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:

Image result for it's alive

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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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On Saturday, September 23rd, 2017, the New York Knicks agreed to trade Carmelo Anthony to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The assets that New York received were Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott, and a 2018 second-round pick (via the Chicago Bulls). On July 6th, 2017, the Indiana Pacers agreed to trade Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domas Sabonis. So, the Thunder acquired 10-time All-Star Melo and four-time All-Star PG13 for Kanter, McBuckets, Oladipo, Sabonis, and a second-round pick. Holla Holla.

Sam Hinkie receives much adulation for his Manifesto and #TTP, but General Manager Sam Presti of the Oklahoma City Thunder needs to be shown the same amount of love. How many GMs would’ve crumbled after losing a Kevin Durant? Granted, he traded away James Harden back in the day, but you can’t win them all. Presti is the guy at the poker table that is the aggressive maniac. He doesn’t sit at the table meekly waiting for a good hand. He’s betting and folding, but never checking. Will the moves work? No idea, but here’s the thing…at least he’s giving his team a chance. And….he’s all-in baby for 2017. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Presti Manifesti.

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Hey basketball nerds. My name is Ringer, one of the new writers for Razzball basketball. I’m very excited to start writing about fantasy basketball. Not like, lose your virginity excited, but definitely more excited than D’Angelo Russell was after getting shipped off to Brooklyn. 

http://gph.is/2pOQ8Kd

Probably about as excited as any team not named Golden State is going into the NBA season, since I think that anybody taking six games from them in the playoffs would be considered an achievement.

I’ve been a huge basketball fan for as long as I can remember and got introduced to fantasy basketball four or five seasons ago. All you need to know about my first year in fantasy basketball was that I drafted Carmelo Anthony with my first pick. Because he got buckets. I lost that league. Needless to say I’ve learned a lot since then.

One of my favourite things about fantasy basketball is the countless draft strategies that people have. There are so many different ways to build a league-winning team. You got the punt FT teams, the punt turnover teams, the guy that doesn’t seem to draft anybody but point guards or big men, and of course, the auto draft team. That team is as likely to win your league as the New York Knicks are to winning the NBA championship because, as you guys know, Yahoo fantasy basketball always has a bunch of guys ranked way above or below where they should be. If they didn’t, why else would you be here? Hopefully, this article will help make sure that your team is at least better than the guy that drafts Joe Ingles before the end of the fifth round.

*Note that these are only guidelines. Grab that player you love if he falls to you. Don’t reach if you don’t have to. Also, these guidelines are for 12 team head-to-head standard leagues, as a lot of things change in bigger leagues or leagues with different settings.

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To you who are reading this post, I love you all. To those who aren’t, I hate you. Good thing those people will never see that. I don’t care if you are just a hoops junkie, need something to pass the time when on the can, or if you love/hate my work. You’re here and that’s all that matters. It’s been a long journey, but alas…sniff sniff…the end is here. There are a few upside players here that could definitely make a leap in the rankings, but for the most part, this post will be populated with specialists and “use in case of emergency.”

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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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It was the night of the triple-double. Perennial MVP candidates, Russell Westbrook and LeBron James, each notched a triple-double to lead their teams to victory.

Westbrook added 25 points, 19 assists, and 12 rebounds for his third straight triple-double, all of which are Thunder victories. It was Westbrook’s 33rd triple-double of the season, who remains just 8 shy of tying Oscar Robertson’s NBA record of 41 in a season.

For LeBron, he needed just 28 minutes to post 16/11/12 against the Pistons, a team he seems to dominate since his unforgettable 48-point performance in the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals. He wouldn’t be denied and knocked over anything in his path, including teammate Kyrie Irving:

The Cavs were in a bit of a slump, losing 4 of 5, heading into their matchup with the Pistons. With the Cavs just 2.5 games up on the Celtics, hopefully James will finish the year on a tear. It was James’ 10th triple-double of the season and third in the last four games.

Now onto the rest of the nightly notables:

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Dirk Nowitzki became the 6th player in NBA history to reach 30,000 points, becoming the first international player to hit 30k and one of three players to score all 30,000+ points with one team. It’s been a truly impressive career for the future hall-of-famer. As Steve Nash joked, what’s German for ball hog?

20 points shy of the milestone heading into the game, Nowitzki wasted no time, knocking down and a fadeway early in the second quarter:

Scoring 18 points in the first quarter, Dirk finished with 25 points (all in the first half), 11 rebounds, 1 block, and 3 threes for his third double-double in the last four games. His fantasy days are numbered, but after a slow, injury-filled start to the season, Nowitzki has given patient owners plenty to smile about since the start of the New Year.

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The biggest news of the night comes from a guy who barely played at all. Less than 2 minutes into the game between Golden State and Washington, Warriors’ center Zaza Pachulia (12 points, 8 rebounds) fell into Kevin Durant’s left knee. KD walked away gingerly before heading to the bench and being whisked away into the locker room. Diagnosed with a hyperextended left knee, Durant did not return to the game.

Is this karma from the Basketball Gods for his comments about not wanting to come home to play for the Wizards? Kidding aside, this is terrible news to the Warriors, fans of the NBA, and fantasy owners. Hopefully KD’s injury isn’t long-term, but more will be known after examining the MRI results.

In the meantime, the Warriors wasted no time in reaching out to free agent Matt Barnes and are expected to sign him later this week. Released by the Kings after trading DeMarcus Cousins to the Pelicans, Barnes is excited to rejoin the Warriors, after playing for them from 2006-2008. I wouldn’t rush to add Barnes until more is known about KD’s injury, but Barnes has been useful for fantasy purposes before.

On happier notes, here are the other nightly notables:

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