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Fantasy basketball: Random notes and thoughts so far this season

Taj Gibson is your goddamn vegetables, and you eat your vegetables.

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Minnesota Timberwolves Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Here are just some random notes and thoughts about the NBA so far this season:

  • Wes Johnson is someone you should keep your eye on or pick up, if you’ve an open roster spot. His player rating has improved as the season has gone along, and he’s now ranked 40th over the past 15 days on ESPN basic, right before Paul George. Johnson is only owned in 8.6% of leagues, so he should be available. He has the best true shooting percentage of his career (59%), and his field goal and three point percentages are both career bests, too. Now, that could mean that he’ll regress, or it could mean that he’s finally coming into his own after bouncing around the league for several years. He could be a good stats, bad team guy. Regardless of what he WILL BE, what he is RIGHT NOW is CHEAP. Go pick him up.
  • Taj Gibson, man. He’s been the 61st ranked player on ESPN basic, and he’s not even owned in 50% of leagues. I know, no one wants to pick him up, I get it. But he’s been more valuable than Hoodie Melo. Sometimes, you just have to eat your goddamn vegetables, and buddy, Taj Gibson is your goddamn fantasy vegetables. Unless you’re tanking, there’s no good reason to let him sit on the wire if you have an available spot. He’s boring, but he’s been sneaky good this year. In my league, he’s the 40th best player ON THE SEASON. Jesus.
  • Slow Kyle Anderson continues to be criminally under owned at sub-30%. Kawhi doesn’t seem like he’s coming back any time soon, so I’d, ahem, Roll Slow as long as you can. If he keeps improving (he had 5 steals the other night, btw), Slow Kyle will be gone fast.
  • Courtney Lee is having himself a season. Both Lee and his teammate Tim Hardaway, Jr., are tied on the ESPN player rater for the season at 6.27 (good for 58th and 59th place). Timmy, Jr. is owned in 82% of leagues; Courtney is owned in 28%. Lee is averaging 12 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and a steal, and Junior is averaging 18 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and a steal. Is 6 points really worth 60 percentage points? For what it’s worth, Courtney is averaging 15 points over the last 15 days. He should be owned more. He’s averaging 33 minutes a game, too.
  • Bojan Bogdanovic, who is basically worth the same as Ricky Rubio in my league, is only owned in 39% of leagues. He is basically just points, but any player that can get you 20 points on the regs is a useful guy to have on your fantasy team.
  • Carmelo is shooting under 30% over the last month. CTFO, Thunder. Y’know, Billy “My Hair is Just Naturally Wet AF” Donovan sometimes has some nice plays coming out of timeouts, but eventually a Thunder game just becomes one of the Big Three, sorry, big three, dribbling while EVERYONE ELSE ON THE TEAM JUST STANDS THERE. Like, why this team doesn’t just constantly PNR between those three until someone gets a good shot or can pass it inside to Adams is beyond me. I feel like this team could be a blur of motion if it wanted to be, but for some reason they prefer to take turns standing in the corner for 8 seconds at a time. It’s still relatively early but it doesn’t seem like the team’s problem is that they’re taking awhile to adjust to each other; their problem seems like they’re not doing it, at all. It’s just iso iso iso iso iso. Yech! Not fun to watch.
  • Dirk is averaging 12 points per game. There was a time he scored double that every night. He, too, is not fun to watch. Retirement tours are fine, but this isn’t a tour, it’s a grim reminder of the mortality of man, and the adamantine grip that merciless Time has on us all. No one gets out alive, not even Dirk. Watching him try not to scream in pain while he “jumps” and “runs” while the rest of the Mavericks play with dead eyes and a keen fear of death that only the nearness of an Ozymandias-aged ancient one can inspire is like watching the last part of 2001 on bad, uh, vibes: it takes forever, you have no idea what you’re watching, it’s EXCRUCIATING, the man is old, and alone, and surrounded by minimalized reminders of what his life used to be, and, then, allasudden!, he dies and becomes a Space Baby (Spoiler alert? Dirk will become a Space Baby. Or, kindercosmic in ze German.) Also, speaking of 2001, when Astro Dave (this was his original name in the script) lands on the monolith orbiting Jupiter (which was originally a big marshmallow orbiting Tulsa) and declares, “Hot Damn, it’s full of stars!” he was NOT talking about the Dallas Mavericks. Who do Mavs fans root for, Dennis Smith and Harrison Barnes? Aren’t they personal injury attorneys in Bismarck or something? There’s a Smith & Barnes store in every city in the United States of America. They don’t all sell the same thing, but they sure as hell exist. Oh, where’d you get that seaglass utensil set? Smith & Barnes! Who does your taxes? I go to Smith & Barnes!
  • I was going to say pick up Mario Chalmers for as long as Mike Conley is out, but Mario is injured and might not play Wednesday. That’s this season all over: Hey, that guy’s goo-oh, wait, nevermind, he’s injured.
  • You’re going to tease me for saying this, buuuuuuuut Austin “my starting PG” Rivers is currently only 20% owned. I feel like you should own a guy who’s about to be the second best player on a bad, sorry, BAD, team. Empty stats, here we come! I knew it was a good idea to hang onto Haunted Rivers!
  • Over the last 30 days seven players are averaging more than three made three pointers per game: Bob Covington (3.2 threes), Eric Gordon, Paul George, Trevor Ariza, Klay Thompson, Steph Curry 1.0, and James Harden. (Harden’s averaging over 5 threes a game; the others are all between 3 and 3.5.) Five of those seven are on Houston or Golden State. Sweet baby Jesus. I think I was wrong about Houston; I was skeptical of their depth and how long they had until Mike D’Antoni’s fast pace and (over)usage destroyed them like he has on all his other teams. But, so far, they look, uh, what’s the word? Oh yeah, good AF. Better than, actually. But...I mean, get real, they still won’t beat Golden State in a seven game series.
  • Over the last 30 days Lonzo Ball has averaged 8 points, 7 assists, and 7 rebounds. I feel like that’s really, really fudging good for a rookie. So why is everyone freaking out about him? Because he can’t score easily and is, perhaps, just a tad timid with his handle? Whatever, man, the dude’s a rookie. Rookie’s can never shoot. Frank Ntilly in New York is getting all the love in the world and his numbers don’t come close to Lonzo’s (on the other hand, Frankie has balls while Lonzo does not). If you have Lonzo, please don’t trade him. Give him at least 40 games to show you what he has. The guy might average a triple double by the end of the season, mkay? Just chill.
  • Khris Middleton is averaging more fouls than Boogie Cousins. That...doesn’t seem right…
  • Dwight Howard is averaging the third most free throws per game this season. He’s shooting a 46FT%. God. Damn.
  • LeBron’s only third most in minutes now, by the way. Phew! Crisis averted! And, don’t worry: he’s playing more minutes than Andrew Wiggins. Phew again!
  • Can I tell you something? Wiggins is attempting 4.1 threes per game, and he’s making 31.7% of them. This is the super awesome part: Stanley Johnson is also attempting 4.1 threes per game, and he’s making 30.8% of them! StanJohn is basically Andrew Wiggins, to some degree! As a Pistons fan, that makes me feel better. Of course, 4.1 attempts per game is 88th in the New NBA; it’s the same number of attempts that Brook Lopez takes, and it’s fewer attempts than Marc Gasol takes. Both of those men are seven feet tall and only started shooting threes over the past few years. StanJohn and Fibbin’ Wiggins are perimeter players who are designed to be able to shoot from outside.
  • Oh man: Blake Griffin had the exact same usage rate as Dame Lillard. LA, let me ask you a question: would Portland be good if Maestro Lillard went out for two months? Clipper fans: uh oh.
  • Chandler Parsons has a positive 9.4 rating (111.2 offensive rating, 101.9 defensive rating). He’s now playing 20 minutes per game and taking six shots per game (52 FG%, though), and getting two assists, two boards, and eight points. ALL of those numbers are increasing as the season goes along. His true shooting percentage is 65, which is top 15 in the league (minimum 20 minutes played per game). He looks good! I dunno what the plan is with his minutes, but it seems like they’re resting him regularly and are happy keeping him on a gradual minutes increase. If Memphis starts playing fast and increasing their pace, Parsons may benefit from more opportunities; or, if Memphis starts selling and Parsons somehow finds himself as a starter, or at least with more minutes, then his lot also improves. He’s only owned in 4% of leagues. If you have an open roster spot, I’d strongly consider picking him up and seeing what happens. If he’s (finally) healthy, then he might be one of the waiver adds of the season.