Remember back in the day when you played Oregon Trail every waking moment?  I only sorta remember because I kept getting dysentery…  But I imagine an update should have the mythical creature of LaMarcus Aldridge as some sort of omnipotent deity that you hope comes to your aid.  “Your wagon is stuck in quick sand, use 1 of 3 remaining LaMarcus Aldridge summons?”  Hells yea!  And then I need him to save my oxen.  Huge game from LA last night putting up a career-high points and a sick 44/13/5/0/2 line including 14-17 FT while the crowd chanted “M-V-P” all 4th quarter.  Scored the last 15 points, went 8-8 at the stripe in the last 70 seconds, all in a 5-point win.  The Nuggets just had nothing for him inside when he was crashing the glass, and LA was boarding like a beast.  I know he’s had a lot of Goromotaros, but almost all the boards he got in this one were in traffic.  And the Nuggets were fouling him extremely hard all 4th quarter.  Gonna need an ice bath!  All he has to do is come to the east coast and jump in a lake.  One of my worst calls of the year was my poor Aldridge ranking, but if you can’t get it right, join em!  Or something like that… Traded for him in REL and in another league.  I don’t know why owners were pulling a Kurt Russell and trying to Escape From L.A., but enjoy your huge stats and the first-round value you’re accruing.  Here’s what else I saw last night in NBA news and action:

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JB really made me proud a few days ago. I guess it’s become kind of a ritual for us now. I know laser tag in an arena is fun and all but we needed real world experience. We decided the best place to hone our skills was to play at our local mall… at high noon. Of course we dress up in our best urban camouflage, for me it’s a simple business suit, that way I can stealthily weave in between what I’ve come to call the ‘zombie horde’. I never know what to expect from JB. He got me a few times with his police uniform but it hasn’t worked well recently so he adjusts. On this day he wore his most villainous of camouflage, the stripper schoolgirl, we have the mall security footage to prove it. But that’s neither here nor there, we were celebrating a match well played at the Candy World when two kids started rap battling in between the Pop Rocks and the Laffy Taffy. I thought they both played the role better than Jamie Kennedy, they’re accents were especially spot on. The hilarity of the situation wasn’t lost on anyone except of course, the two kids.

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Now, I never went to a boarding school… I was stuck in the public schooling circuit, and just could never rebound.  I was like Andrea Bargnani or Brook Lopez down there.  Domineering over some little men, but the boards just never came my way… Enter J.J. Hickson, who despite being a tad undersized has always been a solid boarder, and racked up 19 last night for an 18/19 night.  Near Goromotaro!  Just one putback slammah-jammah and he’s seeing 20/20.  A little laser eye surgery.  I liked Hickson a lot when JaVale McGee went down, and he’s proved he needs to be owned virtually everywhere like I said 8 days ago.  In the five games since, Hickson has at least 8 boards, double-figures in four of five, and a block every night.   Even if Shaqtin-a-McGee is able to get back within his original time frame, McGee just isn’t able to play the big starter’s minutes and Hickson is going to maintain this value either starting at the 5 or playing out his minutes as an early sub.  If you’re hurtin’ for boards, be sure the recent grad from the boarding school isn’t sitting on your wire.  Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy hoops:

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There comes a time in every man’s life when he must admit defeat.  Like when your girlfriend demands to know why you can’t just remember to put the toilet seat down.  You can try to explain to her that the house is haunted and you would never be so inconsiderate.  From experience I must say its not as convincing as it sounds in your head.  The only correct response is to hang your head in shame and say, “I’m sorry”.  Older bench players like Mo Williams and Nate Robinson are my toilet seats.  I can’t seem to put them down and I will undoubtedly hang my head in shame when I do finally drop them.  Why not skip that uncomfortable feeling all together?  Why not take an unknown player who may blossom into a fantasy star?  Here are a couple of bigs that I believe will outperform players like Omer Asik (63% owned), Samuel Dalembert (52% owned), and Luis Scola (42% owned).

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After re-ranking the top 10top 20, and top 50, it’s easy to see there’s been big changes since last May.  Below are the Razzball Updated Rankings with the previous May rankings in parentheses before the adjusted rank:

(68) ↑ 51. Derrick Favors – Utah declining to bring back either Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap gives you a slight inclination on their thoughts on Favors, and they’re already talking contract extension with their emerging big as well.  I love his athleticism, and if I miss out on Serge Ibaka who I’m high on early, I’m gonna want to reach on Favors to win blocks. I think he’ll be a top-5 NBA swatter.

(51) 52. Kemba Walker – Kemba has been higher on virtually every rankings I’ve seen, and I’m just not top-50 high on him.  He had a really solid season last year, but the terrible FG% still worries me as I feel like he forces some offense.  The acquisition of Big Al is going to give the Bobcats/soon-to-be Hornets an actual scorer down, and I don’t think that translates into helping Kemba all that much.  I like Gerald Henderson a lot too to take a bigger scoring role.  The 2.0 steals a game last year was elite, but I see those going down along with the scoring, and a comparable 5.7:2.4 Ast:TO ratio.  All that spells a slightly down ranking for me.  Although to be fair, he’s played in every single Bobcats game in his career, so there’s that reliability that can’t be ignored.

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Continuing on with updated rankings after the top 10 and top 20, below rounds out my to 50.  Previous rankings are in parentheses next to these updated ranks, with up and down designations only for guys hopping up or down significant spots.  Have fun grilling these!

(22) 21. Nicolas Batum – A lot of commenters have wondered why he’s not in the top-20, and as I said in my previous 20-50 rankings, the declining FG% (45.1% to 42.3%) and 3PT% (39.1% to 37.2%) from 2011-12 to 12-13 gives me pause.  Despite playing over 8 more minutes a game in 11-12 to 12-13, his scoring average only went up 0.4 Pts a game and he only averaged 12 a game after the All-Star Break with his wrist injury.  He’s said the wrist is completely healed, and despite not needing surgery I would be worried with Batum as my second-rounder as the wrist could plague him again.  He’ll still be a multi-cat workhorse, but I see no way he chucks up 6.1 3’s a night with new acquisitions Mo Williams and C.J. McCollum also manning the perimeter.  Yeah their PT may not overlap too consistently, but I just don’t see the three point output mimicking last year.

(23) 22. LaMarcus Aldridge – Another big fantasy asset I’m slightly down on, the Blazers could very easily have another rough first half and look to trade their franchise big.  The rumors have been swirling for quite some time, and there’s virtually no destination where I think he would be a better fantasy player than in Portland.

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The period of free agency continues to shape the fantasy basketball-scape with fresh meat on terrible teams and players signing with contenders to be relegated to bench duty.  With baseball in full swing and the NFL getting half of the ESPN air time no matter what time of year it is, a lot of NBA moves have been made under the radar.  Look for every division to get a team-by-team breakdown and some early fantasy thoughts on the new faces in new places:

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So who drives the hype-train?  Is it ESPN?  Is it Yahoo?  Is it Buster Keaton?  So what if you have to be 90-years old or a film school grad to get that!  I tend to think it’s a combination of all media outlets that all have similar, independent views.  Before touching any research on the draft, I immediately slotted Trey Burke as my #1 rookie for the 2013-2014 fantasy season, and it’s looking more and more like that’s going to be the consensus opinion.  Damn you, Keaton!

That said, I still think Burke is going to provide tremendous value to owners who spend a high pick on him.  The price may become steeper and steeper to a point too high for even me, but looking at it right now, he’s a guy that would slot in with Kemba Walker and George Hill in that tier of PGs and be ranked in the 50s in our rankings.  Hows that for some hype train?

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I’ve got to say, growing up a huge Charlotte Hornets fan, I am going to finally have a favorite team again next year.  I mean, the Bobcats is such a horrific name for a professional sports team that it actually made me not cheer for them.  If they follow my logic – citizens of New Orleans, I’m sorry, you’re no longer cheering for your NBA team.

If you missed it the other night, the 2013 NBA Draft Lottery was selected (coincidentally right when a huge Powerball was built up and won – conspiracy?!) with the Cleveland Cavaliers winning another #1 pick.  Nerlens Noel, or Captain N as I’m going to call him, looks like he’s heading to one of basketball’s friendliest cities.  Just don’t leave for another team in a televised special.  Honestly, my first thought was, “great, another talented player I have to navigate through injury estimates with.”

Anyway, I doubt any NBA rookies will crack the top 100 for fantasy this year, it’s a pretty weak draft class, but that’s why these way too early rankings will be capped at 100 before readdressed closer to the season when they’ll expand to 200.  As always with rankings this early, it’s May, the Finals haven’t even started yet, and there will be a lot of revisions.  But here’s how I see things shaking out as of right now:

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If you’ve gotten started with fantasy baseball, you know it’s been yet another season of horrendous closing across the MLB.  I bet Kobe Bryant could close effectively in the MLB.

Just think about it.  He has such a will to win that it made Shaq hate him, he’s got consistent mechanics, never gets hurt and would be a tall presence on the mound.  OK, so I have no idea if he can throw a fastball, but right now I’d take him in my Brewers bullpen that looks more like a joke than Joaquin Phoenix’s career as a rapper.

Kobe just went bonkers against the Hornets in the fourth quarter, scoring 23 of his 30 in the last 12 minutes.  He just couldn’t miss, hitting a couple threes, jumpers in people’s faces, and was diming when there was openings.  With the Jazz losing, the Lakers might actually get the 8th seed.  Huzzah!  Kobe has been tremendous since the whole ankle injury soap opera, not missing a beat with a bone spur in his foot actually playing more minutes to keep it loose.  He’s not only closing games for the Lakers, he’s closing the season for fantasy owners.

Here’s what else happened yesterday:

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