Flashback, if you will, to about three weeks ago — it was colder, snowier, and darker then, I’m sure you remember it — when I reached out to Son with an idea.

Mr. Hooper: I’ve got three words for you, Son: the 2020-2021 Razzball Writers Fantasy Basketball All-Star Team. We’ve got some sharp players in this corner of the Razzverse. Why don’t we poll the writers and have them submit ballots? We can tally the votes, form our own super team, and then present our readers with a fantasy basketball All-Star team from each conference. It will be great!

Son: That’s a lot more than three words, Hoop, but as long as you do the polling and tabulating and writing, I won’t stop you.

How do you not love a guy like that? Such inspiring stuff. Flashforward past doing some research and a half dozen emails about Google Forms and then a few more about Google Sheets, and poof! We’ve got a couple of All-Star teams for you to enjoy/critique/grouse about.

Before we do the big reveal, a few notes about what exactly we’ve done here. The task was to fill out a 12-man ballot for each conference that has: 3 Guards, 3 Forwards, 2 Centers, and 4 Flex positions. It’s also important to keep in mind that we were using 9-category scoring (points, boards, dimes, steals, swats, turnovers, three-pointers made, field goal percentage, and free throw percentage) when punching our ballots. Because it was a collaborative effort to construct each team, I also enlisted my fellow writers to share their thoughts about their favorite All-Stars.

Observant readers will notice that we ended up with more than 12 Eastern Conference All-Stars. It turns out the Leastern Conference is actually pretty stacked (check out Keith’s piece exploring the why) and when it came to the final two flex spots we found ourselves with a five-way tie. Because this is a for-fun exercise and I didn’t have the foresight to create a tie-breaker, we decided to expand the bench and bring all our favorites on board (plus we needed to find a way to get Julius Randle onto this team so Vas could cook.) In this case, asterisks are not scarlet letters for PED users, but signifiers that the player listed was part of that five-way deadlock.

Without further ado, Razzball readers, here are your Eastern Conference Fantasy All-Stars!

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Yep, I’m going to subject you all to my friends and family league yet again. We’re at the midway point of our regular season after today, so I wanted to go back and see where my predictions from the preseason were right and wrong, and which fantasy players are performing better or worse than their average draft position (ADP).

What I hope you can take from this is how to better formulate your strategy in your own leagues, and what seems to work best for people in a relatively average league. Our league is listed as a “silver” league on Yahoo!, which isn’t really scientific but indicates our team levels combined are slightly below the average of “gold.” We have two platinum, one gold, four silver, and five bronze managers. It’s a top-heavy league, which is the case in most scenarios as the people who run the league seem to be far more invested.

Anyways, the below records and rankings are based on if the scores stay the same as they are at the writing of this article. Those are subject to change, but not by much.

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Life is what we make of it. We have to get off our asses and do work. We have to squash the internal hater and give him no light of day. But sometimes the Universe just gives. Back in 2000, I was given seats to the Lakers/Trail Blazers Western Conference Final game from work. I was sitting mid-level right behind the upper right corner of the backboard where Shaq grabbed that alley-oop pass from Kobe. What an amazing game and experience. Thank you, Universe. Last night, we were blessed with another such performance as the Universe took us to Jarrett, as in it was Jarrett Allen night.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
26 17 2 0 3 3 0 11/11 4/7

In 42 minutes! Andre Drummond who? The loss of the unprotected first in 2022 hurts, but Allen is only 22 years old and looks to be a centerpiece for the franchise. Man, Brooklyn sure could use him, but they got freaking James Harden. And herein lies the lesson for today. When trading in your fantasy leagues, in order to get you must give. Same concept my wife and I adhere to. Sure we all would love to get something for nothing but that’s not how shit works. Make mutually beneficial deals. Alright, sorry for veering off-topic. Back to Allen. Over the last four games, he’s been a top 40 player and could finish inside the top 25 because he’s going to score points, grab boards, get his Mutombo on, dish out a few dimes, and has very good percentages (67% from the field and 73% from the line).

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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There’s an argument to made for LaVine or Giannis being the lede tonight (spoiler alert: 40 burgers ahead), but I’m going a different direction in my first ever recap. Karl-Anthony Towns returned to an NBA court last night against the Clippers following his bout with Covid. It’s just the fifth game he’s played this season, and while the line is hardly a stunner by KAT standards, it’s just really good to see this dude back on the floor. The impact that the pandemic has had on his family is well documented, so on a human level, it’s wonderful news that he’s back on his feet. Fantasy players will be rejoicing too, as replacing the sheer volume of goodies KAT provides has been a tall order.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 3PT FG FT
18 10 3 1 0 3 2 8/15 0/0

He played 31 minutes tonight, which should quiet some concerns about conditioning. Whatever. He’s here. Welcome back, KAT!

Here’s what else I saw from last night’s action…

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Now THIS is the Luka we all expect to see, not his bricklaying doppelganger who’s plagued us with his presence too many times this season. It was a proper shootout in Texas last night, with Luka emerging the victor. He’s still only the 22nd-ranked player in fantasy despite projections, but, shooting like this should catapult him back into the top-10 if he can keep it up.

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Another week done in the NBA world and the Philadelphia 76ers are still atop the East with a 16-6 record. The Bucks are in second at 13-8 followed by the Nets at 14-9 while the Celtics are at 11-9 with the Pacers and the Hawks who round off the top six at the time of writing. Teams like the Hornets and the Knicks continue to find themselves battling for those play-in spots and it is looking more and more likely that teams like these are legit while teams like the Heat, who just lost to the Wizards, may be pretenders. Maybe their finals run was just a flash in the pan. I am still not going to count them out, but it is looking increasingly tough for them this season as they just also lost Avery Bradley for 3-4 weeks due to a calf strain. The team I want to bring into the spotlight this week, though, is up north in Wisconsin. Those Milwaukee Bucks. 

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In Brooklyn, the veterans always preferred DeAndre Jordan over him, even though he was better. Now in Cleveland, he’s forced into a timeshare with Andre Drummond and Larry Nance Jr. When will Allen get his due? According to leading armchair psychologists, it was all that pent-up frustration that led to this outburst. In contention for the line of the year so far.

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As most if not everyone knows, the NBA world and sports fans all over commemorated the passing of NBA Legend Kobe Bryant who passed away one year ago on January 26, 2019, in a terrible helicopter crash. In the world of sports, the signature trait that we remember him most by is what is called the Mamba Mentality. In the words of Bryant himself, the Mamba Mentality is the idea of being focused on the task of getting better and being better today than you were yesterday at whatever you want to do in life. But for most NBA fans, the Mamba Mentality is most notably seen in the form of one thing: Getting Buckets when the lights are brightest! So, to commemorate Kobe Bryant and the bucket getter mentality, let us celebrate and praise some of the best bucket getters in the league who showed up and showed out under the bright Friday Night Lights!

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