At last!  At long last.

The fantasy basketball season is upon us and we finally get to start seeing our lineups in action.  I, for one, am pumped like never before.  Sure it may be because it’s my first full season as the Razzball Editor on hoops, and sure, it may be because it’s the last year the North Carolina team will be called the “Bobcats”, but hey, we all have our things to look forward to!

If you’re new to Razzball, I’ll be giving you daily recaps of everything that went down across fantasy hoops (starting tomorrow) along with contributions from our other great writers (Pete, Dan and Slim) throughout the year.  And if you missed my mention of it once or twice through the preseason, I work for a company that makes the Yahoo Fantasy Basketball player highlights which will start going up tonight!  We also make the TNT Overtime highlights which come up on the timeline as you’re watching the game (It’s free!  And starts tonight!).  I bring this up, well first because it’s the coolest job, and second because I get to watch a lot of hoops and break down film of typically two games a night.  So at the end of Daily Recaps I’ll be letting you what games I’m watching that night and you can either tweet me (@jbgilpin) if you’re wondering about something in the game or ask in comments the next day.  We’re next level here at Razzball!

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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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Razzball Nation!  You’ve been clamoring for some updated rankings, and here they come!  I’m going to release them slowly, teasing them out, just like how we did the offseason rankings 5 months ago.  These top guys haven’t changed too much, but the rankings will expand to the top 200, culminating in an easy-to-use and frequently updated cheat sheet you can use during all your drafts as they commence in the next few months.  Fantasy NBA is coming and we’re ready to win you titles (or titties – depending on your league’s prize pool).  Previous ranks from my Off-Season Rankings are in parentheses before this re-rank:

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The period of free agency continues to shape the fantasy basketball-scape with fresh meat on terrible teams and players signing with contenders to be relegated to bench duty.  With baseball in full swing and the NFL getting half of the ESPN air time no matter what time of year it is, a lot of NBA moves have been made under the radar.  Look for every division to get a team-by-team breakdown and some early fantasy thoughts on the new faces in new places:

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Fantasy Championship!  Some leagues have just wrapped up their finals and hopefully you’ve got a nice Shiva for your mantleplace.  But in other leagues the championship has just begun or it’s the last week-and-a-half for roto.

With a lot of big name players (ahem! Dwyane Wade ahem!) not getting on the court, there’s going to be a ton of new fringe guys getting minutes.  It’s been since Saturday since we’ve had a round-up, so let’s look at the weekend’s action (no games yesterday with the NCAA final):

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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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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:

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Tobias Harris started the season fairly strong, putting together some decent lines in November, but then fell out of the Bucks rotation.  “Oh Tobias, you blow-hard!”  It looked like Harris’ career might be stalled.  “I got my hands on some money.  I can’t say how or when … or where my wedding ring is, but my purse overfloweth.”  But with a trade to the Magic right at the deadline, Harris got a much needed new beginning in O-Town.  “But guess what? There’s a new daddy in town.  A discipline Daddy.”  Harris has been a discipline daddy indeed, providing the Magic with their lone bright spot with 23 Pts 9-12 FG 2-2 FT 1 3PTM 6 Rebs 2 Asts and 2 Stls last night while being massacred by the Kings.  And if any of these references are giving you a chubby, suck it up and watch Arrested Development!  As I mentioned in both articles yesterday, I’m crushing hard on my boy T-Hair.  Shooting a total of 21-31 (68%) and averaging 17.7 Pts 0.67 3PM 6.7 Rebs 1.3 Asts 1.0 Stl and 1.0 Blk over his three games for Orlando, he’s been a dynamite find for their unloading of J.J.  I called him a pickup in deeper leagues, but with a third straight big performance where he looked worthy of 40 minutes (I watched this game – he attacked the rim hard, shot well, and played spry), I’m now calling him a pickup in all leagues.  Here’s what else happened last night across the NBA:

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With six minutes left in the fourth last night, David Lee gave Roy Hibbert a little sucker shove that spawned a fracas that would have made Ron Artest (excuse me Metta World Peace) proud.  Tangent – how can athletes just change their names like that?  Getting pretty ridiculous.  They should just change their names a few times a year and get a percentage of jersey sales.  Imagine Chris Andersen changing his name to “Birdman” at the beginning of the season, then changing it again halfway through the season to, “You best stay away Chris Hansen“.  But I digress.  After Lee and Hibbert got separated, Stephen Curry tried to body up on ol’ RoyRoy and it didn’t go so well.  Even down 11, Curry had torn up the Pacers for 33 at that point, keeping what would have otherwise been a blowout a watchable game.  What ended up being one of the best MMA moments of the NBA season didn’t factor into the game much, as the Pacers still ran away with it after Hibbert’s ejection.  Luckily Curry was able to finish the game with an incredible line of 38 Pts 7 3PM 2 Rebs 4 Asts 3 Stls 1 Blk 4 Broken Cheek Bones and 0 Ankle Injuries.  Just kidding about the cheek bones.  I made every Curry owner gasp there for a second.  Let’s take a look at the other performances last night in the NBA:

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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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