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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Razzball Nation!  You’ve been clamoring for some updated rankings, and here they come!  I’m going to release them slowly, teasing them out, just like how we did the offseason rankings 5 months ago.  These top guys haven’t changed too much, but the rankings will expand to the top 200, culminating in an easy-to-use and frequently updated cheat sheet you can use during all your drafts as they commence in the next few months.  Fantasy NBA is coming and we’re ready to win you titles (or titties – depending on your league’s prize pool).  Previous ranks from my Off-Season Rankings are in parentheses before this re-rank:

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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 fun 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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You know what?  I still blame whatever broadcast I was watching while logging Yahoo fantasy highlights for calling Jonas Valanciunas Latvian and not Lithuanian as the cause for me to make the same mistake.  Sure I should’ve fact checked!  But who does that anymore?  Cough, cough, Kansas City Royals graphics truck, cough. Then again, maybe I heard wrong and I have no idea which game it was and who’s broadcast it was, so I need proof.  Who needs proof anymore either?  I pretty much don’t know or have anything…

Well now that I have undersold my intelligence, let me try to get you to buy on the Luminescent Lithuanian before anyone else in your draft can nab him:

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Sleepers.  How you win your leagues.  I love sleepers; it’s my favorite part of any fantasy forecasting where you identify the diamonds in the rough.  A big reason I love sleepers is they are the guys that can end up on a lot of your teams at a draft day value discounted where you know you can beat your draft to them.

So that takes me to DeMar DeRozan, a guy I wasn’t going to write my first sleeper post on at first, but amidst my ranking at 67 in my Way Too Early Rankings, I decided to dig deeper and try to convince Razzballers why they should spend a higher price on DeRozan than other rankings would suggest:

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As we continue to navigate through the NBA Playoffs, it’s been a fun challenge to rank for the 2013-2014 season.  There’s still free agency.  There’s still a draft.  Hey, at least we know there will be a season unlike 2011!

If you missed it, my top 10 then top 20 came out last week.  Hey, it’s early, you might say “way too early” (see what I did there, it’s in the title!) so these rankings are subject to change.  And I want no accusations of flip-flopping!  It’s not my fault if all the sudden Dwight Howard goes to the Bobcats and becomes a first-rounder!  OK, so that is as likely as Rony Seikaly… returning.  You gotta stop on the word that rhymes Jean-Ralphio!  Man I’m liking that show.  Also, random side note, Googling Rony Seikaly to spell his name correctly broke Google.  I searched it and it would freeze, despite everything else working.  Weird.

As I battle my ADHD to get into the rankings, let’s just dive into it:

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Fantasy Championship!  Some leagues have just wrapped up their finals and hopefully you’ve got a nice Shiva for your mantleplace.  But in other leagues the championship has just begun or it’s the last week-and-a-half for roto.

With a lot of big name players (ahem! Dwyane Wade ahem!) not getting on the court, there’s going to be a ton of new fringe guys getting minutes.  It’s been since Saturday since we’ve had a round-up, so let’s look at the weekend’s action (no games yesterday with the NCAA final):

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If you’ve been keeping up with me since I took over the basketball reigns here for Razzball Nation, you know I’ve had two guys I’ve been all about.  Tobias Harris and Jonas Valanciunas.  Yes the luminescent Lithuanian (LL).  Not Latvian!  Easy mistake…  OK, so I’m not one to talk, I’m paler than an Icelander living in Seattle.  But it sounded cool when I made it up.

At the ripe young age of 20, Valanciunas is owning the post, and is doing a Tyler Hansbrough impression of what Psycho-T did in college, just throwing up shizz and getting to the line.  LL (see, this is much better than typing his name correctly every time) has been scoring double-digits a night, but hit his career-high yesterday with 24 in 41 minutes.  The crazy thing is, he took only 7 shots!  Went 16-18 at the free throw line for a splendid line of 24-10-1-1-2.  I know pounding Nene and the rest of the Wiz bigs down low isn’t exactly a huge accomplishment, but I’m gonna be all over him for next year.  And if for some reason he’s available in your league, nab him for your championship run.

Here’s what else went down across the NBA last night:

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Razzball Nation!  If you have made it this far, you are either in the championship of your league or semi-finals.  Or you play roto, which, let’s face it, almost everyone saves for baseball.  However, the end of the season is more like the end of fantasy football than baseball with teams benching their stars with the playoffs a mere few weeks out.  It’s the perils of owning great players on the elite teams.  Just ask my buddy who I knocked off in my fantasy football championship years ago when the Eagles benched McNabb and Westbrook on Monday Night Football.  Then the Eagles lost to my Panthers in the NFC Championship (I think it was that year, might be wrong – can I have another fact checker? I’m too lazy for Google).  But I digress.

The Heat benched both LeBron James and Dwyane Wade with “injuries” on Sunday, and both are listed as questionable for tonight’s game against the Knicks.  What, are they the new Patriots?  Actually it’s a lot closer than you’d think.  You have Brady/Bron who get booed everywhere, Wade/…  Eh, doesn’t really work does it.  If you’re a Chris Bosh owner, you’re loving this.  Especially if you’re up against LeBron in your championship, like I am in one league.  But in another I have LeBron.  Conflicted feelings!  Just like my reaction to Prometheus.  Man does it look awesome, but the script got fewer revisions than White Chicks (originally Black Chicks).

Let’s get down and dirty with what went down across the NBA last night:

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Moe Harkless struck the Thunder for a career high 25 points last night and the rookie added 9 rebounds, 4 steals, 4 blocks and hit 3 threes. I’ve been pushing Moe for a while now, so this performance was a long time coming. Maurice is averaging a mediocre 10.7 pts and 5.4 rebounds over the past two weeks, but what really raises my fantasy eyebrow is the 3 steals a game. Do you know where your wallet is? No? Probably because Harkless just took it. Just like that. He’s that good. In fact, Moe has 21 steals in the past 6 games alone! Hashtag cleptomanic! Nikola Vucevic sat this game, and Arron Afflalo left the game in the first quarter in some serious pain. This explains Moe’s 45 minutes, and he should get major burn and plenty of touches going forward. Harkless is available in over 20% of leagues, if your looking for a playoff push, Harkless has all the tools to fill up all a stat sheet. And the steals! *drools  Go steal him from waivers before someone else does!

Here’s what else happened in fantasy basketball Friday night:

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