At long last, the new NBA season is upon us! You’ve finally learned your Adebayos from your Anunobys from your Anigbogus. Now, let’s get our Miltons, Meltons, Okobos, and Okogies straight. The Charlotte Michael-Hyphens (Kidd-Gilchrist and Carter-Williams) and the Miami Derrick Juniors (Jones and Walton) broke up, but I think all three NBA Reggies are still on the Pistons, at least. It’s going to be a great season. We’ll start playing more with numbers next week in this column. But for now, let’s talk drafting!

Fantasy drafts are the best. Snake, auction, slow, in-person. Whatever the format, I’m in. You’re likely a grizzled veteran of fantasy hoops drafts at this point as well, if you’re part of Razzball Nation. But whether you are or not, I’m hoping I can give you a couple advantages you may not have thought of yet. Or maybe, with all the aspects of a draft to consider, something I mention will be a helpful reminder when you’re frantically scrolling through late round players that all look terrible.

Last year, I went pretty in-depth with a two-part draft strategy series (Part 1, Part 2). Some of the names may have changed, but it holds up pretty well (thank goodness I said something positive about Donovan Mitchell). This year, I’ll try to keep it a bit more brief, but no promises.

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With the season a week away, and drafts in full swing, now is the perfect time to dig deep for those late round fliers. Once you get past round 9, I believe the best strategy is to pick players who may pop in a moments notice. Whether they are in a new scheme, new location, getting more minutes or just primed for a breakout, there are potential underrated stars to be had on every team. I will go team by team in each conference and highlight a player who can be had for cheap and can make an impact sooner rather than later.

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Let’s recap the four-year Stan Van Gundy era in Detroit. One season above .500 (44-38). Three seasons with win totals of 39, 37, and 32 games. Acquired Blake Griffin and his five-year, $171 million contract for essentially a first-round draft pick and Tobias Harris, who put up 19.3 points, 6 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.6 blocks, and 2.2 threeecolas last season. Ricky Lake Griffin contributed 19.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.4 blocks, and 1.9 threeecolas. In the 2017 NBA Draft, SVG selected Luke Kennard ahead of Donovan Mitchell. Shaking my head vociferously. His previous draft picks were Henry Ellenson, Michael Gbinije, Stanley Johnson, Darrun Hilliard, and Spencer Dinwiddie, who has turned out to be the best of the group but, of course, was traded for Cameron Bairstow back in 2016. Re-reading what I just wrote makes me think of a part from my favorite movie. There’s hope, though, as the Wicked Witch of the East….urrr….I mean SVG is dead. Not literally of course.

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October is upon us and that is a wonderful thing. The leaves turn beauteous colors while the weather provides crisp breezes. Both adults and kids get to dress up. Kids to beg for huge bags of candy. Adults to fantasize and act silly. There is even a holiday when some folks get to stay home from work to celebrate the “discovery” of America by Christopher Columbus! But the real greatness of October lies in the fact that it is the month where our sports converge together like women for the 70% off sale at Nordstroms. College football, which if you haven’t heard, is its own religion in the South, and the NFL are into their second month. The guys in the US and Canada start wielding sticks and slapping pucks around, as the NHL season begins. Our national pastime breaks into its glorious playoff season. But for fantasy hoopheads, the most important thing that happens is the NBA season kicks off in earnest.

It is almost here. We have just a few days until October 16, and there are mock drafts, real drafts, online drafts, auction drafts, snake drafts, and dynasty drafts scheduled over the next two weeks in every hamlet in this fair country.

On September 28th, we saw Gordon Hayward in the Boston Green to kick off the preseason. Each team will play five games that don’t count in preparation for those that do. What then to watch for to help you  hoodwink all your buddies and have the best draft imaginable?

I will look Division by Division to give you some keys to watch that might provide some guidance.

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Fantasy basketball can be very different from other fantasy sports, in that there is not one proven draft strategy. The “Running Back-Running Back” fantasy football strategy is timeless, along with the standard mantra of “Wait on Tight End, Kicker, and Defense,” to which “Wait on Quarterback” is being added more frequently. In fantasy basketball, the position is not as important as the player.

The best players in basketball play all different positions, so targeting specific positions early in drafts is not a reliable strategy. Some people plan to “punt” categories, which means they intentionally draft players who do not excel in a certain category (free-throw percentage is a popular one), but that is a strategy that presents itself out of desperation as the draft progresses. The lack of a specific, proven strategy is why you will hear a lot of experts tell you that the best fantasy basketball draft strategy is no strategy. But I disagree.

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After a long hiatus, the preseason is finally upon us. Now come the discussion, speculation and, most importantly, the projections. Our very own SON has released his Top 100 H2H Rankings with more on the way. I am preparing the Top 155 Roto Projections just like last year, which should be ready to go by next week. In order to conquer the fantasy basketball maze, we must continue to learn, especially from our mistakes. That will be the focus of this article, as I highlight the players that greatly under or overperformed their preseason projections and focus on which statistical category had the most impact.

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The Top 10 featured the best of the best, the creme de la creme, the 1 percenters. The Top 25 was more Tom & Jerry, Batman & Robin, Mulder and Scully; the players that pair up well with the first-rounders to form a solid foundation. The Top 50 illuminated the specialists. Now we have arrived at the Top 100, where team composition will dictate each team’s direction. As the kids say, hopefully I keep it 100 for this piece. Enjoy!

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Can’t believe it, but another fantasy season is in the books. I hope you enjoyed it and can celebrate some success. I’ll keep the talk short this week and get to the players we have to thank for our wins and those we have to blame for our losses. Obviously, players have hot streaks, so some of the most valuable players were valuable for, like, a month or maybe half a season. However, I’m going to compare season-long results to average draft position and highlight a few players that performed dramatically differently than expected.

I thought about using total season stats, but the differences there often are so heavily influenced by injuries that I don’t think it’s a good way to judge how well a player played. So, I’ll just be looking at per-game stats for 8-cat and 9-cat. Players that exceeded their draft position the most (“most” being subjective, since someone that was drafted 10th and finished 3rd could be considered more or less of a value than someone that was drafted 120th and finished 60th, for example). Then, those that finished most below their ADP. You get it. Sort of a breakouts and busts with 20/20 hindsight. I used the Yahoo ADPs (should be a mix of 8 and 9-cat leagues) and the Basketball Monster Player Rankings.

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You know a team is peaking at the right time when its role players are shining. The Pacers are getting set for an epic playoff run led by their All-Star Victor Oladipo (3/27/3/5/3/0) and their breakout star Domantas Sabonis (0/30/8/3/3/0). Yes, the 30 points were a career high and, yes, both players were acquired via trade (for Paul George) in the off-season, but that is not even the most amazing thing about the Pacers’ season. The crazy thing is that the person who was supposed to be their can’t-miss stud has been an all-time dud.

Myles Turner has had an extremely disappointing season in both real-life and fantasy (funny how those are tied together) and last night he may have finally hit rock-bottom: 0/0/1/0/0/0 in just 6 minutes. No, it wasn’t injury-related. It was foul-trouble related, which should be strictly a rookie problem for big-men. The Pacers could end up being a very dangerous playoff team if somehow Turner can figure out his issues. My money is on…..drumroll…..no, no he won’t. This has been a problem the entire season, so there is no reason to believe he will suddenly be the team star again. I do think he will have some good nights, but overall he will be the same.

The good news is that the Pacers can win without him (maybe that is messing with his head and confidence), so it is not really that big a deal. The bad news is the Pacers cannot win a championship without him. But more good news, nobody expected them to even be in the playoffs, so they are playing with house money.

Anyway, here is what else I saw last night:

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MarShon Brooks has come on late in the season for the lowly Grizzlies. 1-23-8-3-1-2-3 on 11-of-20 shooting in 37 starter minutes. This is the best performance by a Grizzly since The Edge. You thought I was going to say The Revenant? Nah. The Edge with Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin was a far superior performance by a bear in a movie, and yet I made a Shawshank Redemption reference in my headline, which is superior to any movie with a bear in it. Anyhow, the ex-(NJ) Net killed it last night. I never thought I’d see him again in the NBA, but he has seemingly resurrected his career in Memphis. I can’t believe the Nets drafted him over Jimmy Butler… Bitter, party of one!

Any-anyhow, welcome one and all to the Saturday daily notes!  Sure it’s the last week of the season. Sure, this post probably is meaningless to you if you have A) already won your league, or B) have been out of it and want to gain a leg up on next year, or C) you’re demented, and want to see what could have been if your team was healthy.  Anyway, I’m going to attempt to break down some of the relevant lines that could help you next year, because, you blew it this year, or your league has gone on way too long. Either way, you’re a bad guy if you don’t read this article, but I guess you wouldn’t know if you’re not reading this. Convoluted open aside, here’s what went down on the last Friday of the regular season:

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