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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So one of my favorite Charlotte Hornets memories was Glen Rice winning the All-Star Game MVP in 1997.  I was still a chitlin, but even then I knew the Hornets were the epitome of small market (and moved just a few years later).  Rice seemed like a fill-in bench player (even though he was pretty nasty in 96-97 with a by far career-high 26.8 a game), but went absolutely bonkers in the ASG second half, putting up 20 in the 3rd quarter.  He was hotter than P.J. Hairston in a “yo mama” contest!  I knew the Hornets had no title aspirations (ending up getting swept in the first round), but it made the whole season worth it.

And the Glen Rices of the world now have another, well smaller, trophy on their mantle with Glen Rice Jr. winning the Summer League MVP.  Actually, I’m not sure if he gets a trophy… Maybe just a stack of $1,000 in Belagio chips… Either way, Rice put up a 6-game line of 25/7.8/2.3/2.5/0.5 boosted by a plain stupid 36/11/3/4/0 line with six treys last Saturday.  “Pretend every game is the All-Star game film I always make you watch, son!”  The Wizards boosted their wings (and headband usage) with Paul Pierce brought in, plus Otto Porter should see a lot of minutes off the bench.  But behind Bradley Beal, Martell Webster just had herniated disc back surgery leaving a big early-season gap for backup SG minutes.  Sure Garrett Temple might be able to fill-in, but off the hot Summer, I think Rice Jr. has got some minutes coming his way.  Plus one of the biggest concerns for Beal is his injury risk, so a deep-league gamble on Glenny Jr. could be an interesting flier.  Here’s what else has gone down with Summer League wrapping up and free agency moves:

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Thursday night’s Draft was as exciting as advertised.  Some of the top prospects we’ve seen come around in a while found homes amongst the NBA’s 30 teams — yet, there were very few surprises, outside of maybe Aaron Gordon getting picked No. 4 overall by the Orlando Magic.

Those of us expecting some big trades to go down were also disappointed.  There was really only one trade that didn’t involve a straight swap of picks or previously picked players, and that was D-League phenom Pierre Jackson getting shipped from NOLA to Philly for Russ Smith.

The big trade news around the league came a few days prior to the Draft when the New York Knicks and the Dallas Mavericks announced a blockbuster deal that sent Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton from the Big Apple to D-Town in exchange for Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington and two second-round picks, which ended up being Cleanthony Early and Thanasis Antetokounmpo.

Now, how does this affect fantasy basketball owners going forward?

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Perhaps the funniest catch phrase I made up with my buddies while watching the NBA through college -”Wahhhhhh I’m Jarrett Jack!” – can be used in so many instances.  It’s like Brian Dennehy’s speech about how versatile the F-Bomb is when he played Bobby Knight in an ESPN movie.  Whomever greenlit that idea, airing a movie with constant F-Bombs on ESPN2, is probably fired.  He’s like, “Don’t fire me!  Wahhhhhhhhh!  Wahhhhhhhhhhh, I’m Jarrett Jack!”  I use this phrase because every time I seem to watch him, he looks so so sad.  And just look at the cover screen grab for the Yahoo recap from the game last night!  So after Kyrie Irving flexed his guns too hard, Jack had three starts of very uninspiring ball.  Mike Brown sat him down and said he needed more from him.  The veteran responded, “Wahhhhhhhhh I’m Jarrett Jack!”   Then last night rolled around with the Knicks rolling out Raymond Felton to play defense.  Seriously, it’s like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with the blueberry chick.  The only difference is Felton actually ate the meals and didn’t chew the LSD-laced gum!  After a minute or two, Felton was winded, and went “Wahhhhhhhh, I have to guard Jarrett Jack!”  Jack lit up the terrible Knicks D for 31/5/10 with a trey and a side of whoopass.  Finally kicking it into gear as the starter, Jack has a four-gamer cooking up for week two of the playoffs, with my eye eagerly on Wednesday at the awful Pistons.  It doesn’t really matter who he’s playing, pretty much a must own.  Of course, in all my leagues where I’m still alive, he was already snatched up.  “Wahhhhhhhhh, I’m Jarrett Jack!”  Here’s what else I caught over the weekend in NBA action:

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Wait, what?!  Kobe Bryant is back?!  I mean, the Lakers beat the Thunder, and someone dropped 42 for purple and gold… I can think of no other scenario.  But as the verse goes, “Blessed are the Meeks!” Dropping 42 on OKC, Jodie Meeks hit a career-high with his typical Meeks game of treys and steals.  “He was hittin’ em from downtown like a mad scientist!”  I dunno, I was trying to come up with a good segway into Cosmos from last night, but got nothing.  “Went all deGrasse Tyson on the Thundah!”  “Gettin’ all cosmic on dem mfers!” The Lakers beating OKC definitely broke Vegas’ space time continuum.  Plus winning with 36 boards to 59?  Crazy town.  We’ve liked Meeks a lot over here in Razzball Nation, and somehow he’s still at only 58% owned in Yahoo.  I demand an Inquisition on this matter!  Even though he’s close to a ThrAGNOF, the 1.3 Stls a game, fairly high-volume 84% FT shooting, and just overall upside on such a crappy team make him an obvious must own.  Here’s what else I saw over the weekend in fantasy action:

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Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.  A Priest, a Rabbi, and an Imam walk into a brothel.  The Priest says to the Rabbi…   Wait, why are you laughing?  You’ve heard it before.  That’s probably a good thing anyway because I might have been banned from the internet if I repeated it here.  Witty punchlines and non sequiturs aside the point remains unchanged.  No matter what our age, sex, or religion happens to be, we can’t just hope things are going to get better.  We need to prepare for the future.  For myself that means maintaining my perfectly quaffed facial hair with treatments of only the finest oils and herbs from the orient.  For JB, and he might get mad at me for telling you this, but he has this pink rubber bowl looking thing.  It has a wooden handle at the top and after about 5-10 minutes with that in the bathroom I swear he comes out looking taller.  Definitely more confident.  Still though – even the giants will shrink to the size of us mere mortals one day.  In fantasy basketball – as in real life – we can’t sit back and hope we are the next giants to be.  In a dynasty league, when our season is lost, that means selling off our older, declining players, and buying stock in the future.  Since we here at Razzball endorse insider trading, here is my take on a few future blue chippers:

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Man, that title seems all sorts of wrong… But what is right is Nikola Vucevic returned to action last night For a solid 16/10 dub-dub in only 20 minutes.  Efficiency!  Shot 6-12, 4-4 from the stripe and added a few steals.  Very encouraging return for a guy people were dismissing since he had no timetable from the concussion.  Concussions can really jack ya up, but hopefully you stayed true on your course to the playoffs and have a dynamic top-20ish big man.  Of course the Magic now have lost value in other places, with Big Baby going 5/4/4 in 32 minutes, Arron Afflalo looking like the scrub I’ve said he was all year (still think his 20+ PPG is one of the most preposterous stats this year) and Tobias Harris temporarily moving to the bench.  Although T Dawg isn’t Walking Dead (going 9/11/3/1/1 in 37 minutes), he shot like a stiff going 2-8.  Afflalo is still a sell as soon as you can, Davis a drop, and hope you bought low on Vuc while there was a window open.    Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy hoops:

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Ross can!  Rosssssss can!  Ross can get me the tickets!  Somebody call the Police, because Terrence Ross is on fire!  Or, ummm, do we call the Mounties?  I plain just don’t know…  But if anyone (aherm, me) had to feel the Sting of that 51-point outburst against them – out of so left field from Ross that it was out of the Pacific Ocean – then you’re certainly sending a message in a bottle to the fantasy gods asking “Whyyyyyy?!”  51/9/1/1/0 shooting 16-29 and hitting 10 Harvey’s Trays.  “What’s with the sit-com references today JB?!”  Yeah, no one will get that last one… Sit-coms are always fun, light, and don’t end on Sunday nights with me throwing things.  “Enough about you, JB!”  Damn, commenters are angry this morning!  DeMar DeRozan sprained his foot in that game, and while Ross was already hot, no DeRozan helped him get hotter.  “Hansel is so hot right now.”  DeRozan looks like he’ll miss at least a few games – already not traveling tonight – making Ross a must-own for this week and the immediate future.  The Raptors are all the sudden with 18 less shots a game (no, that’s not me throwing out an arbitrary number, that’s really DeRozan’s FGA a game!) so this is a great opportunity for Jonas Valaciunas as well to go on a solid run.  Will be an interesting game tonight at Brooklyn to see how the two younguns perform.  Here’s what else I saw over the weekend in NBA action:

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In case you missed it (and let’s face it, who’s watching Bobcats games?), Kemba Walker had a scary ankle roll Saturday night and will miss 10-14 days.  He’s gonna need a walker for a while after that!  Cricket cricket, cricket cricket.  “That’s not funny JB, it’s just cruel…”  So what if I have Cruel Intentions?!  Now I wanna make out with Selma Blair…  So what if I’m not Sarah MG (I didn’t even want to bother Googling that be sure I had it spelled right…)?!  This is way off the rails…  Back to Walker, he’s a guy that relies on speed and explosiveness, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the full two weeks and even more.  Cue the Ramon Sessions puns!  As a North Carolinian, I guess I am more a Hornets Bobcats fan than any other team, so I may be biased, but I like Sessions and think he can be a decent stream the next two weeks in 12-teamers that need a desperate solid starter.   He’s an emergency Sessions!  Hey that’s the title!  In 38 minutes against the Heat, Ramon went 16/3/5 shooting 6-10 and 4-4 from the stripe.  The 5 TOs are no fun, he does turn the ball over a tad too much, but I think the underrated aspect of his game is he constantly gets to the stripe and shoots good FT%.  He’s at 3.4 makes a game at 79% this year, after being at 83% the previous two seasons.  And last year when he was at 27 minutes a game (22 per thus far in 13-14), he hit 4.8 FTs a game.  He’ll easily get low-to-mid 30 minutes per contest while Walker, Texas Ranger is out, so if you need some scoring, dimes, and that sweet boost of FT shooting in a tough matchup this week or next, or to pad those stats in roto, Sessions is in sess… Eh, well you get it… Here’s what else I saw over the weekend in fantasy basketball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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?