As NBA fans and fantasy basketball players we all lust for the power of NBA general managers. Many of us wrongly assume we could do a better job heading our favorite team’s basketball operations—it isn’t hard to get those ideas if you happen to be a Knicks, Magic, Timberwolves, Suns, or Kings fan. But what we long for as much as the power, is the seriousness of the endeavor. NBA GM’s get to make decisions that carry weight. A draft pick is quite simply a choice—a highly public, decade-defining choice in some cases, but a choice all the same. We make choices every day—the blue or the red tie, Toyota Camry or Nissan Altima, Fleabag or The Good Place, two drinks or twelve, poetry or literally anything else that might actually pay the bills. We make applicable sports decisions as well. We choose between Kyrie Irving or Damian Lillard in our fantasy draft, we add Kendrick Nunn or Davis Bertans off the wire, we kill Russell Westbrook in the group chat, we build property on Julius Randle, Dion Waiters, or Lonzo Ball Island. We tweet, we engage, and we argue. We win our league or we don’t. In time, we are either vindicated or pilloried. At best, we have a lighthearted thing to lord over people we care about, at worst, we have to dye our hair, wear ugly ill-fitting clothes, or in a more recent trend, consume enough waffles to avoid sleeping in a Waffle House. But largely, no one notices or cares, as our sports opinions are indiscernible dots in a sea of data points.

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While the NFL dominates Thanksgiving Day, there is nothing better than taking the opportunity to reflect upon the early part of the fantasy basketball season. There have been a ton of surprises, some of which have been mentioned in these articles, and at a certain point, the hot starts become obvious sell highs. If nothing else, Thanksgiving is a time to make a trade. That’s right, for those who are devoted to fantasy basketball, there are two times a year when trading is universally craved, days when there is no basketball to watch. Those days are this coming Thursday and the All Star break. These are my favorite times to hit the trade market. Watch the full slate of games on Wednesday night, and take your early season surprise, say thank you and send them packing. You’ll be thanking on Thursday. It’s only fitting.

Here are some sell high, buy low, and waiver wire pickups to consider this week, because even in the time of giving thanks, we always live Beyond the Glory.

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It’s not often that we get to honor our veterans on a public platform. Some people spend Veterans Day with their grandfather who fought in WWII, some people watch Saving Private Ryan, some people play Call of Duty. Whichever way you honor our veterans is up to you, but for me, Razzball is that platform. So, in honor of Veterans Day, Beyond the Glory is going all vets for this weeks waiver wire suggestions.

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The Magic surprised everyone last year by earning the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs behind the strong play of Nikola Vucevic. The squad enters the 2019-20 season largely unchanged, with everyone a year older and a year more experienced. Newcomers Markelle Fultz and Al-Farouq Aminu should be welcomed additions to the team in both fantasy and real life. Aminu is a hard worker who plays his role well, and should be efficient while contributing in all areas. Fultz will hopefully provide some much needed help at the PG position, as the Magic have been relying heavily on a 31-year-old DJ Augustin. Look for them to be a playoff contender again, although they are unlikely to do a lot of damage in the early rounds.

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Not only was James Harden the only player to stay healthy for the entirety of the fantasy basketball playoffs, but he has also been putting up insane lines. Last night he went 7-50-11-10-0-0-3 on 13-of-31 shooting and 17-of-18 FTs. You must feel like a fool if you didn’t draft this man number one overall. He’s the clear cut top fantasy player, and he didn’t take any rest days in the crucial games of the fantasy season, unlike pretty much every other relevant player in the league. For most of us, today is the last day of the fantasy basketball season, and we are sad. Many of us have mentally moved on to fantasy baseball, but for one last day let’s reflect on the fantasy season that was, and enjoy one last day of fantasy basketball before the inevitability of the Warriors championship run commences. Here’s what went down last night in the NBA:

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Look ahead—Trade Deadline Edition

Now we are just past the halfway mark of the season and into the annual fun that masquerades as the trade deadline.

Teams are either hoping to find the one additional piece to move them into championship contention, ensure that playoff slot which has eluded the home fans for several seasons, or offload some contracts to save a few bucks and better the future.

The interesting thing is figuring out who the sellers and buyers are. More intriguing for us fantasy hoop heads is how it affects/changes/improves/negates the numbers of current players and what kind of new opportunities can now be found for players in new situations.

We will take a look at the Eastern Conference first – identify some trade targets and discuss what that might mean.  Then we will do the same with the West.

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If your fantasy team had the misfortune of facing James Harden this week, my condolences. Thoughts and prayers go out to you and you family. You ran into the buzzsaw. I would know, I was one of them. Last night Harden went 8-48-8-6-4-1-6 on 14-of-30 shooting and 12-of-15 from the line in his worst scoring performance of the week. In three games this past week, he went 19-163-27-14-7-3-15. To be fair, there were two overtime games so his numbers got a slight boost, but this is probably the greatest three-game scoring performance in recent memory. RIP to my fantasy team. On a lighter note, here’s what else went down in the NBA last night:

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The SouthLEAST Division

Here we are at the quarter turn, as teams have played approximately 25% of their games.

We know enough to be able to make some pretty cogent observations. Try this one on: this division is the worst in the NBA. Last year, the Heat won the division with 44 wins, while the Wizards had 43. Most thought it would be those two teams battling again, but alas, the Hornets and Magic currently sit atop the divisional heap. Any of these teams will be hard pressed to win 44 this year, although since they have to play each other four times each, somebody might get close. We could easily see a sub-.500 Division champion. What has been evident is that there are four coaches who are doing a notable job with inadequate star power, while one coach has been doing an inadequate job with notable star power.

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In 2008, Dwayne Wade averaged 30.2 points, 1.1 three-pointers, 5 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 2.2 steals, and 1.3 blocks in 38.6 minutes per game. In 9-cat leagues, he finished as the 3rd player in fantasy that year and it started a Golden Age. The following three seasons, Wade finished as the 7th, 7th, and 5th overall player. No wonder the property taxes in Wade County skyrocketed. But then Father Time started collecting his pension and Wade declined after his age 30 season: 95th, 96th, 72nd, and 222nd finishes. As a result, his 16th season in the NBA was to be a farewell tour. Maybe a token 20 minutes a game with a couple of rocking chairs were on the menu. But Wade a minute!

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
35 5 6 0 1 3 4/7 13/22 5/7

Played 34 minutes and led the team in shot attempts. Wade is averaging 24.5 minutes and 11.5 shot attempts per game on the season, but the efficiency has been inconsistent. He still has ceiling, though, as evidenced by last night’s game. I’m just waiting for April 9th, when he plays his final home game. Kobe shot 50 times and dropped a 60-burger in his final home game. I believe!

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

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Kemba Walker had himself a night on Saturday going 6-60-7-4-4-0-9 on 21-of-34 shooting and made all 12 free throws. This was Walker Blue Label aged 28 years in a silk-lined box. The game versus the 76ers went into OT so this was in 45 minutes of action, but Kemba is taking a ridiculous amount of shots on the year averaging a league-leading 21.4 per game, but with a name like Walker, who could blame him? He’s also averaging career-bests in points (28.7), assists (6.1), rebounds (4.5), 3PM (3.9), and FG% (45.8). If you drafted him in the second or third round, congratulations, have a shot. Here’s what else went down in the NBA on Saturday night:

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