As we head into August, now is a perfect time to take a look back at the free agency period for the upcoming 2014-15 NBA season.

While there is one big name yet to sign (Eric Bledsoe), a few less-intriguing options still on the market (Michael Beasley, Andray Blatche, Kent Bazemore, Jordan Crawford), and another who’s unsure whether he’ll play or retire (Ray Allen), most of the fantasy basketball world knows where guys will be playing this season.  Of course, that still doesn’t include the possibility of Kevin Love finding a new home by the end of the summer, but that could be the subject of an entirely different article.

There is little doubt in anyone’s mind that Love will land in Cleveland, which will make them a huge force in the Eastern Conference — and in the entire NBA.

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We all know the story.  Cleveland fans burn things, then stage apology videos.  Yeah, let’s put the ashes from last night’s barbecue and put it on top of my LeBron James Cavs jersey and pick it up.  Sooooooooooo symbolic.  Somebody is already halfway through the 30 for 30 special… But I got an advanced look at LeBron’s first press event with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert:

LeBron Gets New Cavs Jersey

I love what Slim said in his reaction as a Heat fan.  “LeBron’s legacy will now be that of a journeyman.”  BURN!  Poor choice of the all caps scathing word, JB!  LeBron is still the alpha dog of the NBA, but he’s now numero tres in my ranking-os… Never was too good at Spanish.  I’m moving Anthony Davis up to 2 and joining Slim’s bandwagon.  Even though BronBron had talent around him in Miami, he never had a point guard.  Which I mean more literally than not since Mario Chalmers‘ assists look more like Billy Dee Williams’ Dancing with the Stars‘ scores than an NBA PG’s!  And now LeBron’s got family on his team!  I don’t mean the city of Cleveland, but Uncle Drew!  They should mish mash one of those videos with drunk uncle from SNL…  Anyway, Kyrie Irving is going to have some balls in his hands (cough), so LeBron will be performing less hernia tests.  Kyrie’s three-year arc has been declining FG% but steadily improving Ast/TO ratios and overall dimes.  More efficient with the ball, but not hitting the shots.  Maybe it’s because the Cavs had no other playmakers… Iso for Anderson Varejao!  Dion Waiters just blocked me on Twitter.  LeBron will be a huge ease on Kyrie’s defensive pressure, however stemming from that – if Kyrie is hot, he shootin’!  Both will have great final numbers, but a little inconsistent game-to-game.  LeBron should see his dimes go down a tick as well.  Here’s a look at the rest of the free agency movement and some key notes from Summer League:

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Happy draft lottery, Cleveland-ites!  Is having another 1st overall pick enough to lure LeBron back?!  I think chances of that are as good as Anthony Bennett turning out to be a good player…

And now to the fun stuff… Figuring out where to rank the volatile middle-tier guys.  As Paris Hilton once said, “Studs are studs!  Except for when they’re busts!”  Wow, awful.  Needed to get some shock value in here – that was my proverbial watermelon mallet.

After the top 20, things get pretty tricky this early in the offseason.  And until a good bit after the NBA Draft, 50 is as high as we’re gonna go.  The draft class is loaded, and several should proliferate into the top 100, with a few even top 50 guys in the right situation.  Then free agency, old guys retiring, all that hooblah.  But if you’re thinking ahead to some dynasties or formulating some early fantasy draft strategies, here’s my way too early Top 50 for the 2014-15 Fantasy Basketball Season (spoiler alert: still no Jonas Valanciunas):

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So we’re through my top-50 and now getting into the mid-rounds.  We’re taking this through the whole top 100, but some of these are going to be gold and some fool’s gold.  As in, Larry Sanders‘ gold.  If I got to the end of a rainbow and Larry Sanders was there, I’d ask for a refund…

Through the Top 20 and Top 50, I think I’ve done the rankings pretty well.  They tell you towards the end of high school, “the smart ones get the As, but the most successful get Bs.”  I might have made that up since I never studied for virtually anything and got Bs…  But a 3.00 GPA thus far sounds about right!  Rankings are based on my final updated top 200, comparing them to the FantasyPros aggregate Draft Day Rankings along with Basketball Monster’s Total Value for 9-cat leagues on the season.  Slim then grades me.  I asked him, “will you give me As if I show you my double-Ds?”  He then flunked me…  Here’s a look back at the Top 75 for the 2013-14 Fantasy Basketball Season:

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The Lakers.  The Bucks.  Two terrible teams enter.  Only one team wins (well, actually neither of these teams are winners, unless you count if they get the first pick in next year’s draft, I guess winning the lottery is something…).  Two horrible teams with fast-paced awfulness where we see flashes of fantasy goodness.  And we got another taste of the sweet nectar that is Jordan Hill when given playing time!  31 minutes for 28/16/0/1/0 shooting a ridiculous 13-17.  With 9 of those boards offensive, Hill was abusing the paint and his shot chart around the rim looked like a rash in Kim Kardashian’s nethers.  Everyone that has watched the Lakers lately (a number that has decreased significantly, and would even more without fantasy!) knows Hill should be starting the 4 every night, and it’s taken way too long for D’Antoni to finally go back to him.  Even Hill is confused about his playing time based on his profile pic…  No Pau Gasol at least for tonight, and Chris Kaman barely arriving on time to last night’s game due to personal reasons might have put a craw in Doh-toni’s gears.  There was a report they hadn’t talked in weeks before Tuesday’s game.  Before that, Kobe Bryant said he hadn’t talked to D’Antoni in a while during his rant.  The Lakers coach is running this team like it’s freshman year of high school.  “OMG, like, Mike hasn’t put me in the game, so like, I stopped talking to him and, like just started posting memes on the internet!”  I knew it was Kaman!  You’re playing with fire, but for guys widely available, if you have a roster spot open Hill is as good as any to give you a really high upside double double tonight.  Against the Wolves should be a pretty free flowing game, so let’s all hope Jordan stays over the Hill before we bury Mike D’Anotni underneath it.  Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball action:

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Merry Christmas to all!  And to all a good night!  Well, except for the Hawks, who lost both DeMarre Carroll and Al Horford in last night’s double overtime win against the Cavs.  Carroll’s Christmas carol was about hoping his hand and/or thumb didn’t break, as he was in bad pain exiting the game.  Diagnosis came out that he has a sprained thumb, and while a non-break is a good news, remember Larry Sanders “just” had a sprained thumb and had to have surgery.  Just shatter the champagne bottle you got sprayed with and use it like a weapon like a normal bar fight, Sanders!  And to make matters worse, Horford then lost all his Christmas cheer when he hurt his shoulder later in the game and is set for an MRI.  It’s his right shoulder vs. a left pectoral tear that ended his year in 2012, but neither of these injuries look too good.  Big men waiting in the wings for the Hawks (womp womp) Elton BrandPero AnticGustavo Ayon, and Mike Scott would all stand to get increased roles, especially if both injuries turn out to be serious.  I’ve talked about Scott more than a few times as a guy to keep an eye on should there be injuries, and I think he has the most upside by far to emerge.  His per 36 of 18.7/7.7/2.0/0.6 with 1.3 treys while shooting 55% from the field gives him a glimmer of hope to be the fantasy contributor I thought he could be.  Here’s what else I spotted through the Holidays while opening all of my Brandon Knight basketball cards on Christmas morning:

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Have you ever gone out with a nurse, or someone in pre-med? It sounds all sexy, and I’m not gonna lie, it was, but like in all things, there are benefits, and there are drawbacks. In my case, it was a textbook situation of a little knowledge being a dangerous thing. If I had a cough – it’s malaria. Once I had an itch on my back – don’t wanna scare you, but you may have cancer. My sac a little tingly – you got the AIDS. Humph. She was wrong on almost all of those prognostications. But I can relate, because I fancy myself a bit of a B-Ball aficionado, and, really, I just read and watch a lot of the game. So when I nabbed Kobe Bryant in the 5th round in 2 leagues, I smugly patted myself on the back, letting the league know I got the steal of the draft. Mamba was gonna came back right at the beginning of the season, all pissed off, and be a ball hoggin’ menace out there. Then I got either Sanders, or Tobias, as well as Wilson Chandler, and held them on the bench also. I thought that I could outsmart the system, and it hasn’t exactly worked out that way. But I’m still hoping that Kobe can come in this Sunday, and totally redeem me. But this isn’t my diary, so let’s get to it.

So, knowledge is dangerous, potentially, I believe I have established that. If you think you can handle the danger, then read on, brave reader, read on:

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Well, this is the peril you get playing in other countries…  After a generator next to the stadium in Mexico City failed, last night’s Spurs at [hah] Timberwolves got postponed after the stadium filled with smoke.  It looked like Mexico City’s skyline of smog in there!  Man, so many people are going to get fired over this.  “Who let their 5 year olds with squirt guns play next to the exposed wires?!”  All the sudden the NBA is looking like the MLB…  I haven’t seen a PPD since September!  Brutal break for Spurs and Wolves owners in H2H formats as the reschedule is sure to be a while down the road.  Usually I like H2H for hoops because you don’t get rocked when your team has bad weather (vs. H2H Fantasy Baseball which I loathe), but now you have to think about generator fires when playing in other countries!  Well, I guess except Canada… They better have their shizz in order!  Breaking News!  The Raptors stadium has a Rob Ford crack den hidden within the locker room that caught fire, and they’re relocating to become the Reno Lt. Dangles.  Go Reno!  Here’s what else happened last night across fantasy hoops:

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“Is it safe?”  Dustin Hoffman was so not type B enough in that situation.  Imagine Jeff Spicoli in that scene.  “Dude, what are you doing with that, man?!”  But nothing beats the end when Hoffman makes him eat the diamonds.  Spoiler alert!  Oh yea, that’s supposed to go before the – - nevermind.  Ryan Anderson last night was sure the marathon man in the triple OT slug fest in Chicago, playing a preposterous 57 minutes for 36/6 with 7 threes.  He’s like a big Klay Thompson!  I was actually texting with my friend who said the broadcast compared him to Larry Bird – Hah!  I countered with the Jazz broadcast in their opener compared Alec Burks to Michael Jordan.  I can’t even make something up more preposterous than that!  These announcers must’ve failed those analogy tests you had to take through elementary school.  “Pizza:delicious::ice cream:????”  “Alec Burks!”  While it’s good seeing Anderson get that kind of run, spoiler alert!  I think his toe could flare up at some point.  He’s playing great, no question, but when he came back from injury he said he was going to manage the pain and the Pelicans were hoping to hold back his minutes a bit.  Sure failed last night!  I’m obviously not his toe, but I’d be like, “Yo, Ryan, 57 minutes be too much and Tough Actin’ Tinactin ain’t gonna fix me!”  I’m buying the nice Anderson stats right now, but think he’s a bit of a sell high and big dudes with big toes that have been big ouchies are big red flags.  Here’s what else I saw from last night’s action and news in fantasy hoops:

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Welcome back from Thanksgiving!  After a week of indulgent eating, I’m back with an extra 20 lbs of writing weight.  Those drumsticks went right into my index fingers.  So I didn’t learn the typical QWERTY typing method, sue me!  I taught myself how to type in “Olsen Twins Turn 18 Countdown” chat rooms when I was in middle school…  Fantasy hoops had a ton go down through the Turkey Day holiday, although Omer Asik wasn’t traded to the Magic for Hedo Turkoglu.  Now that would’ve been a Turkey Day!  Of all the things that went down, I am positively giddy for the run Patrick Beverley is about to give us with Jeremy Lin set to miss two weeks with a knee strain.  Thanks in part to Slim’s water torture, I’m a big Beverley believer for some real mulit-cat upside.  Early returns started slow, with PBev going 7/2/2/2/0 the game Lin got hurt during the first quarter, then only 5/4/1/0/0 in 24 minutes on the Friday night.  But on Saturday against the Spurs, 11/6/5/3/1 no turnovers and three treys.  “Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!”  Thanks Maury Ballstein.  Even though PBev isn’t a focal point of the offense, I buy the peripheral stats, and a must-have addition to your own “Balls Models” squads.  Steals, boards a-plenty, with some dimes and out-of-position blocks will floweth like a river.  Or Slim’s water torture device.  You said you weren’t into S&M!  This is my fantasy update writing of shame… Here’s what else I saw since we last checked in:

Please, blog, may I have some more?