2018-2019 NBA season

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Fantasy Finals

Post by C-Fan » 25 Mar 2019 07:43

Down to the last couple weeks of the regular season now! That means we're in the home stretch of fantasy.

The first round of the fantasy playoffs ended and Tu Vu and myself advanced. So we're in the Finals together, just like 2 years ago (when I beat him). In the semis my opponent had Westbrook and Harden and that was almost enough to unseat me. Weirdly enough, Tu's team doesn't have any standout players like that, but top to bottom all his players are solid. I'm cautiously optimistic my anchors of KAT and Giannis should be enough to beat him but a lot of random shit happens in the last 2 weeks of the season. Good teams with playoff seeds locked up often rest their players during this time so they're fresh for the playoffs. Conversely, really bad lottery teams often shut down their best players in hopes of tanking to better lottery odds. So in both cases the most productive fantasy players on these teams are out during the most important stretch of the fantasy season. I know some leagues adjust their schedules to avoid this "silly season." As far as my own team, the biggest risks to me are Kyle Lowry (could see him being rested going into the playoffs) and Zach Lavine (Bulls are shutting down lots of players to improve their lottery odds). I think I need to be prepared to cut these guys on a moment's notice and replace them with less flashy players that I know are guaranteed to play. Even a crappy player who is only giving me 10 points is better than an all-star who is sitting out games for whatever reason and giving me 0.

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Fantasy home stretch

Post by C-Fan » 01 Apr 2019 09:33

Less than a week left in the Fantasy season. I'm currently trailing Tu, and seriously weighing some risky gambles to make up ground. As discussed in the previous post, it's silly season now with players resting or getting shut down, so you have to do some crazy stuff to survive. Like, I basically dropped Zach LaVine (best player on the Bulls) for Christian Wood this week. I literally had not even heard of Christian Wood before this week, but it was the right move.

Some other thoughts and observations:

:arrow: LeBron is shut down for the remainder of the year, despite being healthy. I was betting against LeBron in fantasy for pretty much the past 3 years, and up until this year he made me look foolish. He played all 82 games last season with his usual crazy averages. This season he will finish with only 55 games played, missing almost the entirety of the fantasy playoffs. Bullet dodged.

:arrow: Tu has Embiid on his team, who is currently missing 3 games for rest. Good reminder not to complain too much about silly season, since every other owner has to deal with similar headaches.

:arrow: Gallinari was my last pick on draft night, and maybe the pick I felt worst about at the time. I got him for $1 and planned on dropping him at the first sign of injury. Instead, he's been one of my best players all year, clearly outperforming much more expensive options on my roster including Brandon Ingram, Andrew Wiggins, and Harrison Barnes. Nice bright spot.

:arrow: My trade of Gobert for Lowry was...not great. Basically I overestimated the impact of the rule changes on big men, resulting me in trading Gobert at his lowest value. Compounding my error, I traded for Lowry at the peak of his health and productivity. If I end up losing this season, I can probably point to that trade as one of the big reasons why. That and drafting Wiggins/Ingram and neither making the jump in productivity that I bet on. The fact though that I'm still in striking distance of winning with just a week left means my overall strategy wasn't bad.

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20-20-20 vision...

Post by C-Fan » 03 Apr 2019 07:59

In crazy stats news, Westbrook put up a 20-21-20 game against the Lakers last night. That's fucking crazy. It's only the second 20-20-20 game in NBA history, after Wilt did it back in the 60s. I feel like I've gotten pretty jaded with gaudy stats in the past few years, but that one stood out.

In fantasy news, I've closed the gap with Tu with a week left. I'm not celebrating yet though since Embiid is coming back for his team while Giannis may miss some games, especially if they have the 1 seed locked up. It's crazy and stupid to think I may do a move like drop Giannis for a no-name scrub like Alex Caruso, but I could see it happening during this silly season.

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Freak vs. Process

Post by C-Fan » 05 Apr 2019 07:16

I watched the second half of Bucks-Sixers last night and was not disappointed. Felt like Giannis and Embiid were trying to one up each other every time they came down the court, which was super entertaining. Also felt like Redick couldn't miss on his leaning off balance shots, which was neat to see. Giannis really seemed unstoppable. In the open court he's so fast and strong I don't know how you stop him. And even when he doesn't have a running start and you get a double team on him, his arms/hands are so big he can just reach around people and drop off these incredible bounce passes to wide open teammates. I've heard people compare him to peak Shaq, where he can just dunk on people from a stand still. Really though, I can't think of anybody I've seen who plays anything like him.

The game was also fun as a microcosm of the Fantasy finals, since the best players on our teams were facing off and both playing well. Giannis finished with a 45/13/6 and 5 blocks, and Embiid with a 34/13/13 line. Crazy lines from both. I also wouldn't be surprised to see both players sit 1-2 of their remaining games since the playoff seeds seem relatively baked in now. If word gets out that Giannis sits the final game or two of the season I'm going to drop him for any scrubby replacement. It'll feel weird to end the season without the players who brought me to the finals, but that's the nature of the system and how it's set up.

I've pulled into a small lead in the final stretch, with only 5 nights of games left. Helping me is the fact that Tu's team is pretty banged up or resting (Booker out for the season, Embiid may rest for part of his remaining 3 games, Conley may be done for the season). Hurting me is the fact that Giannis may rest some too. I'm cautiously optimistic about my chances though, so hopefully if I stay on top of the injury reports and use the waiver strategically I can protect my lead and win the season.

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2 days left!

Post by C-Fan » 08 Apr 2019 08:45

Only 2 nights of games left in the NBA regular season. A few thoughts.

:arrow: Fantasy wise I have a decent (150 points) lead going into the last two nights. Provided I monitor the injury reports and swap players out accordingly, I should be able to protect the lead on the way to a championship. While fantasy is totally stupid, if I'm going to invest this level of time and effort to it I at least want to win.

:arrow: In the East the following 6 teams have clinched playoff spots: Bucks, Raptors, Sixers, Celtics, Pacers, and Nets. I'm guessing the Magic will also make it. Feels like a very top heavy conference, and now that the Celtics (Tatum/Smart) and Pacers (Oladipo/Turner) are banged up, I expect the East Finals will be some combo of Bucks/Raps/Sixers.

:arrow: The West teams are set, with the Clippers making the cut and the Kings missing it. While I expect the Warriors to crush everybody, the other spots from 2-6 are really strong and even the Spurs and Clips could be surprises.

:arrow: My preseason picks for MVP (Giannis), ROY (Luka), and champion (Warriors) all feel good to me still.

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First weekend of playoffs in the books!

Post by C-Fan » 15 Apr 2019 13:33

:arrow: I won my Fantasy league. Silly season was challenging and I'll likely lobby we eliminate it next time we do this, but I did a good job managing my way through it. I dropped big name players when I saw or suspected tanking from their teams, and I was also good about adding players from teams that had incentive to play them. Like I've said in the past; fantasy NBA is definitely stupid but I still want to win if I'm playing.

:arrow: I watched bits of a few playoff games this weekend. It's definitely fun to see the intensity ramped up so high.

:arrow: The Raptors have had a Game 1 losing curse for ages, going something like 2-14 in their Game 1s as a Franchise. I was certain that'd change in this series, since they held the 2 seed and were playing the Magic. Turns out the curse is real! They'll likely win the series still but that has to be brutal for the Raptors, especially considering they did so much to change the DNA of the team.

:arrow: The Sixers looked bad in their Game 1 loss. Like, they'll probably still win the series, but you have to worry about their chances against the Bucks or Raptors now. Embiid didn't look 100% and the rest of the guys didn't look to rise to the occasion.

:arrow: The Bucks-Pistons series should be ended by Mercy rule. It looks like the Pistons won't have Blake all series, and even with him they'd still probably get swept. Without him? They were trailing by 43 at one point and Giannis was doing free throw line dunks. They should make this a two game sweep instead of making them play out all 4 games...

:arrow: Its looking in the West like we'll see a Warriors-Rockets, or maybe Warriors-Jazz second round series. I expect that will be more competitive than the actual West finals (Warriors-Nuggets or Warriors-Blazers).

:arrow: It was fun seeing Kanter have an epic revenge game against his former team. It was just a couple seasons ago when the Thunder coach was infamously caught on camera saying "can't play Kanter." So for Kanter to hang 20/18 against them in a win was pretty sweet.

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Lillard is cold

Post by C-Fan » 24 Apr 2019 07:12

Stayed up late last night to watch the Blazers-Thunder game 5. Was hoping for a good showdown between Lillard and Westbrook and was not disappointed. Blazers were down 15 in the 4th and clawed their way back to a tie game with 15 seconds left. Then Lillard hit maybe the best buzzer beater I've ever seen in my life:



1. He got 50 points with that shot.
2. He's 37 feet away from the hoop, and he's not heaving it...he's shooting it.
3. Everybody knew he was going to shoot it, but even Paul George didn't expect him to shoot it from the parking lot.
4. Game winner, but also SERIES winner. He won the series with a buzzer beater.

Just fucking amazing. This is why I watch the NBA.

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Re: 2018-2019 NBA season

Post by Tjuggles » 01 May 2019 01:33

Holy smokes that was intense!
TJ Boutorwick

"You can do anything" -Greg Nelson

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ANOTHER series winning buzzer beater!

Post by C-Fan » 13 May 2019 08:06

Yeah, up until this weekend I would have bet that would be the best moment of this year's playoffs hands down. And it still might be.
C-Fan wrote:
24 Apr 2019 07:12
Then Lillard hit maybe the best buzzer beater I've ever seen in my life:

4. Game winner, but also SERIES winner. He won the series with a buzzer beater.

...but I watched the last 5 minutes of Raptors-Sixers Game 7 and saw Kawhi win THIS series with a buzzer beater:



Obviously very different from Lillard's, but super impressive in its own ways. Lillard's was impressive for how controlled it was, how he sized up the situation, made a difficult but controlled move, and NAILED the shot. Kawhi's was a lot more desperate and felt a lot luckier, but in some ways was equally impressive.

So yeah, now the conference Finals are set for both East and West. Feels weird to analyze them without doing post-mortems of the Celtics, Rockets, and Sixers, considering the tenuous off-season position those teams now find themselves in. But that's another post.

For the Western finals we have the Warriors hosting the Blazers. Durant may come back at some point this series, and Cousins might too. Depending if/when they do, that'd impact my prediction for the series. No matter what though I can't see the Blazers winning. Has to be Warriors in 5 or 6.

For the Eastern finals we have Bucks hosting Raptors. I honestly don't know what to expect, but I'm super excited to see Kawhi vs. Giannis for as many games as possible.

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Drafty in here...

Post by C-Fan » 15 May 2019 11:33

Draft order for next year was determined last night. This was the first year with "flattened" odds, meant to discourage tanking teams from tanking super hard. Sure enough, the teams that tanked hardest this season (Suns, Bulls, Hawks, Cavs) did not reap good picks, and some bad-but-not-awful teams jumped up relative to their projected pick slots. In no particular order, here are some takeaways from the draft order being determined:

:arrow: The Pelicans had a 6% chance to win the top spot, and they did. This upcoming draft is universally considered to have one transcendental talent at the top (Zion), so the difference between getting the top pick and the second pick is a huge drop. Ironically enough, the last time I could remember a drop as dramatic from 1 to 2 in the lottery was 7 years ago when Anthony Davis was the top pick, and Michael Kidd Gilchrist went number 2. The reason its ironic is that the Pelicans won that draft as well. It remains to be seen if this affects Davis' trade request, but no matter how you slice it this was the best possible outcome for the Pelicans. Either Davis stays and you are building around a core of Davis, Jrue Holiday, and Zion...or you trade Davis for assets and use the cap space to try and sign a free agent to play with Zion and Jrue.

:arrow: Last year the Hawks traded down from the #3 pick, effectively swapping Luka Doncic for Trae Young and a lottery pick this year. Had the pick been #1 the Hawks clearly win the trade. Had the pick been top 3-4 that's still a decent trade. Instead, the Hawks netted the #10 pick this year. So it'll shake out as Luka for Trae plus this year's #10 pick. That's a win for the Mavs, but I can't fault the Hawks for gambling.

:arrow: The Lakers jumped to #4, when they were projected with the 11th best odds. While they definitely should be happier with the #4 pick, a lot of analysts see this draft as having a clear #1 (Zion), then 2 players a tier below (Reddish and Morant), and then everybody else. So having the #4 pick in a 3 player draft isn't great, but still better than the #11 pick.

:arrow: It almost feels like the Hawks had the worst luck, since they had 2 picks with good odds, but came away with the #8 and #10 picks. At least they have a fun young core.

I'll be curious to see what trade happen on draft night or before, especially looking at the Lakers and Pelicans. In the meantime, I'm stoked to watch Kawhi vs. Giannis tonight.

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