According to NASA, a black hole is a place in space where gravity pulls so much that even light can not get out. When two black holes collide, they send ripples through the space-time fabric of the Universe and cause “cosmic carnage.” Once they cannot escape each other’s gravity, they merge into a bigger black hole (courtesy of hubblesite.org). That doesn’t sound like a very beneficial thing. Now, the Oklahoma City Thunder possess a basketball black hole in Russell Westbrook. Granted, he is not a basketball black hole in the truest sense of the word because he will dish out plenty of dimes, but he had an insane 41.7% usage rate last year. In the offseason, OKC acquired Paul George and the NBA black hole spokesman, Carmelo Anthony. Many were expecting carnage of a different variety. There’s only one basketball. How can a 40% usage player coexist with two other 30% usage players? 40+30+30 does equal 100. Well, if Thursday night was any indication, everything gonna be alright in OKC. Anthony finished with 22 points, one board, one dime, two steals, and two blocks on 8-for-20 shooting (3-for-10 from downtown). George finished wth 28 points, six boards, one dime, one steal, and one block on 9-for-23 shooting (6-for-13 from downtown). Westbrook messed around a got a triple-dub: 21 points, 10 boards, 16 dimes, and one block on 7-for-12 shooting. Seriously, the dude wasn’t even trying and put up that stat line. He now has 80 triple-dubs for his career. The leader is Oscar Robertson with 181. As I mentioned in the offseason, Westbrook had his FU Tour last season. This season is all about winning and placating to his teammates. Anthony with 20 shot attempts and George with 23. Besides Westbrook, no one had more than seven attempts. This could be a really scary team if everyone knows their role because there’s always going to be a guy on the court that can get a bucket when called upon. OK…C?

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UPDATED: 10/9/2017

Man, you guys don’t even know. There’s been a mob outside my house every night for the past two weeks carrying tiki torches and screaming, “We want the Top 200 with stats!” Or at least I think that’s what they were saying. Anyways, big shout out to Rudy who waved his magic wand and created the beautiful looking spreadsheet below. It even sorts. Here is Rudy in his lab:

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As a Lakers fan, it pains me to say this, but the Clippers are going to be a juggernaut sooner rather than later. I’m a firm believer in the notion that success comes from the top. Well, the Clippers have an owner who is smart (Harvard BA), brilliant (dropped out of Stanford to join Microsoft), rich ($33.1 billion net worth), and passionate.

In addition, he brought in Jerry West this year, the literal GOAT, to serve as a consultant. The last team to hire West as a consultant was the Golden State Warriors. That worked out pretty well. I still can’t believe West is with the Clippers, as he really should be a Lakers for life. I’m sad now. Anyways, he knows basketball and has such a great eye for talent.

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One of my all-time favorite movies is Rounders. Matt Damon and Ed Norton talking all smooth and playing poker in cool-looking clubs with John Malkovich spouting repeatable lines in… sort of a Russian accent. Plus, there’s a great Counting Crows song during the credits that I’ve never been able to find anywhere. Anyway, Damon’s Mike McD is the relatively good boy, while Norton’s Worm is the slimier friend.

After Worm gets them beat up with all their cash stolen for having been caught cheating, the gloves come off in an overdue shouting match between the old friends.

Mike McDermott: What the F*** were you thinking?

Worm: I was trying to give us an edge… …I don’t think like that.

Mike McD: No, you don’t THINK!

Worm: No, I don’t think like YOU! You always think you can beat the game straight up. That’s not me. I told you, I’m always gonna look for that edge. Always.

As much as Mike is the better role model, if you’re picking from the two gambling addicts, in fantasy basketball you want to be like Worm. Even if you tried, you can’t cheat in most leagues, but you want to be the one thinking differently, finding your edge. Last week, I mentioned ways to make your league more engaging. From here on out, I’ll give you ways to get an edge in your league by using the numbers to your advantage. These next two weeks leading up to the season, we’ll talk drafting.

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Let me start by saying this: do not go into a draft planning on building a punt FT (or punt anything for that matter) team. Never. Don’t. You aren’t being smarter than everybody else. You’re playing yourself. Unless you’re a late draft pick in a 36-team league, it’s probably not gonna work for you.

Also, never decide to build a punt FT team just because a punt FT guy falls a bit. I made this mistake last year and took Drummond in one of my leagues, after having Davis and Porzingis already on my roster. My thought process was, “I can definitely make some trades to make this work.” I did get Gobert, which helped, but throwing away a category to get better at stats your fantasy team already generates is, not only inefficient, it’s frustrating.

On top of this, do not draft guys when building a punt FT team just because they’re bad at free throws. I can not stress this enough. The point of drafting is to build a team that can win as many categories for you as possible, not to see how bad you can lose one. It’s comical how often people (myself included) try to see how bad they can get their FT percentage, thinking that they’re outplaying everyone else. You guys think this article is for you, it’s actually for me. I’m just trying to hold myself accountable when I’m drafting.

So when do you build a punt FT team? The simple answer is: when it helps you. What I’m hoping this article does is give you some scenarios when building a punt FT team makes sense. If you’re stubborn and are gonna go ahead and build one anyway, I’ll also give some advice on how to round out your team.

Wait, I forgot the most important piece of information you’ll see in this article. How the hell are there NBA players shooting less than 50% from the FT line? Seriously. I can’t wrap my head around it. That’s like an illiterate writer. That’s like a runner that can’t walk. That’s like the restaurant I used to work at who’s name was Burger’s etc. and stopped selling burgers. So many confused customers, just like there must be so many confused NBA fans.

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I love videogames. I can’t play them as much now since I’m a father of two, but I’ll sneak in a game or two when I get a chance. Anyways, I especially enjoyed sports videgames: baseball, basketball, football, and even hockey. After spending countless hours…who am I kidding? After spending countless weeks drafting and tinkering with sliders, I’d finally embark on playing a season. At first, it’s a rush. Everything is fresh and vibrant. Over time, though, the monotony sets in. Things start to drag. You start seeing the same things over and over again. That’s where I’m at with these rankings. With that said, I love doing them. Like how I trudged through all those videogame seasons. I’ll admit, I’ve never been able to finish a complete baseball season, but c’mon!!! 162 games with more for the playoffs? I’ve come close, but I blame the corporate capitalistic videogame maker pigs for releasing a new version every year. I know I’m the idiot for buying it every year, but….I have no excuse. I’m just an idiot. Anyways, here’s my Top 75 for 2017.

Links for:

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As I begin to write this recap, the Portland – Poppycock game has yet to begin, but frankly, NBA basketball was quite bad tonight/tomorrow… The March Madness games were fantastic, but most of the NBA teams have either locked up their spots, or cashed it in for the season.  Given that, I’ll point out that DeMar DeRozan had 40 tonight, but the game wasn’t particularly great, and the Raptors won 101-84. That being said, let’s dive into the mediocre slate:

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So this is going to be the lamest open ever, but I sustained a blogging injury!  Wife wanted me to make this crockpot chicken marsala recipe, which as you guessed, calls for marsala wine.  She buys this cheap bottle at the grocery store, and it’s such a shitty product, the lid of the bottle won’t separate from that little connector part at the bottom.  Obviously I’m a straight MacGyver with these things, so my first thought is to get a small kitchen knife to try and pry the main part of the bottle top off.  I even said to myself, “this is probably going to end badly…”  And aha!  The knife shoots into my finger and I bleed everywhere like a moron.  But the good news is a pair of pliers finally got the job done!  Little bitch, you bottle of chicken marsala wine, you…

And you probably felt the same way as me hovering over a cheap bottle of wine with a knife if you started Nikola Mirotic last night.  “I think I’ve made a huge mistake!”  However, with Robin Lopez suspended and Cristiano Felicio out with a sore back-io, the Bulls were down a few on their front line (mainly calling for Bobby Portis to play C), so Miro was sure to get some run even if he was playing like a zero (no Gilbert Arenas – 0 is the number of guns you should have in your locker!).  But eureka!

28/5/2/3/1 for Miro last night, on 12-15 shooting with 4 treys.  I also wanna mention that Googling “Youtube Mirotic” had me find some sort of Kpop album, which has me think a future nickname or Podcast sounder has to come from this…  Anyway, the top 7 in the Bulls rotation actually looked really, really good despite no Wade and no big men, while Tom Petty croons about the Pistons…  Free fallin’!  Miro has been one of the most inconsistent players in fantasy this year, so with Rolo due back Friday, I still wouldn’t go too nuts to add Miro.  Tomorrow against the Sixers still might be worth the upside ThrAGNOF stream though, even if it feels as risky as jabbing plastic with a kitchen knife…  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball:

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The Bulls came into Toronto having beat the Raptors in 11 straight games. It took overtime, but the Raptors snapped the losing streak behind DeMar DeRozan’s 42 points, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds. Double D shot 17-38 and helped erase a 16-point deficit in the 4th quarter to secure the win.

DeRozan battled all game against Jimmy Butler, who also went off for 37/10/6. Despite these two all-stars’ phenomenal performances, the game was overshadowed by the fight between Serge Ibaka (16 and 6) and Robin Lopez (12 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 blocks):

Usually Lopez only fights mascots, but took exception to Ibaka’s shove in the back. Fortunately the guys were separated rather quickly, but the league will obviously review the fight and make a decision later on whether either player will be suspended any games. Personally, I’d expect both guys to miss at least one game, but hopefully it’s just a fine and they return for their teams’ next game.

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What a way to kick off the week!  Well, that is, if you own Rudy Gobert!  Monsieur Elbow says “No!”  And “Oui, I own l’paint!”  Absolutely monstrous 16/14/3/0/8 last night against the Pacers, hitting 7-12 from the field with only 1 TO.

So much swattage!  His 13 blocks the last 2 games now gives him a 13.2/12.8/1.2/0.7/2.6 slash on the year, hitting 65% from the field.  Oddly 65.5% from the stripe too!  Which isn’t good, but not a punt either.  BB Monster has him 20th overall in per game stats, and 12th in total.  Absolutely insane draft day value, but it really grinds my gears he’s doing this this year, and not in 2015-16!  Had him 11th and well above consensus, just one year too early – stupid FIBA wore him down.  Focus on the NBA, you Frenchy!  Oh shit, now he’s gonna hunt me with one of those elbows, NOOOOOO!!!  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops action:

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