I love music. Fortunately, my young daughter does, too. We started her early on all sorts of stuff, but she eventually started requesting almost exclusively “girl songs.” So, I started combing through my CDs and mp3s for our daily drive to school, finding a decent amount of great female singers, mainly from the 90s. She really took to some (Gwen Stefani, Shania Twain), but not as much to others that I’d hoped she would (The Cranberries, Veruca Salt). We added in some more current stuff that she loves (Taylor Swift, Meghan Trainor), and we have a great time. Now, I know there’s a good chance this isn’t resonating with you as much as it would if I said I’d kept trying to slip in more funk (she likes “Car Wash” and “Jungle Boogie”, at least), rock (Down on the Corner is popular with her, but there are only a few songs by Disturbed that are appropriate for four year-olds!), and rap (“Tricky” was a favorite for a while, fortunately), but stick with me, please. Because, I found something very enlightening when I introduced the very, very 90s classic, “Stay”, by Lisa Loeb. Was it that we only hear what we want to? That we won’t live forever? No, it’s this powerful line:

“You said you caught me ’cause you want me, and one day you’ll let me go. You try to give away a keeper, or keep me ’cause you know you’re just so scared to lose.”

It’s like a record scratch every time I hear that line. YOU TRY TO GIVE AWAY A KEEPER??? She was brilliantly pointing out that YOU DON’T JUST GIVE AWAY A KEEPER! But at the same time, you don’t keep a player only because you’re scared to lose! Such wisdom. For decades, I swear I didn’t know that lovely song was about fantasy basketball keeper leagues.

Lisa Loeb. Fantasy Oracle.

While we’re still quite a few games away from a large enough sample of current season stats to really trust them, let’s talk keeper/dynasty strategy (dynasty being a league in which you keep a large amount of your team for next season). I thought I’d share some tips and have some fun looking back at what we thought of past rookies so that we don’t get overly excited about these 19 year-olds that we’re currently trusting to save our teams.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Mike James. Talk about a blast from the past. This guy was the ultimate backup PG with some random, formative, fantasy friendly seasons. From 1998-2015, James played for 10 different franchises including two stints with the Bulls and Mavericks. 12 teams in 17 years. If I had a poster child for steroids in the NBA, Mike James would be my man. He never averaged over 11.8 PPG and 4.2 AST. He literally was the perfect backup. Come in for 20 minutes a game, play off the ball at times, start 10+ times per year due to injury or rest. Scratch that, only the pansies of this decade take games off for rest. But for one single season in 2005, playing across the border for the Raptors of Toronto, Mike James not only started 79 games, he averaged 20.3 points with 5.8 assists at the ripe old age of 30. If that’s not the Barry Bonds of basketball, I don’t know what is. This wasn’t in the era where everyone was hitting 20 homers, or rather averaging 20 points a game, but rather during a time where defense was still being played, a ton of draft picks were at least 2 year college players, or Lebron James, and Dwight Howard was the next big thing, besides Lebron James. So Mike James, take a bow, because no one has uttered your name since that blurb about you playing in Turkey in 2011… until now.

Take a bow, Mike

When you google Mike James NBA, two wikipedia pages pop up. Mike James (basketball, born 1975) and Mike James (basketball, born 1990). The Mike James I want to discuss is the 27 year old PG for the Phoenix Suns. This Mike James was one of the best high school players in Oregon his senior year yet found himself stuck at DIII East Arizona College. He then found his way to Lamar University. No relation to Lamar Odom, or any of the Ball brothers, although I would not be shocked if Lavar had something do with Lamar Odom and his University. He actually had a fantastic senior year, but from the years 2012 until now, James, Mike James, has played in Croatia, Israel, Italy, Greece, and Spain. Five countries in three years. Now, who has two thumbs and finds himself on the verge of being on your fantasy team?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Image result for jazz logo

I enjoy jazz music. Am I a connoisseur? No, so if I misrepresent the genre, don’t throw a hissy fit. With that said, jazz is so smooth to me. I especially love that it is primarily based on improvisation.

Very cool. So, it’s always funny to me that the Utah Jazz have been such a structured offensive team for so long. Except for a couple of Deron Williams years and the first four years of John Stockton, the Jazz have consistently been in the bottom third of the league for offensive pace. Conversely, they have been one of the more efficient offensive teams over the past 25 years and have routinely ranked high in offensive rating. Now that Gordon Hayward is gone and Ricky Rubio is in, will there be more improv in Utah this season? Will our own Viz throw internet tomatoes at me for me preview of his beloved Jazz?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Image result for summer summer summertime

Summer is here and our three favorite B’s are back. Not Big Baller Brand, but Bikinis, BBQs, and Basketball. The NBA Summer League commenced on July 1, so I’m going to highlight some of the guys that balled out in this edition of The Abode. Here’s a little tune to get us going:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kr0tTbTbmVA

Before I start, Slim and I are working on projections and rankings. We should start pumping out some serious content around August. In the meantime, I’ll post random thoughts in The Abode every Monday and Craig B has been churning out his Dynasty Deep Dive articles every Saturday, so check those out. If you or anyone you know would like to write for Razzball hoops, email me at [email protected]

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Timing.  It’s a bitch.  Losing one of your bedrocks the weekend before the H2H playoffs is the injury gods spitting into our faces and hitting us across the jaw!  No joke, last night I had a dream that DeMarcus Cousins straight cold-cocked Salah Mejri in the face.  Must’ve lingered from a convo I had with Grey last week about how there’s no more NBA fights, and Mejri always seems to wanna mix it up.  Weird how spot on that dream could be!

Anywho, my trip out West certainly didn’t help my focus!  We got some awful news Saturday that LaMarcus Aldridge is going to be out indefinitely with minor heart arrhythmia.  He missed the final 9 games in his rookie year and 10 days in 2011 due to heart-related issues, so if the further testing done today is positive, maybe we could get him back by the semi-finals next week.  For teams scrapping their way in a do-or-die quarterfinals in the playoffs, unless you have an open INJ spot, Aldridge can probably go.  Get well soon, LA!  In the meantime, David Lee (12/6/2 – 18 mins) and Dewayne Dedmon (9/7/0/0/2 – 22 mins) should get a little added run, but those numbers quoted there were in that weird game Saturday night against the Dubs, with Kerr and Pop benching everyone.  I’m sure ABC was THRILLED when they heard GSW was DNPing everyone and the Spurs were going to be without Kawhi Leonard and LA!  I’m not huge on Lee, but I think he’s your biggest benefactor, and could help deeper leagues or be a streamer for those boring Pts/Reb cats.  Hopefully losing LA doesn’t make you a Ded Mon!  Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy basketball action:

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Happy 2017, Razzball Nation!

After immense pressure from the DA’s office to flip on Tommy DeVito and Paulie Cicero, [redacted] needed protection to secure his testimony in putting those good fellas away. It didn’t start on the best foot either, as the WitSec guys asked [redacted] if he had any distinguishing marks and he lied about his tattoos… But the man formerly known as [redacted] changed his name to the very inconspicuous James Johnson, and moved his family to Miami. After being a humbling under-the-radar role player, Johnson was supposed to continue as merely a minutes-filler, amongst an uninteresting mix of PF to get through the tough void of losing Chris Bosh. He’s supposed to just shy away from dunk attempts and stand around on offense…

Well, way to ruin that, Johnson! We can’t protect you no more! An absolute monster weekend from Johnson, going 22/3/6/2/2 against the Celtics on Friday night with 4 treys, then followed it up with 20/7/3/1/1 against the Pistons. After a rough stretch of FT last week, he made 6-7 in these games too. With the added onus on O (no Goran Dragic or Justise Winslow OR Hassan Whiteside last night), he is turning it over a little too much (8 total in these two games), but with all the injuries and a void in playmaking on the Heat right now, Johnson is as erect as ever. He’s playing SF, PF, and even some C right now, so while we shouldn’t expect the 34 minutes like he got against the Pistons, he should be pretty solidified in his 25ish MPG role even when everyone is healthy. He’s gotta be a must-own in all leagues while this hot, as he has brazenly blown his cover. Hopefully no one recognizes him as [redacted]! Here’s what else went down over New Year’s weekend in fantasy basketball action:

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[Editor’s note – We’re going to be having our Podcast out first thing tomorrow morning due to some scheduling stuff. Catch you with our sexy voices then!]

Man, what a night for highlight-reel dunks!

GIFs so nice I had to put up twice! Wait, that didn’t really work… But yeah, telling everyone that Gordon is cuttable sure made me feel great while writing the notes this morning! Stupid Clippers getting Lob City-ed against them! Taste of their own medicine! Career game for Gordon, going 13-21 FG (4-8 3PTM 3-6 FT) for 33/7/2/0/0. Actually, ya know, that’s not really the best line. 3 turnovers, no D stats, and 50% FT shooting… I feel a little better now re-thinking it, and good thing highlight-reel plays aren’t bonuses! Although I wish they were for my Semaj in REL! Feel free to scoop up Gordon in any leagues as I’m sure he was a popular drop, but I still wouldn’t be losing key assets for him. Let’s see if he can carry this success a few more games, fix the FT issue, and deliver on the D stats we’re know he’s physically capable of. 0.8 STL/0.6 BLK – lower stocks than last year – in an expansion of minutes?! Where’s the beef?! Hopefully I give you more meat to chew on in the notes today! Here’s what else happened last night in Fantasy Basketball action:

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As I try to do in my opens, I pull in some real-life news or experience to try and humanize the open. No one wants robot reporting! Just ask Mark Cuban. And that whole situation seems like such a cop out, “I’m going to ban reporters, and the reason why is that I want more human reporting!” Something else is going on there…

Anywho, for this open, I actually have relevant life experience! As previously mentioned regarding Derrick Favors, I too have suffered from IT Band Syndrome. It’s an inflammation of a thin band of nerves that connect from your hip bone on the outside of your leg, past your knee, and connected to your lower leg. Sometimes it can manifest itself in a mad sore hip, but usually it impacts the outside of your knee. When it flares up, it feels like a bone-on-bone “catching” on the outer part of your knee, like you have some horrific scar tissue from a torn meniscus (something I’ve also had). The real annoyance of the injury is you can feel awesome for a few days, then it flares up out of nowhere. You’re just walking normal, and all the sudden that “catch” makes your knee feel like you re-tore something. It’s pretty friggin’ frustrating.

So when I heard Favors was starting last night despite a flare up of knee soreness again on Saturday, I wasn’t the most surprised. I bet it felt great in warm-ups! Then at some point, I’m guessing he felt that same nerve irritation, and he ended up leaving early. I know his frustration. As a nerve thing, this isn’t really a consistent pain-tolerance thing, or a sprain to play through. It feels fine, then a sudden flare up makes your knee feel unstable. I didn’t watch any of this game, but he apparently didn’t look right, and went only 6/2/0/2/0 in 21 minutes. As I mentioned on the Pod, I nabbed some shares of Trey Lyles on Sunday given Favors’ knee issues and knowing this could be a long-term thing, getting rewarded with an 18/5/2/2/0 line with a trey. A trey from Trey! With leaving games early a persistent issue now, I wouldn’t be surprised if Favors gets treatment for a few weeks, and I would take the flier on Lyles where I could. It took me about two months of rehab and a session of dry needling to stimulate the nerves to finally shake my IT issues. Don’t watch if you don’t like needles! Here’s what else happened in fantasy hoops action last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Everythang we do is funky up in heaaah! I love how so many cats have been laying down the nasty funk these first few weeks in the N.B.A., and not your regular humdrum contributors! It makes for interesting fantasy trade bait, you dig? Ok, I may not be able to lay down the fresh jive in the caliber of the late great host of Soul Train, Don Cornelius for you, but I appreciate the art form of weaving sexy soul into speak. And some of the early season performances from our fantasy faithful have been nothing short of artisanal. But are these performances going to endure like Jay-Z, or be a flash in the pan like Kris Kross? Let’s take a look at a few cats that are Big Pimpin, and the wannabes who fake the funk, and come off wiggity whack: (I realize that I jump from funk to hip hop analogies, but you get the gist, leave it be, good reader, I’m on a deadline here.)

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As we prepare for the 2016-17 Fantasy Basketball Season, I’ll be taking a look at each NBA team with their major adds and drops to see if we can pan for any surprise rotational gold.  This open is especially witty for the Nuggets…  We’ll be counting down from worst NBA regular season to the best, mainly because I’m still figuring out how to rank the Warriors…

Utah Jazz (40-42)

Utah Jazz

Key Acquisitions:

G George Hill

G/F Joe Johnson

Boris Diaw

Key Losses:

Trey Burke

F Trevor Booker

A terrible logo!

Hell yes!  Look at the Jazz bringing sexy back, using their old school look as their official logo of 16-17.

Ya know, this team reminds me of a defensive-minded version of the Wolves.  Oodles of young talent, they barely made any changes, and I think Slim will indeed get his wish and see them as a postseason team.  Slim loves his Jazz!  I think it’s just because they’re a team in the West who didn’t burn his Heat…

Anywho, the position where they made the biggest change was a MASSIVE upgrade at PG, so A+ in the offseason moves department!  And oh man, wait until you get idea of what this second unit is gonna be…  Here’s how the 16-17 Utah Jazz are coming together for the upcoming season:

Please, blog, may I have some more?