A new era has dawned in Milwaukee. The Eric Bledsoe era! Hopefully, this malcontent doesn’t foul up Giannis’ MVP caliber season. Only time will tell, but from the looks of last night, he seems to be fitting in nicely. One game is a small sample size obviously, but they topped the Spurs in San Antonio which is a good sign. Any way there was an eight game slate of games on the night so let’s jump right in to the action.

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This is a crazy time of year. Halloween just ended and now we prepare for Thanksgiving, which basically means that Christmas is almost here, which signifies the end of the year, but also means new beginnings. Whew….So much. Too much. Last night, though, everything was straightforward, as it was simply a Jrue Holiday. 34 points, five boards, and 11 dimes in 42 minutes. While the calendar year is littered with holidays (Thanks Hallmark), each one occurs once a year. That’s how we should look at Jrue’s year. We know that there will be big games littered throughout the year. Just don’t expect them to occur on a daily basis. Through 12 games, Jrue has a 19% usage rate. Anthony Davis has a 28% usage rate, while DeMarcus Cousins a 33% rate. His numbers are down across the board, except in boards. Ha! The Universe is awesome.

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DEFCON is an alert state used by the United States Armed Forces. DEFCON 5 – All good. DEFCON 4 – Maybe I should put the donut down. DEFCON 3 – Oh shit, things getting serious up in here. DEFCON 2 – WTF?! DEFCON 1 – Annhilation is imminent. Entering the 2017-18 season, the Cavaliers were at DEFCON 5. They were coming off a trip to the NBA Finals. LeBron James was still on the team so a trip back seemed like a good possibility. Then, Kyrie Irving was traded to the Celtics in August. DEFCON 4. A move that made donut stuffers think about calories and carbs, but nothing to bring a person to actually throw one into the trash. Through the first seven games to open the season, the Cavs went 3-4. LeBron was putting up 24/7/8/1/1 and shooting 58% from the field in 37 minutes per game. Ru roh. DEFCON 3. Shit was getting serious. Like William Wallace, LeBron stepped up and led his troops into battle. He upped his minutes per to 40 and averaged a ridonkulous 39 points, seven boards, 10 dimes, one and a half blocks, and two steals in the first three games of November. Record? 1-2. WTF?! The Cavs were on the verge of DEFCON 1, but then….Kevin Love found a way. 32 points, 16 boards, three dimes, two steals, and one block in 35 minutes. He shot 9-of-14 from the field and 14-of-16 from the charity stripe. With how terrible the Cavs defense is, Love is going to be needed to step up and help carry the load with LeBron. Can he hold up, though? He missed 22 games due to injury last season. As we all know, Love often leads to heartache.

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FIVE… DAYS. The NBA “offseason” has kept us almost constantly entertained with a loaded draft, free agency rumors, the best summer league ever, and multiple superstar trades. But, it’s time for some real, official action. And by that, I mean actual stats that count in our fantasy leagues, of course. This season, more than any other, I’m just a huge fan of the entire NBA and my fantasy teams. You see, I’m a longtime Bulls fan. And while I’m an optimist that’s been quite obsessed with the Sixers rebuild and their amazing potential, the Bulls have messed up their tank job in half a dozen ways prior to even getting it off the ground. So, I’m really itching for some Lonzo outlets, CP3-to-Capela lobs, and an unexpected six-steal game from my most recent free agent acquisition. Let’s get going already with this new crop of talent!

Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

Last week, I talked about ways to find advantages by removing certain stats your team doesn’t need for various reasons and shuffling up player values so you have a better idea of who’s actually the most helpful for your team during drafts. That’ll be a theme as the season goes on, because it really leads us to trades that can help us a ton, while helping the other team enough that they pull the trigger. But we’ve got another weekend of drafting to go, so I’ve compiled a list of a few more places to take advantage of what I see as market inequities. If you’ve already drafted, maybe this can spark some trade proposal ideas, too.

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There’s a famous song for people who have clear cases of either “no-first-name” or “no-last-name” disorder. You may know it.  Let’s take Paul George for example. Paul George, Paul George… no last name, no last name… you can call him Paul, you can call him George… no last name, no last name. Well the lyrics are entirely true, because, in fact, he has no last name. For those who don’t know what the hell I’m spewing, it works really well to the tune of Frère Jacques. If you don’t know what that is, you had a deprived childhood and should let your parents know about it… in disgust. There have been some other star-studded players in the NBA with no last name. Chris Paul, Ray Allen, Bill Russell… oh did I forget Michael Jordan? There is something in the water with these surnames, it’s called basketball-jones, or Michael’s secret stuff.

There is one player’s name that I just can’t seem to figure out. Not God Shammgod, Fennis Dembo, or Pooh Richardson. Not Yinka Dare, Uwe Blab, or Fat Lever. (All of those are real names). I am talking about my next candidate for your Beyond the Glory viewing. Bogdan Bogdanovic. A name that sounds like a mix between your neighbor’s schnitzer-poodle and my grandmother’s bunyan medication. The thing is, Bogdan is a damn good basketball player and could be coming to a fantasy team near you, very soon. This name sounds familiar, you may be saying to yourself. Was this the name of the dish I ate at the local Turkish eatery last night? Is that the sound a horse makes while on it’s death bed? Is that the native tongue of Borat? All valid questions. It sounds familiar because there has already been a Bogdanovic in the NBA for some time. Bojan Bogdanovic broke into the league in 2014 with the Nets and now finds himself on the Pacers roster after a brief playoff run with the Wizards last year. He’s been a nice player, only useful for fantasy purposes when he goes on 3PM binges. But today we focus on his 25 year old brother, and recent signing of the Sacramento Kings.

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There was a time when fans actually brought cowbells into a NBA stadium. Back in 2003, Phil Jackson called Sacramento “an old cow town.” As a result, fans proceeded to bring cowbells to home games and provide a truly unique home court advantage,

We haven’t heard much about it lately because, well frankly, the team has sucked. And who has the energy to lug a cowbell into a stadium and ring it when there are very few things to cheer about? They have not won 40 games in a season since Metta World Peace played for the Kings and was named Ron Artest. Man, I totally forgot he played two years in Sacramento. Crazy. Anyways, things are slowly transforming. The team opened Golden 1 Center last year, installed a three-foot-tall cowbell on the wall, and have changed their logo. I love the logo. The lions and the color scheme make me think of the Decepticons from the Transformers and the Voltron lions. The most shocking development has been the positive feedback from the basketball community about their personnel moves. When’s the last time that’s happened?

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In the wake of the draft, I embarked in many interesting conversations with people in the industry. I wanted to share with you a conversation that I found fascinating with a good buddy of mine, Steve Connell, an independent scout who also happens to be a Boston Celtics fan, on his theory as to why the Celtics traded the No. 1 overall pick and why it wasn’t just to stockpile more assets.

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Wow. What a riveting week for basketball fans. And not a single game was played! It harkened me back to the days of drafting on the PS2, then sitting back and simming the season. Then making my big board for the incoming rookies. Then drafting, with a bite of pizza here and a sip of Coke there. I would zone out for hours, enthralled by the team building process. And that’s what makes the NBA Draft so great. The new crop of players are entering the league and the general managers are filling in the pieces of the puzzle. Hope and optimism pervade fan bases across the country. Sorry Bulls fans. I didn’t mean you. Which segues nicely to my first rant…

How the flying F does Jimmy Butler get traded for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, and the No. 7 pick (Lauri Markkanen)? AND the Bulls threw in the No. 16 pick (Justin Patton). The only explanation I can come up with is that Tom Thibodeau has a suitcase worth of “things” that he’s been waiting for the proper moment to utilize. I believe I’ve just figured out what’s in the Pulp Fiction briefcase. Remember, back in 2015, the Bulls kicked Thibs to the curb in a rather unceremonious way. Finally, Thibs got his revenge. I mean, what other possible explanation could there be? LaVine is an explosive athlete, but he tore his ACL last season. Kris Dunn….I think this tweet explains it all:

https://twitter.com/markstrot/status/878040700239085569

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The holiday season is here Razzball nation; a magical time for all and especially us NBA fans. Presents, Christmas dinner, time with family, and if you’re lucky some time to feast on a bunch of ball whilst digesting a drink or two. Fantasy football season might just about be over, but hoops is really starting to heat up and 2017 promises to be one bumper hamper for fantasy basketball fans.

So what do we have look forward to in 2017? Well for one the appearance of number 1 overall pick Ben Simmons and the promise of PG duties for the point forward; an MVP race where from a fantasy standpoint just bewilders the mind; and of course an upcoming draft class that is touted as one of the best freshman classes for a long long time.

So sit back and relax, open a bottle of Vino, and let me guide you through some of the significant happenings in the last 7 days for those developing their game to one day become a household name of the NBA:

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