The Nets were mired in a two-game losing streak, dropping games to the Hawks and Wizards no less. Then he heard the news that Kevin Durant would miss the next four games due to COVID protocols. Frustrated, Nash stood up from the couch, heel kicked the soccer ball conveniently laying on the floor, then began heading it against the wall. At first, it was a slow rhythmic pace….thump…..thump…..thump

Then thump..thump..thump..thump..thumpthumpthumpthumpthump. The woodpeckers in the neighborhood all flocked to the noise and gawked in amazement at the display of pecking dexterity. Then he heard it. “Honey, rewind that. And turn up the volume.”

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Surprise, I’ve taken over the Wednesday recap this week, let’s get jiggy with it!

Nets vs Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks undefeated 2020-2021 season came to an end at the hands of the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, December, 30th, but not without some positive signs of progress for this new look roster. At the moment, the Hawks have the second best Offensive Rating in the league at 119.9 and their opponent, the Nets, have the best Defensive Rating at 98.3. I’m not sure if these numbers include the data from Wednesday’s competition, but either way, the Hawks were the team that lived up to their statical billing in this one. The teams went shot for shot through most of the game until Kyrie Irving took over in the fourth quarter and the Hawks suffered enough empty possessions on offense to walkaway with their first L. Both teams broke a hundred by the third quarter and the final score of 141-145 tells you everything you need to know. Neither team played much defense in this game and that end of the floor will remain the biggest question for both teams going forward.

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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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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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For most of the offseason, I’ve been drafting over at the NFBKC, which are 8-cat, roto format drafts. So, being at one with the universe and maintaining balance is key. Punting is not a viable strategy. Yesterday, I participated in my first Yahoo draft, which was 16 teams deep, head-to-head format, and 9 categories. I ended up punting assists, which I didn’t plan to, but I was happy with how it turned out. Here’s the play by play:

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Fun fact: The Oklahoma City Thunder are the last team in the league without a head coach as of the writing of this preview. They’re going to need to fill that void quickly for us to really nail down the fantasy outlook of their roster, but we can definitely make some key judgment calls in the meantime.

The Thunder are in a bit of an awkward spot, but there’s optimism of OKC fans. Nearly half of the guaranteed salaries on the roster are coming off the books next season, and that’s not even including the team options for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Darius Bazley. There is also a nice haul of future draft picks beyond this year from the Russell Westbrook/Chris Paul swap.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Thunder stand completely pat here and look to make a big splash in free agency next year when Giannis Antetokounmpo and Rudy Gobert are unrestricted free agents, as well as a plethora of mid-tier guys. There will be quite a few developing players available as restricted free agents as well that the Thunder could pair with budding star SGA.

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Hey there all you Razzball readers! The Duke is coming at you with an entire rundown of the Western Conference from a 9-cat fantasy perspective. We’ll start with a top 20 player ranking, then go team by team looking at all the viable fantasy options for the 2020-2021 season and see how to fit them into your roster to bring home another chip for the mantle!

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Entering the season, Jrue Holiday was being drafted as a top 12 player for fantasy. And for good reason, as he finished as the 22nd and 21st player on a per-game basis the past two years. Anthony Davis was gone, so the expectation was that he was going to be the alpha, with the young kids following his lead. That is not how things worked out to begin the season, though. Jrue looked like he was on a Holiday, while Brandon Ingram took the league by storm. Then Zion Williamson returned from injury and the hype was all on him. Now, Lonzo has been Ball-ing with his new shot, which looks excellent by the way, and Jrue became the forgotten man. We are silly humans because Jrue never went anywhere. Last night, Jrue reminded us that he can still barbecue the opposition. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what always cooks the competition? The Stocktonator.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
37 9 8 1 1 1 3/8 13/20 8/9

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalmost messed around, which would have been the fifth time in his career. Over the past 21 games, Jrue has been a top 25 player. Over the past four games, he’s been top 15. He’s been lurking in the bushes, sniping off Charlie without anyone noticing. But I see you, Jrue! The usage rate isn’t crazy like most stars, as it’s in the 22% range, but he’s playing a ton of minutes for a team that plays at a fast offensive pace, and contributes across-the-board production. The only bugaboo to his game is the 70% free throw shooting.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

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