As an ancient proverb goes – “I’d like to introduce you to an old friend and a new friend.”  Ok, so I made that up.  But it sounds good!

For an old friend I’ve mentioned a few times and pumped up in my last rankings update before the season started up, my boy Omri Casspi had another solid outing last night that probably was under the radar.  In 24 minutes, he went 7/8/5 with no turnovers, 2-4 from the field and 3-4 from the line.  He just looks awesome every time I see him play.  Did you know he was the first Israeli to play in the NBA?  He’s pretty much Chandler Parsons but with Chandler Parsons in his way.  After a ho-hum first two games, his past two have been fantastic – and this last one without hitting a three which is a big part of his game.  Not necessarily a must own in 12-teamers, but definitely worth a look, and needs to be grabbed in 14+.

Then my new friend - Gal Mekel on the Mavericks.  You’re like, “who the eff is Gal Mekel?  I thought this was NBA not WNBA!”  Mekel was signed to a three-year deal by the Mavs this offseason, and became the second Israeli to join the NBA.  Cut to Amar’e Stoudemire going, “Hey, I should count!”  With Shane Larkin dealing with an ankle injury, and no Devin Harris for a while, Mekel is getting full-on backup PG run and playing well doing it.  He got his 2nd 6 assist game last night going 9/4/6 and hitting a 3.  Sure some run was in junk time, but with the oft-injured Jose Calderon the only one ahead of him (hasn’t played in over 68 games since 2007), Mekel could find his way into starts.  Of course, now I’ve ruined my play on him in the REL League.  Let’s just hope no one in that league is reading!  Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy hoops:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Man, what a huge night it was across the NBA with nearly every team in action.  It obviously all starts with the shocker Philly put on the Heat, and Michael Carter-Williams‘ unreal debut.  I was following with my co-workers during the game and tweeted that if he got a triple-double in his first NBA game, the universe would implode.  Thankfully MCW was a steal short and we’re all still here.  His final line of 6-10 (4-6 3PTM 6-8 FT) 22 Pts 7 Rebs 12 Asts and 9 Stls might actually win some owners their matchups this week on its own.  Just preposterous.  Most steals in NBA history in a player’s debut.  Ok before we all go nutso, remember the Heat played without Dwayne Wade (rest), don’t have a PG, and had all their hands weighed down with new championship rings.  So that’s not really an excuse, but so what?!  The shooting efficiency was fantastic (the biggest knock on him coming into the year), plus he had only one turnover (his second main knock).  “Nice knockers!”  Thanks Young Frankenstein!  MCW indeed moves up a fair bit in value in my eyes, but this is likely his best line on the year.  MCW was wildly inconsistent in college and I don’t expect much consistency on a terrible 76ers team (I know they just beat the Heat, but c’mon).  Look for John Wall to lock him up on Friday and cool the hype.  Despite inconsistencies, it goes without saying that MCW should be owned in all leagues now (78% Yahoo, 59.4% ESPN), so if for some reason he’s available in your league, you gotta get him.  I’m not expecting MCW to be an elite player, but will continue to contribute even in down games.  Here’s what else I saw across Fantasy Basketball last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away…  Is that too cliché?  Yeah it is, but there’s a point.  You knew where it came from as soon as you read it.  You can hear the soundtrack playing in your head.  Well, now that I said it you can hear it.  There’s even a chance you might remember the first time you saw it.  That’s what drafting LeBron James feels like.  It’s a smell in the air, a taste in the back of your throat that tells you there’s something familiar here.  The nurturing feeling of resting against LeBron’s bosom.  Ahh…  Hold me LeBron.  That’s not what this series is going to be about.  This here is akin to trying to remember the first time you saw Spaceballs.  Sure it’s a classic, but we both know you weren’t in the right state of mind to remember the first time you watched any Mel Brooks movie.  Am I right or am I right?  I can hear your silence loud and clear.

Let’s all now jump into our Delorean, Phone Booth, Hot Tub or whatever your time machine of choice is and travel back to last October.  There was something with very large fantasy implications happening in Houston.  It was not the trade for James Harden.  I’m talking about the position battle at SF between Carlos Delfino and Chandler Parsons.  If you would have chosen wisely then you would have gotten the closest thing I can imagine to the fantasy holy grail.  A top 50 player at the low low cost of a free agent pick up, even in the deepest of leagues.  This will be my gift to you.  No, not this overpriced knockoff but the next best thing.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The preseason is upon us!  And just like how you don’t put too much stock in Spring Training or the NFL Preseason – there isn’t anything to go too crazy about with what happens in the box scores.  However, some guys do get hurt, hurt guys can show they’re back, and there’s additional news to spruce up everyone’s rankings (my updated top 200 is below and broken down by position in the menu).  But before you scroll down! We really need some RCL commissioners to start up new leagues to show me just how bad my rankings are.  The winner gets their name shaved in my head for god’s sake!  Please don’t make it anything too profane… I don’t want to tell the barber he has to put @$%#% somewhere in my scalp!  Rather than belaboring current events and more RCL pandering, let’s just hop right in:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

After re-ranking the top 10top 20, and top 50, it’s easy to see there’s been big changes since last May.  Below are the Razzball Updated Rankings with the previous May rankings in parentheses before the adjusted rank:

(68) ↑ 51. Derrick Favors – Utah declining to bring back either Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap gives you a slight inclination on their thoughts on Favors, and they’re already talking contract extension with their emerging big as well.  I love his athleticism, and if I miss out on Serge Ibaka who I’m high on early, I’m gonna want to reach on Favors to win blocks. I think he’ll be a top-5 NBA swatter.

(51) 52. Kemba Walker – Kemba has been higher on virtually every rankings I’ve seen, and I’m just not top-50 high on him.  He had a really solid season last year, but the terrible FG% still worries me as I feel like he forces some offense.  The acquisition of Big Al is going to give the Bobcats/soon-to-be Hornets an actual scorer down, and I don’t think that translates into helping Kemba all that much.  I like Gerald Henderson a lot too to take a bigger scoring role.  The 2.0 steals a game last year was elite, but I see those going down along with the scoring, and a comparable 5.7:2.4 Ast:TO ratio.  All that spells a slightly down ranking for me.  Although to be fair, he’s played in every single Bobcats game in his career, so there’s that reliability that can’t be ignored.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The period of free agency continues to shape the fantasy basketball-scape with fresh meat on terrible teams and players signing with contenders to be relegated to bench duty.  With baseball in fun swing and the NFL getting half of the ESPN air time no matter what time of year it is, a lot of NBA moves have been made under the radar.  Look for every division to get a team-by-team breakdown and some early fantasy thoughts on the new faces in new places:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

You know what?  I still blame whatever broadcast I was watching while logging Yahoo fantasy highlights for calling Jonas Valanciunas Latvian and not Lithuanian as the cause for me to make the same mistake.  Sure I should’ve fact checked!  But who does that anymore?  Cough, cough, Kansas City Royals graphics truck, cough. Then again, maybe I heard wrong and I have no idea which game it was and who’s broadcast it was, so I need proof.  Who needs proof anymore either?  I pretty much don’t know or have anything…

Well now that I have undersold my intelligence, let me try to get you to buy on the Luminescent Lithuanian before anyone else in your draft can nab him:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Sleepers.  How you win your leagues.  I love sleepers; it’s my favorite part of any fantasy forecasting where you identify the diamonds in the rough.  A big reason I love sleepers is they are the guys that can end up on a lot of your teams at a draft day value discounted where you know you can beat your draft to them.

So that takes me to DeMar DeRozan, a guy I wasn’t going to write my first sleeper post on at first, but amidst my ranking at 67 in my Way Too Early Rankings, I decided to dig deeper and try to convince Razzballers why they should spend a higher price on DeRozan than other rankings would suggest:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’ve got to say, growing up a huge Charlotte Hornets fan, I am going to finally have a favorite team again next year.  I mean, the Bobcats is such a horrific name for a professional sports team that it actually made me not cheer for them.  If they follow my logic – citizens of New Orleans, I’m sorry, you’re no longer cheering for your NBA team.

If you missed it the other night, the 2013 NBA Draft Lottery was selected (coincidentally right when a huge Powerball was built up and won – conspiracy?!) with the Cleveland Cavaliers winning another #1 pick.  Nerlens Noel, or Captain N as I’m going to call him, looks like he’s heading to one of basketball’s friendliest cities.  Just don’t leave for another team in a televised special.  Honestly, my first thought was, “great, another talented player I have to navigate through injury estimates with.”

Anyway, I doubt any NBA rookies will crack the top 100 for fantasy this year, it’s a pretty weak draft class, but that’s why these way too early rankings will be capped at 100 before readdressed closer to the season when they’ll expand to 200.  As always with rankings this early, it’s May, the Finals haven’t even started yet, and there will be a lot of revisions.  But here’s how I see things shaking out as of right now:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If you’ve been keeping up with me since I took over the basketball reigns here for Razzball Nation, you know I’ve had two guys I’ve been all about.  Tobias Harris and Jonas Valanciunas.  Yes the luminescent Lithuanian (LL).  Not Latvian!  Easy mistake…  OK, so I’m not one to talk, I’m paler than an Icelander living in Seattle.  But it sounded cool when I made it up.

At the ripe young age of 20, Valanciunas is owning the post, and is doing a Tyler Hansbrough impression of what Psycho-T did in college, just throwing up shizz and getting to the line.  LL (see, this is much better than typing his name correctly every time) has been scoring double-digits a night, but hit his career-high yesterday with 24 in 41 minutes.  The crazy thing is, he took only 7 shots!  Went 16-18 at the free throw line for a splendid line of 24-10-1-1-2.  I know pounding Nene and the rest of the Wiz bigs down low isn’t exactly a huge accomplishment, but I’m gonna be all over him for next year.  And if for some reason he’s available in your league, nab him for your championship run.

Here’s what else went down across the NBA last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?