The NBA is fantastic and there are so many things to talk about each and every week. Whether you are a Fantasy Basketball fanatic or just a fan here are ten things about the NBA that I want you to know about as we head into week seven of the NBA season!
Best NBA Games to Watch This Week
Monday: Cleveland Cavaliers at the Philadelphia 76ers: LeBron James and the Geritol crew travel to Philly to take on Joel “The Process” Embiid and rookie sensation Ben Simmons.
Tuesday: Washington Wizards at the Minnesota Timberwolves: Washington has one of the best back courts in the NBA facing a rising Timberwolves team.
Wednesday: Memphis Grizzlies at the San Antonio Spurs; these two organizations have been rivals for YEARS and this NBA Southwest battle is always must see TV.
Thursday: Philadelphia 76ers at the Boston Celtics: two of the surprise teams in the East face off in what should be an exciting NBA basketball game.
Friday: Minnesota Timberwolves at the Oklahoma City Thunder: The Timberwolves have beaten the Thunder twice already this young season. Can they do it again?
Saturday: Atlanta Hawks at the Brooklyn Nets: two young equally bad teams playing at a fast pace at 3pm Eastern? How can you beat that?
Sunday: San Antonio Spurs at the Oklahoma City Thunder: these teams do have a bit of a history and both are still trying to figure things out. Should be a fun way to close out the week.
You are a Happy Fantasy Basketball Owner If
You have players on your roster from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Sacramento Kings and San Antonio Spurs. Each of those teams mentioned has four games on the schedule this week.
Dunk of the Week
This past Wednesday night the Oklahoma City Thunder won their first game of the season over the Golden State Warriors with an impressive and convincing 108-91 victory. Maybe the Thunder read this column because they did just as I suggested and Russell Westbrook posted a terrific line of 34 points, ten rebounds and nine and nine assists including this spectacular dunk!
You are an Unhappy Fantasy Basketball Owner If
You have players on your roster from the Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets and Toronto Raptors as each of these teams only has two games on their schedule this week. Every other NBA team has three games on their schedules.
Waiver Wire Pickup of the Week
I’m a big fan of Sacramento Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein. I’m even a bigger fan as over the past five games Cauley-Stein is averaging just over 27 minutes and is producing numbers like 14.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists and steals with the occasional block PLUS shooting 49 percent from the floor and 81 percent from the line. Cauley-Stein will also knock down the occasional triple. The Kings have four games this week (@Golden State, Milwaukee, @Chicago, @Milwaukee) and I think Cauley-Stein is going to have a big week for Fantasy Owners wise enough to pick him up and plug him in.
The “Revenge Game” Narrative
If you have spent any time reading DFS forums, touting articles and the like you have probably heard something along the lines of “so and so has a revenge game tonight” against one of whatever players former teams. While there is always the possibility that a player playing against his former team could use that as extra motivation I think this reasoning gets overused a bit too much.
Kevin Durant playing against his former team is NOT a very good use of the revenge narrative. Why would playing a team he willingly left that wanted him to stay give him any extra motivation to post big numbers? If anything the one wanting to take real revenge would be his former teammate Russell Westbrook for leaving him high and dry.
Having covered the NBA for over a decade I can honestly state that most players leaving their former teams are actually thrilled to be gone. Especially if they have gone onto better situations. Many times these players REQUESTED to be traded and again are happy to be gone. No need for revenge when you get what you want now is there?
There are players who take great pride in posting big stat lines against their former teams. I know for a FACT that Sacramento Kings PF Zach Randolph absolutely despises the Portland Trail Blazers and especially their fan base. Randolph was a young pro during what is commonly referred to as the “Jail Blazers” era and whenever he plays the Trail Blazers and especially in Portland he desires to hammer them. As recently as Friday November 17, 2017 Randolph scored 17 points and had five rebounds in only 22 minutes of action.
Be careful here DFS players; whenever you see the revenge card being played be sure that the player in question actually has something to be angry about!
Tweet of the Week
Philadelphia 76ers Joel Embiid is not only great for the NBA but great for the city of Philadelphia. Philly fans love this young fella and he seems to love them to!
— Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) November 23, 2017
PACE is simply an estimated number of possessions per 48 minutes by a team and Pace is important for DFS NBA players. You generally want to target players on teams with high PACE rates. You obviously would like to target players on the opposing team as they will have plenty of opportunities to rack up Fantasy points. I place a high value on PACE and this list is my daily companion. Now that we are on the same page let me point you to NBA games this week that have the potential for Fantasy Gold.
Monday: The Orlando Magic visit the Indiana Pacers in a game featuring two teams in the top ten in PACE. Should be plenty of Fantasy Gold in this one.
Wednesday: Indiana travels to Houston to take on the Rockets and Washington visits Philadelphia to play the 76ers. Washington is the only team of the four with a PACE rate outside the top ten (11).
Friday: Golden State travels to Orlando in a game featuring two of the top six teams in PACE.
Saturday: The Los Angeles Lakers travel to Denver to play the Nuggets. Denver may be outside the top ten (14) but this game should be crazy good with plenty of Fantasy nuggets (see what I did there).
Sunday: Houston travels to Los Angeles for a date with the Lakers. This game will also be the last game on the slate and the perfect late night hammer.
Replacing Paul Millsap
In a game against the Lakers Paul Millsap injured his wrist. At the time of this writing it’s unclear just how much time he will miss. If he does wind up having surgery he will miss an estimated 2-3 months; if he doesn’t have surgery most likely Millsap will miss a considerable amount of time so if you are like me you’re going to have to find a replacement. I have a few options for you to consider for this week.
Philadelphia 76ers SF/PF Dario Saric is widely available across the industry and over the past five games he’s averaging 31 minutes with 7.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, two assists with a block and a steal. Saric has the green light to shoot the three and will give you at least one of them per game. The 76ers have four games this week (Cleveland, Washington, @Boston and Detroit) and while he’s no Millsap and his shooting percentages aren’t the greatest (37 percent from the floor and 78 percent from the line) Saric won’t kill your team this week.
Sacramento Kings PF Zach Randolph is widely available and over the past five games is averaging 13.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists with a steal and the occasional triple on just under 24 minutes per contest. Randolph has very good shooting percentages from the floor (47 percent) and from the line (75 percent) and with the Kings having four games this week (@Golden State, Milwaukee, @Chicago and @Milwaukee) Randolph might be a good pick-up this week.
Minnesota Timberwolves PF Taj Gibson is also widely available and over the past five games is averaging 11 points per game with 8.0 rebounds and the occasional triple. Gibson shoots 52 percent from the floor and 83 percent from the line this season and with four games this week (Washington, @New Orleans, @OKC and Los Angeles Clippers) Gibson will be a great source in at least four of the scoring categories this week.
Top Five Whiniest Teams in the NBA
On average I watch roughly 40 NBA games a week and I have seen my share of bad calls by the refs as well as some serious objections to those calls. It’s part of the game and in the heat of battle sometimes a players passion, or disgust overrides their better judgement. Below are the five worst offending teams and the players T’d up the most thus far this season.
The Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder: These two whiny teams are tied with 0.9 technical fouls per game. Draymond Green leads the Warriors with six techs followed by Kevin Durant with three and Steph Curry with two techs to his credit. Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony lead the Thunder with three each followed closely by Paul George and Steven Adams with two techs this season.
The Atlanta Hawks are a close third averaging 0.8 techs per game. Leading the way for the Hawks is Kent Bazemore with four techs with four other players with one each.
The Charlotte Hornets, Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets are in a three way tie for fourth on the worst offenders list. Dwight Howard leads the Hornets with four followed by Kemba Walker and Frank Kaminsky with two each. Devin Booker leads the Suns with four followed by T.J. Warren and Josh Jackson with three each. Houston is led by James Harden with three followed by P.J. Tucker with two and three others with one tech. Chris Paul is one of those Rockets with a tech and since he’s only played just four games this season I look to him taking the lead very shortly.
Enjoy the NBA this week!!
You can follow Phil @Flashtennis31,