Chickens, A King and Free Throws
What do LeBron James and a man who wears a KFC bucket on his head, says he was raised by chickens and is on a mission to end the fast-food chicken holocaust by shredding his guitar have in common?
You really wouldn't think much, but alas, the infamous Buckethead released a few new tracks to honor King James' 24th birthday late last month. Check out the jams if you like some great guitar work, and while you're listening, imagine LeBron schooling people left and right like he did Monday, when he messed around and got a triple-double by racking up 30 points, doling out 10 dimes and pulling down 11 boards off the glass.
It's truly incredible to realize that LeBron is barely 24 years old and not even entering his prime years yet. He's an absolute statistical god right now and will only get better -- especially if he continues to shoot the lights out at the line.
His persistent failures at the charity stripe (close to nine attempts per game in the low 70-percents) was his fantasy Achilles heel, but he's averaging 78.8 percent this season and has averaged no less than 78.2 percent in the first two full months of the season.
I believed a couple of years ago that he would figure it out (a la Karl Malone, who went from dud to stud at the free-throw line), but I gave up. Now it seems that LeBron's figured it out, though I do wonder if it's going to be permanent.
I also wonder if maybe Buckethead's chicken parents gave LeBron the "secret recipe" for success at the charity stripe.
J-Smoove Rejected From Swat Team?
So, I'm in a league where I desperately need blocks. Naturally, I began looking to acquire Josh Smith, who through his first four seasons was blocking shots at an historic pace and who had stumbled in relative terms (for a guy who went in the first round or so in most leagues) out of the gate this season. The owner who has J-Smoove is in the basement of the league and is willing to deal him and it appears it won't cost me anything stupid.
But here's the catch: Smoove, who in his past three seasons averaged 2.6 bpg, 2.9 bpg and 2.8 bpg, respectively, is averaging just 1.5 bpg this season.
Initially, I wasn't concerned, because I figured that would only help keep the price low in a trade, since his owner would have to be extremely frustrated. But the closer I've looked at his situation, the more concerned I am about his blocking potential the rest of this season. He has had more than one block exactly once (two blocks on Dec. 29) in his past 14 games, and during that same stretch, Smoove had four games without a rejection. Since returning Dec. 3 from an injury that cost him nearly all of November, he's posted two games with more than two blocks (five).
What concerns me more is that this dip in rejection production actually began soon after the Hawks acquired Mike Bibby last season. Before the All-Star break, he averaged 3.1 bpg, and in the final 32 games with Bibby in tow, Smith averaged just 2.3 bpg. With a diverse and talented starting lineup, the Hawks don't need J-Smoove to do everything, and they aren't simply running up and down the court streetballin' any more. That inherently is going to limit Smith's blocking potential.
I may still pull the trigger for J-Smoove, because I'm a bit desperate in this particular league, but it won't be without some serious trepidation about his ability to fill out my blocking needs the rest of the way.
Remember Me? The No. 2 Overall Pick?
Think back to the first couple of weeks this season when a young superstar in the making -- a kid by the name of Michael Beasley -- started for the Heat and scored 17 or more points in four of his first five games. It's hard to think that far back when you have to look over the statistical abyss he put up as a reserve in December, when he managed to score in double digits only six times and averaged only 11 points and barely 19 minutes per contest.
Well, Beasley has been reintroduced to extended playing time in January, as he's averaging 29 minutes per game. Beasley has responded to the increased workload, as he's shooting 53 percent from the field and averaging 16.6 points and 6.4 boards. That includes topping the 20-point mark three times in his past four games. The Heat wisely limited his workload early this season, so he'd be strong for the stretch run. All signs point to the Heat dealing Shawn Marion away before next month's trade deadline, which would open up a ton of minutes and touches for Beasley. He should make for a cheap scoring and rebounding option for the second half of his rookie run.
Millsap has MRI on Knee
The Salt Lake Tribune reported Thursday morning that Paul Millsap's knee is not seriously damaged. An MRI revealed that he has only bruised cartilage in the joint and nothing more serious. Overall that's great news for Millsap and his fantasy owners. But the fact that he's still dealing with significant pain and had the joint drained on Monday should temper any genuine excitement. Let's hope he heals up quickly, but I expect he's going to remain out at least through the weekend.
A Young Wiz
It's almost impossible to not notice Nick Young's recent scoring outburst, as he's popped off three career-high scoring games (28, 30, 33) for the Wizards over his past four games. Don't count on him maintaining any monster pace like that over the long term, but if you need scoring in a deeper league, you might as well grab him and ride the hot hand. Just keep in mind that his overall fantasy game is hollow, as he provides literally nothing else besides some threes.
Have A Link, Comment or Question For Us?