Happy Friday! We made it through another week and we (I) deserve a little #pickem. You know, as a treat.
Here we are tasked with building the perfect team around Giannis Antetekounmpo but there's only one problem: $15 is much too much for four other players so I'll up the ante. I'm going to use my $15 to build a starting lineup and sixth man around Giannis. Hero? Savior? Hardly. I'm just doing my job, one hypothetical dollar at a time.
Kawhi Leonard $5 (Remaining: $10)
Game over. Right now, I think I've built the perfect team around Giannis and I still have four selections and $10 left. I'm going to tell Kawhi and Giannis to lock hands in the middle of the floor like Red Rover and watch as the opposing team is unable to get the ball over halfcourt.
Also every time we come back from any kind of "break", Kawhi Leonard has gotten substantially better. This year he added a career-high in PPG with a career-high in assist %. Last year, it was a then-career-high in PPG but lowering his turnover %. I can't wait to see what he's added since the NBA season halted. Maybe he'll be able to fly by the time the League starts back up.
Anthony Davis $4 (Remaining: $6)
So I've turned Khris Middleton into Kawhi Leonard. A lateral move, at best. Now let's turn Brook Lopez into Anthony Davis for the low, low price of $4. AD prefers being called a power forward so nobody tell him that he's defending other teams centers here. He can call himself a point guard if he wants, but he'll be guarding the other team's tallest player. Imagine somehow making it past Giannis and Kawhi only to have AD waiting for you at the basket.
Klay Thompson $3 (Remaining: $3)
I think Paul George is a better individual player than Klay Thompson (stop the presses) but nobody fits onto a team better than Klay. Whatever you want from a complementary player, Klay has in abundance. He doesn't need the ball in his hands to contribute. He can take over the offense for minutes at a time. He's a good defender that can guard multiple players. He can get his shot off without even a second's notice. And most importantly, he's bringing the Bay Area's finest gas to roll up with the team before games. All that for three dollars.
Jayson Tatum $2 (Remaining: $1)
As with my last pick, Luka is the best player on this row but Tatum is the best fit for the team I'm building. Tatum's a much better defender than Doncic and a better catch-and-shoot guy (Tatum hit 39% of corner threes this past season, Doncic hit 27%). Part of that is that Luka is a better playmaker for others and more comfortable shooting off the dribble. Respectfully, my team right now is Tatum-Thompson-Kawhi-Giannis-AD so I don't really need too many plays made for other people. They'll make their own plays, specifically the "Go score 20+ PPG while also playing All-NBA caliber defense" play. And I don't need Luka shooting off the dribble when I have Klay shooting any kind of way he wants to shoot.
Pascal Siakam $1 (Remaining: $0)
Positionless basketball, Jeff Van Gundy!!!! I was tempted to go with Kemba or Lavine here as guards that can create their own shot against anyone. But you're only as good as your weakest link and defensively, Kemba/Lavine would be the weak link. McCollum and Derozan would provide similar outcomes so I'm going with Siakam. I'm not addicted to #pickem but you could say I'm addicted to 20+ PPG scorers that play All-NBA caliber defense. Siakam's numbers are dangerously close to Tatum's this season, and he's half the price.
Those are the per 36 minutes numbers for Siakam (top row) and Tatum (bottom row). Tatum's a better shooter, Siakam a slightly better rebounder and passer. And I've got them both for a combined $3.
Giannis Antetekounmpo- Kawhi Leonard- Anthony Davis- Klay Thompson-Jayson Tatum- Pascal Siakam (6th man)
Who you got?