NBA Power Rankings Week 17 – Trade Deadline Edition

Are you curious what the top echelon teams in the NBA did after the trade deadline last week? Check out this weeks new post, and see if any new teams were able to climb into the top 5!

Basket Brawlers Fantasy Basketball Four-Cast

Your personal fantasy basketball cheat sheet

Hello ball fans and welcome to the February 2nd – 9th Four-Cast! Today you have Steve P., Steve G., and Dray bringing you your four picks to help tune in your fantasy games.

1) FANTASY LINE OF THE WEEK
2) FANTASY SLEEPER PICKUP OF THE WEEK*
*LESS THAN 20% OWNED IN 12 TEAM LEAGUES ON ESPN
3) TOP SELL HIGH CANDIDATES
4) TOP DROP CANDIDATES OF THE WEEK

1) Fantasy Line of the Week

Steve G.’s Pick:
James Harden
43 Pts, 12 Reb, 5 Ast, 6 Stl, 4 Blk 12/22 Fg, 15/15 Ft, 4 threes
02/02/2019 vs. Utah

It doesn’t come as a surprise when Harden eclipses 30, 40 or even 50 points these days, but when you do that and add in 1st team all defensive numbers that’s just ridiculous! If you consider 3 pointers made as a stat category, Harden was 1 block and 1 three shy of a 6 x 5 line on this night. Make sure you tune in next week for another segment of the “James Harden Fantasy Line of the Week”.

Dray’s Pick:
Joel Embiid
37 Pts, 13 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 3 Blk, 14/15 FT, 10/20 Fg, 3 threes

02/05/2019 vs TOR

He’s a mouthpiece and backs it up with games like this. The effort may have come in a lost but I’ll be damned if getting 14/15 FT and 3 3PM with the typical high rebound and block output from a big man doesn’t make you smile.

Steve P.’s Pick:
Myles Turner
17 Pts, 4 Stl, 6 Blk, 3 threes, 7/8Fg

02/07/2019 vs LAC

Harden had another potential line of the year, but for sake of intrigue I feel it’s important to mention Myles Turner’s 10 stock line with 3’s and amazing %’s to boot. Stellar work boy.

2) Fantasy Sleeper Pickup of the Week

Steve G.’s Pick:
Tyler Johnson, Phoenix Suns
8% Owned

Once again, the NBA trade deadline has caused a state of chaos in the fantasy basketball world. With super teams being created all over the league, many player’s fantasy value spontaneously plummet or skyrocket due to these deals. One good thing about the NBA trade deadline is that it usually creates diamonds in the rough which can be found in the fallout of these deals. Tyler Johnson is a prime example of this. With Phoenix having very few reliable backcourt players other than Devin Booker, Johnson should be able to carve out a larger role than he had in Miami which will allow him to hold value in competitive 12 team leagues for the rest of the season.

Dray’s Pick:
Mitchell Robinson, New York Knicks 
4.2% Owned

More trade deadline chaos here, although I would like to make a note that Robinson was coming on beforehand. Robinson is averaging 2.5 Blks over the last 7 days, and now with Deandre Jordan to learn from I think we’ll see the other facets of his game explode. The Knicks are obviously the bottom of the barrel and have a lot of motivation to develop their young guys, so go get this guy while you can.

Steve P.’s Pick:
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LA Clippers)
18.9% Owned


The world is about to be Gorgeous-Alexander’s playground. The Clippers clearly showed their intention to groom their young core with the deadline moves they made, and SGA has a pretty clear path to 28+ minutes per night. When he plays 28 minutes per night – which has happened 22 times – he averages 14-4-4 with 1.5 steals, 0.7 blocks and 0.7 threes. That smells like top 75 value the rest of the way to me.

3) Top Sell High Candidate

Steve G.’s Pick:
Josh Jackson, Phoenix Suns

Josh Jackson has shown flashes of fantasy stud potential in the past, and this time is no different. Just a fleeting moment of brilliance before Devin Booker and T.J. Warren come back from injury and nose dive his usage and minutes. See if you can swing a deal that nets you a steady top 50 player while Jackson is briefly playing like one.

Dray’s Pick:
Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans

Well, he was here last week and he’s here again. Now that we know he’s not moving, the Pelicans will be playing him the league-assigned minimum of 25 minutes, not including the inevitable injury times. Dump this asset while he still holds value, unlike the Pelicans.

Steve P.’s Pick:
Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls

In 8-cat he is the 12th best player over the last week, averaging 30pts and 12 rpg with 3+ threes. He’s really, really, really good, but this level of production is not sustainable over the long run. Add in OPJ, and a weak 3-3-3 playoff schedule, and he makes for a perfect sell high if you can flip him for a consistent Top 35 player.

4) Top Drop Candidate of the Week

Steve G.’s Pick:
Tyreke Evans, Indiana Pacers

The moment Oladipo went down with his knee injury most normal people gasped and began tweeting prayers and well wishes to him. Fantasy basketball fanatics on the other hand, immediately rushed to the waiver wire to grab Tyreke Evans. Since moving into the starting lineup Evans has managed to get injured once, average 6.6 ppg and lose a large majority of his minutes to Corey Joseph. If those aren’t good enough reasons to drop him, I will add one more; the Pacers are the front runners to sign Wesley Matthews.

Dray’s Pick:
Reggie Bullock, LA Lakers

Bullock was looking good this year on a Piston’s team in need of someone at the wing spot, but now that he’s been shipped off to LA he’ll be buried in the depth charts. To be fair he won’t play his first game till tomorrow (Sunday, February 10th), but I don’t like the way it’s looking with Ingram, KCP, LeBron, and Hart. Drop him if he doesn’t perform.

Steve P.’s Pick:
Marvin Bagley, Sacramento Kings

It looked like he was lined up for a strong end to the season, armed with ample playing time and a 4-4-4 playoff schedule. Then the Kings’ Kangzed and disrupted their beautiful chemistry by trading for Harry Barnes? He looks to take significant minutes away from Bagley so the dream of the rookie carrying squads in the playoffs is shattered. Buh. Bye. Bagley.


That’s all we have for this week fantasy fans! Tune in for our power rankings coming up Monday.

AD and Porzingod on the move

Basket Brawlers Fantasy Basketball Four-cast

Your personal fantasy basketball cheat sheet

Welcome to the Basket Brawlers Fantasy Basketball Four-Cast! For the week of January 26th to February 1st (Saturday-Friday), we have yours truly, Rajan Sharma joined by the all knowing Jordan Taylor, and Adam Johal giving your fantasy basketball fix four the week! (Yes that typo was intentional)

1) FANTASY LINE OF THE WEEK
2) FANTASY SLEEPER PICKUP OF THE WEEK*
*LESS THAN 20% OWNED IN 12 TEAM LEAGUES ON ESPN
3) TOP SELL HIGH CANDIDATES
4) TOP DROP CANDIDATES OF THE WEEK

1) Fantasy Line of the Week

Johal’s Pick:
Paul George
43Pts, 7 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl, 10 3PM, 14/23 Fg

02/01/2019 vs MIA

George dropped a staggering 10 3s on Thursday night, further cementing himself as an MVP candidate this season.

Jordan’s Pick:
Paul George
43Pts, 7 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl, 10 3PM, 14/23 Fg

02/01/2019 vs MIA

Ok, so we all know Miami does not have any elite players, let alone elite defenders to stop PG13. But the boy did he go off, it’s like watching KD and westboss back in the OKC glory days. The dynamic duo is clicking on all cylinders.

Raj’s Pick:
Joel Embiid
26Pts, 20 Reb, 5Ast, 2 Stl, 8/24 Fg, 10/12 Fts
01/31/2019 vs GSW

The Sixers trusted The Process on Thursday night, as they came in to Golden State and beat down the defending champs. Embiid was a force down low and had a big time statement game against Boogie in the latter’s home opener.

2) Fantasy Sleeper Pickup of the Week

Johal’s Pick:
Jonathan Isaac (Orlando Magic)
9% Owned
10.3 Pts, 9.7 Reb, 1.3 Ast, 1.3 Stl, 1.7 Blk, 0.7 3PM in the last 7 days

Isaac’s offense is very much a work in progress, but his ability to grab rebounds, steals, and blocks from the small forward spot gives him great value to round out your roster.

Jordan’s Pick:
Malik Beasley, Denver Nuggets 
10.6% Owned
22.3 Pts, 2.0 Reb, 2.0 Ast, 1.0 Stl, 3.5 3PM


Beasley has come out of nowhere this season to be a legit starting 2 guard on the west. Go get yourself this guy if you need 3 and D numbers. Don’t be turned off by Gary Harris and Jamal murray returning from injury cutting into Beasley’s minutes, as he’s proven his spot with coach Malone as the first strong guard already.

Raj’s Pick:
Shabazz Napier (Brooklyn Nets)
9.5% Owned
19.7 Pts, 5.3 Ast, 2.0 Reb, 1.3 Stl, 0.7 Blk, 3.7 3PM in the last 7 days


Napier has been absolutely scorching the stat sheet the last couple weeks! With Dinwiddie out for the next 6 weeks, Napier is the perfect player to help you squeeze in to the playoffs in your fantasy leagues

3) Top Sell High Candidate

Johal’s Pick:
Cedi Osman, Cleveland Cavaliers

Cedi has been on a massive scoring clip of late (24PPG over his last four games) – that being said, his current pace is likely to trail off, so get value for him while you can.

Jordan’s Pick:
Darren Collison – Indiana pacers

Collison is enjoying a career high in assists this season, but don’t be fooled by his gaudy numbers since Oladipo went down with the season ending injury. Indiana is 0-4 since the Oladipo injury. If they can’t right the ship, this teams is on a one way ticket out of the playoffs and well almost surely look at developing their younger talent like Aaron Holiday at the end of the season.

Raj’s Pick:
Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans 

With the Trade deadline approaching and the final destination of Anthony Davis very much unknown (Thanks to Dray and Kroon for their article this week about where AD lands: http://basketbrawlers.ca/2019/01/30/brow-on-the-move/), now might be the best time to cash in on AD. There still remains the very real possibility that he stays with the Pelicans through Thursday’s deadline and sits out the remainder of the year.

4) Top Drop Candidate of the Week

Johal’s Pick:
Kristaps Prozingis, Dallas Mavericks

There was some hope that his move to the Mavs would clear a path for him to play this season, but Mark Cuban put that thought to bed when he told media that The Unicorn would not be active this season.

Jordan’s Pick:
Enes Kanter, New York “I have no idea what I’m doing” Knicks

Knicks suck. Minutes appear to be distributed by a roulette wheel each game. No amount of hard Turkish nipples and kissing the floor logo will make this draft or trade bust worth it. Also Knicks suck.

Raj’s Pick:
Enes Kanter, New York Knicks

With the arrival of DeAndre Jordan in New York, and the rebuild in full swing for the Knicks following this past week’s blockbuster – it should be safe to say that Kanter has no home in New York. Its shocking to see that he is still rostered in 86% of leagues.

Kanter sulks as the Unicorn looks forward to dallas

Brow on the Move

Wow. What a week it has been for the New Orleans Pelicans and Anthony Davis. On Monday, Davis’ agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports told Adrian Wojnarowski that Davis “wants to be traded to a team that allows him a chance to win consistently and compete for a championship.”

Damn Brow, that is cold. The Collective Bargaining Agreement states that neither players nor their agents are allowed to publicly request trades, so the league has followed up quickly with a $50k fine for the big man.

As if that wasn’t enough, Paul went to ESPN and reported that Davis will not be signing an extension this upcoming summer, and there has been leaks already that the Brow won’t be signing long term with anyone other than the Lakers.

Photo credit to Sky Sports https://www.skysports.com/nba/news/12375/11621473/la-lakers-expected-to-push-for-anthony-davis-from-new-orleans-pelicans-before-trade-deadline

The Pelicans have responded respectfully in my opinion, offering up the following statement:

This past weekend, Anthony Davis’ representatives informed us that Anthony does not wish to sign a contract extension with our team and subsequently has requested a trade. Although we are disappointed in this decision, our organization’s top priority is to bring an NBA championship to our city and fans and build our team for long-term success.


Relative to specific talks of a trade, we will do this on our terms and our timeline. One that makes the most sense for our team and it will not be dictated by those outside of our organization. We have also requested the League to strictly enforce the tampering rules associated with this transaction.

https://www.nba.com/pelicans/news/statement-new-orleans-pelicans-1-28-19

So is it Magic, or is it LeBron? Has Magic been looking at this since he arrived? All thoughts that are running rampant through the basketball world, but nothing is for sure yet.

If Davis didn’t land on the golden coast, where else could he go? Paul’s statement outlined he wants to win now, but there are many teams that would welcome his talents, potentially using them to pave their way to the Larry O’Brien.

Houston Rockets

Call me crazy. No other pundit is putting the Rockets in the mix. So why am I? Remember the Jimmy Butler sweepstakes? I do. Somehow the Rockets were in the mix offering up to and including four first round picks , with whatever contracts they had to match salary. If I’m the ghost of Dell Demps, I’m looking to hoover up as many first round picks as possible in an attempt to sell the Pelicans ownership that I can still do my job half decently. And if I can somehow swindle someone like Clint Capela in return, I’m looking pretty good.

New York Knicks

It’s pretty obvious at this point that there is a rift between Knicks brass and the unicorn twin Kristaps Porzingis. It seems like Knicks staff are hell bent on keeping him out for the full season to “protect their investment”, but reports are suggesting that ‘Taps is chomping at the bit to get back on the court. If there is no signs that he is willing to sign an extension with the Knicks immediately, and opt to become a restricted free agent, why not look to capitalize on value return by getting arguably the best big man in the league, and hopefully convince him to stay and sign for the super-duper max.

Photo credit: https://www.nj.com/knicks/2019/01/nba_trade_rumors_knicks_aggressive_in_pursuit_of_p.html

Philadelphia 76ers

An Embiid-Davis front court tandem? I don’t think I need to write any more. Elton Brand’s offer starts with a package of Jimmy Butler (who will be lucky to receive a vets min contract this summer the way he’s going), Markelle Fultz, and whatever draft picks you have remaining. This is a long shot, but you can only imagine how many 76ers fans are salivating over the thought of this happening.

Toronto Raptors

If I’m Masai Ujiri, I’m buttering up the Pelicans front office on a tasty offer starting with a possible All-Star in Pascal Siakim. Siakim has been by far Toronto’s shining star coming out of the Kawhi for Demar trade this summer. Oh what’s that? That was only the appetizer? The main course is Jonas Valanciunas (established starting center), followed by a cheese course of OG Anunoby. We also have a wine cellar that is highlighted by Delon Wright, Fred Van Vleet and Norm Powell. Take your pick New Orleans. This pantry is quite bountiful.

Photo credit: https://www.raptorshq.com/2019/1/29/18202203/nba-trade-rumours-anthony-davis-toronto-raptors

Milwaukee Bucks

As of Tuesday afternoon, it sounds like the Bucks standing offer is anyone except Giannis, which makes zero sense. The Bucks depth and chemistry is what has got the Bucks to first in the East under head coach Budenholzer. But hey, if you combine the wing-spans of the Brow and the Freak, you could reach from one side of the court to half way across Lake Michigan. Sounds pretty freakish if you ask me.

So what do you all think? Sound off in the comments!

NBA Power Rankings – Week 15

Week 15 has been a weird week for me. The teams listed in the top five have yet to change for the third week in a row, but the order has changed a bit based on the few games I’ve watched this week.

I also want to preface this article with this. [spoiler] The Pacers are in fifth out of pure respect this week [/spoiler]. I highly doubt they’ll be around next week, as teams below them right now seem to be surging, but with what happened to Victor Oladipo this week in their game against the Raptors, I felt like it was well deserved. With all that being said, lets dive into the happenings of week 15.

1. Golden State Warriors (35-14)

Week 15 Record:  2-1
Offensive Rating: 115.6 (1st)
Defensive Rating: 109.0 (15th)
Net Rating: +6.5 (2nd)

Technically the Bucks should be here on winning percentage alone (regardless of the Warriors having only one more loss). Strength of schedule compared the Warriors (vs. Lakers, Wizards and Celtics) and Bucks (vs. Mavericks, Hornets, Thunder) are almost carbon copies of each other.

HOWEVER, I put the Warriors in number one based on their game against the Celtics. I’m putting this bluntly, but that doesn’t mean that the Thunder are chumps. Quite the opposite really. Anyways, the Warriors were able to stave off defeat by 4 points, and holding Kyrie to a meager 32 points, 10 assists, 6 rebounds and 2 steals. It really seemed like the Warriors were able to lock down in crunch time, and manage to score 115 on one of the leagues better defensive teams.

Enough of the positive crap now. I loathe the Warriors. The fact that Boogie is back and averaging a cool 13.3ppg and 7.7 rpg for them, is enough to enrage me beyond words. With that being said, kudos Golden State. You’re first overall this week, and you bought your fourth ring. Can we fast forward to the 2019-20 season yet?

2. Milwaukee Bucks (35-13)

Week 15 Record: 2-1
Offensive Rating: 113.1 (4th)
Defensive Rating: 103.7 (1st)
Net Rating: +9.4 (1st)

If the Warriors are 1A in week 15, the Bucks are 1B. As stated previously, the game that it came down to that separated these two were the Warriors vs Celtics and Bucks vs Thunder. The Warriors won, and the Bucks lost.

That should mean sweet fuck all at this point really, but I think it’s common sense right now that the Warriors are really…really getting into the swing of things. The only thing that the Bucks can say that they are better at when compared to the Warriors, is they are defensively arms and legs above the competition right now. With that being said, the difference in offensive rating between the Bucks and Warriors is a cool 2.5 points right now, and they’re doing this with about 1/5 of the star power that the Warriors have.

Is it fair to anoint Giannis as the East heir apparent yet? After being named Eastern Conference All-Star Team Captain this week, he capped a three game week off on Sunday averaging a quiet 32.5 ppg, 14.5 rpg, 4.5 apg with 1.5 spg and 1.5 bpg. ALL OF THIS ON ONE HALF OF A THREE POINT MADE PER GAME. He really is a freak in the most positive of ways.

nba power ranking- weeks 12

3. Toronto Raptors (37-15)

Week 15 Record: 2-2
Offensive Rating: 112.4 (7th)
Defensive Rating:  107.5 (9th)
Net Rating: +4.9 (6th)

I’ve made it quite clear that I am a Raptors fanboi before. Please take the following as a personal cry for help from Raptors Nation to Raptors Front Office brass.

To Masai Ujiri, Bobby Webster and Nick Nurse:

Start playing Kawhi more. Stop with this rest shit, and get him in the game. We should be fisting teams right now, but instead I find myself more and more worried about how well Malachi Richardson is going to match up against other teams star small forwards. I DO NOT WANT TO BE DOING THIS ANYMORE. Get your shit together, for the love of god, please.

Also, please be active at the trade deadline. You’ve made it quite clear that this is the all-in year. Push your chips into the middle of the table and show the rest of the upper echelon teams that your nuts are hanging down around your knees. If I don’t find out that one of Bradley Beal, Mike Conley, or Marc Gasol are not a Raptor post deadline, I might cry. I might cry blood. Don’t make me cry blood.

Sincerely,

Concerned Raptors Fans Everywhere

4. Denver Nuggets (33-15)

Week 15 Record: 2-1
Offensive Rating: 113.6 (2nd)
Defensive Rating: 107.7 (10th)
Net Rating: +5.8 (4th)

As a teenager, I found myself enthralled with the game of basketball. I would literally watch anything of any professional playing anywhere to learn more about the game. I found myself absolutely amazed with the story of Arvydas Sabonis, while he played for the Trailblazers from 1994-2002. His skill set was unreal, but what I found the most amazing skill set he maintained was his ability to pass in and out of the post.

I feel the exact same way about Nikola Jokic. His passing ability, his soft hands around the rim, and his ability to absolutely dominate on the block. Here’s a video of his game on Saturday night.

Due to a 1 game suspension he earned in week 15, Jokic only played in 2 of the Nuggets 3 games.

Against Utah:
28 points, 21 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, 1 block

Against Philadelphia:
32 points, 18 rebounds, 10 assists, 1 steal, 2 3PM

Jokic is going to be the reason that the Nuggets go deep into the Western Conference playoffs this year. Mark my words (out of 10).

5. Indiana Pacers (32-18)

Week 15 Record: 1-1
Offensive Rating: 109.7 (15th)
Defensive Rating: 104.2 (2nd)
Net Rating: +5.5 (5th)

I’m still 50/50 on the whether or not the Pacers will be here next week. Part of me believes that if they can grind out a win against the Raptors after VO blew out his quad, then they can do it. The other part of me looks at the wing depth, or lack thereof on this team and thinks that the Pacers are about to plummet.

Regardless of all of this, I was quite sad to find out about the severity of Oladipo’s leg injury this week. The East was better off with him leading the Pacers.

JUST MISSED OUT:

Philadelphia 76ers (32-18)

Did the Sixers get better when they found out that Jimmy Butler has to see a wrist specialist? I imagine they could’ve got something a lot more productive in a trade otherwise. That’s a shame.

With that being said, they went 2-1 in week 15, and are breathing down the neckline of the Pacers blue collared shirt.

Also, in other news: Ben Simmons shot a 3 this week. Never again.

PANIC BUTTON:

New Orleans Pelicans (22-28)

If I’m Dell Demps, I’m writing my resignation letter in English and Creole French right now. I’ll refer to the once great David Stern’s thoughts on Demps:

“[Demps] had agreed to [trade Paul to the Lakers for] Kevin Martin and Luis Scola or something, and I said we can do better than that…. And the next trade was [to the Clippers for] Eric Gordon and Al-Farouq Aminu and what we thought was a really great draft pick, the 10th pick, which turned out to be Austin Rivers. At least those three and someone else [center Chris Kaman]. But Dell Demps is a lousy general manager and none of those players are currently with the team anymore, and he may lose Anthony Davis.”

Yea, he’s gonna lose AD. The Pelicans are slumping, and they’re leaning on Jahlil Okafor for offense right now. It’s time to pull the plug and clean house. Davis is a Laker, Celtic, or Not-Pelican come this summer. This season is a wash.

MAKING GAINS:

Houston Rockets (29-20)


Did I say Rockets? I meant Hardens. The Houston Hardens are posting the following line in the last 7 days:

44.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 4.7 apg, 2.0 spg and 1.0 bpg on 4.3 3PM. Somhow I think those three point numbers are a bit too low.

When you look past the legendary 1-man show that James Harden is putting up recently, the Rockets went 3-1 in week 15 and are leap frogging up the West standings right now. It’ll be interesting to see if Chris Paul’s return will change the pace, or if Harden continues to out-alpha every man on a basketball floor within 100 feet of him in week 16.



Basket Brawlers Fantasy Basketball Four-Cast

Your personal Fantasy Basketball cheat sheet

Welcome to the Fantasy Four-Cast! For the week of January 19th to 25th (Saturday-Friday), we have Steve G., Steve P., and yours truly (Dray) giving you the following four fantasy picks.

1) Fantasy line of the week
2) Fantasy sleeper pickup of the week*
*less than 20% owned in 12 team leagues on ESPN
3) Top sell high candidates
4) Top drop candidates of the week

1) Fantasy line of the week

Steve G.’s Pick
James Harden 
61 Pts, 15 Reb, 4 Ast, 5 Stl, 17/38 Fg, 22/25 Ft, 5 threes
01/23/2019 vs NYK
This category should be called “The James Harden Fantasy Line of the Week” as he shows on a nightly basis why he is arguably the most dominant offensive player in the NBA. Harden has single-handedly carried the Rockets to a 12 – 5 record since Chris Paul went down with a hamstring injury, posting historic averages of: 44.5 Pts, 8.3 Reb, 7.9 Ast, 2.1 Stl, 1.1 Blk, 43% Fg, 88% FT over the last month. Did someone just say “MVP”?5

Steve P.’s Pick
Kyrie Irving
26 Pts, 10 Ast, 2 3PM, 8 stls, 58% FG
01/21/2019 vs MIA
Someone call the fuzz, this man is getting away with thievery…
Kyrie continues to play out of his mind for a Celtics squad in need of leadership. I’ve seen many 10 man lineups not get 8 steals in total. He continues to put up first round numbers and this will not be the last time his name is in the Line of the Week column.

Dray’s Pick
Russel Westbrook
23 Pts, 17 Reb, 16 Ast, 2 Stl, 9/19 Fg, 1 threes
01/18/2019 vs MEM

Another ho-hum night for Russ. As a basketball fan, it should amaze us that Russ is averaging a triple-double for the third season in a row, but instead we take it for granted. We’re accustomed to this amazing show of passion and athleticism, and although you can throw out the 4/8 FT (yuck), Russ is, and always will be, a fantasy stud with lines like this.

2) Fantasy sleeper pickup of the week

Steve G.’s Pick
Marvin Williams, Charlotte Hornets
16% owned
11.8 pts/5.0 reb/2.8 3pm/0.8stls/0.5blks in the last 7 days

Williams has been a solid contributor for the Hornets across the board, providing good averages over the last 30 days. If you can handle William’s somewhat volatile FG% he provides sneaky 3-and-D stats from the PF position.

Steve P.’s Pick
Terry Rozier, Boston Celtics
22% owned
12.7 pts/6.7 reb/ 4.0 ast/2.0 3pm/1.0 stl/1.00 FT% in the last 7 days

Trade season is upon as. As we inch closer to the deadline there is good strategy in picking up guys who have very clear value if traded to the right opportunity. Rozier is numero uno in this regard. We all know what he can do with starters minutes and though there are no rumours about him yet, it is often the un-reported deals that actually get done…

Dray’s Pick
Joe Harris, Brooklyn Nets
20% owned
13.4 pts/3.8 reb/2.5 ast/2.4 3pm/82.9% FT% in the last 7 days

The Nets are decimated right now in the wing spot. Spencer Dinwiddie is now out with ligament issues in his thumb, meaning Joe Harris will get all the shots he could possibly want until guys like Caris LeVert, Allen Crabbe, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson get back. Pick him up if you need threes and points with good FT%.

3) Top Sell High Candidates

Steve G.’s pick
Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic

Nearing the halfway mark of the season, Orlando finds themselves on the outside looking in at a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. As they will for the rest of the season… With Mo Bamba being praised as a future cornerstone of the franchise, look for the Magic to seek out a trade at the deadline sending Vucevic to a contending team for future assets. Even if no trade occurs, expect Orlando to periodically rest and reduce Vucevic’s minutes down the stretch as they fall further out of playoff contention. Either way, the more the magic lose, the more likely that Vucevic ends up in a less favourable position. Get what you can for the big man while his value is at its peak.

Steve P.’s pick 
Jerami Grant, Oklahoma City Thunder

I may be completely wrong here.. But as of the last two weeks Grant is absolutely BALLING. Before last night’s game he was on an 8 game tear of 2+ block games, with some 3’s, pts, and overall good production. Last two weeks he is top 50 in 8-cat, while over the year he is just cresting the Top 100. Smells like a sell-high opportunity to me.

Dray’s pick
Brandon Ingram, LA Lakers

The rumour mill is churning out some hot takes this week with Memphis looking to deal the last bit of the grit&grind era, but what has stuck out to me is the Lakers apparently shopping Ball and Ingram. At the onset of the season, people were wondering how well Ingram and LeBron would be able to play together. Ingram has done good (I would say), but I could see why the Lakers want to make a swap for an All-Star to play next to the King. If they can work with the Wizards to get Beal, I would do that deal all day. If Ingram is moved he could perform just as well if not better, but personally I’m not willing to risk it. Trade him while he’s hot if you don’t want to wait for him to get up to speed somewhere else.

Photo credit to ClutchPoints https://clutchpoints.com/lakers-video-as-batman-lonzo-ball-tells-brandon-ingram-stay-out-of-foul-trouble/

4) Top Drop Candidates

Steve G.’s pick
Dario Saric, Minnesota Timberwolves

I was with almost everyone in thinking that the move from the 76ers to the Timberwolves would lead to Saric taking over the starting PF spot from Taj Gibson resulting in solid fantasy numbers for the remainder of the season. Well, that just hasn’t happened. Saric is rostered in 60% of leagues and appears to have officially taken an even further step back from when he was playing for the 76ers. At this point of the season consider it time to cut ties and search for a better option off the waiver wire.

Steve P.’s pick
Ante Zizic, Cleveland Cavaliers

He was exciting for a while, but the writing seems to be on the wall for him. Nance is back, Tristan will return soon, and Love may decide to make an appearance. An interesting player for dynasty leagues perhaps, but this year is not the year he breaks out.

Dray’s pick
Kent Bazemore, Atlanta Hawks

This one hurts. I drafted Baze and was pretty excited to have him, but unless he’s moved I don’t see the Hawks bringing back as soon as his ankle is good to go. The Hawks aren’t making the playoffs and they’re getting a good look at some great young talent (if he wasn’t injured, my pickup of the week may have been Kevin Huerter). If you don’t have an IR spot this is easy. If you do, there’s probably better out there.

Yes – I am dropping him as soon as I submit this post.

Tune in next week for more!

NBA Power Rankings – Week 14

Week 14 has proven to be a bit boring. The richer get richer, the medium get medium-ier, and the poor are still outside the top 5. The top 5 have stayed the same, but they’ve all decided to play musical chairs this week.

The one thing I’ll preface week 14 with before I start is that I think the best team in the league is actually first, finally.

1. Milwaukee Bucks

Week 13 Record: 3-0 
Offensive Rating: 113.5 (3rd)
Defensive Rating: 103.8 (1st)
Net Rating: + 9.7 (1st)

Milwaukee is back in the top slot, but somehow I’m somewhat unimpressed with Giannis’ line (21.3ppg, 11.3 rpg, 6.0apg, 2.0spg). You’re right, it’s still a monster line but, it just doesn’t seem like he went full freak this week.

The Bucks are back in first place in the East this week, after beating some mediocre teams in Miami, Memphis, and Orlando. They won all games with a margin greater then 10 points. Overall, they’re the best team in the entire league this week defensively, which is a huge feat in my opinion (notably beating defensive titans OKC, Indiana and Boston), and now own a monstrous +9.7 NET rating. They’re not beating teams, they’re demoralizing teams by shutting them down, and outscoring the crap out of them.

If Mike Budenholzer doesn’t win Coach of the Year this year, I’ll personally be in awe. He’s turned this team around quicker than any casual fan would dare to admit. The even more scary part to this week 14 realization is that the Bucks are actually set up for a while with depth. I won’t officially hand them the keys to the East this week, but other teams have seriously need to think about how they approach the Bucks in the future (including the playoffs).

nba power ranking- weeks 12

2. Toronto Raptors

Week 13 Record: 2-1
Offensive Rating: 112.0 (6th)
Defensive Rating: 107.0 (9th)
Net Rating: +5.1 (6th)

This has been a pretty ho-hum week for the Raptors. The Celtics made them look like a beatable team on Wednesday , allowing Kyrie Irving to go off with 27 points, 18 assists, 5 rebounds and a casual 1 steal and block.

Kawhi looks like he’s taking an early spring break right now, having only played 1 of week 14’s games, and that game being the loss to the Celtics. In the remaining two games the Raptors had to rely on bench depth to come up beat Phoenix by 2 points. Perhaps without the massive 21 point third quarter from Danny Green against the Grizzlies, that game might’ve been a bit closer as well.

If there was any team in the top 5 that didn’t deserve the first spot, it’s definitely Toronto. I really hope the rumours of the Raptors front office looking to trade for an ELITE level shooting guard are actually true, because it might be the kick they need to keep Milwaukee down for the rest of the season.

3. Golden State Warriors

Week 13 Record: 3-0
Offensive Rating: 115.4 (1st)
Defensive Rating:  109.0 (15th)
Net Rating: +6.3 (2nd)

Last week, I cried a little on the inside when I realized that Demarcus Cousins was making his return. Then he did this in his first game back:

Now we’ve got fanbois running around making infinity guantlet jokes about the Warriors. I’m really having a hard time with seeing how the Warriors don’t cruise through the Western conference playoffs this year without breaking a sweat. They might be third right now, but they don’t care. They’re playing the long con for ring 4 in 5 years.

4. Denver Nuggets

Week 13 Record: 2-1
Offensive Rating: 113.1 (5th)
Defensive Rating: 107.9 (T10th)
Net Rating: +5.2 (5th)

Lets give Denver a get out of jail free card this week. I’m still in awe that they played 5 games in 7 days in week 13. This might be evident from the 31 point drudging they received from Golden State this week.

They got to finish up the week against Chicago and Cleveland, so hopefully they got some time to recharge with 2 seemingly easy games. Lets see what they come back with in week 15.

Oh yea. Nikola Jokic averaged more assists than rebounds this week, notching another triple double against Cleveland. Jamal Murray is looking more and more like a complete scorer this season (averaging a cool 24 ppg this week), given his cool start to the season. I also forgot to mention that they’re looking to get Isaiah Thomas back in the first week of February too.

Just pretend like you didn’t see anything that I just typed in what is supposed to be an “off-week” for the Nuggets.

5. Indiana Pacers

Week 13 Record: 3-1
Offensive Rating: 109.7 (5th)
Defensive Rating: 104.0 (2nd)
Net Rating: +5.7 (4th)

How are they winning games?

No seriously. A few weeks ago I mentioned that most reporters are casually forgetting this team, and most of the players on it this season. But now I’m starting to really wonder how they’re doing it.

The Pacers are quietly the third best team in the East after week 14. In a 4 game week, they went a cool 3-1, abusing the Suns by 35 points, shutting down the Mavericks by 12 and closing out Sunday with a 25 point win over the Hornets. The one game they lost, the script was flipped by losing to Philadelphia by 24.

THE TREND: All 3 of their wins came by locking their opponents down to under 100 points {“Phoenix”: 97, “Dallas”: 91, “Charlotte”: 95} (yes I just realised that the list I gave you is a JSON object, leave me alone, this is my second job). Opponents FG% during those games respectively were 42.1%, 42.0%, and 40.2%. Per basketball-reference.com, the league average for FG% is 46.0%.

And without a “lockdown” defender DPOY candidate on this team, one can only assume that they’re defending as a team. If Indiana is in the top 5 next week, I’ll try and deep dive a bit more into their defensive stats as a team.

JUST MISSED OUT:

Oklahoma City Thunder (28-18)

This team smash’s steaks, all the bloody time mate.

Week 14 record: 1-2
Paul George: 27.3ppg, 7.0 rpg, 5.3 apg, and a monster 3.7 STEALS PER GAME
Russell Westbrook: 26.0 ppg, 10.0 apg, 8.3 rpg, 2.3 spg
Steven Adams: 16.0 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 1.3 apg, 2.3 spg

Three players, three unreal defenders. OKC deserves more credit than what they’re getting right, despite a 1-2 week 14. Plus this monster game against Philadelphia.

LOSING GROUND:

Los Angeles Clippers

Once a western conference titan this season, the Clippers have slipped from 1st to 8th in the west. They caught lightning in a bottle for the first half of the season, but it looks like teams are catching on to the koolaid that Doc Rivers was selling his players.

With that being said, a 25-21 record is nothing to sneeze at, but with the Lakers, King sand Timberwolves breathing down their necks, it might be time for the Clippers to sip the sizzurp and start winning again…quickly.

MAKING GAINS:

Brooklyn Nets

In week 3, I wrote that the Nets were the 15th best team in the league. At the time I was definitely stretching it, but now I’m not looking so crazy.



The Nets are the 6th best team in the east right now with a 25-23 record, being lead by everyone’s favourite snitch:

D’Angelo is finally making the Lakers look a little dumb for trading him. This week alone, he lead the Nets to beat the Celtics (kay), Rockets (wait..), and Magic (that’s more like it).

The last seven days (including Monday January 21st), Russell is carrying this under-achieving team with 28.0 ppg, 7.0 apg, 3.3 rpg, and a Harden-esque 5.7 3PM. Lets keep an eye on these guys as the season grind to a close. I doubt they’ll crack the top 5, but I’ve been wrong before.

Basket Brawlers Fantasy Basketball Four-Cast

Your personal Fantasy Basketball cheat sheet

Welcome to the first weekly segment of the Basket Brawlers Fantasy Basketball Four-Cast. This will be a weekly post that we will provide every Saturday to help you dominate your fantasy league as we approach the trade deadline and fantasy play-offs.

By this point, you probably have your core players locked in, so we are here to help you make the under-the-radar moves that will push you to the top of your own fantasy basketball leagues! With our rotating panel of expert fantasy Basket Brawlers, we’ll outline recommended moves that we think will make the difference.

From here until the end of the season we will break down the following categories in 140 characters or less:

1) Fantasy line of the week
2) Fantasy sleeper pickup of the week (less than 20% owned in 12 team leagues)
3) Top sell high candidates
4) Top drop candidates of the week

Joining me on the expert panel of fantasy basketball analysts this week is none other than Adam Johal and Jordan Taylor who have both won fantasy leagues in the past and know what it takes to win! So…lets get to it!

1) Fantasy line of the week

Adam Johal’s pick 
James Harden 
56 Pts, 10 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk, 16/34 Fg, 21/23 ft, 5 threes
01/16/2019 vs MEM

Harden is lighting the league on fire and Wednesday night showcased him at the height of his powers. 

Jordan Taylor’s pick
Steph Curry
41 Pts, 5 Ast, 3 Reb, 11/22 Fg, 10/10 Ft, 9 threes
01/16/2019 vs NOP

This game didn’t need any other mentions as it was already the highest offensively paced game this week, but Steph Curry still managed to shine above the rest. He hit 9 threes on the way to GSW’s win and kept his ridiculous streak of 8+ 3pm for the past three games. He cooled down Friday night and returned to mortal numbers, but we are in the presence of the greatest shooter of all time – so enjoy it.

Rajan Sharma’s pick
Kyrie Irving 
38 Pts, 7 Reb, 11 Ast, 1 Blk, 14/21 Fg, 6/9 ft, 4 threes
01/18/2019 vs MEM

Uncle Drew now has 29 assists over his last 2 games, including a career high 18 assists vs the East leading Raptors (and #1 on our weekly power rankings: http://basketbrawlers.ca/nba-power-rankings/ ) on Wednesday night…maybe he should call out his teammates more often?

2) Fantasy sleeper pickup of the week

Adam Johal’s pick
Richaun Holmes, Phoenix Suns
15% owned
13.5 pts/6.0 reb/0.5blks in the last 7 days

Holmes has had some great 9-cat stats, including great assist and steal potential for a center.

Jordan Taylor’s pick
Kenneth Faried, Free Agent
0.8% owned

The manimal has been waived by the Brooklyn Nets and intends to sign with the Houston Rockets where he will soak up all the missed shots from Harden with Clint Capella out recovering from surgery on his hand. Take the flier and benefit from a boost in rebounds.

Rajan Sharma’s pick
DeMarre Carroll, Brooklyn Nets
16.5% owned
14.0 pts/7.7 reb/1.7 threes per game in the last 7 days

With injuries to many of their key wings, the Nets have called upon Carroll to play all the minutes he can handle. He can be relied on in the short term to provide a boost in scoring, rebounding, and triples.

3) Top Sell High Candidates

Adam Johal’s pick
Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards

Beal has been on a torrid pace lately, but now is the time to maximize his trade value.

Jordan Taylor’s pick 
Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors

With Boogie back in the fold you can expect Green’s already dismal shot attempts and numbers to continue on a downward trend. Draymond has the intangibles for the Warriors that just won’t transfer over to the fantasy stat sheet. Having Boogie last night confirmed you will get the same Draymond with Cousins in the lineup, but how long will it last? See if you can get a high round point guard for your troubles

Rajan Sharma’s pick
Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies

With the Grizzlies having cooled off since their blistering start and free agency looming ahead for their star big man, look for Memphis to be sellers this trade deadline and shift in to more of a youth movement going forward.

4) Top Drop Candidates

Adam Johal’s pick
Josh Jackson, Phoenix Suns

Jackson seemed to be heating up start the new year but has fallen off a cliff his last two outings with Booker back in the lineup. Feel free to give him the snip if you’re eying someone on the wire.

Jordan Taylor’s pick
All Houston Rockets Not Named James Harden

With the beard going on his offensive tear this month, touches for the rest of the team are few and far between. Search the waiver wire somewhere else because the likes of PJ Tucker, Austin Rivers, and Gerald Green won’t get it done for you consistently to warrant keeping them.

Rajan Sharma’s pick
JaVale McGee, Los Angeles Lakers

Well, the JaVale McGee feel good story is now over. He has been bumped down to 3rd string after Ivica Zubac has rushed the scene and stolen the hearts of the Laker Faithful. Time to cut ties here unless you are desperate for shot blocking.

Thats all for this week! Hope you can take away some knowledge from the expert analysis above. Check back in next Saturday for more Fantasy Basketball Four-Cast from your favourite Basketball Know-It-Alls!

The Impact of a King

Obviously, LeBron is a major piece of whatever team he belongs to. Even still, it’s astonishing how much of an impact he has when he gets sidelined.

LeBron has been out since December 25th and since then, the Lakers are 4-7. Believe it or not, that’s actually one of the better records by a LeBron team when he is removed from action.

TeamRecord
2018-2019 LA Lakers4-7
2017-2018 Cleveland CavaliersDid not miss a game
2016-2017 Cleveland Cavaliers0-8
2015-2016 Cleveland Cavaliers1-5

It’s surprising that those Cavalier teams with Kyrie and Kevin Love couldn’t secure a few more wins with the King off the court. To be fair, those two were rested with LeBron for some of those games, but it almost seems like teams become complacent when you lean on the King. You know on any given night that LeBron could easily get a triple-double, so I believe that players start to let off the throttle. When LeBron is sitting, the floor falls out beneath them and they can’t find a way to fill the gap.

Photo credit to NBA.com

Whether you agree with my theory or not, it holds true that a young team who are trying to make a name for themselves may be more likely to break through this barrier and scrap out a few wins without him. As a Lakers fan, you should be happy with their record sans-LeBron. He’s cleared for practice starting next week, and you hope that the young guns carry some of this swagger through when he’s back.

LeGM

LeBron does much more than just impact the team in the W column, he has also been a tampering GM if you’d believe a small portion of the leagues managers. People love to joke that LeBron controls a team top down. When he returned to Cleveland, it was somewhat plausible. Now Magic is the boss but people still think that LeBron himself is driving the acquisition of the Brow, stating that he wants to play with MVP candidate Anthony Davis after the upcoming off-season.

That’s because he is, and it’s completely allowed.

If any other player was recruiting top tier talent in this fashion, GMs wouldn’t even flinch. But because LeBron is believed to have a significant amount of pull in the front office, people are clambering for a tampering crack-down on the King. Rightfully so, LeBron responded as follows:

Asked by reporters after the Lakers’ 112-104 win over Davis and the Pelicans if in hindsight his comments were “wrong,” James shot back, “No, of course not.”
“Ask me would I like to play with Kevin Durant? Ask me right now,” he told the press scrum around his locker.
“Would you like to play with Kevin Durant?” a reporter asked.
“Absolutely,” James said. “Ask me if I would like to play with Jimmy Butler.”
“Would you like to play with Jimmy Butler?” the reporter asked.
“Ask me about Kyrie Irving,” James said. “Giannis [Antetokounmpo]. Ask me about [Joel] Embiid. Ben Simmons. Go ahead. All of them. Luka Doncic. Ask me right now. Come on guys, it is not rocket science. It is not rocket science. These are great players. Absolutely, I would want to play with a lot of great players, that is just who I am. So? People get caught up in bunches. Sometimes they wish they could control what you say and they can’t control me. At all. And I play by the rules.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2018/12/22/lebron-james-shrugs-off-anthony-davis-tampering-talk-i-play-by-rules/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.366170648c0b

Anthony Davis’ upcoming off-season has been a hot topic this season; even Kevin Garnett has stated that AD needs to go play with LeBron.

Regardless of whether Kawhi, AD, KD, or anyone else decides to take their talents to Hollywood, LeBron is playing some of the best basketball we’ve ever seen. He’s performed better through the first 30 games with the Lakers than any other team in his past. Every year people think he’ll drop off, and every year he outperforms himself. All I can say is, Lakers fans must be happy campers right now. The Lakers are locked in for four more years of LeBron and starting next year they’ll have more cap space than Anthony Davis has eyebrow. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them take a title with LeBron on the roster.

Christmas 2018

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when Bucks land in New York,
Giannis is coming, to own their home court.

The Thunder and Rockets will meet down in Houston,
With no CP3, the Rockets are losin’.

Phili at Boston will sure be a treat,
I bet Embiid will get fined, from a following tweet.

LeBron and the Lakers will take on the champs,
When the good King is rolling, they at least stand a chance.

Finishing off with Mitchell, CJ, and Dame,
The Blazers will win on the last Christmas game.

Every year, the stockings are hung and the tree is decorated. People traverse ice-ridden roads and packed airports with canceled flights, all so they can reach their families and spend some time together for the holidays. As an NBA fan, it also means one of the biggest events the season has to offer. The honour of playing basketball on Christmas day is full of history. The NBA and media has always had some fun with it, creating some highlight videos all findable on YouTube. Here’s my favourite:

Only the best teams and biggest markets get to face off on December 25th, each earning their own custom jersey for the day. This year is no different, with 10 teams facing off in five back-to-back games. I’ll give a short break down of each matchup below and include my pick to win.


9 a.m. PT

Milwaukee Bucks
@
New York Knicks

Now here is a great example of an excellent team vs. a big market. The Bucks are second best in the league as of December 23rd and carry one of the best up-and-coming talent’s this league can offer in Giannis Antetokounmpo. They will open their gifts all over the lowly 9-25 New York Knicks who are hoping for a Christmas miracle.

DRAY’S PICK: Bucks run away with this one in the first half.


12 p.m. PT

Oklahoma City Thunder
@
Houston Rockets

If you told me at the beginning of the season that one of these teams is currently 7th in the West and the other is 2nd, I would of completely believed that. If you told me that it was the Rockets and the Thunder, respectively, I would not have. It’s no secret the Rockets have been struggling, and now CP3 has gone down again, this time with a strained left hamstring. It feels like the Rockets haven’t gotten any better than last year, but the rest of the league has caught up in many ways. Maybe a big win on Christmas day is enough to jump start the Rockets, but the Thunder are not to be trifled with these days. Because of that…

DRAY’S PICK: I’ll take the Thunder here.


2:30 p.m. PT

Philadelphia 76ers
@
Boston Celtics

A potential prelude for the first round matchup in the Eastern playoffs, the Sixers and Celtics game could be my pick to watch on the big day. Boston hasn’t been what people were expecting so far this year, but I have full confidence that they will make some noise when the bright lights are on them. The Sixers are right about where most people would of pegged them: continuing to develop a talented young core but now have the added benefit of All-Star Jimmy Butler. After the season opener, Joel Embiid said that the Celtics rivalry wasn’t really a rivalry since “…They always kick our ass”. Well, now that Jimmy Buckets is around that may not be the case.

DRAY’S PICK: Sixers in a tight one.


5 p.m. PT

Los AngJameslos Lakers
@
Golden State Warriors

LeBron has been putting in work for the Lakers, surpassing even what most people thought he was still capable of when arriving on the sunny coast at the beginning of this season. If you thought he was past his prime, you too have continued to be amazed. The Warriors are still the titans to beat here, but LeBron loves to show up for the big games, and Christmas day in California definitely fits that bill.

DRAY’S PICK: Warriors win, LeBron gets 27-7-7.


7:30 p.m. PT

Portland Trailblazers
@
Utah Jazz

I love that the NBA included this game for Christmas. Personally, I would of preferred to have seen Denver on the slate in the place of Utah, but watching Donovan Mitchell in big moments never seems to disappoint. Of course, it’s always a pleasure to watch Dame D.O.L.L.A. and CJ McCollum trade shots on the floor like dueling banjos as well, so all-in-all I think it will be a good finish to a packed day of ball. As far as who’s the favourite? Come on…

DRAY’S PICK: Portland by a fair margin.


Am I wrong or am I right? Sound off in the comments below.