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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If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? A philosophical thought that has taken too much of our time, to be honest. We now live in an age filled with technology, so it’s all about sending the screen shot or providing video evidence. An event does not exist until a selfie is procured. We ain’t got time for the bullshit. Now, the time consuming question is “Photoshopped?” Anyways, the purpose of today’s post is to provide the predictions for the upcoming NBA season from your favorite Razzball writers. Who will be shamed? Who will be exalted? Regardless, we shall forever be etched into the annals of Razzball history….that is until I edit the post at the end of the season. Someone better screen shot this mofo!

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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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Jae Crowder, Demarre Carroll, Kawhi Leonard, and Justise Winslow. When you think of these four players, a few things should come to mind. They are all scrappy players known for their hustle stats, lockdown defense, improving jump shots, and for being fan favorites. Long wing spans, large biceps, and… the hair. The type of hair that makes you understand why the only rule that matters  is no touching of the hair or face… and that’s it! Go away, inner Ron Burgundy. These players may take time to develop into fantasy assets, but once they do, you better hope you have first row seats to the show, because these are league winning talents.

Winslow has yet to hit his peak, but looking at his numbers in limited time last year, we can see what he may become. His percentages have been rough, but his near 11 points, five boards, and four assists per game, coupled with 1.3 steals will prove very useful over the course of a full season. Take a look at Carroll. Four seasons of mediocre play for Memphis, Houston, and Utah before getting 30+ MPG for the Hawks and then the Raptors. His line looks a lot like Winslow’s above, but add in the 1.5 3PM and he’s become a useful fantasy asset. Crowder took a similar path as well. Three seasons of weak ball for the Mavericks and Celtics before his Boston breakout in 2015 where he had a line of 14.2/5.1/1.8/1.7/1.7 which was only exalted by the 2.2 3PM in 2016. The Cavs should open even more doors for Crowder, and his fantasy stock is on the rise.

Lastly, the star of the bunch, Kawhi Leonard. Three seasons as a high motor, defensive specialist putting up similar stat lines to the ones you see above, followed by three seasons taking over the reins of the Spurs steering wheel. He also has a relationship with Pop that none of us will ever understand. Scoring 25 a game, hitting two 3PM, adding in a slew of counting stats, and we have a first round pick everyday of the week and twice on Sundays… but not Mondays because that would be ridiculous. You can’t have that two days in a row, that’s just not fair to anyone else in the room. Damnit Bernice!

Is that you George Muresan?

You’re lost, aren’t you. Why are you telling us about players we already know about? Get to the good stuff, quit wasting my time! Wow, everyone relax, it’s coming… and you’re going to love it.

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Image result for official atlanta hawks logo

When I was in college, a buddy of mine would always talk about Freaknik. A party/musical festival down in Atlanta that truly put the H.O.T. in Hotlanta. Dancing. Drinking. Partying. Music. Hoops. I was intrigued, especially since I had never been to the South. I never made it, though, then…POOF. It was gone. Maybe it’s something about Atlanta, but that’s been my experience with the Hawks. The team has made the playoffs for 10 consecutive years and I’ve been intrigued at times, but I always overlooked them. Well, I won’t have to worry about that now because…POOF. The team is rebuilding and will most probably be bad. At least there are some young exciting pieces which should, at least, make them an interesting watch.

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Hello Razzball Nation! My name is Kostas (as you may have correctly guessed by the avatar name at the top) and I’m the latest addition to the fantasy crew here. I’m not that good with introductions so I’ll just say that I love fantasy and basketball in general and can talk about it for days. I’m more experienced in Roto leagues and I frankly prefer them compared to H2H. Too much luck involved in the championship matchup (injuries, resting of star players, etc) for my taste. So, for my first post I’ve prepared my projections for the top 155 (just to irritate people that like round numbers such as 100 and 150) players in roto, since Son has already covered the H2H part. The player value was calculated with the “z-score” method (the most widely used) and takes into account the nine standard categories (PTS, 3PT, REB, AST, STL, BLK, FG%, FT%, TO). One last thing to note is that the player value is the PER GAME player value, so injuries and games played are not included. Without further ado, here are the projections:

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Whew. 100 down. 100 to go. It’s been a helluva ride, but we almost there. This is where things get really interesting, as it’s a group where some starters still reside, but is mostly populated with bench players. Do you go with a specialist or someone that contributes across the board? Decisions decisions.

Yes! I’m freaking pumped now. Go do your thing right now! I’m going to finish this post then run like Forrest Gump.

If you missed them, here are the links for:

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Your left eyebrow is connected to the…  right eyebrow!

Damn, teams who took the plunge and drafted Anthony Davis are getting rewarded for their brazenness, that’s for sure!  My only RCL team left standing is my Brow squad, and I actually somehow think it’s the first time I’ve ever owned Brow…  Maybe I had a share or two his rookie year, but despite always championing him, never got him anywhere with early picks.  Anywho, monster 36/17/3/3/3 line for a 1.5 rainbow, giving him 3 straight 30/15 games.  Who wants a unibrow ride?!  They should totally make a “Unibrow Ride, $0.25” shirt.  Screw that, I’m gonna!  Razzball store, it’s time for me to make some new products!

Who’s with me and wants to buy those?!  Let’s launch a kickstrarter!  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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For anyone who is in their early 30s (or older), this song would be familiar.  Sadly, I’m giving away my age.  Slim is totally not gonna be drafting me if I was a professional NBA player.

In any case, it’s the 1st week of the playoffs and where it’s either you make it to the next round, or it’s sayonara until next season.  Going into the weekend, it could be do or die… as is the case for most of my teams in Razzball leagues where I hobbled into the playoff spot without Kevin Durant.  So if you’re finding yourself in the similar situation of trying to get through via the band aid solution, these ideas below might help.

Let’s take it by day and some potential pick ups:

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