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Previous “Jump Ball” articles:

9/19 – Russell Westbrook v Damian Lillard


San Antonio Spurs Team Chicago Bulls
SG, SF Position (Y! Eligibility) SG, SF
2014 Results
12th 9-Cat Rank (Total Value) 15th
6th 9-Cat Rank (Per Game) 8th
64 Games Played 65
31.8 Minutes Per Game 38.7
21.4 (T-93rd) Usage Rate (Rank) 20.6 (T-112th)
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You aren’t going to find too many elite fantasy basketball assets sitting on an NBA bench. You’re going to find them on a 50’ wide by 94’ long stretch of hardwood, running their shoes tread-bare.

Fantasy production or “numbers” – essentially the only thing you’re mining for as you prepare for your drafts – is what results from the beautiful union between talent and opportunity.

Talent with limited opportunity (think: Jonas Valanciunas) leaves you with little choice but to sit back and wonder what could have been. Conversely, all the opportunity in the world afforded to players short on talent (I’m looking at you, Courtney Lee) has you questioning why you’re tending to vines that bear no fruit.

Unfortunately, in the world of the National Basketball Association, opportunity is usually held to a finite number each night – and that number is 240. Two hundred and forty minutes is all a given team can distribute amongst its roster during a regulation game. (For our purposes here today we’ll refrain from delving into the impact of overtime/multi-overtime games adding to the pool of minutes, though it does obviously impact the calculus.)

With NBA coaches now regularly employing rotations of nine and 10 men, there are very few players (regardless of talent, youth and good health) who are asked to play more than 75% of a game. In point of fact, during the 2014/2015 NBA season a grand total of six players averaged over 36 minutes of court time. Go just one year farther back and that number jumps to 16. The 12-13 campaign? 22 such players eclipsed the 36 MPG mark and seven ran for over 38 minutes a night. And to really put things into perspective – less than a decade ago we saw nine players average 40 minutes, with the kicker being that none of them missed more than 10 games.

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Woooo, here we go Razzball Nation!

The 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball Season is nearly upon us, well, kindasorta, in the same way that I “kindasorta” liked Michael Carter-Williams last year!  OK, that might be 100% false, DON’T LOOK AT LAST YEAR’S FINAL PRE-RANKS!  Dammit, who linked that?!  MCW’s agent hacked Razzball…

So here’s to hoping I can avoid the pitfalls of last year, avoid the bone density issues, avoid good players moving to Cleveland, and avoid falling for adorable Latin Lovers!  You just can’t help from having your balls near his face!  Why couldn’t you have avoided getting a kankle, whyyyyy?!

As we did last season, we’ll have a master rankings post (which I… I mean, aherm, MCW’s agent will link when it’s live) which will be updated all through the preseason, along with Slim’s 9-cat and MPG projections.  Let’s get this shizz started!  Here’s the Top 10 for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball Season.

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The NBA really is Jordan Belfort.  The Wolf of Fantasy Sports!  It’s tantric and never slows down, from the Finals ending less than two weeks before the draft, free agency hitting a week later and we’re already starting summer ball.  And the NBA will soon revel in the excess that is the 16-17 salary cap boost with a TV deal that put Seinfeld reruns to shame.  I need my ludes to get me through!

Even the Spurs couldn’t avoid the world of excess and massive free agency signings, bringing in LaMarcus Aldridge for a cool $80 million.  Loosening up the purse strings!  My first thought was, “dammit, Kawhi is never gonna be the guy!”  Then again, he got over $90 mil with his extension, so there’s that!  But Kawhi Leonard sometimes struggles with the mid-range and long-distance shooting, so L.A. should help Kawhi by opening up some lanes and keeping him in his game.  This is going to be a crazy offense, with Tim Duncan moving to center and likely being his solid old self.  Which leaves us with what to expect from Aldridge…  And, me no likey for fantasy.  After being really durable early in his career, he’s had a few bumps and bruises (I know, I know, playing through a torn thumb tendon gets mad props) and the Spurs – as we all know – love to limit the minutes.  I also don’t think he quite gets to 20 shots a game like we’ve seen the past few years.  I had him 20 in my way too early rankings, but the move drops him a few spots at the least.  L.A. in S.A. is not OK!  Here’s what else has gone on through the first few days of free agency and rookie ball:

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Who’s ready for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball season?!  Pssshhh, who cares about the playoffs?!  Not like anything good or interesting has happened…

So it’s time to start gearing up for 2015-16!  Man am I pumped…  Mostly because I know Michael Carter-Williams won’t burn me.  In my never again pile!  MCW is like that sexy crazy chick that you know you’ll regret hooking up with again…  Sexy assets, but makes you wanna blow your brains out!  Kinda a shocker MCW isn’t a redhead, as all firecrotches are nuts.  Sorry Scottish readers, but it’s true!  Even on Game of Thrones the tall Stark one had to dye her hair…

As tradition, we’ll be ranking the Top 50 in our Way Too Early Rankings to get an idea of where we stand heading into the upcoming season.  We’ve got a lot of great stuff planned through the Summer with Draft analysis, Team Previews, and a whole hell-of-a-lot of rankings extravaganzas.  Here’s the Way Too Early Top 10 for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball Season:

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….And we’re back with our regularly scheduled programming!  If you missed it yesterday, our polls are open for the 2014-15 Razzies, our prestigious ceremony awarding the best of the best… of terribleness!  Larry Drew is like, “Finally!  Someone else has to put up with this ish!”

Speaking of putting up with ish, geez navigating all these DNPs is a near impossible chore for championship teams!  The finals of the H2H playoffs are often won and lost by waiver fodder, and if you’re in need of some ThrAGNOFfing, Anthony Tolliver is getting some run!  Sure most of his stats will make you exclaim with defiance, “please sir, I want s’more!”, but he’s at 3+ treys and 11+ Pts in 3 of the last 4.  Got a crazy dose of 40 minutes for 13/10/1/0/0 last night, hitting 4-9 FG (3-7 3PTM 2-2 FT).  And like your perfect little ThrAGNOF, he almost never turns it over, with only 2 TO in the past 6 games.  9-catters needing some treys should certainly take a look, and the Pistons have three games in four days – tonight, Friday and Saturday.  Threes ain’t got no face!  That phrase is so perfectly used here it has got me a little excited in my Dickens.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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…Well I dunno what he woulda snitched about, but ya know…

The injuries and tanking DNPs continue in one of the most utterly annoying final months to the NBA in recent memory.  There will always be guys getting hurt, but we’ve lost yet another with Hassan Whiteside tearing up his hand and needing 10 stitches last night after jamming it up against the rim.  Right in the webbing!  Between the fingers!  Youchie.  After the game he said he couldn’t feel it.  I’m no doctor, but none of that sounds good for his status tonight!  I mean, sometimes losing all feeling in a hand can be good like in The Stranger…  Certainly sounds like he’ll take at least a game off, unless they can fit him with one of those oven mitts they give guys in the NFL when they play with broken hands.  It might end up being a good thing, because if Kelly Olynyk says something about Whiteside’s mama, we could see an even longer suspension!  Here’s what else went down last night in another “dropping like flies” night of fantasy basketball action:

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Man, at this rate Rudy Gobert might cost me a 2nd round pick!

“Rudy Gobert, the interior trance from France, the reason who is Parisian, the… the…” OK I’m out of boxer intro phrases.  He’s just really redonk good, going 19/22/2/0/4, just one point from a Goro!  And you can’t even say “just one more made FT” as he made all 3 of em!  8-11 FG, 3-3 FT, only one TO, and the Gobi desert has claimed the lives of another opposing frontline!

We all knew he’d be good, but I don’t think too many people thought he’d be this good.  Of those waiver-wire-added big men that have found their way to fantasy glory this year, I think it’s easily becoming Gobert as the front runner in 2015-16 Fantasy drafts.  You could say, he’s already working his way into my #1 sleeper glory hole.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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…It’s like the beginning of a 1950s B&W horror movie.  “As I recall it was a horror film!”

“…From the depths of the muck – ya know, that soft clay shizz at the bottom of a lake – comes the waiver-wired, until recently available in a ton of leagues, RODNEY STUCKEY!”

Monster game from R-Stuck, who gets to R-Stick it to a hot Reality-TV show wife, unquestioningly motivating him to a 34/6/7/1/1 line last night with an NBA Jam “he’s on fire!” 13-19 FG and 6 treys.  Just a redonk game in 31 bench minutes, especially since the Pacers started Damjan Rudez who couldn’t miss either, hitting 6-8 including 5-7 from deep.  It’s like the Pacers were playing on Fisher-Price baskets!  Although those “throwback” (well, just older, not too throwback) unis are schweet.  While a big game and all, Stuckey was averaging a monstrous 0.6 3PTM a game before last night, so a huge anomaly there.  1,000% more 3s!  And the dimes were an outlier as well, with only two games more than 6 before yesterday.  Anyone in the NBA can get hot on any given night, and Stuckey is a good low-to-mid-teens scorer ala that creeper who stayed home instead of going to college.  He’s fine as a last guy on your bench in 10 or 12ers, but I don’t think he’s someone to drop a stud for.  A great comment yesterday was Stuckey or Brandon Knight, who was spotted on crutches yesterday.  Yeah, unless you have a H2H week one bye, I’ll probably pick the guy who can currently walk.  Here’s what else happened last night in fantasy hoops action:

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Well, one outta three of the letters in MCW is in efficient…  That makes sense seeing as he usually shoots 33%!

In his debut for the Bucks, Michael Carter-Williams looked solid against his former Sixers for 7/0/8/2/0 in only 17 and a half minutes.  All with only one TO!  Shot 3-5 from the field, did split his two FT, but a mad efficient game in his new colors.  Off the toe sprain, I’m not surprised his minutes were kept in check as the Bucks unsurprisingly took it to the Sixers.  Full tank!  Yesterday on the Podcast, Slim said even a great game wouldn’t have him change his MCW valuation too much, and he’s the logical one.  But I’m antsy and loved what I saw!  I don’t think he’s suddenly the top-50 guy I thought he’d be, but I think he’ll keep the %s in check with that decent MIL supporting cast, and he won’t make you want to kill yourself.  And if that isn’t a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is…. Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?