Fanduel Sleepers – Feb. 11th

Hey guys!

So a couple of months back I journeyed onto Fanduel island to see what all the fuss was about – and I’m here to report – it’s pretty awesome. Being an avid NBA and fantasy fan, I thought this would be a fun little way to combine both and try to win some money. Two months and a grueling 87 contests later, I sit here at around 31% ROI (excluding the Fanduel initial bonus) and pretty happy with how it’s gone.

While I do have some knowledge and have won some money, I discovered that it was very hard to find many articles or sources of information to aide someone in making their daily picks. Of them all, Rotowire is definitely far and above the rest when it comes to stats, value of players, and ease of access, but other than them there wasn’t much valuable information out there. So long story short, I thought I would throw my hand into the pot and see how it goes. I’ll try to update daily with my previous scores and results and my daily value picks for upcoming contests.

Well, here it goes: my top-3 value picks for Feb 11th

PG – Zach LaVine – $3800

This might surprise a lot of people, but bare with me. With the Timberwolves at home with a still-recovering Ricky Rubio, having traded Mo Williams and Troy Daniels, Zach really has a chance to show up big tonight, especially in a blowout. I wouldn’t be surprised if Zach saw 20-25 minutes by the end of the night and to reach value, he really doesn’t need to do too much in those minutes. Think of it this way – on a dollar/point value – if Zach ends up with 10 points, 2 reb, 2 ast and a turnover (pretty bad for 20 minutes) he still equates to around $264 dollars per point. To put this in perspective, that would equal James Harden going for 42.4 or Klay Thompson dropping 28.4. While not crazy numbers or even unrealistic, this is a bad scenario for Zach. I predict him at just above 20 fantasy points with a huge potential if things get out of hand quick.

PF – Mitch McGary – $4300

Another rookie value pick here. This to most Fanduel veterans might not seem too surprising, but McGary has gone for over 30 fantasy points in back to back games since getting regular minutes earlier this week. Although most might shy away with the Grizzles coming to town, just remember that McGary will most likely be squaring off against the likes of Jon Leuer and company. I’ll take my chances.

C – Spencer Hawes – $3800

While Hawes let a lot of people down two nights ago (6.7 pts) I think he’s bound for a comeback tonight. At home against a battered Rockets team, I think Hawes can easily put together a double digit scoring night and tack on a nice number of rebounds as well. While center is a crucial position on Fanduel, with many centers putting up 30 points fairly easily, this might be the night to take Hawes at value and stack up somewhere else. With a similar situation to LaVine (except that he’s starting), Hawes could put up great numbers tonight while providing extra cash to use elsewhere and boost your lineup.

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5 Reasons Why – Part 2: NBA All-Star weekend is crumbling

asg21. Frequent disappointments 

In my opinion, the number one reason the NBA All-Star weekend has been struggling lately is due to the disappointments, on all levels. Players don’t try, favorites rarely win, dunks don’t live up to the hype, and shooters seem to never show up. While hype can (and is) usually built through social media and TV networks leading up to the event, we rarely see any predictions or stars follow through and amaze us.

2. Lack of effort

As mentioned briefly above, lack of effort is a major problem during All-Star weekend. Hardly do you see players giving their best effort or even remotely trying to win any competition. For instance, I was watching today during the Skills Challenge (essentially a dribbling/passing/shooting course for guards) and I would say 90% of the players were jogging around, hardly giving any effort. One player in particular, Reggie Jackson of the OKC Thunder, was moving a shade over walking speed while doing the course, and all I could think was “C’MON MAN!” While this is technically a midway break from the season for most players, it would be nice to see them go full speed, especially for events that last 30 or so seconds…

3. Lack of participation

This is another big issue. The key events that have generally been exciting and superstar filled (dunk contest/3pt shootout) are now being performed by marginally known players and hardly any superstars. While I will give the 3pt shootout a break, since it usually does have the games top shooters (except Kyle Korver this year…), I can make no such excuse for the dunk contest. Rewind a decade or so and you had the likes of Vince Carter, Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Jason Richardson, Steve Francis, etc., performing and enjoying this event while also displaying genuine creativity and athleticism. Then look at today, a bunch of mediocre dunkers performing ok dunks with the occasional get-off-your-seat slam.

4. Lack of personalities 

This is another issue that I didn’t really notice until this past year, we really don’t have many great personalities. While LeBron James, Blake Griffin, and Chris Paul bring some personality, the rest of the upcoming stars are very mild mannered. When you take a look at say, Kevin Durant and Paul George, you see some great players with personalities, but both just have a “chill” attitude. Neither of them will be seen pulling off entertainment stunts such as this gem from Shaq a few years back.

5. Injuries

This is the inevitable. Players are bound to get hurt. Year after year we move closer to All-Star weekend and 2-3 key players have to miss out, with this year being Kobe Bryant and (potentially) Dwayne Wade. While injuries are not an avoidable reason like some of the points mentioned above, they definitely add to the dullness of the weekend. Although, in all fairness, I should say that in some cases we do get to see young stars and snubs get their chance to rightfully perform (i.e. Anthony Davis).

5 Reasons Why – Part 1: I’m Not Watching The Olympics

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1. Lack of knowledge

This one I feel is pretty common. Not only do I know nothing about 80% of the winter sports featured in the Olympics, I know nothing about most winter sports in general. Some would say: “Hey! Doesn’t that add to the fun?” Well no, not really. I like to know/feel when something awesome happens, not just wait for a final score and then say “I guess, yeah.”

2. Lack of recognition 

I don’t know anyone. I guess it’s cool to discover stars (a la gymnastics Gabby Douglas) but for some reason the winter olympics just don’t do it for me… Maybe it’s the fact that they’re covered up with masks the whole time or something, but I just can’t put names to faces very well this year. Along with this, I feel as though I know less “stars” in these Olympics then ever before. Is Shaun White still competing? Apolo Ohno? Beats me..

3. None of my friends are interested

Unlike some of the past Olympics or say, the World Cup, not many of my friends seem to be too interested in this years games. Yeah I occasionally read tweets from my friends regarding the Olympics, but they are few and far between. This has typically been a reliable source for me. Usually, me and few friends will follow the top names and events along with the medal count (which I still periodically do) and eventually get into the games, but not this year.

4. Little media coverage

Don’t freak out. I’m not saying the Olympics are not covered or that media has mentioned them, all I’m saying is that I’ve seen much more in the past. For instance, I have watched First Take and Mike and Mike on ESPN2 almost every morning for the past couple of weeks and have barely heard a peep about the games. Not sure why, but it seems as though nothing spectacular is happening, giving me more reason to watch New Girl instead.

5. Scheduling 

This has always been a big one for me. Not only are there, what seems like, a million qualifying rounds, but I never seem to know when they are. I’ll tune in and watch for a good half-hour and then realize this round barely matters because the top people have already qualified or something of the sort… Even more so, I’ve always been too lazy to look up specific events and schedules, especially when I’m not too invested. I need a USA MIGHT MEDAL Twitter account to let me know when and to watch what.

Midway Point: NBA Playoff Predictions

ImageSo here we are. One week away from the NBA All-Star weekend and midway point to the season, and the playoff picture is still a mess in both conferences. While the top seeds seem to be set and surely not moving, the rest of the field is wide open. In the East, spots 3-10 are separated by only six games, and in the West, spots 2-8 are separated by a mere seven. Along with this, we still have the trade deadline coming up and multiple key players coming back from injuries. So trying to predict the final playoff picture would seem like an absurdity at this point, right? Well, yes. But I’m bored so what the hell. Using this awesome strength of schedule graphic from Ed Kupfer and taking into consideration injuries and history, here is my final playoff picture.

Eastern Conference

Current (2/10):  1. Indiana 2. Miami 3. Toronto 4. Atlanta 5. Washington 6. Chicago 7. Brooklyn 8. Charlotte

Prediction: 1. Indiana 2. Miami 3. Toronto 4. Brooklyn 5. Washington 6. Atlanta 7. Chicago 8. New York

Notes: Indiana has the 3rd easiest SOS going forward and Toronto has the easiest, justifying those predictions. I feel the Knicks will make a surge as Melo fights to keep them relevant and I think the Nets will also gain momentum as their team continues to build chemistry and J Kidd gains more experience.

Western Conference

Current (2/10): 1. OKC 2. San Antonio 3. Portland 4. Clippers 5. Houston 6. Phoenix 7. Dallas 8. Golden State

Prediction: 1. OKC 2. San Antonio 3. Clippers 4. Houston 5. Portland 6. Golden State 7. Memphis 8. Phoenix

Notes: OKC and the Spurs seem to be set to claim the top two spots (OKC w/ the SOS edge and Westbrook coming back). Portland has a brutal schedule coming up and I feel as though they won’t be able to sustain this type of play going forward especially with their stars getting so many minutes (3 starters in top 22 of minutes per game). My surge team in the West is the Grizzles. With their experience and semi-easy schedule going forward, they shouldn’t have trouble sneaking into one of the last couple of seeds (they would be a dangerous 7 seed…). Lastly, I hope Phoenix can make the playoffs, and I think they will. I love the way Goran Dragic (my biggest All-Star snub) is playing right now and this team is really gelling.

So there it is. Some awesome potential match-ups in this years playoffs. I would love to see the 3-6 Clippers/Warriors high scoring, probably seven game, draw come true along with the potential Melo takes on the Pacers match-up. What do you guys think? Leave some comments below and let me know how you think this years playoffs will unfold!

Kevin Durant vs. Dirk Nowitzki: An Interesting Comparison

nba_g_kddirk_576As I sat in my fairly nice, but ridiculously overpriced, college apartment yesterday with a sub-par homemade coffee in one hand and some Oreos in the other (my typical breakfast, don’t judge), a thought rolled through my mind; how similar are Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Durant? While my in-the-moment inclination, largely due to the current media hype, was that Durant is the greatest player to ever play basketball, I decided to explore this comparison and what I got was a very interesting comparison.

Check out the numbers:

Shooting:

Durant: 47.8% FG, 37.8% 3PT, 88.3% FT – – – 18.9 FGA, 4.2 3PA

Dirk: 47.5% FG, 38.2% 3PT, 87.8% FT – – – 16.7 FGA, 3.2 3PA

Scoring:

Durant: 27 PPG, High PPG: 30.1 (besides this season), Most point in a game: 52

Dirk:  22.6 PPG, High PPG: 26.6, Most point in a game: 53

Continue reading

Something Isn’t Adding Up: Pistons Off To A Rough Start

The Detroit Pistons are showing this season that an NBA team is about more than just the names on the roster. Despite a major upgrade in talent, the Piston’s have struggled to a 4-7 record this season. So far the doubts about how this roster would mesh seem justified. Why exactly has the team played so poorly though? It starts with a major commitment to a player many thought would sign elsewhere.

            This offseason the Pistons made a splash when they signed free agent Josh Smith to a four year 54 million dollar contract. This move puzzled many analysts because with Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond already in the mix, Josh Smith would have to play major minutes at small forward where he is not a very efficient offensive player. I thought perhaps Drummond would come off the bench and Smith could play power forward but Detroit is starting all three players so far this season. With Drummond and Monroe clogging the paint Josh Smith has spent too much time on the perimeter. Everyone knows he is a poor jump shooter, and in his return to Atlanta last night fans were actually cheering whenever they saw him rising up for an ill advised jump shot. This has led to Smith having a career low in field goal percentage this year and he is also shooting more three pointers than ever before. I still believe Josh Smith is a good player, but when he is used like this he becomes a real liability on offense. Ideally he is cutting to the hoop and attacking the rim off the dribble but the Detroit offense frankly doesn’t have a lot of movement. In the game against Atlanta the offense was reduced to a series of isolation plays for Monroe and Smith with some bad shots by Brandon Jennings mixed in. Needless to say that is not a winning formula. Continue reading

Nikola Vucevic: Learn The Name

ImageWhile the Orlando Magic have been mearly mediocre this season, they do seem to have a glimmer of hope for the future in 23-year old center Nikola Vucevic. While you’ve probably never heard of him, Vucevic, standing at 7ft – 250lbs, is really showing an array of pure center skills that are very rare in todays NBA world and worthy of national notice. Combining a skill-set of solid post moves and rebounding, along with a decent mid-range game and some defense, Vucevic is really looking like the future centerpiece for this Orlando Magic squad. Check out his noteworthy stat breakdown through ten games this season.

The Numbers:

Per Game Averages: 15.8 ppg, 11.4 rpg (5th), 2.9 apg, 1.4 stl, 1.0 blk

Per Game Shooting Numbers: 55% field goals, 74.3% free throws

Efficiency: 23.6 (7th)

More Interesting Numbers:

Against .500+ teams:

Game Averages: 16.6 ppg, 12.2 rpg, 3.4 ast, 1.8 stl, 1.2 blk

Shooting: 52% FG, 81% FT

Efficiency: 25.4

The Most Interesting Numbers:

Win Shares (number of wins a player has contributed): 1.4 – 2nd on team (Afflalo)

Matchup Record (number of match-ups won vs opponent based on efficiency): 5-2

Per 48 minutes: 21.8 ppg, 15.7 rpg, 4 apg, 32.6 efficiency rating

As you can see, this dude can ball. While maybe not as glamours of a player as Dwight Howard, or as flashy and striking as DeAndre Jordan, Vucevic sure deserves the praise so far this season. If he can keep these numbers up, and the Magic can stay around that .500 mark come All-Star weekend, look for this guys’ name amongst those 13 players invited to the celebratory showdown.

Check out these highlights from his performance earlier this year against the Clippers (30 pts, 20 reb)

Pretty impressive, if you ask me.