It’s finally here!  “The lockout is over!”  You’re like, “wtf, a lockout?!”  I’m quoting a Dave Cowens commercial!  And after the 98-99 Lockout at that!  Anything vintage Hornets is nostalgic gold right now.  Ridiculous amounts of bonus points to readers who are Hornets fans and remember that commercial and/or can find the video.  Because I couldn’t!

The return of the Hornets is one of the many things I’m looking forward to this year.  Getting past my horrific Jonas Valanciunas love, finally changing the page to a new season, is another.  But one of the biggest is a healthy (for now) Kobe Bryant and the return of the “Guess Kobe Bryant’s Stat Line”!  Even if you’re a long-time reader, you might not know this one!  It’s like the NBA scheduled the Lakers on a light opening night just for this momentous Razzball event, not because the Lakers are a widely popular team or anything…

I don’t remember exactly what spawned this prestigious contest, but as with everything that is oddly conversational in Razzball, traditions can start any time!  Like how we all guessed what Kobe would do, the like, 5 games he played last year.  So in order to carry this tradition, and to accurately-ish credit the winner, guess the Kobe line will be limited to the PTS/REB/AST projection to determine the victor.  Feel free to guess more stats than that, but when we did it last year with steals and blocks and turnovers, it was hard to say which commenter was closer than another.  The winner gets a shout out in the recap the next day, along with the jealous ire of all other Razzballers… I think Kobe has a big one in the opener vs. Houston… I’m going 31/5/6.  Shoot your guesses below, and happy return to Fantasy Basketball!  We’re pumped for our biggest season to date here at Razzball, and thanks to everyone for checking us out through the offseason!

Here’s some other news and notes since the last wrap-up, and what I’ll be focusing on for opening night (and we’re daily every weekday with the wrap-ups here on out!):

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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So this is why preseason wrap ups are tough.  News flutters around willy-nilly like that bag that dumbass had an obsession with in American Beauty.  And most of the news has about as much meaning…

First there’s Razzball lovebrows Anthony Davis spraining his wrist last night, and Monty Williams held him out as a precaution.  Davis wanted to come back into the game, but Monty was like, “nuh uh, girlfriend!  Shaniqua don’t live here no mo’!”  Not to be out-overreactioned, Russell Westbrook also sprained his wrist on Sunday.  Neither are serious, and this is why the wrap-ups are eye-roll fests through preseason.  A lot of worthless mud to pan through just to get a fleck of gold.  (True story – when I was like 8 or 9 years old, we did a class field trip to pan for gold and a portly kid got a tiny mote worth, the only one to get any.  Then I traded him some peanut butter-filled chocolate my mom packed me for lunch for it.  Talk about knowing your audience!)

Can you believe we’re a week away from opening tip?!  This is the last preseason wrap until next Tuesday to preview the season, and daily from there.  Can’t wait for this shizz to start!  My final re-rankings will be out tomorrow, we’ll get to meet some new writers, and two final preseason Pods (tomorrow and next Tuesday) before we get some real games to talk about on air.  Here’s what else has gone on in the world of preseason NBA action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Well, there’s certainly been no lack of news this past week!  No fantasy sport is safe from injuries, even in the preseason!  Well, maybe fantasy fishing (yes, I’ve played it!).

As reported everywhere, even on tweens.com (I hope that’s not a real site and/or not an illegal site!  Not gonna find out in my web history!), Kevin Durant has a broken bone in his foot, and the initial timetable in 6-8 weeks.  But of course given it’s KD, and we’re nearing the home stretch of the fantasy drafting window, there’s all sorts of shrouds of uncertainty.  First there’s surgery vs. non-surgery, which I’m guessing the latter involves rum and Jobu, but I’m no voodoo.  Despite my limited knowledge on Jones fractures, I am hoping he opts for the surgery.  If he doesn’t get it, it seems like Durant is playing with fire.  We saw the Thunder bring back Westbrook earlier than expected last year with his knee issues, then he suffered re-injury (of course, causation is merely speculative).  Which leads to point number two – either way you look at it surgery vs. non-surgery, Jones fractures are all sorts of tricky.  Lingering issues, re-injuring it, it’s all up in the air. My perspective is Durantula has been healthy for virtually his whole career, spanning 7 seasons.  So I’m optimistic he can be a fast healer, and splitting the difference of 6-8 weeks to 7 weeks out.  Given when news broke, that’s missing just over a month of the regular season.

In my re-ranks I published yesterday, I only moved KD down to 2 with Anthony Davis up to #1 (side note - found this article with NBA MVP odds, how can I hop in on this?!  Brow 25/1?!  I’ll throw $10 on him to win $250!).  In H2H, if you’re a confident manager, you can stream and bear a .500 record for a month.  Then you have KD for the playoffs!  I think if you try to sell right now in a panic if you’ve already drafted, or let him fall too far in your draft, you’ll be kicking yourself in the postseason.  All that said, in Roto, I’m probably letting him fall until at least the middle of the first round.  Having by far the best per-game player for the fantasy playoffs weeks obviously doesn’t matter.  Hopefully by early next week there’s a little more clarity on Durant, and I’ll have one final rankings revision next Wednesday.  Here’s what else has gone down in fantasy hoops since the last wrap-up (which will be daily during the season!):

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Preseason is here!  Preseason is here!  I’m as giddy as N64 kid on Christmas Day.

But before we got into any action, Nick Young had a rough end of to his week last week, jacking up his thumb on his shooting hand requiring surgery.  He’ll be out 8 weeks, which puts him back in Purp-n-Gold mid-to-late November, optimistically.  You can drop him off your fantasy teams now!  He’s got a plenty big cast to hitchhike his way somewhere else.  I would say to “Scrubtown” but if you say that three times fast it starts to sound kinda like Scranton and I don’t want to offend Scrantonites or fans of The Office.

I wasn’t big on Swaggy P anyway, but no reason to touch him except in the very deepest of leagues.  Pretty empty scoring.  Wesley Johnson gets a minor bump up, and that’s the extent of the impact.  Now back to preseason!  Of course every performance must be taken with a grain of salt, and this early it’s a friggin’ pillar of salt, but it’s never too early to see how players are doing – especially this year’s ridiculous class of rooks.  Here’s what’s gone on across the league:

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Razzball Nation!

If you hadn’t gathered through some comments and a few less articles the past week, I’m back from my adventure in Bavaria and over my Oktoberfest hangover!  Geez those Oktoberfest litre (European spelling!) beers were strong!  If anyone has had the chance to go, definitely share your stories.  Drunk munchies of currywurst and then trying to order steak for some reason (or so I’m told!) was absolutely fantastic.

So indeed I am back, and even though I have a callus on my forefinger from raising my beer glass, my hand is in better shape than Rajon Rondo‘s!  Broke his hand in the shower on Friday, and with surgery will miss 6-8 weeks.  Let me set up the scene as I pictured this incident: Rondo is on the run after ripping off his bank, pulls into the Olynyk Hotel, he starts to shower and the piercing violin theme sounds – with Kelly Olynyk storming in with a butcher knife!  Pretty much Kelly Olynyk anything is scary.  “He’s coming at me with a fish stick!”  Then all the sudden he turns 5 fish sticks into enough to feed the whole crowd… (Of course, I wrote that whole intro before news came out Rondo was spotted on a trampoline at a park, and that sounds more likely a hand-breaking locale.  Maybe he was practicing for a revival of SlamBall!)

I’ve gotten flack for liking Rondo a lot this year, with my rationale him expanding into a perimeter game and likely a career best in points, but as I’ve said before – sometimes injuries can help you from bad ranks!  Moving him way down into 50s or so, maybe even later, even though he’ll only miss the first week or two (report surfaced today 10-15 games so more like 3 weeks).  Here’s what else has gone down lately in the world of offseason hoops:

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1) I’m sure I’ve mentioned this numerable times but JB and I are well known members in the swingers community. I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to give away our anonymity but I feel like I can trust you. I go by the Hairless Wonder, don’t ask, and JB goes by the alias… If you would like JB’s alias to be ‘Big Country’ go to paragraph 5. If you think JB’s alias should be ‘The Diesel’ go to paragraph 3.

2) … Twister. I’m sure you’ve been there before, you’ve got your left foot on green, your left hand on red and if someone says right hand blue you know you’re going to be the unfortunate soul who’s going to have the sad face when you’re given your parting gift of a half of a gallon of Purell and sent on your way home. Since JB never breaks character I have no idea if he’s giving me a good spin or he wants to see me end up … For the epic conclusion go to paragraph 6.

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One of me and JB’s favorite forms of philanthropy is the celebrity car wash.  Obviously we aren’t going to fool anyone into thinking we’re famous without a bit of a makeover.  To achieve that ‘celebrity look’ all you have to do is rent a minivan old enough to still have a tape deck, hire a dozen or so hourly day laborers, and borrow your parents/grandparents circa 1980s shoulder mounted video camera.  Now just find a Walmart parking lot with access to water and you have almost everything you need.  I say almost because you still need to stick out from your newly created entourage.  A pair of henna sleeves representing as many religions as possible and as much costume jewelry as weight you can squat is all you will need to complete the look.  Once you’re set up with everything you need to start the car wash borrow a cassette tape from one of your laborers, swing those double rear doors open, and crank it up to 11.  Just don’t forget to make sure your documentarian is recording it all.

We don’t do it for charity per se but I’m sure what we do is still called philanthropy.  You see we don’t charge money either.  We do it for the sheer pleasure our performances gives others.  Although, we still don’t do it just for them.  I know it’s the same for JB even though he doesn’t really talk about it, but I can surely say for me that once the soaps are sudsin’, the water gets flowing, and I’m dancing to the plucking of guitar strings in nothing but my pink string bikini – I feel alive!  So what if my skin turns red from the sun, green from the ‘gold’, and brown from the ‘ink’, the joy, at least I think that’s joy, we see on the faces of an entire car load of Smiths can’t be washed off in a week either.

In fantasy basketball this amount of joy can only be achieved by guessing right on a rookie and being rewarded with an all-star.  The two top rookies this year are unquestionably Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker.  Both are as talented as they come and both should receive plenty of fantasy relevant playing time immediately.  You want one, I want one, everyone else we’re drafting with wants one.  Before I decide if that’s going to be me I need to figure out what kind of player they are, or in a dynasty what kind of player they could become.  So I give to you Wiggins v Parker, in all its hip-shaking, beard-drenched glory:

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If you were an 80s baby, your teenage years were flush with great movies such as There’s Something About Mary, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and The Cable Guy.  Remember the stars of those films, Cameron Diaz and Jim Carrey?  Sure we do.  They were great!  Diaz commanded the screen as a sexy, but funny “everyday” kinda gal.  Carrey contorted his face and gave us belly laughs from role to role.  They even starred in The Mask TOGETHER, which was Diaz’s film debut.  Carrey had a pretty good run in the 90s.  In addition to the aforementioned films, Dumb & Dumber and the Truman Show were also instant comedy classics.  He even ventured into the “serious” with a breakout performance in Man on the Moon (which was the Andy Kaufman bio-pic).  Diaz had a less-than-illustrious early career as far as critical acclaim was concerned, but she was still immensely popular and became one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood.

Then came the year 2000.  To me, that year was the end of an era for both of these icons.

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I shouldn’t have waited.  I should have stepped up and said, “Yes JB, I’ve waited 30-some-odd years of my life to get on an airplane because I’m afraid that there really could be a gray furry monster who destroys it while we’re 30 thousand feet in the air”.  Looking back I fear perhaps I may not have been too logical in my thinking and now I have to carry that regret with me for the rest of my life.  Like when I didn’t go to Mexico with JB for spring break.  Even though I never really heard any stories because he claimed he  ‘couldn’t remember anything’, he came back with obvious aversions to Tequila, guacamole, the word ‘labradoodle‘, and giant black dildos.  Don’t ask how I know, I wish I didn’t.  Or when he did that semester abroad.  He told me about going hostel to hostel, meeting new people and learning new things everyday.  If I would have gone with him then I probably would have learned why he gets so strange whenever he hears someone speaking Dutch.  He gets this big smile on his face and his eyes gloss over like he’s catatonic.  If you want to break him out all you have to do is say ‘labradoodle’ and you can tell from the look on his face that whatever day dream he was having immediately turned into a nightmare.

I assume by now you’ve read the title and are asking yourself, ‘Self, why am I reading about Paul George for fantasy?’ Pretty simple really… because I wrote it before his injury.  Doh!  I shouldn’t have waited but I wanted to make sure Melo was going back to New York and then I had to wait on Lance to sign and then…  So what do I do with it?  Throw it away?  Well it’s just a bunch of 0’s and 1’s in a computer somewhere and I don’t know where so that wasn’t an option.  I figure I’ll post it, face the furry monster, and catch the next flight anywhere.  So here it is, Paul George v Carmelo Anthony unaltered and I hereby challenge you to find a more pointless post for fantasy basketball the rest of the year:

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So one of my favorite Charlotte Hornets memories was Glen Rice winning the All-Star Game MVP in 1997.  I was still a chitlin, but even then I knew the Hornets were the epitome of small market (and moved just a few years later).  Rice seemed like a fill-in bench player (even though he was pretty nasty in 96-97 with a by far career-high 26.8 a game), but went absolutely bonkers in the ASG second half, putting up 20 in the 3rd quarter.  He was hotter than P.J. Hairston in a “yo mama” contest!  I knew the Hornets had no title aspirations (ending up getting swept in the first round), but it made the whole season worth it.

And the Glen Rices of the world now have another, well smaller, trophy on their mantle with Glen Rice Jr. winning the Summer League MVP.  Actually, I’m not sure if he gets a trophy… Maybe just a stack of $1,000 in Belagio chips… Either way, Rice put up a 6-game line of 25/7.8/2.3/2.5/0.5 boosted by a plain stupid 36/11/3/4/0 line with six treys last Saturday.  “Pretend every game is the All-Star game film I always make you watch, son!”  The Wizards boosted their wings (and headband usage) with Paul Pierce brought in, plus Otto Porter should see a lot of minutes off the bench.  But behind Bradley Beal, Martell Webster just had herniated disc back surgery leaving a big early-season gap for backup SG minutes.  Sure Garrett Temple might be able to fill-in, but off the hot Summer, I think Rice Jr. has got some minutes coming his way.  Plus one of the biggest concerns for Beal is his injury risk, so a deep-league gamble on Glenny Jr. could be an interesting flier.  Here’s what else has gone down with Summer League wrapping up and free agency moves:

Please, blog, may I have some more?