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Fantasy Fiction: Forward March

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ChrisPFlorida1 | Flickr

Here’s a new feature we’re trying out at the Ol’ Paroxysm. It’s called Fantasy Fiction. One writer, Kyle Soppe, gives you a fantasy basketball update for the week–who’s been good and who’ll be good pickups. Another writer (this week, it’s Jordan White) writes some fan fiction about the week’s players. This week, it’s all forwards. We hope it’s totally weird and that you enjoy it. -Ed.

Paul Millsap (Atlanta Hawks)

Music roared over the speakers of the Compound Night Club. The huddled masses swayed in time with the beat, sweat seeping from their pores onto the floor to mix with spilled drinks and other liquids best left unnamed. On any other night, Paul Millsap would have joined the crowd, losing himself to the music. 

Tonight, however, duty calls. Revelry can wait — the evil spirits stalking the club cannot.

After seven years in Utah, Millsap has warmed up nicely to the change of scenery and produced elite fantasy numbers over the past week.

Millsap thought he’d left this life behind in Utah, along with the mountains and the Mormons. Wishful thinking, he realized. Evil is everywhere, and he can no more ignore his responsibilities as the lone protector of mankind than he can his responsibilities in pick and roll defense. 

He never asked for this gift, this curse. It’s passed down from generation to generation, Millsap to Millsap — the ability to see demons that somehow broke through the barrier separating our world and theirs, and to banish them as only the Chosen One can. 

In three games he notched three double doubles and averaged 24 points (on 58.7% shooting from the field), 10.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.3 blocks, 3.3 steals, and four 3PM.

Millsap finds himself at the Compound because of a vision, (yet another aspect of his gift), a vivid movie of woman screaming as a snarling demon lunges for the kill. He’s been searching for the woman for nearly an hour, waiting for the stalker to strike. 

There. He sees her, and with her, his prey. 

The demon, disguised as a human, whispers into the girls ear, and leads her outside. 

That’s my cue. Millsap says to himself. He races through the crowd, giving neither thought nor concern to those he shoves out of the way. He bursts through the just-closed door, greeted by the still-humid Atlanta air, and six sinister, hideous, vomit-hued demons.

Nobody is going to confuse him with LeBron James, but that is the type of well rounded game that makes the newest Hawk fantasy gold.

“A trap. Clever. But it won’t help you.”

Without so much as a word, the demons attack. They’re strong, but Millsap’s stronger. He smacks the first lunging demon, shouting the centuries-old incantation that banishes them back to their world.

“MILLSLAP!” He exclaims. The demon shrieks a terrible cry, then burst into flames.

Is he going to continue to put up numbers like that every week? Probably not.

The others are soon upon him. He’s ready, of course. He’s been ready his entire life. It’s his destiny.

“MILLSLAP! MILLSLAP! MILLSLAP! MILLSLAP! MILLSLAP!”

Millsap stands alone in the alley, black smoke and the stench of brimstone wafting where the demons once stood. 

But he has established himself as a go-to option on a team that lost Josh Smith this offseason, and should be viewed as a top 20 forward and a borderline top 10 PF.

They’ll be back, he knows. Sooner or later, they always come back. This is only the beginning.

Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz)

“Should I go for an IPA? Nah, I had that last week. A brown ale? Oooo…a new seasonal stout. Bingo.”

Hayward has blossomed into a consistent option that you can count on nightly.

Gordon Hayward snagged the pint bottle from the shelf and walked towards the counter. Every person he passed turned their gaze from the alcohol to the 6’8 lanky forward, though Gordon found their stares to be less composed of amazement than puzzlement. 

He put the bottle on the counter, and at the sound of the bottle hitting surface, the store clerk turned. 

“Is that all for you?” He asked, warily.

“Yeah, just that.” Gordon replied.

“Can I see your ID?”

He has remained a very efficient player while his role continues to increase, a positive sign for the winless Jazz. 

Gordon was a bit taken aback, but not much. The clerk has a business to run, and even though Gordon’s face was one of the most recognizable in all of Salt Lake City, the law was still the law. He fumbled for his wallet, thumbed his ID out of the holder and presented it to the clerk.

The clerk held it up to the light. He stared intently at the driver’s license, as if waiting for it to unveil some hidden secret. He bent it back and forth, shined a black light on it, and considered it some more. Gordon grew impatient.

“Is there something wrong?”

“I’m sorry.” The clerk said. “I can’t accept this. Maybe go down the street and see if they’ll take this.”

Gordon was incredulous.

The former Butler star averaged 22.3 points (on 50.7% shooting from the field and 88.9% from the free throw line), 6.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 1.3 steals this past week, numbers that ranked him among the top ten forwards in most formats.

“What do you mean you can’t take it? It’s a legal driver’s license!”

“Look, kid, I get it. I used to do this at your age, too. You’re the tallest one of your friends, I’m guessing. So they ask you to go pick up some beer for them, and they give you some guys ID just in case they ask. It’s probably someone’s brother. Oldest trick in the book. But guess what, I’m not falling for it.”

“What? No! That’s me! That’s my license! That’s my address!”

“Kid. Stop. It was a nice try. You may be really tall, but look at your face. You probably just started your freshman year at University of Utah, didn’t you? Look. I’ll give you your ID back, because I’m a nice guy. But if you try that again here, I’m calling the cops.

His guard/forward eligibility helps add to his statistical versatility and I see no reason why he can’t post a 17 point, 7 rebounds, 5 assist stat line for the season.

Gordon’s mouth hung ajar. 

“You don’t watch much basketball, do you?”

“Hate it.”

Chandler Parsons (vs Toronto, @ Philadelphia, @ New York, vs Denver):

“So…what’s your favorite movie?”

Parsons and the Rockets will be looking to salvage a three game home stretch with a game against the Raptors to open this week.

There’s no reply to this question, only giddy and blushed laughter. 

The sharp shooter is coming off of his best performance this season (23 points on 9/15 shooting and eight rebounds against the Clippers) and should benefit from the Raptors focusing on stopping James Harden as they have been hurt in a big way by opposing team’s top player.

Chandler Parsons sighs. It’s been like this ever since they sat down to dinner an hour ago. “Why did I agree to this?” He wonders.Why did I think a blind date contest would be a good idea?”

After Toronto, Parsons gets his shot at the league’s worst three point defense in Philadelphia (league high 11.9 3PM on 40% shooting for opponents this season).

It wasn’t his idea, of course. The radio station, in conjunction with the Rockets public relations department, approached him with the idea: the 25th caller to correctly answer 25 questions about Chandler Parsons wins a date with the Rockets’ multi-faceted forward. He was uneasy to say the least. Trading on his good looks just seemed to him so shallow. 

The Rockets then play two offensively minded teams that are without their paint protector (Tyson Chandler is out with a fractured fibula and JaVale McGee a fractured leg), giving Houston the opportunity to have a huge week.

“I’M MORE THAN JUST A PRETTY FACE WITH PERFECT HAIR AND PENETRATING EYES, YOU KNOW!” He desperately wanted to shout atop a tall building, somewhere, for everyone to hear. He didn’t, of course. 

Let’s face it, my hair is pretty perfect. And I have gotten lost staring at my own eyes in the mirror a few times.

Eventually, after endless prodding from his best friend Jeremy Lin, Parsons relented. 

“Who knows?” Jeremy said. “Maybe you’ll fall madly in love and live happily ever after.”

An hour in, and the only word Chandler’s managed to wrestle from the girl is “hi.” Every time he spoke, whether it was to ask a question or make a simple remark (just something to spark even an ounce of conversation), her cheeks burned blood red. Nary a word escaped her mouth.

“Would you like to look at our deserts?” Asked the waiter, appearing out of thin air at the side of the table.

“Do you want desert?” Chandler asked his date. She laughed. 

Look for Parsons to break out of a bit of a slump with a nice four game stretch for his fantasy owners.

“Is that a yes?” The waiter asked, more to Chandler than the girl, whom he’d noticed had been oddly silent, though giddy, the entire night.

“I have no idea.”

Zach Randolph (@ Indiana, vs Toronto, @ Los Angeles Lakers, @ Sacramento):

At 32 years of age, ZBo is no longer the consistent 20 and 10 player he used to be, but he can still be an effective fantasy player given the right situation.

A giant black cloud of fluff and fur rumbles through Overton Park. The mass races through the trees, eager and desperate to snare the small green orb that fell from the sky moments ago in its jaws. Target acquired, the cloud pounces, shakes its head violently to and fro, then blurs back to the orb’s point of origin. 

He exposed the Mavericks (21 and 14) and Warriors (23 and 11) for not having multiple big men to defend him and Marc Gasol, and I like his chances of doing the same this week.

Standing there, beaming brightly at his Black Russian Terrier is Zach Randolph. His arms spread wide, ready to receive his best friend. An immovable object on the court, unwilling to give even the slightest inch in the ongoing battle of position, Zach is only too happy to let his monstrous dog bowl him over, showering him with slobbery kisses and barks of affection. He sees himself in his dog: giant, and thus thought to be nasty and vicious, though in reality fiercely loyal and deeply affectionate.

David West is a decent defender who plays alongside Roy Hibbert, but he then gets Amir Johnson, Pau Gasol, and Patrick Patterson, none of which scare me. From a scheduling standpoint I love the fact that the Grizzlies will play four games, but not a single back-to-back.

These are the moments Zach loves the most: free from the demands of the hardwood, savoring the city he’s come to call home. It’s back to work tomorrow — back to the bruises and beatings, the endless fight for a few inches and the quest to make just one less mistake than the opponent. But that’s tomorrow, a whole day away. Today is his, to spend as he so chooses.

This week lines up nicely for Randolph who should prove that he can still produce at a top 15 level at his position in favorable matchups.

He wrestles with the beast, laughing all the while.

Hardwood Paroxysm