Hey there all you Razzball readers! The Duke is coming at you with an entire rundown of the Western Conference from a 9-cat fantasy perspective. We’ll start with a top 20 player ranking, then go team by team looking at all the viable fantasy options for the 2020-2021 season and see how to fit them into your roster to bring home another chip for the mantle!

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15 or so years ago, I’m walking through a baggage claim area in the Los Cabos International Airport. It was eerie. The room wasn’t well lit and not another soul was in sight. I think I had to take a piss or maybe I was searching for a friend. I forget, but what will forever be etched in my brain were the two figures that appeared in the distance. I didn’t pay much heed at first, but it was hard not to be transfixed on this couple. The man was a giant and the woman was exquisite. As they got closer and closer, the man just oozed cool. Oh, shit! That’s Kobe freaking Bryant and his wife, Vanessa! Woo sah, woo sah. Be cool. Be cool. Oh, shit! That’s Kobe freaking Bryant. I didn’t know what to do. I was shook, but not as bad as when we all received the horrible news yesterday; that Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven other people died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.

There are so many memories of Kobe. Not flinching against the Matt Barnes inbound fake. The 2005 season in which he scored 81 points in a game, 62 points in another, had four 50-burgers, and 21 40-point outbursts. Kobe was robbed of the MVP that year! The alley-oop pass to Shaq in Game 7 of the 2000 Western Conference finals. Tearing his Achilles then draining the free throw. The five championships. The 60 points in his final game. Chills. The mic drop. The dunks. The game winners. But what I most treasure about Kobe is encapsulated in Game 5 against the Utah Jazz during the 1997 playoffs when he airballed not one, not two, not three, but four shots as a rookie. Despite the failure, he could not be fazed. He could not be shook, unlike my weak ass. He didn’t slump or put his head down. He just brushed it off and used it as motivation to get better. He was a true student of the game whose sole focus was to get buckets and win. The jump shot form was perfect. The footwork was immaculate. The evolution of his game was poetic. All of that did not happen by accident. It was due to the psychotic work ethic.

41 years old. Gone. Just like that. I wanted to give you a pound when I saw you 15 or so years ago. I wanted to give you a hug. I wanted to take a selfie. I wanted to say wassup, but I was so shook that I just walked on by. Thanks for everything. Rest in peace, Kobe Bryant.

Here’s what happened in the games yesterday:

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There are many different types of volcanoes. Cinder cones are the most common and are fairly small in both diameter and height. Stratovolcanoes are layered with lava, ash, and unmelted stone. These erupt with great violence because pressure builds in the magma chamber then…KABOOM! Like a shaken bottle of soda. Shield volcanoes are massive, with a huge base and gentle sloping sides. Eruptions are not explosive like stratovolcanoes. Instead, lava just flows out over the sides. Think Mauna Loa in Hawaii. Hassan Whiteside aka Mt. Whiteside is no cinder cone, as he stands 7′ 0″ and weights 235 pounds. He’s more stratovolcano due to his explosive performances in the past. Back in November of 2018, Mt. Whiteside erupted for 29 points, 20 boards, and 9 blocks! It was the consistency that was lacking, though. Sometimes it was injury, other times it was being in the coach’s doghouse. This season, though, Mt. Whiteside has been a hybrid shield/stratovolcano. Last night was the most recent example:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
23 21 1 0 5 1 0 8/14 7/8

He’s been erupting on the regular, but it’s felt like fantasy goodies have been just oozing over the edge, producing a fantasy island of extraordinary magnitude. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what oozes fantasy goodies on the regular? The Stocktonator. Mt. Whiteside is the #6 player for fantasy on the season. Points, boards, blocks, excellent field goal percentage, and the free throw shooting has been a robust 76%! I doubt Jusuf Nurkic returns and makes Mt. Whiteside dormant, so enjoy the nightly eruptions.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Back in 2008, D. J. Augustin was awarded the Bob Cousy Award, which was given to the top collegiate point guard. That summer, the Charlotte Bobcats selected him with the ninth overall pick in the NBA draft. This D. J. obviously produced good music and got the crowd to throw their hands in the air, and wave them like they just didn’t care. In 2010, D. J. averaged 33.6 minutes, 14.4 points, and 6.1 dimes. But then the lights came on and people realized that the selection of songs were limited. He didn’t have the resources to expand the library, so D. J. tried to compensate by mixing and scratching more. That just ended up in more skipping and booing from the crowd. Realizing his limitations, he stopped trying to be fancy and just kept things simple. And it worked, as he’s been getting gigs for 12 years now. Every once in a while, though, he thinks about what could have been and channels something from within. It happened last night.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
25 3 9 2 0 1 2/6 7/15 9/10

In 31 minutes off the bench. Now, Markelle Fultz had some foul trouble last night, so D. J. got some extra run. In addition, Fultz is and will be the starter for the Magic. With that said, over the past four games, D. J. has been spinning the goods, as he’s been a top 85 player, averaging 28.3 minutes, 14.5 points, 1.5 tres, 5 boards, and 1 steals. He’s been shooting 90% from the line on 5.5 attempts. Not bad. The shooting efficiency, though, has only been 42%. Orlando plays at one of the slowest offensive paces in the league, but if you need dimes and tres, D. J. can be of value. Plus, he will go retro and spin the goods from time to time. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what spins the goods all the time? The Stocktonator.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Roses go through many stages of existence. First, there are the seed and germination stages, when life is created. Then, the flowers grow and reproduce. Finally, it’s all about spreading the seeds so that the circle of life can be completed. Derrick Rose knows all about that, as he’s played in Chicago, New York, Cleveland, Minnesota, and now Detroit. At 31 years old and coming off two knee surgeries, Rose obviously isn’t the bright flower he once was, but with proper pruning, he can still blossom with the best of them. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what allows you to blossom? The Stocktonator.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
22 6 8 1 0 3 2/5 8/17 4/4

Played 29 minutes off the bench, a season high. as the Pistons roster was pruned last night because both Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond did not play. Over the past three games, Rose has been a top 65 player for fantasy, providing points, tres, dimes and steals. The usage rate has been 33 while the percentages have been good from both the field and line. When everyone is healthy, expect top 100-ish production, as he will likely receive around 24 minutes of run per game.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There are few things in life that get me hard and excited. Let’s see, all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ, 9-0 h2h victory for fantasy, PornHub, and watching the LeBron/AD pick-and-roll. I have to add James Harden to the list. I try not to write up the same player for the lede, but Harden is a freaking basketball savant and could be one of the best one-on-one players of all time. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what’s also an all-timer? The Stocktonator. The jumper from downtown is so pure that Skunk Works is reverse engineering it. The handles have caused many of sleepless nights for Ricky Jay. He’s also 6′ 5″ 220 pounds, so he can stampede to the rim against smaller players and big men have no chance on the perimeter, as he just makes them dance. Last night was yet another example of his brilliance:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
55 3 8 2 2 6 10/18 20/34 5/5

This was Harden’s 22nd career game scoring at least 50 points, which is good for fourth all time. Kobe Bryant had 25 while Michael Jordan had 31. Laughably, Wilt Chamberlain posted 118 50-point games!! LOL. Anyways, Harden is the numero uno player for fantasy on the season. He’s AVERAGING 37.9 minutes, 38.7 points, 4.9 tres, 5.9 boards, 7.5 dimes, 2 steals, and is shooting 88% from the line on 14 attempts! The turnovers are sky-high at 5 per game, but the production is so bountiful in the other categories that it is but a fly on the windshield. Are you not Harden excited?

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

What was the address of the house you grew up in? Please include your Social Security number and bank pin number while you’re at it. What about the first apartment you rented? And the motel you lost your virginity at? I kid, I kid. We all have memories about certain addresses in our lives. For some reason, 21 Jump Street is the address that always pops up for me. Anyways, last night, Devin Booker established a new home in New Orleans:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
44 8 9 2 0 5 5/11 13/24 13/13

The festivities at 44 Booker Street lasted for 42 minutes and the new residence was established due to the 139-132 Suns victory over the Pelicans. Booker had a 40-burger back on November 4th and he had scored at least 30 points four other times. With that said, his season seemed a little underwhelming for some. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what’s never underwhelming? The Stocktonator. The usage this season was down to 28 from 32 last year and the PPG dipped to 25 from 26.6. It’s not all about points, though, for Booker, although he can obviously access 40 to 50-burger ceiling. Booker is a top 30 player for fantasy this season beause he’s shooting 94% from the free line and 50% from the field, with the 6.3 dimes, 3.9 boards, and 2.3 tres. He just needs to contribute the defensive stats. If he can do that, he’d easily be a top 20 player.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Now that Thanksgiving is in the rearview mirror, all hands are on deck for Christmas. The neighbors adorn the houses with electric bling, the empty lots are filled with trees standing in Terracotta formation, and we all become tolerant of elevator music. It’s a happy time indeed. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know how you can always be happy? By using the Stocktonator. In fact, one could say that it’s a jubilant time with voices singing Jingle Bells and hands literally jingling bells. Guess who was jubilant and jingled something last night in the NBA?

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
31 4 2 1 2 2 2/8 10/19 9/9

Jaren Jackson Jr. was unbelievable. The 31 points were a season-high and he jingled the stat box to make sure there was a little something something in each box. He was in foul trouble….again….What else is new? But at least he was able to navigate around it. Now, before you take off your clothes and run around jingling your parts, know that Jonas Valanciunas and Brandon Clarke were both unable to play. Coach Jenkins had no choice but to leave him out there. With that said, this is the ceiling that JJJ can access. He’s young, but it’s only a matter of time before he contributes these kind of lines on a consistent basis. Don’t expect that to happen this season, so expect the inconsistencies, but mental masturbate over what the future entails.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When Kyrie Irving went down to injury on November 14, the Nets lost their leader. The fantasy community lost its leader. And hope was starting to look bleak for the upcoming stretch of games without the explosive veteran running the point.

But Spencer Dinwiddie has not missed a beat. In the eight games that he’s started in place of Irving, he has averaged 24.5 points, 7.8 assists, three boards, a steal, and a block per game. He’s shooting 93% from the line with a decent sample size of 7.5 attempts per game. He has limited his turnovers to 2.4 per game. The only knock has been his efficiency from the field (42.4%) and from deep (34%), but all things considered, Dinwiddie is deserving of many thanks from his teammates.

His teammates were especially thankful last night, as he was giving at a particularly generous rate and recorded the following stat line:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
32 5 11 2 2 4 6-8 10-19 6-6

His 11 dimes led the NBA (along with LeBron and Luka), and his sharp-shooting from deep led the Nets to a great win over the division-rival Celtics. Here’s what else happened around the league on Friday night.

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I enjoy the Star Wars franchise. Except for Jar Jar Binks. That was the nut low. Whoever green lighted Jar Jar must be banished from Hollywood forever. If it was George Lucas, then so be it. At least The Mandalorian is fun. Anyways, The Force was always a concept that intrigued me. The little angel on my left shoulder (which shoulder does the angel stand on for you?) would show me all the good I could do with the power, while the little devil on my right shoulder would whisper sweet nothings into my ear and open my eyes to all the glory and fun I’d have. There was also the whole moving objects with the mind thing. In the real world, the concept of the Force does exist. The mind is a powerful thing and can make the unimaginable real. There are those that are able to access parts of the brain that most cannot, and do extraordinary things as a result. With that said, there always exist charlatans to deceive and exploit. O. G. Anunoby is not one of them. In fact, the Force is strong in him.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
13 12 1 2 0 3 3/5 5/11 0

It’s taken some time, but in his third year, Anunoby is breaking out. Hey! Anakin was trained for a decade or so and many Jedis trained for even longer. Granted, Luke learned quickly, but he was a protege. On the season, Anunoby is a top 65 player for fantasy. He provides some points, tres, boards, steals, and blocks. The dimes are light and the free throw shooting is poor, but the field goal percentage is high. Is he on the same arc as teammate Pascal Siakam? Well, both are similar physically and both were known as athletes who could play defense but were offensively challenged. After his rookie season, Siakam finished as the 258th player for fantasy. The following year, he improved to 188th. In the third-year breakout, he was the 41st player for fantasy. Anunoby was the 283th player his rookie year. The second year, he finished as the 287th player. He’s now the 65th player. Not exactly the same path, but both broke out in the third year.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?