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RotoBaller NBA Recap: The G.O.A.T. Heir


Very rarely do I dream. I mean, I zone out throughout the day and drift into a land far removed from my current situation quite often. But, head to the pillow in my ThunderCats jammies and REM cycle activated? Blank space... Last night was different.

As I laid in a restful slumber, thoughts of Victor Oladipo putting in work against the Warriors in this season's NBA Finals overcame my brain waves. I find this odd on several fronts. Most obviously, Oladipo underwent season-ending surgery Monday to repair the ruptured quad tendon he suffered last Wednesday. Not only is he incapable of walking at the moment, but without him, Indiana might fall out of the playoff picture - forget about the Finals. There's also the part about the nearly identical procedure I had to repair the ruptured patellar tendon I suffered damn near two years ago to the day. Then, there's the ancillary, I'm not even a Pacers fan?! Why is this man popping up in my dreams with a bionic leg getting buckets? Even more confusing is that I was confused while watching him play in my dream. Meaning, real-life, sleeping version of me had a dream about confused, dream version of me watching a healthy, dream version of Oladipo play basketball... I need answers.

Oh, and by the way, the Oladipo-less Pacers didn't even play last night! There was literally nothing to trigger these thoughts in my mind. Weird. Seven games did take place in the association last night, however, and while my dream has absolutely nothing to do with any of them, the following words which highlight my three biggest fantasy takeaways from the evening absolutely do.

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Cedi Osman: The Caterpillar Finding His Wings

In a much simpler time, not long ago, Cedi Osman was nothing more than a LeBron James fanboy with really, really, rich parents. He got to travel with the team, he took part in the pre-game shootarounds, he even sat on the bench in full-blown Cavaliers gear and celebrated every LeBron feat with the glee of a five-year-old at Christmas. We didn't have to wonder how to pronounce his name, or where the Republic of Macedonia was, because it didn't matter - he was just a guy on the bench who seemed to like LeBron a whole lot. But then, LeBron left...

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Some people bring out the worst in you, others bring out the best. And there are remarkably rare ones, who just bring out the most of everything that even you don't know that you have. They build you up. They make you feel alive. They make you feel strong. They make you feel indisputable. From the first moment we met, you’ve always been that rare one for me, King. I don’t believe in coincidences. I choose to believe my path crossed with you for a reason. And that reason will be uncovered as I continue to walk through. Please accept my highest gratitude for your support and appreciation for your inspiration. I’m truly blessed to have been surrounded by your charm. Bazı insanlar doğanızdaki kötü tarafları ortaya çıkarır; bazıları ise içinizdeki iyiyi katlayarak yansıtmanızı sağlar. Ama bazı özel insanlar vardır ki, onların sayısı çok azdır, sahip olduğunuzun farkında bile olmadığınız yönlerinizi parlatmanızı sağlar. Sizi geliştirir, yaşadığınızı hissettirir ve güçlü olduğunuzu hatırlatır. Kral, ilk buluşmamızdan itibaren benim için eşsiz biri oldun. Biliyorum ve inaniyorum ki seninle yolumuz özel bir nedenle kesişti. Bu özel neden, hayatım boyunca benimle olmaya devam edecek. Verdiğin tüm destek için sana kalpten teşekkür ediyorum. Seninle geçirdiğim her dakika için minnetarım. Yolun açık olsun...

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Awww.

Now I'm really not sure if the "King's charm" has played a role, but learning alongside arguably the greatest of all-time seems like a favorable position to be in as a young player trying to find your way in the NBA. It also helps to be good at playing basketball (not sure if his parents are rich, but he can hoop). And with James now donning the purple and gold, the door has swung wide open for Osman to walk in and make a name for himself...

26 points on 63-percent shooting, including 4-of-8 from deep, to go with five rebounds, seven assists, and two steals is how the line read last night in the Cavs 116-113 victory over the Wizards and Osman has now scored at least 20 points in three of his last four games while averaging 17 points, four rebounds, and two assists over Cleveland's last 10.

It's pronounced Jed-ē, and he's heir to the throne.

 

Shabazz Napier Continues to Turn Back the Hands of Time

Shabazz Napier was a two-time National Champion at UConn, and while his contributions to the first title were minimal -- that was Kemba Walker's team -- his run in the 2014 tournament remains one of the most memorable to this day. Unfortunately, for Mr. Napier, we're now five years removed from his glory and his NBA self has looked nothing like that of the Most Outstanding Player version we saw cut down the nets in Madison Square Garden before ultimately running around as confetti fell on his head in Arlington, Texas.

Well, he's baaaaack.

With his court time doubling over the last three games for the shorthanded Nets -- who are without the services of Allen Crabbe, Spencer Dinwiddie, Jared Dudley, and Caris Levert -- Napier has responded with three '14 NCAA Tournament-esque performances. Last night saw him drop 24 points with three rebounds, four assists, and three steals off the bench - not only leading Brooklyn to a 122-117 victory over the Bulls, but also reminding us that the man can get buckets. Now averaging 21 points, two rebounds, four assists, and two steals over this three-game stretch, Napier looks to be a trustworthy source of value in DFS contests and is definitely worth a look in season-long formats as well with Dinwiddie undergoing surgery on his thumb, LeVert not likely to return any time soon, and his recent play warranting a consistent spot in the rotation.

 

The Kenneth Faried Renaissance

Some things in life are simply unexplainable. My dream, for example. The hundreds of studies documenting the effectiveness of the placebo effect, yet medicine still existing, with no one figuring out how to unlock the brain's ability to seemingly cure an issue simply by believing a cure (which isn't present) is in place. The demise of Kenneth Faried in Denver, the brief stint in Brooklyn where he couldn't even get on the floor, and his rebirth in Houston where he's averaging career-highs across the board.

Change of scenery?

Maybe, but it's likely the result of a combination of things. One of the most reasonable factors being opportunity - Faried has seen 31 minutes per game in the Rockets non-existent frontcourt; the most of his eight-year career.

Opportunity, in itself, doesn't mean much, however. Let me get 31 minutes per game and watch what happens. And it's not like Faried didn't see the floor towards the end of his Denver career; 21 minutes per game in 2016 led to 10 points and eight rebounds of production. That in mind, regression to the mean seems inevitable at some point, and that point will likely come with the return of Clint Capela. However, Faried registered 19 points and 11 rebounds against the Pelicans last night -- his third-straight double-double -- and is averaging 15 and 10 since joining the Rockets. He's likely long gone from the waiver wire, but take a look if that's not the result of your actions because it seems safe to say the Manimal still has it and that inevitable point of regression has a minimum three-to-five-week timetable.

 

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