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Scottie Barnes’ second season in the NBA was so disappointing that the fantasy realm considered renaming “Sophomore Slump” to “Scottie Slump.” Well, Barnes has busted through that slump like a nerdy virgin kid who just hit the lottery hanging out at a bar full of gold diggers.  Scottie’s been hotty this season, and is currently […]

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Drafting rookies in fantasy basketball can be a lot like the fishing game at carnivals. The unknown of what’s going to happen is kinda fun and whimsical, you know you’re going to walk away with some sort of “prize,” but whatever rinky-dink toy or stuffed animal you get probably will depreciate in your mind faster than a new car off the lot. 

Long before I was the expert Razzball analyst you’re reading now [“psshh above-average amateur at best”; “Shut up voice in my head, too early for you!”] I never trusted rookies much. The more I read, it was nice to learn this was the correct take to have in this realm. 

Rookies traditionally underwhelm because they’re, well, rookies [DUH!]. They struggle with efficiency, which doubles in leagues counting turnovers, and lack the experience and game knowledge at the NBA pace that leads to an extra rebound here or assist there, or what have you that creates a reliable fantasy asset. 

Last season was a classic example. There was a Rookie of the Year in Paolo Banchero putting up headline-earning stats, yet finished ranked 211 per game in 9-cat. There were studs who started hot and heavy like Benedict Mathurin but never improved on average-to-weak counting stats. Per usual, the big guys fared the best, with a fun breakout campaign by Walker Kessler (57) and some usable players at the end of the season in guys like Mark Williams (128), Jalen Duren (135)  and Jabari Smith Jr. (144) – sniffing a double-double with a block can go a long way for guys on rebuilding teams. And then we had the surprise breakout of an older, more seasoned rookie in Jalen Williams, who finished ranked 73 in 9-cat, and was a top 20 player in the last two months of the season.

As the headline attempts to wittingly suggest, no matter how good the rookie, the general rule is to expect inconsistent fantasy production day-in and day-out. There will be some exciting bit lines and inevitable mistake-laden stinkers.

So let’s take a look at some of the class of 2023-24, as I’ve compiled a list of sure-fire analysis of steady that I’m 100% certain of….

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Lo and behold, it is the gift quote that keeps on giving… Not only is “The Hardest Road” still very much meme-worthy, mostly because the always fragile Kevin Durant still seems a bit hurt that Chuck labeled him a bus-rider dating back to last season, and Durant can’t help but remind us every time there’s a mic within a five-mile proximity (the irony of doing this in a Suns jersey is too rich for my blood), but also because of the insane yet symmetrical home-road split that the Warriors have sustained. Probably with dark magic or something. So many hard roads, so little time!

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If Charles Barkley and Zach Randolph had a baby, it would be weird because as far as I know, men still can’t have babies [you’re canceled!]. But metaphorically speaking, if they had a basketball baby, it very well could look like Kenneth Lofton Jr. – and it sure as heck would play like him. 

The undrafted rookie got his first taste of NBA rotation minutes last night, and helped the Grizzlies overcome a 29 third-quarter deficit to beat the Spurs in overtime, 126-120. K-Loft finished with 11 points (4-6 FG, 1-2 3pt, 2-4 FT), 7 rebounds, an assist and a block in 14 minutes. Most of his production came during an 8-minute second-half stretch. 

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As Adam Schefter and Ian Rapoport fire off one “BREAKING” tweet after another, I just have to be honest: Writing about basketball tonight sort of feels like being the undercard for a Jon Jones fight. Is anyone gonna care about the NBA tonight, while the NFL free agency frenzy carries on deep into the wee hours?

NO? Well, I’ll just go ahead and MAKE you care. Didn’t mean to sound like Tony Soprano, sorry. Let’s get into my NBA Wednesday fantasy basketball notes and analysis.

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Did you know that the title for every episode of the USA series “Monk” started “Mr. Monk …” As in, “Mr. Monk Goes to the Circus”; “Mr. Monk Joins a Cult”; and who could forget, “Mr. Monk and the Man Who Shot Santa Claus”?

I feel like the Kings should be working up a cross-promotion deal to revitalize the series (originally set in the Bay Area), but set up the road in Sacramento and with Malik Monk casted as Tony Shalhoub’s sidekick. Or maybe that’s just the cabin fever settling in since I am in Oregon, where anything more than 3 inches of snow causes mass hysteria and shuts everything down. 

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Last night, we all got to witness a celebration of greatness. And this article is not meant to disrespect that by any means …

BUT DID YOU SEE WHAT JALEN AND JAYLIN DID OUT THERE?!?!?

With all eyes watching history being made by Lebron James, rookie conundrum-of-names Jalen Williams and Jaylin WIlliams helped the young Thunder team beat the Lakers, 133-130 – in L.A., in front of more celebrities than have ever attended an OKC Thunder home game [fact check maybe needed].

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The legend grows. 

With the Jazz hanging on to a 1-point lead with seconds left on the clock, Collin Sexton stepped to the line and choked away two free throws in a row. But our hero, Walker Kessler, Utah Ranger – who kicks posterior not just for a living, but for America – bullied his way to an offensive rebound and was fouled. 

There, he faced his most challenging nemesis of all: the free throw line. What’s he do? But, of course, he steps up and drains back-to-back; turns, and flashes a look to the camera that says, “Even I can’t believe how much of a badass I can be.”

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