I’m not one to boast or present fluff pieces, so when I provide a recommendation, EF Hutton is in the house. Now, a good buddy of mine told me to come check out a new restaurant he opened up. No joke. Indubitubly the best place in town. Was it the food? It was aiight. Then what? You know when people rave about the ambiance of an establishment? Well, you ain’t seen nothing until you’ve gone to The Place. As you walk from the parking lot towards the building, there are hundreds of cameras and sensors that scan your body and connect with your literal and virtual mind. This process takes about 5 seconds, so that by the time you reach the curb, The Place knows what you’re craving and digitally alters the environment to fit each individual customer. In my case, the golden arches appeared. Chicken nuggets? French fries? Sausage McMuffin with egg? Negative. The Place knew I was in search of a cheap shooting guard for my DFS lineups. Supersize it The Place asked? Indubitably. A machine printed out a small piece of paper, like the ones you see inside a fortune cookie. On it was written: Rodney McGruder.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
20 8 6 0 1 2 3/7 7/12 3/3

Mind blown.

McGruder is 27 years old and has been in the league for three years. He’s played a total of 97 games, and the 20 points scored were a career high. Last night, he did get the start and played 34 minutes. Now, Wayne Ellington and Justise Winslow did not play due to injury, but McGruder has the trust of coach Spoelstra and will play when there are injuries on the wing.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

With the season minutes away, and drafts likely complete, there is still time to dig deep for those watch list wonders and sneaky waiver pickups. Whether these players are in a new scheme, new location, getting more minutes or just primed for a breakout, there are potential underrated stars to be had on every team. I highlighted the Eastern Conference earlier in the week, now we’ll tackle the Western Conference and look for players who can be had for cheap and can make an impact sooner than later.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Not one. Not two. But three, as in this will be LeBron James’ third and most likely final team he plays for. From a macro sense, the three questions that pervade my mind are: 1) Can LeBron join Robert Horry and John Salley as the only players in NBA history to win championships with three teams? 2) Can LeBron do enough in LA to join West, Chamberlain, Baylor, Abdul-Jabbar, Johnson, Worthy, Goodrich, Wilkes, O’Neal, and Bryant x2 on the walls of Staples Center? 3) Can LeBron and Jr. become the first father/son combo to play in the NBA at the same time? LeBron. LeBron. LeBron. Blah. Blah. Blah. This is a Lakers team preview, but you know what? Everything revolves around LeBron. Don’t believe me? It’s been five years since the Lakers made the playoffs. Here are the win totals during that span: 35, 26, 17, 21, and 27. With the acquisition of LeBron, the Lakers are now 10/1 to win the championship! And 6/1 to win the Western Conference! The projected season win total ranges from 48-50.5, depending on which book you look at. Welcome to LA, LeBron!

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

John Wall went from hero to zero back to hero in Washington this season. Nobody will argue that John Wall is the most talented player on the Wizards, but when he went down with a knee injury and the team started playing its best basketball of the season, people started questioning Wall’s value to the team. His selfish play was viewed as holding the team back in the day-and-age of the Hoosier method of at least three passes before a shot. The team’s hot streak wore off, however, and everyone started clamoring for Wall’s return. Now the Wizards are battling for a playoff spot and John Wall stepped up for one of his best games of the season: 4/29/7/13/3/3. I mean, wow, nice game and nice timing. Anyone still playing in fantasy who has John Wall is as excited about the timing of this as the city of Washington D.C.

Anyway, here is what else I saw last night as teams battle for the last playoff spot and just plain old last place:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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?

We choose to supersize that meal or put cheese on the burger so that our stomachs look like Kuato in Total Recall. That’s our choice. We choose to wear the jimmy hat or live dangerously. That’s our choice. We choose to draft KAT over Anthony Davis in fantasy. That’s our choice. But there is so much out of our control. The world we were born into. Our parents. What we look like. In a videogame, we choose what difficulty level we play on. In life, that has been chosen for us. Some play on hard, while others get cheat codes. Willy Hernangomez hit the genetic lottery. 6′ 11″ 240 pounds, athletically skilled, and good looking. Sure, he worked his ass off to get where he’s at. Lifting weights, running, and plucking eyebrows, but he had a nice base to work with. Last year during his rookie campaign, he was a monster per-36: 16 points, 13.6 boards, 2.6 dimes, 1.1 steals, 1.0 blocks, 53% field goal percentage, and 73% free throw percentage. Unfortunately, he only played 18 minutes per game. Out of his control. Regardless, Willy was viewed as a franchise piece, but then the Knicks acquired Enes Kanter. The minutes plummeted to 9 a game, even though the per-36 numbers were still robust. Out of his control. If you go back to my earlier blurbs regarding Willy, I mentioned that he hooked up with Hornacek’s daughter. I’d hit up the Google machine right now. Wouldn’t you? I’m still not dismissing that angle, so maybe Willy had some control in the matter. Anyways, after bitching and complaining, he finally got his wish and was shipped to the Hornets. Too bad the Hornets had some guy named Dwight Howard. Can’t forget about Cody Zeller as well. So, Willy was not freed and the situation looked identical to the one in New York. But, Zeller is out for the season due to injury and yesterday, Willy played a season-high 22 minutes.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 15 11 0 2 0 0 0/1 2/3 11/14

Per-36 in CHA, Willy is at: 17.7 points, 14.9 boards, 1.8 dimes, 1.1 steals, and 1.6 blocks. The Hornets are out of the playoff picture and there’s no reason to push Dwight, so Willy should see significant run to end the season. Free at last….free at last….Willy is free at last.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If you’re reading this, congratulations. You’re probably in your fantasy basketball championship week. If you’re not, you have a sick addiction to NBA basketball and still care how your friends’ weeks are going, or you’re a a masochist and want to see how you could have done if you made the finals. It has been a crazy couple of weeks in the NBA, with injuries, teams resting key guys, and extreme tanking. I would move your league’s final week up at least one week if I was you, because your team at this point in the year probably doesn’t resemble what it was even three short weeks ago. I think if you’re wise you will draft guys on mid to upper tier teams next year, who actually will be playing for something down the stretch. One of these guys is Paul Millsap. The Nuggets are battling for a playoff spot and Millsap got all the run he could handle going 2-36-9-2-0-0-1 on 13-of-18 shooting and 8-of-11 FTs. He could be on a lot of winning squads with four games this week. With that said, there have been some key steamers and beneficiaries of rested players and late season injuries. Here is what went down on a key Friday night for Fantasy Basketball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?