After ending the season on an 8-0 run in the Bubble and just missing out on the 8th/9th seed play-in game, the Suns entered this offseason looking to elevate themselves to a legitimate contender in the tough Western Conference. That is exactly what they did, acquiring All-Star point guard Chris Paul to form a tremendous backcourt duo with fellow All-Star Devin Booker. The Suns will be looking for Paul to continue his All-NBA caliber play and for their young core to take another leap this season to solidify themselves amongst the top teams in the West. 

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Health is wealth this season for the New Orleans Pelicans. Before the NBA Bubble, the Pelicans were in the midst of a breakout season for Brandon Ingram, and we finally got to see Zion Williamson in action. He had some crazy highlights in his first few games, and the team looked to be in a great position to make a run at the 8th seed in the Western Conference. After the return from the break, though, the team looked disengaged, most notably Lonzo Ball, and the team went on to lose six of eight games in the play-in tournament. This offseason, the team fired Alvin Gentry and hired Stan Van Gundy as the new head coach. They also traded their most tenured player in Jrue Holiday in an attempt to build for the future. With this retooled roster though, the Pelicans have a strong shot at a low playoff seed.

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What’s up fellow Razzball readers and fantasy basketball enthusiasts! After recharging our batteries over the summer, it’s time to start preparing for the upcoming NBA season. These can range from checking the names of the players from this year’s draft and/or casually checking all the offseason transactions, which can escalate to frantically searching for recorded games of Limoges to scouting the strengths and weaknesses of Sekou Doumbouya’s fantasy game. It’s all about how each and everyone enjoys the fantasy basketball game.

Now, I have to admit I can relate more to the latter example and, as such, I am preparing my top 155 projections for roto leagues, which will be published in the upcoming weeks and mark my third straight year on this fine site.

Last year, I decided to grade my projections from the year before, in an attempt to judge myself and try and make them more accurate in the future. Go me, for hating myself I guess, but it’s a fun little project before I dive into the actual projections every summer. If you are curious and ready for some math, check last year’s article for a full explanation on the method used. If you prefer the “too long, didn’t read” approach, know that the main metric is the difference between the projected and the actual overall per game value for each player.

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Full exposure: I had to look up what a sexton actually is. Apparently it’s something like a groundskeeper for a church, but their duties have traditionally included digging graves. And that’s exactly what Collin Sexton did to the Rockets last night. They rested Chris Paul, in what I’m sure the Cavs viewed as a slap in the face, and used that to fuel their play. Sexton had a night, going 1-29-4-2-0-0-3 on 14-of-21 shooting with nary a free throw and I’m sure it helped that CP3 was not guarding him. The 29 points were a career high, and he’s actually turning in a pretty nice rookie campaign so far. He had a lot of doubters coming into the season, myself included, but with George Hill out, he’s made the most of his opportunities.  He won’t give you much outside of points and good percentages, but for a last guy on your bench you could do much worse.

Here’s what else went down on a slightly light schedule night for a Saturday, (7 Games):

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Remember the first videogame system you got as a kid? The excitement you felt when you unwrapped it at Christmas? For many of us, the first gaming system was like the Red Rider BB gun of our childhoods. That’s how Doc Rivers probably feels watching Shai Gilgeous-Alexander blossom before his eyes.

The Bucks and the Clippers squared off in an epic afternoon overtime battle yesterday and fantasy owners reaped the benefits. Probably, the biggest takeaway from this one was Shai Gilgeous-Alexander getting the start and getting 40 minutes of run going 2-16-6-4-1-3-2 on 5-of-13 shooting and 4-for-4 FTs. SGA is in the Genesis of his career and Doc Rivers has expressed his love for this kid. His percentages are very good and he gets those out-of-position blocks we all love. His arrow is pointing up and he should be owned in most leagues going forward.

Sorry for burying the lede, because the real news in the NBA is that Jimmy Butler got traded to the 76ers in exchange for Robert Covington, Dario Saric, and Jerryd Bayless. I think Covington and Butler’s value should remain relatively in tact, while Saric’s value can only go up. This may put a pretty big damper on Taj Gibson however. Keep an eye on Wilson Chandler, who could slide into the four-spot for the Sixers.

It was a busy Saturday Night so let’s dive on into into the Daily Notes!

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“ If you play good attack, you win the game, but, if you play good defense you win championships” (Zeljko Obradovic)

 

Semifinals time. Maybe in rotisserie leagues the results are more fair, but in head-to-head there’s more excitement. If you had Kevin Durant or Gary Harris and are in the semifinals, it will be a difficult endeavor, but that’s h2h fantasy life for you. On the other hand, if your opponent has one of those players, you’re smiling from ear to ear.

Another thing I learned this week (again), is how crucial working the waiver wire is to succeeding in fantasy basketball. Corey Brewer and Buddy Hield were first-round values in the quarter-finals, and Taurean Prince, Maurice Harkless, and Quinn Cook were second-round values.

 

Here is how the action went down in Week 22 across our 12 RCL Leagues:

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Hello everyone!  I’m joined once again by Brent and Craig but this time we have a fourth Razzballer: our wise and chosen leader Son!  Our basketball boss man joins us to hit on a wide array of subjects.  We start off by discussing Jason Kidd’s firing and what does for Milwaukee, both in terms of real life standing and for fantasy basketball.  From there, we hit on the Cavs’ dysfunction and what they’ll attempt to do at the trade deadline.  Other names like Kemba Walker are also examined for potential suitors and their likelihood of being moved in the next three weeks.  The Pelicans are also a focus for us this week, not limited to but including Demarcus Cousins’ monster performance against the Bulls, the emergence of E’Twaun Moore, and their desperate need for another wing.  There’s also a brief conversation about Zion Williamson committing to Duke and the other elite prospects that committed to Duke for next season.  All of that and more in the latest edition of the Razzball Basketball Podcast!

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“Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better” (Pat Riley)

With Week 13 in the books of history, fantasy basketball reaches a critical point this week. A lot of teams are looking up to 6th place and some may be thinking of throwing in the towel. This is a mistake. In a nine-cat league, two good weeks can make an apparently bad team into a monster, that can win a league. I remember last year when I won a Yahoo Fantasy Winner League and one of the ITL Satellite leagues. In both cases, I was out of the playoffs in week seventeen. The secret was working the waiver wire and buying low on the best players for the second half of the season (a constant in every fantasy season). I bought low on Chris Paul, Gary Harris, Khris Middleton, Marquese Chriss, and Nikola Mirotic, for example. This season these things will happen again, for sure.

 

Here is how the action went down in Week 12 across our 12 RCL Leagues:

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For most things in life, more is better. More digits and commas in your bank account is good. When walking down a dark alley, more companions by your side is beneficial. Having more points than an opponent in any competition is usually optimal. For E’Twaun Moore of the New Orleans Pelicans, though, less has been Moore.  In November, Moore was averaging 29.4 minutes per game. So far in December, he’s averaging 37.5 minutes per game. But Son! You said that less is Moore. Patience my grasshoppers. In November, Alvin Gentry had a pretty deep rotation. Nine players were playing over 15 mpg. In December, that number has dropped to seven. See? Less is Moore. Now, what happens when AD can’t play due to injury (shocker)? Three players get 40+ minutes, with another one at 39. Last night against the Houston Rockets, Moore played 42 minutes and went:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 36 3 3 0 0 3 6/8 15/20 0

The 36 points were a career-high and he’s not going to shoot 75% from the field every night. With that said, he’s scored in double digits in seven of the last eight games and, as mentioned above, he’s been playing a ton of minutes. With teams focused on Boogie, Rondo, Holiday, and AD (when he plays), Moore is going to get a ton of open looks. Translation: LESS defensive attention equals MOORE points.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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