I always love when an off night (only 4 games yesterday) yields one of the best NBA games we’ve seen all year.  So many story lines, so many stars.  And more importantly – so much fantasy goodness!

I guess I shouldn’t have curtsied around it, but there’s no way Chris Paul doesn’t lead the NBA in assists this year.  I said in the first recap of the season he would average a bajillion assists and rack up double-digit dimes almost every game.  Score two for JB!  Averaging 12 a game equates to a bajillion, right?  John Stockton is deadpan staring me down right now. Creepy, Stockton!  Creepy… J.J. Redick will be a really underrated acquisition if the Clips indeed make a title run with how he helps space the floor with his movement and shooting, and while we all know Chris Paul is awesome, I’m already putting him as the #3 fantasy player right now, leapfrogging James Harden.

I lucked out getting last night’s only late game, making Yahoo highlights for the 137-118 Clippers win.  Pretty much everything played out like a video game.  Everyone was hitting 3s, the scoring was astronomical, the pace was like a Peyton Manning offense, and finished off with some late alleys for the icing on the cake.  Fantasy God #1 really got that L2 + Square alley working out by the end of the game; Fantasy God #2 just couldn’t quite time Harden’s 3-point shot release.  Wait, do they even need controllers?  We are the controllers!  Whoa, too much philosophizing.  Let’s just get this back on the rails and go over some of the news and notes from last night:

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Are you not entertained?!

Chris Paul sure put on a show last night, dropping treys, lobbing alleys, fending off tigers chained up as obstacles.  You name it!  He torched the Warriors in the Clippers “home opener” (despite it being their second straight game in LA) for an unreal 42/4/15 and 6 steals.  Shot 12-20 from the field and won you FT% this week going 16-17 at the stripe.  Paul was so much like Russell Crowe.  In LA there’s even a “Coliseum” (ok maybe that’s a stretch)!  Games like this support Doc wanting to cover up the banners and jerseys.  Even when Kobe gets back, Paul has to be the best player in LA.  I said it before on Opening Night and reiterate below, but the acquisition of J.J. Redick does wonders for Paul in the Clippers spacing.  I said he’ll have double-digit assists almost every game.  I said he’d score 42 against the Warriors.  Dammit, OK so I didn’t say that second one.  Elite assists and steals are par for the course, and scoring like this in a few more games will have him the easy #3 fantasy player.  Here’s what else I saw in last night’s two NBA games:

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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:

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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.

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The preseason is upon us!  And just like how you don’t put too much stock in Spring Training or the NFL Preseason – there isn’t anything to go too crazy about with what happens in the box scores.  However, some guys do get hurt, hurt guys can show they’re back, and there’s additional news to spruce up everyone’s rankings (my updated top 200 is below and broken down by position in the menu).  But before you scroll down! We really need some RCL commissioners to start up new leagues to show me just how bad my rankings are.  The winner gets their name shaved in my head for god’s sake!  Please don’t make it anything too profane… I don’t want to tell the barber he has to put @$%#% somewhere in my scalp!  Rather than belaboring current events and more RCL pandering, let’s just hop right in:

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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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Ah the fantasy basketball offseason.  It’s a magical time where the weather gets nicer, people get out of the arenas (unless their team is still in the playoffs) and start playing outdoor sports.  Pshhh playing outside.  Overrated.

While the NBA Playoffs enter their second round, there are still the huge events of free agency and the NBA Draft to shake things up, but let’s take an early look, nay, a way too early look, into where I am going to start ranking players for the 2013-2014 season:

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The Razzball Community, like a single barrel scotch, is bold and strong. And like a single barrel scotch in the bloodstream of a Las Vegas stripper, we like to spread our butt cheeks and then drive while intoxicated. Wait, what? Anyway, the Razz-comm (<- term that won’t catch on) enjoy nothing more than to match wits and skills with each other in the fantasy arena (there may be things we enjoy more, but we’ll leave that to the philosophers). The season has come to a close, those of you who weren’t sure if J.R. Smith was for real can finally put that question to rest, and our RCL winners have emerged, basking in the glow of victory. “I remember when I was alive, I lived for the taste of success! So says I, the ghost of Dolph Schayes!” Damn you, Dolph, you aren’t dead yet! “Mayhaps, but your career is!” Moving on…

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As I mentioned earlier this week, there is still a ton of things to cover, let’s just dive right in:

It’s obviously a good ways down the road, but a lot of people are optimistic for a return for the opener next year for Rajon Rondo.  As we saw from Derrick Rose this past year, that has me horrified.  Rondo tore his ACL on January 25th and Rose on April 28th and we didn’t see the latter now for a full year.  Even if Rondo can beat the timetable Rose has had by a two months (returning in only 10 months), that will still have him returning in late November, missing a month of the season.  Rose and Rondo both rely on slashing and agility for their games, and while the clear caveat that their injuries and bodies are different, I’m probably avoiding a 3rd or 4th round pick on Rondo.

Sticking with the Celtics, Jeff Green had some mammoth games while Kevin Garnett missed some time with injuries.  While he won himself a starting gig, we saw some inconsistency when Green was in there with both Paul Pierce and Garnett.  If Garnett returns, I won’t buy into Green’s price tag (even though there will be a built in amount of time with no Garnett with definite injuries), but if Garnett retires or for some reason isn’t in Boston green, I’ll probably be a big Jeff Green buyer.

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The playoffs are coming, do you have a point guard emergency? Mo Williams consistency driving you insane? Kyrie Irving just not cutting it since his return? Steve Nash can’t stay on the floor? Tony Parker goes down! Well according to Lt. Dangle there might be a new sheriff in Orlando, all he needs is a killer ‘stache. Beno Udrih was Udraining shots from all over the floor Friday night and scored 27 points (10-17 FG) with 5 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals and hit 3 shots from beyond the arc. Beno may have that mustache in him after all. Jameer Nelson missed his fourth straight game and Beno got the nod again. In four games starting with Nelson out, Udrih is averaging 19.5 points, 7.3 assists, 4 rebounds, 1.75 steals and 2.5 threes a game. BENOthatswhatImtalkingabout Udrih! He  played 36 minutes Friday night and should continue to find plenty of time on the floor even when (if) Jameer Nelson (ever) returns. If I have a playoff point guard emergency I’m picking up Udrih,  Beno-911 should provide enough points and assists to make him an asset in your fantasy playoffs.

Here’s what else happened in basketball Friday night:

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