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Hello everyone!  I’m back with Brent and Craig once again hitting on a wide array of subjects.  We start off with a lengthy debate over who the #1 player in fantasy basketball is at the moment and who the other contenders are.  From there, we do an in-depth breakdown of the Miami Heat for both real life and fantasy.  We also hit on Lonzo Ball’s fantasy impact now, in the future, and what he already does to help his teammates in his rookie season.  All of that and plenty more on the latest edition of the Razzball Basketball Podcast!

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Yesterday was Martin Luther King day. It’s a day that many take for granted. Many focus on the fact that there’s basketball all day or that there’s no school or work or something about someone having a dream. MLK day is about celebrating the greatness of a man. Who called out the establishment. Who stood up for the rights of the oppressed. Who wanted to “transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.” The King was truly a great man, which brings me to the King of the NBA, LeBron James. Last night, the LeBrons faced off against the Warriors and lost 118-108. In defeat, James went:

 32 8 6 3 4 8 0/2 12/18 8/13

I almost did not make him the lede for this post. There were players that scored more points. There were players that collected double-dubs. There were multiple players who almost messed around. There were players that led their team to victory. I almost overlooked LeBron, but then I came to my senses. Look at that line! It’s freaking amazing. Ok, the turnovers aren’t great but I said he’s a King, not God. Anyways, sometimes we don’t truly appreciate the greatness of LeBron. We hold him to such a high standard that we expect more. The crazy thing is that “more” is usually attainable. Think about that. Anyways, it’s only appropriate that I made the King of the NBA the lede for a post on the day after Martin Luther King day. Both are great, yet both are underappreciated at times. Let’s never forget either.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

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“Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better” (Pat Riley)

With Week 13 in the books of history, fantasy basketball reaches a critical point this week. A lot of teams are looking up to 6th place and some may be thinking of throwing in the towel. This is a mistake. In a nine-cat league, two good weeks can make an apparently bad team into a monster, that can win a league. I remember last year when I won a Yahoo Fantasy Winner League and one of the ITL Satellite leagues. In both cases, I was out of the playoffs in week seventeen. The secret was working the waiver wire and buying low on the best players for the second half of the season (a constant in every fantasy season). I bought low on Chris Paul, Gary Harris, Khris Middleton, Marquese Chriss, and Nikola Mirotic, for example. This season these things will happen again, for sure.


Here is how the action went down in Week 12 across our 12 RCL Leagues:

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As you are reading this, men around the world are patiently waiting for their more classic facial hair looks (beards, mustaches, etc.) to come into being. These men, and some ladies, have bought their ticket to ride the raucous, risky, and really ridiculous rollercoaster of emotions and doubt that is growing out your beard.

Not Anthony Davis though. Davis walks a different path: a path where down is up and left is right and birds walk and pigs fly. Davis has been chosen by a higher power to take the journey of the Uni-Brow.

The life of “The Brow” can be a difficult one. Despite being 7-feet tall and stupid rich, The Brow can have a difficult time getting dates. You see, women just do not understand The Brow. In fact, many men do not understand The Brow. The Brow not only makes social interactions even more awkward, but it also affects the individual’s ability to stay healthy. As the eyebrows (which evolved to be separate for a reason) come together, a complex series of chemical interactions take place within the body of The Brow leading to more brittle bones, a strange desire to land on objects around the basketball hoop, and an inability to heal quickly and properly.

However, despite all of the negatives, The Brow is still one of the most dominant basketball players of his generation. We may never fully understand The Brow, but we can all understand this juicy slash: 2/48/17/0/4/3. The Brow led his Pelicans to a big win over the Knicks in overtime, showing that we are all capable of overcoming our flaws and rising to the occasion.

Here is what else I saw last night:

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What’s up Razzballers? We had a doozy of a game last night in Toronto between the Raptors and the Warriors. I don’t typically like to give the lede to players on the losing team, but this was the best game in a night of great games, and DeMar DeRozan was the star of the show. He was a big reason the Raptors were even competitive as he went for 42/5/3 on 17-for-31 FG (0-for-4 3P, 8-for-10 FT) and two TOs. This was in a game the Raptors lost by just two after being down 81 to 54 (!) at halftime. The end was a big clusterfrick too. No other Raptor  played more than 30 minutes, as the almost-comeback was mostly led by DeMar and the bench since Kyle Lowry was out with injury. Anyway, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

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Before getting into this article, I have to make a bit of a disclaimer. I’m a huge Toronto Raptors fan. Die hard. Have been since I became a fan of the NBA years ago. It was to my great delight then, that the Raptors destroyed/embarrassed/dominated the Cavaliers on Thursday night, in what was the first nationally televised game of the season for the Raptors. In a lot of ways, this was the Raptors sticking up the middle finger to whoever schedules these things. Side note: when the hell are we going to play a Christmas game? Anyways, the Raptors won 133–99 in a game in which Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka were sidelined and undrafted point guard Fred VanVleet was the team’s leading scorer. Boom.

In a lot of ways, this shows how far the Toronto Raptors have come as a franchise. They do not have one top 10 player in the NBA (although I would argue DeMar Derozan is now officially the second best SG in the NBA), and yet, they’ve been the best team in the East since trading Rudy Gay years ago. They have enjoyed a lot of success this year due to the play of their bench, as was certainly the case on Thursday night. This bench doesn’t have an Andre Iguodala or Lou Williams either, which just goes to show what happens when a team (or unit) buys in. If any non-Raptors fan can name me the Raptors main bench unit this season without looking, I’ll be shocked. This might just sound like a huge homer rant, but seriously, the in-house growth and success the Toronto Raptors have had over the past 4+ years without bringing in any superstar talent is only comparable to the San Antonio Spurs.  

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Does anyone even remember the Wiz? I don’t know if I’ve ever set foot in one before they went out of business. Bismack Biyombo got busy last night against the Wizards, but it still wasn’t enough to get the win. He might have won you some DFS tourneys last night though, as he went 21-13-4-1-2-0 on 8-of-9 FGs and 5-of-6 FTs, and in season long leagues, he definitely helped your percentages. With Nikola Vucevic still out with a hand injury, you can enjoy at least a few more games of Biyombo starting. If you can sell-high, handle that Bis-ness. If no one’s biting, then mind your own Bis-ness.  Either way, he’s mostly a short-term asset.

Moving right along, here’s what else went down Friday night in Fantasy Hoops:

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First, we lost Gilligan’s Island. Then, Fantasy Island met it’s doom. Now, the unthinkable has happened. Waiters Island has been shut down for the season. Dion Waiters is expected to have season-ending surgery on his left ankle, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo.com. The Heat can go in many directions. Tyler Johnson can start at shooting guard with Josh Richardson at small forward and Wayne Ellington the main guy off the bench. Or, Derrick Jones Jr. could start at shooting guard, which would keep Tyler Johnson in a reserve role to back up Goran Dragic. Since Waiters hasn’t played since late-December, the preferred lineup has been Dragic at the point with Johnson at shooting guard and Richardson at small forward. Ellington has been the main scorer off the bench and should continue to be an excellent source for 3s. It’s safe to drop Waiters if you haven’t already. I’m going to miss the antics of Waiters for the remainder of the season, but at least he should return next season, unlike the other famous islands of tv past.

Here’s what else I saw last nig

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Somehow, we’re already halfway through the NBA season. You know your team(s). The only major unknowns left are who else will get hurt, who will get shut down, and who will get a big value increase due to those injuries and the shutting down of said teammates. Aside from trying to grab some young guys that might get some extra run down the stretch, what else can you do to increase your odds of winning at this point? Well, staying active and streaming hot players will work wonders. But beyond that, I suggest checking out your team’s standing in each of what I’ll call the forgotten stats. Even the most astute fantasy player is going to be drawn to points, rebounds, assists, and threes out of habit and because of the way that we’re most often presented with stats.

I’m going to update you on the leaders in the boring and unsexy categories of field goal percentage, free throw percentage, steals, and blocks (in addition to FG% + FT% and steals + blocks). I’m sure some of you might be much more focused on the % categories than I just mentioned, but I think most players treat them as an afterthought. So, since others are more likely to ignore these forgotten stats, take advantage of that and focus on them if you can stand to gain points there. I think you’ll find that these categories are often led by some lesser names that can be had more cheaply than the points/rebounds/assists stars. Many are even available in most leagues.

Here are your most effective players in order of Basketball Monster’s per-game values (percentages are weighted) by category or combined categories through 1/9.

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