Flashy player.  Ridiculous opportunity.  Buzzy preseason.  A lot of times it ends up fizzling out, sometimes it works out OK, and one time it’s C.J. McCollum.

C.J. went absolutely bonkers in his 15-16 debut, hitting 14-22 from the field including 6-9 3PTM for 37/6/1/1/0 and no TO.  Video game numbers!  So he’s a shooter, and he does what NBA shooters do – keeps draining em when they hot!  But I think we need to take a step back and consider a few things:  Other than massive Pts and treys it was fairly empty.  This was against the Pelicans, who without Brow, might look worse than the Sixers; they look horrific.  And the third thing that no one seemed to mention while anointing McCollum the next big thing in combo guards this preseason – he’s got a pretty extensive injury history.  He’s at the pinnacle of a sell high for me.  Do I think he’ll be hot garbage all the sudden?  Of course not.  But do I think he scores 37 again this year?  I don’t.  Well, unless they faced the Pelicans every night…  I’d shop around in the 40-50 range of ADP and see if you can get lucky.  As with all fantasy takeaways off one game, it’s always good to keep from overreacting.  Compared to fantasy football, we’re at the same point as about 9 minutes into the first quarter of week 1.  Still a long way to go.  Here’s what else went down during the first full slate of fantasy basketball action:

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Pearls don’t lie on the seashore. If you want one, you must dive for it.

(Yep, I just dropped a Chinese proverb, so y’all know this article is about to go next level…)

I’ve always found it fun to read – and write – some of the more unconventional or against-the-grain prognostications for the upcoming fantasy basketball season, and it can be a gas to revisit them at various points throughout the year to see if they’re gaining any traction or skidding wildly off the road. It probably goes without saying, but the bolder (see: nuttier) the prediction, the less likely it is to bear fruit. So the intent here is to provide an unpopular – but not unrealistic – take on a player that may actually help you during your fantasy draft. You’re likely to disagree with most (they’d be the consensus if you didn’t) but if I can hit on one akin to last year’s “take a late-round swing at Rudy Gobert and hold him until starter minutes come available,” it can be a season defining gamble. So pick your favorite(s) and let’s go diving for pearls together! (Man, that is without a doubt the least cool analogy I’ve ever come up with. But it’s a call-back to the opening line which I thought was kinda clever, so I’m gonna own it.)

Prepare the hot takes cannon as we fire off 30 bold fantasy basketball predictions (one for each NBA team) for the 2015/2016 season:

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Yikes.  After an injury-plagued 14-15 season where virtually every starter missed a good chunk of time, the injury bug hath reared it’s ugly head yet again for the Pelicans.  I need comfort!  Time to shame eat 50 beignets!

After Jrue Holiday‘s slow recovery from another stress reaction in his leg, the Pelicans plan to limit him to 15 minutes a game until January and sit him on back-to-backs.  Then Norris Cole suffered a high-ankle sprain a little over a week ago, and given an “up to 6 weeks” timetable.  And right when the Tyreke Evans buzz couldn’t get louder, we get hit with news on The Blindside (starring Sandra Bullock) that he had arthroscopic knee surgery and will be out 6-8 weeks.  The Pelicans need a new conditioning staff!  Hopefully this gets all the injuries out of the team’s system and we see 82 games of Brow…  Anyway, the Pelicans signed Nate Robinson late last week, and all the sudden he’s looking at starting minutes to open the season – starting when Jrue sits and playing a ton off the bench after Jrue’s 15 allotted minutes.  Lord help me, but I actually drafted him in the JB vs. Slim RCL last night…  All he needs to do is put it within 15 feet of Brow and he could fall into 5 assists with the upside for a few 3s and some points with low TO (18 Pts last night, but 0 AST and 4 TO – had 9 dimes previous 2 games with only 3 TO, TO isn’t usually an issue).  It’s like Jose Calderon, but with a few more minutes.  Ugh, I just threw up in my mouth a little with that comp though…  Here’s what else has gone down over the past few days in preseason action:

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rcl-basketball-logoThe regular season approaches — fewer than three weeks before our lives finally have meaning again! My RCL had a draft last weekend, and I wanted to share the results with all of you wonderful readers as a fascinating case study and (perhaps) cautionary tale! This was an excellent draft– I think all managers were drafting live, making some ballsy and brilliant picks. I’ve included a grade and a few words on each of their teams after my pick-by-pick blow-by-blow. Off we go!

[editor’s note – we still have leagues open to join the RCL fun, plus we need more leagues!  Hop over to the RCL sign-ups and start a league today!]

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Yeah. It goes like this right here. It’s the return of the writings of Slim! That reminds of an Outkast song, and that song reminds me of 1998. If you don’t remember it was the year we learned there was yet another way to be disgusted by a cigar. That near, far, wherever you are you probably found yourself at some point rooting for the most unlikeliest of protagonists, Billy Zane. And of course it was the year the ‘Blue Screen of Death‘ truly became a meme, long before anyone knew what a meme was.

Gangstaaaaa… It’s the return… turn…

In the NBA draft that year there were 3 guys drafted that are still playing and should one day be in the Hall of Fame. I’ll give you a hint, the top 3 draft picks were Michael Olowokandi, Mike Bibby, and Raef LaFrentz, and if you were playing fantasy basketball back then you might have gone all-in on one of them. Give up? They are Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki, and Paul Pierce. Pick number 5, 9, and 10 respectively. That’s not to say great players aren’t drafted 1st, but the only thing guaranteed when you are first overall is a whole boat load of money. Something about the use of the word ‘only’ there doesn’t quite feel right.

Return… Ganstuhuhuh… It’s the re…

It seems so easy to see when you’re talking time traveling, something mind unraveling. Get Down. It’s a whole lot harder to do here and now using some funky combination of math, logic, illogical fandom, a random number generator, and of course the occasional dart throw. For some reason though, after about an hour on 350 (or about 176c) it develops a creamy caramel colored crust. Once it cools, just cut it up and consume. So here’s you’re 1st taste. Slim’s, I can’t believe I’m writing this in 3rd person, RCL playoff schedule post.

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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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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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rcl-basketball-logo

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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