NBA TV will now take you live to the 2030 NBA Hall of Fame induction ceremony, where legendary Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside is taking the podium …

“Thank you friends, family, Crockett, Tubbs, members of the Miami Sound Machine not named Gloria Estefan, and all of you who came out today. And what an honor it is for me as a basketball player to have the all-time great and fellow Hall of Famer Chris Bosh presenting me here tonight. I kind of wish we hadn’t drank a whole case of Bosh’s “Make It – Take It” Dogfish Head beer last night, but dang that’s some good stuff! In all seriousness though Chris, I love you like a father, like a big daddy praying mantis. You’re the best.

I’ve been a King, a Bighorn, a Viper, a Blue Whale, a Monkey King and a Grizzly… I’ve been Energy, Heat and part of a Skyforce and a Thundering Herd. I’m proud of every organization I’ve played for. No I’m not. But still those are some pretty wacked names eh? A lot more exciting than “Warriors, Lakers, Bucks,” amIright?

When I started thinking about what I would say on this momentous occasion, I sifted through the many memories … playing with Bosh and Dwayne Wade … escaping Sacramento, aka DeMarcus Cousins’ Crazy Town Express, averaging a double-double in my breakthrough 2014-2015 campaign … making ten straight all-star games starting in 2015-2016. Winning the 2020 NBA title with my homeboy Jahlil Okafor – shout-out Jah! And thank you Sam Hinkie, you moron! Your 10-year rebuilding program in Philadelphia really worked wonders for Miami and every other team that poached your frustrated young players.

Actually, thinking back to that ’15-’16 season, that was really the start of it all for me. I remember how fantasy ballers doubted me. Maybe it was because I had been a late second-round pick of the Kings in 2010, then ended up in the D-League, Lebanon, China, Lebanon, China and the D-League again. Then after busting out of nowhere to put up 11.8 ppg, 10.9 rpg and 2.6 bpg in 48 games in 2014-2015, I had kind of a meh preseason the next year, kind of slipped in fantasy drafts and didn’t really have a great first two games of the season. The whole fantasy world freaked and I was sold low by dumb owners everywhere!

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Monster.

Beast.

Man-child.

Demigod.

The list of superlatives that can be applied to Andre Drummond is a long one. The Pistons big man went berserk on Tuesday night with his second straight 20/20 game. To be precise, he went for 25 & 29 – the second 25/25 of his career. For perspective on just how good he’s been so far this season:

  • Only player since NBA/ABA merger to have 75 points and 75 rebounds through his first four games
  • First player since Kareem with multiple 20/20 games in his first four games
  • No other Piston has had a single 25/25 game in the last 30 years

Drummond had 11 offensive rebounds tonight which was more than any other player had in this game…combined. If the points and boards weren’t enough, he also tossed in three steals and a block for good measure.

The one knock on AD has always been (and will continue to be) his poor free throw shooting. At .403 FT% for his career, it’s quite the albatross. But this season – early as it may be – Drummond is up to .576 (19-33), making owners who thought they were punting the category feel pretty darn good about their chances across the board.

The stars seem to have aligned for Andre to post a truly special season. Lane-clogging Greg Monroe is gone. Stan Van Gundy isn’t afraid to play his starters heavy minutes and the team is winning (i.e. rewarding this approach). A summer of work with a shooting coach is paying immediate dividends at the foul line. At this point, the only thing that could conceivably derail this train is injury…and Drummond has only missed one game in the last two years, so there are no concerns about chronic or lingering ailments.

Now on to the rest of the happenings from an eventful Tuesday night of round ball…

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Flashy player.  Ridiculous opportunity.  Buzzy preseason.  A lot of times it ends up fizzling out, sometimes it works out OK, and one time it’s C.J. McCollum.

C.J. went absolutely bonkers in his 15-16 debut, hitting 14-22 from the field including 6-9 3PTM for 37/6/1/1/0 and no TO.  Video game numbers!  So he’s a shooter, and he does what NBA shooters do – keeps draining em when they hot!  But I think we need to take a step back and consider a few things:  Other than massive Pts and treys it was fairly empty.  This was against the Pelicans, who without Brow, might look worse than the Sixers; they look horrific.  And the third thing that no one seemed to mention while anointing McCollum the next big thing in combo guards this preseason – he’s got a pretty extensive injury history.  He’s at the pinnacle of a sell high for me.  Do I think he’ll be hot garbage all the sudden?  Of course not.  But do I think he scores 37 again this year?  I don’t.  Well, unless they faced the Pelicans every night…  I’d shop around in the 40-50 range of ADP and see if you can get lucky.  As with all fantasy takeaways off one game, it’s always good to keep from overreacting.  Compared to fantasy football, we’re at the same point as about 9 minutes into the first quarter of week 1.  Still a long way to go.  Here’s what else went down during the first full slate of fantasy basketball action:

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rcl-basketball-logoThe regular season approaches — fewer than three weeks before our lives finally have meaning again! My RCL had a draft last weekend, and I wanted to share the results with all of you wonderful readers as a fascinating case study and (perhaps) cautionary tale! This was an excellent draft– I think all managers were drafting live, making some ballsy and brilliant picks. I’ve included a grade and a few words on each of their teams after my pick-by-pick blow-by-blow. Off we go!

[editor’s note – we still have leagues open to join the RCL fun, plus we need more leagues!  Hop over to the RCL sign-ups and start a league today!]

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Wooo, preseason is here!  We finally get to see players on the court, thennnn, pretty much immediately we have season-ending injuries…  Just let athletes take steroids again, eesh!  Tired of this nonsense!

In literally the second game of the preseason, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist slipped on just a routine perimeter dribble and dislocated his shoulder.  It looked like he might’ve slipped on some sweat, those are some slacking Magic ball boys!  Then after an MRI yesterday, it revealed a torn labrum (true story, it had a red underline underneath “labrum” which had me being sure I spelled it right, and the suggested fix was labium) and he’ll likely need season-ending surgery.  Yikes.  Tough shakes for the Hornets who just invested $52 mil over 4 years in the guy (THAT’S MORE THAN MONTA ELLIS!), and have nothing great to fill-in SF minutes.  Well, I guess technically SG minutes, as Nicolas Batum should slot back to SF as the Hornets hodgepodge their SG.  Jeremy Lin had a nice 17/2/7 debut in that first game on Saturday, but followed it up with 10/3/1 and 4 TO on Sunday.  Jeremy Lamb scored 16 in the debut and got the start Sunday, only to shoot 2-11 in 25 yawnstipating minutes.  P.J. Hairston also got a start Sunday as Batum got that game off, and shot 1-7 missing all 5 treys.  Then there’s also Marvin Williams, who has reportedly lost weight and was rumored to get SF minutes back in July, but he figures to be more of a Batum backup or a small stretch-4 like last year.  I really don’t like any of these guys, and none of them vault into the draftable range for me in 12ers.  I guess in deepers I’d grab Lin first, but meh.  The only actionable impact for me is MKG’s 15-16 death.  “This guy here is dead!”  “Well cross him off then!”  Here’s what else has happened through the first few nights of preseason as we prepare for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball season:

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Yeah. It goes like this right here. It’s the return of the writings of Slim! That reminds of an Outkast song, and that song reminds me of 1998. If you don’t remember it was the year we learned there was yet another way to be disgusted by a cigar. That near, far, wherever you are you probably found yourself at some point rooting for the most unlikeliest of protagonists, Billy Zane. And of course it was the year the ‘Blue Screen of Death‘ truly became a meme, long before anyone knew what a meme was.

Gangstaaaaa… It’s the return… turn…

In the NBA draft that year there were 3 guys drafted that are still playing and should one day be in the Hall of Fame. I’ll give you a hint, the top 3 draft picks were Michael Olowokandi, Mike Bibby, and Raef LaFrentz, and if you were playing fantasy basketball back then you might have gone all-in on one of them. Give up? They are Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki, and Paul Pierce. Pick number 5, 9, and 10 respectively. That’s not to say great players aren’t drafted 1st, but the only thing guaranteed when you are first overall is a whole boat load of money. Something about the use of the word ‘only’ there doesn’t quite feel right.

Return… Ganstuhuhuh… It’s the re…

It seems so easy to see when you’re talking time traveling, something mind unraveling. Get Down. It’s a whole lot harder to do here and now using some funky combination of math, logic, illogical fandom, a random number generator, and of course the occasional dart throw. For some reason though, after about an hour on 350 (or about 176c) it develops a creamy caramel colored crust. Once it cools, just cut it up and consume. So here’s you’re 1st taste. Slim’s, I can’t believe I’m writing this in 3rd person, RCL playoff schedule post.

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You aren’t going to find too many elite fantasy basketball assets sitting on an NBA bench. You’re going to find them on a 50’ wide by 94’ long stretch of hardwood, running their shoes tread-bare.

Fantasy production or “numbers” – essentially the only thing you’re mining for as you prepare for your drafts – is what results from the beautiful union between talent and opportunity.

Talent with limited opportunity (think: Jonas Valanciunas) leaves you with little choice but to sit back and wonder what could have been. Conversely, all the opportunity in the world afforded to players short on talent (I’m looking at you, Courtney Lee) has you questioning why you’re tending to vines that bear no fruit.

Unfortunately, in the world of the National Basketball Association, opportunity is usually held to a finite number each night – and that number is 240. Two hundred and forty minutes is all a given team can distribute amongst its roster during a regulation game. (For our purposes here today we’ll refrain from delving into the impact of overtime/multi-overtime games adding to the pool of minutes, though it does obviously impact the calculus.)

With NBA coaches now regularly employing rotations of nine and 10 men, there are very few players (regardless of talent, youth and good health) who are asked to play more than 75% of a game. In point of fact, during the 2014/2015 NBA season a grand total of six players averaged over 36 minutes of court time. Go just one year farther back and that number jumps to 16. The 12-13 campaign? 22 such players eclipsed the 36 MPG mark and seven ran for over 38 minutes a night. And to really put things into perspective – less than a decade ago we saw nine players average 40 minutes, with the kicker being that none of them missed more than 10 games.

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rcl-basketball-logo

I’m going to pull an Infinite Jest here…  Literary jokes!  2015-16 will now be known as “The Year of the Point Guard Hoarding”.

Man it was unreal finally drafting a real team, and not having an awful mock draft with uneducated click-happy idiots or autodrafting based off of Yahoo’s pre-ranks…  Shizz got intense!  The PG run got so hot-n-heavy that I had to go to my warm-and-fuzzy Rubio just to feel safe…

To feel the immense pressure of the PG run, or the frustration of sleepers two-to-three pages down from the top available slipping through your fingers right before your pick, start up a Razzball Commenter League today!  We need more commissioners, more leagues, we need more mmmmk!  Had a little Mr. Mackey happen right there…  If you’ve thought about starting a new league with good competition, or have a few friends trying to start a new league and need the best fantasy basketball community to fill it out, start an RCL league today and join the fun.  100% free, great competition, and solid prizes – mainly me making an ass of myself on Youtube…

Anyway, I feel pretty good about this first RCL team I drafted, mainly by scoring a randomized top-3 pick and netting an ideal PG/C combo to start my draft.  But that damn PG run got me caught up, and I don’t love my bigs…  Here’s how the draft went last night, and my pick-by-pick analysis below:

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Hey Razzball nation! We’re getting towards the end of the sleeper stream, so I hope you’ve enjoyed so far!  There probably will only be one more sleeper article from me after this one, so look out for that next week.  My first RCL league draft is coming up on Saturday, so I figured I would just help everyone out and post some of the obvious early ranking screw-ups in Yahoo’s NBA projections.  With no prep you can get screwed over by these ranking problems, but with a little knowledge you can abuse their rankings harder than DeAndre Jordan posterizing Brandon Knight!  At any rate, lets dive in!

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Mid-rounds – when it starts getting tricky!  And when personal biases and a soft spot for Latin Lovers can creep into your thoughts and dreams!

You don’t have to look far to see that I covet upside youth as early as the 20s, with a few gut calls that could make or break my 15-16.  As long as MCW isn’t in there!  One thing I’ve found over last year is there seems to be pretty good talent and upside through the mid-40s, so as long as everyone in your league isn’t going for a FT punt, you should be able to get through 3-4 rounds with your desired build and a few fitting options each pick.  Enough wankery, we want ranks already! Here’s the Top 50 for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball Season:

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