Let’s be honest, the Detroit Pistons are currently a bit of a dumpster fire. But even dumpster fires can be beautiful. Ask anyone involved with the production of “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.” Side note: That only came out a year ago. I know, it feels like five years ago. We’ll never survive this, but I digress.

There’s actually plenty to like if you’re a Pistons fan for the long term with newcomer Cade Cunningham along with returning players Killian Hayes, Saddiq Bey, and Isaiah Stewart. They are going to have their growing pains no doubt, but they should be competitive in most games. They’ve been relatively competitive ever since Dwayne Casey was named head coach in 2018 and the front office has done a decent job giving the roster some sort of direction.

But how long will it take this young core to gel? Will they be interested in winning all season or turn on the tank in the end? And where the hell does Trey Lyles fit into all this?!?!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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What are your Netflix recommendations like, dear Reader? According to Netflix’s almighty AI, I’m a 99% match for a good number of action films, (shocking I know). It appears that I’m an inveterate sucker for Hollywood’s IV drip of characteristic stylized violence, where everything and nothing is at stake all at once. The kind of morality plays where revenge and a particularly violent idea of justice come inseparably together. But I’m especially moved by a meta element in these stake-less physical dramas, something the algorithm isn’t picking up on, I hope. The more I can tell the minds behind the film want me to know, that they know, this is all dopamine mush in the mouth of a baby the more I’m pleased. I’m looking for a kind of philosophical match with the director. Something that says, “Yes, this is almost certainly a meaningless distraction on our collective journey to some hopefully plush after, but at least this haze of aesthetic violence offers some neon lights and choreographed blood splatter.” Which is a long-winded way of saying, as artists, writers, thinkers, maybe even as fantasy basketball players, we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously.

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Well, we did the Clippers, so I guess it makes sense to do the Lakers. And not just because technically it ends up being a nautical extravaganza that involves sailboats on a lake (MAXIMIZING METAPHOR) but because in a lot of ways these teams act as a yin and yang together and against each other. While I’m not even sure what that fully means as an Asian-American man, all I can say is that this specific Lakers team is poised to be good (LeBron and company) but may also carry with it some frustrations (AARP and company) during the long NBA season. But as someone once said, if you never taste the sour, you’ll never know the sweet so I guess we’ll end the intro on that note for some reason…

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I did welcome everyone back when I introduced all the writers this season but when I drop my Top 10 is when I feel things get real. Plus, I will use any excuse to post this song. Always gets me so amped.

Before I get into each player of the Top 10, I wanted to write a disclaimer: THIS IS NOT A RANKINGS PIECE. The order I have players is based on my projections and overall value for category leagues. Where I’d draft a player depends on ADP, categorical need, and roster construction. Keep that in mind when going through all my Top X pieces and when choosing who to draft in your leagues. The FG and FT numbers are weighted for volume.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I often lose track of where I’m at in certain categories when drafting. Maybe it’s all the trees I smoked or the magic mushrooms I ate in the past. Whatever the case may be, I’m a dummy and can’t remember things too well. Therefore, I made a very basic draft tool on Google Sheets which keeps track of everything and lets me know how close/far I am away from certain benchmarks. This can also be helpful post-draft, as you can see how your team stacks up in each category. Please click HERE to read about how I ascertained said benchmarks. So, the data compiled over two years gave me an average for what it took to win each category on a weekly basis. From there, I divided that number by 3.15 (the average number of games each team plays per week) which gave me a per-game target number. Then, I submitted the sheet to Rudy (who is a real-life wizard by the way) and he did his magic. Rudy was able to link all the players from my projections sheet so that the data wouldn’t have to be inputted manually. Rudy! Rudy! Rudy! The sheet is pretty self-explanatory. The row with the colors will show you how far away you are from the target number. Keep in mind that the projections are based on my numbers and that the TARGET numbers are based on winning a category. In the future, I may change that to 50% or 75%. Modify them to suit your needs. Hopefully, this helps you guys out pre and post-draft.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When we moved from California to Wisconsin last October, we knew it would be hard. Catching the tail end of fall was the final gasp of good air before the dual jaws of winter and the pandemic clamped down on us. From there, we just had to ride it out. Hiding indoors, online, and in the NBA calendar was all there was to do. As the days got darker — in every sense — we were subjected, over and over again, to the Milwaukee mantra: Summers make winters worth it. Having no experience to draw on, we had to take these hearty midwesterners at their word. 

They were right. 

Ice thawed and snow melted. Patches of terra firma sprouted and then turned green. The Bucks exercised Miami demons in Game 1 of the Playoffs and squeaked past the Nets by the margin of a single shoe size. The Hawks were feisty but underseasoned, and then there was the block and the steal and the alley-oop over Phoenix. “Bucks in six” was the song of the summer. Flowers for The Good Land. 

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During the summer months, I try to predict the rotations and minutes allocations for each team. Then, I go to each player and figure out the per-minute production in each category. Multiply those numbers by the minutes played projection and…POOF! Per-game value of each player. Last season, I felt per-game wasn’t enough so I added totals to the equation. I weighted the total z-scores by 75% and the per-game z-scores by 25%. I’m continuing to learn, grow, and refine my process so we shall see how it comes out this season. After all that, the sheet is sent to the Wizard of Razzball, Rudy, who packages all the data and produces the aesthetically-pleasing and user-friendly sortable table that you have all become accustomed to at Razzball.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Toronto Raptors had a very disappointing 2020 season thanks to problems at the center position, injury woes, and no real home games. This offseason was a very important one for the Raptors, and thanks to the moves they made, 2021-22 will be a major improvement. From drafting very promising forward Scottie Barnes, resigning key players such as Gary Trent Jr. and Khem Birch, and getting a good return for Kyle Lowry, the Raptors are poised for substantial improvement.

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Fun fact: There are only three players returning from last season for the Chicago Bulls. That would be Zach LaVine, Coby White, and Patrick Williams. The entire rest of the roster has been turned over and the Windy City faithful are prepping Grant Park as we speak. There are a lot of varying opinions about where the Bulls will end up in the standings, a lot of them that have me like:

Me: “Hey Son, can we play ‘Bulls on Parade’ on repeat on my Chicago Bulls preview?”

Son: “No…. No, I don’t think so.”

Sorry guys.

Regardless of where they wind up in the standings, it won’t really affect their fantasy stock all that much. The Bulls are all in on this lineup in their attempt to earn the city a legitimate playoff berth for the first time in the last six seasons. That means the big dogs are here to play and they should get significant minutes throughout the season.

The Bulls put a competitive group on the floor around all-star Zach LaVine and didn’t even mortgage the future, so it’s safe to say that Arturas Karnisovas has a place at my table any time. Still, there are questions about their defense and their “fit” since they won’t be playing a traditional power forward (as if that were necessary in the modern NBA).

With so many mouths to feed on offense, will that hurt the value of guys like perennial all-star Nikola Vucevic? Will DeMar DeRozan still have a prominent role? Let’s break it down by position.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Hello once again, Razzballers. Not sure why I’m saying hi like it’s a surprise you’re here, but we’ll just go along with it and I’ll act disappointed you didn’t bring nachos. Nachos, man, will no one think of me? As the arrival of the newest NBA season comes closer (nearer?), it’s that time again to go over the specific teams and do our yearly ritual to pontificate, debate, and articulate what we see before us. Don’t ask me why it sounds like some slogan from the corporate zeitgeist where synergistic methods on trending markets do something or whatever. I just wanted nachos. For my first preview, we’ll be tackling the Los Angeles Clippers, a franchise that has really made me question why I follow sports at all, and then I remembered I know this pain. I was born in it, molded by it. As a Padres fan, it’s always nice to see darkness, my old friend. Exiting stage left from last year’s playoffs (or right, I don’t think it matters which direction) once again in the Conference Finals was both expected and surprising. There were many caveats as to why it happened yet again, but there were also a lot of great developments that could help the Clippers in their goal to finally reach the NBA Finals. So let’s see how the Clippers are shaping up and the fantasy implications henceforth. Medieval vernacular, why not?

Please, blog, may I have some more?