It’s finally here!  “The lockout is over!”  You’re like, “wtf, a lockout?!”  I’m quoting a Dave Cowens commercial!  And after the 98-99 Lockout at that!  Anything vintage Hornets is nostalgic gold right now.  Ridiculous amounts of bonus points to readers who are Hornets fans and remember that commercial and/or can find the video.  Because I couldn’t!

The return of the Hornets is one of the many things I’m looking forward to this year.  Getting past my horrific Jonas Valanciunas love, finally changing the page to a new season, is another.  But one of the biggest is a healthy (for now) Kobe Bryant and the return of the “Guess Kobe Bryant’s Stat Line”!  Even if you’re a long-time reader, you might not know this one!  It’s like the NBA scheduled the Lakers on a light opening night just for this momentous Razzball event, not because the Lakers are a widely popular team or anything…

I don’t remember exactly what spawned this prestigious contest, but as with everything that is oddly conversational in Razzball, traditions can start any time!  Like how we all guessed what Kobe would do, the like, 5 games he played last year.  So in order to carry this tradition, and to accurately-ish credit the winner, guess the Kobe line will be limited to the PTS/REB/AST projection to determine the victor.  Feel free to guess more stats than that, but when we did it last year with steals and blocks and turnovers, it was hard to say which commenter was closer than another.  The winner gets a shout out in the recap the next day, along with the jealous ire of all other Razzballers… I think Kobe has a big one in the opener vs. Houston… I’m going 31/5/6.  Shoot your guesses below, and happy return to Fantasy Basketball!  We’re pumped for our biggest season to date here at Razzball, and thanks to everyone for checking us out through the offseason!

Here’s some other news and notes since the last wrap-up, and what I’ll be focusing on for opening night (and we’re daily every weekday with the wrap-ups here on out!):

Please, blog, may I have some more?

…And we’re here!  Finally wrapping up a recap of the top 100 and how much I hated Andre Drummond coming into the year.  It’s not my fault!  He still can’t hit free throws!  Aherm, cough, I think I’m going to miss today’s class with the flu.

So far, and I’m not just saying this for my ego, I think I did the Nation better than I expected.  Sure there were swing-and-misses – I’m not Biff from Back to the Future Part II!  But it’s been a great learning experience recapping my ranks, and our loyal, bearded Slim comes in with his grades.  Rankings are based on my final updated top 200, comparing them to the FantasyPros aggregate Draft Day Rankings along with Basketball Monster’s Total Value for 9-cat leagues on the season.  Slim then recaps JB’s best ranks in the 101-200 range and worst.  Giannis Antetokounmpo for MVP!  To keep it unbiased, Slim picked the best 4 and worst 4, so we’ll have to see who he goes with… Here’s a look back at the Top 100 for the 2013-14 Fantasy Basketball Season:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Hmmmm, ok, who did you pick in you office “who scores 40 points tonight” pool?  I bet the Vegas odds were… a million to one on Nick Young.  “So you’re saying there’s a chance!”  Too bad Nick Young sucks in fantasy.  You actually have to go back 15 games to find him putting up a 5 in any counting stat other than treys.  The ThrAGNOF fairy strikes again!  Dude went a preposterous 15-26 (6-13 3PTM 4-5 FT) 40/4/1/2/0 and only had one turnover last night.  The Blazers should be ashamed.  I’m pretty sure this game never actually happened, and it was some sort of elaborate April Fool’s joke.  Swaggy P shockingly led the Lakers in minutes off the bench, and with his shoot first, ask questions later attitude, Mike D’Anotni’s rape stache kept curling upwards in facial hair glee.  By the end of the game (and yes, another Lakers loss), D’Anotni’s mustache looked like Rollie Fingers.  Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yet another start for the Gorgui Apparatus, with Gorgui Dieng going all out with a Goromotaro!  I have to say, definitely the most unexpected Goromotaro since the term was coined.  22/21/4/1/0 and double-doubles in his last three games.  Except this was a double double-double.  There’s so many Ds in that sentence you’d think I was daydreaming about Tyra Banks!  And while Gorgui is out proving that he’s America’s Next Top C, what are doing right now in crunch time of fantasy?  He’s a tough guy to leave on the wire, but the Wolves only have Sunday left this week, and Nikola Pekovic is traveling with the team.  Pek is questionable, but Dieng has given the team every excuse to keep the youngun out there with pretty much no realistic expectations to make the playoffs.  So unless you’ve got a bye with a real scrub and you can stash Gorgui and hope for another big upside game, or your line-up is virtually full Friday and Saturday, you’re probably letting him ride in 10 or 12ers H2H.  Roto he’s worth a spin and if you’re crushing it in week 1 of the playoffs, maybe worth a stache as well.  Oh no, Grey has me daydreaming about baseball!  Mmmmm, Tyra Banks and baseball.  Get out of my head Grey!  What will be really interesting next year is what the Wolves do up front with Kevin Love having an uncertain future and Pek a FA.  Dieng would probably be a really flashy flyer if he projects to start.  Here’s what else I saw last night in NBA action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

And you thought that the trade deadline was gonna be a dud. And to that, sir or madam, I give you two words: Byron Freakin’ Mullens. Bam! The Sixers have just dropped the mic on the NBA stage, a la Chris Rock.

Actually, all joking aside, Lord Byron might be worth watching in deeper leagues – if the Sixers stick with the free flowing offence they’ve been playing thus far, there’s a long shot he might actually produce. He started for the Bobcats for half a season, and wasn’t all that bad. Yeesh!, that’s a limp di*k endorsement if I’ve ever given one.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The trade deadline is here!  Today!  And even though we had a few trades already go down, more are sure to proliferate through the league office.   Hopefully the NBA has faster fax machines than the NFL.  I mean, seriously on that Elvis Dumervil thing?!  BREAKING NEWS!  The Heat trade LeBron James to Cleveland for Anthony Bennett, but the trade was sent just over a month too late.  Reports indicate it was sent on April 1st.  Hah!  Sent from some hooligan named David Stern…  You’ve been punked Adam Silver!  Back to reality, we’ve seen Marcus Thornton get traded to the grandpa Nets for Jason Terry and Reggie Evans and Steve Blake get all his fantasy value decapitated Hershel-Walking Dead style by getting shipped to the Warriors for Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks.  The takeaways thus far is you can cut Blake in virtually all leagues, and in deeper leagues I actually think Reggie Evans could start at some point as the Kings 4.  Jason Thompson is one of the many rumored on the trading block which would open up that role.  I’m not saying Evans would play 30 minutes or anything, but could maybe average 8 boards a game while doing nothing else in the typical Evans fashion.  So when I say deeper leagues, I mean deeeeeeper.  We’ll recap the rest of the trades in tomorrow morning’s piece as well as in the comments throughout the afternoon to help with your fantasy moves.  Here’s what else went down in NBA action:

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The All-Star Break is here!  With skills competish, Mike & Mike in the evening, and everyone’s favorite – the Slam Dunk Contest.  It’s exactly what everyone needs during the grind of the regular season, even for us fans who are only nursing such injuries like Larry Drew-ophobia, general malaise, and fantasy bewilderment.  I have all of those symptoms!  Plus we all get four straight nights of not worrying about our fantasy rosters, nights off to spend with ladies (Valnetine’s Day just happens to be during the All-Star Break, who planned this?  Does Jared own the NBA?!), nights off to go out drinking without constantly checking box scores on the iPhone, and nights off to spend working on some Fantasy Baseball rankings…  Oh, and nights off to dig out our cars, sheesh this weather!  So with all that in mind enjoy the All-Star Break, get on twitter and have fun faux-titling the Dunk Contest throwdowns, and I’ll be back on Wednesday next week as we approach the fantasy playoffs.  Here’s what I saw last night in the few NBA games and a few injury updates:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So, the Feds are after you.  Your Ponzi scheme and billions of dollars are up for seizure.  Well, that, or your $20 league dues and your friends sending you obnoxious texts about how you’re not going to the playoffs.  So if you’re in H2H and in this shortened week, what is a Madoff to do?  How about putting in a quick grab of Chris Kaman, who has erected himself into surging fantasy relevance.  Too far JB!  A raging 25/14/4/1/3 line last night, taking a whopping team-high 24 shots.  That’s now three straight games of at least 17 Pts, 8 Rebs, 3 Asts and 2 Blks.  That’s the floor!  While tonight’s slate is pretty jam-packed, Thursday is a light one.  With the Lakers one of the few teams in action, Kaman could really make the difference this week for ya in Pts and Blks.  While he does have a shelf life whence Pau Gasol returns, if Gasol is indeed traded I think Kaman has played well enough to stick.  Of course you never know with Doh-toni, but Robert Sacre isn’t exactly a guy to be developed for a long-term future and they don’t have any other true 5s.  So don’t be afraid to stash some of your free cash in the Kaman islands.  While he is owned in 43% of Yahoo leagues already (a bit shocking to me it had hopped up that fast), there’s plenty of IRS-free banks left to stash him up.  Here’s what else I saw last night across fantasy hoops:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So imagine you’re heading into fantasy hoops last night, wondering what the headline would be.  You knock on the mansion’s door and Tim Curry is standing there all snippity-proper.  You say, “Hey, Timmy, someone is gonna kill it tonight!”  Could it be, Colonel Larry Sanders Mustard?  Nope!  His vision is too blurred to be the culprit.  And no, it’s not because he topped off his third bottle of Cristal just to have another blunt weapon, it’s because he got poked in the eye!  Could it be Reverend Jeff Green?  No way, he had his big night a few games ago, we all know it’ll be at least another two weeks until another good one!  So it’s surprise suspect #3, Professor Mason Plumlee, who went all Krzyzewki on the Pelicans leading the Nets in Pts Rebs Stls and Blks for a 22/13/0/3/2 line.  Shot 8-10, 6-9 from the stripe, and made Anthony Davis lose a wee bit of hair on his Brow.  “I’m supposed to be the high-flying big man in this game, Mason!”  The crowd wasn’t chanting MVP for ya in this one!  Awww, that’s mean.  After playing under 12 minutes the previous two, Plumlee got 28+ in the past two games and productive in both.  Keep Kevin Garnett at 13 minutes a game, Kidd!  I think a good way to approach Plumlee right now is like James Johnson.  Puts up solid stats all around (although a little less all-around than JJ) when he gets the minutes.  I think he’s gotten himself to fringe 12-team worthy depending on your roster comp.  Definitely needs to get scooped up in deeper.  I think enough minutes will be there for him to fill in some Pts/Rebs/Blks.  Here’s what else I saw over the weekend in fantasy hoops:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Sometimes there’s not much you can do to affect your situation. If you’re reading this, digging this deep into the murky ether of the worldwide inter-webs for fantasy basketball advice, I’m sure you’ve had a daydream or two about being an NBA baller. We both know, however, for you and I, it wasn’t about not getting enough shots up after practice that held us out of the Association, we didn’t have the talent, pure and simple. But, if you’re petty like me, you might take some ironic comfort in knowing that even some of the Ballers in the NBA get shafted as well. Take Kyle Lowry, for example. He gets snubbed for the All Star game, then snubbed for the replacement players, THEN gets named Eastern conference player of the week, and then receives the worst call of the year, just to burst his bubble. That is a travesty of injustice, and while I’m not shedding any tears for Kyle inherently, it just goes to show that even the elite get effed with. There is a karmic balance going on, people, stop pretending there isn’t, and start paying it forward, eat your vegetables, and help old ladies across the street.

Please, blog, may I have some more?