Day 81 – Kevin Durant Puts the Free in Free Throw
Line of the Night: I’m not sure if that title is non-obvious enough, but when Kevin Durant scores 21 of his career high 52 points from the line (a perfect of 21-21 from the line mind you), I have to figure out some way to get it in the title. I mean, that’ll probably win you the FT% category right there, and even if your league includes FTM you just added 21 of those too. Durant also had 5 threes, 9 rebounds, and 2 steals (3.13 WARP), but notably absent were Assists… he had just 1. When I saw him with the Line of the Night, I immediately thought: He is like the perfect Small Ball SF with his Points, FT%, Threes, Steals, and Assists… but in the past 2 weeks, he’s only averaging 3.3 assists (compared to 4.2 on the year). So, he’s now just the perfect Small Ball SF who doesn’t pass as much as you want him to. Anyway, the point of that sentence was just to clarify my position that if you select Kevin Durant with your #1 overall pick next season, don’t try to build a Big Ball team around him just because he has a really high FG%, a lot of Rebounds, and some pretty good blocks. You can do it if you want, but I think you’re better off using him as a Small Ball player with the added bonus of keeping you competitive in FG% and Rebounds (his 1.3 blocks per game is good, but not enough to keep you competitive in Blocks). Basketball Monster will actually display the weights for each category, and you’ll see that he helps most in Points, FT%, FG%, Steals, 3s, and Blocks (in that order). That leaves Assists, where he’s still slightly positive, and Turnovers, where he will hurt you a lot (but if you have a Small Ball team, then that doesn’t matter). Don’t be surprised if you see this whole Kevin Durant rant (see what I did there?) in our 2013-14 Draft Guide later this year…
Honorable Mentions: Overshadowed by Durant’s monster game was a big one for Paul George with 31 points, 7 threes, 6 rebounds, and 5 steals (3.00 WARP).
Jrue Holiday came close to getting himself another LotN, and on many other nights, he probably would have had it with his 33 points, 5 rebounds, 14 assists, and 3 steals (2.39 WARP). Holiday’s teammate, and potential Sleeper of the Year, Thaddeus Young continued his breakout season with 27 points, 13-19 from the field, 14 rebounds, and 3 steals (2.04 WARP). Young was drafted at 92 on average in Yahoo leagues, and now sits at #43 for the season, and I guess I can mention that we did have him on our sleeper list just a few short months ago (yes, there were probably just as many misses on there as hits – it’s not like we have a time machine or something).
I guess I was a bit premature in throwing the SotY nominee out there for Young when we have an even better candidate in Kemba Walker. After his 25 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals (1.82 WARP) last night, Walker is up to #30 after being drafted an average of 104. I’ll be the first to admit I had completely given up on Kemba even after just 1 year. If you read this blog or our fantasy basketball strategy guide, you’ll know that we are generally biased against rookies (especially in 1-year non-keeper leagues). But with the guys that have been coming in recently, I am definitely rethinking my stance, and with Walker’s come-up this year I’m trying to figure out if I need to craft a new strategy for second year players as well (we all know there’s the 3rd Year Bump to look for, but I guess Walker just decided to take that in his second season).
Ty Lawson continues a frustratingly inconsistent season with 29 points, on some very nice 11-16 from the field shooting, including 4 threes, 6 assists, and 2 steals (1.64 WARP). He’s ranked #105 for year, so he’s got positive value, but it definitely comes in fits and starts and with a fair share of bad games. He’s going to be a hard one to project next year (thankfully, we have automated ways of generating projections based on historical data).
Waiver Wire Line of the Night: Vince Carter (48% owned) wins the WWLotN with his Overtime aided 29 points, 4 threes, and 2 steals (2.16 WARP), and he’s now ranked #82 on the season (right behind Kawhi Leonard – see below), and 53 over the last 2 weeks. Oh my god, I’m all up in his jock. Like, so much you don’t even know it guys. Like, from the way I just stated facts that are factual and contain no opinion whatsoever, you can tell how much I am totally in love with Vince Carter. Please take my statement of purely factual facts as a ringing endorsement to rush out right now and pick up the wildly inconsistent, career-numbingly-lazy, persistenly crappy shooting, only good for Rebounding because he’s a Shooting Guard, Vince Carter. I mean, he’s only one spot behind Kawhi Leonard, who we wholeheartedly with all of our hearts (all three of them beating in unison like when women live together and their cycles sync up) at every chance we get whenever people leave comments about him, so Vince Carter must be the next coming of the Sleeper. In reality, Vince Carter is a very good pick up for a Roto team who more likely absorb his 6 point to 23 point swings and his 1-7 shooting followed by 10-17 shooting… But if you want Rebounds from the SG spot, VC will actually deliver that consistently.
Also, is anyone else seeing those Burger King chicken nuggets ads in the side bar (especially in the Player Rater)? Making me so hungry…
Pick Up Lines: Can people start picking up Carlos Delfino (22% owned) so we can stop having to put him in the Pick Up Lines? His 17 points, 3 threes, 5 assists, and 2 steals (1.71 WARP) is very nice. He’s kind of like an even more bi-polar version of Vince Carter. It’s like one day he’s fighting with his dad because he can’t find his wedding tape, and the next day he’s dancing with Jennifer Lawrence. Maybe instead of Another Fine Roto Player we can call them the Silver Linings Playbook Players. It’ll be an inside joke. Just inside fantasy basketball. Just inside people who read this blog. And have seen that movie. And don’t think it’s the stupidest thing they’ve ever heard. So, that pretty much excludes everyone including me.
Tony Allen (33% owned) may only be #165 on the year, but after his 14 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 blocks (1.58 WARP), he’s up to #65 over the last 2 weeks. And he’s been doing it with decent shooting, some good rebounding (especially for a SG), and of course the steals (but not 5 steals a game like it usually takes for him to break the Top 100). Small Ball back up? Sure.
Kevin Seraphin (19% owned) has had a couple good stretches this season, and it looks like he might be in another one, so if you’re one of those people with a streaming spot and daily changes and listens to everything we say like you’re sitting in church on a Sunday morning and you think there’s disciples named Nels, Patrick, and Erik (or just Nels in this case), then behold Seraphin’s 18 points, just clearing below the 70% fluke cutoff with 7-11 from the field, 4-4 from the line, 7 rebounds, and 2 steals (1.37 WARP). For the near term, he looks to be good for double-digit points, okay FG%, some rebounds (though a bit low for a true PF), and a block.
Ed Davis (35% owned) continues to be the stronger option in the battle of the Raptors Front Court Backups. In an overtime aided 42 minutes, Davis had 18 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 blocks (1.28 WARP). Amir Johnson is still rated higher on the season, but has fallen below Davis over the last 2 weeks.
Tiago Splitter (25% owned) is higher than both Johnson and Davis over the last 2 weeks, though, and had his 6th straight Positive WARP game with 19 points, 8-10 from the field, and 9 rebounds (1.11 WARP). Technically we should not count that because the 8-10 is pretty fluky, and since he was 5-6 (83%) in his last game, that one doesn’t count either… I mean, the guy is shooting 61% over his last 7 games, so obviously that’s not a maintainable percentage, but you know what? I say roll with it while he’s going there. Of course, aside from that FG% and some decent rebounding and his recently improved scoring, you’ll be lucky to get a block and/or a steal per game from him.
Biggest Loser: Kris Humphries gets excused because he’s only 55% owned and he’s still working his way back from injury and only played 6 minutes to get his 1 point and 2 rebounds (-0.89 WARP). I doubt any of the teams that have him are starting him… but his per 36 minutes numbers are 6 points and 12 rebounds… which seems about right for K-Hump.
Louis Williams also gets a pass because he played only 9 minutes before spraining his right knee and had to be rolled off the court in a wheelchair. Sounds pretty bad. Hopefully if you own him, you’ve managed to make it through all my ridiculous rants (more to come!) or else you’ve checked your team and noticed that he’s injured, because it sounds like you’ll probably want him out of the lineup for next week.
So now we get to our real Biggest Loser… A guy I have been hanging on to solely for his Blocks, but if JaVale McGee is only going to get 1 block to go with his 6 points (2-7 from the field) and 3 rebounds (-0.71 WARP), I could probably get that just by picking the tallest guy from the park down the street. Evidently George Karl wants McGee to be more like Tim Duncan, and I believe Eric Freeman sums it up nicely saying:
Oh, you like Tim Duncan? One of the most dependable and effective players in NBA history? Cool, I’m sure any player would have an easy time being like that.
I mean, that’s like telling DeMar DeRozan that you want him to be more like Kobe Bryant, or telling Shaun Livingston you want him be more like Magic Johnson. (Also, Razvan: please note the headline of that article: George Karl wants JaVale McGee to be more like Tim Duncan. That seems pretty nonfat butter on whole wheat bread to me… but I guess it is Yahoo and they have their own SEO standards to deal with. Me, I just say Kevin Durant and hope that we get more hits for people looking for Kevin Durant)
Finally, one more for Razvan: Kawhi Leonard totally blew up the spot last night with 0 points (0-4 from the field), 5 rebounds, and 1 assists (-0.70 WARP). As a Leonard apologist, though, I will point out that it was only his first negative WARP game in the last 2 weeks (7 games). And he only missed 4 shots and didn’t take any free throws, so much damage was he really doing? I mean, come on. Sure, he didn’t give you much of anything, but it was just a little bit of bad shooting and a turnover. Still better than JaVale McGee (and Leonard is still ranked 89 for the year compared to McGee at 159). But really, the point is, sometimes it seems like we’re all up in some player’s jock just because we’re writing about them in daily posts and defending them in comments when people are asking who they should pick up and who they should drop, but keep in mind, these are very limited scope situations. A daily post is just that: One day of fantasy basketball rankings. A single isolated day and if there aren’t many games, it’s easy to blow things out of proportion. I feel like I try to level-set a bit when there aren’t many games, and often times I’ll take out of bunch of shitty free agent picks because they’re not even worth mentioning. And then for the comments, it’s not like someone is saying, should I pick up Kawhi Leonard over everyone else on my free agent list. No, they’re asking is Kawhi Leonard better than this 1 guy, and in those cases, he usually is. I’m often tempted to put a period “.” in my comments and say “There’s a grain of pepper, you’re going to need to add your own grain of salt” because you can’t just read something specific to a given day or a given comment by a specific reader in a specific situation and spread it all over that pre-made pizza crust that is your team like it’s some magic tomato sauce that is going to make your pizza (that’s your team, remember) into some award winning pizza by Bobby Flay. I know you’re just kidding around R-Van (you got a nickname!) and I’m not all that bitter… just got some emails recently from annoying people who don’t take the time to proofread or put any effort or thought into it and then when I reply, they reply 2 seconds later with something like “No i’m not going to do that.” If anyone emailing is reading this, then you are probably not one of those people, because I have gotten a good number of well-thought-out comprehensible emails as well… but it only takes one rotten tomato to make your pizza start tasting funky.
Daily rankings and stats come from the FBC H2H Player Rater (beta version). They are based on the stat Wins Above Replacement Player (WARP) an estimate of the number of wins a player produces per week in H2H leagues over a replacement (waiver wire) player.
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