Tim Duncan will turn 37 years old later this season and has accrued 1,324 games during his career (including the postseason). To put this in perspective, a deep playoff run would have Duncan already approaching Shaquille O'Neal's total games played (speaking of Shaq, how crazy is it that he never once led the NBA in rebounding or blocks in a season throughout his career?). Before this year, Duncan's mpg had decreased in nine of the past 10 seasons, including each of his past six campaigns. This career trajectory isn't unexpected, especially with the Spurs far more worried about a postseason run than finishing with the best possible regular season record, so it was safe to expect more of the same from Duncan in 2012/13. Surprisingly, Duncan's 30:23 mpg are his most since 2009/10, and while he'll still get rested from time to time with the team's end game in mind, it's what he's done with those extra minutes that's been truly shocking, as Duncan has seemingly found the fountain of youth. He's averaging a solid 17.8 ppg, 10.2 rpg and 2.4 apg while shooting 51.3 percent from the floor, but Duncan's 2.6 bpg are his most since 2003/04 while his 1.6 tpg are the fewest of his career. And his 79.2 FT percentage is his second best mark ever. To say this was unforeseen from someone his age and with his mileage would be an understatement. In fact, his per-36 minute numbers for rebounds (12.1) and blocks (3.0) are among the best of his career. Duncan was on average the 36th most valuable fantasy player in nine-cat leagues over the past seven years. He currently ranks fifth, according to Basketball Monster.
The Heat have taken a step back this year, as their defense has been a big problem early on (they ranked fourth in Defensive Efficiency last year and 19th so far this year). Of course, this is a team that should be able to "turn it on" when it matters most, but even with a bit of a disappointing record to begin a season with extremely high expectations, LeBron James certainly isn't to blame. His 25.5 ppg is actually his fewest since his rookie campaign, and his 1.4 spg is his lowest ever but so is James' 2.7 tpg, and his 8.6 rpg is a career high. While his FT percentage is down (which has been somewhat offset for fantasy owners by him getting to the line the fewest amount of times since his rookie season), James' FG percentage is a career high 54.2 percent, which is remarkable for a non-traditional big man. Much of James' 53.1 FG percentage last year was credited to him shooting the fewest three-pointers (2.4) of his career, but he's upped that to 3.2 this season — making 44.4 percent of them, which is easily a personal best. That number is likely to drop moving forward, but James is also likely to get to the line more often, as things tend to even out. Still, it's not like his incredibly impressive FG percentage is some fluke, as James' 7.0 attempts at the rim are the second most in the NBA — his 78.2 percentage from there is a career high, but it's not that unsustainable since he's never been below 71.0 percent beforehand (the league average is 64.1%). Of course, you don't need me to tell you James is good at basketball, but his unique ability to attack the rim while also improving his shooting from the outside has been a nice new combination. Despite his scoring being down, he's been as good as ever this year.
If you haven't seen it yet, here's the worst free throw in the history of basketball.
Here's a ref trying to block a Kris Humphries free-throw attempt.
Tough break for Andrea Bargnani owners already dealing with disappointment (he was the 128th most valuable player so far this year, behind studs like Kosta Koufos and Brandon Wright) as he will now be out indefinitely (at least three weeks) with a tear in his right elbow. Bargnani hasn't been a bust as a former No. 1 overall pick, but he also hasn't come particularly close to living up to such a pedigree, including shooting just 39.8 percent from the field this season before going down with the injury. Moreover, for someone 7-0, 255, his 4.3 rpg leaves quite a bit to be desired. Nevertheless, Bargnani's shooting was likely to improve, and his fantasy owners aren't happy with their loss even if he's been a disappointment. Ed Davis and Amir Johnson appear to be the main beneficiaries, with the former likely having the most upside in what's likely going to be a timeshare. Speaking of Toronto and injuries, it really is too bad Kyle Lowry can't stay healthy.
Here's a one-handed basketball player who's got game.
Here's a wife destroying her cheating husband's car.
It sounds like Ricky Rubio will make his season debut shortly. Of course, it's unclear how long it will take him to get back to 100 percent while returning from a torn ACL and don't forget he shot just 35.7 percent from the floor even while impressing during his rookie campaign last year, but his return will be welcomed by fantasy owners and Timberwolves fans alike. Despite the (very) poor shooting and high turnover rate, Rubio was still a top-80 fantasy player last year, even as an extremely raw 21-year-old. His 2.2 spg made the second-biggest impact in the category in fantasy leagues, behind only Chris Paul. And among those who averaged more than 8.0 apg last season, only Rajon Rondo got more than Rubio's 4.2 rpg. Again, there's plenty of concern just how healthy he'll be, at least in the short term, but Rubio looked like a future star before going down last year and has a ton of upside moving forward.
Jason Richardson has quietly been a productive fantasy asset this year, averaging 2.2 3pt, 1.7 spg and 0.6 bpg while shooting 75.0 percent from the line. Add it all up, and he's been the 34th most valuable fantasy player, making him a huge bargain considering what his price tag was at draft tables. J-Rich is a boring option now on the wrong side of 30 coming off a year in which he ranked 120th in fantasy value, but he quietly was inside the top-50 in the previous four seasons, and he's fully taken advantage of his new role in Philadelphia (although to be fair, his Usage Rate has actually decreased compared to last year). Richardson's bpg and spg are both career highs, while his 0.7 tpg is easily a career low, so he's clearly a sell-high candidate, at least in theory (it's questionable if this could actually be pulled off). More likely, fantasy owners will just need to hope their early season late round bargain maintains at least some of his unexpectedly high value from here on out.
A girl's high school basketball team lost 107-2.
This courtside footage of Jason Kidd's game-winning three against the Nets is pretty cool.
Quick Hits: After shooting 50.0, 59.0, 62.9 and 56.8 percent at the rim over his first four years in the league, Roy Hibbert is at 42.1 this year — by far the worst mark in the league (minimum 4.5 attempts per game)…Bismack Biyombo has averaged just 5.8 ppg since joining the starting lineup four games ago, but he's grabbed 8.5 rpg over that span and has plenty of shot blocking potential, especially now with a sudden increase in playing time. He needs to be added in all deeper fantasy leagues…C.J. Miles has the 15th highest Usage Rate in the league. His 5.56 PER ranks 328th…I drafted Michael Beasley in a couple of leagues this year, thinking he'd thrive as a key component in Phoenix's uptempo offense, but I couldn't have been more wrong. He's simply not a good player (9.71 PER) and is now worthless while buried on the Suns' bench...After never averaging more than 2.5 apg over the first six years of his career, J.J. Redick is getting 5.0 this season…The Knicks are attempting a league-high 29.1 three-pointers per game, yet their Offensive Efficiency ranks second only to the Thunder this season…The Rockets have the highest PACE so far this year, while the Hornets have by far the lowest.