There are some things in life that we can’t refrain from doing. When you text a crush and you see the reply bubble, you writhe with anticipation. When you drive by an accident and talk shit about all the people rubber necking, of course you gawk because traffic has slowed down anyways. When you buy a lottery ticket, you mental masturbate about what you would do if you won. When James Harden plays basketball, no matter how many times I’ve written him as the lede, I have to do it again because he keeps doing ridiculousness.
In 34 minutes! With a supporting cast of P. J. Tucker, Daniel House Jr., Nene Hilario, and Austin Rivers!! Harden had a usage rate of 57.5 last night!!! His true shooting percentage was 69.6!!!! Exclamation points are no longer sufficient to capture the essence of what he’s doing. You ever seen the movie Boomerang?
That’s where we’re at with Harden. He’s making it difficult for NBA defenses. He’s making it difficult for me not to write him as the lede every night. He’s making it difficult for us to even comprehend what he’s doing. Harden difficult indeed.
You are all pretty familiar with the reliable rookies this year and are playing them every night – Luka, Trae, JJJ, and crew. This week I’d like to showcase some of the other rookies who have considerably less hype and perhaps not any useful results yet either. Even mining the forgotten talents of the draft turns up some good players, which again speaks to the strength of this year’s class.
The Utah Jazz provided the biggest surprise last season, taking advantage of a second half schedule that ranked as the easiest in the league to go on a remarkable run and finish as the 5th seed in the West. More importantly, they knocked out Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony from the first round of the playoffs with their usual gritty, defense-first style. The emergence of Donovan Mitchell as a potential NBA star, vast improvements in the pick-and-roll chemistry between Ricky Rubio and Rudy Gobert, and a roster that has been carefully molded to fit the system lends for plenty of optimism for the Jazz to build on last season’s success. It won’t be easier, however, as a number of teams in the West improved in the offseason. With that said, there should be plenty in the tank for the Jazz to walk away from the regular season looking forward to playoff basketball once again.
Each NBA franchise participated in a handful of exhibition games designed to determine who will receive meaningful minutes when the games count, see which rookies have the moxie to handle the men they are trying to steal jobs from, figure out which two-way players will be relegated to the G-league, and ascertain whether preseason really deserves a hyphen or not. Coaches agonize over different rotations, who can play with who, what offensive sets might work, who is smart enough to make defensive decisions in the wink of an eye, and whose agent was lying when he said their player had been putting up 3,000 three pointers a day in an effort to improve their range. All this is done while those same coaches secretly plead in their inside brain, “Please God, don’t let anybody get hurt, sleep with another player’s girlfriend, or be swayed by their buddy from the 4th grade to think that they truly deserve 15 shots per game.” All of those could significantly change rotation plans, kill that elusive team chemistry, or generally cause chaos.
So after the past week of games, we are here to answer or try to answer the following questions:
It’s September, which means draft season is around the corner. Son published his Top 100, so after many a podcast & Twitter battle between us (all in good spirits of course) I figured that the best thing to do was publish a comparison piece. I promise there will be no talk of Corey Brewer in here (yeah, nah), but as Son attested to in his comments, personal biases and intangibles must be accounted for when looking at rankings. We all build teams and weight categories uniquely. There is more than one way to build a winner.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at the Top 100 comparisons between our fierce leader Son and myself.
It’s fitting that my rookie contribution to Razzball would be focused on this year’s rookie crop. I may tend to start off posts with a heavy Kevin-centric focus. I’ve been obsessed with Fantasy NBA for 15 years. Have I won chips? More than zero. Are my fantasy prognostications correct? Ride with me for a solid 50/50 shot at accuracy. What about real basketball? Was I a scrappy D3 player that really understands the game? I’m on the bottom half of bad pickup games, but I can dunk on an 8-foot rim. So yeah, you could call me an expert. Let’s begin!
The promise, upside, and mystery of rookies entice us Fantasy GMs every season. Yet there is statistical history that proves love, like Jon Arbuckle for Veterinarian Liz, generally goes unrequited. Last season there was a boon in productive rookies, with 8 being standard league relevant (12 team, 13 player roster): Ben Simmons (27), Donovan Mitchell (39), Jayson Tatum (42), Lauri Markkanen (66), Lonzo Ball (78), John Collins (92), Kyle Kuzma (116), Jarret Allen (143). While that rookie class surpassed the hype, what’s in store for this year’s group? These youngsters carry a lot of weight in dynasty leagues, but for the purposes of this article, we will focus on standard redraft leagues.
For a deep dive in terms of dynasty, check Craig’s rankings here and here.
Here is the next installment of the Dynasty Deep Dive Rookie Rankings, which will cover players 16-30. If you missed Part One (1-15), do not fear, as you can find it HERE.
Now that we’ve gone over the potential superstars from the class, let’s delve into the potential steals. If you think picks 16-30 don’t/won’t matter, let’s rewind the calendar to last year when the Atlanta Hawks selected John Collins with the 19th overall pick, the Kings picked Harry Giles at 20, Jarrett Allen went 22nd to the Nets, OG Anunoby was scooped at 23 by the Raptors, and the Lakers cleaned up with Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart at picks 27 and 30 respectively.
History has shown that many in this area will bust, but I’m here to help you find those potential golden nuggets.
Let’s rock and roll and see who made the cut. Part Three of the rankings will be released soon, so come back and check to see who cracked the top 45.
I’ve been on hiatus, probably since about a month to go in the 2017-18 season. I blame myself, and my schedule, for not being loyal to my readers. My league had ended, as I ranted about in my last piece, but yours probably didn’t. For those looking for the league winners I had been providing throughout the season, I apologize. For those who are reading my column for the first time ever here in July, I applaud and welcome you to Beyond the Glory.
For those who don’t remember, I was literally two game 7 wins away from being the only Razzball writer to have the Rockets and Celtics in the finals, and then I got neither. I would have basked in that glory for at least a year, but being bold only brought me close to brilliance. Either way, I am back and will be knocking out more content in the offseason, before going back to weekly columns for your reading pleasure.
Oh, the offseason. The start of the NBA season is many months away, yet something inside of me is far too excited for fantasy basketball. Call it what you will. We are the midst of the baseball season and fantasy football prep has begun in earnest. With all of this going on, though, I come home at night and turn on the NBA Summer League. I don’t know why, but my remote leads me there. The only reasonable explanation is that I am pumped for the new draft class. I am pumped to see free agent signings and I am pumped for LeB… I promised myself I wouldn’t go there. I am going to hold strong, because in truth, I’m not excited for anything but basketball, fantasy basketball, and Kevin Knox (more on him later) for 2018-19. So let’s get into the recent draftees and who they may compare to this upcoming year, giving us some pre-pre-preseason sleepers.
So here we are. Time for those Dynasty Deep Dive rookie rankings that you have been clamoring for. The draft has come and gone and we now know the landing spots for those who had their names called out on draft night. In addition, many of the undrafted rookies were fortunate enough to find themselves a home as well.
Remember that these rankings are for the entirety of a player’s career arc, not for 2018/19 redraft leagues. They are also representative of my own thoughts and not of anyone else at Razzball. We all have our personal biases and preferences in how we evaluate the long term future of NBA players. As always, I am happy to answer questions. Find me on Twitter @storytelling41.
The season has come. I started by feeling excited and anxious during the day on Tuesday, knowing that my favorite past time was about to start. The clock struck midnight (living in the UK I am five hours ahead of EST), my Astros were leading 4-0 in game 3 of the ALCS, life felt good, great in fact and then……………………………. BOOM!!
Quicker than you could say Georgios Papagiannis my whole world came crumbling down. Not only did I see my Astros blow a four-run lead, but simultaneously witnessed the potential career-ending injury of Gordon Hayward (of which I can gladly say, he is expected to make a full recovery).
Sport has it’s funny ways, and Tuesday provided one hell of an emotional roller-coaster. Wednesday was no different. Armed with some expensive gourmet shit (as Samuel L Jackson would say) and NBA.TV I felt like a kid on Christmas, not knowing which game to watch at any given time, attempting to watch four at once. Not well I might add.
So, to reestablish order, let’s take a few deep breaths and go back to my bread and butter, Dynasty Deep Dive style and take a look at next years top-heavy draft class.