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Listen, as a Hawks fan I have a special place in my sports heart for Joe Johnson. It’s special because of this strange dichotomy I call reluctant gratitude. The Hawks sucked. Hard. For years. And gave up far too much to get him, but once Joe Johnson arrived in Atlanta back in the ’05-’06 season the Hawks became a legit playoff team, with Johnson ascending to perennial All-Star level. Yet that damn contract (only to be rivaled by Allan Houston from 2001 as potentially the worst of all-time) handcuffed Atlanta into the nothingness that is the perpetual second-round, upper-middle tier of the NBA. It was awful.

However, Brooklyn came along and washed our bored tears away when they gulped down his albatross contract to usher in the new era of Atlanta basketball (still perpetual upper-middle tier, though). But when you think about it, that’s just what Joe does: usher in the next chapter for a franchise. Well, that and play incredible (dribble) ball-stopping (dribble) isolation (dribble) basketball (five more dribbles, contested shot with 3 second left). It started in Phoenix as Mike D’Antoni and Steve Nash began their revolutionary 8-second offense, then shifted to Atlanta for the next seven years where he made six All-Star teams before becoming the epitome of the catastrophe that was the Brooklyn Nets post-prime project alongside Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. And now? Smack dab in the middle of the Rockies, Joe’s the biggest free agent signing the Utah Jazz have locked in for the past 10-15 years. At 35 years old he’s shooting 49% in 31mpg during their first five contests. Could it be that a new era is beginning in Utah with all of their young talent (and without Gordon Hayward as of yet)? They just crushed both the Spurs and then the Mavs, and I’m getting quite jazzed about the makeup of this team. Could they reach the playoffs for the first time in 5 years? Well, probably. Joe’s there now. It’s time for a new era.

And for this week…four games for the Jazz. Here’s the 7 Ahead for Week 3!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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I imagine this a good representation of the frustration Westbrook feels inside… I am currently writing this article during halftime of the Thunder/Warriors game, and frankly I don’t think I have the heart to watch the second half.  OKC came out of the gate in a strong fashion, but a Jerami Grant posterization of KD led to a Slim Reaper onslaught that buried the Thunder.  More on that below…

It’s now time for my debut on the daily notes! I’m going to format it a bit differently, so feel free to give feedback on whether it’s better, worse, or if you don’t care at all.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ahhhhh, our epic Jusuf Nurkic vs. Nikola Jock Itch debates. 16-17 might become remembered as the year of the Nuggets big men Civil War. I wanna be on Iron Man’s side!

In a gutsy battle with the Craptors, the Nugs almost pulled out a great road win, putting together a huge 3rd quarter and getting a lead for most of the 4th. We the North still ended up notching the W, and so did Slim and the Nurk > Joke contingent! I still feel like I have to remind everyone that I ranked Nurk ahead of all experts, and was middle-of-the-pack-to-slightly-below-consensus on Jokic. But alas, I did think Slim was a little crazy saying he wanted Nurk over Joke outright, and after last night, it’s looking like it’s going to be a coin flip any given outing. The real head-scratcher is Nurkic lead the team with a preposterous 38 minutes. Lunacy! Ended up going 13/18/1/1/5 in a great line, but did struggle with the %s, shooting 5-14 FG and 3-7 FT. He’s just so big out there… Look at poor Pit-Pat trying to block him, what are you doing Pit-Pat?!

I think this matchup made sense, as Nurk is a good fit to D up The Luminescent Lithuanian, and with his size and D presence, can help out on the Lowry and DeRozan iso drives. Erstwhile, I thought Nikola Jokic looked pretty good, but only played 22 minutes, going 12/4/1/0/0. Shot 6-9, but 4 TO?! The Nugs only had 8 TO as a whole, so friggin’ Jock Itch had half their giveaways, plus had 4 fouls in that limited run. Just wasn’t his night.

So what to do with these guys? I think you gotta just deploy them as usual, and hope the coin flips your way any given game. As long as it doesn’t pull a Watchmen and land standing up. I think that was Watchmen, I know it was in the dumb movie Ed too, about Joey from Friends teaching a monkey to pitch. Hahahaha, how terrible. I just had to link the trailer, because I watched it for 30 seconds to be sure I was citing the right movie, and holy crap. This is the most fantastic 2 minutes of my life:

If that doesn’t make you laugh, nothing will! I’m all over the place this morning… To wrap that metaphor, I guess Kenneth Faried would be if the coin landed straight up, and at least he only saw 15 minutes. I wouldn’t be shocked at all if Nurk gets 22 minutes next time out, Jock Itch 35, and Jock Itch has the big game. Going to be frustrating game to game. But for last night, Slim gets to gloat! Here’s what else happened last night in fantasy basketball action:

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In what became a weekly manifesto for fantasy basketball, our cap’n, my cap’n, JB Gilpin, decided to hand over the reins to his precious afterthoughts from last season. No, literally. This series was the actual afterthoughts to his daily thoughts that happened every weekend. Well, JB…after thought no more, because this is all I got!

When JB asked me to take over the 7 Ahead, I was most likely still drunk on the booze of an incredible 2015-2016 NBA Regular Season and Playoffs, not thinking about what it actually meant. The more my withdrawals kicked in and I couldn’t wait for the start of the new season to finally effing get here, though, the more I realized how great this article is. If you’ve read me on the football or baseball sides of all things Razz, you may have read my definition of wisdom before. If so, you’re welcome…here it is again: Wisdom is looking to the past to know what’s going to happen in the future before it happens. It’s telling the future. It’s planning on what could happen. It’s everything that is the essence of the 7 Ahead.

Each weekend we’ll be looking forward towards the fantasy basketball horizon of the next seven days. For those of you in weekly leagues, this series may be especially helpful, as I’ll highlight the teams with the most beneficial schedule for your matchups, and which particular players from hose teams may be available for your streaming pleasures. Also, we’ll discuss the game slate for each day over the next seven days, and you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be asking some questions and want your responses. This is a dialogue, kids. No monologues here. Those stayed in the past with JB’s novellas that he called this series. And by the way, what in the balls is a ‘bottom dollar’? Does Dame Dolla own a lot of those? Anywho…here’s the first installment of the 2016-2017 7 Ahead.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

What an incredible NBA Opener for big men! Maybe the Sixers aren’t as crazy after all…? But the bigs across the league went absolute ham; they were big hams! It’s why in Supermarket Sweep the people would always go for the hams first. Why did they never go to the wine section?! Just nab the best ish there and start a party!

Myles and JV go for 30, Embiid has an epic debut, but it was Anthony Davis who takes home the best line of the openers thus far, going an absurd 50/16/5/7/4! I mean, it could literally be the best line of the season… Double rainbow, 7 steals?!, shot 17-34, and hit 16-17 FT. After taking a little flack keeping him #1 last year, Brow started the 15-16 season going 18/6/2/0/3 shooting 4-20 (420!) and 10-15 FT. Dude, apparently the Pelicans medical staff – in all of their immense glory and wisdom – should’ve taken a hammer to his ankle before last season! Hard to believe a mere 1.5 weeks ago his status for the opener was in question off a kankle, but we’re seeing the ups and downs of what it’ll be like to be a Brow owner. Especially the dread of seeing him play 41 minutes in a loss… I nabbed him in one league, and might try some preposterous sell highs. But the allure of lines like that are tough to ignore. We just all know we’re one horrific Pels medical staff decision away from this happening to him walking out of the training room. Here’s what else happened on our first major slate of NBA games of the 2016-17 Fantasy Basketball Season:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Sorry for the delay in content here from yours truly, as I’m still without power due to downed power lines from Hurricane Matthew.  After all our silliness on the Pod, turns out I got it worse than Slim!  But at least we had no damage and no broken bones unlike Gordon Hayward.  Man this one sucks!  Apparently Rodney Hood decided to talk about it in Game of Thrones vicarious detail, revealing the bone popped through the skin.  Injuries in preseason make me want to gouge my eyes out like The Mountain vs. Viper!  He’s expected to miss 4-6 weeks, which will only claim about 2-3 weeks of the regular season.  I’m likely to move him down a few spots in my Top 200 Ranks, but nothing substantial.  I think Hayward’s fans already overrate him a little bit, but if you trust the Gordon’s fisherman, then you have a discount situation on your hands!  Just don’t go reaching too hard too fast, or else you might see part of your pinky bone sticking out…  In the meantime, vault Joe Johnson up your deep league boards.  I already thought he’d be pretty usable in his bench role leading the 2nd unit, and now he gets a few weeks with starting minutes.  Here’s some other news and notes around the NBA during this preseason:

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With my Top 200 Rankings now complete and listed in one easy-to-use list, it’s time to take a look at where I stand against the experts. Every year, I ignore ADP and other ranking sets when making my top 200 list, so I’m not sullied with crazy opinions – many of which you can read about here! I am unsullied, like Khaleesi’s war general dude! That guy is boss! Except for… Well, ya know…

Stemming from a comment, I was asked more-or-less “who are your guys this year?” And well, without really knowing ADPs or expert consensus, it was tough to answer. So for the first time since I’ve been helming the Razzball ship (helm to 108!), I decided to put an article together, highlighting where I deviate from the septum. Time for a nose job! If Ryan Anderson breaks his nose this year, his new nickname should be Ryno-plasty! Ok, focus JB, I know you’re pumped for basketball, but we have your calls to get to! Here’s where I’m against the grain according to other experts’ ranks on FantasyPros:

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It’s late-round magic time! And by late-round Magic, I’m not talking about Stephen Zimmerman! Who? Exactly…

As we hit the trip-digs in picks, it’s time to go all-out for your guys. In standard leagues, you’re hoping to maybe hit a home run on one of your final 3-4 picks, and the others flame out immediately. Why? Because you want to know for sure who you need to hold on to and have quick cuts for the first wave of wire gold. Maybe I’m overly pessimistic, maybe you’re hoping for 2 to work, but all we really want to know is “answers”. I still do my ranks as best as I can to signify “seasonal-value”, but I might get a little crazier with risk than stick with the status quo come draft day and the clock winding down.

If you’re catching up, check out all our ranks in the Top-10, Top-25, Top-50, Top-75 & Top-100. Now it’s time to get into the fun sleeper land. Here’s the Top 150 for the 2016-17 Fantasy Basketball Season:

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As we prepare for the 2016-17 Fantasy Basketball Season, I’ll be taking a look at each NBA team with their major adds and drops to see if we can pan for any surprise rotational gold.  This open is especially witty for the Nuggets – and hey, look!  We’re at the Nuggets!  We’ll be counting down from worst NBA regular season to the best, mainly because I’m still figuring out how to rank the Warriors…

Denver Nuggets (33-49)

Nuggets

Key Acquisitions:

G Jamal Murray (Rookie)

G/F Juan Hernangomez (Rookie)

G Malik Beasley (Rookie)

Key Losses:

F/C Joffrey Lauvergne

Can still having Manimal on your roster count as a “key loss”?

Well, a team doesn’t HAVE to bring in any free agents, amiright?!  No seriously, am I right?  They didn’t bring in any FA of note?  Weird.  And just not much of an overhaul on this team at all!

Beyond that little nugget (too much fun!), Denver is assembling quite the young team.  We obviously LOVE their front line (minus Manimal), Mudiay still has upside, and mmmmmm, those wings!  I like the wings wayyyyy more than the drumsticks.  And you gotta get bleu cheese.  Ranch is sacrilege!  Wait, where is this going?!  Can you tell I wrote this while mad hungry?!  There’s more than one reason why I have an insatiable appetite while writing about Denver’s team!  Here’s how the Nuggets roster is coming together:

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How do you decide who is most deserving of the lead between these two stellar performances?:

  • Player A – 25 points, 18 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 block, 10-15 FGs
  • Player B – 22 points, 14 rebounds, 10 blocks, 10-14 FGs

I’m going to give the nod to the player who posted his gaudy stats in a winning effort and that would be Player A, also known as Detroit center, Andre Drummond. The Pistons asked a lot from their franchise big man, and he responded with 39 minutes of terrific play that helped lead his team to a win over the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers. Drummond was a +17 in a five point win, and even made the Cavs pay when they intentionally fouled him in the fourth quarter. After starting 1-4 from the line, AD made four of his last five to help seal the deal. It was a great overall performance and at this point the only thing fantasy owners need to fear is this heavy workload catching up to him later in the season. But at only 22 years old, there’s no reason why Drummond can’t make 2015-2016 his career campaign.

Player B is Miami Heat center, Hassan Whiteside. In just his 77th career game, Whiteside treated fantasy owners to his second points/boards/blocks triple-double. Unfortunately it was in a losing effort to the visiting Timberwolves, and was accompanied by four turnovers and a 2-9 mark from the charity stripe. Despite the sub-par free throw shooting (which was a bugaboo coming into the season), Hassan is providing first round returns and very likely earning himself a max contract when he hits free agency in the summer of 2016. Similar to Andre Drummond, there are no legitimate threats to Whiteside’s value other than injury, so it’s a “sit back and enjoy the ride” opportunity for his owners.

Honorable mention goes to Brooklyn’s pivot, Brook Lopez, who wasn’t too shabby himself on Tuesday night, dropping a 24/10/1/1/3 line in a two point win over the visiting Hawks. BroLo only turned the ball over once in 35 minutes and made 11-21 from the floor against a reasonably stout Atlanta front line. He may not be posting the monster lines like Whiteside and Drummond, but he’s chugging along as a third round per-game value in 9-cat leagues which is likely providing his owners with a solid return on their draft day investment.

Let’s take a look at what else shook down on a highly entertaining seven-game Tuesday evening…

Please, blog, may I have some more?