I meant to post this yesterday, but it didnt really feel necessary. Up and down the roster, Im pretty satisfied with all my players. Already set at AST, STL, and BLK, the emergence of Rudy Gobert and Alex Len alleviated my worries about my team’s REB deficiency. I think the poor FG% and FT% had a good chance to go up. With MCW becoming a little more efficient in MIL, Lowry recovering from an injury that I suspect affected his shooting, and Wall having to shoulder less of the offensive load with Beal back, I felt better about my FG%. FT% a bit of a dice-roll, but with FT%-god, James Harden, and no significant FT burdens on the team, I think we have a good shot to win the cat in a given week. I dont think my team wins 3PM vs a team dedicated to winning the cat, but vs most, we can compete in the cat with Harden, Beal, Danny Green and the rest of the team.
In first place and pretty much guaranteed a playoff spot, my focus was on acquiring players with better playoff schedules. My two biggest offenders were Alex Len and Tobias Harris, both who only play 6 games in the first round of the playoffs (weeks 21-22) and 14 total during our playoffs (weeks 21-25). Neither a super-elite player, I would rather have 7-8 games of a similar player than only 6 of either. Otherwise, everyone else has average to good playoff schedules (16-18 games during the playoffs). Unfortunately, only about half of the teams in the league actually pay attention/care at this point. Of those, none were ideal trade partners, i. e. ones with players that had good playoff schedules. It didnt help that Harris is still coming back from a knee injury, making him not the most attractive trade piece.
The one trade that did go down however was a Vucevic/Stuckey for Kyrie/Jrue trade. Our #2 team, “Fuck Jon Lee” was the recipient of Irving, but honestly, Im not too worried. If you check the chart, CLE has one of the worst playoff schedules. Of course, Kyrie is the kind of talent that can go off any night and is especially good for a punt-FG% team, but I think can still be overcome with sheer volume of GP and MIN. There is also the chance that he gets rested late in the season with his prior injury history this year and CLE probably locking up a playoff birth in the weak Eastern Conference.
By dominating the regular season, others have to chase you/standings while you are free to make moves with an eye to the playoffs. The advantage you accrue and the space you create for yourself can be the difference between a win and a loss late in the season.