After opening the season with a two-game appetizer, the NBA provided us with an 11-course meal on Wednesday. No low-carb dieting here, as fantasy manna was raining down from the heavens. All you can eat, baby! There were some impressive performances, as Hassan Whiteside went 26 and 22, DeMarcus Cousins went 28 and 10 with seven blocks, while teammate Anthony Davis went 33 and 18. On a side note, the Pelicans still managed to lose by 12. Trade alert already? Of all the performances, there was one that rose above the rest. Giannis Antetokoumpo went 37 and 13 with three dimes and three pilfers. The number one fantasy pick in many leagues, G showed why and looks poised to carry teams to the Promised Land. As Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, crossed the Red Sea, and climbed Mount Sinai to raise two tablets above his head, so shall G lead fantasy owners across the barren landscape and up the mountain so that they may lift the trophy and bring glory to those that had faith in him. So it was written by Missy Elliot 0:58….to Get Ur Freak On.

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UPDATED: 10/9/2017

Man, you guys don’t even know. There’s been a mob outside my house every night for the past two weeks carrying tiki torches and screaming, “We want the Top 200 with stats!” Or at least I think that’s what they were saying. Anyways, big shout out to Rudy who waved his magic wand and created the beautiful looking spreadsheet below. It even sorts. Here is Rudy in his lab:

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There are a ton of elite point guards that will be taken in the first three rounds of your draft. From Russell Westbrook to Mike Conley, there are not enough guys to go around for everybody. Okay, maybe there are, but nobody in any league I’ve ever been in was into sharing. There are even elite wings that will get you point-guard-like assists. This is mainly Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James, but can even apply to guys like Kevin Durant and Jimmy Butler.

But what happens if you’re picking in round 3 and you haven’t gotten an elite assist getter yet?

Do you panic? No.

Do you reach? Not for a point guard, but maybe for your beer (unless it’s Bud Light– if it’s Bud Light you throw that shit in the trash and re-evaluate.)

This is where you can adopt the “punt assist” strategy. This punt strategy often gets overlooked by more common punting strategies such as punting free throws, but it’s very helpful if the assist dominoes don’t fall in your favour the first few rounds. Here are some guys to target if you decide to go down the punt assist route, and how your team should shape up by the end of the draft.

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Gregg Popovich became the Spurs coach in the 19th game of the 1996 season. The team finished with a 20-62 record. Since then, the Spurs  have not had a losing record. What’s crazy is that they have won 50 or more games in 19 of 20 seasons, with six of those being 60+ win seasons. What’s insane is that it should have been 20 out of 20 seasons, as the 1998 season was started late due to the lockout. What’s mind blowing is that the Spurs won the NBA Championship that season!

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They’ve never missed the playoffs and are 5-1 in title games. Before I continue, I need some feedback on a very important question. Is it “chip” or “ship” when talking about a championship? Please comment below. Anyways, this is what the 2017 Spurs will be all about:

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If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? A philosophical thought that has taken too much of our time, to be honest. We now live in an age filled with technology, so it’s all about sending the screen shot or providing video evidence. An event does not exist until a selfie is procured. We ain’t got time for the bullshit. Now, the time consuming question is “Photoshopped?” Anyways, the purpose of today’s post is to provide the predictions for the upcoming NBA season from your favorite Razzball writers. Who will be shamed? Who will be exalted? Regardless, we shall forever be etched into the annals of Razzball history….that is until I edit the post at the end of the season. Someone better screen shot this mofo!

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One of my all-time favorite movies is Rounders. Matt Damon and Ed Norton talking all smooth and playing poker in cool-looking clubs with John Malkovich spouting repeatable lines in… sort of a Russian accent. Plus, there’s a great Counting Crows song during the credits that I’ve never been able to find anywhere. Anyway, Damon’s Mike McD is the relatively good boy, while Norton’s Worm is the slimier friend.

After Worm gets them beat up with all their cash stolen for having been caught cheating, the gloves come off in an overdue shouting match between the old friends.

Mike McDermott: What the F*** were you thinking?

Worm: I was trying to give us an edge… …I don’t think like that.

Mike McD: No, you don’t THINK!

Worm: No, I don’t think like YOU! You always think you can beat the game straight up. That’s not me. I told you, I’m always gonna look for that edge. Always.

As much as Mike is the better role model, if you’re picking from the two gambling addicts, in fantasy basketball you want to be like Worm. Even if you tried, you can’t cheat in most leagues, but you want to be the one thinking differently, finding your edge. Last week, I mentioned ways to make your league more engaging. From here on out, I’ll give you ways to get an edge in your league by using the numbers to your advantage. These next two weeks leading up to the season, we’ll talk drafting.

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Let me start by saying this: do not go into a draft planning on building a punt FT (or punt anything for that matter) team. Never. Don’t. You aren’t being smarter than everybody else. You’re playing yourself. Unless you’re a late draft pick in a 36-team league, it’s probably not gonna work for you.

Also, never decide to build a punt FT team just because a punt FT guy falls a bit. I made this mistake last year and took Drummond in one of my leagues, after having Davis and Porzingis already on my roster. My thought process was, “I can definitely make some trades to make this work.” I did get Gobert, which helped, but throwing away a category to get better at stats your fantasy team already generates is, not only inefficient, it’s frustrating.

On top of this, do not draft guys when building a punt FT team just because they’re bad at free throws. I can not stress this enough. The point of drafting is to build a team that can win as many categories for you as possible, not to see how bad you can lose one. It’s comical how often people (myself included) try to see how bad they can get their FT percentage, thinking that they’re outplaying everyone else. You guys think this article is for you, it’s actually for me. I’m just trying to hold myself accountable when I’m drafting.

So when do you build a punt FT team? The simple answer is: when it helps you. What I’m hoping this article does is give you some scenarios when building a punt FT team makes sense. If you’re stubborn and are gonna go ahead and build one anyway, I’ll also give some advice on how to round out your team.

Wait, I forgot the most important piece of information you’ll see in this article. How the hell are there NBA players shooting less than 50% from the FT line? Seriously. I can’t wrap my head around it. That’s like an illiterate writer. That’s like a runner that can’t walk. That’s like the restaurant I used to work at who’s name was Burger’s etc. and stopped selling burgers. So many confused customers, just like there must be so many confused NBA fans.

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Jae Crowder, Demarre Carroll, Kawhi Leonard, and Justise Winslow. When you think of these four players, a few things should come to mind. They are all scrappy players known for their hustle stats, lockdown defense, improving jump shots, and for being fan favorites. Long wing spans, large biceps, and… the hair. The type of hair that makes you understand why the only rule that matters  is no touching of the hair or face… and that’s it! Go away, inner Ron Burgundy. These players may take time to develop into fantasy assets, but once they do, you better hope you have first row seats to the show, because these are league winning talents.

Winslow has yet to hit his peak, but looking at his numbers in limited time last year, we can see what he may become. His percentages have been rough, but his near 11 points, five boards, and four assists per game, coupled with 1.3 steals will prove very useful over the course of a full season. Take a look at Carroll. Four seasons of mediocre play for Memphis, Houston, and Utah before getting 30+ MPG for the Hawks and then the Raptors. His line looks a lot like Winslow’s above, but add in the 1.5 3PM and he’s become a useful fantasy asset. Crowder took a similar path as well. Three seasons of weak ball for the Mavericks and Celtics before his Boston breakout in 2015 where he had a line of 14.2/5.1/1.8/1.7/1.7 which was only exalted by the 2.2 3PM in 2016. The Cavs should open even more doors for Crowder, and his fantasy stock is on the rise.

Lastly, the star of the bunch, Kawhi Leonard. Three seasons as a high motor, defensive specialist putting up similar stat lines to the ones you see above, followed by three seasons taking over the reins of the Spurs steering wheel. He also has a relationship with Pop that none of us will ever understand. Scoring 25 a game, hitting two 3PM, adding in a slew of counting stats, and we have a first round pick everyday of the week and twice on Sundays… but not Mondays because that would be ridiculous. You can’t have that two days in a row, that’s just not fair to anyone else in the room. Damnit Bernice!

Is that you George Muresan?

You’re lost, aren’t you. Why are you telling us about players we already know about? Get to the good stuff, quit wasting my time! Wow, everyone relax, it’s coming… and you’re going to love it.

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Hey basketball nerds. My name is Ringer, one of the new writers for Razzball basketball. I’m very excited to start writing about fantasy basketball. Not like, lose your virginity excited, but definitely more excited than D’Angelo Russell was after getting shipped off to Brooklyn. 

http://gph.is/2pOQ8Kd

Probably about as excited as any team not named Golden State is going into the NBA season, since I think that anybody taking six games from them in the playoffs would be considered an achievement.

I’ve been a huge basketball fan for as long as I can remember and got introduced to fantasy basketball four or five seasons ago. All you need to know about my first year in fantasy basketball was that I drafted Carmelo Anthony with my first pick. Because he got buckets. I lost that league. Needless to say I’ve learned a lot since then.

One of my favourite things about fantasy basketball is the countless draft strategies that people have. There are so many different ways to build a league-winning team. You got the punt FT teams, the punt turnover teams, the guy that doesn’t seem to draft anybody but point guards or big men, and of course, the auto draft team. That team is as likely to win your league as the New York Knicks are to winning the NBA championship because, as you guys know, Yahoo fantasy basketball always has a bunch of guys ranked way above or below where they should be. If they didn’t, why else would you be here? Hopefully, this article will help make sure that your team is at least better than the guy that drafts Joe Ingles before the end of the fifth round.

*Note that these are only guidelines. Grab that player you love if he falls to you. Don’t reach if you don’t have to. Also, these guidelines are for 12 team head-to-head standard leagues, as a lot of things change in bigger leagues or leagues with different settings.

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This is the best time of the year. Baseball is going to get real soon, pigskins are being thrown around, it’s the eye of the WNBA season, and my rankings start flowing out. I also forgot that my kids go back to school soon. I love my kids and all, but they need to start getting edumacated again. You scoff at the WNBA mention? I admit, I was not a fan in the early days, but those ladies got skills. In addition, they play beautiful basketball and the offensive sets that they run are poetry.

Since August 1st happened to be on a Tuesday, I’ll release rankings every Tuesday from here on out. Can one be semi-OCD? That’s an oxymoron right? Maybe I’m just a moron. Anyways, I get a little particular about things, like it would’ve bothered me if I started this whole endeavor on Monday the 31st. I know. I know. I’ve got issues, but lucky for you, the subscription is free!

Ok, before I begin, shit happens. As a result, I’ll put out a Top 200 list in early October that will highlight any player movement that happens over the next few months.

A big shout-out to Slim, who provided projections and his thoughts and opinions on many players.

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