Uh oh…  Brandon Knight had a good game…  JB’s gonna talk about his Brandon Knight infatuation all year now!  Great…

One of my big sleeper calls last year (which was, only, kindasorta right), I again came into this season with Knight well ahead of the consensus (six spots ahead of the next highest among 25 experts – the only one in green!).  And while his knight (womp womp) was still redonkulous, there was more to like than only the stat line.  Went 22/8/13/0/1 with 2 treys and 10-10 FT. But what’s to salivate over is he led the Bucks in minutes, clearly started the game as the PG, and both Kendall Marshall and Nate Wolters didn’t get off the bench.  Jerryd Bayless was the only backup PG to get off the pine for a measly 14 minutes.  I think a big hesitation for fantasy owners was if Knight was going to play more SG like he did down the stretch last year, having his dimes eaten away like Raymond Felton at a CiCis.  Certainly looks like that won’t be the case, and when I face opposing fantasy teams, Knight is going to be my Public Enemy #1.  Here’s what else went down in our first big slate of games for the 2014-15 season:

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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!):

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Ahh, it’s good to be back. I feel like a bear coming out of hibernation. Except it’s the fall, not the spring. And I’m fatter, not thinner… Ok, it’s a terrible simile. Just shaking off the rust. But it appropriately illustrates what you should expect from the following cerebral voiding.

This is my bold predictions article, my writing equivalent to a Dubbya Bush “going with my gut!” moment. You want facts, stats, metrics? Keep walking, fella. This here piece is chock full of conjecture, fact-glossing best guesses, and shockingly basic deductive reasoning. Slim and JB are the fact finders, and, let’s face it, the guys whose advice you really should follow. BUT FORTUNE FAVOURS THE BOLD! And if nothing else, the following moves would certainly be considered bold. What I hope you take away from this, good reader, are reasons that I think a few players may be under valued, and therefore grabbed, or higher than they should be, and not reached for.

We’re wheeling and dealing here folks, no reasonable offer refused, so come on down to the lot, there’s a clown making balloon animals for the kids! Take a gander:

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With the full 2014-15 Fantasy Basketball Rankings now complete, let’s take a look at the top 100.  After a week filled with triumphs, successful trades going through, and possibly the biggest news of the offseason – Jared Dudley getting moved.  I couldn’t finish the top 100 without knowing where Dudley would be!  The ramifications would be catastrophic!  So past 75 you’re starting to scrape the bottom of the barrel.  The dregs of the cask.  Which means it’s sleeper land!  Bring out the sleeper patrol!  And a lot of times if you hit on just one of these and avoid injuries in your early rounds, you’re set for a playoff run.  Here’s my top 100 for the 2014-15 Fantasy Basketball Season (based on 9-cat H2H):

Please, blog, may I have some more?

With the full 2014-15 Fantasy Basketball Rankings now complete, let’s take a look at the top 50.  Through the top 20, we’ve already had 6 PGs taken off the board, but your third round is going to be more littered with 1s than Neo’s kung-fu program!  If you don’t have a PG through your first three rounds, you may as well turn into Brendan Fraser and live for 30 years with your dad Christopher Walken.  Or just scream in your draft lobby chat “WILLLLSSSOONNNNNN!”  …because you’ve been left behind, not because you’re drafting Wilson Chandler… “It’s not funny if you have to explain your joke, JB!”  Fine!  Probably the biggest change from the Way too Early Ranks is the catastrophic Isaiah Thomas falloff moving to Phoenix.  While he’s not in the top 50, I still think he’ll be a value.  More on that later!  Here’s my top 50 for the 2014-15 Fantasy Basketball Season (based on 9-cat H2H):

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Happy draft lottery, Cleveland-ites!  Is having another 1st overall pick enough to lure LeBron back?!  I think chances of that are as good as Anthony Bennett turning out to be a good player…

And now to the fun stuff… Figuring out where to rank the volatile middle-tier guys.  As Paris Hilton once said, “Studs are studs!  Except for when they’re busts!”  Wow, awful.  Needed to get some shock value in here – that was my proverbial watermelon mallet.

After the top 20, things get pretty tricky this early in the offseason.  And until a good bit after the NBA Draft, 50 is as high as we’re gonna go.  The draft class is loaded, and several should proliferate into the top 100, with a few even top 50 guys in the right situation.  Then free agency, old guys retiring, all that hooblah.  But if you’re thinking ahead to some dynasties or formulating some early fantasy draft strategies, here’s my way too early Top 50 for the 2014-15 Fantasy Basketball Season (spoiler alert: still no Jonas Valanciunas):

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Razzball Hoops Nation!  Wow, typing 2014-15 already just feels weird…  I’m not ready to quit you 2013-14!  Although, the disappointing image of the face of the Luminescent Lithuanian makes it easy.  We’re done, ya ho!  I’m just not that into you…

As I do every season during the NBA Playoffs, I think it’s a fun way to kick off the year with some way too early rankings through the top 50.  “Wait a minute, isn’t there free agency and a draft, moron!?”  Shut it, noob commenter!  There will obviously be numerous changes to these early ranks, possibly even some rookies trickling into the bottom end of the top 50, and all sorts of free agency moves to make this a really fun offseason.  Here’s my way too early Top 20 for the 2014-15 Fantasy Basketball Season (spoiler alert: no Jonas Valanciunas):

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More rankings, more “hindsight is 20-20″-ing!  Damn man, seeing LaMarcus Aldridge carve up the Rockets after his huge season is bumming me out – even before I hop into reviewing 21-50!  Get the red marker ready Slim!  Get that F ready!

Just like we reviewed in the Top 20, rankings are based on my final updated top 200, comparing them to the FantasyPros aggregate Draft Day Rankings along with Basketball Monster’s Total Value for 9-cat leagues on the season.  Slim busts out his grading pens and reviews for grammatical correctness and how stringently I followed the assignment.  “What if I stay after class for tutoring!?”  This dialogue and mental image is starting to sound like a low-rent porno.  It’s not like that!  Here’s a look back at the Top 50 for the 2013-14 Fantasy Basketball Season:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Razzball Nation!  Man, scary to think there’s only a week left of the regular season.  Where has all the time gone?!  While the majority of leagues have wrapped up, we’ve still got some extended H2H finals and Roto players out there who need a pickup for The End of the Road.  And why not Randy Foye after his 30/5/15/2/0 explosion last night?  “Wait, don’t you hate Randy Foye JB?!”  Shut it, commenter who remembers everything!  I do hate Foye, but he’s going to get the volume with Ty Lawson out at least another few games with his bum ankle.   Brian Shaw is saying Lawson probably will return this season, and coaches never lie or deceive us in the NBA, right?!  Cough cough.  With only two games on the slate tomorrow, the 63%-owned Foye (which, yes, is probably lower than it should be given the leagues that are over with aren’t making moves) needs to be scooped up in all leagues still rounding out their finals.  Plus the Nugs schedule the rest of the way is @GS, UTA, @LAC, GS.  He’s gonna heave up more threes than Jimmer Fredette at the BYU Alumni game!  Here’s what else I’ve seen over the last couple of days of NBA action:

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“1,000, 1,001, 1,002, 1,003.  Wow, I can hardly lift my left arm I did so many. I don’t know if you heard me, but I did over 1,000.”  Maybe should’ve stopped at like 40!  Kyrie Irving strained his left biceps a couple weeks ago, sending owners into a furious frenzy of wire replacements.  And one of the most fun times of the year (although you could argue most frustrating) is when the fringe or struggling playoff teams make drastic moves.  Well, I would argue dropping Kyrie when news hit wasn’t a drastic move, but I think you all know what I’m saying in H2H leagues.  After a very positive reevaluation, Uncle Drew was cleared for practice yesterday and could return as soon as tomorrow.  Talk about positivity!  While the game tomorrow against the Magic seems questionable, there still is cloudy uncertainty.  Both that game and the Cavs next on Friday at the Hawks are on very busy, heavily-scheduled days.  Of course when healthy, Kyrie is a no-brainer, but I’d imagine his first game back comes with a little bit of training wheels.  So if you’re in your final week in your title hopes, I’m not seeing an immediacy in picking him up.  But if your finals are next week, or a two-week final, go ahead and Cry Uncle.  Wait, that doesn’t mean what I was hoping.  Go ahead and pry Uncle?  Eh…  In Roto, hopefully you held Kyrie as that’s what I would’ve done.  Looking ahead to next week, it’s sadly only three games for the Cavs, but stay positive!  One against Detroit and another against da Bucks.  Gotta like those.  Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?