In this week’s episode, Craig Bozic is joined by Brett Nelson, one of our new writers at Razzball to answer listener questions, talk Wendell Carter Jr while also looking at the dynasty outlooks of Josh Richardson and Jaylen Brown.

Craig finishes the show taking a look at the marquee college season opener between Duke and Kentucky, profiling the impressive debut performances from Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett and Cameron Reddish.

Got a question for next week’s show? You can find Craig Bozic on Razzball in the comments section or on twitter @storytelling41

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Tonight was clearly defined by the insane performances by some of the leagues best big men. Crazy points, boards, and stocks were being earned all night long. Joel Embiid beat up on Charlotte’s inferior front line, driving to the bucket, getting insane put-back dunks, and swatting shots into oblivion. One of the best examples of his diverse skillset showed him bring the ball up across half court and then orchestrate a perfect give-and-go that led to an Embiid statement dunk. To top things off, he showed his range by hitting the tying 3-point shot near the end of regulation. He’s just ridiculous.

FG FT 3PT Points Reb Assists Steals Blocks TO
11/18 19/22 1/2 42 18 4 0 4 3

This was an MVP performance from the big man. He must have been shaken by that Sabonis dunk last night, as he came out and crushed. How many other big men can hit 19/22 free throws in practice, let alone in a tightly contested game? The boards were huge, as were the blocks. He’s really starting to heat up, so ride him if you got him.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Volcanoes are fascinating objects. They tower into the sky and blot out the horizon. Inside, there is magma that is being pushed up from the Earth’s core that is searching for ways to lather the surface. Now that I think about, they are the Earth’s pimples. Ewww. They are no laughing matter, though, because when they do erupt, the lava flows create a path of destruction and the smoke and plume can erase the sun and prohibit planes from flying. Yet, they can also be vehicles of creation, as many of the Earth’s island masses are formed as a result of the lava flows from volcanoes. Like I said, fascinating. Which brings me to Hassan Whiteside, one of the NBA’s most fascinating players. He’s 7′ 0″, 265 pounds, so he does blot out the horizon on the court for many and pummels the rim with a ferocity unmatched by many. Yet, he’s quick and nimble on his feet to hunt down rebounds and chase blocks. Inside, though, is a swirling mass of unknown, as he can disappear on the offensive end at times. But volcanoes eventually erupt, and that’s exactly what happened with Mt. Whiteside last night:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
29 20 2 0 9 1 0/1 10/18 9/11

For the season, Whiteside is the 38th player according to Basketball Monster. You’re getting elite rebound and block numbers with above average field goal percentage.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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I’m old enough to remember when # was something located at the bottom right of the phone dial pad. Geez, I’m old. I’m also old enough to remember when Stan was a person’s name. Now? It has a definition in the dictionary: an overzealous or obsessive fan of a particular celebrity. Shoutout to Eminem. That’s what you call influence. Anyways, Khloe Kardashian must be a Tristan, right? How about you? No?

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
19 16 4 0 1 3 0 9/12 1/3

How about now? Damn Tristan! He played 34 minutes and produced his third double-dub of the season. We all thought Larry Nance Jr. would be the man at center for the Cavaliers, yet he only played 14 minutes last night and has failed to reach the 20 minute mark in each of the past four games. If you need boards, Tristan is your guy. Just don’t expect much else and the free throw shooting is craptastic. I figured there wouldn’t be many other instances to stan for Tristan this season, and I’m an equal opportunity writer, so enjoy being a Tristan for a day.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Okay, admittedly, a lot of us “Fantasy Basketball Experts” hate on Blake Griffin, due to his lack of defensive stats and overall efficiency. However, he has been straight beasting to start the year for Detroit. Let’s be honest, who else can get buckets? There’s something to be said about a player that has aggressiveness. Some players are solid fantasy players, but lack that intangible quality that makes a real difference maker in the NBA. Blake Griffin went 2-38-13-6-2-0-7 on 12-of-21 shooting and 12-for-16 from the charity stripe. He’s never going to be a blocks guy, but the out-of-position assists really float his value outside of the points and boards. Maybe there’s something abut him, that you just don’t like, but the man has been getting it done this year so far. Will he sustain it? Well, I think the points and the FG% come down some, but the rest of the numbers are fairly sustainable, so he’s pretty much a hold unless you wanna be a hater like the rest of us ‘perts.

There were eight games on the schedule this Saturday in the NBA, so let’s dive on in to the daily notes!

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It’s the summer of 2000. Who wouldn’t want to draft Shaquille O’Neal, fresh off a MVP season, in the 2nd round of a fantasy draft? Sure, his free throw percentage was terrible, but you could make up for that with a couple FT% specialists, right? Plus, Shaq still finished as the 15th most valuable player for that MVP season despite the horrendous 52.4% from the line (9-category per-game rankings according to Basketball Monster). He’d go on to, more or less, repeat his 29/13 with 3 blocks and the most dominant field goal percentage in the league (more than twice as valuable in that category as anyone else). The FT% took a slight dip to 51.3%, but this was the height of “Hack-a-Shaq”, and his free throw attempts increased from about 10 to around 13 per game. He fell all the way to the 39th ranked player. And what’s worse, his FT% negated nearly all of his positive contributions.

Last week, I discussed some of the unheralded stats: Threes, Steals, and Blocks. At this point, many experienced fantasy b-ballers know to pay a good amount of attention to those, though. Today, I’ve got three more categories to ponder that may get ignored just as much. However, these three can also hurt your team as opposed to, at worst, adding zero stats in a category (yes, a zero in a category can be a negative to your team, but I’m talking stats that can get far more negative than the best players’ positive value in the category). Today’s categories are Field Goal Percentage, Free Throw Percentage, and Turnovers. The reason I bring these up is to get you focused on these stats as much as you are on the popular ones like points, rebounds, and assists. They count for just as much, and since your competition likely doesn’t value them as much, you can get an advantage in your league.

We’ll get back to Shaquille and his efficiency categories, with his best-in-the-league FG% and worst-in-the-league FT% in a moment. But, let’s start with:

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When people visit Los Angeles, they often go to the intersection of Hollywood and Vine. The Hollywood Walk of Fame is centered on the intersection and it has a rich history in the entertainment industry. And entertainment is what Zach LaVine has been delivering for the hoops world and has many, especially our own Brent, clammoring that he is in fact an All-Star. I wonder which poster of LaVine that Brent is jerking off to right now.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
32 4 5 0 0 3 1/5 10/22 11/12

That now makes four straight games scoring at least 30 points. Before we put him in the Hall of Fame, he doesn’t even appear on the page when I query streaks with at least 30 points. For you inquiring minds, the leader is Kobe Bryant with 16 straight games back in 2003. As for the query itself, it stopped at 5 games. So, one more Zach and you’re on. Anyways, there’s no denying that Zach looks explosive and far removed from his knee injury. With that said, he’s shooting 62% from the field and 45% from downtown. His career rates are 44% and 37% respectively. The efficiency is going to come down. It’s just a matter of how much. Around 3 boards and 3 dimes are nice, but he doesn’t contribute much in the D department, so when the efficiency comes down, it’s….well, imagine you’re walking and you come to a ledge. It’s pitch black so you drop a coin down to see how low it goes. You drop it and you listen. And listen. And listen.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ahhh! It’s been a long offseason, but your favorite Daily Notes guy is back. Son gave me the big promotion from the Friday night recap guy to the Saturday Night Daily Notes Lead Writer. Some may consider this a lateral move or even a slight demotion, but I’m going to prove that this move is a slam dunk! I’m going to adjust to this role almost as well as Melo is adjusting to his new bench-role! Okay enough bloviating, let’s get into the first daily notes of my second year writing for Razzball Basketball. Hopefully, I don’t hit the sophomore slump. Fingers crossed…

I would be remiss if I didn’t make Nikola Jokic the lede. They’re calling his performance against the Suns the perfect game. 3/35/12/11/4/1/0 on 11-for-11 shooting and 10-of-11 free throws is pretty damn perfect. Nikola Ain’t no Joke! He’s going to get Paid in Full pretty much every year for the rest of his career. He told the Suns “Don’t Sweat the Technique” last night, as the Nuggets steamrolled the Suns 119-91.

It was a busy night in the NBA on the first Saturday night of the season and there were some monster lines, so let’s dive on in!

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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:

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In Latin, Anno Domini means “in the year of the Lord.” Any coincidence that Anthony Davis is the fantasy lord? I think not. AD was the consensus overall number one pick coming into the season, and for good reason. He hammer times and moon walks over the competition by literally doing everything. For the infidels who blasphemously inserted another player on the throne, take a look at last nights line and ponder your unfulfilling existence.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
32 16 8 3 3 1 0 13/21 6/7

This wasn’t no “Devin Booker score 70 points in a double digit loss” line. This was a “let’s beatdown the Houston Rockets by 19 points” line. Bend the knee.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?