If anyone asked us which sport was our least favourite, it is basketball. The last time we paid attention to the NBA was in the mid to late 1990s when the New York Knicks tried unsuccessfully to be the kings of the court.
Since that day, we’ve been closet Knicks fans. That is quite a statement since most people think that our interest wasn’t there because the team has hung around the lower half of the league for more than a decade. It wouldn’t be a fair assessment since our interest wasn’t there; it had nothing to do with the team. The Knicks are our team, and even though we’ve tuned in to watch Kobe or LeBron win championships over the years, our heart always belonged in the Big Apple.
As most of our friends and readers will know, we joined our first fantasy league in 2012. It initially started with baseball, followed by football, before we finally jumped into the hockey pools. Since we participated in three of the four major North American sports, it only felt natural to accept the invitation to join this year’s The Bubble NBA fantasy basketball league.
We considered ourselves the least knowledgeable when drafting and managing our roster; however, we ended up far from the worse team in the league. Some could point out that the bottom teams decided to stop participating at some point, which had a ripple effect on everyone else.
Our league had powerhouse teams, and things began to sort themselves about five or six weeks into the season. Our five-game win and loss streaks defined the season. When you look at some of the marquee names in our lineups, it turned out to be a shame to see the team struggle and never end up competitive. Injuries, COVID, and forced absenteeism were the excuses on how a team with so much potential faired so poorly down the stretch.
In the following paragraphs, learn how 4 Penn Plaza went from a projected first overall spot to landing in the sixth spot.
Overall Record and Head to Head Results
The regular season was 14 games, and we produced an 8-6 record, good enough for sixth overall in the standings. Our winning percentage was 0.571, which isn’t bad for a first-year expansion club.
Since the league only had ten teams, we didn’t have a chance to square up against everyone. We played one team three times and six teams twice.
Out of the nine opponents we played, we only produced a winning record against three of them. That means we had losing records against five and split the season series with the other team.
Caldwell-Pope Mobile beat us twice, including in the first round of the playoffs. After losing our first meeting in week three, The Sauce Squad got their revenge with victories in week 12 and the playoffs.
Our record was perfect (2-0) against BBQ Chicken, Shooters Shoot, and Ooga Booga. In week one, we beat Giannis Akumpo, and they returned the favour in week ten.
After all that, we lost our only matchups against Free KD, Ka’Wine & Dine, and Mamba Mentality.
4 Penn Plaza’s most significant win (826.70 points )came in week five against Ooga Booga 1428.20-601.50, while the worse defeat came at the hand of Mamba Mentality (581.00) in week nine, 1424.00-843.00.
The closest victory came in week three, 6.10 points, over The Sauce Squad 1710.90-1704.80 and the nearest we came in defeat was against Free KD in week seven, 110.80 points, 1636.30-1525.50.
Let’s dig a little deeper into the numbers that matter the most.
4 Penn Plaza’s weekly averages broke down like this; 620 points scored, 289 rebounds, 124 assists, 43 steals, 41 blocks, and 67 turnovers. Weekly fantasy points were 1337.44.
Since the league did not award points for categories wins and losses, it was tough to dissect precisely where we stood amongst the other teams. So with limited data to sort, here’s what we can discuss.
Our best numbers in each category were as follows; 766 points (week 11), 382 rebounds (3), 155 assists (3), 60 steals (2), 61 blocks (3), 44 turnovers (10), and 1710.90 fantasy points (3). It goes without saying that when four of the seven categories came during week three, that was probably our best matchup of the season.
On the flip side, some of our worse numbers were pretty ugly; 384 points (9), 200 rebounds (9), 79 assists (9), 19 steals (9), 22 blocks (1), 82 turnovers (11), and 843.00 fantasy points (9). Week nine proved to be our worse week of the season since it was the only time we failed to crack 1000 fantasy points.
When our draft ended, Yahoo Fantasy rolled out their annual projections for the league. They initially forecasted us to score many baskets as a force to reckon with on the court. As you can see from the final numbers compared to those early projections, we failed to meet them in all seven categories.
Player Scoring & Roster Moves
4 Penn Plaza had a busy season in regards to roster adjustments. Management drafted 14 players and signed 21 through free agency. Our best player turned out to be Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, our third pick in the draft.
Gobert was joined at the top of the scoring chart by two other draft choices before Chris Boucher (Toronto) ended up fourth in scoring, our highest ranking free agent signing.
Thirteen of the top 15 scorers were drafted, with two free-agent signings and one player acquired through a trade. Only Gobert scored over 2000 points for us, while ten players reached the 1000 point mark.
Bobby Portis (Milwaukee) and Elfrid Payton (New York) were the only players who acquired on several occasions, with Portis coming on board through free agency and then trade. Payton was plucked from the waiver pool three times.
RJ Barrett (New York) played the most games (60) and scored the most points (1046). He was the only player to crack 1000 points on the team. Team MVP Gobert collected 789 rebounds, which was several hundred over his next closest teammate. He also leads the teams in blocks (164), the only player in triple digits.
DeMar DeRozan (San Antonio) leads the team in assists (333), the only player with more than 200. OG Anunuoby (Toronto) led the team in steals with 58, inching several other teammates who had 50+ themselves.
It was tough to sort out the turnovers because someone who played one game would have had the least turnovers, making him the best in the category. We decided to base our numbers on 1000 points scored, which left Boucher as the team leader with just 44.
(In case you were trying to figure out the faded grey numbers, those are the sums of the points scored times their value. For example, blocks were worth three points apiece, so Gobert’s 164 blocks equalled 492 fantasy points.)
Best & Worse Player Awards
Rudy Gobert was our team MVP. We came to that conclusion based on the fact the guy scored the most points and won the most weekly awards.
Gobert won five out of the last eight stud awards, dating back to week 10 when he secured his first one. He was the only player with back-to-back wins, which he achieved on two separate occasions, weeks 10-11 and 13-14. His five titles beat Andre Drummond (Los Angeles), who claimed three of the first six awards before sitting out half the season before getting traded.
The pair had company with Davis and Thaddeus Young (Chicago), who claimed the prize two separate times. Single-time winners included Devonte’ Graham (Charolette), Dejounte Murray (San Antonio) and Andrew Wiggins (Golden State).
Only two players appeared on both the stud and dud lists, Drummond and Graham. Unfortunately, Graham didn’t finish the season with the team, and Drummond only made a list because an injury derailed his comeback after the trade.
Despite appearing on the dud list three separate times, we continued to drop and add Payton, who took home the award in week three, eleven, and thirteen. Two-time offenders included Milwaukee Bucks teammates Donte Divincenzo and Justin Jackson. Everyone else who ended up as a dud was on the list once and usually found their way back to the waiver wire after their subpar performance.
The single highest point total belonged to Gobert, who scored 211.30 points in week 11. Young won the stud award with just 134.60 points in week nine. Matisse Thybulle (Philadelphia) owned the worst-point total of any player, scoring just 1.20 points during action in week one. Brook Lopez (Milwaukee) claimed the dud award in week two with 58.10 points, the best numbers of anyone who won.
Every season we discuss the importance of bench numbers and how they could have altered matchup scores. However, with the number of injuries we had to deal with, our bench numbers would have had zero impact on any of our matchups.
Half of the season featured no points left on the bench, while five out of the final six weeks, we missed out on opportunities to pad our numbers. The best week for bench points was in the season’s last matchup, where 91.30 points scattered across the categories.
One of our favourite categories to analyze is the daily win/loss records.
Mondays appeared to be our best day of the week, as our 10-5 (66%) record would show. Thursday happened to be our next best day, 9-8 (52%), before finishing up at 8-8 on the weekends for a 50% winning percentage.
We produced a losing record on Friday, 7-9 (43%), Wednesday, 7-10 (41%), and Tuesday 5-11 (45%).
Ultimately the numbers show we started strong, dug ourselves a hole during the middle of the week, and tried out best to even things out by the end of the weekend.
Two seasons ago, when we started to track our fantasy statistics, we created a sheet to track our progress or lack thereof regarding our rankings in the league.
We opened the season in the third seed, a position we held for the first eight weeks.
At one point during the season, we were the number one ranked team in regards to rebounds (13/16), steals (1/16), blocks (13/16), turnovers (3/16). The highest we ranked in assists was fourth, which was in the first week. After that, we never got past eighth.
By far, our worse category was points scored where we never got away from the seventh or eighth spots. Even though this particular category wasn’t the main focus of our season, it did sting to see no progress.
There are well over a hundred numbers to dissect in this final analysis, but we will leave that up to your discretion.
We will highlight the significant talking points. These two charts highlight our daily averages and the matchup deficits, whether winning or losing.
The best day of the week for us was Friday, where we averaged 216.05 points. After that, it was Wednesday (209.16) and then Monday (204.84). Those three days were the only times we cracked the 200.
We averaged 140 or better on Tuesday (147.47) and Thursday (198.49). The weekend wasn’t too kind for us as we barely cracked 190 points, 184.28 on Saturday and 188.11 on Sunday.
When we were winning matchups, the numbers were equal or better than our daily averages. Thanks to some early season victories, our margin for holding leads was most significant on the weekend, with Saturday (302.04) being our best day, followed by Sunday (294.05).
If we were losing a matchup, the averages wouldn’t be that drastic. On Monday (97.62) and Tuesday (93.01), we held our opponents to less than 100 points. After those two days, the number only went up, getting as high as 335.08 on Sunday.
4 Penn Plaza never expected to win the championship right out of the gate. We also never expected to contend and make the playoffs, which we did.
It was a blast learning more about today’s current players and trying to find the best matches to keep the team competitive.
Who knows where our team will end up next season, but it should be a blast to take a step forward wherever we end up.