I have a Scottish co-worker who started following the NBA in 2003.  Heading into the 2003-04 season, the Lakers and Spurs had monopolized the Larry O’Brien trophy for five consecutive seasons, but the upstart Timberwolves looked poised to challenge their dominance.  Led by MVP Kevin Garnett, Sam Cassell, and Latrell “I have a family to feed” Sprewell, the Minnesota Timberwolves posted 58 wins and made a deep playoff run.  My co-worker became one of the team’s newest followers, and although the Lakers ousted the Wolves in the Western Conference Finals, his loyalty was sealed (wait for the turn…).

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You know, there was a time before SpaceX and Blue Origin, when the only Rockets I cared about was old and busted Clyde Drexler, old and busted Charles Barkley, and of course my personal favorite player of all-time, Hakeem Olajuwon. Who, by the time the other guys showed up, was also sorta old and sorta busted. And while this little soirée into sentimentality has definitely aged me, I guess it certainly shows how far the NBA game has come along, and in most regards, how the Rockets have evolved into the team they are today. Not without bumps and heartbreak mind you, but the Rockets team we have today certainly has a lot of fluidity to it, and that’s not to describe James Harden’s weekend at the club.  A mix of new and old, unspectacular and well, average spectacularness (totally a word), this team has a lot of ifs, and’s, and buts, yet still could be an interesting amalgamation of opportunity and measured success.  How that comes about is the real question I suppose, and this being a team preview, we’ll at least attempt to answer it…

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The Jazz had an absolutely fantastic regular season last year, finishing first in the West with a record of 52 and 20. However come playoff time, they were exposed hard by Terrence Man and the small ball Clippers. You would expect a thunderous offseason of sweeping changes but no, the Jazz’s offseason was the quietest across the league. Only signing buy-low players such as Rudy Gay and Eric Paschall while re-signing Mike Conley. The Jazz are poised for another strong regular season, with the same flaws that haunted them in the playoffs. 

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Since LeBron James fled for La La Land in 2018, the Cavaliers have accumulated an overall record of 60-159 (.274).  Nonetheless, there is hope on the horizon if you practice good expectation management.  Despite the ongoing Kevin Love saga, the Cavs head into the 2021-22 season with an intriguing frontcourt that now features Lauri Markannen and Evan Mobley along with defensive anchor Jarrett Allen.  The guard positions are securely in the hands of Darius Garland and Collin Sexton, who raised their respective fantasy profiles last season.  They now have a competent backup point guard in Ricky Rubio, who should have at least one offensively-capable frontcourt option when matching up against other second units.  Let’s take a look at Cavs to target and avoid for your fantasy draft.

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This is the time of year when I’m curled up in a dark cave, with a sliver of light protruding from a tiny hole in the wall that illuminates the ground like the scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark, marking the wall with chalk one day at a time. Water is dripping down….plop…..plop…..plop. I count them like a shepherd counts his sheep, writhing in anticipation for the start of this new hoops season. Each iteration of the Top X brings us one week closer to glory. Last week, I wrote up the Top 10. This week, I’m going into players 11 to 25. 

THIS IS NOT A RANKINGS PIECE. The order I have players is based on my projections and overall value for category leagues. Where I’d draft a player depends on ADP, categorical need, and roster construction. Keep that in mind when going through all my Top X pieces and when choosing who to draft in your leagues. The FG and FT numbers are weighted for volume.

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It’s baaaaaaaaack. I know the wait was excrutiating. The eye fatigue from those countless hours staring into the digital dojo. The clicks. Oh, the millions of clicks on the mouse button that turned you into a one-armed Popeye. What was it all for?… <in a voice that echoes and decreases in volume each time the phrase is repeated> What was it all for?…What was it all for?….

The chance to be the best of the best of course!

I’ve been told that the RCLs are populated with some of the sharpest fantasy basketball minds in the land. Do you have what it takes?

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After watching a lot of unnecessary tape of prospects for the draft, patiently waiting for all the free agency and trade dominoes to fall, reflecting upon the performance review of last year’s projections and meditating exactly 14.5 minutes per day while sitting on the crane pose from the original Karate Kid, I am honored and ready to present you my top 155 projections for roto for the 2021-22 season!

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Let’s be honest, the Detroit Pistons are currently a bit of a dumpster fire. But even dumpster fires can be beautiful. Ask anyone involved with the production of “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.” Side note: That only came out a year ago. I know, it feels like five years ago. We’ll never survive this, but I digress.

There’s actually plenty to like if you’re a Pistons fan for the long term with newcomer Cade Cunningham along with returning players Killian Hayes, Saddiq Bey, and Isaiah Stewart. They are going to have their growing pains no doubt, but they should be competitive in most games. They’ve been relatively competitive ever since Dwayne Casey was named head coach in 2018 and the front office has done a decent job giving the roster some sort of direction.

But how long will it take this young core to gel? Will they be interested in winning all season or turn on the tank in the end? And where the hell does Trey Lyles fit into all this?!?!

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What are your Netflix recommendations like, dear Reader? According to Netflix’s almighty AI, I’m a 99% match for a good number of action films, (shocking I know). It appears that I’m an inveterate sucker for Hollywood’s IV drip of characteristic stylized violence, where everything and nothing is at stake all at once. The kind of morality plays where revenge and a particularly violent idea of justice come inseparably together. But I’m especially moved by a meta element in these stake-less physical dramas, something the algorithm isn’t picking up on, I hope. The more I can tell the minds behind the film want me to know, that they know, this is all dopamine mush in the mouth of a baby the more I’m pleased. I’m looking for a kind of philosophical match with the director. Something that says, “Yes, this is almost certainly a meaningless distraction on our collective journey to some hopefully plush after, but at least this haze of aesthetic violence offers some neon lights and choreographed blood splatter.” Which is a long-winded way of saying, as artists, writers, thinkers, maybe even as fantasy basketball players, we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously.

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