I always love when an off night (only 4 games yesterday) yields one of the best NBA games we’ve seen all year.  So many story lines, so many stars.  And more importantly – so much fantasy goodness!

I guess I shouldn’t have curtsied around it, but there’s no way Chris Paul doesn’t lead the NBA in assists this year.  I said in the first recap of the season he would average a bajillion assists and rack up double-digit dimes almost every game.  Score two for JB!  Averaging 12 a game equates to a bajillion, right?  John Stockton is deadpan staring me down right now. Creepy, Stockton!  Creepy… J.J. Redick will be a really underrated acquisition if the Clips indeed make a title run with how he helps space the floor with his movement and shooting, and while we all know Chris Paul is awesome, I’m already putting him as the #3 fantasy player right now, leapfrogging James Harden.

I lucked out getting last night’s only late game, making Yahoo highlights for the 137-118 Clippers win.  Pretty much everything played out like a video game.  Everyone was hitting 3s, the scoring was astronomical, the pace was like a Peyton Manning offense, and finished off with some late alleys for the icing on the cake.  Fantasy God #1 really got that L2 + Square alley working out by the end of the game; Fantasy God #2 just couldn’t quite time Harden’s 3-point shot release.  Wait, do they even need controllers?  We are the controllers!  Whoa, too much philosophizing.  Let’s just get this back on the rails and go over some of the news and notes from last night:

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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:

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There’s a few players who throw my drafts off course every year for no particular reason. Wesley Matthews. Jose Calderon. Al Horford. Regardless of where it happens, or whether it’s a good pick or not, when I end up taking one or more of these players, the wheels start to come off.

The three aforementioned players actually pale in comparison to my ultimate draft killer: Andre Iguodala. I really have a hard time rating him – either I see him as so overrated he’s underrated or so underrated he’s overrated.

Obviously I’m feeling self-conscious about my first RCL draft. It’s kind of like taking your shirt off at the beach after you’ve spent the winter gorging on pizza and ice cream.

All right, time to suck it up and show off my man boobs:

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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.

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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.

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Heading into the upcoming Fantasy Basketball Season, Razzball will be interviewing local NBA beat writers for some actual in-depth basketball knowledge to shed some additional light on our fantasy basketball knowledge. Keep your eye out for an interview for every NBA team through the summer. This installment comes courtesy of Dave Rueter from leading Philadelphia 76ers blog Liberty Ballers.

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Everyone saw it coming.  Everyone had it circled on their calendar.  The epic in-state rivalry of the NBA’s best team going for their 16th straight win playing at home against… the second-worst team in the NBA.  Of course it would be a nail-biter!  The Heat went up big, but the Magic went on a 46-21 run and kept it tight until LeBron James’ game-winning layup.  Good thing Nikola Vucevic had fouled out so there were no shot blockers left.  The Magic certainly didn’t put a spell on the refs, racking up 30 fouls and two foul-outs to the Heat’s 17.  Conspiracy!  The Magic fouls were illusions!  You don’t have time for my illusions!  Tricks are what whores do for money.  Or cocaine.  LeBron better get some nice wedding presents from those home refs.  You think Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert got invited?  Be funny if Lebron sent him an invite with a -1.  This is a fantasy basketball blog right?  Hah, let’s get into the numbers from last night’s games:

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I’m starting to get really frustrated with those AT&T kid commercials where this douche asks four or five kids random crap, like “what’s better less or more?” or “would you rather be faster or slower?”  In one of em he cuts the kid off who just wants to prove she can be funny like the convulsing three-year old too!  He’s probably too buys doing blow with AT&T execs to have empathy.  However, the way those kids act isn’t too dissimilar to how I would see NBA stars act in team meetings.  Like imagine the same guy sitting with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook ans asking, “what’s better, scoring more or less points?” “MOOORRREEEE!!!” in unison.  Then Westbrook is like, “if you score more points you have more chance of being on Sportscenter and people will like you more and clown you less for singing along to Ke$ha in pre-game.”  Clowned anyway!  Good thing Westbrook is having an incredible season, including beating up the Lakers last night to the beat of his drum (if there’s a more apropos lyric from Ke$ha hell if I would know it) with a line of 15-29 FG 37 Pts 10 Rebs 5 Asts and 2 Stls.  On top of that, only two turnovers.  Even Kobe Bryant was givin’ props.  If there was a Facebook throw down of NBA players claiming to be elite, this would be a good time for Westbrook to chime in.  Let’s check out what else went down in a fairly light night of NBA action:

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Every year, there’s a handful of guys that are waiver wire whores and bounce back and forth between owners for spot starts.  It’s like the freshman co-ed dorm; you feel entitled if you’re the first to have one of em riding your roster, but then you feel dirty if you claimed them next.  Enter Jarrett Jack, who before settling into his probable NBA 6th Man Award role, got run off the bench, then a few starts, but never those solidified minutes.  A shoulder injury a few weeks back had the last round of owners jumping ship, but since returning he’s finally ready for a long term commitment. So what if he gave rival owners a little handsy here and rub-a-dub there?  Time for everyone to lock him up Elizabeth Smart style.

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