So talking my opponent this week, he didnt even know we were playing each other… :'(. Shows how much he pays attention to this league. After checking on our teams, he even admitted mine was the better one. Perhaps this motivates him to try this week? Or maybe he will just lie down, having already admitted defeat…Perhaps a ploy to make me overconfident? Probably just friendly banter. This is the guy who psyched out another owner from pulling the trigger on a Mason Plumlee for Reggie Jackson swap AFTER Jackson was traded to DET. Mindgame game is strong with this one. On to the preview
My team remains unchanged from last week. Off the back of young centers, we are strong in BLKs and our stud guards provide us with those AST and STL cats. His team is one of the more balanced teams in the league. A jack-of-all-trades if you will, he is strong in DD and BLK, with 3PM being his team’s one weak category. He dodged a bullet with LaMarcus Aldridge opting to play through his thumb injury. He was also rewarded for keeping Reggie Jackson through his ice-cold stretch prior to the trade deadline and subsequent move to DET. Unable to make a single trade the whole season, his team is entirely constructed through the draft and FA pick ups.
LMA is the team’s one true stud player. A bedrock for FG%, FT%, REB, DD, and PTS, he has done well to build around him. Players like Millsap, Duncan, Jonas, Ibaka, and Lopez all help bolster those bigmen stat categories. While not as well-rounded as LMA, they come with their own strengths (Millsap – STL,3PM; Duncan – FG%, DD, BLK; Jonas -FG%; Ibaka -BLK; Lopez – FG%) that together create a strong whole. He has little in the way of guard stats however. When a single player is your sole source of a single category, like Lawson and ASTs for his team, you run the risk of losing that category if that player has a bad week, is hurt, or doesnt play enough games that week. While Hayward and Jackson can help contribute to ASTs, they simply are not prolific enough at getting them to carry the category. ASTs are also arguably one of the hardest categories to find help from the waiver wire. Bradley, Middleton, Hayward, Millsap, and Ibaka are all able to help in 3PM, but the sum of their efforts hasn’t been enough to help his team in that category so far this season leaving him deficient in the category (2nd lowest 3PM in the whole league).
Playing such a balanced team, one can expect your strengths to be accentuated while your weaknesses exposed. He probably does not have the players to overtake me in the cats my team is strong in (AST, STL, BLK), but has the consistency to beat me in the percentage categories my team is weak at (FG%, FT%). I predict a 6-3 week (like our previous matchup), with me winning the 3PM, AST, STL, BLK, PTS categories and him winning the percentage categories (FG%, FT%) and a split between the two remaining categories (REB, DD). Currently sitting #4 overall, my opponent holds a 7.5 game lead over the #5 team (the one that was hit with a 16 game penalty for abusing LM powers). If current standings hold, this week will be a preview for my first round playoff matchup. Rosters may shuffle a bit because our league’s trade deadline is this Wednesday (3/4), but like with last week’s opponent, it will be nice to get a feel for where our two teams are. While playing the #2 and #4 teams this late in the season is a challenge, it is also a good chance to gather intel on probable playoff opponents. Hopefully my opponent actually sets his roster this week unlike the last time we played. Or is it more mind games? Feigning weakness to not give away your team’s true strength to a potential playoff opponent? Who knows with this guy….
EDIT: With the news of Jimmy Butler hurt from the next 3-6 wks with an elbow injury, I envisioned a scenario where my opponent would pick up both Tony Snell and Nikola Mirotic, two players I expect to benefit immensely from the void left by Butler and Rose’s injuries. Together, both could bolster the 3PM category. If you remember, Beal is kind of stuck in the IR spot at the moment, even though he is healthy. Against the 2nd worst 3PM team, I didnt think I would need his production this week, but if my opponent made the move to pick up Snell and Mirotic, I would feel a lot less confident that I could win the category. As of right now, Snell was picked up by my opponent from last week, while Mirotic remains. I cant pick Mirotic up myself with the healthy Beal in the IR spot, so Im going to have to rely on my other leaguemates to help me out here. Ideally, someone already out of the playoffs (and is not my final week opponent) would grab him, and denying him from MILL$AP ROCKY.