As an ancient proverb goes – “I’d like to introduce you to an old friend and a new friend.”  Ok, so I made that up.  But it sounds good!

For an old friend I’ve mentioned a few times and pumped up in my last rankings update before the season started up, my boy Omri Casspi had another solid outing last night that probably was under the radar.  In 24 minutes, he went 7/8/5 with no turnovers, 2-4 from the field and 3-4 from the line.  He just looks awesome every time I see him play.  Did you know he was the first Israeli to play in the NBA?  He’s pretty much Chandler Parsons but with Chandler Parsons in his way.  After a ho-hum first two games, his past two have been fantastic – and this last one without hitting a three which is a big part of his game.  Not necessarily a must own in 12-teamers, but definitely worth a look, and needs to be grabbed in 14+.

Then my new friend - Gal Mekel on the Mavericks.  You’re like, “who the eff is Gal Mekel?  I thought this was NBA not WNBA!”  Mekel was signed to a three-year deal by the Mavs this offseason, and became the second Israeli to join the NBA.  Cut to Amar’e Stoudemire going, “Hey, I should count!”  With Shane Larkin dealing with an ankle injury, and no Devin Harris for a while, Mekel is getting full-on backup PG run and playing well doing it.  He got his 2nd 6 assist game last night going 9/4/6 and hitting a 3.  Sure some run was in junk time, but with the oft-injured Jose Calderon the only one ahead of him (hasn’t played in over 68 games since 2007), Mekel could find his way into starts.  Of course, now I’ve ruined my play on him in the REL League.  Let’s just hope no one in that league is reading!  Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy hoops:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Man, what a huge night it was across the NBA with nearly every team in action.  It obviously all starts with the shocker Philly put on the Heat, and Michael Carter-Williams‘ unreal debut.  I was following with my co-workers during the game and tweeted that if he got a triple-double in his first NBA game, the universe would implode.  Thankfully MCW was a steal short and we’re all still here.  His final line of 6-10 (4-6 3PTM 6-8 FT) 22 Pts 7 Rebs 12 Asts and 9 Stls might actually win some owners their matchups this week on its own.  Just preposterous.  Most steals in NBA history in a player’s debut.  Ok before we all go nutso, remember the Heat played without Dwayne Wade (rest), don’t have a PG, and had all their hands weighed down with new championship rings.  So that’s not really an excuse, but so what?!  The shooting efficiency was fantastic (the biggest knock on him coming into the year), plus he had only one turnover (his second main knock).  “Nice knockers!”  Thanks Young Frankenstein!  MCW indeed moves up a fair bit in value in my eyes, but this is likely his best line on the year.  MCW was wildly inconsistent in college and I don’t expect much consistency on a terrible 76ers team (I know they just beat the Heat, but c’mon).  Look for John Wall to lock him up on Friday and cool the hype.  Despite inconsistencies, it goes without saying that MCW should be owned in all leagues now (78% Yahoo, 59.4% ESPN), so if for some reason he’s available in your league, you gotta get him.  I’m not expecting MCW to be an elite player, but will continue to contribute even in down games.  Here’s what else I saw across Fantasy Basketball last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

At last!  At long last.

The fantasy basketball season is upon us and we finally get to start seeing our lineups in action.  I, for one, am pumped like never before.  Sure it may be because it’s my first full season as the Razzball Editor on hoops, and sure, it may be because it’s the last year the North Carolina team will be called the “Bobcats”, but hey, we all have our things to look forward to!

If you’re new to Razzball, I’ll be giving you daily recaps of everything that went down across fantasy hoops (starting tomorrow) along with contributions from our other great writers (Pete, Dan and Slim) throughout the year.  And if you missed my mention of it once or twice through the preseason, I work for a company that makes the Yahoo Fantasy Basketball player highlights which will start going up tonight!  We also make the TNT Overtime highlights which come up on the timeline as you’re watching the game (It’s free!  And starts tonight!).  I bring this up, well first because it’s the coolest job, and second because I get to watch a lot of hoops and break down film of typically two games a night.  So at the end of Daily Recaps I’ll be letting you what games I’m watching that night and you can either tweet me (@jbgilpin) if you’re wondering about something in the game or ask in comments the next day.  We’re next level here at Razzball!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There’s a few players who throw my drafts off course every year for no particular reason. Wesley Matthews. Jose Calderon. Al Horford. Regardless of where it happens, or whether it’s a good pick or not, when I end up taking one or more of these players, the wheels start to come off.

The three aforementioned players actually pale in comparison to my ultimate draft killer: Andre Iguodala. I really have a hard time rating him – either I see him as so overrated he’s underrated or so underrated he’s overrated.

Obviously I’m feeling self-conscious about my first RCL draft. It’s kind of like taking your shirt off at the beach after you’ve spent the winter gorging on pizza and ice cream.

All right, time to suck it up and show off my man boobs:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ending up with a late-round pick in this year’s fantasy draft is like reaching the front of the line at McDonald’s and having the former computer analyst behind the counter tell you that they only have chicken sandwiches left.

Hey, there’s nothing wrong with Al Jeffersons and Carmelo Anthonys, but I came here for the Big Macs, not those Southwest whatever-you-call-its with the weird sauce.

Picking in that slot seems to be having a ripple effect. At that point all the elite guys are gone, so you have to take someone like Jefferson or Anthony or gamble a little on a guy like Derrick Rose. Also, if you didn’t get James Harden, Stephen Curry or Paul George, you’re going to have to either reach or punt a little on SG, because there isn’t one of proper value to take at that spot.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

A lot of things stood out in the 2013-2014 NBA Playoffs, and we’re not even talking about you, Mike Breen’s Weird Face.

They’ll be remembered as the coming out party for Mark Jackson’s upstart Golden State Warriors, who upended the Denver Nuggets in the first round. The Lakers got flattened and Dwight Howard got flushed out of the City of Angels. The Grizz took a step up, and OKC took a big step back. We saw Paul George go from boy to man, ABC, BBD, with the swish of a jumper and three big FTs. We saw Frank Vogel brain fart by removing Roy Hibbert and allowing LeBron James to win a game with a layup. And we saw a Finals Game 6 that packed a monumental Spurs collapse; a limp, pathetic white flag en masse by Heat fans; and an incredible Miami comeback capped by a Ray Allen three so deep in the corner that he coulda grabbed a Cinnabon from the concessions before coming back down to earth – BREATHE – all in one fourth quarter. Oh, and James’ dwindling horde of critics were served up another heaping helping of shutup-shuttin’-up.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Welcome to my second round.  The second round is on me!  That way I can buy all cheaper/low-shelf swill and not look like a cheapskate [underutilized word].  Seriously, try that next time you’re out.  Well, to be honest it only really works on the 8th or 9th round.  “What is in this snake juice?!” “It’s basically rat poison!”  “Baba Booey!”

So these guys are all still elite talents, just have those lingering question marks that would have me passing on them.  I know you’re all gonna yell at Paul George being a second rounder for me, I have comment ESP!  Here’s how I see the remainder of the top 20 with off-season adjustments (previous ranks from my Off-Season Rankings are in parentheses before this re-rank):

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Larry Sanders was so incredibly tasty during the 2012-2013 fantasy season.

He was so good. In a lot of ways amazing. The F/C was a regular drop/add for me throughout the year, coming on board to pile up double-doubles and blocks and games where he just went off – that triple-double on Nov. 30 where he put up 10 Pts, 12 boards and 10 blocks and a 17-20-2 on Dec. 21. He also had a stretch from Feb. 20-April 5 where he had double-digit rebounds in 18 out of 23 games.

And on Feb. 19 at 8:44 p.m., I added him for keeps in a transaction that vaulted the Punk Rock Gods to the Floor Generals League Championship.

In a similar way, Col. Sanders is so incredibly tasty all the time.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So these guys aren’t in the top ten.  They automatically hate me and I automatically hate them… Well not really of course, but I want to tease out the drama!

After the first 6 picks, ending with Chris Paul for me, it’s becomes a mess of upside players and seasoned vets all tossed around like Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton in Twister.  Then that tornado finished the job last year, ripping off Hunt’s clothes for The Sessions.

Without further ado, here are the guys I’d be ripping my clothes off for to round out my top 20:

Please, blog, may I have some more?