Uh oh…  Brandon Knight had a good game…  JB’s gonna talk about his Brandon Knight infatuation all year now!  Great…

One of my big sleeper calls last year (which was, only, kindasorta right), I again came into this season with Knight well ahead of the consensus (six spots ahead of the next highest among 25 experts – the only one in green!).  And while his knight (womp womp) was still redonkulous, there was more to like than only the stat line.  Went 22/8/13/0/1 with 2 treys and 10-10 FT. But what’s to salivate over is he led the Bucks in minutes, clearly started the game as the PG, and both Kendall Marshall and Nate Wolters didn’t get off the bench.  Jerryd Bayless was the only backup PG to get off the pine for a measly 14 minutes.  I think a big hesitation for fantasy owners was if Knight was going to play more SG like he did down the stretch last year, having his dimes eaten away like Raymond Felton at a CiCis.  Certainly looks like that won’t be the case, and when I face opposing fantasy teams, Knight is going to be my Public Enemy #1.  Here’s what else went down in our first big slate of games for the 2014-15 season:

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rcl-basketball-logo

Whoa, drafts are starting already?!  The early bird catches the predator!  Wait, I don’t think I got that right…  Getting a draft done early after all this rankings work was a liberating, yet headache-inducing experience. People have been looking at my ranks too much!  Razzball Nation is going to a tough customer in their fantasy leagues this year… If you’re itching to start a Fantasy Basketball league, we need more RCL commishes to host a league just like this one, so hop over and start and RCL League today!

Overall, I’m iffy on my first team.  I think I like it.  Has a little too much youth – but just how the draft went.  “Enough noodling, show us your goods!”  “What if my goods are a noodle!?”  Here’s how the draft went last night, and my pick-by-pick analysis below:

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With the full 2014-15 Fantasy Basketball Rankings now complete, let’s take a look at the top 75.  Captain N is aboard!  Captain on the bridge!  The respect he garners trumps captain Russell Crowe with long hair… Captain Patrick Stewart with no hair… Captain N has a huge ass flat top!  And this captain is Nerlens Noel; double the N for twice the… nifty…?  Twice the… neat hair?  This captain will put non-believers 20,000 leagues under the sea!  Here’s my top 75 for the 2014-15 Fantasy Basketball Season (based on 9-cat H2H):

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With the full 2014-15 Fantasy Basketball Rankings now complete, let’s take a look at the top 50.  Through the top 20, we’ve already had 6 PGs taken off the board, but your third round is going to be more littered with 1s than Neo’s kung-fu program!  If you don’t have a PG through your first three rounds, you may as well turn into Brendan Fraser and live for 30 years with your dad Christopher Walken.  Or just scream in your draft lobby chat “WILLLLSSSOONNNNNN!”  …because you’ve been left behind, not because you’re drafting Wilson Chandler… “It’s not funny if you have to explain your joke, JB!”  Fine!  Probably the biggest change from the Way too Early Ranks is the catastrophic Isaiah Thomas falloff moving to Phoenix.  While he’s not in the top 50, I still think he’ll be a value.  More on that later!  Here’s my top 50 for the 2014-15 Fantasy Basketball Season (based on 9-cat H2H):

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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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Free agency is here!  It has been a bit mum since the FA pool is awaiting that LeBron James cannonball, leaving us without a good snapshot of how the league will look in 2014-15.  But we’ve got Summer League getting into gear and a couple interesting FA moves.

With the The Decision 2.0 on hold, even P.J. Hairston is antsy and trying to get some ball in.  According to reports, he got into a fight with a high school senior, literally at the YMCA closest to the one where I play pickup (Chapel Hill).  While some guys are really good at Chapel Hill, there aren’t any NBA players actin’ a fool and calling three in the key!  This is likely a non-story, but it just makes you shake your head.  Almost as much as my former rookie nookie Archie Goodwin getting arrested at an Arkansas skating rink.  Sure, you can tweet “Don’t assume if you don’t know the whole story…” to which I say, “the hell you gonna get into that kinda situation at a skating rink for!”  Man, that pine gonna stay warm this year, Archie!  Here’s some other [actually useful for fantasy] news and notes of free agent signings and early Summer League performances:

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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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More rankings, more “hindsight is 20-20″-ing!  Damn man, seeing LaMarcus Aldridge carve up the Rockets after his huge season is bumming me out – even before I hop into reviewing 21-50!  Get the red marker ready Slim!  Get that F ready!

Just like we reviewed in the Top 20, 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 busts out his grading pens and reviews for grammatical correctness and how stringently I followed the assignment.  “What if I stay after class for tutoring!?”  This dialogue and mental image is starting to sound like a low-rent porno.  It’s not like that!  Here’s a look back at the Top 50 for the 2013-14 Fantasy Basketball Season:

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Remember back in the day when you played Oregon Trail every waking moment?  I only sorta remember because I kept getting dysentery…  But I imagine an update should have the mythical creature of LaMarcus Aldridge as some sort of omnipotent deity that you hope comes to your aid.  “Your wagon is stuck in quick sand, use 1 of 3 remaining LaMarcus Aldridge summons?”  Hells yea!  And then I need him to save my oxen.  Huge game from LA last night putting up a career-high points and a sick 44/13/5/0/2 line including 14-17 FT while the crowd chanted “M-V-P” all 4th quarter.  Scored the last 15 points, went 8-8 at the stripe in the last 70 seconds, all in a 5-point win.  The Nuggets just had nothing for him inside when he was crashing the glass, and LA was boarding like a beast.  I know he’s had a lot of Goromotaros, but almost all the boards he got in this one were in traffic.  And the Nuggets were fouling him extremely hard all 4th quarter.  Gonna need an ice bath!  All he has to do is come to the east coast and jump in a lake.  One of my worst calls of the year was my poor Aldridge ranking, but if you can’t get it right, join em!  Or something like that… Traded for him in REL and in another league.  I don’t know why owners were pulling a Kurt Russell and trying to Escape From L.A., but enjoy your huge stats and the first-round value you’re accruing.  Here’s what else I saw last night in NBA news and action:

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Now I’m not sure about this, but when Taj Gibson had a couple good games over the Thanksgiving week, I probably recapped and gobble-gobbled at it.  My jowls flapped around like Boss Nass bein’ all “Hmmpphhherr Rumpity-Doooo, Taj Gibson, rabble rabble rabble!”  At least that sounds like me… Now you see what I deal with in my inner monologue!  It’s like I battle a drunk Kenny Rogers.  Which is to say, I battle Kenny Rogers.  Gibson has been a scrate-up beast the past four, going 23/8, 18/4, 26/14 5 blks, and 19/6/0/1/1 last night.  Bringing big time energy to that front line as the main big off the bench, he’s playing insane out there, shooting 67% from the floor in those past 4.  I watched the game last night and was impressed with his spark, but then again, the Heat bigs are awful.  They got out-rebounded 49-27 last night!  Back in the day, I used to love Taj when Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah battled injuries.  But now… it took some time and four in a row to buy it.  I think it’s because the Bulls are my least favorite team.  Sorry Bulls fans!  Boozer & Noah just yell on virtually every rebound and definitely every single putback attempt.  It’s unreal!  It’s like Maria Sharapova is rebounding.  And Gibson does it at least 50% of the time.  He’s becoming the Bulls Sex Panther.  “50% of the time he’s yelling… every time!”  But regardless of how annoying he/the Bulls bigs are to watch/listen to, he’s playing like a must-own in all formats.  At 33% owned in Yahoo and 24% in ESPN, he’s hot while a lot guys are not.  I don’t think he’s going to turn into a set-it and forget-it guy the rest of the year, he doesn’t do enough of anything else besides score and board (if not for that 5 block game, he’d be under 1 in Asts, Stls & Blks on the year), but I think he’s a ride the wave kinda add right now.  Here’s what else I saw on the light Thursday slate of games and a few updates for tonight:

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