Locked Out League Playoff Preview - the Consolation round
Hello my fellow B-Ballers!
Ok, so as some of you may know (the assumption being that at least some of you will have 'completely checked out' at some point), the playoffs are about to start in the LOL.
Turns out, our crazy ass league has reached 'Defcon Lohan' in terms of it's bizarre structure as fully 6 teams out of 7 make it to the playoffs. Actually, that is not quite fair, 4 teams make the 'playoffs', and another 2 teams play for 'consolation'.
But with 6 teams moving forward in some capacity the last 19 weeks have been spent determining which one of us would NOT make get to see the post-season.
Despite having one of my best weeks of the year with 974 points, my final game of the season just happened to be against one the two best teams in the league, and Darrell's Goodfellas kneecapped the Skywalkers post season hopes by posting a league best 1088.
And so the Skywalkers finish with a league worst 3-11 record, consigning us to be the only LOL team to never have made the playoffs. If I had actually won the game I would have been 4-10 and tied with Dan's Chumfeeders at the bottom. Pretty sure the tiebreaker would be determined by our head to head records (in which Dan CRUSHES me 3-0) but it might have been raw points scored (i.e. excluding rebounds, assists, etc.). In any case, I'm out, and you are all in.
In the consolation round, the Chumfeeders (4-10) and Flatlanders (5-9) will duke it out to avoid being the 'next to worst loser'.
For the Chumfeeders there are 3 keys to victory;
1. Russell Westbrook-PG OKC
The warp-speed point guard is having a 'shut-up' type year for his critics, as his numbers; 23.4pts, 7.6a, 5.2 rebs and 1.8 steals (roughly 45 fantasy points a game on average) are in the 'ridiculously good' category. He's a no-brainer to be franchised by the team.
2. Steph Curry
The combo-guard (1/2 pg and 1/2 shooting guard, most typically a combo-guard is a combination of a shooting guard skillset in a point guard's body, ala Dwayne Wade. The biggest disadvantage is that your combo-guard lacks some prerequisite skill to be a point guard - i.e. they suck at running the offense, can't pass at a high level, can't guard traditional shooting guards, etc), has been absolutely light-out shooting lately, and has exploded to produce his best games of the year the last few weeks. On Feb 27th, Curry went supernovae posting a mind altering; 54pts, 7a, 6rebs, and 3 steals for a 70point game. It was of course, against the Skywalkers. In his last game he had 29pts, 11a, 5rebs, 2steals and a block for 55 fantasy points, and in the game immediately prior had just 8pts and 4 assists for 13 points - wherein lies the rub. If Curry is hot as he can be the hottest guy in the league, but he can also at least occasionally run cold.
I don't know if Dan has ever made a lineup change after week 1. He currently has both Irving and Parker, guys injured long term, in his lineup, and Kevin Garnett a shorter term injury problem unadressed. Swap in a Nash here or there, and the Chumfeeders roster of 'micro-ball' point and combo guards could take the matchup.
The keys for Doug's team to overcome the Chumfeeders are;
1. The Sacramento/Seattle Kings. With Isiah Thomas-PG as a UTIL player and DeMarcus Cousins-C playing a central role as one of the teams primary 'bigs', some great play by the Sactown Kings could float the entire offense. However, given the team is floundering at the bottom of the standings, threatened with a likely move to Seattle, and facing serious decisions like; is the foundation of the team (Cousins, Tyreke Evans, Thomas) inherently flawed and need to be blown up? (both Cousins and Evans are in frequent trade rumours) , the team is much more likely to simply melt down and play out the string.
2 Chris Paul
He's healthy, the Clippers lineup is healthy, they are looking to establish a rythymn heading into the playoffs, and the psychic communication between Paul and Blake Griffin has 'Lob City' running at full throttle. It is a very real possibility that Paul puts up bonkers assist and scoring numbers as the Clippers prime themselves for a deep post-season run.
3. Paul Pierce vs Kevin Garnett
The Celtics are old, slow, missing Rondo, and now dealing with a hobbled Garnett, and over the remaining games of the year, will be fighting for a playoff spot likely to deliver a 1st rnd matchup with the Heat. Garnett means less to the Chumfeeders than Pierce does to the Flatlanders. If the Celtics 'check out' en masse, the damage to the Flatlanders will be more serious than it is to the Chumfeeders.