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Rebound & Rant: The Emotions Edition

Ken "K-Train" Crites

An early RotoWire contributor from back in the 90's, K-Train returns with the grace of Gheorghe Muresan and the wisdom of Joe Gibbs. Tweet him @KenCrites or e-mail him at Ken won the FSWA 2014 Humor Article Of The Year award. He's also the 2015-16 champion of the prestigious RW NBA Keeper League. Ken still owns a RotoNews shirt.

The latest fantasy basketball developments have me in, yes, a GLASS CASE OF EMOTION

And frankly I don’t know what to do about it. The worst development was Kyle Lowry’s wrist injury. My championship squad had enough leftovers from last year to convince me to be a buyer and not a seller this season. Thanks to Lowry and others, I was in striking distance at third place and dealing future assets for win-now players. Just after the RotoWire Staff Keeper League trade deadline, news broke that Lowry was out for the season. And my team has been sinking like a rock ever since. I’m not even going to win my “who finishes better” NBA Socks wager with fellow podcaster Shannon “Shanooski” McKeown.

Oh, I can’t put all the blame on Lowry, though. Let’s dive into the fantasy implications of my disastrous end-of-season run. Learn from my pain.

Norman Powell
Everyone assumed that with Lowry out, Cory Joseph’s numbers would soar. While he’s filled in admirably, Joseph’s stats have been pedestrian over the past five games: 11.0 points, 4.8 assists, 1.2 steals and 3.2 boards per game. The bigger news might be how moving Terrence Ross to Orlando has increased Powell’s workload. He is averaging 14.7 points, 1.0 made threes, 3.3 boards and 2.2 assists per game this month, and while I know that’s similar to Joseph, Powell is only owned in 6 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Jordan Crawford
Another bummer for Team K-Train has been DeMarcus Cousins’ move to New Orleans. Instead of carrying Sac-town, he’s sharing the post with Anthony Davis, and the results are not pretty. Micah Adams of ESPN pointed out Tuesday, before last night’s win versus Portland, the following:

“With both All-Stars on the floor, the Pelicans have shot 41 percent on 2-pointers and 27 percent on 3-pointers while sporting an assist-to-turnover ratio that would rank last in the NBA.”

But not all is bleak. Gunner Jordan Crawford is back! After sending Buddy Hield and Tyreke Evans to Sacramento in the Cousins deal, the Pelicans' backcourt is pretty baron. Enter 10-day contract Crawford, who has never been shy about shooting. It’s early, but in three games he’s averaging 14.0 points, 3.0 made treys and 3.3 assists per game. If you need 3’s, he’s worth a flier.

Dario Saric
The Process is still a disaster in Philadelphia and my terrible trade for Sergio Rodriguez certainly didn’t do anything to help Team K-Train. But the silver lining is that Saric is really starting to blossom, averaging 20.2 points, 8.0 boards and 1.7 made threes per game over his last 10. Even more interesting, he’s shooting 51.1 percent from the field over his last four, quite the difference from his 41.4 percent season average. The turnovers are still high (3.6 per game over his last 10), but that’s to be expected when your team refuses to get a legit point guard. Now play Justin Anderson, dammit!

Speaking of The Process, Sam Hinkie was at the Warriors-Sixers game in Golden State, and a fan wearing an “I’m With Hinkie” t-shirt took this fantastic photograph:

I hate the process, but this photo is epic.

Darko Milicic
Speaking of emotions and Eastern Europeans, did you see the Human Victory Cigar Darko Milicic recently did an interview? Kudos to the good folks at r/NBA for translating some key questions from Serbian to English. Darko now weighs 350 pounds and enjoys working on his farm. Hopefully he’s working harder on this crop development than he did on basketball. This quote is Darko in a nutshell:

"So yeah, I was the problem. That initial dissatisfaction probably led to me starting to hate and not enjoy playing. There were some situations where I've already scored 20 points, but in my head I'm thinking: "When will this game finally end, come on, let's pack it up and go home." I just had to feed my ego, I couldn't care less what's going to happen the following week. My whole approach since coming to the US was just wrong. I could say I was too young back then, but I chose to go there myself and I obviously wasn't prepared for what the league would require from me.”
Oh, Darko, Darko, Darko. Shannon may pass me in the RotoWire Staff League, but I can always give him grief for the Pistons drafting you no. 2 ahead of Carmello Anthony. By the way, Milicic averaged six points per game over his 10-year career. How many 20-point games could he have possibly had? I looked it up: 10.

Elfrid Payton
Lowry’s injury leaves me with Darren Collison and Dennis Schroder as my point guards. Not ideal. It would be nice if either could heat up like Payton in Orlando. The floppy fro’d one suddenly produced three triple-doubles over his past five games. But more importantly, he’s hitting his shots. Over his past 10 games, he’s shooting 51.6 percent, plus snagging 7.7 rebounds per outing. Clearly the absence of Serge Ibaka is helping create rebound opportunities. Remember, Payton is only 23 years old, there is plenty of room for upside.

Winter storm Stella has really rocked us here in Vermont, bringing about 20 inches of snow. I’ve shoveled the drive way twice and my back is killing me. I think I deserve this Carmelo Anthony hat as a reward:

This fantasy train wreck has hit the END OF THE LINE! CHOO-CHOO!

P.S. -- My wonderful alma mater, Northwestern University, was invited Sunday to their first ever NCAA Tournament. It only took us 78 years. Let's enjoy the announcement one more time:

One could say I was excited to watch the Selection Sunday show: