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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rcl-basketball-logoThe NBA fantasy draft season is upon us! With plenty of terrible early projections going on, early drafts are always fun.  This is basically going to be a recap of my first RCL draft of the season, with a little of bit of sleeper info thrown in for good measure.  I really love the team I got in this league, even though I was sniped on a few picks.  Just FYI I’ll be setting up another RCL league in about a week or so – to draft in October – so I hope some more of you guys join me!  By then Yahoo’s rankings should be much closer to the ballpark of reason… At any rate, let’s dive in!

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I’m going to pull an Infinite Jest here…  Literary jokes!  2015-16 will now be known as “The Year of the Point Guard Hoarding”.

Man it was unreal finally drafting a real team, and not having an awful mock draft with uneducated click-happy idiots or autodrafting based off of Yahoo’s pre-ranks…  Shizz got intense!  The PG run got so hot-n-heavy that I had to go to my warm-and-fuzzy Rubio just to feel safe…

To feel the immense pressure of the PG run, or the frustration of sleepers two-to-three pages down from the top available slipping through your fingers right before your pick, start up a Razzball Commenter League today!  We need more commissioners, more leagues, we need more mmmmk!  Had a little Mr. Mackey happen right there…  If you’ve thought about starting a new league with good competition, or have a few friends trying to start a new league and need the best fantasy basketball community to fill it out, start an RCL league today and join the fun.  100% free, great competition, and solid prizes – mainly me making an ass of myself on Youtube…

Anyway, I feel pretty good about this first RCL team I drafted, mainly by scoring a randomized top-3 pick and netting an ideal PG/C combo to start my draft.  But that damn PG run got me caught up, and I don’t love my bigs…  Here’s how the draft went last night, and my pick-by-pick analysis below:

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It’s time for more sleepers and busts people! I want to make a small clarification before we dive into this though: sleepers at this point in the preseason are subject to a lot of interpretation, since we have no average draft position to base the prediction on. Therefore, take these projections with a grain of salt.  These players are simply likely to improve on last year’s overall stats, and thus, their value should exceed their ADP.  At any rate, here is part two!

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Mid-rounds – when it starts getting tricky!  And when personal biases and a soft spot for Latin Lovers can creep into your thoughts and dreams!

You don’t have to look far to see that I covet upside youth as early as the 20s, with a few gut calls that could make or break my 15-16.  As long as MCW isn’t in there!  One thing I’ve found over last year is there seems to be pretty good talent and upside through the mid-40s, so as long as everyone in your league isn’t going for a FT punt, you should be able to get through 3-4 rounds with your desired build and a few fitting options each pick.  Enough wankery, we want ranks already! Here’s the Top 50 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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The nitty gritty!  Oh man, ranking an early Top 50 before the draft and free agency is a bigger fool’s errand than hiring the Clippers a FT coach.  Especially since DeAndre Jordan might go to the Mavs!  Cuban will use some sort of Shark Tank invention to help him out at the stripe.  Flubber 2!

We’ve gone through the Top 10 and Top 20 for our early 2015-16 ranks, but 21-50 certainly gets interesting.  My biggest takeaway is the sheer depth at PG.  Almost every team will have a fantasy-viable PG (cough, not the Bucks, cough) so it’s a position to fill up on in the mid rounds.  Sure I’d like to start with one of the top 10 overall elite guys, but I’m likely filling up on a wing and a big, then it’s time to go with the sides.  Mmmmm, this is sounding like a great KFC order…  Here’s my Way Too Early Top 50 for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball Season:

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Fractions.  Math.  It’s hard…

Kinda like variables…  Is it IT2?!  Is it IT3?!  I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!

Apparently it’s “IT2” when alluding to his non-related, same-named NBA legend Isiah Thomas.  For like a year I thought Isaiah Thomas was legit his son!  But then Thomas flashed the “IT3” nickname because he…  shoots a lot of 3s?  Eesh.  Originality is lacking!  So I have officially donned him IT2/3 to solve all the confusion, and to reference his diminutive size.

After returning from elbow and back injuries, IT2/3 was atrocious last Wednesday for 4 Pts and 3 TO against the Heat.  I was passing on him in at least 2/3 of comments!  But IT2/3 had a monster weekend with 18/1/6 and 19/0/7 lines with a combined 17-19 at the stripe.  Getting a foul called on 2/3 of his drives!  Certainly a must-own down the stretch, it has also made Marcus Smart a dumpster fire.  Hopefully those of you still alive in Razzball Nation ignored my 2/3-of-the-time wrong advice and can ride IT2/3 through the H2H Finals!  Here’s what else happened over the weekend 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, off an emotional win beating the Gizz (I hope that catches on), the Pistons go back-to-back and lose in Philly.  Seems like that kind of emotional high/low happens all the time!  Shoulda bet some money on Philly with probably a good betting line against em.

And it was pretty easy to see how Detroit lost with Reggie Jackson (4-17), Jodie Meeks (2-12), and Spencer Dinwiddie (2-11) combining for 7-40 from the field!  That FG% isn’t even legal at 17.5%!  That shooting percentage is statutory rape!  But swooning in all cool and ready to rob the cradle was the 44% from my boy Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the only shooter who could hit anything going 7-16.  Normally the lead for this game would be R-Jax’s trip-dub (11/11/10/0/0), but with 5 TO and that shooting %, he was pretty poopy.  KCP isn’t going to suddenly be a multi-cat stud, but it’s back-to-back 20 point games with a 20/8/2/1/0 line last night and a trey.  What I really like was his aggressiveness driving to the hole, netting 5-6 FT and he’s 7-9 from the stripe the past two games after a stretch with virtually no freebies.  He’s taken 14+ shots in 6 of 7 games and at least 10 shots in 13 of 15 taking a bigger role in the O with R-Jax able to probe (I can only think of South Park every time I hear a broadcast say that…).  Of course the FG% will be a struggle, but if your team build can handle it/if it’s a punt, the low TO and decent steals make him a solid add in the stretch run.  Here’s what else happened last night in fantasy basketball:

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