Muhammad Ali was one of the greatest athletes of the 20th century. At 6′ 3″, 236 pounds, Ali was a physical giant in his era. The average height/weight of a male in 1960 was 5′ 8″, 166 pounds. In the ring, Ali could physically pummel foes into submission like a rhino, yet he was nimble enough to flutter around the opposition and peck them humming bird style. Wait? Why am I making this difficult? He could float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. It was the lyrical flow that unlocked the Pantheon, though. He would talk trash, spit rhymes, and back it all up in the process. Depending on your persepective, it was entertainment or a fly buzzing around your head. Joel Embiid could be the modern day Ali. At 7′ 0″, 260 pounds, he is a giant in his era. The average height/weight of a male in 2018 is 5′ 9″, 195 pounds. Thanks McDonald’s. On the court, Embiid can bully down low in the post or Euro step left and spin cycle right on the perimeter, leaving defenders in a tizzy. Like Ali, Embiid has the lyrical flow, both on and off the court. Man, imagine Ali on Twitter! Like Ali, Embiid walks the walk, backs up all the talk, and is the living embodiment of The Process. For all the messing around he does, though, last night was the first time he messed around…..

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
19 13 10 0 2 2 4/7 6/20 3/4

….and got a triple-double. Beep. Boop. Bop. I was wondering why I saw the Stocktonator watching old clips of Ali with Ice Cube blaring from the speakers yesterday morning. It liked Embiid a lot.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I enjoy playing poker. Am I good at it? After 30 minutes, I’m still looking for the sucker. Anyways, a common scenario I often see play out is this. Player, which is sometimes me, pushes all the chips into the middle of the table and says, “All you can eat, baby!” Either the chip stack get bigger or said player takes the walk of shame to the ATM. That’s what I thought about the Raptors offseason. They are either making it to the Finals or taking that rebuilding walk of shame. Respect.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Despite being one of the youngest teams in the NBA, the Phoenix Suns were expected to at least perform a little bit better last season. A shaky start led to a quick coaching change, as the team fired head coach Earl Watson after 3 games (and 3 losses) and named Jay Triano the interim head coach. The Suns also made a bunch of in-season personnel moves, with the biggest being the trade of disgruntled point guard Eric Bledsoe to the Milwaukee Bucks for Greg Monroe and some draft picks.

The Suns enter this season with new head coach Igor Kokoskov, the number one pick in the draft Deandre Ayton, and a bunch of new faces thanks to a number of off-season moves. I do not expect the Suns to battle for a playoff spot in the stacked Western Conference, but they should be more competitive this season. Also, there are a number of position battles to keep an eye on this preseason that could have a big impact on fantasy values. So let’s take a look:

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One game away. That’s how close I was to basking in the glory of predicting a Celtics Rockets NBA Final. Instead, everyone who went chalk, was right. Without being selfish, one game away is more importantly how close the Celtics were from appearing in the NBA Finals. Without Gordon Hayward for the entire season. Without Kyrie Irving for the playoffs. It makes sense then that a team of this caliber, in the Eastern Conference that just lost the best player in the NBA, would stand pat and run it back for the 2018-19 season. With a great combination of youth and veterans, the Celtics are primed for a deep playoff run.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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.

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You know a team is peaking at the right time when its role players are shining. The Pacers are getting set for an epic playoff run led by their All-Star Victor Oladipo (3/27/3/5/3/0) and their breakout star Domantas Sabonis (0/30/8/3/3/0). Yes, the 30 points were a career high and, yes, both players were acquired via trade (for Paul George) in the off-season, but that is not even the most amazing thing about the Pacers’ season. The crazy thing is that the person who was supposed to be their can’t-miss stud has been an all-time dud.

Myles Turner has had an extremely disappointing season in both real-life and fantasy (funny how those are tied together) and last night he may have finally hit rock-bottom: 0/0/1/0/0/0 in just 6 minutes. No, it wasn’t injury-related. It was foul-trouble related, which should be strictly a rookie problem for big-men. The Pacers could end up being a very dangerous playoff team if somehow Turner can figure out his issues. My money is on…..drumroll…..no, no he won’t. This has been a problem the entire season, so there is no reason to believe he will suddenly be the team star again. I do think he will have some good nights, but overall he will be the same.

The good news is that the Pacers can win without him (maybe that is messing with his head and confidence), so it is not really that big a deal. The bad news is the Pacers cannot win a championship without him. But more good news, nobody expected them to even be in the playoffs, so they are playing with house money.

Anyway, here is what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

MarShon Brooks has come on late in the season for the lowly Grizzlies. 1-23-8-3-1-2-3 on 11-of-20 shooting in 37 starter minutes. This is the best performance by a Grizzly since The Edge. You thought I was going to say The Revenant? Nah. The Edge with Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin was a far superior performance by a bear in a movie, and yet I made a Shawshank Redemption reference in my headline, which is superior to any movie with a bear in it. Anyhow, the ex-(NJ) Net killed it last night. I never thought I’d see him again in the NBA, but he has seemingly resurrected his career in Memphis. I can’t believe the Nets drafted him over Jimmy Butler… Bitter, party of one!

Any-anyhow, welcome one and all to the Saturday daily notes!  Sure it’s the last week of the season. Sure, this post probably is meaningless to you if you have A) already won your league, or B) have been out of it and want to gain a leg up on next year, or C) you’re demented, and want to see what could have been if your team was healthy.  Anyway, I’m going to attempt to break down some of the relevant lines that could help you next year, because, you blew it this year, or your league has gone on way too long. Either way, you’re a bad guy if you don’t read this article, but I guess you wouldn’t know if you’re not reading this. Convoluted open aside, here’s what went down on the last Friday of the regular season:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There are always a few players that magically appear at fantasy playoff time and help propel some teams to victory. Championship teams know this and they read sites like Razzball and closely watch the waiver wire so they can be the team that snags the hot rookie who finally put it all together or, in the case of MarShon Brooks, the veteran that nobody even still thought was playing professional basketball in America.

Brooks popped up a few games ago and had a huge night, but he was injured and missed the next game, which is why he is still on waivers in most leagues. Last night he showed that the big game was not a fluke, however, as he finished with a line of: 5/25/4/7/2/0. He hit 9-17 from the floor, including 5-10 from deep. Wow! I thought he would be a nice THRAGNOF at the end of the year, but his all-around line makes him a must-add in every league and a must-start in nearly all formats. So stop reading this and go get him!

Here is what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

LaMarcus Aldridge must hate Jazz music, because he destroyed the Jazz last night. I know some people might listen to it to put themselves to sleep, but LaMarcus clearly doesn’t understand the complex rhythms or appreciate the skill of the musicians, and LaMarcus must destroy what he does not understand. LaMarcus killed the Jazz last night, going 1-45-9-2-1-3-4 on 19-of-28 shooting and 6-for-8 from the line. Although the game went to OT, LMA has been killing it all year, posting top 20 value.  Four quarters and overtime wasn’t enough for Aldridge, because after the game ended, he smashed some Thelonious Monk records and stomped on a picture of Dizzy Gillespie. On a more serious note, I could see Aldridge going in the second round next year, while you most likely got him in the fourth round this year. That’s value.

There were ten games last night so many of your fantasy playoff fates were decided yesterday. This could have been the night that made your dreams come true, or shattered them to tiny pieces. Hopefully, for most of you it was the former…Anyway, let’s dive on in to the Friday Daily Notes!

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Basketball is a funny game. The Atlanta Hawks were riding a six-game losing streak and heading to Utah to face off against one of the best defensive teams in the league. Dennis Schroder, the point guard for the Hawks, had failed to score 20 points in each of the six losses. Then, a funny thing happened. The D went missing. Did Dennis change his name to Ennis? No!

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 41 5 7 0 0 2 3/7 16/28 6/10

Forty burger! Against a team that was 8th in defensive efficiency against the point guard position. Against Ricky Rubio, who was 10th in defensive real plus minus. Schroder had a 42.7 usage rate last night! Going forward, though, I wouldn’t expect too many performances like last night. Taurean Prince, who had been the alpha in terms of usage, got Prince’D, so someone had to step up. In addition, while Schroder has had a couple of big games this season, they have been too few to count on. Expect scoring to be in the 18-20 point range with 5-7 assists, and 2-3 boards.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?