It pains me to write this, but I was never a big Kobe Bryant fan during his playing days, and I regret that fact, immensely. I never had him on my fantasy team. I never watched his games late at night on the east coast. I never applauded his championships and didn’t care much about his 60-point performance to end his career. With that said, his passing hit me much harder than I thought it would, and that was before I found out his daughter was alongside him, which made it all the more tragic. I have come to appreciate him more since his retirement. His business acumen, his desire to succeed in every facet of life, and his willingness to mentor young NBA players and aspiring professionals alike, is inspirational. Those are the types of things that I respect, as a professional and as a parent.

It occurred to me that Kobe Bryant had that Tom Brady effect on me. While my Knicks fandom was not directly affected by the Lakers’ success, I felt as if Kobe had the same suffocating hold on me as Tom Brady and the Patriots have on my Jets fandom. It turns out I was likely envious of the success my Lakers friends were witnessing, while I sat rooting for dysfunction.

Well, over the last few days I have taken the time to watch that final 60-point performance, along with tons of amazing highlights I have seen over the years, and I enjoyed every second of it. The culmination of the career of the immensely talented and competitive specimen that was Kobe Bryant came to a head on a historic night. I have taken the time to understand the competitiveness that drove Kobe, and I wish I had that Mamba Mentality on a daily basis. Seeing that Kobe’s passing has had such an impact nationally speaks volumes to who he was as a player, an icon, and a role model for so many, and he will be sorely missed.

Every year the trade deadline comes and goes. This year there are some intriguing names that could be hitting the market. The next man up mentality is true in all facets of the game, and trades open many opportunities for players to seize. Here are a few deep stashes for the upcoming trade deadline.

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It’s amazing how time can cause us to forget some of the greatest talents in our midst. The NBA, like any other sport, is a “what have you done for me lately” league. We sometimes forget that a potentially transcendent talent has yet to make his NBA debut. All the summer hype slowly disappears when the player, who’s talents surpass narrative, has been missing in action. The high school hype, the college hype, the draft hype, and injury hype, all wither away into the abyss, before sprouting it’s head once more, and injecting something special into our veins. The NBA needs a savior, in a dark time when stars are injured and ratings drop. The savior I am speaking of is not Zion Williamson, shocker, I know. I am talking about Michael Porter Jr.

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While the NFL dominates Thanksgiving Day, there is nothing better than taking the opportunity to reflect upon the early part of the fantasy basketball season. There have been a ton of surprises, some of which have been mentioned in these articles, and at a certain point, the hot starts become obvious sell highs. If nothing else, Thanksgiving is a time to make a trade. That’s right, for those who are devoted to fantasy basketball, there are two times a year when trading is universally craved, days when there is no basketball to watch. Those days are this coming Thursday and the All Star break. These are my favorite times to hit the trade market. Watch the full slate of games on Wednesday night, and take your early season surprise, say thank you and send them packing. You’ll be thanking on Thursday. It’s only fitting.

Here are some sell high, buy low, and waiver wire pickups to consider this week, because even in the time of giving thanks, we always live Beyond the Glory.

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It’s not often that we get to honor our veterans on a public platform. Some people spend Veterans Day with their grandfather who fought in WWII, some people watch Saving Private Ryan, some people play Call of Duty. Whichever way you honor our veterans is up to you, but for me, Razzball is that platform. So, in honor of Veterans Day, Beyond the Glory is going all vets for this weeks waiver wire suggestions.

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Early on in the season, it is hard to decipher who is going to make a long-term impact, and who is going to be a flash in the pan. The best bang for your buck is usually guards at this stage of the season. A guard who sticks in the rotation early is likely going to make a long-term contribution. Here are a few players who are worth taking a shot on who may not be on the radar for the rest of your league-mates.

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The Clippers are going to be good this year. There’s no other way to sugar coat it. I spoke about them here a little bit, and I believe that the length of this team is going to be a force to be reckoned with. This is a team that has been successful in the past, with one of the keys being the shooting from JJ Reddick. Well, JJ is in New Orleans after two years in Philadelphia, but the point is, there is a new JJ in LA, and his name is Landry Shamet. Now, I went out of the way to single Shamet out in my team preview, but here I will take a deeper look into what he can do for your fantasy team.

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Year in and year out the Spurs find a way to stay relevant. The Kawhi Leonard trade possibly saved the franchise, as he left Toronto after one championship winning season for the sunnier pastures of LA. By getting back a star in DeMar DeRozan and a budding stalwart in Jakob Poeltl, the Spurs are in good hands moving forward and didn’t completely lose out. The key with this team is depth, as they have it through all five positions, with many versatile players who will wear many different hats.

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Not very often do you see a team that surprised the nation as the 5th seed in the West, then do a nearly complete re-haul of their roster. I liken this team to the Spurs who I wrote about earlier this week, a deep team without the newly coveted “duo”, that will play hard and compete. The Jazz have a new stud point guard in Mike Conley who is back to playing for a winning team and is a perfect fit for Jazz Basketball, a new knockdown shooter in Bojan Bogdanovic, and forward depth in Jeff Green and Ed Davis. This is going to be a gritty team that will be playing meaningful basketball deep in the season. Bold prediction: The Jazz will have three top 25 fantasy players and win their first round playoff match up in 2019.

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The Rockets seem to find themselves knocking on the door in the West often, but not doing enough to get over the hump. Sometimes you need a little change. Russell Westbrook is that change. The Rockets, who already play at a high pace, will now be moving up and down the court at record speeds. Westbrook is the engine that could and may vault the Rockets to the Finals. Yes, I have been touting this for two years now, but I think this was the move to get them there. Let’s take a closer look through a fantasy lens.

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After being in the playoff hunt for a nice portion of the season, the final stretch saw the Magic pull ahead and make a playoff appearance. As a result, the Hornets slowly shifted to the youth movement, seeing their young core get meaningful minutes. Franchise cornerstone, Kemba Walker, moved on to greener pastures, literally and figuratively, and will be running the show in Boston. Jeremy Lamb will assume an important role for the revamped Pacers. The Hornets will be infused with youth and will likely be bottom feeders, but the fantasy landscape is bright.

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