If you’re a fan of a bad team, you know to expect a spell of the ol’ Lottery Fever that begins every Spring with the race to the crappiest record, continues with the actual Lottery drawing in May and real-deal NBA draft in June, and finally dissipates after fantasy drafts in the fall and the start of actual basketball, when actual orange spheres go through actual steel rims.

Your real-life, garbage-juice-slathered team doesn’t play in Minnesota? Vindication can be yours by reaching for Karl-Anthony Towns as early as possible. Are you a Knicks fan who has already started using “Kristaps” as a euphemism for what happens after you just had some bad Taco Bell? Go get yourself some D’Angelo Russellwho cares if he’s gonna stink as a pro. And everyone who grabbed Stanley Johnson felt real good, regardless of what human team they follow.

But hold it right there when it comes to Willie Cauley-Stein, who should always have something before his name.  As in “Bad Bad” Willie Cauley-Stein, or “Wild” Willie Cauley-Stein, or “Old Man” Willie Cauley-Stein.

From a Boards-N-Blocks perspective, I like him for all the reasons everyone else likes him: He’s a 7-footer, he’s athletic, he runs the floor, George Karl said that’s he’s going to start, and he fulfills every fantasy in a would-be porno directed by Jay Bilas (Upside! Yes, baby! Wingpsan! Oh, yeah!).

But he plays next to DeMarcus Cousins, and if you play next to Cousins, you ain’t getting any rebounds.

Last year, Cousins averaged 12.7 rpg, and the second-place dude, the since-departed Jason Thompson, only managed half that – 6.5 rpg. The year before that? Roughly the same numbers. Now, that could have something to do with the fact that we’re talking about Jason Thompson, but it could also mean that Cousins gets anything and everything that comes off the glass.

That being said, things would be quite different if, say, Cousins weren’t there. If, for example, Cousins implodes and goes over the league technical limit and turns into Godzilla and destroys everything in the arena that should always be called Arco and gets suspended.

Or if, I dunno, he clashes with Karl. But what are the odds of that happening? It’s not like that’s happened with any other players yet. Oh, wait. It has? Nevermind.

I say those in deeper leagues could roster “Slick” Willie and see how he starts out. If you’re sitting in shallower water and a little dinged up in the frontcourt, look elsewhere for now.

Here’s some dudes I’ll be tracking during the first week of the season:

Nerlens Noel – I’m in 635 leagues, and I was lucky enough to nab Stephen Curry in two of them. But I had no Noel, so I decided to package Curry with Marc Gasol to get Noel and Russell Westbrook. Bad trade? Maybe. But to me it was worth it to have the chance to deploy Noel, who should be a regular visitor to our newly minted Golden Zone of 15-20 (rebounds plus blocked shots) and will have the green light all year to take the mid-range jumper and work toward his dream of becoming the next Kevin Garnett.

Roy Hibbert – Will he shrink, shine or shart in his pants the first time Kobe Bryant screams at him for dogging it? The fear factor of that indignity, plus the idea of failing big-time in front of the Hollywood elite, plus the plethora of D’Angelo Russell bricks resulting in offensive rebounds, could return Big Roy to prominence. It will be fun to watch either way.

Hassan Whiteside – There’s been a lot of chatter that this guy’s 2014-2015 was a mirage. Entirely possible that he falls apart faster than a second Madonna-Sean Penn marriage but I betcha you can snag him at a slightly discounted price right, and I say it’s totally worth the risk.

Gorgui Dieng – Can’t really figure out why he doesn’t start. He’s always stepped in and rocked it anytime Nikola Pekovic has gone down with an injury (which is pretty much every year). Of course, KAT is the King of Minny now, which would turn Dieng’s fantasy value to dung if not for the fact that Sam Mitchell said he can shoot the three ball this year. Noice.

Rudy Gobert – On the flip side, Rudy Gobert Mania continues to run wild in fantasy land. While I refuse to heed my own advice in our Razzball Experts’ League (sorry, J.B.) – mainly because it’s a dynasty league – I implore you to sell high in one-year leagues, especially if he blows up early on.

Andre Drummond – With a starting lineup that boasts three big-time waiver wire drop-adds from the end of last season (Ersan Ilyasova, Marcus Morris and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope) I’m not really feeling the Pistons this year. But I get it, with Stan Johnson waiting in the wings to go with Bobby Jackson and Drummond, it’s all about next year as far as wins and losses. Which means this year it’s all about the numbers. Could be a beast of a season for Mr. Drummond.

DeAndre Jordan – If you haven’t read this fantastic piece about how Jordan burned the Mavs and returned to the Clips, do so now and start thinking about who could play who in the cast of the movie that’s made about the whole debacle (Wood Harris as Jordan? Maybe Denzel as Doc? Justin Timberlake as Chandler Parsons? Quentin Tarrantino as Mark Cuban?). And once you’re done with that, think about how you can pry the B-N-B Champ away from that sucka in your favorite fantasy league.

Bismack Biyombo – The Deep League Special. After years as late, late, late round fodder in 20-deep leagues, the great Biyombo could set up nice now that he’s been freed from Charlotte and is backup to My Name Is Jonas Valanciunas in Toronto.

Walter Tavares – The Keeper League Special. He might not even play much this year, especially early on, but Gobert Jr. has the chance to do something special every single time he steps on the floor. He was drafted 43rd (!!) overall in 2014 but spent the year playing for CB Gran Canaria in Spain. Now he’s back, all 7-foot-3 of him. Yeah, he’s raw, but when you have a 7-9 wingspan, coaches tend to have a lot of patience. Did you know? He’s the first Cape Verdean-born player in the NBA. Did you care? I didn’t think so.

  1. David says:
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    JB, love your blog! This will be my go-to fantasy basketball site throughout the entire season!

    H2H, 10 Team, 9CAT, 6th Pick – Snake Draft
    Lebron James
    John Wall
    Deandre Jordan
    Hassan Whiteside
    Derrick Favor
    Andrew Wiggins
    Monta Ellis
    Ty Lawson
    Otto Potter Jr.
    Alfraouq-Aminu
    Jahill Okafour
    Ersan Illyasova
    Emanuel Mudiay

    The strategy going into the draft was to punt FT% and 3PTs, tried to build a team focused on PTS, REB, FG%, STLS, AST and BLKS. Some notable FAs who are available include: John Henson, Ian Mahimi, Rodney Hood, TJ Warren, Andrew Bogut, JLIN, Tristan Thompson, Mo Williams…which I think would all fit my build.

    Any suggestions and recommendations on how I could improve this team? Thanks for any feed backs!

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @David: I’m not loving any of those names, but you could always deal. Maybe try a two-for-one deal where you trade somebody who’s a hot name, like Lawson, and get two guys who fit your build. And since you’re punting 3PT you can make Ersan the drop.

  2. Bro Jackson says:
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    FREE CLINT CAPELA!!!!!!

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Bro Jackson: Per 36 he averaged 14 boards and almost 4 blocks. Plus, Dwight.

      • Bro Jackson says:
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        @Pete Nice: Plus Dwight’s Knees.

  3. sebapargue says:
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    Hey, love the site, although I dont agree with many rankings this years, still, I’m on a big money league, (14 teams-9cat -h2h) and would like some feed back, I had the 5th pick:

    Round Pick Player Position
    1. (5) Kevin Durant SF,PF
    2. (24) Rudy Gobert C
    3. (33) Draymond Green SF,PF
    4. (52) Marcin Gortat C
    5. (61) Kyrie Irving PG,SG
    6. (80) Terrence Jones SF,PF
    7. (89) Markieff Morris PF,C
    8. (108) Elfrid Payton PG
    9. (117) Deron Williams PG
    10. (136) Emmanuel Mudiay PG
    11. (145) Aaron Gordon SF,PF
    12. (164) Rodney Hood SG,SF
    13. (173) Kristaps Porzingis PF

    the wire is crap, and players I should target via trades??? thanks in advance.

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @sebapargue: Looks like you’re strong at PG but weak at PF/C. Maybe you could package Payton and one of Gordon/Hood/Porzingis for Noel or NikVuc.

  4. jake says:
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    Any late starting leagues need a manager?

  5. SheriffMcRawDawg says:
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    What up Pete?! What do you think of this squad – 20 team h2h 9-cat, 5th pick:

    PG – CP3 (1, #5)
    SG – Hill (4, #76)
    G – Jack (6, #116)
    SF – Aaron Gordon (7, #125)
    PF – Favors (2, #36)
    F – Leonard (5, #85)
    C – Gortat (3, #45)
    Util – Nitro Robinson (11, #205)
    Util – Myles Turner (8, #156)
    Bn – Wroten (10, #196)
    Bn – Waiters (9, #165)
    Bn – Capela (12, #236)

    Thought I needed a SF – hence Waiters, but Gordon just got that eligbility today so I’m pumped. Would you drop waiters for Bazemore or lamb?

    Let me know your thoughts man. Looking forward to this season!

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @SheriffMcRawDawg: Yo yo yo man! Did I tell you there’s a guy at my pool who has a tattoo that says “raw dawg” across his gut? Is that you? Do you also have a tat that says “**** THE WORLD” on your shoulder? If so, hi!

      Anyway, back to business, I would hold on to Waiters over those guys but I’m more concerned about Wroten. Not only is he out, but he’s out on the Sixers, who do not want to win and will hold him out as long as possible. And when he comes back, will he have the explosiveness necessary to be of any use? He’s the guy I’d look to dump unless you have IR.

      Nice team otherwise!

      • SheriffMcRawDawg says:
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        @Pete Nice: haha I feel like you might have mentioned that last year – and no, I’m still working on the THUG LIFE neck sleeve…

        no IR so I mgiht be shipping him off. who do you like out of bazemore, lamb, stephenson, snell or stash shump or norris cole maybe?

        • Pete Nice

          Pete Nice says:
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          @SheriffMcRawDawg: oh ok nice. Send a pic!

          maybe give Bazemore a try until he gets shipped back to the pine.

  6. Mr.DCHO says:
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    Pete, nice writeup!
    what about myles turner? I know JB has him pretty high. haha..
    what are your thoughts on my team this year?
    14h2h, From the looks of it, punting ft% and 3s..let me know what you think!

    reggie jackson
    monte ellis
    ty lawson
    ricky rubio
    aaron afflalo
    alec burke
    Gerald Green
    aaraon gordon
    demarcus cousin
    deandre jordan
    andre drummond
    enes kanter
    myles turner

    thank you

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Mr.DCHO: You could use another elite guard (if you count Lawson) as one. Try and deal Ellis and Cousins for a monster like Harden, Westbrook or Curry.

      As for Turner, he seems a little soft and a little small. I was reading this write-up on him on a Pacers blog that picked his game apart and ended up comparing him to…Raef LaFrentz.

      But I do like that he can shoot, or so says Larry Bird.

  7. Xsaliden says:
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    My Favorite names for Willie Cauley Stein so far have been Free Willie Whale, Big Willie and of course Grounds Keeper Willie!!!! especially with the Kings being as dysfunctional as Springfield School.

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Xsaliden: I feel like he could be the culprit in a Scooby Doo episode. “Old Man Willie Cauley-Stein!” …..”and I would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for those meddling fans”

  8. Lasandro says:
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    I like I like! I knew that Jay bilas was a perve..

    Meanwhile, please explain why us Gobert owners should sell high this year? I own him in a 14-cat (incl all brd stats and %s) roto. Who would you sell him high for, for example? Cheers

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Lasandro: Don’t get me wrong. I love Gobert. I’d own him everywhere if I could. But I feel like the love is kind of out-of-whack with where he’s at. He’s a potential star, not yet a proven one. If I could get an established, proven star in return for his potential – which may be more than a year from being reached? – I’d do it. That’s all I’m saying. Definitely a risk.

  9. Fella says:
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    Hey Pete! 12 teamer, 9 cat. What’s my identity? How’s this look? What do I need? Who should I package?

    Gordon Hayward
    Bradley Beal
    Danny Green
    Kevin Martin
    Jordan Clarkson
    Jarrett Jack
    P.J. Tucker
    Draymond Green
    Anthony Davis
    Marcin Gortat
    Tim Duncan
    Myles Turner

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Fella: I don’t see many holes. A lot of multi-cat action. I would just roll with it to start out. One big move might be package Green and Hayward (or Green and anyone) for something elite.

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