If you think there was a changing of the guard in Cleveland, then you forgot about the Spurs’ offseason. This is a team whose slogan should be “out with the old, in with the new.” Losing one of the best players in the NBA is hard, but gaining youth while maintaining veteran leadership is impressive. What makes the Popovich era so great in San Antonio is his ability to rebuild while contending and, while last year was a down year, I think things pick up quite nicely for the Spurs in 2018-19. Now for the fantasy spin on this years Spurs squad.

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Times are a changin’. Out with the old, in with the new. All good things must come to an end. Any more of those and the cliche police are going to have me cuffed and begging for forgiveness. Well, the biggest change is by far and away the departure of LeBron to Hollywood. Last time this happened the city burned his jersey, but now they reminisce about the most impressive feat of his storied career, beating the Warriors in the midst of their rule as a dynasty. The perennial Eastern Conference powerhouse will now be fighting for a playoff spot, but that doesn’t mean the fantasy gods left us hanging. When pieces move, value arises, and that is what we have in The Land.

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I’ve been on hiatus, probably since about a month to go in the 2017-18 season. I blame myself, and my schedule, for not being loyal to my readers. My league had ended, as I ranted about in my last piece, but yours probably didn’t. For those looking for the league winners I had been providing throughout the season, I apologize. For those who are reading my column for the first time ever here in July, I applaud and welcome you to Beyond the Glory.

For those who don’t remember, I was literally two game 7 wins away from being the only Razzball writer to have the Rockets and Celtics in the finals, and then I got neither. I would have basked in that glory for at least a year, but being bold only brought me close to brilliance. Either way, I am back and will be knocking out more content in the offseason, before going back to weekly columns for your reading pleasure.

Oh, the offseason. The start of the NBA season is many months away, yet something inside of me is far too excited for fantasy basketball. Call it what you will. We are the midst of the baseball season and fantasy football prep has begun in earnest. With all of this going on, though, I come home at night and turn on the NBA Summer League. I don’t know why, but my remote leads me there. The only reasonable explanation is that I am pumped for the new draft class. I am pumped to see free agent signings and I am pumped for LeB… I promised myself I wouldn’t go there. I am going to hold strong, because in truth, I’m not excited for anything but basketball, fantasy basketball, and Kevin Knox (more on him later) for 2018-19. So let’s get into the recent draftees and who they may compare to this upcoming year, giving us some pre-pre-preseason sleepers.

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This might be more of a somber lead for your fantasy liking, but someone has to speak truths. So here I am taking the responsibility upon myself to teach lessons to those who play in Head-to-Head leagues and find themselves wondering, why? Think about it. As the level of NBA entertainment rises, the fantasy-friendly confines begin to fall. Excitement levels reach all-time highs, along with your heart rate, when Karl-Anthony Towns only has 2 games this week. There are a few schools of thought for teams around the NBA. Either said team is so far ahead, they rest their starters, team is so far behind, they play their youngsters, or team is right in the middle and do things just right. We tried something new in my league this year. We started the playoffs at the end of February. Sounds crazy right? We tried to avoid the problem sweeping the fantasy NBA realm, and that is the art of navigating the sit. H2H, distant cousin of H2O, is so very common, but so very flawed, and you’ll find yourself dropping Taj Gibson because he doesn’t play for another 6 days. Maybe you drop Bobby Portis who’s hot as hell because you need more games that week than your opponent. Then your friends brother picks him up, and you just lost a friend. It’s a complete numbers game and one hell of a slippery slope. So, I’m not going to write a thesis on how to fix this. That’s for another time, but I will  hand you some hot pickups to help you get through the end of the year and weather the storm.

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Certain things in sports are sexier than others. It’s as simple as that. While Ichiro strives to make singles sexy, the saying goes, “chicks dig the longball.” In hockey, Barry Melrose’s mullet screams sexy over Ovechkin’s buzz cut.  Big hits catch the eye before a 3 yard run up the middle. Lastly, slam dunks will always be more exciting than a mid-range jumper. Larry Nance finds himself in quite the unique situation. How many times since the inception of the dunk contest, has a contestant debuted their fresh new jersey on that stage? I’ll admit, I didn’t look into this at all, but man would it make a great HQ trivia question. In comes Larry Nance, I assume junior, or maybe even the third, traded from the Lakers and now sporting a Cavs uni. The same Cavs that are his favorite team, the team in which his father, Larry Nance, probably the first, played for and won the slam dunk contest with. The same Larry Nance whose number is hanging in the rafters at the Q. If that doesn’t give you goosebumps, I don’t know what will. As Kevin Costner said, it’s hard not to get emotional about baseball. Wrong sport, yes, but the man just wanted to have a damn catch with his dad, and now he can!

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The name Reggie brings a few players to mind. Reggie Jackson, Reggie Smith, and of course, Reggie Miller. That awkward, yet smooth, combo of grace and precision known as a shooting form. Reggie Miller is one of the greatest shooters of all time. 6’ 7″ shooting guard, able to rise up (barely) above the smaller defender to snap the net with a perfect rotation. Anyone who averaged 1.8 3PM for their career before 2008 is basically a champion, especially considering that his 4.7 attempts per game for his career is a joke these days. So what’s in a name? The name Reggie.

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I’m making a petition, right here, right now! But let my digress for a second. William Henry Parker. Sounds like he may have been an old war hero or 1904 Presidential candidate who you learned about in 8th grade history class. Well, that’s not the case here. William Henry Parker was an NBA player best known for his nickname and his hair from NBA 2K11, which looks like cornrows from one angle and an Afro from another angle. I’m talking about Smush Parker, the enigmatic point guard who played for six teams in merely five seasons in the NBA. The best two coming with the Los Angeles Lakers when he played 82 games in each season. What does this have to do with anything? My point is that nicknames like that don’t happen overnight. Nicknames are earned and stick for numerous reasons. Today, I am proposing a nickname for Tyrone Wallace.

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What did I do on New Years? I took a nap, went to the mall, bought some slacks, and binge-watched some Game of Thrones. Now this may not seem like normal behavior for me, considering almost all of my posts are humor based or geared towards Will Ferrell, but there is a darker side of me, one that enjoys the violent entertainment of Game of Thrones. So maybe 2018 will introduce a new side of me, to you my precious readers, because as you may know, winter is here, but not until summer 2019. Make some sense outta that one.

Major theme of Game of Thrones, for those of you who don’t have the courage to watch the greatest show on turf, dead people. Someone who has been dead to many for weeks now is Dewayne Dedmon.

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If this was a contest, I’d give everyone three guesses to figure out the title of today’s post. One hint, I will be briefly discussing two players. That’s your hint. Does it help? I’ll give you a few more seconds in the spirit of the holidays. Something about the holiday season makes one feel quite generous. As a side note, nothing brings more holiday cheer than a good fantasy trade. Take, for example, this coming Sunday. There are no NBA games. Like the All-Star break, there is no better time to make a trade than when there are no games being played. What you know until now is how the player has performed, and that’s it. No wondering what might happen in today’s matinee, or the nightcap. Make a trade this Sunday, filled with holiday spirit and warmth. Ok, enough stalling. Trey Lyles and Yogi Ferrell are this weeks Beyond the Glory contestants. Get it? Three Bears, Trey Yogi(s). Yes, it’s weak, but I have to at least try and be creative. The point is, these two guys may be slipping under the radar.

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I’ve always thought that Tyler, the Creator, was an interesting dude. Successful for reasons we may not understand. Funky styles, outlandish videos that only make sense while inebriated, using words and facial expressions that would get us all slapped by our mothers. The Tyler you should be picking up for you fantasy team is a little different, or a lot different, but the same in more ways than you may think… Actually, the more I think about it, the two of them really have nothing in common other than the fact that we don’t understand their monetary successes, but Tyler Johnson is missing a ton of teeth and refuses to get them replaced, something Tyler, the Creator, would probably endorse.

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