In 2016, there were six teams that did not have a 20 ppg scorer: Pistons, Hawks, Magic, Nuggets, Mavs, and Lakers. The Pistons’ leading scorer was Tobias Harris at 16.1 ppg. The Magic had Evan Fournier at 17.2 ppg, while the rest of the teams had a leading scorer at 18ppg or higher. The Bad Boy Pistons of the late-80s proved that you don’t need a 20 ppg scorer to win a championship, but even those teams had two players in the 18 ppg range, Isiah Thomas and Adrian Dantley. If you were wondering, Joe Dumars was at 17.2. Anyways, I have a friend in Japan that makes fly-like drones with audio equipment embedded inside. We were able to place a few in the Pistons War Room during this year’s NBA Draft. Here are some of the snippets that we gathered. SVG (Stan Van Gundy): I’m a great defensive coach. Look, we were ranked seventh in points allowed, fourth in steals, and sixth in blocks. We need more offense gentlemen! 22nd in field goal percentage, 27th in three-pointers made, and 26th in points scored is not going to cut it! JB (Jeff Bower): Calm down Stan. I know you’re a great defensive coach because…well…I hired you. We will get you offense. SCOUT: Mr. Bower and Mr. Van Gundy. We as a scouting group are in love with Donovan Mitchell. He’s a great athlete, will help us on D, and can shoot the heck out of the ball. SVG: God damn it!!! Didn’t you hear what I said earlier??!! I am a great defensive coach and we were awesome on D last season! We need offense! SCOUT: But…but….but…Mitchell is. SVG: Get these clowns out of here! Why are you studdering mother bleep bleep bleeeeeeeep! I like this Luke Kennard kid. Exactly the kind of player we need. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2016 Detroit Pistons.
Before I begin, head on over to the football side and play and/or host some RCLs by clicking here. I’ve got my league up, so come get it. I have no doubt that you are a degenerate so I’m just trying to help a brother or sister out. Also, check out Jay’s rankings. Not because he’s a swell guy, but because he was the third-most accurate ranker according to FantasyPros.
Ok, now back to hoops. If you missed it, here are the links for the Top 10 and Top 25. I’ll keep the intro to this piece short and sweet because there’s a ton of players to get through.
As always, big shout-out to Slim, who provided projections and insight.
Tehol is back with me to update everyone on the newest developments around the NBA! We start off focusing on Summer League in a number of facets. Surprise players, how each of the top picks looked, who disappointed, fantasy values for the rookie class, we got it covered! I gush over Dennis Smith Jr. some more after I declared future greatness on the previous podcast while Tehol loves him some Lonzo Ball. Afterwards, I get Tehol’s opinion on some of the big summer moves that Son and I discussed on the last podcast and also hit on the Avery Bradley trade plus Kentavious Caldwell-Pope signing. From there, we hit on the rumored Melo to Rockets rumors and our thoughts on its potential impact. All of that and more on the latest edition of the Razzball Basketball Podcast!
Note: We recorded this right before it was reported Kyrie Irving wants a trade. A new podcast will drop if Kyrie or Melo are officially moved.
It’s been a while since the East has boasted a better division than the West, but even when you spot a lowly East team a big lead on a West team, nothing is safe! Russell Westbrook just went insane (I would too if the Magic were beating my playoff bound team!) in the OKC comeback charge, turning around a 21-point deficit during the second half on his way to a 57/13/11/3/0 line. He shot 21-40 from the field with 6 treys, just willing OKC to the W after this dramatic 3 to get it into OT.
Good thing Nikola Vucevic can’t hit his FT! Westbrook took the missed freebie board, and no Magic was gonna stop him… Take that, Voldemort! It’s come to pass as just the norm, but at 31.8/10.6/10.4, it looks like Westbrook is going to easily average the tripdub, something I really didn’t think we’d ever see again. Hopefully you built your team around his deficiencies fairly well, because man he’s tough to beat if you can slaughter the right cats. Westy is your besty! What an unbelievable season, Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:
Man, big weekends all around! And only fitting one of the breakout weekends of the NBA would be someone from the Suns! I was in Phoenix all weekend! …sadly not to see the Suns, but I don’t think anyone was… Grey and I were scouting some Spring Training, and us goofballs had a good ol’ desert time… Speaking of goofballs, check out this jump ball for the Suns/Celtics game on Sunday night!
It’s all fun and games for the Celtics until the Suns actually beat ya! And who better to drive home the dagger than who faced off in the short-man jump ball!
NBA getting taken over by shorties! Grey might have a shot to make the NBA at this rate! 20/2/5/1/0 for Tyler Ulis with no TO on 8-12 shooting, following 8/1/8 then 14/4/7 lines the two games prior. Of course Earl Watson would love this guy and start giving him minutes, the short guy love going all around! 23, 21, then 33 minutes in that big win yesterday. While he’s certainly worth a look in 12ers, minutes would absolutely have to come at the expense of Eric Bledsoe or Devin Booker, and I don’t see the Suns being able to give Ulis a 30+ MPG role. So that keeps him behind the Cojo’s of the world, and I’m not really fretting that I didn’t add him anywhere while I was in baseball scouting mode. Although I will say the NBA definitely has it down with being an indoor sport, my feet got sunburnt to a crisp wearing my flip flops in Phoenix! Stupid pale skin… I’m not built for the desert, even in early March! Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy basketball action:
…comin’ for to carry me OUT of my fantasy playoffs! Brutal news yesterday that Kyle Lowry has to undergo surgery on his right wrist – his shooting wrist – to remove some loose bodies. Should’ve kept those bodies in a well, like Buffalo Bill! “It puts the lotion on the skin!” Without an IL spot, you’re cutting him in your redraft leagues, even with the prospect he gets a couple games in right before the playoffs. The timeline is “hopeful to return in 4-5 weeks”, which would put us in early April. Plus he’s a shooter, and gonna have a rusty wrist. Hah, that sounds like a sex thing… Moving on!
In his place, it’s time for the Cojo mojo! 11/1/6/3/0 then 14/1/6/1/0 over the weekend for Cory Joseph, with only 2 combined TO, showing what kind of sexy roto-asset he could be. But thennnnn, struggled last night – as did the Raps as a while – to knock off the Poppycockers in a 1-point win, going 6/3/4/2/0 with 2 TO. Still got 33:30 minutes, but he’s more in the fringy starting PG class (your Brogdon, McConnell, et ceteras) than in the most-own zone. You could say he’s in the friendzone. Although dudes don’t really have a friendzone, it’s only chicks that apply that logic. The friendzone is a very sexist area! After this dunk in the 2014 Western Conference Finals (back when he was on my REL team), Cojo could have his way with me any time he wanted!
Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:
Ya know, I really liked that movie Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. Pretty quotable, Robert Downey Jr. right as he was completely taking off, an always lovable Val Kilmer. “Who taught you math?!” is a fun line when there’s a botched Russian roulette attempt…
Which kinda feels like Marquese Chriss right now! 20% of the time, he’s this dynamic, toolsy rookie every time! Wait, that’s a different movie… Big night from Chriss against the Grizz, going 20/6/0/2/1 with 2 treys on 8-12 shooting.
Throwing down highlight reel dunks, and bangin’ treys! While the D stats have actually been there (1.5 STL 0.7 BLK over the past 11), he hadn’t scored over 5 points in the previous 4 games. Joakim Noah‘s jump shot, woof! The minutes remain waffle-y as well, going 17, 12, 8, 17, 34 the past 5 games. I don’t see any reason why the bumpy ride would all the sudden be smoother, but it’s lines like these that make him a tantalizing stash if you’re locked into a high seed for the fantasy playoffs. Of course, when I recommend stashing some certain forwards, it doesn’t always go well. Sometimes I feel like when I look up the word “idiot”, I’ll see a picture of my face! Instead I’ll find:
Too many GIFs in the intro today? I guess 5 GIFs can be a lot! Wait, who taught me math?! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops action:
Oh man, what a fun day this is for Razzball Basketball! Let’s start with our big announcement we’re making later today – I’ve teased it a few times, but it’s coming this afternoon! We’ve got a special post going up today that is going to: Blow. Your. Mind. I’ll just leave it at this – it involved robots and very short shorts…
On top of THAT, what a fun night of hoops on Humpday! We had epic drama with the Kings somehow beating THE King (in Cleveland no less!), yet another tripdub for Russ, but then a late night wonder with my boyfriend Ivica Zubac having another awesome game! My preseason darling looked further away than ever for minutes when he barely got run in preseason games, but he just kept his head down and powered through some D-League stints and a handful of junk time minutes here and there until the Lakers finally started unleashing him. Had the 11/13/1/1/3 line 3 games ago against the Nugs, then after low minutes for two games, exploded again last night for 12/10/2/0/3.
He’s just so big and so fundamental! He did only shoot 5-15 from the field (a few “misses” were on consecutive putback attempts though…) and had 4 TO, but hit 2-2 FT and typically should be a true 8-cat guy (no treys). As I mentioned on the Pod last week, in the D-League he shot 57.8% from the field, 82.9% from the FT line, and had a 15.6/9.7/1.3/0.2/1.0 line in 13 games at 30 MPG. I mean, it’s not “epic”, but he’s still only 19 and looks like he could turn into Jonas Valanciunas with D-stats. With ZuBlock showing off his potential and our big announcement today, I’m like a rabid Beatles fan this morning!
After pimping him hard as a possible second-half sleeper in the preseason (I initially ranked him like 160 or something, but then they signed Tarik Black and never played Zubac in the preseason, so I cut him out of my top 200), it’s 100% time to add him if you need a big. It might be bumpy for minutes, but the Lakers have fallen to 16-33 and it’s time to keep the youth developing. Here’s what else went down in fantasy basketball last night:
PS – Podcast will be out tomorrow morning – we are recording later today, just a day behind. Can’t wait to gloat about taking back the 30-point challenge lead!
The Wizards have been playing much better as of late. Despite being down 18 points in the second quarter, the Wizards came back to win to push them over .500.
John Wall knocked down the game-winning jumper with 5 ticks left, to complete another fantastic performance with 26 points, 14 assists, and 6 rebounds.
Now that’s what Steve Buckhantz calls a dagger!
Wall was voted Eastern Conference Player of the Month for December and continues his strong play in the New Year. There hasn’t been a better player in the East over the last 6 weeks.
Now the Bulls were missing Jimmy Butler (illness) and Dwyane Wade (rest), but I don’t care. I’m going to take every opportunity to talk positively about my Wizards. They’ll disappoint me soon enough so let me enjoy my moment.
It’s Uncle Drew’s world and we’re just living in it! Kyrie Irving remains on fire after his big outing on Christmas. 32 points and 12 assists on only 17 shots. That kind of efficiency will keep the Cavs ahead of the pack, when it comes to championship odds. The Cavaliers managed to edge the Celtics 124 – 118 on the first game of the TNT double header. Lebron James also had a big line with 23/8/11/1/3, while Kevin Love put up 30 and 15 boards as well. The big 3 clearly are meshing well, and Cleveland is certainly the team to beat.