I’m such a degen that I signed up for the first NFBKC Draft Champions league as soon as it came out back in late July. What can I say? I’m a pookie for the drafts. Anyways, it’s a 12- team, 8-cat league with a $150 buy-in and implements KDS and TRR. KDS stands for Kentucky Derby Style, which allows owners to rank their draft order preference. TRR is Third Round Reversal, so during the draft, the first two rounds proceed as a normal snake draft, but in the third round, the 12th team picks first. The starting lineup consists of 4 guards, 4 forwards, 2 centers, and 2 flex spots. There are no trades or waiver pickups, so what you draft is what you roll with for the entire season.

For this piece, I’ll provide the draft board and give you my thoughts on why I chose the player I did in each round. During the draft, I utilized a spreadsheet that tracked everyone’s picks and showed I how fared in each category based on my projections, which I will post in the middle. Finally, I recommend that you look at teams 2, 3, 5, 7, and 12, as all have won at least 3 contests in the past at the NFBKC.

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The Hawks won 29 games last year, but were a much tougher opponent in the second half. 29-53 is 12 games under .500, but the Hawks were only three games under .500 over the last 41. That was due to the young’uns getting better as the season progressed. The Hawks brain trust is optimistic the growth spurt continues, as they have added even more youth to the mix.

De’Andre Hunter’s Final Four heroics moved him up the draft board, and the Hawks paid a ransom to acquire him, but leadership has earned the benefit of the doubt. Their picks, combined with the teaching style of coach Lloyd Pierce and his staff, have drawn visible dividends, but will the expected leaps turn into hops? Not paying Dewayne Dedmon, when they could afford to, may hurt more than they realize.

Most projections have the Hawks winning 30-ish games. That may be conservative, but I expect a minor flirtation with .500 and another round of ping pong balls, as youth continues to mature.

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Out of all the sports, basketball is the most projectable, as there are more possessions to provide a larger sample size. But that doesn’t mean variance doesn’t exist. Blake Griffin can miraculously block a shot one game or DeAndre Jordan can shoot 8-for-9 from the free throw line on any given night. The LA nightlife can affect a team’s performance or the hotel wifi could cause players to go on tilt which affects their performance on the court. Whatever the reason, shit happens sometimes.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
33 3 0 0 0 2 8/12 11/16 3/4

C. J. Miles did that. C. J. Miles never does that. He hasn’t scored more than 15 points in any game this season. To be fair, C. J. Miles used to do that. His career high is 40 points, back in 2010. In his prime, he’d only average around 12-13 points, but he’d go off for 30+ points every once in a while. Anyways, he will likely score 5 points in the next game, so in no way am I advocating walking 500 Miles with him. With that said, it’s always nice to acknowledge greatness, even if it probably won’t be replicated.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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I usually highlight a player for the lede, but today, it’s all about the playoffs for many of you. You’ve scratched and clawed for 21 weeks. If you heeded my advice, you also likely sacrificed a few virgins as well. Anyways, don’t get complacent now. Utilize all your moves for the week. Send out the scouts and project your opponent. Where is he/she weak? How does your squad match up? Games played, minutes, and opportunities are truly king now. It’s win this week or go home. I wish everyone good fortune and let’s bring home some chips for the Razzball family!

Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming. Here’s what I saw in yesterday’s action:

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O is the most important letter in the alphabet. Without it, we cannot spell food. It is so amazing that it can transform into a number without changing shape, and without 0, a game can never end. Before you saying anything, ties are stupid. Let’s not forget about the Big O, often elusive but well worth the wait. So, is there any wonder why Kelly Olynyk is today’s lede?

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
22 11 1 2 1 1 5/7 8/14 1/1

Continues to start and played a whopping 45 minutes! Since entering the starting lineup 12 games ago, Kelly O has averaged 26.9 minutes, 13.7 points, 5.2 boards, 2.4 dimes, 0.8 steals, 0.7 blocks, and 1.7 tres. He’s been shooting 52% from the field, 43% from downtown, and 95% on 1.9 attempts from the line. Over the last eight games, though, the minutes have rocketed up to 32.3 minutes and he’s been a top 25 player! Oh, Kelly O! You make me want to bellow and bestow good tidings for providing fantasy inferno. A few weeks ago, I was worried what would happy to Kelly O once James Johnson returned to the mix. I no longer have any worries from that angle. The one concern I do have is will Spoelstra stick with him if the shooting efficiency comes down, because Kelly O is not going to shoot 57% from the field forever. He’s more like a 48% shooter. Until that time, though, enjoy the ride.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Vince Carter was the #5 overall pick waaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in 1998. This is his 23rd season in the NBA! 7-Eleven has nothing on him because it closes from Eleven to 7. Half-man, Half-amazing? Naw. All man, All amazing! Last night was just another reiteration of that fact:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
21 4 1 1 0 0 7/11 7/14 0

Played 26 minutes off the bench and led the Hawks in points! He’s 42 freaking years old! For you inquiring minds, he’d need to play a few more years to hold the title of the oldest player to ever play in an NBA game. Nat Kickey was 45 years, 363 days old when he played two games in 1947. That shouldn’t count but it does. For someone a little more relevant, Kevin Willis played five games during the 2006 season at the ripe age of 44 years, 224 days. Now, this lede is basically an homage to the awesomeness of Vince Carter, but he’s actually been a fantasy asset. Over the past four games, he’s averaged 27.4 minutes, 13.5 points, 3.5 tres, 3.3 boards, 2.3 dimes, 0.8 steals, and 0.5 blocks! Good for top 85 value. Granted, the Hawks are banged up, as John Collins, Taurean Prince, and Omari Spellman have been out due to injury, yet……Nothing but amazing.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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If you grew up in the 90s, there’s no doubt you heard “Steal My Sunshine” by Len. The radio stations only played it five times every hour for months on end. Remember, this was before iPods, iPhones, Spotify, and XM Radio. It was also a time when MTV and VH1 would actually….you know…play music videos, so the inundation was widespread and impossible to eradicate. The song had a nice summer vibe to it and made one feel happy, but if you dig into the lyrics, it’s about depression…at least in the beginning, but the song is ultimately about overcoming depression and being happy. Well, Alex Len has been a source of depression for fantasy owners for a long, long time. We’ve always been tantalized by the potential but he could never put it together on a consistent basis. Last night, though, it all came together….

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
28 9 2 0 2 0 5/8 9/18 5/8

…at least for one night, a career-high night in points no less. Now, don’t get gassed because he received his first start since late December, as John Collins and Omari Spellman both did not play due to injury. He did play 36 minutes in the prior game and put up 24/10, but that game went to triple overtime. In addition, both games were against the Bulls. Put your head down in shame Bulls. Anyways, when the Hawks get healthy, Len will return to coming off the bench and receiving fewer than 20 minutes of run, but keep in mind that when injuries strike, Len does have some upside. He has eight dub-dubs on the season.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

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Whether it’s fair or not, Trae Young will always be compared to the future MVP-caliber player Luke Doncic. It’s not his fault that Atlanta made that draft day trade. While there were some seriously shaky runs earlier in the season, Trae has been on fire recently. He is just barely standard league relevant for the season, but over his last three games, he’s clocking in at a fresh #14 ranking in standard 9-cat leagues, averaging 31.7/3.7/8.7 with 4 3’s. He’s also shooting 93.9% on an insane 11 free throws per game. While he may never be at Doncic’s level, he can still make for an elite fantasy player and is showing off at the moment.

Trae Young

FG FT 3PT Points Reb Assists Steals Blocks TO
17/35 9/11 6/13 49 8 16 1 1 9

So close. I was hoping he could get the 50 mark in this one, but this is an otherwise amazing performance. The 49/8/16 is enormous. The efficiency and 6 3’s are killer. In fact, he is the first rookie to go for 45 points and 10 assists since MJ. The 9 turnovers are whack, but that’s the price you pay for playing a mind-boggling 55 minutes. Hopefully they can set him up in the hyperbaric chamber to recover.

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A nuclear warhead was launched and detonated by agent Rich Paul yesterday when he notified the New Orleans Pelicans that Anthony Davis has no intention of re-signing with the team and has requested a trade. Let the madness begin. All the dots connect to him being in Los Angeles sooner than later, but I have heard some alternative theories that could land him elsewhere. I’m both intrigued and entertained. The L. A. Times reported that any offer from the Lakers would have to begin with Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Ivica Zubac, and a first-round pick. The salaries of Ball, Kuzma, and Zubac equal $10.7 million. Davis will make $25 million, so that won’t be enough from a money perspective. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope makes $12 million (expiring contract), so he’d likely have to be included in any deal. Rob Perez @WorldWideWob laid out the scenario of Kyrie Irving going to the Lakers, with Davis going to Boston, and Ball, Jayson Tatum, Brandon Ingram, and Lance Stephenson going to New Orleans. The Knicks have been mentioned as serious players, as they may be willing to part with Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., and a first-round pick for Davis. Portland has been mentioned with C. J. McCollum, Al-Farouq Aminu, and a first-round pick for Davis. AD is 25 years old and moon walks over the rest of the competition. He’s a player that teams should be willing to push all the chips into the middle of the table. Yes, he’s missed some games in his career (82 in 6 1/2 years) but he’s that freaking good. I can’t wait to see who else emerges in the sweepstakes and where he eventually ends up, because it has a chance to completely change the landscape in the NBA. AD is resetting. Can’t wait to see where year 0 A. D. begins.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

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Damian Lillard got the night off in Portland to get some well deserved rest, and the rest of the Blazers all got a decided boost; none more than CJ McCollum, who went 2-28-10-10-1-0-3 on 10-of-23 shooting and 6-for-7 from the line. This was CJ’s first career triple-double and just shows he’s more of a complete player than people thought. He still didn’t give you much in the way of defensive stats, but this will probably go down as one of his best stat-lines of the season.  Just keep in mind if Lillard misses any other games, CJ and the rest of his Blazer Buddies become viable DFS options. It was a pretty short schedule for a Saturday night with only five games. I guess with no real NFL games in the week before the Super Bowl, they wanted to stack Sunday, with no competition from football. Anyway, there is still a lot to get into so without further ado, here’s what else went down last night:

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