This summer I was looking over a sheet of future odds in a sportsbook with a wad of dollars that I previously did not have, when I noticed that the Denver Nuggets had the fifth-best odds of winning the west. Future bets are tough, especially in the west (especially in this current version of the west, too), but after considering the return of Jamal Murray, the potential of Michael Porter Jr., and the metronomic brilliance of the reigning, two-time MVP Nikola Jokic, I found myself at the window with a belief that this was an opportunity to turn money won into more money. Persistent injuries since the Aaron Gordon deal have hobbled the mile-high hopes for the Nuggets, but it’s not all that difficult to see a world where Denver is an especially tough out in the postseason. Having a two-time MVP puts you at an advantage like that. 

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Welcome back to DFS Dunks! Thursdays are the best and tonight in no different on a small two-game slate. Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, James Harden, and Joel Embiid will see each other on the court for the first time since the big trade.  Philly has not lost a game with Harden on the court and Kyrie is coming off a season-high 50-point game. Unfortunately, we can’t roster all four on DraftKings, but the salaries do allow for it on FanDuel, if you want. In the nightcap of the double-header, we have Steph Curry and the Warriors facing off vs. the frontrunner for MVP, Nikola Jokic. Wow, what a great night of basketball.

Since there are only two games tonight, I’m going to play a cash lineup and a GPP lineup. I’ve been playing only one lineup lately for both. I will build my GPP lineup as I would a showdown lineup, possibly leaving some salary on the table or fading a guy like Stephen Curry.

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After defeating the Orlando Magic 93-83 Sunday afternoon, the Miami Heat are now 11-5 without their starting center, Bam Adebayo. Many of those victories also came without Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro. Assuming Butler can stay healthy going forward and Kyle Lowry can make a swift return from the NBA’s health and safety protocol, the Heat can begin their quest to move up the Eastern Conference standings.  They’re no doubt eying the Chicago Bulls who currently are second in the conference with a 19-10 record, due to some postponed games. However, even if the Heat is unable to move up from their current position in fourth place in the conference, their focus will be on health and continuity heading into the playoffs. They’ve gotten needed contributions from fringe players on the roster like Gabe Vincent, Caleb Martin, Max Strus, and Omer Yurtseven. The in-game reps these players have received over the past few weeks should only help them later in the season.

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In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be Dwight: and there was Dwight. Dwight Howard was vintage D12 against the Suns (I know, it’s the Suns) and tore them up for 30/12/1/1/4 on 10-for-15 FG (10-for-15 FT) with only one TO. He was fantastic across the board, and the FTs weren’t even that bad, all things considered. Dwight’s still one of the more valuable centers in the league, especially if you’re punting FTs, and it doesn’t look like he’ll be slowing down as the Hornets are still hanging on in the playoff race. As long as he doesn’t get hurt, he should be good to go every time. Anyway, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

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My Charlotte Bobcats fandom reached it’s peak during the 2006-2007 NBA season. My Bulls had been one of the worst teams in the NBA for nearly a decade and I liked cheering for the recent expansion team. I had NBA League Pass back then, since I was providing live box scores for a website more nights than not. The Bobcats weren’t one of the in-demand teams to cover, so I got to do a lot of their games. While the Bulls had just drafted LaMarcus Aldridge at #2 and traded him for #4 Tyrus Thomas and Victor Khryapa (yes, that happened), the Bobcats selected one of my favorite players right between those picks to join forces with other favorites Gerald Wallace and Emeka Okafor. That’s right, Adam Morrison was going to light up my tiny 19-inch box TV that sat beside my giant desktop computer as he turned (yes, people thought this) into Larry Bird 2.0! It was going to be fun watching this franchise, in just it’s third year, develop into a contender with those pieces.

Check it out! That weird, slippery ball they used briefly!

Okay, so the ‘Cats never really went anywhere, though Morrison did have some fun 3-point shooting streaks. I still love the snubbed and rightful 2012 Las Vegas NBA Summer League MVP and two-time NBA Champ (true). And, I still wear my Bobcats hat proudly (also true). Why am I going on and on about a player who only played in 161 career games and was out of the NBA four years after he was drafted? Because, he’s the theme of today’s strategy: The ‘Stache! I guess it’s The Stash, but at least I got to talk about Adam Morrison and Victor Khryapa.

This is a good time to stock up on and stash the players that might take off toward the end of the season and lead you to a championship.

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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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The danger in doing rankings before Summer League is that a lot can change in terms of perception. After a slew of Summer League games, we now have a better picture of how the best players that college had to offer match up against their peers.

Keep in mind that the Summer League is filled with players at different levels. Think of NCAA College Basketball as High-A in minor league baseball. Summer League would be akin to Double-A. The Euroleague, not to be confused with domestic European divisions, would be Triple-A.

In addition to the final piece of my post-draft rankings, this post will also include some of the players who have moved up in my rankings after watching Summer League games. Believe me, my evenings have been spent doing little else.

Here are some caveats about my rankings:

  • Only includes rookies from the 2017 draft class. Players such as Ben Simmons and Bogdan Bogdanovic are not included.
  • This is for dynasty purposes. NOT for redraft leagues.
  • Landing spots are important, but the main focal point is the overall projection for the players’ career.
  • It often takes time for NBA prospects to adjust to the NBA. Just because players don’t crack the rotation from the outset doesn’t mean they are a bust. Three years is often a good time frame to define roles in the NBA.
  • This is my own personal rankings, and not representative of all the writers at Razzball

Before I begin, I want to address something @Jordan brought to my attention. My previous rankings omitted Luke Kennard. This was a pure oversight on my part and I’d slot Kennard into the late-teens.

So, here we go for a real deep dive into some candidates that might actually matter more than you think:

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