It’s finally here!  “The lockout is over!”  You’re like, “wtf, a lockout?!”  I’m quoting a Dave Cowens commercial!  And after the 98-99 Lockout at that!  Anything vintage Hornets is nostalgic gold right now.  Ridiculous amounts of bonus points to readers who are Hornets fans and remember that commercial and/or can find the video.  Because I couldn’t!

The return of the Hornets is one of the many things I’m looking forward to this year.  Getting past my horrific Jonas Valanciunas love, finally changing the page to a new season, is another.  But one of the biggest is a healthy (for now) Kobe Bryant and the return of the “Guess Kobe Bryant’s Stat Line”!  Even if you’re a long-time reader, you might not know this one!  It’s like the NBA scheduled the Lakers on a light opening night just for this momentous Razzball event, not because the Lakers are a widely popular team or anything…

I don’t remember exactly what spawned this prestigious contest, but as with everything that is oddly conversational in Razzball, traditions can start any time!  Like how we all guessed what Kobe would do, the like, 5 games he played last year.  So in order to carry this tradition, and to accurately-ish credit the winner, guess the Kobe line will be limited to the PTS/REB/AST projection to determine the victor.  Feel free to guess more stats than that, but when we did it last year with steals and blocks and turnovers, it was hard to say which commenter was closer than another.  The winner gets a shout out in the recap the next day, along with the jealous ire of all other Razzballers… I think Kobe has a big one in the opener vs. Houston… I’m going 31/5/6.  Shoot your guesses below, and happy return to Fantasy Basketball!  We’re pumped for our biggest season to date here at Razzball, and thanks to everyone for checking us out through the offseason!

Here’s some other news and notes since the last wrap-up, and what I’ll be focusing on for opening night (and we’re daily every weekday with the wrap-ups here on out!):

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Razzball Hoops Nation!  It’s officially the offseason!  Well for fantasy…  And for the Knicks and the Lakers.  And the Pacers!  Haha, sorry matt, just joshin’…

And what better way to look back on the 2013-14 season than to reflect on the rankings.  Those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it!  Dammit, that means I can’t ever rank Ricky Rubio highly again even though I know I’ll want to!

So I reflected back on my ranks, and patted myself on the back or immolated myself on what I was thinking so long ago.  Rankings are based on my final updated top 200 and eesh!  Looking back on these some are rough!  I then compared them to the FantasyPros aggregate Draft Day Rankings along with Basketball Monster’s Total Value for 9-cat leagues for the season.  I had Slim come in and grade each of my picks, and man, he’s a harsh grader!  And unfortunately he doesn’t take too kindly to giant pasty men flashing their teetans at him either, so I got no extra help. Here’s a look back at the Top 20 for the 2013-14 Fantasy Basketball Season:

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Oh man, rough night for matt’s Pacers!  Al Jefferson just went absolutely bonkers, adding to his stretch of bonkertude giving Jefferson owners a huge boost for the playoffs.  Owning Roy Hibbert like an Entertainment 720 entrepreneur, Big Al shot 16-25 in a full multi-cat dance party of 34/8/3/1/1 and even hit a three!  Only his sixth of his career to pepper all the cats.  Over his last 3, Jefferson has hit 44 of 65 shots for a very high volume 67.7 FG%.  Jefferson hasn’t played this well since his Minnesota days, and you can even argue this has been a career year.  Which for a guy with the history Jefferson has put down in the stat sheets is really saying something considering how rocky it all started.  Remember the ankle issue that had him sit a lot of games?  Then the slow start?  Because I sure do, and I steadfastly said “Hold me tighter baby!”  Is that a song?  I feel like there’s something close to that… Anyway, hopefully you were able to buy low or weather the storm and now you’re reaping some big man stats like it’s the 90s.  We miss you David Robinson!  Two losses in a row for the Pacers, right after barely beating the Jazz.  The Heat are now only 1.5 games behind, and might be taking the Pacers piece of the home-court advantage pie!  Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy hoops:

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As my good friends at Mr. Show previously theorized, 24 was thought to be the highest number.  “What about 30?!”  And then NBA scorers were pulling exactly what happens in that skit.  “What about 31?”  “What about 32?”  “I gotta ask, what about 33!”  Then Gilbert Arenas was like, “if people keep scoring like this, I’m gonna have to shoot em with Crittenton’s .45!”  It wasn’t necessarily that many guys going off, just a few you wouldn’t have guessed.  I’m trying to pick the most off the rails 30+ point night, so I think I’ll go with Alec Burks, who just looked awful in the two games before last night.  7-25 his past two outings, but goes 12-17 last night for career-highs in both points with 31 and dimes at 7.  Added three boards and four steals with two treys for good measure.  Burks has always looked like a good athlete out there, but never like a guy who could take over like that.  I think a good debate is Burks or Terrence Ross.  I’ll lean Ross, but very close, I just think Burks is too inconsistent.  Here’s what else went down last night in hoops:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Sometimes it’s nice, oh so nice, to see so much potential that you saw through the preseason finally get the chance to shine, the star to sizzle, the Sun to finally get his run.  With Eric Bledsoe sitting last night with a bruised shin, my boy Archie Goodwin finally got a chance, running a season-high 19 minutes for 16/2/2/2 shooting 7-10 and hitting a three, including this highlight worthy pick 6.  “Give me a chance coach!”  Goodwin has great speed and a good feel for the game for a 19-year-old, and is showing a little bit of what he could do should he get extended time.  The Suns backcourt is flooded, muddled mostly by the breakout Gerald Green is putting on, but the hot start-Suns have now dropped three straight, going from 3-1 to 5-5.  Green is an ultimate sell-high, both in fantasy and in the NBA trade market, for his highlight-inducing big plays and he’s shooting 12% better from the field and 11% better from 3-point land than last year.  Obviously 2012-13 was a disaster, so some bounce back was coming, but yea, if the Suns could get anything in return, they’ll take it.  With Green signed through next season and Goran Dragic with a player-option for next year, both are potential trade chips the Suns could use to build around Bledsoe.  Sure, I’m dreaming up a scenario that may not be the most likely, but what I’m really dreaming about is a Bledsoe/Goodwin starting backcourt.  Mmmmmm.  Fantasy goodness everywhere!  Goodwin is worth keeping an eye on with the Bledsoe shin injury in the deepest of leagues, and deeper dynasty leagues should have him on the radar as well.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’ve got a little story to tell you today.  I think I’ll call it a parable.  Here it goes…  A few days ago I was at the gas station and I was approached by a guy who claimed he couldn’t afford gas to get home.  If you have ever seen a meth addict in their 20’s it isn’t a pretty sight.  He was packing something into his cigarette and I didn’t stop to question what it was.  Was I a little disgusted, sure.  Would I be enabling him if I helped him with a couple of bucks for gas? Probably.  In the end I walked inside and payed $5 for him to have some gas.  He was incredibly grateful and I felt pretty good that I could help.  In the end sure I lost a couple of bucks but I was able to offer assistance and for me that was more important at that time.  This is how I see most fantasy teams.  Most managers see how many points a player is scoring and feel like they can’t be without it.  Meanwhile they regularly lose the assist category.  If we could all be a little less of a meth addict, I mean a points addict, and gain a few assists we usually find that we will win more categories, more frequently.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In a light slate of games, there were two premiere matchups with the Knicks at Celtics and Clippers at Mavericks.  What game do I get highlights for?  Timberwolves at Pistons.  C’mon Gary!  J.J. Barea looked good!  Sigh.

The Knicks took care of the Celtics and apparently after being compared to Stevie Nicks in a major sports media outlet, have started playing like a team atop the East again.  In the West, The Mavs needed overtime to knock off the Clippers with both Chris Paul and Dirk Nowitzki putting up 33 a piece.  “Whatever you can do, I can do equal!”  How communistic.

Let’s go through the noteworthy fantasy performances last night:

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Shaun Livingston had another nice game Friday night with 13 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals in 38 minutes. If you’re waiting for Kyrie Irving to return and save your team, you’re just as sad and depressing as every other Cavs fan and you may be disappointed. Don’t wait till its too late, any player is better than an injured player in the playoffs because injured players don’t play! Fact! Meanwhile, Shaun Livingston is just 12% owned and averaging 12.5 points, 6 assists and 3.5 rebounds in two games starting since Irving went down. He also chipped in 4 steals and a block in that span. Livingston is not a huge scorer, but he could provide decent value in some other categories and will get plenty of burn in the Cleveland back court if you are looking for a player to help down the stretch.

Here’s what else happened in fantasy basketball Friday night:

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It’s the last week of the regular season, which means roughly 40-50% of fantasy basketball will be over for the owners who didn’t make the playoffs.  But don’t worry!  You don’t have to wait until fantasy drafts next October to get back to your fantasy winning days.  Our friends at DraftKings run huge $ daily fantasy contests, and have got some of their biggest payouts yet.  Play today in their $150,000 Bank Shot and for an entry fee of only $200, you could win $50,000!  Payouts will go to the top 100 players, and the prize pool would make John Dillinger proud.  Or you can always hop in the $15,000 Big Wednesday for an entry fee of only $27 and win $3 G’s!  Now let me try and help you win some money with some good value picks for tonight:

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Why do deer like salt licks?  It’s one of the longest pondered mysteries in the world.  Ok, that’s not true at all after I asked Jeeves.  According to Wikipedia (I know Mrs. Hanson, I can’t use it as a source but this isn’t a research paper, bitch) “A mineral [salt] lick is natural mineral deposit where animals in nutrient-poor ecosystems can obtain essential mineral nutrients.”  Parallels!  Those poor Milwaukee Bucks were having such nutrient-poor fantasy lines and highlights of late and just needed some salt to lick.  Easy, “that’s what she said” guy (you know if you are).  The Bucks had three plays in the Sportscenter top 10!  Fantasy wise, Monta Ellis hadn’t scored 30 in 2013.  Brandon Jennings hadn’t scored more than 11 in his last four games.  J.J. Redick hadn’t scored more than 16 or hit more than 2 threes in a game for his new squad.  And Larry Sanders hadn’t… Well he’s been playing awesome, and was awesome again last night.  Let’s look at their lines and the rest of fantasy basketball’s noteworthy performances last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?