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In our latest post in partnership with Draftstreet, we have info on a great Christmas Day offer for all of you. Happy Holidays, everyone.

Whether you celebrate the holiday or not, our friends at Draftstreet have a nice gift for you. For all of $11 you can have access to a one day, $100K fantasy league with a grand prize of $25K and cash prizes for the top 1,000 finishers.

The league starts at 9:00am PST and includes all the day’s NBA games. All you need to do is log-in to your draft street account and follow this link to sign up for the league. If you’re a first time depositor using their service, they’ll even match your first deposit up to $200.

It really is that simple. So, go ahead and follow the link, create an account (or log in), and join the action. Who knows, by the end the day on Christmas, you may just be $25K richer. Good luck.

Trend Watching

Darius Soriano —  November 20, 2013

In FB&G’s latest post in partnership with Draftstreet, we look at recent trends from Lakers’ players. Who’s doing well, who’s not, and some other general forecasting on the team. This Friday, Draftstreet is having another free-roll game that you can sign up for here. Just like last time, the game is free and offers cash prizes to the top finishers. So, again, sign up and see how good a team you can put together and possibly win some cash in the process.

On the rise
*I cannot think of a player with faster rising stock on this team than Jordan Hill. On the season Hill is averaging 10.4 points and 8.4 rebounds, but in the last 4 games as a starter those numbers jump to 18.8 points and 12 rebounds (4 offensive) in nearly 31 minute a night. Add to those numbers Hill’s nearly 2 blocks a game and the fact that he’s shown a willingness to kick the ball out to shooters after catching the ball on a dive out of the P&R, and Hill really is playing a complete game. There really isn’t anything negative to say about him at this point. If Hill can stay healthy and stay out of foul trouble while playing the full hustle style he’s made his name on and I see no reason why Hill can’t continue to be a double-double machine with some 20 point nights mixed in against opponents who don’t have strong team defenses.

*The other Laker who has really elevated his game lately is Steve Blake. We’ve touched on this topic already, so I won’t go into a lot of detail. But it bears repeating that after taking over for the injured Steve Nash as the starting PG, Blake has been racking up the assists and shooting a respectable percentage from the floor. On his best nights, Blake is also good for a double-double and, as long as he’s a primary ball handler, will have many opportunities to put up big assist numbers running the P&R in the half court and by finding teammates running the lane when the team gets out and runs.

Holding Steady
*The most consistent Laker all season has been…Jodie Meeks? If you’d have told me before the season this would be the case, I wouldn’t have believed you. But here Meeks is, leading the team in scoring and shooting insane percentages from the field nearly every night. On the season he’s hitting nearly 53% of his shots overall, including a pretty ridiculous 49.2% from behind the arc on 5 attempts per game. Meeks isn’t a huge rebounding or assist threat, but when he’s scoring as efficiently and effectively as he is this season, that really doesn’t matter.

The area I’ve probably been impressed most by Meeks is in his development as an off the dribble scorer both in the half and open court. Just last season Meeks struggled mightily when he had to put the ball on the floor to create his own shot at the rim, but this season he’s taking a giant leap forward in this area. It’s to the point that when defenders close out hard on him, he can put the ball on the floor and then read whether the D is going to step up or not and then make the correct play by either pulling up for the mid-range jumper or getting all the way to the rim. There are still plays where he loses his handle and commits a turnover, but those occur with less frequency this season and it shows in his overall effectiveness as a scorer.

Sliding down
*This doesn’t have as much to do with his play — though he could be a bit more consistent — but more with the fact that Xavier Henry’s role may be changing pretty soon. Henry is still capable of having big nights as evidenced by 15 point night on 6-8 shooting against the Pelicans just a little over a week ago. But, sooner or later (and likely sooner), Henry is going to see a dip in his minutes and a shift in his role with Kobe Bryant’s return on the horizon. With Wesley Johnson moving almost exclusively to the SF spot and Nick Young showing he’s more comfortable as a scorer off the bench, Henry is the most probable choice to be the guy who sees his minutes diminish and role altered when Kobe grabs his normal spot as the team’s starting shooting guard. And with Kobe now cleared to practice fully without restrictions, the odds are that Henry’s time as a regular rotation player will soon come to an end. This doesn’t mean that Henry will be completely eliminated from the rotation, but unlike Shawne Williams (who also saw his minutes dip after Jordan Hill emerged), there’s just not a natural place to play Henry or in a lineup that makes sense with Kobe, Young, and Johnson solidified into their roles.

Yesterday we introduced you to Draftstreet and told you about the great offer to join a free fantasy basketball game this Friday that FB&G is partnering with them to provide you. If you haven’t already, join now and have a chance to win a cash prize with no commitment besides a few minutes of your time while playing GM of your own team. So, in looking ahead to Friday’s game, here are some thoughts on some Lakers’ players, based off their performance from the first two games of the year while taking into account their match up against the Spurs. (Note: the $ value for each player is related to their cost in the Draftstreet league with a $100K salary cap, so we’ll also touch on that aspect as well.)

Steve Nash ($10,840): Nash missed Wednesday’s game against the Warriors for the purpose of resting, but that doesn’t tell the entire story for his absence. After all, he didn’t play heavy minutes in Tuesday’s opener against the Clippers. Nash is a bit banged up with a sore neck and some other, undisclosed physical ailments (it’s been hinted at that he may have a sore hip and/or ankle), so there are injury concerns for him coming into this game. Plus, Nash hasn’t looked physically right going back to the preseason and hasn’t exactly looked like he’s ready to contribute at a high level. At this point, I’m not expecting much from Nash in terms of statistical production and his value to the Lakers is more in the form of his stability as a floor general and ability to capably run the offense. He can still put up good numbers in terms of assists and is a viable threat from behind the arc, but I also expect his minutes to be limited to around or less than 25. In other words, buyer beware.

Pau Gasol ( $15,785): Gasol has had two pretty good outings to start the year. He’s played well offensively, scoring from all over the court working some from the post against the Clippers while flashing his ability to hit mid-range jumpers against both the Clips and the Warriors. He’s also done well on the glass, especially defensively against live bodies who can attack the boards well. Against the Spurs, I expect these trends to continue whether he’s defended by Tim Duncan or Tiago Splitter. Pau can score relatively well against either player, though I anticipate him doing better work against Splitter who can try to work both from the low and mid post or from mid-range with his jumper. Where I’d like to see the Lakers be better is in getting Pau more touches from the left block where he’s a dual threat to either score or pass the ball out to shooters or cutters. Pau should be able to get anywhere from three to five assists a night, but he must be put into positions where he’s a scoring threat in order to draw extra attention from the defense. As much as he can score from 18 to 20 feet, defenses will let him shoot from out there without showing him much pressure. Overall, I think he can continue to be a double-double threat while shooting around 50%.

Nick Young ($7,860): Young has been a disappointment through two games. He’s taking the same “Nick Young” style shots, but hasn’t been hitting them at a good enough rate to earn much trust so far as a viable scoring threat. Part of that is facing off against Andre Iguodala in the last game, but part of it is also due to the fact that he’s not attacking off the dribble and is settling for too many long jumpers. Against the Spurs his life won’t get much easier as he faces off against Kawhi Leonard who also offers top level defense on the wing. Unless Young can start to get to the rim more where he can either draw fouls or get higher percentage shots, it’s going to be tough for him to play at a respectable efficiency level. He was able to do these things during the preseason, but they’ve been absent from his game since the games started to count.

Jordan Farmar ($5,970): Farmar had a rough game against the Warriors, but was splendid against the Clippers so he’s a player to continue to keep an eye on. He’s shown good patience in these first two games of balancing his roles as a scorer and playmaker and I expect that to continue against the Spurs and over the course of the season. With Nash nicked up, Farmar is also the player who will earn the bulk of the point guard minutes leading the second unit – a group that will look to push the pace and get out into the open court to produce easier baskets. I’ve also liked what I’ve seen from Farmar in the P&R, as he’s been good at getting into the paint when the defense pressures him or stepping back and shooting his improved jumper when the defense sags. All in all, I really like his prospects moving forward of gaining even more minutes.

Xavier Henry ($3,500): Henry’s solid play from the preseason has carried over the regular season, earning him a solid spot in the rotation. He’s playing a lot of small forward next to Jodie Meeks and his slashing, attack oriented style is a good fit on a second unit that is trying to succeed through pushing the pace and playing a more chaotic style. Henry isn’t much of a playmaker for others and that can be a bit of a concern long term as defenses start to play him only as a scorer rather than a dual threat. That said, he’s finding ways to get to the rim and either score or earn free throw attempts and that has value to this team. If he can find a way to shoot a respectable percentage on jumpshots, it will only help him get to the rim more but he’s going to have to show consistency at that for some time before defenses truly respect him. Against the Spurs’ team that shows good discipline and help schemes defensively, it remains to be seen if his tunnel vision drives to the rim will be as successful as they were against the Clippers, but if he can draw more fouls than ones he commits, his aggression will still pay off.

At this point in the year, we haven’t seen enough to know if the inconsistencies from most of the plays on the roster are just a small sample, related to the back to back start to the year, or part of their profile for the coming year. But we are starting to see roles developing and it’s interesting to see how guys who might have been pegged for a certain amount of success are playing relative to those initial expectations. The Spurs game should give us even more insight as they’re the third straight playoff caliber team the Lakers face to start the year. There is no rest for the weary, it seems.

A New Partnership for FB&G

Darius Soriano —  October 30, 2013

Here at FB&G we remain committed to giving you the best content and analysis as we can. With that in mind, we’re always looking at ways to forge new partnerships that can help us deliver fresh information that can, hopefully, be found useful for everyone who visits this site.

Enter Draftstreet. Draftstreet is a fantasy games site that takes everything you love about Fantasy Sports and lets you play every night in many leagues including money leagues where you get to play fantasy sports for cash prizes. At DraftStreet, you get to choose your sport, draft style, duration, size, and entry fee.

They’re also our new partner. A couple of times a month we’ll work with Draftstreet to provide free access to one of their games — games with cash prizes! for the top finishers – while providing the type of player and team analysis you’ve come to expect from FB&G.

My hope is that this relationship will prove beneficial to everyone while also, you know, being fun in the process. After all, we all love playing armchair GM and this is your chance to do just that while, if proving good enough at it, making some money in the process.

The first game will be this Friday and can be found simply by clicking on this link. We’ll have some good information up for you related to this game soon, but right now you should go to Draftstreet, sign up for an account, and join Friday’s game. Then, come back here in the next day or so and check out our thoughts on some Lakers’ players (and maybe a few other guys) that can help you in the contest. It’s that simple.

Want to Meet Kobe?

Kurt —  January 13, 2010

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This Saturday, Kobe is doing an interactive fan event at The Montalbán in Hollywood (where there is a Nike store), promoting his new Nike Zoom Kobe V shoes, but also just talking hoops. George Lopez is the host and moderator. It’s a rare public event for Kobe, and you can’t just show up and get into this, you need an invite.

And we’ve got one, for some lucky fan. You and a guest can go, what I want to hear is your best Kobe story. We’re not talking just if you met the man, it could be anything. Getting the chance to see him play. Something that happened at a bar while you watched him play. Anything Kobe related.

Friday morning I’ll post the winner and some honorable mentions (make sure you fill in the email line if you want to win). We’d love to hear all your stories, but if you can’t make it to a 2 p.m. event this Saturday in Hollywood say so, I want to make sure the winner and a guest can attend.

Have fun with this. It should be interesting