I wrote an article before the season began about which teams I thought would have the best pace in the league. Here were my guesses from that article and where they currently stand:

1. Milwaukee Bucks (6th)

2. New Orleans Pelicans (25th)

3. Minnesota Timberwolves (7th)

4. Golden State Warriors (3rd)

5. Memphis Grizzlies (14th)

Big yikes. I actually didn’t do too badly when you take into account that Ja Morant has missed significant time this season (eight of 13 games) and three out of five are in the top seven. The Pelicans are the main surprise here as coach Stan Van Gundy has them playing at a snail’s pace straight to a 5-10 record. Woof. They’ll need to figure it out and probably play faster with all the talented, athletic guys on the team.

It’s also important to note that I made these predictions before the Russell Westbrook – John Wall swap which has helped vault the Wizards into 1st and well before the James Harden trade to the Brooklyn Nets, but I digress.

Anyways, here are the actual top 5 in pace:

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First 30-point, double-double debut by teammates in NBA history per Yahoo! Sports. Friggin’ Brennan Huff and Dale Doback have reunited to stuff shit up. “Look at the turnovers, though!” That’s like telling someone about the terrible gas mileage that their monster-truck gets before the demolition derby, nobody’s gonna care about that right now.

Does the Harden deal leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth? Can you imagine what would happen if we put on 25 pounds and told our respective partners that they needed to change? Given that Harden played 39 minutes (Durant clocked 40), any physical impediments haven’t manifested themselves, yet, so The Beard’s The Belly doesn’t seem to be anything that should concern us as fantasy owners.

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Finally, some sort of normality has been restored. At least I think so. The Bucks are back up on their Buck against sitting in the second seed at the time of writing having an 8-4 record. The Celtics have barely played thanks to the Washington Wizards. Yes, the Wizards and not Tatum. Now, the Wizards are also getting a couple of their games postponed as they have three players that tested positive for the virus, meaning pretty much their whole team is in the NBA’s “Health & Safety Protocol”. The Philadelphia 76ers are still holding their own at 8-4 after most of their team being held out because of the virus surprise, surprise, stemming from Seth Curry’s positive test. Speaking of the Wizards they are still towards the bottom at 3-8 and are now going to be without Russell Westbrook for another 3-4 weeks. Beal seems ready to feast, not that he hasn’t already, but now without Russ, he’s going to have to keep scoring those 30s and 40s if the Wizards are going to have any chance to win some games. The Indiana Pacers have seemed steady as Domantas Sabonis is running riot and Myles Turner is turning into a block machine! In his past three games he has averaged an amazing 4 blocks a game! Congrats to whoever took him as I’m sure he slid in many drafts. Oh, and yeah. THE BROOKLYN NETS MIGHT HAVE BROKEN THE NBA. Or did they? Maybe this just blows up in their face. Nevertheless, James Harden is now a Net after an absolute blockbuster trade. 

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If you haven’t heard of statistical scarcity before, it’s a pretty simple concept. Basically, the less of a statistic available in the pool of rostered fantasy players, the more valuable it is. It’s important to keep in mind that this is comparative scarcity as well. So even while league wide there may be rebounds being grabbed, we’re going to look at the top 188 players in 9-cat according to Basketball Monster and see where their production lands.

Sure, Dwight Howard has grabbed 6.8 rebounds per game this season, but he doesn’t do enough to warrant being in the top 188 for fantasy value and he’s only rostered in 12% of Yahoo! leagues as of the writing of this article, so he’s probably not producing that for many teams. Make sense?

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Those of you who have been with me for the last four years know of my love for Nikola Jokic. I was rooting for him from the moment he entered the league because I had been watching him from his days playing for Mega Basket in the Adriatic League and his steady rise to superstardom has been a pleasure to behold. Centers were pretty dominant earlier in basketball but the super teams during the last decade in Miami (Lebron, Wade, Bosh) and Golden State pushed the sport toward small-ball lineups, evident by the fact that Shaq was the last center to win the MVP award in 2000. Jokic looks like the only center from his generation that can be as effective in his team’s play and a candidate to win that award again for centers. But I’m personally in love with his passing and court awareness.

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When I play franchise modes in any video game, I try and make it as realistic as possible. I’ll play games out, accept the draft order, not cheese, eat losses when they come, make trades that make sense, and all in all be a good citizen. Injuries? They have to on for sure. But, but, but….I have a confession to make. I have restarted more than one franchise when stupid injuries occurred early on that didn’t make sense. That was my rationale. I feel dirty now. That said, injuries are a part of the game and they make me sad.

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This week we have been able to enjoy family time and spread holiday cheer. A time when the most important things are truly made clear. A time of celebration and gift-giving and with that the NBA gifted us as basketball fans the best Christmas present of all: The start of the new NBA season.

Contenders and stars. Big-time matchups and even bigger blowouts. But there can only be two players of the week. To kick off the 2020-21 NBA season the Holiday Hoopers of the Week are Kyrie Irving in the Eastern Conference and Paul George from the Western Conference.

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We finally made it! The 72-day wait for the start of the 2020-21 NBA season was excruciating. I kid, I kid. The turnaround from the end of last season to this year was a blur. My head is still spinning like a top, which has been compounded by the fact that Rona has nuked any conception of time that I may have possessed previously. So we’ve been mental masturbating over our drafts and teams for a few months, but now that the season has officially begun and we get to see the players play and stats get displayed, there’s nowhere to go but down. We all had banners flying and trophies hoisted right? With that said, there’s only one team that gets the chip each season. I hope that each of you is fortunate to be a part of the one. The season is a long one so embrace the journey and be diligent in managing your teams. Here’s what I saw last night:

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I’ve been running the same fantasy basketball league with roughly the same players for nearly a decade now and a while back we converted it into a keeper league. This past Tuesday we had our fantasy draft. We are like most leagues in that there are a few players nearly always on the top and the rest of the league is a mixture of people who don’t care nearly as much or are just novices trying to learn. If you’re in a casual league, it probably looks a lot like this.

One important thing to keep in mind is that this is a KEEPER league, and as such 41 of Yahoo!’s top 50 players were kept and unavailable to be drafted. You’ll see them pop up in rounds much later, in most scenarios, as they were kept on the cheap. It’s a 9-cat H2H league as well with nothing to play for but a trophy we have engraved every season. We added two more teams this season that did not play at all last season and held an expansion draft before the actual draft, and we replaced one manager who decided to focus on his life instead (which is totally okay and encouraged, btw.)

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We’ve come to the end of the road of the rankings/projections. Sniff. Sniff. I’m sad, but don’t cry, dry your eye, as this means the season is almost upon us. If you want to see the players past the 150, click HERE.

If you missed previous editions, here you go:

Top 10
Top 25
Top 50
Top 75
Top 100

Before I begin…

THESE RANKINGS MUST BE UTILIZED IN THE CONTEXT OF YOUR LEAGUE SETTINGS, TEAM ROSTER CONSTRUCTION, AVERAGE DRAFT POSITION, AND PERSONAL PHILOSOPHIES.

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