pelicans totally should go into tank mode. They already have the third worst record in the West and probably wouldn't make the playoffs even if they kept AD and were trying. So now that they know AD is gone next year no matter what, why not go into full tank mode and get a better pick? If they trade AD by the deadline tanking should be easy. If they wait until the summer, AD playing for them would make it harder to tank. Which brings me to the next point:

:arrow: Brow says he wants to keep playing until he is traded, but if the Pelicans are smart they should sit him. If he continues to play he may win them some games which would hurt their pick next year. There is also the chance he could get injured, which would really screw them because then they'd get less value for him in a trade. Its not like they need to showcase him before a trade either; everybody knows how good he is.

So on the Fantasy front...

:arrow: AD's best case scenario fantasy wise is if the Pelicans trade him in the next few days, and he goes to a team where he immediately picks up the minutes/load he had on the Pelicans. If that happens, his numbers could even increase. That said...

:arrow: The Pelicans have a lot of incentives to wait until the summer before trading him. One reason is that the draft order is not set yet, so they don't know how high each team's pick is. Theoretically they could wait and see who gets the #1 pick in the lottery, then trade Davis for that pick plus filler. They can't do that until the summer though. The other incentive to wait until the summer, is that the Celtics can't trade for Davis until July 1st, and theoretically they have the best package of players/picks to offer. Even if the Pels don't take the Celtics offer, it would up the bidding from other teams. So based on all this, the Pelicans have a lot of reasons to wait until the season ends before trading. And if that's the case, why wouldn't they sit Davis out?

:arrow: If they wait until summer to trade Davis but let him continue playing games, you'd think they'd still be extra cautious with his minutes and rest. That'd be bad news for him stats wise. So to sum up, Davis will either be shut down, play limited minutes for the Pels for the rest of the season, or be traded to another team. I think the first scenario is most likely and also worst for him Fantasy wise, which is another reason Giannis is feeling like the better pick for the season.

:arrow: If Davis is traded or shut down for the season, other players on the Pelicans would benefit fantasy wise. The question is whether this sets off a fire sale for the Pelicans where they get rid of Holiday/Mirotic/Randle as well. No matter what, I think Okafor is likely to benefit the most, so I went ahead and picked him up off the wire. The way I see it there's a lot of upside with him if Davis stops playing for the Pels, and almost no risk.

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Okaforce!

Post by C-Fan » 30 Jan 2019 08:55

The trade deadline is a week away. If I had to bet, I'd say the Pelicans don't trade Davis before then and wait for the summer for better offers. The team with the most incentive to make a Godfather offer for Davis before the deadline is the Lakers, so I think its notable nothing has come out about that. I wonder if they made an offer behind closed doors, and the Pelicans told them they'd wait til the summer. The Pelicans have to figure the Lakers offer will still be there in a few months, but why sour the potential relationship by revealing the rejected offer now?
C-Fan wrote:
29 Jan 2019 10:01

:arrow: If Davis is traded or shut down for the season, other players on the Pelicans would benefit fantasy wise. No matter what, I think Okafor is likely to benefit the most, so I went ahead and picked him up off the wire.
In his first game on my roster, he posted 27 points and 12 rebounds, on 11 for 15 shooting and 5 for 5 Free Throws. Even if his role gets reduced when people come back from injury (assuming the Pels don't rest or trade them), I expect he'll still be a solid fantasy pickup. But if the Pels do trade or shut down Davis, or better yet do that and trade Randle/Mirotic as well...then picking up Okafor may be the best move I make all season.

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Still no Davis trade...

Post by C-Fan » 05 Feb 2019 10:17

Trade deadline is only two days away!

We actually did have a major trade go down, with the Knicks basically trading Porzingis to the Mavs to guarantee they have 2 max slots open for this summer. They also shored up their draft pick situation a bit with it too. If the Knicks can get two A level free agents with those 2 slots (Kyrie and KD are the most mentioned names) then this will end up being a great move. But if they end up getting one premier level free agent and then somebody a tier lower (like a Khris Middleton for example), then I think this will have to be viewed as a failed gamble. They're basically banking on their second max level free agent being better than Porzingis, which is not guaranteed at all. I guess we'll see in the summer time.

For the Mavs this feels like a win for sure. They got rid of the logjam of Doncic and DSJ, they got another superstar on the same timeline as Luka that theoretically has a complimentary game to his, and even though they picked up some bloated contracts in the deal at least Hardaway Jr. can play. He's definitely overpaid, but it's not like he's a BAD player either.

Back to the Anthony Davis situation. I honestly don't know what's going to happen. The Lakers have pretty much put everything they can on the table, and its notable the Pelicans have yet to agree to that deal. That would indicate they hope to wait til the summer with the hopes the Celtics enter the bidding with something better (they're hoping its Tatum). But if the Celtics decide Tatum is untouchable, do they still have a potentially better package than what the Lakers are currently offering? So many unknowns...

On the Fantasy side I'm sitting on Brandon Ingram now, since there's a chance he goes to the Pelicans in the Davis deal. The main drag on Ingram this season has been that he's not good playing with LeBron, so my hope is that if he goes to the Pelicans he may actualize his potential as a point forward. Either way, I'm feeling great about picking up Okafor. My biggest issue now is that some of my other players are injured (Gallo and Millsap) and I should figure out if its worth holding them til they get better, or if I should cut bait.

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Crazy trade deadline

Post by C-Fan » 08 Feb 2019 08:55

So the 2019 NBA trade deadline has officially passed, and it was a good one. It felt like more big names moved than in past years, and the fact that it was good teams making the trades makes it feel that much more important. I may do a post later about the Fantasy impacts to my team, but to be honest I'm not entirely sure what those will even be. Its also of greater general interest to look at the deadline from an actual NBA perspective.

:arrow: Anthony Davis wasn't traded. Weird how the biggest "move" of the deadline was the fact that a player wasn't moved. But that appears to be the big story. So what does this mean? Well, from the Pelicans perspective it means they think they can get better offers in the summer, whether that is a package from the Celtics (maybe including Tatum?) or dealing with whoever wins the lottery and gets Zion Williamson. I personally think this was the right move on their part. The other big impact I see from the Davis non-trade, is that it hurt the Lakers. The fact that the Pels didn't deal him before the deadline means their offer will likely pale in comparison to others this summer, so it decreases the chances they get Davis at all. Beyond that, not getting Davis now also makes it more likely they miss the playoffs. I'm not saying that'll happen, but I do think getting Davis would have guaranteed them a playoff berth whereas now it's more of a tossup. The other way the non-deal hurt the Lakers is that all their young players just went through 2 weeks of being on the trade block and feeling expendable. That can't be good for team chemistry.

:arrow: The Raptors got Marc Gasol! Yeah, he can opt out after the season, and yeah he's old. But I do think he is an upgrade over Valanciunas/Wright for this year, and if making the Finals means they keep Kawhi then this is exactly the kind of home run swing the Raptors should do. Whether or not you agree with all the moves the Raptors GM has done in the past year, you have to admire the fact they're making big moves to try and win. Before the deadline I think I would have ranked the Eastern contenders as Bucks, then Raptors, then Celtics/Sixers. Now I think I'd put the Raptors in a tie with the Bucks.

:arrow: ...which is a bit crazy, since the Bucks also improved at the deadline! They added Mirotic for basically nothing. So now they have even more shooters around Giannis, and a bit more size too. I love that 3 of the 4 best teams in the East made moves at the deadline to improve, and the only team that didn't (the Celtics) are maybe the front runners this summer to get Anthony Davis!

:arrow: The Sixers also tried to improve, and did so by adding Tobias Harris. He's a great player, but I'm not as sure about this move. Did the Sixers do this in a win-now move to make the Finals? Or are they thinking this enables them to let go of Jimmy Butler after the season? I'm also skeptical that 4 players can find a balance of minutes and stats where all of them are happy. Somebody is going to have to take a backseat, and I'm not sure who would.

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1 month left!

Post by C-Fan » 12 Mar 2019 10:59

Crazy to think there's only a month left in the regular season. I feel like it just started!

A few scattered thoughts on both the real NBA, and my silly fantasy league.

:arrow: Warriors still seem like the clear front runners to me. There's been some grumbling about Boogie not being as good as hoped (what did people expect?!? He's close to 300 pounds and ruptured his achilles less than a year ago!), internal drama over Durant maybe leaving after the season, cold streaks by Klay and to an extent Curry, yadda yadda. I'm sorry, I just don't see them in any real trouble. When push comes to shove they can have a lineup of Curry, Klay, Durant, Draymond, and Boogie on the court. That's ridiculous and I just don't see anybody unseating them this year.

:arrow: The Lakers are all but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. That HAS to be a disappointment. The day they got LeBron things were looking so rosy for them. Then they spent all their remaining salary on one year rentals of vets that don't compliment LeBron, the young guys never developed, LeBron missed a stretch with injury, and now we're here. If LeBron were still a young guy, maybe not a big deal. But given his age you have to feel like they wasted one of the last peak years of an all time great. Related to that, if you were a free agent this summer and you saw how the Lakers front office have been running the organization, would YOU be all that hyped to join an aging LeBron? I expect they'll fire their coaching staff, but really the problems are deeper than that.

:arrow: When the Mavs traded Trae Young plus a pick for Luka last year, the assumption was the pick would convey this year and probably be in the 8-12 range. Instead, the Mavs are tanking hard enough they have a chance at landing in the top 5 of this draft, which would mean the pick doesn't convey til next year. If that happened, you have to figure the pick would be worth a lot less, since a full year of Luka/Porzingis/top 5 pick from this year should have a much better record. Trading Trae Young for the #7 pick in this draft and Luka is a defensible move by the Hawks. Trading Trae Young for Luka and the #17 pick in next year's draft really isn't. We'll see what happens with the lottery.

:arrow: Its hard to predict any of the first round matchups yet, since the #1 seeds in both conference are still in play and the bottoms of each conference are also in flux. That said, I'd love to see a Celtics/Sixers first round matchup. Same with a Blazers/Thunder round in the West first round.

:arrow: On the Fantasy side, the big news for me is that Brandon Ingram has been shut down for the season. He was actually playing really well over the past few weeks, but on the whole I'd have to say he was the biggest disappointment on my team for the season. Wiggins (who I cut earlier in the season) was also bad and disappointing, but Ingram cost me a lot more on draft night. In a way though, I'm almost glad to see him shut down for the season, as now I don't have to deal with his inconsistency or trying to trade him.

:arrow: The other big Fantasy news, is I remembered that last year the fantasy playoffs started wicked early and it screwed up my strategy. So this year I made a point to check on the schedule, and I'm glad I did. Apparently the Fantasy playoffs started yesterday, and consists of 2 rounds of 2 weeks each. The main impact on me is that I need to be more active and aggressive with my roster management, with an eye towards maximizing the number of games played by the expendable players at the bottom of my roster. If I can avoid injuries to KAT and Giannis, and I don't pick up too many duds by churning the bottom 2-3 players on my team, I'm hopeful I can make (and win) Finals.

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2.5 weeks left!

Post by C-Fan » 21 Mar 2019 07:16

NBA regular season is inching towards an end now. That means its the Fantasy playoffs too, but first lets look at the real games.

:arrow: The Lakers will be mathematically eliminated from the playoffs in the next couple days. I remember last summer when they got LeBron a lot of people penciled them in to the playoffs, some as high as a top 4 team in the West. I remember being skeptical because so many other teams in the West are so good, but I've also been expecting a decline in LeBron and his teams for about 3 years now. I also wasn't sure if the team would do a major trade at the deadline (which they tried). But now that April is in sight and the Lakers are out of the playoffs, I'm not that surprised by it.

:arrow: I looked at the West standings today, and San Antonio, OKC, and the Clippers all have identical records at 42-30. The Jazz are just a game ahead at 42-29. I haven't looked at the strength of schedule of the remaining games for each team, but I wouldn't be surprised if this is one of those years where the playoff brackets aren't determined until the last day of the season.

:arrow: The Raptors have been really good all year, but I wonder how their health holds up in the playoffs. Kawhi has missed a lot of time through the season for rest, and Lowry has been banged up all year. In the playoffs you have more rest days and there are no back-to-backs, but I am curious to see how healthy they stay through their playoff run. This feels especially important this year, as Kawhi's decision to stay or leave for LA may hinge on how far they advance in the playoffs.

:arrow: On the Fantasy side, the top 4 teams in my league made the playoffs. I'm in. The playoff format really threw me off last year, but this year I was ready for it and I feel on more solid ground as a result. Basically the playoff format is that the last month of the regular season is split into 2 two week rounds. If you win the first round, you make the finals. I am currently winning my first round matchup, though there are 4 days left to go. I'm carrying a few injured/resting players so I'm having to cycle through the bottom of my roster to find value on the waiver wire to make sure I don't lose too much ground.

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