Mining for fantasy gold on tanking NBA teams


When I was 11, I shook hands with Wes Unseld in the Capital Centre parking lot. I’ll never forget the way his superhuman hand enveloped my entire arm.

In a way, that moment remains the peak of my real-life NBA fandom. Such is the lot of a lifelong Bullets/Wizards fan. Following the Bullets/Wizards prepared me to encounter life with a sense of grim, gritty realism.

And as you may have heard, this year’s edition of the Washington Wizards has been particularly — almost spectacularly — painful to follow.

The silver lining? Rooting for a perennial also-ran franchise keeps me focused on fantasy basketball.

Rooting for a moribund NBA team helps you in fantasy in three nike nfl jerseys from china

One: You learn to pay more attention to the league as a whole.

Two: You learn to create your own basketball success stories.

Three: You learn that bad NBA teams beget in-season fantasy opportunity.10

In fantasy, it always pays to focus on the lower rungs of the NBA standings.

I think of the universe of fantasy basketball as a miniature stock market. Players present portfolios of statistics that rise and fall. If you acquire the services of enough players who outproduce what it took to acquire them (be it auction money or a draft pick), you put yourself in a position to win.

On draft night, we look to build around sure things: stable investments we can count on. That equals star players from successful franchises.

Successful NBA teams mint players who tend to set the market and provide statistical stability.

Think Durant and Curry in Golden State. Antetokounmpo in Milwaukee. Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard in Toronto. These players hail from the Boardwalks and Park Places of fantasy hoops. They’re pricey to roster but yield a dependable return on your imaginary official nike nfl jerseys

Good teams run rock-solid rotations. Their players enter the season with clearly defined roles. By the time the NBA season gets good and underway, say a quarter of the way in (where we are now), a good team’s fantasy production is locked in (barring injury, of course).

Raptors have a superstar ready to duel with best in Leonard


So yes, this was only November, and yes, the Raptors should not have put themselves in the position they wound up in, the result — a 131-128 victory at Scotiabank Arena against a Golden State Warriors team that was admittedly without Stephen Curry and Draymond Green — was a step in the direction this team needs to take if it wants to face the Warriors again in June.

“I think that when a team gets kind of dragged into overtime like that … a lot of times, that team will feel sorry for themselves, and not come out and play,” nfl nike jerseys cheap china Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said. “We didn’t [do that]. I was proud of them for that, to take the emotional punch there in the gut, and take a few deep breaths there at the end of the game and go back out there and play the overtime the way they did.”9

The win pushed the Raptors to an NBA-best 19-4 this season and improved their current winning streak to a season-best seven games. But it also exposed all of the flaws that have so many questioning whether Toronto — despite its record — truly is the favorite to get out of the East.

Kyle Lowry, one of the main culprits in those collapses of the past, didn’t allow himself to shoot a wide-open 3-pointer with three minutes to go, and was a dismal 4-for-14 on the night. Toronto, in general, felt like a team that was struggling to breathe as it attempted to move to heights it hadn’t reached before.

But this time, the Raptors had a pair of players, in Leonard and Green, who have been in every possible situation on a basketball court before. They’ve played in the crucible that is the NBA Finals — and came out the other side with rings on their nike nfl jerseys from china

In many ways, their former team, the San Antonio Spurs, is everything these Raptors haven’t been. For two decades, San Antonio has been basketball’s version of the New England Patriots — a team that, no matter who is playing or what is happening, can be expected to find a way to win.

The Raptors have been a team longing for precisely that. And, Thursday night, they began to see what the benefits of injecting some of that Spurs culture into this franchise’s veins can provide.

Leonard was, of course, sensational, putting up 37 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists while going 14-for-24 from the floor. It was his best, most complete performance in a Raptor uniform, as he and Durant put on what arguably was the show of the season thus far.

Vince Carter: Reaching 25,000 career points ‘a special moment’


Hawks wingman Vince Carter became the 22nd player in NBA history to score 25,000 points, reaching the milestone Wednesday night in Atlanta’s 124-108 loss to the Toronto Raptors.

“It was a great moment for me,” said Carter, who at 41 is playing in his 21st season. “Being around this long, you just want to play and accomplish as many things as you can. But 25K is 25K.”cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

Against a Raptors team for whom he played his first six NBA seasons, Carter crossed the 25,000-point threshold when he slammed home a pass from rookie Kevin Huerter off an offensive rebound in the final second of his 1,423rd career NBA game.

“Everyone in the NBA, we’re all tipping our hats to him because 25,000 is a lot of points,” Toronto point guard Kyle Lowry said. “He’s such a great guy, great individual, great teammate, great person. He’s earned it, deserved it. I think everyone’s really happy for him. He earned it tonight, and to get it on a two-handed dunk like that is pretty cool.”

Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce, well aware that Carter was closing in on the milestone, subbed Carter back into the game in the closing minutes of the blowout.10

“I didn’t want to do that, but I had to do it,” Pierce said. “We had to keep Vince out there to get that milestone, and I feel a lot better for doing it. What a night for Vince, what a night for the NBA. To see a guy with 21 years in the NBA is a long time; 25,000 points is a lot of points.”

With teammates determined to help him to reach the milestone, Carter found himself the focal point of the offense in the final minutes. Carter attempted a shot in six of the Hawks’ final seven possessions, converting a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws in addition to the last-second dunk. After the game, he quipped that it had been some time since he had been the primary option on nike jerseys cheap china

As the crowd at State Farm Arena roared, an emotional Carter gripped the ball after it passed through the rim and closed his eyes. After the final buzzer, Carter was presented with the game ball, after which he walked to center court and waved to the Atlanta crowd.

“I still love it. I still love playing,” Carter said. “I was willing to do whatever it took to stick around. All of the things I have to do to play a game, to be prepared, to get prepared for the season, I’m willing to do. I’m asked constantly, ‘What’s the secret? What are you doing?’ Well, the secret is I’m willing to do whatever it takes.”

OKC rookie Hamidou Diallo has scary fall but avoids serious leg injury


Despite leaving the floor on a stretcher against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, Oklahoma City Thunder rookie Hamidou Diallo did not suffer any kind of serious leg injury, a team spokesperson said.

The initial fear was a severe injury to his left leg, possibly a break, but X-rays done at the arena were negative. After further evaluation Thursday, the team reported Diallo has a left ankle sprain and will be re-evaluated in 7-10 days.

“I was hoping, praying it was nothing too serious, that it wasn’t his knee,” George said. “I think we can all say it’s the best news that it was his ankle and it was a sprain.“cheap official nike nfl jerseys

Diallo exited the locker room with a boot on his left foot and using crutches, but he was in good spirits after getting what was pretty surprising news considering how scary the play looked.9

Early in the fourth quarter, Diallo jumped for a rebound in transition. After landing, Warriors forward Jonas Jerebko landed awkwardly on Diallo’s legs. Diallo immediately began rolling on the floor in pain and moved himself off the court and under the basket. Teammates had their heads in their hands and appeared visibly shaken by the injury.

“When guys go down, we’re a family here and we have to have our brother’s back, and that’s what we’re going to do,” Thunder guard Russell Westbrook nike jerseys cheap china

After Diallo’s injury, the Thunder rallied and blew the game open against the Warriors with a 36-16 fourth quarter en route to a dominant 123-95 win. Dennis Schroder led the way with 32 points on 12-of-19 shooting, with George adding 25 points and Westbrook producing his first triple-double of the season (11 points, 11 rebounds, 13 assists).

Diallo, a second-round pick, has been a bright spot for the Thunder, securing a steady spot in the rotation as a defensive spark plug. He started in place of Terrance Ferguson on Monday against the Sacramento Kings and scored 18 points on 7-of-7 shooting in a loss.

The Thunder have been hit with a wave of injuries in their backcourt recently. After getting Westbrook back from an ankle sprain, guard Alex Abrines has missed the past three games with an illness, and Ferguson exited in the first half against the Warriors and did not return because of a left ankle sprain.

Jimmy Butler’s last-second 3 lifts Sixers in OT despite Kemba Walker’s 60 points


“As much as I wanted the shot to go in to win the game, I also wanted it to go in because I didn’t want Kemba to give me 70,” Butler said with a laugh. “I wanted it to stop at 60.”

Walker’s 60 points were a career high and topped Klay Thompson’s 52 for Golden State against Chicago on Oct. 29 for most in the league this season.

And after only scoring seven points in his last game, a loss at Cleveland on Tuesday, Walker set an all-time NBA record by increasing his total by 53 points from game to game.

But the two-time All-Star was noticeably upset after the game about the team’s third loss this season to the 76ers, two of which have come in jerseys nfl cheap

“I’m still proud, that’s an unbelievable thing to do right there,” Walker said of scoring 60 points. “I’m just mad that we lost. I’m a competitor. It would have been even better with a win.”

Philadelphia coach Brett Brown called Walker’s effort “amazing and incredible.”10

“We tried double-teaming him, we tried hard-hedging him,” Brown said. “The reality of it is, is that you have Joel (Embiid) and Jimmy in that situation a lot and he is doing that against two all-league defensive players. He is just hard to guard and he is really unique. … Sixty points in an NBA game against a pretty good defensive team is a remarkable effort.”

Walker had 37 and 30 points in his previous two games against the 76ers, but only shot a combined 33 percent.

This time he was making everything, including banking in a 3-pointer to give the Hornets the lead with 44 seconds left in regulation after they had trailed by 17 earlier in the game. Walker held up his palms and shrugged his shoulders after the ball went in, similar to that famous gesture by Hornets owner Michael Jordan many years ago with the Bulls.

Walker finished 21 of 34 from the field and had six 3-pointers. He made all 12 foul shots and had seven rebounds and four nike nfl jerseys from china

But while Walker had the big numbers, Butler made the big plays.

Along with his game-winner, he also blocked Walker’s shot on a drive with 15 seconds left and then saved the ball from going out of bou

Pistons stun Raptors after Dwane Casey’s warm welcome back to Toronto


A video tribute to fired coach Dwane Casey on his return to Toronto earned a standing ovation from Raptors fans Wednesday night — then Casey’s Detroit Pistons went on to come back and stun his former team with a buzzer-beater.

When Pistons swingman Reggie Bullock hit a floater as time ran out to secure a 106-104 win, Casey thrust his arms in the air and jumped onto the court. The coach was grabbed and hugged and slapped by his nike jerseys cheap china

“They were pulling for me,” Casey said. “I appreciate that tremendously. It’s a players league. It’s about the players — it’s not about coaching. But again, it’s about human beings. And those human beings, they felt for me. Telling me — I was trying to deflect it as much as they could, but you know, Blake [Griffin] was the first one. He said, ‘This is a great win for you, Coach.’ And that means something, when your star player comes to you and tells you that, and other players join in.”9

The Pistons had come from 19 points down to win their third game in their past four outings.

“I felt good for the players because they kept scrapping, and that’s who we are,” Casey said.

Casey, 61, was fired by Toronto just days after the Raptors were ousted from the playoffs by the Cleveland Cavaliers for the third consecutive jerseys nfl cheap

After leading Toronto to a team-record 59 wins and the top seed in the Eastern Conference last season, Casey also was named the NBA’s Coach of the Year — after his firing.

Casey said that while he did not see the video tribute — Griffin told him about it — he appreciated the gesture.

Fantasy NBA Daily Notes: C’s and Rockets continue to struggle on offense


“Jimmy Buckets” is headed to South Philly while “Jimmy” Harden might just have broken Houston out of its sustained funk in what was yet another wild weekend in the nike nfl jerseys from china

Moniker aside, Jimmy Butler’s shift to the Philadelphia 76ers signals an important series of fluctuations in fantasy value, as ESPN’s Andre Snellings deftly details. For some context to the magnitude of the move, Butler was 11th in the league last season in offensive win shares — an estimate of wins added by a player on offense — and 12th in offensive box plus-minus, an estimate of the offensive points per 100 possessions a player contributed above a league-average player translated to an average team.

As a Sixers fan, I can confidently say this is the team’s most significant trade acquisition since Moses Malone in September of 1982 (no offense to Dikembe Mutombo). Eventually going “fo, fo, fo” would be great.10

Robert Covington, dealt to the Timberwolves for Butler along with Dario Saric, was the only player last season to make at least 200 3-pointers, block 70 shots and swipe 130 steals. Somehow, Covington is available in the majority of ESPN leagues as of Monday morning and is the premier endorsement in this week’s edition of free-agent finds.

Saric, meanwhile, produced just the fourth season in NBA history for a player 24-or-younger to average at least 14 PPG and six RPG while making 39 percent of at least five 3-point attempts per game in 2017-18. Essentially, precedent reveals the profile of a solid stretch nike jerseys cheap china

Both the real and fantasy results from this blockbuster trade should prove riveting to watch unfold. It will be comparably intriguing to watching the Houston Rockets climb from a glaringly sluggish start to the season. After all, they rank just 23rd in offensive rating, and on Sunday, they broke a four-game snap of scoring fewer than 100 points. Houston also delivered its first double-digit win this season (incredible for a team that led the league in net rating last season).

James Harden scored 40 points on 20 shots last night, while Chris Paul, apparently dealing with right elbow tendinitis, scored 26 points on 13 shots in an encouragingly efficient outing. Finally netting some momentum, the status of Clint Capela, which I discuss in the injury section below, will prove important for Houston’s success in the coming games.

Fantasy hoops roto rankings: Kyle Lowry reaching new heights


Anyone who has played fantasy basketball during the past decade knows Kyle Lowry and knows him well. They’ve seen him develop from a defensive-minded player without a jump shot in his early days to the well-rounded scorer and playmaker that he is now.

Still, it’s safe to say none of us have seen this Kyle Lowry, the 32-year-old version who in his 13th NBA season is playing the best ball of his lengthy nfl nike jerseys free shipping

He enters Week 5 of the fantasy basketball season as the NBA’s leader in assists with 11.0 per game while maintaining a healthy 17.2 PPG scoring average. He also is shooting 49.7 percent, averaging 2.5 3-pointers per game and chipping in defensively as well with 1.5 steals a game.

How much have people taken notice in fantasy leagues?9

Let’s put it this way — this week in one of my leagues, I offered Ben Simmons for Lowry in a trade with fellow league manager who knows his stuff. Two hours later, the trade was rejected and there was a counter offer. Simmons wasn’t enough. He wanted Giannis Antetokounmpo.

I wasn’t willing to go that far, but it’s safe to say that Lowry’s stock is on the rise. I’ve bumped him up to No. 11 this week, just ahead of Damian Lillard, who is having a terrific start to the season as well.

Other notables working their way up in the rankings this week include Lowry’s former teammate, DeMar DeRozan (22), as well as Kyrie Irving (31), Zach LaVine (37), Trae Young (47), Enes Kanter (50), Lonzo Ball (65), Serge Ibaka (66), Buddy Hield (76), Lauri Markkanen (85) and Brook Lopez (88).cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

Some of these are overdue adjustments — such as Hield, Kanter and Ibaka, who were too low in previous rankings — but some are for other reasons.

Fantasy NBA Daily Notes: Don’t sleep on Raptors and Bucks


For all the talk of the power imbalance between conferences in the NBA, this past weekend of action confirmed two of the league’s truly elite teams in both real and fantasy terms reside in the Eastern Conference.

With no offense [Editor’s note: pun intended?] to Boston and their top-ranked defense, ranking 27th in offensive rating isn’t exactly favorable for fantasy purposes. cheap nfl nike jerseys from china Instead, I’m talking about the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors, two Eastern powerhouses who have a combined record of 17-2 and rank third and fourth, respectively, in offensive efficiency.

Even with Kawhi Leonard missing Sunday night’s game at the Staples Center with a sore foot, the Raptors drubbed LeBron James’ Lakers. The Lakers trailed by as many as 31 points in the first quarter, becoming the first team in the past 20 seasons to trail by at least 30 in the first quarter at home. Kyle Lowry likely could have tried to chase Scott Skiles’ 30-assist opus from 1990, given he had a career-high 12 dimes at the half against the Lakers, but settled for 15 in the convincing win.

The Bucks trounced the otherwise surging Kings on Sunday afternoon via scoring 144 points, their most in a non-overtime game since 1979 against the Spurs. Giannis Antetokounmpo produced his 11th career triple-double in the victory — and his first accomplished within three quarters — snapping the Kings’ five-game winning streak.9

We already knew Lowry and Antetokounmpo were impact fantasy contributors, but how about finding affordable paths to shares of these elite rosters?

For the Raptors, we find Serge Ibaka surging statistically as if he were a young member of the Thunder again. Ibaka delivered a career-high 34 points (15-17 FG) against the Lakers and started the game by hitting his first 14 shots from the field — the most consecutive field goals made to begin a game since Shaquille O’Neal made his first 14 back in February of 2006 against the SuperSonics, per cheap jerseys nike

Ibaka joins Anthony Davis, Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns as the only players averaging at least 18 PPG and 1.4 BPG this season and yet is available as a fantasy free agent in nearly half of ESPN leagues.

If Ibaka is already scooped up in your league, how about Pascal Siakam? The defensive-minded forward earned an endorsement in my recent waiver wire update thanks to averaging 1.7 combined blocks and steals while producing solid rebounding results and efficient scoring production. Siakam has averaged a rewarding 33.1 MPG the past five games, all starts, and merits to be rostered in more than 12 percent of ESPN leagues.

Fantasy hoops roto rankings: Wendell Carter Jr. among bigs taking flight


What his four points against Cleveland Thursday and seven points two nights later against Utah reinforced, however, is that Jokic shouldn’t be ranked as high as a player like Joel Embiid who is just as versatile and averaging 20.7 shots a game compared to Jokic’s nike jerseys for cheap

In a week with minimal movement in the top 15, this is one of the notable changes, as Embiid moves up to No. 7, Russell Westbrook comes in at No. 8 and Jokic slides a couple spots to No. 9.

Take away Jokic’s offensive struggles, and it’s difficult to find too many other big men who under-performed the past week. In fact, most shined.8

Karl-Anthony Towns (10) recorded three double-doubles since last Monday and put his early-season struggles squarely in the rear-view mirror, raining down 13 3-pointers and making major contributions on defense with six steals and nine blocks during the past five games.

Rudy Gobert (14) showed his usual strengths as one of the league’s most efficient players, rebounders and shot-blockers.

And then things got interesting, as Nikola Vucevic (19), Marc Gasol (27) and prized Chicago rookie Wendell Carter Jr. (55) each jumped up considerably with eye-opening numbers and tremendous consistency.

Vucevic is more of a double-double threat than Gasol at this stage because Gasol doesn’t pull down the rebounds he once did, but Gasol takes and makes more 3s. Both rack up a lot of assists. Vucevic gets more blocks. Gasol gets more steals; in fact the Grizzlies’ center has averaged 2.8 SPG during his past five contests!cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

The week kind of belonged to Carter, though, if we’re being honest. On the waiver wire in many leagues when last week started, Carter stepped in to play more minutes than usual with Bobby Portis out and showed the poise of a five-year vet. In four games, Carter averaged 17.0 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 4.0 APG, 2.0 BPG, 1.8 SPG while going 16-of-18 from the free throw line.