Despite the two nationally telecast Opening Night games (with the Heat/Bulls starting at 8:00 PM EST), the season really started at 7:00 with the Magic against the Pacers.  Non-fantasy players probably didn’t know this game ever happened.  All the sudden in the second quarter, Andrew Nicholson just went off, going 8-9 in the first half with 18 points.  Next thing you know, ESPN Fantasy Basketball is down.  Why RCL is on Yahoo!  But despite the Magic losing the lead and the offense going stagnant early in the third, Nicholson only played another few minutes in the second half and got stuck at 18 points in 19 minutes, only taking one additional shot and going 8-10 on the night.  Womp womp.  I never thought too much of Nicholson and don’t think he’s a guy to go rush to the wire for (unlike ESPN fantasy players!), and don’t forget Tobias Harris sat out with the ailing ankle.  19 minutes sounds about right for Nicholson, and he’s obviously not going to be a 48 PPG scorer per 48.  But I hope the kid enjoyed the moment in the sun during that first half shooting spree.  You temporarily broke Fantasy!  He was like the Fantasy Basketball Kevin Ogletree.  Here’s what else went down last night in the NBA:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Listen, I know a lot of drafts have gone down, but I think we’re still right in the sweet spot of the drafting season.  And while we’re in that sweet spot, why not start up an RCL Hoops league where we need more commishes!  I am putting an embargo on comments unless you start up a league!  Haha – kidding.  But what’s less funny is the curse of my love for Trey Burke, as he’s going to have surgery on his index finger.  “Don’t you point at me!”  “I can’t help it, it’s the cast!”  The original report of him missing 8-12 weeks had him a 100% no bueno in my book, but then he tweeted out (I guess using other fingers) that it should only be 4-6 weeks.  Apparently he’ll be in a splint three weeks and will be reevaluated.  As in – “my fingy still hurty!”  I’m moving Burke way down and taking it as a sign to completely cool off my love for him.  As in Arnold in the last bad Batman movie cool.  “Tonight’s forecast – a freeze is coming in!”  John Lucas III becomes the starting PG it appears in most games and probably needs to be owned in deeper leagues, but I wouldn’t drop someone that good for him. Lucas III didn’t crack the updated rankings because I don’t see season-long impact from him.  Alec Burks could start some games at the point as well, and remains ranked as I think he plays both guard positions and minutes all year.  That is despite a horrible 1-13 shooting performance last night…  The Jazz are also re-evaluating trading for the Bulls’ Marquis Teague in a possible trade.  Then there’s a rumor that free agent Jamaal Tinsley might also get signed.  Sounding more and more like the Jazz PG is going to be a black hole this season.  So I’m avoiding them all, but still holding Burke in 12+ team leagues (like my 1st RCL League) and hoping.  Here’s what else has been going down through the preseason, and a final rankings update:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s funny how hometown fans and media have a different perception of players compared to those outside of the area. This gap is more like a canyon in Philadelphia. The outside world saw Donovan McNabb and Andy Reid as a wildly successful QB and coach tandem. One racked up Pro Bowl appearances and 3,000-yard passing seasons. The other had the Eagles as the kings of the NFC East and even got the team to the Super Bowl. In Philly, both are regarded as utter failures who never connected with the fanbase.  Scott Rolen and Andre Iguodala were both viewed as multi-talented consummate professionals in their respective sports. They got killed in Philly for being aloof and coming up short.

And most people on the planet Earth see 76ers center Spencer Hawes as a pretty solid center. They’ve seen 20 and 10 lines, they’ve seen seasons with 10 ppg and 7 rpg, and they’ve seen hustle plays and passion on highlights. But this guy is viewed as the poster child for the frustrating and ultimately squandered Doug Collins era. He’s starting for Philadelphia this year because the team is tanking to get Andrew Wiggins in the 2014 draft. This might be almost entirely true.

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 full 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?

So who drives the hype-train?  Is it ESPN?  Is it Yahoo?  Is it Buster Keaton?  So what if you have to be 90-years old or a film school grad to get that!  I tend to think it’s a combination of all media outlets that all have similar, independent views.  Before touching any research on the draft, I immediately slotted Trey Burke as my #1 rookie for the 2013-2014 fantasy season, and it’s looking more and more like that’s going to be the consensus opinion.  Damn you, Keaton!

That said, I still think Burke is going to provide tremendous value to owners who spend a high pick on him.  The price may become steeper and steeper to a point too high for even me, but looking at it right now, he’s a guy that would slot in with Kemba Walker and George Hill in that tier of PGs and be ranked in the 50s in our rankings.  Hows that for some hype train?

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?

You ever feel like you made the wrong move and it sticks with you all season?  Kinda like when you go anywhere that Tehol has chosen for drinks and hook up with someone.  “Something to give my dingle less tingle.  Me fast want slow!  Wait, no that’s Indian….”  “Tea for dong!”

But sometime you make the right move.  Now that I have the Sword of Destiny, it was also destiny for me to draft John Wall on a lot of my teams, a move that seemed OK while Wall worked his way back, but in the past month Wall has been unreal.  (Wait, no Miami Heat streak lead?  This isn’t ESPN?)  He carved up the Grizzlies last night for a career-high 47 Pts on an unreal 13-22 FG and 19-24 FT.  Oh and he happened to season that delicious entree with 2 3PTM 7 Rebs 8 Asts 1 Stl and 1 Blk.  Needless to say, it was easily a top-5 fantasy line on the season.  Huzzah for stashing!  I got high on my own supply!

Let’s take a look at what else went down last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’ve never been that bothered by snakes.  Now I never went out of my way to play with them or anything (except my own – bada bing!), but never ran the other way either except when I was in New Mexico when I was like 7.  When I was working on my parents mountain house when I was in high school, there was a snake under the scrap heap I was clearing and I killed that little bitch with a shovel.  If that doesn’t boost your testosterone, then I guess you need to contact Tony Bosch at Biogenesis.  The resident snake of the NBA (in name only – easy Laker fans), Kobe Bryant, the Black Mamba himself, went down hard after twisting his ankle last night, and blames Dahntay Jones for intentionally crowding him.  I thought snakes didn’t have ankles?  Well, this injury after sliding into 8th place in the West just puts the icing on the cake of the Lakers ridiculous season.  Right now the prognosis is “out indefinitely.”  About all you can do is make your sacrifices to the fantasy gods and cross your fingers.  One thing Kobe has going for him is that he is resilient to injury and can heal quickly.  He’s kinda like the Derek Jeter of the NBA.  And Jeter never had any ankle issues….  I could see Bryant back sooner rather than later, but stay tuned.

Here’s what else went down in fantasy basketball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

After recording three wins in a row the Suns have now suffered back-to-back losses. It appears the Suns are setting again, but the most recent shakeup to the starting line up may prove there’s still fantasy value to be had in Phoenix. Yes, Suns FA pick ups just in time for Daylight Savings–first, the Morris Twins–Markieff Morris had 9 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists, and Marcus Morris had 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists. You know I’m a sucker for the twinsies starting together–pulls at all the right heartstrings. This is real basketball people. But I must say fantasy-wise it’s hard to tell them apart–they’re both pretty mediocre. They’re worth watching for now, but if you’re have to own one, Marcus is the brother to own, but they don’t recommend separating the two.

Wesley Johnson could be an even better pick up, and Friday he scored 19 points, with 4 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 block in the start. Wes has developed a sixth man-type role over the past few games but he got the start last night over Jared Dudley and made coach proud. Johnson, a former top 10 pick,  always had the pedigree to do this, maybe its about time he got it done. Wesley was the only one who could save Princess Buttercup and if he can continue to play well in this role, maybe he could save your fantasy team come playoff time.

Here’s what else happened in fantasy basketball Friday night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?