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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I’m going to keep it pretty simple this week. I’d like to check in on category leaders to help figure out who the best specialists might be this season. There’s a lot of value sitting out in the free agent pool just waiting for you to stream it. Adding and rotating through these category specialists applies in roto leagues when you notice individual categories in which you stand to gain a few points. But, this information will probably help the most in head-to-head leagues where you should be swapping out at least a couple players each week (assuming you can) to customize and maximize your stats in a way that nets you the most category wins against your opponent.

“So… you’re just pasting an NBA stat leaders’ page?” Nope. I’m only going to feature players rostered in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues. Italicized players are owned in less than 25%. For shooting percentages, I’m using Basketball Monster’s values that are weighted for volume. Next week, I’ll do sorta the opposite and list the punt specialists (value rankings with each individual category removed), as well as the rankings according to some other helpful stat combinations. I’ll leave out the flukey or injured players to save you some time here, as well.

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The young season has already provided some serious ups and downs, surprises, and plenty of excitement. We’ve seen several 50-point games, a Derrick Rose time machine experience, some thrilling overtime finishes, and one Javale McGee three-pointer.

One thing I don’t get is why players need rest when they have been chilling on the beaches of Jamaica, hanging out in Paris, or making some extra change running basketball camps, which they don’t really run, but is a way for their high school buddies to capitalize on their name and make a few dollars.

Yet, here they are resting in week 2. Gordon Hayward, I get. I certainly don’t get Kawhi resting. He rested all last year!

In this piece, I will provide some info on the basketball and fantasy trends of the teams in the Association. We will start this week with the teams located on the Left Coast.

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Before we embark upon a new endeavor, we often count one…two…three…then go! For the rookie down in Hotlanta, the start to this new season has gone uno…dos…Trae Young is here!

GM PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
1 14 6 5 0 0 4 1/5 5/14 3/4
2 20 2 9 1 1 3 4/9 7/18 2/3
3 35 2 11 1 0 1 6/14 13/23 3/3

Young has improved each game in points, assists, turnovers, threeecolas, and field goals. Maybe it’s a case of “Third time is a charm,” but I’m more inclined to believe that it was a case of warming up the engine. You know who’s with me? The Stocktonator, as it liked him yesterday. Beep. Boop. Bop. There’s a reason he was the overall #5 pick in the NBA Draft and has been compared to Stephen Curry. Now, yesterday was likely a ceiling game and there will be plenty of ups and downs, but oh what a ceiling it is. Played 38 minutes and led his team to a 22 point victory over the Cavs. Make it rain, Trae.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

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Superman was born on the planet Krypton, a fictional planet far removed from our consciousness. Ben Simmons was born in Australia, also a place far removed from our consciousness. Superman landed in America. Ben Simmons played high school ball in Florida and college ball in Louisiana. Superman can fly, has superhuman strength and speed, and possesses x-ray vision. Ben Simmons can dunk, is 6′ 10″ tall and can go coast-to-coast in less than 5 dribbles, and delivers passes as if he has eyes in the back of his head. Superman does have a weakness though: kryptonite. Ben Simmons also has a weakness: outside shot. The evidence is compelling, counselor. Ben Simmons is indeed Superman. Don’t believe me?

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
19 15 8 4 2 3 0 7/14 5/11

Who does that? Seriously, if/when he learns how to shoot, Simmons may break the game of fantasy basketball.

Here’s what else I saw last night, in the glorious return of the game that we all love and adore:

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The 2018-19 Golden State Warriors have one of the greatest rosters ever assembled and are huge favorites to win their third NBA Championship in a row, which would be their fourth in five years. This offseason they added one of the best big men playing in the NBA today, DeMarcus Cousins, to a roster that already includes four returning All-Stars: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green. The bench is also incredible with the likes of Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, and Jordan Bell. End of preview.

Just kidding…kind of. If this was just a preview for the regular NBA season, then my work would be done. But this is a fantasy basketball preview my friends, so I am going to go down the roster and point out which Warriors you should target for your fantasy team. Some will be obvious *cough* Curry *cough*, Durant, but there are a few guys ready to make the jump from fantasy zero to fantasy hero.

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Don’t take Anthony Davis in the top 5. He’ll miss at least 25 games. Avoid Old Man LeBron James, because he rests all the time. Tyreke Evans has only played 65 games in the last two years combined. Not even worth drafting.

A few of the prevailing opinions going into the season that I thought had gotten a bit overblown. The risk of missing games is scary, but it’s not often very predictable. And yes, I’m cherry picking examples, but AD has played 54 of the first 60 games and is #4 on the ESPN Player Rater (#3 per game). LeBron hasn’t sat one game yet, is among the league leaders in minutes per game again, and is #1 (#5 per game). Tyreke  has played 49 of 59 games, sitting five of those when the team was holding him out before the trade deadline. He’s #58 (#44 per game). And sure, that’s partly due to Mike Conley missing almost the whole season. Yes, there are examples of injury fears being once again substantiated, like in the case of Danilo Gallinari. It’s all guesswork. It’s part of the fun, predicting what a season will bring. But, figuring out the puzzle can drive you mad.

Today, I thought we’d have a little fun revisiting some preseason predictions. Maybe we can learn a bit about what types of projections are more trustworthy than others. Maybe not. I also don’t think this would be a great way to figure out who’s great at predicting things like sleepers and breakouts, because this is a small sample size. Continue to look at the methodology behind the predictions to see if it’s backed up by reason. I just figured that we rarely actually go back to see what was right and what was way off. If it teaches us something for next preseason, great.

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siakam

So here we are, heading towards the start of the season and what a difference a few weeks makes. If you have been following the rookie rankings (remember these rankings are just from the 2016 NBA draft, and thus exclude draft and stash candidates), then you know that we are at the home stretch, bringing you numbers 41-60.

For those of you that have not quite caught up to speed, and only just starting to get your research together, then here is the previously stated top 40:

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Man, crazypants Thursday night!  I know what you’re all thinking…  “A live reaction to the madness would be better!”  Well, hopefully you downloaded and listened to our Draft Day Live Podcast!  If not, listen to it while reading this if you have a fluky-good, multi-tasking mind.  It’s tough for me to read while listening to a Podcast, it’s like that feeling when someone just starts shouting random numbers at you when you’re trying to count.  1-2-3-4-5 “17!” 6-7-8 “22!” 8… 8…  ugh, I lost my spot!  Assholes…

The first 9 picks went fairly unsurprisingly, although we did miss on virtually everything in our Mock Draft.  Pretty sure I beat Slim 2-1 overall (edit – ugghhhh Slim’s right he got Zizic, we tied, ahhhhh!)!  Then when the Bucks made their 10th pick…  All hell broke loose!  Dudes I joked around about as 2nd round sleepers getting picked in the lottery, Suns making baller trades, someone’s twitter getting hacked…  Oh wait, that was the NFL draft.  I guess it wasn’t quite THAT crazy!  Here’s my analysis for each rookie’s fantasy impact, along with my grade for each team’s pick in a real-life context and my guess at where each rookie will rank in my 2016-17 redraft rankings to come out this summer:

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The draft is coming, the draft is coming!  Since I have no NBA allegiances, I personally get more excited by the NBA draft than by postseason basketball.  I know – that’s blasphemy!

You’ve heard it murmured.  You’ve heard it yelled.  You’ve heard it pounding down on your brain like voices drowning out your inner thoughts.  “This year’s draft class SUCKS!”  Well, that’s only, kinda-sorta true.  I think it sucks in the sense that there’s little “easily-projectable” talent.  Lots of rawness getting thrown around here, like a food fight at a sushi bar.  “Can I get another Rice Wine!”  And with rawness comes upside, and upside comes dynasty moves.  Mmmmm, can’t wait for the upcoming season 4 of the REL League!  I think since our deep dynasty is my favorite fantasy hoops league, it makes sense that this year’s draft is pretty exciting to me.  A lot of speculation that would make The Prospector proud.  In that regard, it’s not such a Stinky Pete after all!  So be the eternal optimist, dream of some of the 1-and-done upside, and read with us as Slim and I go back-and-forth drafting for NBA teams in our 2016 Mock NBA Draft:

Also – come and join the Razzball League on Fantasy Movie League!  You can join our league through this link here, and the Password is “rball”.  I’ve usually been pushing for readers to join us on the Podcast, but wanted to get an invite to all as the Summer Season is starting today!  Their cutoff for week 1 is at EST so there’s not much time, but you can still play every week starting in week 2 and get pumped up and practice for the Fall Season, which we’ll promote hard and have some Razzball prizes and talk it on the Pod.  So be sure and make your picks and try to dethrone yours truly as the winner from Spring!  Plus I ended on a perfect cinema – one of only 22 people – and I’m gonna brag about there everywhere I can! 

PerfectCinema!

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