Ranks are hard! I almost changed the title to “Way Too Much Of A Headache Ranks” since 2016-17 is gonna be ridiculous on draft day! So many guys with upside, so many injury question marks, free agency is gonna explode, we still have rookies to mix in here… And I don’t feel like I have as many “on a limb” calls as the past few seasons. Everything seems to be nebulous, murky, jiggly-like-Raymond-Felton-running, “I guess this guy seems about right” kind of ranks filling out the top 50. If anyone thinks they’re more excited than I am for free agency and the NBA Draft, they would be sorely mistaken! I need some clarity out here, dammit! Hopefully with some signings and scouting the rookies, I can find some more bold calls when we get to the “real” ranks in August. Or maybe I’m gun shy after the Wiggins fiasco. That will go down as one of the biggest international scandals in history… Dammit, eh! Here’s my Way Too Early Top 50 (1-10 can be read here, 11-25 here) for the 2016-17 Fantasy Basketball Season (with 1-50 in a complete list below):Please, blog, may I have some more?
Well, kids…we have officially entered the NBA silly season.
Coaches for teams locked into the post-season are only too happy to rest their starters, as evidenced Tuesday by LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka all receiving healthy DNPs.
Coaches for teams destined for the lottery are exercising extreme caution with future core players, as seen last night with the Nets’ Rondae Hollis-Jefferson & Thaddeus Young getting a precautionary rest day, and franchise center Brook Lopez sitting for the entire second half of a blowout loss.
Even teams not in action on Tuesday were making headlines by shutting down players or announcing their plans to rest star players periodically as the 2015-2016 season draws to a close. DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay, Rajon Rondo, Danilo Gallinari, Ryan Anderson, and Jrue Holiday have all been added to the “shutdown watch” list. (And in Jrue’s case, you can officially stick a fork in him. He’s done.)
Additionally, DeMarre Carroll suffered a setback in his recovery from knee surgery and won’t be of use to fantasy players until next year, Nikola Vucevic can’t get cleared to return from what was believed to be a mild groin strain, and the starting Philly frontcourt of Nerlens Noel & Jerami Grant is going to be treated with kids’ gloves due to knee injuries.
It’s bad, folks. It’s real, real bad.
Thankfully for fans of the NBA and fantasy owners grinding through the final days of their season, a select few professional basketball players did, in fact, decide to earn their pay checks last night. Let’s take a look at who shined brightest, who fell short of expectations, and who else made waves on a six-game Tuesday slate.Please, blog, may I have some more?
So here we are in the semi-finals of the H2H playoffs! It feels like I was just writing sleeper posts for the season yesterday… Just for the record, I would like to pat myself on the back for calling Greg Monroe a bust. That was probably my most contentious bust call during the preseason, and it didn’t look like it would pan out at the start. The call would look even better if the Bucks had come to their senses earlier… Monroe just doesn’t fit that team. I should apologize to Rondo for the bust call, but a selfish player with those percentages, will always be a bust to me.
*Here’s where I need the opinions: What content would you like to see this basketball off-season? I’ll do some sleepers and busts again later on, but are there any other ideas? Possibly an alternative set of early rankings, individual player previews for the next season, or maybe something else! Leave your thoughts in the comments!*
Ok! Back to the here and now!Please, blog, may I have some more?
The precursor to the much-hyped Clippers and Warriors game was the game between the Bulls and Knicks. On paper, this wasn’t the best choice by ESPN, considering the Knicks are out of the playoffs and the Bulls are competing for the 8th spot.
However, it featured two of the best, youngest international stars. Rookie Kristaps Porzingis dunked and shot his way to 29 points and 10 rebounds. He may have hit the so-called “rookie wall,” but he still contributes enough in a variety of categories to matter in fantasy for the playoffs.
Nikola Mirotic almost single handedly brought the Bulls back in the 4th quarter. He knocked down 9-13 from downtown, on his way to 35 points and 6 rebounds off the bench. Can you name the last Bull to knock down 8 threes in a game? Ben Gordon did it in 2008-09. While Gordon had a serviceable career, I hope both Mirotic and Porzingis have better careers than Gordon. Based on Wednesday, their futures look very bright.
Now only the other nightly notables:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Lob City was alive in well in Houston on Wednesday. Chris Paul was throwing DeAndre Jordan alley-oops left and right. By halftime, Paul already had 11 assists. He finished the blowout with 15 points and 16 assists, while Jordan added 23 points and 16 rebounds. Jordan even shot over 50% from the FT line (7-13 FT, but not by much!). J.J. Redick also knocked down 5-9 from the 3PT line to finish with 25 points. It was all Clippers from the beginning and the Rockets just couldn’t find an answer.
James Harden did his usual thing, trying to carry the disappointing Rockets, but it wasn’t enough. He finished with 33 points, 8 assists, and 5 rebounds. Big men Dwight Howard (6 points, 7 rebounds) and Clint Capela (3 points, 3 rebounds) were rendered useless against Jordan. The only other bright spots for the Rockets were Trevor Ariza (16 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 threes) and newly acquired forward, Michael Beasley, who scored 16 points and grabbed 8 rebounds off the bench. Coming over from China, Beasley makes a good waiver wire add for all teams.
The Rockets started the season with lofty expectations, but are currently tied with the Dallas Mavericks for the 7th playoff spot. If they finish 7th or 8th, they’ll end up playing the San Antonio Spurs or Golden State Warriors in the first round of playoffs, something that nobody wants to do.
The Warriors, by the way, won their 50th straight game at home on Wednesday, dismantling the New York Knicks by 36. Stephen Curry hit 8 threes and scored 34 points (6 rebounds and 4 assists), before sitting out the 4th quarter of the blowout.
I don’t think anyone saw the Warriors playing on an historic level or the Rockets playing this poorly at the beginning of the season, but that’s why you play the game!
Now onto the other nightly notables:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Ya know, Brandon Knight and The Dark Knight metaphor work pretty well as a parallel to my time here on Razzball Hoops. In 13-14, Knight was one of my first bolder calls that panned out (hey, it’s easier for me to forget the bad ones OK! …cough, MCW, cough…), exploding onto the scene as the Bucks PG like Batman Begins. I guess that implies I exploded onto the scene, let’s just say I feel like I was better than Batman & Robin, so that’s a plus… Then he was somehow even better for most of 14-15; the rare sequel that’s better than the original in The Dark Knight. In my second season, I was the only ‘pert to have #OccupyDraymondGreen top 100! Take that, Christopher Nolan! Then he was traded to the Suns, and thus far this season, we’ve only seen flashes of the former brilliance. Exactly like The Dark Knight Rises. He got a bigger budget with his max deal, and also got a longer run time. And while Anne Hathaway is hot and all, there’s a lot of things that just didn’t make sense. Only time will tell if Knight can break this analogy, because the next stop for Batman is this horrific looking dawn of justice movie hooblah. Whatever the hell it’s called… Why in the hell is Affleck going from Oscar-winning director to star of a CGI clusterF$*#?!?!?! Not like he needs the money! Knight returned last night (hah!) for 10/2/5/0/1 in 25 minutes off the bench after nearly 2 months out due to a groin. He looked pretty good out there, even though he shot only 2-9. Was cutting hard and ran into a mess of big men to scuffle for a board, so he’s not just coasting until the end of the season. Good timing before the fantasy playoffs! Hopefully you were able to hold; while I think he’s gonna be ho-hum compared to his numbers pre-injury with the Suns tanking, I do think he’ll be must-own. So here’s to hoping he’s finally healthy, and buck the trend of both the Batman franchise, or movies by Christopher Nolan. I have to buck the trend of this analogy too! Now THERE’S some pressure for 16-17 ranks! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops action:Please, blog, may I have some more?
We’ve reached the point in the season where we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of picks. At this point, most pickups will be targeting specific stats, so this edition will feature some of the solid guards that are still available in many leagues. I needed a title for this week, and the Lillard/Love ad refused to leave my head… Seemed like a good fit, so I went with it!Please, blog, may I have some more?
You’d think a team decimated by injuries would throw in the towel. Not the case with the Bulls. Already missing Jimmy Butler (left knee strain), Nikola Mirotic (appendicitis), and Joakim Noah (shoulder surgery), Derrick Rose was a last-minute scratch due to right hamstring tendinitis. The Bulls won anyways, their third straight victory.
Playing alongside a makeshift lineup, Pau Gasol played through the flu, just missing a triple-double with 10 points, 15 rebounds, and 9 assists. While it wasn’t Michael Jordan’s flu game, it was a still a pretty strong line.
Even with the Bulls’ starters ailing, there is value to be had on the roster. Under-owned guys like Taj Gibson (17/7/7), E’Twaun Moore (17 points and 3 rebounds), and Doug McDermott (14/5/2), can and should be relied upon down the stretch for both the Bulls and your fantasy teams. McBuckets also had the dunk of the night.
They won’t win you a championship on their own, but don’t overlook lesser named (and owned) guys during your playoff push.Please, blog, may I have some more?
[Editor’s Note – No podcast today due to a funny story of JB having to go to the ER, he’s fine though! We’ll be back with the Pod on Thursday]
As the biggest and most surprising player dealt before the Trade Deadline, Tobias Harris arguably has more eyes on him now in Detroit than ever before in Orlando. Brought in to fill the Rashard Lewis role of playmaking 4 in Stan Van Gundy’s quest to reincarnate the 2010 Magic, Harris development with the Pistons will be one of the most intriguing story lines over the rest of the season.
With 16 and 21 points respectively in his previous two outings, Harris has flashed potential in his roll off the bench as a playmaker capable of finding his own shot. Due to any injury to Anthony Tolliver, Harris found himself in the starting lineup at power forward, a potential glimpse into Detroit’s long-term future.
Scoring 14 points to compliment 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals, his debut may have lacked a flashy statline to pair with his status as one of Pistons new core pieces. However, Harris is undoubtedly in a better situation right now than his previous tenure in Orlando.
As a result, fantasy owners should be monitoring his value accordingly. While Detroit is in win-now mode to secure a playoff birth, Harris will be acclimating to his new role and teammates for the rest of the year. Not to temper expectations, but I don’t view his multi-cat impact materializing over the last 30 games.
There may be flashes of his potential, but the Harris move is about 2016 and beyond, not just the last two months of the season.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Wow, we certainly got polar opposite trade deadlines the past two years!
With shocking move after shocking move around 3:00 PM last year, 2016 was a nice afternoon siesta, putting the “dead” in Trade Deadline. This is why it’s impossible to predict trades! I might use this year’s deadline as a response to “who is most likely to be traded” quandaries. Is there a shrug emoticon?! Because in 2016, every NBA GM was too busy playing Candy Crush to make phone calls to other teams!
Really the biggest trade had very little fantasy impact too… Markieff Morris comes to the Wizards, and just like Archie Goodwin‘s neck, he puts a stranglehold on the PF position. Watch me whip! Watch me Nene! …watch me never play again 🙁 Even though Nene started last night over Jared Dudley (and had a decent game too), I think that’s more about having him be a placeholder to get ready for the new Wiz rotation once Kieff gets there. I just think Wizards fans should be happy Gilbert Arenas isn’t still there, that locker room might get fiestier than in Memphis! We’ll get to that later… Kieff should’ve been owned in all leagues already, and you can happily drop Dudley in almost all leagues. That was my first text to Slim! Pssshhh, Slim arguing to hold Dudley… On the flip side, Phoenix got trash and roster dumpage, with Kris Humphries mayyyyybe playing some backups kims. I mean mins. The big takeaway is Alex Len should be nabbed in all 12ers, and when the news broke, he was owned in only 30% of leagues (and still is at 30% apparently)… He should get a nice boost in consistency, minutes wise. Here’s what else went down over this snoozer of a deadline, plus the Daily Notes from last night:Please, blog, may I have some more?