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It’s nice to live minute-to-minute. Riding the wave of life, experiencing the gamut of emotions, and acquiring a rolodex of memories with nary a stress in the world. A life lived like this is unfulfilling, though. To truly get the most out of life, one must try to achieve. And in order to achieve, one must have a plan. Look at the current NBA. So many smart people running teams, yet they navigate the landscape like a stoned teenager walking through a grocery store. Look! Twinkies! Mmmmm, I’m so hungry. These will taste so good. Oh! Chips. 

Former general manager of the 76ers, Sam Hinkie, had a plan. If you haven’t read his Manifesto, I highly recommend that you do. There’s so much goodness there, but I wanted to focus on this excerpt:

“It is critical to be cycle aware in a talent-driven league. In a situation like yours at the Sixers, where a variety of circumstances left you near a trough in the cycle (and falling), amplifying this cycle became crucial. Today’s outcomes for every team are heavily impacted by decisions past (who to draft, sign, trade, hire, etc.). Jeff Bezos says that if Amazon has a good quarter it’s because of work they did 3, 4, 5 years ago-not because they did a good job that quarter. Today’s league-leading Golden State Warriors acquired Draymond Green, Andrew Bogut, and Klay Thompson almost 4 years ago, nearly 4 years ago exactly, and almost 5 years ago. In this league, the long view picks at the lock of mediocrity.”

TTP. Trust the Process.

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The danger in doing rankings before Summer League is that a lot can change in terms of perception. After a slew of Summer League games, we now have a better picture of how the best players that college had to offer match up against their peers.

Keep in mind that the Summer League is filled with players at different levels. Think of NCAA College Basketball as High-A in minor league baseball. Summer League would be akin to Double-A. The Euroleague, not to be confused with domestic European divisions, would be Triple-A.

In addition to the final piece of my post-draft rankings, this post will also include some of the players who have moved up in my rankings after watching Summer League games. Believe me, my evenings have been spent doing little else.

Here are some caveats about my rankings:

  • Only includes rookies from the 2017 draft class. Players such as Ben Simmons and Bogdan Bogdanovic are not included.
  • This is for dynasty purposes. NOT for redraft leagues.
  • Landing spots are important, but the main focal point is the overall projection for the players’ career.
  • It often takes time for NBA prospects to adjust to the NBA. Just because players don’t crack the rotation from the outset doesn’t mean they are a bust. Three years is often a good time frame to define roles in the NBA.
  • This is my own personal rankings, and not representative of all the writers at Razzball

Before I begin, I want to address something @Jordan brought to my attention. My previous rankings omitted Luke Kennard. This was a pure oversight on my part and I’d slot Kennard into the late-teens.

So, here we go for a real deep dive into some candidates that might actually matter more than you think:

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Wow. What a riveting week for basketball fans. And not a single game was played! It harkened me back to the days of drafting on the PS2, then sitting back and simming the season. Then making my big board for the incoming rookies. Then drafting, with a bite of pizza here and a sip of Coke there. I would zone out for hours, enthralled by the team building process. And that’s what makes the NBA Draft so great. The new crop of players are entering the league and the general managers are filling in the pieces of the puzzle. Hope and optimism pervade fan bases across the country. Sorry Bulls fans. I didn’t mean you. Which segues nicely to my first rant…

How the flying F does Jimmy Butler get traded for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, and the No. 7 pick (Lauri Markkanen)? AND the Bulls threw in the No. 16 pick (Justin Patton). The only explanation I can come up with is that Tom Thibodeau has a suitcase worth of “things” that he’s been waiting for the proper moment to utilize. I believe I’ve just figured out what’s in the Pulp Fiction briefcase. Remember, back in 2015, the Bulls kicked Thibs to the curb in a rather unceremonious way. Finally, Thibs got his revenge. I mean, what other possible explanation could there be? LaVine is an explosive athlete, but he tore his ACL last season. Kris Dunn….I think this tweet explains it all:

https://twitter.com/markstrot/status/878040700239085569

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I’ve spent a ridiculously stupid amount of time debating whether it’s better to be lucky or good. So much weed. So much time. Wasted. I never go to Roscoe’s and debate the merits of chicken or waffles! It’s both! Always both! The Celtics reiterated that simple concept last night at the NBA Draft Lottery, where the balls bounced up-and-down, side-to-side, and all-around to give them the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Is that going to be Markelle Fultz? Did you know that Fultz’s wingspan is longer that Josh Jackson’s? Crazy. Anyways, must be nice Celtics fans. Must be nice…As a Lakers fan, it pained me to put that logo up top, but I give props when props are due.

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I don’t typically do this, but I’m going completely off-script for the open today, after we got the awful news Bill Paxton passed away in his early 60s due to complications from heart surgery.  Isn’t it weird how attached we get to actors we obviously don’t know in person?!  Especially more a character guy like Bill, but this one hit me hard for some reason!  Who doesn’t love True Lies?  Aliens?  The GOOD James Cameron movies?!

And for this to happen on Oscar weekend too, just a real shame.  Alas, it’s been a busy-as-hell weekend across the association plus I finally wrapped up my Pitcher Rankings over on baseball that’ll be out this afternoon or tomorrow.  Weekend of writing!  That’s what really pulls me through man, getting to write about sports for all you wondrous people in Razzball Nation.  The game will never be over, there will always be basketball and baseball!  Tackle football…?  Eh, maybe not-sa-much…  Here’s what went down over the busy weekend – the first after the break with a lot of fresh faces in new places – in fantasy basketball action:

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Y’all think he got out of it? I mean, c’mon…it’s Razor offing Ramon! I bet he walked over, grabbed his toothpick and flicked it straight at Scott Steiner’s eye. The glory of that gif. The mullet. Sorry, the sweaty mullet. The stubble chest hair. The shaking hamstrings. The black leather leotard. The metal print banner of WCW Monday Nitro. Goodness, take me back to 6th grade already!

No, don’t do that. I don’t want to be 12 again. However, that was the first time I ever played fantasy basketball. But I’ll quit reminiscing and focus on what’s really happening in that gif: the full nelson. Change the faces around, time travel to today and make that a basketball court in Denver and you’d see the story of Jameer Nelson and Emmanuel Mudiay: the young’n with the death grip on the PG position to start the year, but, wait for it…the wily veteran shaking free of his bonds on the bench to reclaim his rightful place running the team! Is it a stretch? Sure, but look at that extension through his obliques. Clearly, this is a great move to increase flexibility.

Ok, are we talking about wrasslin’ or fantasy basketball? I’m all befuddled now. Must be the mullet.

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Razzball Nation!  The Trade Deadline is here!  Fantasy Basketball’s most interesting day south of the year change has arrived, and fantasy owners have itchy trigger fingers on their wires, ready to find that newly minted asset after a deal.  Forge me some upside, fantasy gods!  Wait, wait, in no way did I mean to compare NBA GMs to gods…  Vlade Divac is like, “that’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said about me!”

I’m going to try and keep this post updating throughout the trades up through the 3:00 PM EST deadline, then Slim and I will record the Pod and post a little later tonight.  Be sure and keep up with the comments, and break news if you see a deal done before I or another commenter!  Let’s throw around the last-minute rumors, and turn this into a Trade Deadline hub!  Here’s the trades that have gone down so far (not including the Cousins one, which I do think will end up being the biggest deal of the “Trade Deadline” period though…), plus updates throughout the morning and afternoon:

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The headline should serve as a warning: one of the most exciting days of the entire NBA season is fast approaching, and the results of said day could make every bit of what I’m about to write a moot point. If that happens I’ll be gloriously thrilled, because every year I cheer for the chatter to come to fruition on…NBA TRADE DEADLINE DAY!

The All-Star Game is tonight, and then three days of rest for the whole league (which is actually a full week for every non-All-Star). But the day everyone comes back to the court is the day the madness can occur. As a result, the names I’m mentioning are either hot hands or stand in line to get a boost from the hired hands that left their team. It’s certainly a tricky week, and the limited games only add to the nuance.

So, go play with the Trade Machine, let me hear the proposal you want to happen for your team, and let’s get ready for…

For the three people who wondered, the most enjoyable Trade Machine scenario I can find for my Hawks is (and no, it’s not for Carmelo Anthony: the expiring contracts of Mike Scott and Tiago Splitter with a 2nd round pick to the Lakers for Nick Young and Jose Calderon. Gives Hawks a legit second-team scorer, gives Lakers cap flexibility and a pick.

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Oh man, super emo title for today! But what kind of irony is it that on Valentine’s Day, we might get some terrible news about Kevin Love‘s knee… After playing a few nights ago, nothing big on the news front until he was ruled out for tonight last Sunday afternoon, then yesterday news broke he’s “seeking a second opinion on his knee”. This coming after an MRI, with results that have not been revealed yet. Ugh! I traded for him a week ago in the REL as all my good injury karma is drastically flipping the past week! And tonight the Cavs go to Minny, in what could’ve been a great “revenge” game. Although, I bet he’s kinda happy he’s on the Cavs instead, hah! Andrew Wiggins is actually playing a little better lately as well, and it would’ve been nice to see them face off again… Alas, be prepared for a lengthy absence from Love, and while he’s having a great season – much better than in 15-16 – thankfully his stats to replace aren’t the tougher-to-find AST-STL-BLK. There have been a lot of bigs to emerge for PTS/REB, and for the treys, we all know you can always ThrAGNOF! So if we get some brutal news today, hop into the comments, and let me be your Love counselor! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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For the love of tripdubs! Dayum Draymond Green had a ridiculous Friday night, nay, a legendary Friday night! One of the craziest lines I can remember since helming Razzball hoops, Dray was the one bringing the defense instead of the Grizz, going 4/12/10/10/5.

Well, when Marc Gasol tries a slow-ass, lackluster behind-the-back dribble right in front of you, it’s easy to get 10 steals! I think I coulda stolen that! Speaking of stealing, Andre Iguodala totally stole my dance move at the end of that highlight there… When I go to the club, it’s like I’m walking on hot coals! Anyway, it was the NBA’s first triple-double without scoring 10 points, and Dray couldn’t even get a 5×5 line! Chump. Then #Occupy followed it up Saturday with a 6/8/8/3/1 line, with the weekend boosting his season averages to 2.1 steals and 1.5 blocks per. He’s exactly copying the 7.4 AST which he also had in 15-16, but he’s cut down the TO from 3.2 to 2.4 this year, while averaging career-bests in the stocks. We all expected the scoring to go down, but man, the defense numbers the Dubs crank out is insanity, thanks in part to their pace. If you didn’t win steals and blocks with Dray’s 13 steals and 6 blocks over the weekend, then something went drastically wrong! Would be time to occupy that trading block! Here’s what else went down over a fun weekend of NBA action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?