This article is part of our Rebound & Rant series.
A hearty THANK YOU to RotoWire NBA Editor Nick Whalen for filling in for me during last Friday's NBA Podcast. If you listen to first few minutes of that episode, you'll know why this is the Belize Edition of the R&R:
And, OK, let's get it over with, here is the picture they were joking about during the pod opening:
My dilemma is I don't really know what a Belize Edition entails. Do I talk about red hot players? It was damn hot in Belize – I still have sun-burnt skin flaking off my head. I think I'll just make my usual unrelated points, while attempting to be mildly amusing.
Ugh, The Spurs
The Spurs recently lost four games at home, before pulling out a win Monday versus the woeful Grizzlies. The last time they lost four straight at home, Danny Ferry was on the roster. Outside of LaMarcus Aldridge, it's been awfully difficult for them to get production out of anyone on a consistent basis. Every time I want to go all in Dejounte Murray, he puts up a 4 point, 4 rebound, zero assists stinker as he did Monday. I'll confess, I'm oddly obsessed with 25-year-old Latvian Davis Bertans. The red-headed sophomore has the potential to be rare "3's and Blocks" guys, like aging teammate Rudy Gay was during this heyday. The kid is 6-10 and already draining 1.3 treys per contest. We just need him to tighten up his D. He's an interesting keeper league bargain, or maybe I should say "experiment". Pau Gasol aint getting any younger.
We really need podcast partner D.J. Trainor to grow a Bertans-like odd beard:
— Jakob (@jakobeliason) March 6, 2018
Tuesday Was Shaq's 46th Birthday
I'm embarrassed to admit that I wasted a considerable amount of time on Tuesday reading and watching Sports Illustrated's"Best of The Diesel" compilation , which they pieced together to celebrate the big fella's 46th birthday. I love it when Shaq and Barkley argue on TNT. Here's my favorite video, published in 2012:
Serious question: would Shaq be nearly as valuable in today's NBA? No one seems to care that Dwight Howard is putting up 14 and 12 a game for the 28-37 Hornets.
Blake Playing Worse in Detroit?
Sure, the sample size is small, but a case can be made that Blake Griffin is playing worse, statistically, in Detroit than he did in LA. I say this noting that the Pistons are 6-10 since getting Griffin, having lost seven of their last eight. Fantasy wise, Griffin is clearly losing rebounds to Andre Drummond. In last night's loss, Drummond grabbed 21 rebounds while Griffin collected only three (over 38 minutes). Sure, Griffin his some HUGE shots to keep Detroit in the game. But check out his matador defense on DeMar DeRozan's drive for the dunk:
— NBA (@NBA) March 8, 2018
Griffin lets DeRozan get an easy, clear path to the bucket because he's worried about CJ Miles in the corner. DeRozan is their clear cut leading scorer. Miles shot 2 for 8 last night. You let Miles or Fred VanVleet beat you. If they hit a miracle shot, as VanVleet did later, you tip your hat and move on. But you don't give the opponents star an easy dunk.
But back to Griffin's fantasy stats. Compare for yourself:
Blake's 33 games with the Clippers: 22.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 0.9 steals and 1.9 made threes per game.
Blake's 16 games with the Pistons: 19.9 points, 6.7 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 0.5 steals and 1.6 made threes per game.
Jaylen Brown Is Disappointing Me
I expected a big breakout season for second-year stud Jaylen Brown. The wing is still only 21 and has improved significantly over his rookie season, but I need more. I knew back in August he'd start over Marcus Smart, which happened, improving his minutes per game from 17 to 31 per contest. And the counting stats have increased, accordingly. But 62 percent free throw shooting is unacceptable for a wing, especially one shooting 37 percent from behind the arc. Maybe I'm nitpicking. Hopefully Brown figures out his free throw problems. Fantasy wise, things will be worse next year for Brown with Gordon Hayward in the mix.
Well, that's it for my Belize Edition. This fantasy train wreck has hit the END OF THE LINE! CHOO-CHOO!
POST-PUBLISH EDIT: After reading this article, podcast partner D.J. Trainor shared with me this fabulous photo of himself sporting some awesome ginger chin lettuce. I think he looks damn good, maybe even better than Bertans:
— Ken K-Train Crites (@KenCrites) March 13, 2018
(BTW, if you enjoy this little column, give our AWARD WINNING Friday NBA podcast a try, where I usually join Shannon McKeown and D.J. Trainor for some epic NBA conversations.)