The young season has already provided some serious ups and downs, surprises, and plenty of excitement. We’ve seen several 50-point games, a Derrick Rose time machine experience, some thrilling overtime finishes, and one Javale McGee three-pointer.
One thing I don’t get is why players need rest when they have been chilling on the beaches of Jamaica, hanging out in Paris, or making some extra change running basketball camps, which they don’t really run, but is a way for their high school buddies to capitalize on their name and make a few dollars.
Yet, here they are resting in week 2. Gordon Hayward, I get. I certainly don’t get Kawhi resting. He rested all last year!
In this piece, I will provide some info on the basketball and fantasy trends of the teams in the Association. We will start this week with the teams located on the Left Coast.
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!
We have arrived at the Top 200. Another 100 and we’d be defending The Hot Gates of Thermopylae. For the totality of my rankings, I went 331 deep, but will only blurb about the Top 200. Next week, I will release the complete list with the help of Rudy’s wizardry.
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!
I’m going to take a break from numbers this week. A break from Trey Burke, Quinn Cook, and Denzel Valentine impacting fantasy playoff teams infinitely more than Steph Curry, Demarcus Cousins, and Kawhi Leonard. A break from dealing with players on tanking teams sitting indefinitely every time someone steps on their toe, or from players on playoff teams resting without notice. Heck, a break from the NCAA tournament that only has one projected lottery pick left to watch.
This is probably going to most interest dynasty and keeper league players, but those already itching to rank and project players for next season will find this intriguing, too. Today, I’m going to look at who this summer’s free agents are. That period from the draft (draft lottery only 47 days away!) through the first week of free agency is probably my favorite on the NBA calendar, since about a third of the league seems to change teams. So many new dynamics to consider for so many teams. The impact on fantasy is huge, too. I’m definitely no insider with information to help predict who’s going where, but I do find it helpful to know whose value is likely to remain the same and whose has a wide range of outcomes. The latter are often good targets if you need to get risky to improve your keeper/dynasty team over the summer. Do you have a Terry Rozier type that would gain a ton of value if he moved on to a starting role? Is he free to do so? Also, remember to think of which teammates might be affected by these players should they change teams. For example, are the players blocking Mario Hezojna’s path to more minutes likely to get out of his way? Then again, might LeBron, PG13, and CP3 all be coming to your player’s team to squash his usage? Here are the most fantasy relevant free agents. Wow, this summer could be a big one.
What’s up Razzballers? Fan favourite Aaron Gordon had a monster line, destroying the lowly Suns to the tune of 29/11/8/3/1 on 10-for-18 FG (3-for-6 3P, 6-for-9 FT) and three TOs. It was a clean and lethal stat line, and exactly the kind that you needed on the Saturday of your playoff semifinals. AG’s been a beast since his return and I really hope you stashed him where you could. Anyway, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:
Nants ingonyama bagithi baba…..Sithi uhhmm ingonyama. Anyone recognize? How about now?
Now, let me make a few alterations and….Voila! Nants inKemba bagithi baba….Sithi uhhmm inKemba. Translation? There comes a Kemba…..Oh yes, it’s a Kemba. At least I think that’s how it translates. Anyways, Kemba Walker was the King last night. King of the court. King of the Grizzlies. And King of the hearts of fantasy owners everywhere…..at least the ones that had him on their squads.
He did all of that in 28 minutes, outscoring the Grizzlies 17-14 in the first quarter. He almost outscored them for the half, but fell 7 points short of the feat (42-35). The Kembas defeated the Grizzlies by 61 points! 140-79. Insert Ron Burgundy impressed meme. For all the other contestants in the 2018 Tankathon, take notes and watch the tape. That’s how you tank. As for Kemba, he had been struggling a bit, failing to eclipse the 25 point threshold in eight straight games. With that said, he does have three 40-burgers on the season, so the potential is always there. I’m just not sure he’s going to get crazy run down the stretch, as the Hornets are out of the playoff picture and will want to get the young kids more playing time.
For playoff bound teams, every win at this point in the season is huge. This was not only a big win for the Washington Wizards, it was avoiding a terrible loss. Yes, they are missing All-Star point guard John Wall, but the Boston Celtics were starting someone named Guerschon Yabusele.
I did some digging and discovered that Mr. Yabusele, before donning a jersey and being announced with the Celtics’ starting five, was one of those giant security guards that stand at the bottom of each staircase with their arms crossed and their backs to the court during the game. In fact, prior to playing 18 minutes in last night’s double-OT loss against the Wizards, the most exciting thing to ever happen to Guerschon on a basketball court was high-fiving Marky Mark Wahlberg after a Kyrie Irving game winner.
The Celtics may have ultimately lost the game, but to get as close as they did is a real testament to just how much the Wizards play down to an opponent’s level. I am pretty sure a Division II high school basketball team could take Washington down to the wire.
Besides the Wizards almost losing the Celtics G-League squad, here is what else I saw last night:
The Player Rater is a tool to evaluate the performance of a player with only one number. This is not a perfect tool and will not guarantee victory in fantasy, but this is useful to help improve and evaluate your team.
In each category of scoring, a number is calculated to represent the average total in that category. If a player has the average, his rating in that category is 0.00. The numbers represent how much a player is above or below the average.
If the rating is positive, that player is an above-average fantasy player in that category. If the rating is negative that player is below-average. The sum of all ratings in each category gives us a number (the PR), and then we rank the players accordingly.
I have not included turnovers, as the evaluation in PR is very controversial in my opinion, so if you’re in a league with turnovers, you must keep in mind this.
Russell Westbrook gets triple-doubles so often that I think most fans take for granted the greatness that we are witnessing. Like NBA history making greatness. Last night, Russ picked up the 100th triple-double of his career, as he led the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 16-0 run late in the fourth quarter to seal the victory over the lowly Atlanta Hawks in a game they were supposed to win.
Westy scored 32 points, dropped 12 dimes, and pulled down 12 rebounds to become the third-fastest player to reach the 100 trip-dub mark. Only Oscar Robertson (277 games) and Magic Johnson (656 games) got to number 100 quicker than Russ, who accomplished the feat in just his 736th game. These stats tell me two things: 1) Russell Westbrook is really awesome and we are lucky to be able to witness his greatness and 2) The Big O was friggin’ unbelievable! 277 games? I mean, what? Nikola Jokic better hurry if he wants to even come close to sniffing that kind of epic-ness.
LeBron James, the so called “King,” has played in over 1,000 NBA games and he is not really even that close to 100 triple-doubles (ok, he’s pretty close, but still). I am saying (typing) all of this in an effort to put Westbrook’s greatness in perspective (because I am sensing that he is not getting the kind of love he deserves, most likely because ya’ll jealous of the man’s killer threads and overall sense of style). But anyway, yeah he’s good. Russell Westbrook also only trails Robertson (181), Johnson (138), and Jason Kidd (107) on the career triple-double list and trails only Kidd on the my head’s shaped like a basketball list.
However, since we are a fantasy basketball website I will stop boring you with general NBA history and give you Russ’ final line from last night: 0/32/12/12/1/1. I know, zero threes, what a bum.