isojoe

Listen, as a Hawks fan I have a special place in my sports heart for Joe Johnson. It’s special because of this strange dichotomy I call reluctant gratitude. The Hawks sucked. Hard. For years. And gave up far too much to get him, but once Joe Johnson arrived in Atlanta back in the ’05-’06 season the Hawks became a legit playoff team, with Johnson ascending to perennial All-Star level. Yet that damn contract (only to be rivaled by Allan Houston from 2001 as potentially the worst of all-time) handcuffed Atlanta into the nothingness that is the perpetual second-round, upper-middle tier of the NBA. It was awful.

However, Brooklyn came along and washed our bored tears away when they gulped down his albatross contract to usher in the new era of Atlanta basketball (still perpetual upper-middle tier, though). But when you think about it, that’s just what Joe does: usher in the next chapter for a franchise. Well, that and play incredible (dribble) ball-stopping (dribble) isolation (dribble) basketball (five more dribbles, contested shot with 3 second left). It started in Phoenix as Mike D’Antoni and Steve Nash began their revolutionary 8-second offense, then shifted to Atlanta for the next seven years where he made six All-Star teams before becoming the epitome of the catastrophe that was the Brooklyn Nets post-prime project alongside Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. And now? Smack dab in the middle of the Rockies, Joe’s the biggest free agent signing the Utah Jazz have locked in for the past 10-15 years. At 35 years old he’s shooting 49% in 31mpg during their first five contests. Could it be that a new era is beginning in Utah with all of their young talent (and without Gordon Hayward as of yet)? They just crushed both the Spurs and then the Mavs, and I’m getting quite jazzed about the makeup of this team. Could they reach the playoffs for the first time in 5 years? Well, probably. Joe’s there now. It’s time for a new era.

And for this week…four games for the Jazz. Here’s the 7 Ahead for Week 3!

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Man, what a World Series!  The Cubs win Game 7 – in extra innings no less – to end their century plus drought and have their fans become insufferable, like the Red Sox.  Ugh.  But congrats to the Cubs, and now we can solely focus on basketball!!!  …until the football playoffs take over 45 minutes of every hour of Sportscenter…

Anywho, if it’s not my Brewers in the World Series, I could care less, and I was paying more attention to hoops last night anyway.  Very depressing night, but I wanted to start positive!  After singing his praises on the Pod Tuesday morning, T.J. Warren had a little bit of a down game on Halloween night, but bounced right back to lead the Suns to their first W in OT.  11-22 FG, love dat FG%, 5-5 FT, ditto, 27/7/0/2/1 with no TO.  Dem fighting numbers!  That gives him a 22.4/6.2/0.8/1.8/0.4 line on the season, shooting 50.6% from the field on 17.8 shots, 86.4% from the stripe in 4.4 FTA, and averaging only 1.0 TO.  This is turning into a fantasy MVP!  Of course, of course, of course it’s early, but Devin Booker was back after sitting one game, both Eric Bledsoe (hit the game winner) and Brandon Knight got their run, and I don’t really see any reason this can’t sustain.  The Pts probably come down a tad, but he doesn’t shoot 3s so the FG% should be huge, and he doesn’t really facilitate much which will keep his TO mad low.  On the Pod I compared him to DeRozan – with maybe even better FG% – and look at these floaters in traffic that are DeRozan-esque:

I’m very actively trying to correct the great injustice – with all my TJ love, I don’t own him on any teams.  Hopefully owners think this is a flash in the pan or a sell-high moment.  I don’t.  So be like Warren, take a trip to Dr. James Andrews, and get yourself a nice year-long TJ!  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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So if you haven’t listened to this morning’s Podcast yet, you wanna know what’s fun when you run the world’s awesomest Fantasy Basketball blog?! Coming home to no internet! And your ISP having no way to fix it until the next day! It just makes you think about how we in the fantasy basketball world rely on the internet, when so much of the world is still without it… I’m over here stressing like a madman wanting to be sure Razzball Hoops can still deliver our silliness, when the world at large still has a long way to go. Even though it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, I want to tell my family at the Razzball Nation table that I’m just thankful to be here, and thankful for everyone reading! …and thankful I can get to work a few hours early to bang out today’s recap… Without the internet, I wouldn’t have a job with a software company, Razzball wouldn’t exist, I’d be working at some factory or some ish, fantasy basketball would likely not exist…. Imagine calculating fantasy hoops by hand! Ahhhhh! Awful! I’m very fortunate to merely exist at this point in time and space. And to wrap up this sappy open, I want to say I’m the bigger man and certainly wouldn’t ousT What Cable provider I use… Crooks.

Anyway, so with limited hoops watching last night due to an inconsistent 4G stream, I didn’t get to watch the Celtics game and two of my REL rocks, but had a little better service to watch most of the first half of the Spurs/Sac game. First off, have you seen the new Kings arena?! The Golden 1 Center doesn’t look real! It looks like where they’d play football in Starship Troopers, ya know, with that silver football? Wasn’t there talk that this team could move a few years ago? Geez! Well for as bad as the Kings manage their personnel, they certainly can hire some Star Trek architects, that’s for damn sure. But for as cool as the new arena looks, Kawhi Leonard looks better. Sleeker. Sexier… “You are ruining moving day for us!” 30/3/5/5/0 last night, giving him back-to-back 30 Pts/5 Stl games for the first time in NBA history. Ok, don’t fact check that, I’m sure it’s happened before… [edit – Rotoworld must be reading us, because about an hour after this posted, they put out this latest news blurb on Kawhi this morning…]

I feel like he’s one of the birds from Finding Nemo. “Mine! Mine mine! Mine!” But what an absolute superstar, and maybe he belonged right next to KAT a tier below the big-4 in my ranks. Maybe even within the big 4! 7-7 FT last night, giving him a 22-22 clip to begin the season. He only committed 1 TO last night too! If you watched any of this game, the Kings actually started pretty hot, and the other starting 4 Spurs looked horrific. It was all Kawhi to open the scoring, putting in San Antonio’s first 9 points. It was Kawhi 9 to Sacramento 16 halfway through the first… With the rest of the Spurs struggling a bit out of the gate, Kawhi put his team on his back, and absolutely looks like he’s in the MVP discussion. Makes you pretty happy for having a later-round pick in standard snake drafts! Here’s what else went down last night in Fantasy Hoops action:

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Toronto Raptors Kyle Lowry reacts after a turnover in the second half against the Brooklyn Nets in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at Barclays Center in New York City on April 27, 2014. The Raptors defeated the Nets 87-79 and tied the series at 2-2. UPI/John Angelillo

Draft season is now truly upon us with all sites having listed their official rankings for the fanatics, but how accurate those rankings are will well and truly depend on the structure of your league. One of the many attractions to the fantasy sport of basketball is the many different strategies that can play out, and of course the variety of settings and types of leagues that can be afforded to those that take the time to be commissioner of one of our favorite past times.

One of the big minefields that I spend scrupulous hours changing my ranks is trying to balance the variety of categories. The biggest minefield for me is turnovers.

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As we prepare for the 2016-17 Fantasy Basketball Season, I’ll be taking a look at each NBA team with their major adds and drops to see if we can pan for any surprise rotational gold.  This open is especially witty for the Nuggets…  We’ll be counting down from worst NBA regular season to the best, mainly because I’m still figuring out how to rank the Warriors…

Washington Wizards (41-41)

wizards

Key Acquisitions:

C Ian Mahinmi

F Andrew Nicholson

G Trey Burke

Jason Smith

Tomas Satoransky

Key Losses:

F Jared Dudley

C Nene

Ramon Sessions

G Garrett Temple

Gary Neal

Whhhhhhhhhhit MAN!

You have to say “Whhhhhitman!” like you’re almost about to whistle.  Whhhhhhhhit!  Hah, anyway, the Wiz were one of the most disappointing teams in the NBA last year, after being a tough out in the East in 14-15.  Head coach Randy Whitman got the axe, they brought in a good replacement in Scotty Brooks, but didn’t really change too much of their roster.  Kieff didn’t give them the spark they were looking for in a deadline deal, but maybe with a full offseason training with the team (and hopefully only getting detailed for a ton of weed at Philly’s airport will be his only off-the-court distraction), he can return to his peak Suns days.  Other than that, it’s really your same Wiz regulars with a re-vamped second unit.  Here’s how the Wizards roster is taking shape for the season:

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It’s all starting to come together!

50-75 always feels like that nebulous range where we get out of the sure things and start veering into the mess that is the sleeper-range, but don’t want to go too nuts for your guys. There’s just a little too much value on the table to reach for a potential superstar like Patrick Patterson! Hah, I keed, but you know what I mean.

Hopefully you’ve checked out my Top-10, Top-25 and Top-50 as we start getting into the late-middle rounds. Things are starting to get hairier in the comments too! But give me all your thoughts and quibbles you have, because I’m just one idiot that gets to pose my thoughts to the smart collective. Together as a think tank, Razzball Basketball is going to own the hoops-o-sphere! Just need to pay more attention when we play stupid Chris Liss in the Yahoo F&F Final… Ugh! Here’s the Top 75 for the 2016-17 Fantasy Basketball Season:

(you can also put your quibbles with my ranks to the test in the 2016-17 Razzball Basketball RCL Leagues, now open and 100% free to join, start a league and sign up now!)

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More ranks, here we come!

Whew, I admittedly had a little rankings-shock after writing War & Peace with my Top-10 there.  I gotta whittle this down a little bit if we’re gonna have the ranks done by September like I hope!  No one wants to wait until early October to read about the 198th ranked Jeremy Lamb…  Or maybe they do!

I must preface these ranks with an admission – I’m buying more and more into punting.  I’m Todd Sauerbrunning it!  You can pull off some pretty crazy rankings changes when you knock off some categories in BBMonster valuation.  And before everyone gets all snotty with their comments, I know I’m going to bounce around using some 9-cat valuation for some guys, then take out some cats for others.  Ranks can’t be a one-size fits all, they change each player you draft.  It would be like ranking a white wine high with a steak recommended as the pairing, THAT’S BLASPHEMY, DAMMIT!  Here’s the Top 25 for the 2016-17 Fantasy Basketball Season:

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Oh man, things are going to get saucy in the second round!  After Slim and I (and most of you commenters) seemed to more-or-less agree on most of my top-10, here’s where I gotta get my defending pants on.  They kinda look like waders, but they’re decked out in OKC branded colors and logos.  I call them my “Dion Waiters”!  BOOM!  Offseason jokes are in in-season form!

While we’re all watching StanVan complain about the LeBron calls and crossing our fingers Steph is healthy enough to come back for game 3, there’s no better time to dive into the deep end of hoops rankings a good 5 months too early.  Can I put Ben Simmons in the top-25 yet?!  Pssshhh, thing be gettin’ crazy outside the top 10, but not dat crazy!  Here’s my Way Too Early Top 25 for the 2016-17 Fantasy Basketball Season:

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Getting through a fantasy basketball season can sometimes feel like everyone in the building is against you. Like you’re John McClane. Once you get into April, you finally have a bajillion options helping you, but your feet are bleeding and your shirt is burnt off! Perils of April basketball. If you’re in a H2H league and your championship stretches until game 82, it’s time to change your league settings! Maybe it’s just sour grapes since it’s looking like we’re gonna come up short in the Yahoo Friends & Family championship. Slim could blame me too, because he wanted to welcome Norman Powell to the Razzball party. Welcome to the party, Powell!

As with a lot of these April guys, Powell is putting up some surprising stats. But he’s been getting better and better when given the opportunity, with an absolutely crazy Friday night with the Raps regulars DNPed going 27/6/4/1/0, but on only 11 shots and 5 – FIVE! – field goals made. He hit 3 treys, and apparently bought all the refs dinner before the game, going 14-19 from the FT line. 19 free throws, after 0 trips to the stripe the two games before it. WTF, mate?! Then promptly left the party last night, playing only 21 minutes for 2/1/1/1/0 in a scrubby game as the starting SF, and you guessed it, yet again 0 FTA. What in the wide world of sports?!

I’ve seen a few comments asking about Powell’s keepability for 16-17, and I just don’t know. He’s 6’4 and definitely a SG (even though he was listed as a SF last night), so you’d imagine they’d have to push DeMar DeRozan to the 3. That wouldn’t be outlandish or anything, but remember we saw a couple huge flashes from Terrence Ross before he turned into a Holiday Armadillo. And I’m lazy and didn’t want to rewrite those last couple sentences – I totally forgot about DeMarre Carroll! He’s signed through 2018-19, so it’s really hard seeing much happen for Powell out of the gate next year. And even for the final two Raps games tomorrow and Wednesday, it’s hard to give him a starting nod unless we know the Raps are resting peeps. With Toronto still alive to sneak into the #1 spot, I don’t see that happening if the Cavs beat Atlanta tonight and lock the first seed. Here’s what else went down in fantasy hoops action over the weekend:

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The Warriors needed overtime, but still continued their historic run to 73 wins. They have been a lot of fun to watch this season and are must watch basketball (if you’ve been hiding under a rock this season). It will probably be years, if ever, that any team comes this close to this historic of a streak. So enjoy it while you still can! Let’s just hope that the Warriors aren’t gassed when they inevitably play the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals.

Stephen Curry led the way with 31 points, including 6 straight points in OT. He knocked down 5-10 from downtown and added 7 rebounds and 4 assists. Draymond Green (13/8/6), Harrison Barnes (15/11), and Klay Thompson (18/4 and 3 threes) all saw around 40 minutes, as the Warriors continue their race for 73. Don’t worry about any of these getting benched down the stretch.

The Jazz kept it close and forced overtime, but the Warriors are just too good and improved to 6-0 in OT. Rudy Gobert grabbed 18 boards and scored 11 points, while Rodney Hood went for 20/6 with 3 threes. Gordon Hayward had a poor shooting night (7-20 FG, 4-8 FT), but still scored his usual 20 points with 4 rebounds and 3 steals. You have to hand it to the Jazz; they have definitely exceeded all expectations this season and should be playing postseason basketball.

Now onto the other nightly notables:

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