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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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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When I was a little kid, I used to love Disney’s Bambi. A cute and cuddly deer frolicking in the forest with other young animals. What a life! As I got older and more hip to the world, I realized it was a movie that showed the perils and dangers that life had to offer.

Prior to last season, the Bucks had been the Bambis of the NBA. They had one season over .500 in the past 13 years. But similar to how Bambi grew into the Great Prince of the Forest, a transformation has also been taking place with the Milwaukee basketball team. FEAR THE DEER!!!

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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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In a battle for real life playoff implications, Hassan Whiteside tipped in Goran Dragic’s missed putback to give the Heat a 97-96 win:

It was just the tip, but sometimes that’s all you need, as the Heat went up a game on the Bulls and 2.5 games ahead of the Pistons for the final playoff spot in the east. Whiteside finished with 17 points and 9 rebounds, while Dragic added 28/4/4 on 9-16 shooting.

Oddly enough, it was the Heat’s first game-winning buzzer-beater since 2013, when a little known player by the name of LeBron James beat the Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals.

With the playoffs in full swing, every game matters, so here are the rest of your nightly notables:

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All we needed is a royal event! Unfurl the red carpet, roll it out in the The Colonies’ biggest city, and The Duchess will grace over his royal territory! Wow, I just made a Brooklyn Mess game sound like a big event. FOOL YOU!

As we continue to see Khris Middleton get his minutes ramped up, this was maybe the most encouraging game of the night for me yesterday, as he gets the ASB to rest up and looks ready for a big second half. Even though it’s more like a big final 1/3, but ya know, NBA… 20/3/7/3/0 for The Duchess K Middleton, with only 1 TO and shooting 7-13 with a trey. His most minutes thus far (played 26 off the bench) and I just loved this little glimpse of chemistry with Giannis Antetokounmpo with the big highlight from this game:

Guys are looking N’Sync! I would totally watch The Duchess and Greek Freak lead a boy band… Through his 4 games back, Middleton hasn’t looked like he’s lost anything, with a stellar 18:4 AST:TO, is shooting 47%, and has two 3 steal games. With Jabari Parker out and a line-up that will need a playmaker next to Greek, this could be a really fun upcoming stretch. Kudos if you were able to stash him all season on your IL, and get ready for a royal finish! Here’s what else went down on the last busy slate of action before the All-Star Weekend:

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Oh man, super emo title for today! But what kind of irony is it that on Valentine’s Day, we might get some terrible news about Kevin Love‘s knee… After playing a few nights ago, nothing big on the news front until he was ruled out for tonight last Sunday afternoon, then yesterday news broke he’s “seeking a second opinion on his knee”. This coming after an MRI, with results that have not been revealed yet. Ugh! I traded for him a week ago in the REL as all my good injury karma is drastically flipping the past week! And tonight the Cavs go to Minny, in what could’ve been a great “revenge” game. Although, I bet he’s kinda happy he’s on the Cavs instead, hah! Andrew Wiggins is actually playing a little better lately as well, and it would’ve been nice to see them face off again… Alas, be prepared for a lengthy absence from Love, and while he’s having a great season – much better than in 15-16 – thankfully his stats to replace aren’t the tougher-to-find AST-STL-BLK. There have been a lot of bigs to emerge for PTS/REB, and for the treys, we all know you can always ThrAGNOF! So if we get some brutal news today, hop into the comments, and let me be your Love counselor! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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The All-Star Break. The Halfway Point. Well, the 65% Point. Haha, the NBA season is a funny animal. Beginning in the heart of football season, it’s not until December that the league begins to take center stage of the national attention. Then, once the league hits the true half-way mark, everyone is hyped for the Super Bowl. So, finally, in the dead of winter, we reach the All-Star game and everyone’s favorite exhibition game and festivities. Sure, the entire weekend has lost a little luster over the past decade or so, but this week will be defined by the NBA All-Star Game. Oh. Hell. Yeah. Son. (OHYS)

However, like I said, it’s an interesting spot. We’re now 17 weeks into this thing. At the 17 week mark of baseball your past the trade deadline and in the home stretch towards the playoffs. With football you’re season is officially over (unless you’re one of those strange folks that plays Week 17). Yet, with fantasy basketball I feel like we just started. This little break will give us a quick breath before the final charge to the playoffs, but also, unlike other sports, creates a little chaos during the middle of that charge. The games shut down on Thursday, and don’t pick up again until the following Thursday. It’s brilliant for NBA players, but brutal for fantasy players. I thought about combining the two weeks into one, but a whole heckuva lot can happen between now and next week. Just beware, there aren’t many games for the next 14 days, so while we’re focusing on the next week, there’s also one eye on the following set to get a little ahead.

Now, onto the final few games, my predictions for the All-Star Game, and the 7 Ahead! Who do y’all have winning the All-Star Game? Dunk Contest? 3 Point Contest?

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Some fun drama in the NBA this weekend! And not the kind about the Poppycockers being a super trainwreck… More fun shade being thrown than that!

While beating the Grizzlies 112-109 Friday night, the Blazers official Twitter account decided to stir up some ish by clowning Chandler Parsons on this airball:

“To be fair, the NBA 3-point line is really, really far away from the basket.” You tell em, Portland! Then Parsons tweeted back “good luck in the lottery show year”. Well, while kinda a burn, you just missed a trey by about 7 feet, and you’ve been a bigger trainwreck than the Knicks this year… And C.J. McCollum didn’t let it slide either.

Fantasy owners feel the same way! All my non-Parsons teams are doing WAY better than where I wasted a damned pick on this schmohawk in the middle rounds! Ugh, this has been one of my worst calls in my Razzball tenure, as Parsons’ knees have made him a shell of his former, dynamic self when he was finishing up 15-16 with Dallas. It’s always a gamble to draft a guy off a major surgery – one could almost say it’s like trying to win the lottery! And as of yet, I haven’t won millions of dollars in the Mega Millions, so I shouldn’t have gone for it here! I still think there could be a nice finish post-ASB once he has that full off-week to ice up those knees, but after 8/2/2 and that labradoodle shot Friday, followed by a DNP-rest Saturday, I feel like I need to be flogged in the Razzball city square. At least he’s played 21+ minutes the past two games…? Is that all I can really find positive in this?! He’s involved in fun social media drama, can we make that a stat cat?! D’Angelo Russell, first rounder! Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy hoops action:

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Oh man, what a fun day this is for Razzball Basketball! Let’s start with our big announcement we’re making later today – I’ve teased it a few times, but it’s coming this afternoon! We’ve got a special post going up today that is going to: Blow. Your. Mind. I’ll just leave it at this – it involved robots and very short shorts…

On top of THAT, what a fun night of hoops on Humpday! We had epic drama with the Kings somehow beating THE King (in Cleveland no less!), yet another tripdub for Russ, but then a late night wonder with my boyfriend Ivica Zubac having another awesome game! My preseason darling looked further away than ever for minutes when he barely got run in preseason games, but he just kept his head down and powered through some D-League stints and a handful of junk time minutes here and there until the Lakers finally started unleashing him. Had the 11/13/1/1/3 line 3 games ago against the Nugs, then after low minutes for two games, exploded again last night for 12/10/2/0/3.

He’s just so big and so fundamental! He did only shoot 5-15 from the field (a few “misses” were on consecutive putback attempts though…) and had 4 TO, but hit 2-2 FT and typically should be a true 8-cat guy (no treys). As I mentioned on the Pod last week, in the D-League he shot 57.8% from the field, 82.9% from the FT line, and had a 15.6/9.7/1.3/0.2/1.0 line in 13 games at 30 MPG. I mean, it’s not “epic”, but he’s still only 19 and looks like he could turn into Jonas Valanciunas with D-stats. With ZuBlock showing off his potential and our big announcement today, I’m like a rabid Beatles fan this morning!

After pimping him hard as a possible second-half sleeper in the preseason (I initially ranked him like 160 or something, but then they signed Tarik Black and never played Zubac in the preseason, so I cut him out of my top 200), it’s 100% time to add him if you need a big. It might be bumpy for minutes, but the Lakers have fallen to 16-33 and it’s time to keep the youth developing. Here’s what else went down in fantasy basketball last night:

PS – Podcast will be out tomorrow morning – we are recording later today, just a day behind. Can’t wait to gloat about taking back the 30-point challenge lead!

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