Reid and I have been doing over-unders for the NHL (check out the Razzball Hockey Podcast) so I thought it was a great time to start covering the NBA’s!  Tehol joins me to look at the NBA’s Eastern Conference.  We cover every team looking at their betting line and deciding what side we would take and with what level of confidence.  Additionally, we look at the prices for teams to win the division and the Eastern Conference, along with MVP and Rookie of the Year odds.  All of that and more in the latest edition of the Razzball Basketball Podcast brought to you by LeagueSafe!

You can have $10 added to your fantasy league’s prizepool by going to leaguesafe.com/razzbasketball

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There was a time when fans actually brought cowbells into a NBA stadium. Back in 2003, Phil Jackson called Sacramento “an old cow town.” As a result, fans proceeded to bring cowbells to home games and provide a truly unique home court advantage,

We haven’t heard much about it lately because, well frankly, the team has sucked. And who has the energy to lug a cowbell into a stadium and ring it when there are very few things to cheer about? They have not won 40 games in a season since Metta World Peace played for the Kings and was named Ron Artest. Man, I totally forgot he played two years in Sacramento. Crazy. Anyways, things are slowly transforming. The team opened Golden 1 Center last year, installed a three-foot-tall cowbell on the wall, and have changed their logo. I love the logo. The lions and the color scheme make me think of the Decepticons from the Transformers and the Voltron lions. The most shocking development has been the positive feedback from the basketball community about their personnel moves. When’s the last time that’s happened?

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In Thibs We Trust? Tom Thibodeau was hired in April of 2016 to become the head coach and president of basketball operations for the Timberwolves. Prior to his arrival, the team had not had a winning record since the days of Kevin Garnett. All newude. My favorite commercial of all time. Anyways, defense has been an issue for this team and Thibs is known as a defensive coach. During his five-year coaching stint with the Chicago Bulls, the team was ranked 1st, 1st, 5th, 2nd, and 11th in defensive efficiency. So, of course in Thibs’ first year, the defense got worse. This dynamic reminds me of Brian Billick, a head coach in the National Football League. Billick was known as an offensive guru and got his head coaching job on this premise. “Our team can’t score, so let’s hire a coach that can fix that,” said the owner of the team….probably. Anyways, Billick tried to sprinkle his offensive magic on the team, but you know what? He realized that he is indeed not a magician and that there are things called players. Coaches can put players in the best positions to succeed but, at the end of the day, players make the coach. Billick was smart enough to realize that the strength of the team was on defense, so he placated to that strength and eventually won a Super Bowl as a result. Will Thibs be as flexible? He was out of coaching for a year and travelled the basketball landscape taking notes so….Read on to find out what I think.

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26, 17, 21, and 27. Those are the number of wins the Lakers have accumulated in each of the last four seasons. For perspective, if you include the Minneapolis days, the franchise has played 69 seasons and only had two seasons with less than 30 wins. If you up the bar to 40 wins, there were only 12 seasons, and that includes the two aforementioned seasons and the lockout-shortened season of 1998. But fear not Lakers fans. Things look to be headed in the right direction with Luke Walton as head coach, Rob Pelinka as general manager, and Lonzo Ball the new face of the franchise. Just wait until Lebron James and Paul George join the squad next season!

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The text came in: “We doing the basketball league again this year?”

While fantasy basketball is greater even than sliced bread, it can get a bit stale… uh, like the much vaunted bread. It was October, many years ago, and my league of high school buddies, with a few buddies of buddies having replaced original buddies that had dropped out (you know how it goes), was feeling way less awesome than a fantasy basketball league should. The half that paid close attention rose to the top every year. It was time, yet again, to wonder if the auto-drafters that only made a handful of moves and never responded to trade proposals would sign up again so we could at least fill out the league… yawn.

This year’s unofficial season-opening text came in: “Zizic is tearin’ it up, even after the trade to Darussafaka. *You chumps are toast next year.”

*actual trash-talk was likely dirtier and more clever.

But this was in January. And we truly cared about Ante Zizic’s line in a Turkish league. This was much better.

How did we get there? How do you light a fire under your league-mates hot enough to send them on an adrenaline-fueled, non-literal, Jerian Grant-over-that-dude-from-G-Tech-ian trip to the rack?

Hi, my name is Tad, and I’m a new writer here. I’m a bball geek and a statistical nerd. My goal is to provide you with as many advantages as possible so that you can win your league(s) and love fantasy basketball more than ever, even if you don’t. I’m going to run the numbers for you and show you where you can get an edge in drafts, trades, and acquisitions. Let’s start with a relatively simple example. Using last year’s ESPN 8-Category Player Rater data, adjusted for a free throw punt team, you might only be mildly surprised to learn that LeBron James was the 2nd most valuable player on a per game basis. But, can you believe that, per game, Dwight Howard would have been more valuable to your team than Isaiah Thomas or Kyrie Irving? And, you probably could’ve gotten LeBron and Dwight for Isaiah at just about any point last season once Mr. Irrelevant took it to MVP-candidate levels. Hopefully, I’ll also inspire you to run some numbers of your own so that you can customize player values to your specific leagues and teams. But this week, as the season draws near, I first want to get you and your league more excited and invested than you’ve been in a while.

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You always hear about teams wanting to get younger and “going with a youth movement,” but the Phoenix Suns took it to a whole new level last season. They literally played the youngest starting lineup ever! Like in forever ever, forever ever. Tyler Ulis (21), Devin Booker (20), Derrick Jones Jr. (20), Marquese Chriss (19), and Alex Len (23). I can guarantee one thing this upcoming season for the Suns. They will not have the youngest starting lineup in NBA history.

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Razznation! I can’t even begin to express how pumped I am to join the Razzball staff and help you beat all who have yet to discover this fantasy sports behemoth. With that said, allow myself to introduce… myself. I’m Mel, an avid fantasy baller, Razzball truther, and Will Ferrell enthusiast. I root for players, not for teams, which makes me your perfect fantasy resource. Yes, I do have some player biases, but the information you’ll find here will have nothing to do with Grant Hill or Michael Redd, I promise. What you’ll find here on a weekly basis is some in-depth analysis on the players who can win you a week, or win you a season. You see, the NBA decided to start a few weeks early this year, which will only make things more confusing for us all. Less preseason games, less draft prep, less games per week. Fantasy Basketball is taking a beating and will be more complicated than ever before. But not for you, extraordinary gentlemen and five lady folk that I write to today. I will have you prepared with those deep sleepers who will make your league mates wonder what the hell you are doing. How great does that sound?

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It’s the end of an era for the Boston Celtics. It’s crazy to think that Isaiah Thomas had only been with the team for 2 1/2 years, but he became the heart of soul of those squads. I guess it all makes sense when you realize that IT is only 5′ 9″ 185 pounds and was Mr. Irrelevant in the 2011 NBA Draft. Always bringing the business, irrespective of the social construct of time and making us question the E=MC Squared equation because the energy does not seem to be interchangeable with his mass.

Got nothing but love for you IT. With that said, the NBA is a business. Here’s something for you to ponder. As I sit in this chair writing, it always pisses me off that there are salary caps in professional sports. Do we not live in a free, capitalistic meritocracy? Why is there a limit on the amount of money a player can make? Now, if I actually owned a NBA team….SALARY CAP!!! Why? Because it makes the most business sense. It’s a doggy dog world out there and cute, cuddly emotions are reserved for when you get home. The Celtics made a bunch of business decisions this offseason. As much as I love IT, it’s a move that was in the best interest of the team going forward.

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I can not wait for the Cleveland Lebrons to start the season. There is going to be so much pettiness, so much drama, so much F U-ness, and….so many wins. The Lebrons went 35-47 his rookie year. The next year they improved to 42-40. Those were the only years the Lebrons did not make the playoffs. Including those two years, the Lebrons went 349-225 (61% win percentage) with two 60+ win seasons and two 50 win seasons. Then, the Decision happened. The Cavaliers proceeded to go 97-215 (31% win percentage) with only one season above 30 wins. When Lebron returned, 161-85 (65% win percentage) with three seasons above 50 wins and the team’s first NBA Championship. I truly believe that this is Lebron’s last season in Cleveland. Remember this? I remember Lebron saying, “Even my wife was like, my momma and my wife was like, ‘I’m not with that.’ My mom was definitely like, ‘[expletive] that, we ain’t going back.“As I said on the pod, the only way Lebron returns to Cleveland is if Dan Gilbert sells him the team. As a result, he’s going balls to the wall this season. That Brooklyn pick? Lebron is going to use that to get someone. He’s pushing all the chips into the middle of the table to make one final last run. Even if management doesn’t sign off trading the pick, Lebron will morph into Kayser Soze….

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