• Greetings my freaky friends! Welcome back to another edition of The Circus of Fantasy Foretelling and Statistical Anomalies. While my crystal ball skills proved to be a little murky this week thanks to a man that some call Cobra and others the Wolverine, I’ve tried to redeem myself with a super-sized listicle that’s positively bursting at the seams with statistical wonders, numerical tidbits and trivial oddities from all across the globe. Let’s get right to it!

    The Crystal Ball Report

    *all rankings are 9-cat per game over the last two weeks unless otherwise specified

    Last week I gushed about Scottie Barnes, calling him a lock for top-50 ROS and he did not disappoint, coming in with a No. 41 valuation and netting me a Win.

    Steph Curry (left foot) wound up on the IR because of Marcus Smart’s belly flop and while I don’t think that should count, it does, making this a very painful Loss.

    Mo Bamba had a terrible week (No. 178) which sent his ranking down to No. 85 over the last two weeks which is outside of the top-60 where I thought he’d wind up. Loss.

    Jordan Poole was a huge beneficiary of the Marcus Smart dive-job for which (again) I absolutely don’t want to take a Loss but am forced to anyway.

    Bruce Brown came in at No. 79 for the week which is almost exactly the No. 80 that I said he’d be. Win.

    Malik Beasley at No. 55 was about as easy money to fade as it gets and he came through for me (if not for ANY fantasy teams) with a No. 261 week. Win.

    I thought Trendon Watford would remain inside the top-85 and he currently sits at No. 43 over the last two weeks on the back of a No. 82 ranking last week. Win.

    Isaiah Roby fell off the face of the earth for most of the week after seeing his minutes cut. I said I didn’t trust the Thunder to ride a hot hand and that’s proven to be a Win.

    I said Jalen Green’s No. 84 ranking would come down when his shooting did and it took all the way until Sunday to see that happen but it happened nonetheless. Win.

    Gary Trent Jr. was shooting too badly for me to think it would last and he bounced back briefly before stinking it up again last night and falling just outside the top-100 for the week. Loss.

    *That puts me at 6-4 with my crystal ball for this week—which kind of Smarts—and gets me to 20-7-3 overall. It also means that now that we’ve cleared old business it’s time once again for:

    Is This Real Life? Is This Just Fantasy?

    *all stats are 9-cat over the last two weeks unless otherwise specified

    Kyrie Irving has been the No. 1 player per game but drops down to No. 19 by totals due to a slight problem with ineligibility.

    Verdict: Fantasy. He’s going to be great when he plays but he’s only eligible to play in five of the remaining 11 games this season and while he might try to get 60 every time out, (call me crazy) I don’t see that as very realistic.

    Jayson Tatum weighed in at No. 3 and has been cruising along at a No. 5 clip over the last two months.

    Verdict: Real life. The Celtics are red hot lately and Tatum is one of the main reasons why. He may not keep up his current 52.8% shooting streak but he’s also likely to start accruing some more defensive stats than he has been and I see him easily retaining first round value ROS.

    Jordan Poole parlayed the aforementioned Marcus Smart belly flop into a top-16 week and has a ton of runway in front of him which is why he’s earned the rare distinction of appearing in this segment two weeks in a row.

    Verdict: Fantasy. I faded him last week because I thought his streak was slightly fluky and I’m not backing off of that now. He’s likely going to walk into top-50 value ROS but top-20 is too rich.

    Goga Bitadze almost didn’t miss a shot last week and has been the No. 26 player over the last two by shooting roughly 19 percentage points above his career average and more than doubling his steal rate.

    Verdict: Fantasy. I don’t care if Isaiah Jackson and Jalen Smith somehow miss the rest of the season, Goga isn’t good enough to climb into the top-125 let alone the top-20.

    Evan Mobley has also been making the most of his opportunity of late, cranking his value up to No. 30

    Verdict: Real life. Unlike Lauri Markkanen (who we’ll discuss in a second), Mobley’s increased value is largely tied to a usage and rebounding increase that I think will mostly stay in place for as long as Jarret Allen (finger) remains sidelined. I like him to settle in around the top-55 ROS.

    Lauri Markkanen has been shooting lights out lately and has the dial turned all the way up to No. 33.

    Verdict: Fantasy. I like what the Finnisher has to offer (and the opportunity in front of him) but I think his ceiling is closer to the top-50 once his shot begins to normalize.

    Christian Wood jumped up to No. 51 last week and (top-60 over the last two) thanks to slight increases across the board.

    Verdict: Fantasy. While I do believe he’s capable of showing sustained improvement on his currently career worst 61.6% free throw shooting, I don’t believe, given everything we’ve seen in Houston, that he’s going to be able to be a top-50 caliber player this season (or really any season for that matter).

    Jalen Smith has been awesome since getting traded to the Pacers and has been the 70th ranked player over the last two weeks and No. 69 over the last month.

    Verdict: Real life. Head coach Rick Carlisle seems to like his consistency and his ability to stretch the floor, plus Isaiah Jackson seems to be incapable of remaining healthy and out of foul trouble so Smith’s role should remain a constant from here on out. It’s wild how quickly the Pacers went from making a trade to unclog their big man rotation into needing to make a trade to unclog their big man rotation.

    Saddiq Bey sort of blew my mind coming in all the way down at No. 83 despite having a 50-point game and a No. 14 week for this edition until I realized that his free throw shooting had taken a major dip.

    Verdict: Fantasy. Bey can do some amazing things on the court and his progress has been a lot of fun to witness. His game has some flaws where field goal shooting and defensive prowess are concerned—and he’s got Cade Cunningham and Jerami Grant to contend with, as well—but despite all that he’s posted close top-60 value over the last two months and that’s what I expect him to do from here on out.

    Kevin Porter Jr. has ridden increased efficiency and rebounding numbers into more than halving his No. 240 season-long ranking down to No. 115 for this segment (and No. 68 for the week).

    Verdict: Fantasy. I have been ultra-harsh on KPJ and those that choose to mess with his ridiculously sloppy game but I’m actually hoping I get this one wrong. I like the guy and would love to see him improve but I’m going to need to see some real consistency before I buy in all the way.

    The Anomalisticle

    1 – On March 14th Karl-Anthony Towns became the first player in NBA history to record 60 points, 17 rebounds and seven made 3-pointers in a single game.

    2 – In the same game, Malik Beasley pulled his best Tony Snell imitation coming up one missed 3-pointer away from being a 19-trillionaire.

    3 – The very next night Kyrie Irving became the first player in NBA history to record 60+ points in a 40+ point road victory.

    4 – Kyrie Joined his teammate, Kevin Durant, for the first time in NBA history that teammates have scored 50+ points in consecutive games.

    5 – There have been two players in NBA history to score 60+ points while shooting at least 60.0% from the field, 60.0% from three and 90.0% from the line in a game: Karl-Anthony Towns and Kyrie Irving on March 14th and 15th, 2022.

    6 – Two nights later, Saddiq Bey joined Damian Lillard as the only players ever to record 50+ points, 10+ rebounds and 10+ threes in a a single game.

    7 – There have been seven 50-point games so far in the month of March, which is tied for the most since the NBA-ABA merger and is the most since December of 1962 when there were nine such games.

    8 – Since the All-Star break, the Lakers are 1-10 in games where LeBron does not score 50+ points.

    9 – March the 14th marked LeBron James setting the record for 1,360 consecutive games with at least one point, which he has since extended to 1,362.

    10 – Not to be outdone by himself, LeBron also moved into second place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list this week AND became the only member of the 10,000+ rebounds and 10,000+ assists club.

    11 – LeBron currently sits inside the top-8 all-time, regular season and playoffs combined, for the following stats: Points (1st), made field goals (2nd), made free throws (3rd), wins (4th), assists (5th), made threes (6th), games played (7th) and steals (8th).

    12 – As much as I love to bag on Russell Westbrook, nobody has more than his 53 go-ahead or game-tying shots since he entered the league.

    13 – The Suns are 44-0 when leading after three quarters this season. The 2020 Lakers were the only team with a better record in such games at an astounding 57-0 during their latest championship season.

    14 – Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo are currently the top two scorers in the league and if either of them wins the scoring title it would mark the first time an international player has done so.

    15 – Speaking of Joel Embiid, if his current 30.0 scoring average were to stay in place he would become the first center since Shaquille O’Neal to lead the league in scoring and the first since Moses Malone to average 30+ points in a season.

    *See something you like? Something you hate? Have some stats you think I missed? Head on over to Twitter and find me @sumocartwheel and let’s keep the conversation going!

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