Yeah. It goes like this right here. It’s the return of the writings of Slim! That reminds of an Outkast song, and that song reminds me of 1998. If you don’t remember it was the year we learned there was yet another way to be disgusted by a cigar. That near, far, wherever you are you probably found yourself at some point rooting for the most unlikeliest of protagonists, Billy Zane. And of course it was the year the ‘Blue Screen of Death‘ truly became a meme, long before anyone knew what a meme was.

Gangstaaaaa… It’s the return… turn…

In the NBA draft that year there were 3 guys drafted that are still playing and should one day be in the Hall of Fame. I’ll give you a hint, the top 3 draft picks were Michael Olowokandi, Mike Bibby, and Raef LaFrentz, and if you were playing fantasy basketball back then you might have gone all-in on one of them. Give up? They are Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki, and Paul Pierce. Pick number 5, 9, and 10 respectively. That’s not to say great players aren’t drafted 1st, but the only thing guaranteed when you are first overall is a whole boat load of money. Something about the use of the word ‘only’ there doesn’t quite feel right.

Return… Ganstuhuhuh… It’s the re…

It seems so easy to see when you’re talking time traveling, something mind unraveling. Get Down. It’s a whole lot harder to do here and now using some funky combination of math, logic, illogical fandom, a random number generator, and of course the occasional dart throw. For some reason though, after about an hour on 350 (or about 176c) it develops a creamy caramel colored crust. Once it cools, just cut it up and consume. So here’s you’re 1st taste. Slim’s, I can’t believe I’m writing this in 3rd person, RCL playoff schedule post.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

You aren’t going to find too many elite fantasy basketball assets sitting on an NBA bench. You’re going to find them on a 50’ wide by 94’ long stretch of hardwood, running their shoes tread-bare.

Fantasy production or “numbers” – essentially the only thing you’re mining for as you prepare for your drafts – is what results from the beautiful union between talent and opportunity.

Talent with limited opportunity (think: Jonas Valanciunas) leaves you with little choice but to sit back and wonder what could have been. Conversely, all the opportunity in the world afforded to players short on talent (I’m looking at you, Courtney Lee) has you questioning why you’re tending to vines that bear no fruit.

Unfortunately, in the world of the National Basketball Association, opportunity is usually held to a finite number each night – and that number is 240. Two hundred and forty minutes is all a given team can distribute amongst its roster during a regulation game. (For our purposes here today we’ll refrain from delving into the impact of overtime/multi-overtime games adding to the pool of minutes, though it does obviously impact the calculus.)

With NBA coaches now regularly employing rotations of nine and 10 men, there are very few players (regardless of talent, youth and good health) who are asked to play more than 75% of a game. In point of fact, during the 2014/2015 NBA season a grand total of six players averaged over 36 minutes of court time. Go just one year farther back and that number jumps to 16. The 12-13 campaign? 22 such players eclipsed the 36 MPG mark and seven ran for over 38 minutes a night. And to really put things into perspective – less than a decade ago we saw nine players average 40 minutes, with the kicker being that none of them missed more than 10 games.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Mid-rounds – when it starts getting tricky!  And when personal biases and a soft spot for Latin Lovers can creep into your thoughts and dreams!

You don’t have to look far to see that I covet upside youth as early as the 20s, with a few gut calls that could make or break my 15-16.  As long as MCW isn’t in there!  One thing I’ve found over last year is there seems to be pretty good talent and upside through the mid-40s, so as long as everyone in your league isn’t going for a FT punt, you should be able to get through 3-4 rounds with your desired build and a few fitting options each pick.  Enough wankery, we want ranks already! Here’s the Top 50 for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball Season:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The NBA really is Jordan Belfort.  The Wolf of Fantasy Sports!  It’s tantric and never slows down, from the Finals ending less than two weeks before the draft, free agency hitting a week later and we’re already starting summer ball.  And the NBA will soon revel in the excess that is the 16-17 salary cap boost with a TV deal that put Seinfeld reruns to shame.  I need my ludes to get me through!

Even the Spurs couldn’t avoid the world of excess and massive free agency signings, bringing in LaMarcus Aldridge for a cool $80 million.  Loosening up the purse strings!  My first thought was, “dammit, Kawhi is never gonna be the guy!”  Then again, he got over $90 mil with his extension, so there’s that!  But Kawhi Leonard sometimes struggles with the mid-range and long-distance shooting, so L.A. should help Kawhi by opening up some lanes and keeping him in his game.  This is going to be a crazy offense, with Tim Duncan moving to center and likely being his solid old self.  Which leaves us with what to expect from Aldridge…  And, me no likey for fantasy.  After being really durable early in his career, he’s had a few bumps and bruises (I know, I know, playing through a torn thumb tendon gets mad props) and the Spurs – as we all know – love to limit the minutes.  I also don’t think he quite gets to 20 shots a game like we’ve seen the past few years.  I had him 20 in my way too early rankings, but the move drops him a few spots at the least.  L.A. in S.A. is not OK!  Here’s what else has gone on through the first few days of free agency and rookie ball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The draft is here!  I’m so excited that I pushed through a hectic day to have a live post throughout the night, something I told Slim I probably wouldn’t be able to get to.  He’s all like, “5,000 ranty words on Interstellar, and you can’t do a live draft post?!”  And I’m like, “MUUURRRPPPHHHHH!!!!!”

Let me start with this question to loyal Razzball Nation readers – is the NBA draft the best of the professional sports drafts?  My vote is hell yea!  Better trades, it flows faster, rooks impact right away…  Ugh, I wish the MLB draft got a little more interesting at the top.  And the NFL draft, well, 2/3 of the players who get picked don’t impact fantasy so I care a lot less…

So here we go folks!  I’ll be updating the post live with every pick – so constantly hit dat refresh – along with some immediate fantasy thoughts and a gut-call grade as we go.  Here’s how the 2015 NBA Draft went down (which you can compare to Slim and I’s mock draft early this month):

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The nitty gritty!  Oh man, ranking an early Top 50 before the draft and free agency is a bigger fool’s errand than hiring the Clippers a FT coach.  Especially since DeAndre Jordan might go to the Mavs!  Cuban will use some sort of Shark Tank invention to help him out at the stripe.  Flubber 2!

We’ve gone through the Top 10 and Top 20 for our early 2015-16 ranks, but 21-50 certainly gets interesting.  My biggest takeaway is the sheer depth at PG.  Almost every team will have a fantasy-viable PG (cough, not the Bucks, cough) so it’s a position to fill up on in the mid rounds.  Sure I’d like to start with one of the top 10 overall elite guys, but I’m likely filling up on a wing and a big, then it’s time to go with the sides.  Mmmmm, this is sounding like a great KFC order…  Here’s my Way Too Early Top 50 for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball Season:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

First thing I want to talk about is site player pricing.  I get aggravated when sites tighten player salaries and then they loosen them up.  Just pick one way or the other. I think being consistent is important and that goes for all the sports that the site offers.  If a site wants to be the next Draft Street and have sharp player salaries, that’s fine.  For example, if the guy doing or looking over the player salaries might be a basketball guy and the salaries are sharper for basketball than other sports.  That’s not the way it should be.  Sites that have consistent player salaries will only help grow the DFS industry moving forward.

We have a 7 game slate on tap for Saturday night.  Couple things I want to bring to your attention.  Atlanta plays Philly after a tough game against Cleveland on Friday night.  Wouldn’t surprise me to see Mike Budenholzer sit some players.  The Heat have some major injury issues.  Be sure to check if Dragic, Chalmers, Deng and Wade are playing.  If any of them sit it could really open up some value.

Disclaimer: James Harden, Anthony Davis, LeBron James, and Demarcus Cousins should always be considered.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Crazy game in OKC last night!  It was a crazy night across the board!  For a while I thought the Sixers were really going to pull that one out – had the lead most of regulation and then clawed back late – but Russell Westbrook playing like Michael Jordan these days got the Thunder the OT win.

Behind all of RW’s historical hooblah which we’ll go into later, is Isaiah Canaan‘s career game.  Career best 31 points on 10-16 FG (8-13 3PTM 3-3 FT) 31/7/6/1/0.  And of course he does that right after I said you’d rather own Ish Smith!  And Ish did ish in 15 minutes…  All that said, Canaan had 29 early in the 4th and the Sixers couldn’t figure out ways to consistently get their hot shooter the rock.  The continuity was awful with Philly only staying in the game by taking some horrible deep 3 pointers with no spacing or rebounders.  It felt like one of those college intramural games where the much better team was struggling because the other team’s scrubs kept hitting 3s for some reason.  Did I say intramural?  I meant more like every time Duke beats Chapel Hill!  Only because of the 3s…  Although Chapel Hill has trouble teaching their players the difference between “2” and “3” so there’s that…  I would still Aaron Brooks over Canaan and I’m not dropping a valuable guy just for this hot shooting game.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops action:

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With an ADP of 68.6 in drafts all the way back in 2014, Jimmy Butler has been an absolute revelation and made all his fantasy owners rich with value.  “Butler, I need some extra steals!  A couple more blocks!  Some artisan cheese!”  And the trusty ol’ Butler would always deliver.

Unfortunately, all that caviar and pancetta piled on that silver serving plate really wore down the Butler’s elbow, and Jimmy Buckets is going to miss 3-4 weeks.  Hey, on the bright side this is the NBA and not a year-long pitcher injury!  So the billion dollar question – to drop or not to drop JB?  Well don’t drop me!  I’d try to hold where I could.  I’d much rather have JB at the end of my bench than stashes of Kemba Walker or Paul George.  Even in 10ers, I think I’d probably hold on as most Jimmy Buckets teams are doing pretty well.

In his stead, the vastly improved Tony Snell should get the tiger’s share of minutes.  He’s greeeeeeeeeat!  I don’t think he’s a must-own in even 12ers though, since he’s a semi-ThrAGNOF with steals upside.  Not that I don’t like him!  But I would say a little better FG%/FT% version of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.  The real interesting addition to me is Nikola Mirotic, who should get a lot of run while Taj Gibson is out at least another week.  And with Butler gone, maybe he gets a handful of SF minutes here and there, even though it hasn’t gone that well when experimenting with that before…  But experiments take a lot of tries before they go right!  Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball action:

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Oh man, Russell Westbrook has turned into Oscar Robertson meets Michael Jordan!  It’s like the first time you heard your favorite off-the-radar album, you’re like, “it sounds like Godspeed You! Black Emperor meets Between the Buried and Me on acid!”  And right at the end of yet another tripdub with monster scoring Friday night (40/13/11), Andre Roberson pulled a Van Damme from Kickboxer and kneed the shizz outta RW’s face.  Friggin’ Roberson and his fat knees!  After the game, the fashion photographers were like, “Russell, show me your good side, no no the other way, give me Le Tigre!  Ferrari!  MAGNUM!”

Luckily facial reconstruction for face dents doesn’t include a long healing period; maybe they just went in under the skin and used a Pops A Dent!  It’s been reported he could’ve even come back yesterday if it were the playoffs.  I’d guess he’ll miss another game or two, but looks like we dodged a bullet.  More like, Westbrook’s cheek caught the bullet, just it bounced off his Adamantium!  Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?