The 2018-19 Brooklyn Nets exceeded expectations in many ways, from player development to overall record. Few pundits had them making the playoffs, myself included, but I guess I shouldn’t have underestimated Kenny Atkinson, who has established himself as one of the  upper-echelon coaches in the league. Sean Marks can also be credited for assembling a team with a good mix of youthful exuberance and veteran experience. Although, they were bounced in the first round by Philadelphia, hardly any Nets fans could feel disappointed with how the season turned out given the low expectations.

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Despite being one of the youngest teams in the NBA, the Phoenix Suns were expected to at least perform a little bit better last season. A shaky start led to a quick coaching change, as the team fired head coach Earl Watson after 3 games (and 3 losses) and named Jay Triano the interim head coach. The Suns also made a bunch of in-season personnel moves, with the biggest being the trade of disgruntled point guard Eric Bledsoe to the Milwaukee Bucks for Greg Monroe and some draft picks.

The Suns enter this season with new head coach Igor Kokoskov, the number one pick in the draft Deandre Ayton, and a bunch of new faces thanks to a number of off-season moves. I do not expect the Suns to battle for a playoff spot in the stacked Western Conference, but they should be more competitive this season. Also, there are a number of position battles to keep an eye on this preseason that could have a big impact on fantasy values. So let’s take a look:

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Image result for official suns logo

You always hear about teams wanting to get younger and “going with a youth movement,” but the Phoenix Suns took it to a whole new level last season. They literally played the youngest starting lineup ever! Like in forever ever, forever ever. Tyler Ulis (21), Devin Booker (20), Derrick Jones Jr. (20), Marquese Chriss (19), and Alex Len (23). I can guarantee one thing this upcoming season for the Suns. They will not have the youngest starting lineup in NBA history.

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To you who are reading this post, I love you all. To those who aren’t, I hate you. Good thing those people will never see that. I don’t care if you are just a hoops junkie, need something to pass the time when on the can, or if you love/hate my work. You’re here and that’s all that matters. It’s been a long journey, but alas…sniff sniff…the end is here. There are a few upside players here that could definitely make a leap in the rankings, but for the most part, this post will be populated with specialists and “use in case of emergency.”

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Nope, not talking about baseball here.  Hopefully most of the us reading this advanced into the 2nd round of the fantasy playoffs.  As for me, I got knocked out in the JB vs. Slim Razzball Year 3 League.  I was somewhat disappointed, but with no KD and a combination of missed and sub par games from Poison Goose it was inevitable.  No excuses, all part of the game.  I’m in the midst of trying to advance in JB’s ‘Secret Attack’ RCL League so hopefully I can advance…at the expense of Mr. JB himself.

Planning for the remaining games this week is tricky and I think the margin of error is slimmer – not just in terms of what’s at stake, but due to the scheduling.  Friday and Sunday are slated to have 10 games each.  Now, if you wait until Saturday before making any moves, your team might not even make use of it due to the number of teams playing on Sunday.  So you really have to look at your Friday-Sunday rosters and see if it makes sense to wait before adding for Sunday’s games.

Players on teams playing on Saturday should be a target as there are only 5 games being played.

WAS/MIN/CLE are the only teams that play on Fri. & Sat.

POR/LAC are the only teams that play on Sat. & Sun.

You see what I’m getting at here?  You need to be really clever about your moves trying to shore up or catch up on some cats you’d need to advance to the next round.

Let’s get right to it.

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Ugh, rebuilding teams are starting to rebuild earlier, which is good for the waiver wire hounds, but sucks for our stars!  I wish teams would avoid the backlash of the shame they get by just shutting guys down like 2/3 of the way through the season.  Suns even did that more-or-less with Tyson Chandler!

Last night we got word Eric Bledsoe wouldn’t be starting, then after the game we got confirmation the Pee-nix Suns are shutting him down for the rest of the season with “knee soreness”.  Here’s Bledsoe’s response.

Hah!  Well fantasy owners’ emojis would be a lot angrier than that!  A few commenters have posted about a Bledsoe shutdown, but I certainly didn’t think it would be this soon…  Redraft leagues you obviously have to cut him; in keepers – at anything beyond about a 3rd round value – you’re holding on.  Which brings us to one of the of big nights from emerging must-adds from Wednesday’s action – Ulis S. Great!  Big night in the start for Tyler Ulis, going 13/1/13/2/1 in 39 minutes in the youthfest against the Kings.  Yeah, he’s pretty much must-own now.  Above Cory Joseph, Malcolm Brogdon, all those iffy PG that are hanging around as your last roster spot or two in 10/12ers.  So be Great, and add Ulis!  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

Hold up there, Speedy Gonzalez!  Before you keep reading, be sure and fill out your Razzball March Madness Bracket!  Brackets are due by noon and we’re giving out a $50 Amazon Card, create yours this morning if you haven’t yet!

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Dirk Nowitzki became the 6th player in NBA history to reach 30,000 points, becoming the first international player to hit 30k and one of three players to score all 30,000+ points with one team. It’s been a truly impressive career for the future hall-of-famer. As Steve Nash joked, what’s German for ball hog?

20 points shy of the milestone heading into the game, Nowitzki wasted no time, knocking down and a fadeway early in the second quarter:

Scoring 18 points in the first quarter, Dirk finished with 25 points (all in the first half), 11 rebounds, 1 block, and 3 threes for his third double-double in the last four games. His fantasy days are numbered, but after a slow, injury-filled start to the season, Nowitzki has given patient owners plenty to smile about since the start of the New Year.

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Man, big weekends all around!  And only fitting one of the breakout weekends of the NBA would be someone from the Suns!  I was in Phoenix all weekend!  …sadly not to see the Suns, but I don’t think anyone was…  Grey and I were scouting some Spring Training, and us goofballs had a good ol’ desert time…  Speaking of goofballs, check out this jump ball for the Suns/Celtics game on Sunday night!

It’s all fun and games for the Celtics until the Suns actually beat ya!  And who better to drive home the dagger than who faced off in the short-man jump ball!

NBA getting taken over by shorties!  Grey might have a shot to make the NBA at this rate!  20/2/5/1/0 for Tyler Ulis with no TO on 8-12 shooting, following 8/1/8 then 14/4/7 lines the two games prior.  Of course Earl Watson would love this guy and start giving him minutes, the short guy love going all around!  23, 21, then 33 minutes in that big win yesterday.  While he’s certainly worth a look in 12ers, minutes would absolutely have to come at the expense of Eric Bledsoe or Devin Booker, and I don’t see the Suns being able to give Ulis a 30+ MPG role.  So that keeps him behind the Cojo’s of the world, and I’m not really fretting that I didn’t add him anywhere while I was in baseball scouting mode.  Although I will say the NBA definitely has it down with being an indoor sport, my feet got sunburnt to a crisp wearing my flip flops in Phoenix!  Stupid pale skin…  I’m not built for the desert, even in early March!  Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy basketball action:

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With the season winding down, we’re going to stick to this shorter format.  Frankly, the waiver wire is fairly dry at the moment, and most players available are known quantities at this point.

  • Richaun Holmes – PF/C – 16% – He’s suddenly relevant after the trade of Nerlens Noel, and the injury to Joel Embiid.  Over the past 3 games, he’s racked up 10 blocks along with decent contributions in points, boards, and steals.  Definitely worth a grab while Embiid is out.
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