“Cry ‘Havoc!’, and let slip the dogs of war”

The NBA draft season is upon us and it’s good to see you once again, metaphorically speaking, Razzballers. It’s been a while.

As we all eagerly await the draft, and the Wild West front office action of the NBA that will follow, in traditional Dynasty Deep Dive fashion, I thought I would highlight some of the guys heading into the draft that I am sticking my dick on the table for (to coin a phrase from a good friend of mine). Industry consensus thinking be damned.

It’s important to remember that progression isn’t linear, and landing spot will be huge in the development of these unfinished products. Maybe even more so in a projected weak class such as this, but I invite you to sit back, enjoy the ride, and enjoy a typical Dynasty Deep Dive dig into what I believe are some of the undervalued rookies heading into the draft.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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We officially survived The Bubble. We adjusted, adapted, and social-distantly cried or cheered depending on the fate of our teams. Bron Bron is yet again a champ of the known carbon-based universe. The Brow is newly minted and giddy in his child-like man hoodness. Horton-Tucker tipped the scales and made the Larry O’ come back to the smoggy post apocalypse that is 2020 Los Angeles.

Let’s pause a moment to think back on all that has happened in hoops over the last decade.

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Football has the Scott Fish Bowl and Razzbowl. Shoutout to Scott Fish, Donkey Teeth, and BDon. Baseball has TGFBI and the Razzslam. Shoutout to Justin Mason and Donkey Teeth. Again? Does this guy ever sleep? These tournaments are amazing because they allow readers and fans to compete with the titans in the industry, while bringing their respective communites closer. Now, fantasy basketball has a similar tournament: The RazzJam.

The tournament will be played on the NFC (National Fantasy Championship) website, where the best high stakes leagues are run for all the major sports. The general format will be: slow draft, 8-cat, and roto, replicating the NFBKC Draft Champions format. I will provide the exact details and particulars at a later date, but as of now, I am just gathering worthy participants.

There will be multiple leagues with an overall champion being crowned at the end. Kumite! Kumite! Obviously, the more participants, the better, so fill out the form below:

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A state known for facing adversity in many forms, Michigan has seen many battles defending its heart and soul. The auto-industry bailout many years ago, poisoned drinking water, seeing Justin Verlander naked, and of course being a Pistons fan the last decade. But all is not lost! (Probably?) With an encouraging offseason cap outlook, the NBA Draft fast approaching, and some healthy returning pieces (you know who you are), the Wolverine State may finally see their basketball team contend for, well, something other than not the playoffs. That is, of course, the most optimistic view in the midst of this rebuild process, but I guess it can’t get worse than this past season. (Probably?)

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We can safely say that this has been one of the most curious seasons in NBA history, as the pandemic took over and shifted the schedule of last year’s season and subsequently, next season’s as well. On a side note, I have to admit that the Bubble was an unexpected success in my mind and all the kudos should go to Adam Silver and others who orchestrated and executed such a complicated plan that made the continuation of the rest of the season possible. Unfortunately, the schedule change inevitably delayed all fantasy content for the upcoming season, as even free agency hasn’t begun yet, and we are still waiting for the draft to happen. With that in mind, it would be foolish to try and create the usual top 155 Roto projections without having all the necessary details. Instead, I can safely review last year’s projections, as I have been doing for the last three years.

If you are curious about the math behind the process, you can check the first review I did in 2018 or last year’s relevant article. The quick and dirty answer is that the main metric is the difference between the projected and the actual overall per game value for each player.

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With the NBA Draft on the horizon, November 18th to be exact, it’s time for us to dive in on the potential lottery picks, potential sleepers, and see if this draft class has a superstar in it. I am sure many of you are already set for who you want on your teams and who will be a hit and who will be a bust, so I’m here to either reinforce those opinions or change them. Let’s get right into it. 

Now, as many of us have realized, there is no consensus number 1 overall pick. There is no Zion Williamson this year or even a Cade Cunningham coming up next year. Some have Anthony Edwards, others have James Wiseman or LaMelo Ball. Heck, even Onyeka Okongwu’s name has been a fast riser lately. So there is no real safe prediction. In the end, it could all come down to preference and team need. But, for now at least, I don’t have to worry about controlling an organization so I can make my board based on what players I like the most. So here are my first half picks of the 2020 NBA lottery: 

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[LaMelo Ball writes emails to NBA Owners and General Managers in advance of the NBA Draft.  A report from the New York Post stated that LaMelo Ball’s team interviews have been going poorly.]

Dear Gersson Rosas (Minnesota Timberwolves),

At least I didn’t say, “the pandemic was nothing to me.”

*          *          *

Dear Bob Myers (Golden State Warriors),

Maybe I should have stayed in Australia where I would have been pandemic free. We both know you don’t deserve me. Greg Popovich had to re-learn the meaning of creative license because of Manu Ginobli. He had to add slack to the grouchy line all his players are tethered to. What is Steve Kerr going to do when I throw a baseball pass into Rihanna’s waiting arms in the front row at Staples Center? It might be the only turnover of its kind all year, but even Hercules had trials. What I mean to say is, you’ve seen Watchmen, you know you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. In other words, I’m my father’s son, but I’m not my father. How come you people never have to pay for the sins of your fathers and your fathers’ fathers? Who’s better at their chosen profession, me or Kirk Lacob? Which one of us landed on third with a golden ticket? I’m a basketball rolling stone; I’ve been all over the world, baby. They love me everywhere I go.

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Fun fact: The Oklahoma City Thunder are the last team in the league without a head coach as of the writing of this preview. They’re going to need to fill that void quickly for us to really nail down the fantasy outlook of their roster, but we can definitely make some key judgment calls in the meantime.

The Thunder are in a bit of an awkward spot, but there’s optimism of OKC fans. Nearly half of the guaranteed salaries on the roster are coming off the books next season, and that’s not even including the team options for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Darius Bazley. There is also a nice haul of future draft picks beyond this year from the Russell Westbrook/Chris Paul swap.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Thunder stand completely pat here and look to make a big splash in free agency next year when Giannis Antetokounmpo and Rudy Gobert are unrestricted free agents, as well as a plethora of mid-tier guys. There will be quite a few developing players available as restricted free agents as well that the Thunder could pair with budding star SGA.

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In 2019-2020, the Charlotte Hornets looked to be a veritable goldmine for fantasy hoops. Practically out of the gate, youngsters Devonte’ Graham, P.J. Washington and Dwayne Bacon all showed themselves to be unexpected sources of production. But by the time the season had ended, Bacon had fallen out of James Borrego’s rotation and only Devonte’ Graham and Terry Rozier found themselves anywhere close to top-100 production. Let’s not dwell on the negatives, though. Charlotte is a land of basketball opportunity. As proof, Graham and Rozier finished 12th and 25th, respectively, in minutes played per game. That’s a lot of minutes for two solid if not All-Star-caliber players, and it bodes well for future talent.

GM Mitch Kupchak has gone on the record saying that the Hornets won’t be buyers in the upcoming free agent class. That’s to be expected considering where the Hornets are currently situated, firmly at the bottom of the Eastern Conference with a good amount of young talent. Of course, they also have the third overall pick in the 2020 Draft. Putting aside the pick, what this means is we can expect the young guys to continue getting all the minutes they can handle and to make improvements on what we saw from them last season.

Please, blog, may I have some more?