What is up everybody! If you’re still reading this column, then either you’re my biggest fan (Hi, Son!) or you’re still in the hunt for your fantasy basketball championship. As I mentioned last week, most of my teams are D.O.A. (Drunk off absynthe) after some massive injury and trade woes (including Oladipo, who had both). I’m likely finishing in the top 50 in RazzJam despite my top picks all missing significant time, so I’m cool with that. But you, my dear Son (best editor ever, bee-tee-dubya), you might be in a position to win. So, let’s do away with the singular player approach and take a look at the hot players that you could still acquire for your basketball squad. And! In case you didn’t know, I’m ranking pitchers every week over the summer on the baseball side of Razzball, and I’m in charge of QBs over on the fantasy football side. If you need fantasy help in those sports, come on over and ask away! 

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What is up everybody!? The fantasy NBA season is almost into the playoffs, and I’m already dumping talent on my dynasty NBA teams. Kawhi Leonard led my team to a championship in the abbreviated 2020 season, but with most of my team on the IL in 2021, I shipped Leonard off to begin my rebuilding process (contracts involved, escalating costs, etc). You might be in a situation where the playoffs are within reach, and you’re looking to gain that last player who’ll get you through the door. Last week, I highlighted Bogan Bogdanovic, who jumped 20% in number of fantasy rosters in one week. Now either I broke the internet and caused that good trouble, or perhaps I’m just one of the many islands making up the Bogan hype archipelago. This week, I bring you Darius Garland, who’s looking real sweet right now. Hop on board while I open the Garland Sweet Shack!

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It’s the bye week for baseball right now, and if you’ve been following my pitching rankings, you’ll know that I’m ankle deep in getting ready for the baseball season. Which has completely messed with my internal calendar, and I was stunned to find out that yes, indeed, it is April. Or March 390th, 2020, I can’t really tell anymore. Point is, there’s only a few weeks left of the NBA season. A bunch of my basketball teams were decimated by injuries this year — my RazzJam team barely made it two weeks before 3/4 of my top picks were out. So, I’m out of the running in all my basketball leagues and I’m more or less OK with that. But you, my friend, are hopefully still in the running. So! Let’s get you the players you need to make your roster whole. 

Enter Bogdan Bogdanovic. Now, that’s Bog with a “G,” the guy on the Atlanta Hawks, not Bojan with a “J,” who’s on the Utah Jazz. The Hawks are competing with about 7 other teams for a playoff spot, which means they’re trying to win. And Bogdan is the starting small forward on the Hawks, and he’s putting up nearly 30 minutes a game. So! Let’s check out how he can help your team. 

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2021 is here and we’ve moved on to fishtails in our Cinnamon Toast Crunch as the worst thing of the week. Congratulations everybody, we made it through the pandemic! Actually we haven’t and you better keep as wary for your friends as you are wary of crustaceans in your cereal. In the meantime, I continue my scorching series of “players who are left standing after an injury riddled NBA season” by looking at the rookie Saddiq Bey, who’s got a starting job on the Detroit Pistons and worth a look in your fantasy basketball league.

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As I approach this, my blackjack plus legal voting age’th year on the earth, a few TV shows stick in my brain. My all-time favorite is Star Trek: The Next Generation, and who can forget the time that Captain Jean-Luc Picard was stranded on a planet with an alien who spoke in metaphors. “Shaka, when the walls fell!” And Picard had to understand not just the language, but the context and the syntax with which it was spoken. Isn’t that situation just the metaphor for all of our lives? We may share the same experiences, but not everybody gets the context right away. And isn’t that just a hop-skip-travel away from describing being a rookie in the NBA? 

Isaac Okoro was drafted fifth overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2020 NBA draft. Yay potential! But potential means very little when there’s Covid floating around and the season is a mess and players are frustrated. As we come off the all-star break, more than a few players vented their frustration about the state of the league, yet here we go, planting one foot in front of the other and still traipsing on. We may understand the experience, but the context is novel, and it takes some time to adapt. That’s where Okoro comes into play: he’s figuring out the NBA context, and it’s starting to click. Let’s check the details! 

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OK, OK, I’m sure if you’re a regular Razzball reader, you’re staring at this article and thinking, “I picked up Immanuel Quickley off the waiver wire like 6 weeks ago.” And then you probably dropped him or forgot about your team or maybe never started him. Because now we’re into fantasy baseball season and Quickley is rostered in a measly 27% percent of leagues. I was about to drop an article on a guy who was rostered in 2% of leagues and then I saw Quickley next to said anonymous player, and thought to myself, “Sure would be nice to have a day drink right about now.” Then I thought about checking how many people roster Quickley. Yeah, none of you! So, let’s check in on the Knicks [waits for laughing to stop].

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I kid you not, I’ve spent a good chunk of my life learning foreign languages, have visited Austria (shoutout to the Mozartstübe in Vienna), and when I was browsing 538’s RAPTOR looking for unknown fantasy basketball values, I had no idea how to pronounce Jakob Poeltl’s name. Seems like it rhymes with “Myrtle” or “Yertle the Turtle.” As the backup big man on the San Antonio Spurs, it might be fair to title the article “Jakob Poeltl the Turtle” but with last week’s article about a McConnell, I figured I had used up the ration of my turtle jokes for the year. So! Let’s move on to dinosaurs, and the guy who is dominating the “on” side of the On/Off Defensive Leaderboard on 538’s RAPTOR system. 

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Looking through the Basketball Reference page for Indiana Pacers guard T.J. McConnell, it tells me his nickname is “Floor General.” Is that even a nickname anymore? I thought that was a ranking in Space Force. It’s like showing up for your first day of work and your boss calls you “Coffeeboi” and for the next year you smile cheerfully while you pour the Folgers, always wondering what could have been had you brought donuts on your first day. Yet, T.J. “Floor General” McConnell is the kind of guy you’re not supposed to get excited about. He’s the kind of guy you plug in when you’re a month into the season and D’Angelo Russell is missing his 10th game due to bilateral leg weakness, which is absolutely contagious in Minnesota. So! Let’s dive in and see what the backup guard on the Pacers is going to do for your fantasy basketball team. 

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Coming of age in Minneapolis in the ’80s and ’90s, I never fully understood the west coast/east coast “feud” in the hip hop world. I mean, we had Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and Prince and Morris Day and things were just fabulous. I remember going to hard rock shows at The Quest in downtown Minneapolis, and they’d usher all us young’uns out the door by 10PMish, so the Prince-affiliated club could prep for it’s real bread and butter: the late-night weeknight dance parties. I’d walk out into the November frozen wastes that characterize the Warehouse District in Minneapolis, wearing a band t-shirt and jeans, and step past the most fabulously dressed people waiting for their turn to use The Quest. I’d hop in my car and be home and in bed before their nights even started. Now, what does any of this have to do with Ivica Zubac, the 7-foot Bosnian who plays backup center for the Clippers? Of course! It’s the vague similarity between my midwestern accent mangling “Zubac” into sounding something like “Tu-pac,” which makes me ruminate on how the west coast owns the narrative of hip hop and basketball. Tupac, the Lakers (also from Minneapolis, bee-tee-dubya), that guy who was drafted by the Utah Jazz and married Kim K for 72 days (Kris Humphries, also from Minneapolis, double bee-tee-dubya). ENYWHEY. I’m here trying to save your fantasy basketball team, so let’s see what I can do.

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Who’s started 75% of the games for the Boston Celtics, has the 7th best true shooting percentage in the NBA, and makes your spell checker lose its mind? Why, it’s Daniel Theis! No, not this or that! Theis! It’s like going to a renaissance fair (faire for you Elizabethans) and watching Americans with bad British accents try to speak with flair and gesticulations before they start gnawing down turkey legs and swigging flagons of mead. How many flagons of mead did you have, Brayden? Theis? Is that a pronoun or a direction or a counter? None of the above! It’s the hybrid center you might want to consider for your fantasy basketball team. Let’s jump into the stats and see if this Theis tanks or thanks your team.

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