Each NBA franchise participated in a handful of exhibition games designed to determine who will receive meaningful minutes when the games count, see which rookies have the moxie to handle the men they are trying to steal jobs from, figure out which two-way players will be relegated to the G-league, and ascertain whether preseason really deserves a hyphen or not. Coaches agonize over different rotations, who can play with who, what offensive sets might work, who is smart enough to make defensive decisions in the wink of an eye, and whose agent was lying when he said their player had been putting up 3,000 three pointers a day in an effort to improve their range. All this is done while those same coaches secretly plead in their inside brain, “Please God, don’t let anybody get hurt, sleep with another player’s girlfriend, or be swayed by their buddy from the 4th grade to think that they truly deserve 15 shots per game.” All of those could significantly change rotation plans, kill that elusive team chemistry, or generally cause chaos.

So after the past week of games, we are here to answer or try to answer the following questions:

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One game away. That’s how close I was to basking in the glory of predicting a Celtics Rockets NBA Final. Instead, everyone who went chalk, was right. Without being selfish, one game away is more importantly how close the Celtics were from appearing in the NBA Finals. Without Gordon Hayward for the entire season. Without Kyrie Irving for the playoffs. It makes sense then that a team of this caliber, in the Eastern Conference that just lost the best player in the NBA, would stand pat and run it back for the 2018-19 season. With a great combination of youth and veterans, the Celtics are primed for a deep playoff run.

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The full crew is back as Son, Brent, Craig, and I hit a wide range of topics in this marathon of a podcast. We start off with recent news, including the Devin Booker injury, before debating some other players such as Kyrie Irving and Zach LaVine. We have a lot of talk about draft strategy before looking at an expert mock draft Son did to point out mistakes that some owners made. All of that and more on the latest edition of the Razzball Basketball Podcast!

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Average. Middle. Meh? I guess it all depends on perception. Someone born into poverty would be praised if he/she achieved average economic status. On the flip side, if you are a one-percenter, I assume that average would prompt seppuku. Average is often associated with boring. He/she was average in the sack. The higher above the line probably correlates well with intenstity of orgasm. For flip side? Supplant higher with lower. Why does average get such a bad rap? It ain’t great, but it puts food on the table. It often gives 1.5 children and a white picket fence, if you are so inclined to have either. With that said, we are a “what have you done for me lately” society. We are all about celebrating the highs, while conveniently eschewing the trials and tribulations. Well, yesterday Joe Harris was not your Average Joe.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 30 7 2 1 0 1 6/7 11/14 2/2

The CLE defense is atrocious, but let’s not forget about the……REVENGE!!!! Harris was drafted by the Cavaliers back in 2014. He played two seasons there, never averaging more than 10 points or scoring 3 points a game. During the 2016 season, though, Joe underwent surgery on his foot and was traded to ORL a week later. Then he was immediately waived. BKN picked him up and the rest, as they say, is history. Two years with the Nets has produced…..wait for it (an homage to HIMYM)…..average results. This season, in particular, Joe is averaging 10.3 points, 3.3 boards, 1.5 dimes, and 1.8 downtowners in 25.1 minutes a game. He’s scored double figures in 41 of 71 games played, but has not eclipsed the 20 point threshold once. Anyways, I clowned him earlier in the season, but Harris is no Average Joe, and the Nets don’t think so either. Even with all the wing players that they have, Joe has been getting consistent playing time for most of the season. He can shoot and is able to drive strong to the rack and finish. An Average Joe on most nights, but yesterday, he was anything but.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

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Just three weeks left in the NBA regular season. Man, how quickly time flies. Seems like just yesterday when preseason rankings were all the hype and Anthony Davis was viewed as more of a top 8 than top 5 player.

Boy, were we wrong. The Brow’s averages during this month are 31.2/0.8/12.7/1.9/1.8/3.4/2.5 on 52.5%/87.2% shooting and he has already played 64 games on the season. Utterly ridiculous performances all around and we might be witnessing one of the strongest fantasy months of all time. Many fantasy teams that will win it all this year will have him on their roster and it will be hard to take him anywhere below no 1 in next year’s drafts. Thoughts and prayers to all the owners that have to face him in the fantasy playoffs.

As per usual, starting with a quick recap of last week’s suggestions, Terry Rozier is currently getting all the minutes he can handle in Boston and will continue to produce even when Kyrie Irving returns, so congrats if you added him for the stretch run. I was also very impressed with Corey Brewer, who continues to defy expectations with a great week in which he averaged 3.7 steals and 14.3 points and was the 13th best player in fantasy during this span. Kyle O’Quinn’s contribution in the blocks department was also steady with 1.7 and he even helped in other categories with 9.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals. Finally, Allen Crabbe missed all but one game this week and, although, he was very efficient, he is just too inconsistent for my taste while Ish Smith’s minimal appeal is officially nonexistent with Reggie Jackson returning to the Pistons starting lineup.

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What do you think of when you hear the phrase “messing around?” Perhaps a joke. Maybe it takes you back to high school. First base. Second base. Third base with Peggy Sue or Billy Bob. How about Ice Cube when he called up the homies and asked them which park are y’all playin’ basketball? Whatever it may be, “messing around” is not associated with being of the serious variety. For fun. For shits and giggles. For Russell Westbrook? “Messing around” ain’t no joke. It’s 100% pedal to the metal. It’s I’m going to dunk on your head and shoot in your eye. It’s I’m grabbing every rebound because the ball is mine. That reminds me of Shaq’s T.W.I.S.M. Any of you remember that? Ha! Anyways, for Russ, it’s I’m dishing every dime because I will not be denied of my stat orgy. Yesterday, Russ notched his 102nd career triple dub.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
37 13 14 2 0 5 1/1 15/22 6/8

That’s now five straight triple-dubs. For the season, he’s 0.3 rebounds shy of AVERAGING a triple-dub, which would make back-to-back seasons of accomplishing the feat. Damn, Russ ain’t no joke, espccially when it comes to “messing around.”

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

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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:

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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.

If you have any question let me know.

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