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.

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If you heard one thing about last year’s Spurs, it was probably about their 22 year playoff streak ending. 22 years! For the first time in what feels like forever, especially to a young guy like me (I’m not bragging, I swear), not only are the Spurs not contenders but—dare I say it?—they don’t even seem particularly good. The 2019-2020 San Antonio Spurs went 32-39, finished 11th in the Western Conference, and their best players in DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge are arguably on the decline, despite both managing to put up very good numbers. They do have the 11th overall pick in the draft, as well as some league-ready young talent which I’ll get to, but aside from that, things are looking a little gloomy in San Antonio. Luckily for us, this is fantasy basketball, where a gloomy record can mean opportunity for young guys to put up numbers.

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So you want to start a keeper league? Whether you want to convert your redraft league into a keeper league, or start one from scratch, it’s a logical evolution if you’ve been playing the game for any reasonable amount of time. I’ve been the commissioner of the same fantasy basketball league with some of my closest friends for about a decade now. Three seasons ago we decided to take the plunge and make it a keeper league. I’ve loved every minute of it.

What follows is a step-by-step guide to starting a keeper league or converting your redraft league into a keeper league. I’ll cover the basics and some very important things I learned along the way. It took a lot of research between myself and my co-comissioner to assemble this information. Even then, we learned some things from season one to now that will be important for you to keep in mind.

As a responsible fantasy basketball league commissioner, I was appalled that it took so long to find this info. I was surprised a comprehensive guide didn’t already exist. I hope I can save you all the time I wasted.

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The big news last season for the Washington Wizards was the shuffle at the top, as Tommy Sheppard replaced team president Ernie Grunfeld as the key personnel decision maker for the team. Since then, Sheppard has been busy. In the 2019-2020 NBA season, the Wizards were involved in six trades and twelve signings. That doesn’t even include all the Exhibit 10 contracts they executed to get a look at young talent.

But no contract was bigger than Bradley Beal’s 2-year, $72 million extension. Getting Beal to extend his contract was the team’s top objective for the season and his enthusiastic acceptance was their best case scenario. It was a “lost” year for the Wizards, as John Wall never returned from a ruptured Achilles tendon, so making sure they secured Beal for the future was the only good potential outcome.

Sheppard did a great job nabbing a lot of “no risk” gambles. Every player he signed or traded for had high potential at dirt cheap cost. Jerome Robinson, Isaac Bonga, Admiral Schofield, Gary Payton II, and Moritz Wagner all fit that mold. None of them panned out to be a monster given the opportunity, but with another year of development, one of them may surprise us. Bonga is the most appealing to me because of his 6’8″ frame combined with the rumors he has the court vision to be a “point forward.” However, he only managed 2.2 assists per 36 minutes this past season. I’m quickly losing faith in NBA scouts.

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The Chicago Bulls had a disappointing season by anyone’s measure as they had a promising group of talent on paper and couldn’t quite translate that to success on the court. The Bulls front office took the heat and a massive shake up ensued. For the first time in almost a decade,  Bulls fans have some hope for a franchise that has been reeling since Derrick Rose suffered a catastrophic knee injury in the closing minutes of a first round 2012 playoff game against the Philadelphia 76ers.

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Hey there all you Razzball readers! The Duke is coming at you with an entire rundown of the Western Conference from a 9-cat fantasy perspective. We’ll start with a top 20 player ranking, then go team by team looking at all the viable fantasy options for the 2020-2021 season and see how to fit them into your roster to bring home another chip for the mantle!

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With the NBA Board of Governors approving the 22-team plan to finish the 2019-2020 season, fantasy basketball leagues will not be able to conclude theirs. As a result, it’s a sad, sad day in Sonville, as I enjoy writing and shooting the shit with many of you. At least we get hoops back. Anyways, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for making Razzball Hoops a community of extraordinary magnitude. See you guys and hopefully girls when we start prepping to dominate next season!

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After Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for COVID-19, Adam Silver sprung into action last night and suspended the remainder of the season. For those hoping for a return of games this year, that’s a highly unlikely outcome. First, scheduling would be a nightmare as many of the venues have been booked with other events, but the most important aspect is liability. Imagine if the NBA resumes the season and someone gets the virus. It could be a fan, a worker, a media person, or a player. The lawsuits would be crippling. So, just start prepping for football because MLB is next, right? Anyways, for fantasy, I have no idea how sites are going to handle this situation. There’s no way they can crown a champion so basically it would be a lost season and entry fees would be held for next year’s contests? That’s my best guess. As soon as I hear or read something, I’ll post it. As for this kind of situation happening in the past, the 1994 MLB season did not crown a champion because the players went on strike. 

Here’s what else I was writing last night until Woj dropped the bombshell. I won’t delete so you can have some shits and giggles.

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Coaches often become the scapegoat in situations where a team is underperforming, both realistically and sometimes in their owner’s eyes. A quick fix is to fire the coach and patience is often in short supply in situations like these. NBA fans are used to that, but Kenny Atkinson’s firing from the Nets is one of the most undeserving one of recent memory. His Nets are almost surely making the playoffs, either from the 7th or the 8th position, he coached the full season without Kevin Durant and most of it without Kyrie Irving. Last year he made the playoffs with the highest paid players on the team being Allen Crabbe, DeMarre Carroll, and Jared Dudley. Let that sink in for a moment….

He seems like an obvious hire for the Knicks, to be honest, or even for the underwhelming Bulls. Hopefully, he gets his chance soon as he seems very deserving. Maybe the pressure from Rodions Kurucs to get him fired was too much for the owners to overcome…

On the fantasy front, I have to admit last week was not a great week in terms of my suggestions. Royce O’Neal and De’Andre Hunter were mediocre, while Jae Crowder pulled a Houdini and disappeared from the rotation and the scoreboard in his last three games. Even Cody Zeller, who I suggested as a “Sell” candidate got his minutes back and unsurprisingly proceeded to have a team-low -16 in last night’s double overtime loss in Atlanta.

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