Back when Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh were in town, long before the Vice City uniforms and the jersey-swap retirement tour, four iterations of dynastic “Heatles” teams dominated the league and our collective sports consciousness. It was a glorious time. For Miami. For the NBA. For every sports media outlet in existence. Since then, a tidal wave of viral events have swept over the NBA—LeBron James’ homecoming and championship in Cleveland chief among them.

The Heat enter the 2019-20 season with the most buzz since their four-year run of NBA Finals trips. Jimmy Butler has arrived, all of his brashness and baggage in tow. Tyler Herro is set to become the new white-baller-du-jour, though he may have some unexpected competition from Alex Caruso. And the #PointWinslow movement is on the verge of boiling over its sweat and blood-stained cauldron. Let the new post-Bron, post-Wade, cautiously optimistic about Jimmy Butler era of Miami Heat basketball begin.

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I now understand why this forward position is named power, as it is a microcosm of society at large. There is the 1% vs everyone else. For fantasy basketball, there is Giannis Antetokounmpo vs womp womp womp. While all the other positions have multiple players who could legitimately vie for the top spot, everyone bends the knee to G. This is 1985-1989 Mike Tyson-esque domination. Could a Buster Douglas come out of nowhere? Sure, as black swan events can never be discounted, but outside of injury to G, that scenario is highly unlikely.

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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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Rankings are helpful because they give a general view of the landscape. For fantasy basketball, though, drafting strictly off of a rankings list is not ideal. Think of it like this. I rank my articles of clothing as such: 1) OOFOS slippers 2) Razzball Hoops Tshirt from Rotowear 3) Basketball shorts 4) Blue tshirt 5) Boxers 6) Socks. Now, say I’m in a two-person draft with my wife. Her number one pick is boxers. She definitely reached and didn’t get value on that pick, but whatever. I’m going OOFOS slippers. If you have a pair, then you know what I’m talking about. I don’t mind free balling and walking around naked isn’t a problem for me. Since it’s a snake draft, I’m adhering to my rankings and selecting the Rotowear shirt. With her second pick, the wife doubles down and selects the basketball shorts then goes with socks. What was she thinking? Now, here is where the conundrum happens. If I go with my rankings, the blue tshirt is my next pick, but I selected the Rotowear shirt earlier. That wouldn’t make sense to grab another shirt. But what if I was sick and needed to double layer? Then doubling down on the shirts would be a fantastic idea. In fantasy basketball, there are so many avenues to conquering the puzzle. Some punt a category or categories, others go balanced, while a few double and triple down on a category. As a result, it’s good to know where players are ranked and drafted, but it’s more important to know which players produce in certain categories. Below are lists of players who provide certain stats.

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Are you a competitive fantasy basketball player? Perhaps you’re looking to dive into the Yahoo Pro Leagues, or throw your name into one of the many cash leagues advertised on Reddit or Rotoworld? Maybe you’re in a very competitive league with your friends and need to win for pride? 

Having played fantasy basketball for many years (since Elton Brand couldn’t buy alchohol), I’ve accumulated knowledge that I wish someone imparted upon me. Below are nine concepts that provide a road map for fantasy basketball success. Hopefully, I can save you from making some of the mistakes that I made.

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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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Let’s be honest here, the Oklahoma City Thunder (OKC) will be a shell of their former selves, as they no longer are projected to be in playoff contention. With Brodie and PGIII both gone, the rebuilding process is officially underway in OKC. However, they are not without talent, as CP3 looks to replace Russell Westbrook and will have full reign as the leader of their offense. We are not sure how long he will continue to be in OKC for, as they look to trade him at some point this season, but until they do CP3 should lead them to some wins. It doesn’t hurt that Danilo Gallinari was also acquired in the PG3 trade. Overall, Oklahoma City won’t be in playoff contention, but should be better than some of the other bottom feeders in the Western Conference.

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Who came up with the names for the forward positions? There’s small and power. Why didn’t they go small and big? Or weak and power? Maybe there was a power struggle within the name manufacturing plant and small/power was the compromise to appease all parties. Politics, man. Anyways, you will find some of the best two-way players in the league here. There are also 3-and-D, 3-without-the-D, and D-without-the-3 players. Enjoy!

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The defending champs are back for yet another year of dominance…Oh wait, they didn’t win last year. Sorry, I’m so used to it that in my mind they’re still somehow the champs, even though it’s really my precious Raptors. The NBA championship is up for grabs again, and for the first time in awhile the Warriors are not the heavy favorite to win the title. Some are even saying they may struggle to make the playoffs. Key pieces in Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala left town, and Klay Thompson will be out for the majority of the season, leaving gaping holes in their starting line up. Newcomers D’Angelo Russell and Willie Cauley-Stein will look to step into the new system and fill some giant shoes. If Steph Curry can stay healthy, I expect the Warriors to be contenders yet again.

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