Let’s get one thing straight from the jump — until the Sacramento Kings actually conclude the year with a top-6 record (or top-10, if you must) and qualify for the Playoffs in the Western Conference, there is reason to be suspicious that this is finally their year. Yes, at 27-19 they’re currently the number three team in the West, the leader of the Pacific Division, and the winningest team in California. And yes, their overall net rating of +2.7 is good enough for seventh in the NBA, ahead of recent Finals participants like the Bucks, Suns, and Warriors. But these are still the Sacramento Kings, right? Owners of the longest playoff drought in basketball (16 years and counting) and the franchise most closely associated with mismanagement, bad ideas, and poor execution. Dysfunction has been living in the capital city for a long time, and the legacy of failure cannot be overlooked until absolutely proven otherwise. Skepticism, a necessary body armor for long-suffering fans, is warranted and advisable. All that said, there’s also reason to believe the worm has finally turned. 

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It was tough to enjoy watching my Ducks eek out the Holiday Bowl Wednesday because every commercial break was chock full of warnings about shingles. I have never known anyone in my life getting shingles, and after that I’m convinced all of us are getting it next year. 

On Friday night, however, Minnesota had to deal with a case of the non-viral irritation known as Ingles: Joe Ingles. [Wow, Phil, way to send off 2022 with the oddest lede/transition yet.] In his sixth game back from injury, Ingles played a season-high 25 minutes and banked 14 points (5-9 FG, 4-7 3pt), 5 boards and 10 assists, and was a major factor for the Bucks in the second half, as Milwaukee pulled away from Minnesota in a 123-114 win. Ingles probably won’t garner enough minutes when Jrue Holiday and Middleton play, but is worth adding to the streamer board as needed. 

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Hello Razzball Nation! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, stuffing your faces and spending some quality time with family. With that wholesome fun over with, it’s time to make some money. Welcome to yet another massive NBA DFS slate for Wednesday. There are 13 games tonight so as always, my #1 piece of advice is to be up to date on injuries. With this many games there are bound to be great value opportunities.

Let’s get down to it. Pricing is always (Fanduel/DraftKings). I mostly play tournaments and my picks will always bias towards volatility and upside.

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Here’s a story of a man with two first names, who hit the age of 30, an age when most players say goodbye to their primes and buckle up for the descent below. And descend the man with two first names did, playing in 58 and 58 games the next two seasons. Many called him injury-prone and swore him off for fantasy. Father Time leaned back in the La-Z-Boy chair, grabbed the bowl of popcorn and just waited. But the man with two first names spit in the face of Father Time and proceeded to play 70, 70 and 65 games in his age 34, 35 and 36 seasons. So far this season, the man with two first names has missed five of 15 games and caused much consternation for those who drafted him. “We can squeeze one more year out of him!!!”, they said. It’s akin to having one taco left with no more freshly cut limes. You rummage through the whole table and squeeze every last drop out of what’s left. Anyways, the pain that has been felt by the Chris Paul owners has been nothing but elation for the Cameron Payne truthers. Over the last five games, he’s averaged 33.5 minutes, 15.6 field goal attempts, 20 points, 3 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 1.2 steals. On Sunday:

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Welcome, Razzball Nation! We continue our weekly dive into uncovering value for players who, at the infancy stage of the season, have yet to yield the dividends envisioned on draft day. For those new to the column, allow me to again go over what the criteria is to be a player featured here. I look for players who are performing well below, not only their ADP (average draft position), but historical production as well. I search for pathways that could indicate improvement, such as heavy minutes and/or increased usage.

This week we are in the 6ix, The T Dot, The North or whatever other nickname you are familiar with when describing Toronto.

Heavy Drizzy Drake quotables afoot.

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Darius Garland returned to the Cavaliers, putting up 29 points and 12 assists in a close victory over the Boston Celtics. In both games where Garland and Donovan Mitchell have played the Cavs bigs have struggled to score. Jarrett Allen had 15 points last night while Evan Mobley had 14, both were below regular season averages. As for the Celtics, it’s hard to win games when Jayson Tatum shoots 8-21 from the field. On a positive note his defensive numbers were quite solid last night: nine defensive rebounds and four blocks. 

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As the early part of the NBA 2022-23 season churns on, a lot of storylines and off-the-court drama permeates. Some of these were built off the back from previous seasons; the trending bewilderment of Ben Simmons, the Lakers continued struggles while inadvertently tanking for Wembanyama while the Pelicans have the rights to their first-round pick also remains a bold strategy. Kyrie Irving is still a hateful idiot. But there are also new and interesting storylines being created right now, like the Jazz competing with the Spurs and TrailbBlazers for the number one seed (early, but you can talk about it!), the Clippers being a mess, the resurgence of James Harden… and the Bucks continue their quest for 82-0, squeaking out a win last night. While there’s a lot to ridicule (mostly the Nets), there’s a lot of interesting items both on and off the court that have made this season already special. Here’s what else I saw last night:

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The Sacramento Kings get their first season victory, leaving the Los Angeles Lakers as the only winless team remaining.
Kings got strong play from rookie forward Keegan Murray, who was finished second on the team in scoring with 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field; De’Aaron Fox was also very active on the glass as he led all players with 13 rebounds along with his 17 points.
Miami Heat big man Bam Adebayo finished with 23 points, six rebounds, four assists, and two blocks in 37 minutes before fouling out.
A notable statistic for the Heat is that while Tyler Herro led all players with 22 shot attempts, veteran leaders Kyle Lowry and Jimmy Butler only combined for 19 attempts.

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Long-suffering Kings fans are back on the hopium, and since 2006 was the last time we witnessed playoff basketball in Sacramento, who can blame them? But after February’s blockbuster trade, an outstanding Summer League performance from their first round pick, and a pair of free agent guard acquisitions, there is a sense that the optimism is warranted.  On paper, the Kings have a more focused roster built around the playmaking abilities of De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis.  They get a fresh start to a season after shedding players who didn’t want to be there – Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley III.  They have arguably more depth with Richaun Holmes shifting to the bench, Malik Monk playing significant minutes off the pine, and Davion Mitchell continuing to develop.  They have a new head coach in Mike Brown who will seek pull them out of the bottom half of the defensive rankings.  This time may be different…

Please, blog, may I have some more?