The concept of white noise is an interesting one. Using a common, almost subconscious, noise to block out the surrounding sound that may be disturbing. It can be used in many scenarios. My son needs a white noise machine to sleep soundly at night. I use it to pick up players that people forget about. How about a game of rapid fire? Name the Rockets point guard. Chris Paul is correct. Name the Thunder point guard. Russell Westbrook is correct. Name the Spurs point guard. Tony Parker is… wrong. So many people forget that Tony Parker is in Charlotte. You think I am joking. Ask the average fan, or the fantasy only basketball enthusiast and they may not realize that Derrick White has snuck into the starting role, returning after getting hurt prior to the season. Parker has been so irrelevant for fantasy purposes over the last few years that he is the forgotten man. Well he is now wearing Buzz City jerseys and backing up the Texas ranger that is Kemba Walker, and Derrick White is playing the Tony Parker role for Gregg Popovich.

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Preseason popularity usually leads to a certain trend following drafts. Roster drops. The highly-touted buzz players who don’t pan out in the first few weeks of the season end up being on the waiver wire earlier than expected. This is when we pounce, Razzball Nation. Players like Cedi Osman, Jonathan Isaac, and Pascal Siakam have been dropped everywhere. Today I will focus on someone who likely is sitting on the wire in your league but should be added immediately. Mitchell Robinson. That’s right, if Robinson is available in your league, stop reading this and go pick him up. Oh, you’re not sure? Stop reading and go check your waiver wire. Yes, if he is there go ahead and pick him up. I will wait… Ok, you’re back. Now let me explain why.

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Gilligan’s Island. A famous show from the 1960’s that most people remember for it’s quirky lines and personalities. Seven passengers on a tour boat end up stranded on an island and life never would be the same. A theme song you may know without even realizing it, due to it’s infectious nature. Fast forward to the 2018 Clippers. A team of misfits and outcasts. Marcin Gortat was ousted from Washington by John Wall. Tobias Harris, stud in his own right but known as the player who came over for Blake Griffin. The slew of players sent over from Houston for Chris Paul, including Montrezl Harrell and Patrick Beverley. Journeyman Lou Williams is still in LA. Avery Bradley is playing for a contract and joined Harris in the exodus from Detroit last season. The longest tenured player on this team is Danilo Gallinari, when he’s on the floor. This is a team that has seen tremendous turnover the last few season. Heck, Doc Rivers even threw his own son out of town. What is there to be excited about here on LA Island? Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

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With the season minutes away, and drafts likely complete, there is still time to dig deep for those watch list wonders and sneaky waiver pickups. Whether these players are in a new scheme, new location, getting more minutes or just primed for a breakout, there are potential underrated stars to be had on every team. I highlighted the Eastern Conference earlier in the week, now we’ll tackle the Western Conference and look for players who can be had for cheap and can make an impact sooner than later.

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With the season a week away, and drafts in full swing, now is the perfect time to dig deep for those late round fliers. Once you get past round 9, I believe the best strategy is to pick players who may pop in a moments notice. Whether they are in a new scheme, new location, getting more minutes or just primed for a breakout, there are potential underrated stars to be had on every team. I will go team by team in each conference and highlight a player who can be had for cheap and can make an impact sooner rather than later.

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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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