How did you read the title to this post? Was it, “Oh, What a Night!” or was it, “Oh, What a Night…” because we got both last night. The NBA was finally back after a crazy offseason and provided matchups that had us all salivating: Boston vs Cleveland and Houston vs Golden State. Hot diggidy! Unfortunately, the story of the night was the gruesome injury to Gordon Hayward. Last night was finally having great sex with the “crush.” Not having to do the walk of shame. Making it to the morning. Even going out to the local joint for breakast. Then…..the “crush” goes Exorcist and pukes all over your food, clothes, and the table….with some chunks causing collatoral damage to the innocent byeaters. Get well soon Hayward. Our thoughts are with you. Since this is a fantasy website, we have to get into the impact of injury. The Celtics started the game with Kyrie Irving at PG, Gordon Hayward at SG, Jaylen Brown at SF, Jayson Tatum at PF, and Al Horford at C. With Marcus Morris injured, I’d imagine that they continue to play small ball with Tatum at PF, Brown at SF, and Marcus Smart at SG. Terry Rozier would receive elevated minutes backing up both Kyrie and Smart.

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UPDATED: 10/9/2017

Man, you guys don’t even know. There’s been a mob outside my house every night for the past two weeks carrying tiki torches and screaming, “We want the Top 200 with stats!” Or at least I think that’s what they were saying. Anyways, big shout out to Rudy who waved his magic wand and created the beautiful looking spreadsheet below. It even sorts. Here is Rudy in his lab:

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There are a ton of elite point guards that will be taken in the first three rounds of your draft. From Russell Westbrook to Mike Conley, there are not enough guys to go around for everybody. Okay, maybe there are, but nobody in any league I’ve ever been in was into sharing. There are even elite wings that will get you point-guard-like assists. This is mainly Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James, but can even apply to guys like Kevin Durant and Jimmy Butler.

But what happens if you’re picking in round 3 and you haven’t gotten an elite assist getter yet?

Do you panic? No.

Do you reach? Not for a point guard, but maybe for your beer (unless it’s Bud Light– if it’s Bud Light you throw that shit in the trash and re-evaluate.)

This is where you can adopt the “punt assist” strategy. This punt strategy often gets overlooked by more common punting strategies such as punting free throws, but it’s very helpful if the assist dominoes don’t fall in your favour the first few rounds. Here are some guys to target if you decide to go down the punt assist route, and how your team should shape up by the end of the draft.

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If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? A philosophical thought that has taken too much of our time, to be honest. We now live in an age filled with technology, so it’s all about sending the screen shot or providing video evidence. An event does not exist until a selfie is procured. We ain’t got time for the bullshit. Now, the time consuming question is “Photoshopped?” Anyways, the purpose of today’s post is to provide the predictions for the upcoming NBA season from your favorite Razzball writers. Who will be shamed? Who will be exalted? Regardless, we shall forever be etched into the annals of Razzball history….that is until I edit the post at the end of the season. Someone better screen shot this mofo!

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One of my all-time favorite movies is Rounders. Matt Damon and Ed Norton talking all smooth and playing poker in cool-looking clubs with John Malkovich spouting repeatable lines in… sort of a Russian accent. Plus, there’s a great Counting Crows song during the credits that I’ve never been able to find anywhere. Anyway, Damon’s Mike McD is the relatively good boy, while Norton’s Worm is the slimier friend.

After Worm gets them beat up with all their cash stolen for having been caught cheating, the gloves come off in an overdue shouting match between the old friends.

Mike McDermott: What the F*** were you thinking?

Worm: I was trying to give us an edge… …I don’t think like that.

Mike McD: No, you don’t THINK!

Worm: No, I don’t think like YOU! You always think you can beat the game straight up. That’s not me. I told you, I’m always gonna look for that edge. Always.

As much as Mike is the better role model, if you’re picking from the two gambling addicts, in fantasy basketball you want to be like Worm. Even if you tried, you can’t cheat in most leagues, but you want to be the one thinking differently, finding your edge. Last week, I mentioned ways to make your league more engaging. From here on out, I’ll give you ways to get an edge in your league by using the numbers to your advantage. These next two weeks leading up to the season, we’ll talk drafting.

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Let me start by saying this: do not go into a draft planning on building a punt FT (or punt anything for that matter) team. Never. Don’t. You aren’t being smarter than everybody else. You’re playing yourself. Unless you’re a late draft pick in a 36-team league, it’s probably not gonna work for you.

Also, never decide to build a punt FT team just because a punt FT guy falls a bit. I made this mistake last year and took Drummond in one of my leagues, after having Davis and Porzingis already on my roster. My thought process was, “I can definitely make some trades to make this work.” I did get Gobert, which helped, but throwing away a category to get better at stats your fantasy team already generates is, not only inefficient, it’s frustrating.

On top of this, do not draft guys when building a punt FT team just because they’re bad at free throws. I can not stress this enough. The point of drafting is to build a team that can win as many categories for you as possible, not to see how bad you can lose one. It’s comical how often people (myself included) try to see how bad they can get their FT percentage, thinking that they’re outplaying everyone else. You guys think this article is for you, it’s actually for me. I’m just trying to hold myself accountable when I’m drafting.

So when do you build a punt FT team? The simple answer is: when it helps you. What I’m hoping this article does is give you some scenarios when building a punt FT team makes sense. If you’re stubborn and are gonna go ahead and build one anyway, I’ll also give some advice on how to round out your team.

Wait, I forgot the most important piece of information you’ll see in this article. How the hell are there NBA players shooting less than 50% from the FT line? Seriously. I can’t wrap my head around it. That’s like an illiterate writer. That’s like a runner that can’t walk. That’s like the restaurant I used to work at who’s name was Burger’s etc. and stopped selling burgers. So many confused customers, just like there must be so many confused NBA fans.

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The text came in: “We doing the basketball league again this year?”

While fantasy basketball is greater even than sliced bread, it can get a bit stale… uh, like the much vaunted bread. It was October, many years ago, and my league of high school buddies, with a few buddies of buddies having replaced original buddies that had dropped out (you know how it goes), was feeling way less awesome than a fantasy basketball league should. The half that paid close attention rose to the top every year. It was time, yet again, to wonder if the auto-drafters that only made a handful of moves and never responded to trade proposals would sign up again so we could at least fill out the league… yawn.

This year’s unofficial season-opening text came in: “Zizic is tearin’ it up, even after the trade to Darussafaka. *You chumps are toast next year.”

*actual trash-talk was likely dirtier and more clever.

But this was in January. And we truly cared about Ante Zizic’s line in a Turkish league. This was much better.

How did we get there? How do you light a fire under your league-mates hot enough to send them on an adrenaline-fueled, non-literal, Jerian Grant-over-that-dude-from-G-Tech-ian trip to the rack?

Hi, my name is Tad, and I’m a new writer here. I’m a bball geek and a statistical nerd. My goal is to provide you with as many advantages as possible so that you can win your league(s) and love fantasy basketball more than ever, even if you don’t. I’m going to run the numbers for you and show you where you can get an edge in drafts, trades, and acquisitions. Let’s start with a relatively simple example. Using last year’s ESPN 8-Category Player Rater data, adjusted for a free throw punt team, you might only be mildly surprised to learn that LeBron James was the 2nd most valuable player on a per game basis. But, can you believe that, per game, Dwight Howard would have been more valuable to your team than Isaiah Thomas or Kyrie Irving? And, you probably could’ve gotten LeBron and Dwight for Isaiah at just about any point last season once Mr. Irrelevant took it to MVP-candidate levels. Hopefully, I’ll also inspire you to run some numbers of your own so that you can customize player values to your specific leagues and teams. But this week, as the season draws near, I first want to get you and your league more excited and invested than you’ve been in a while.

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I can not wait for the Cleveland Lebrons to start the season. There is going to be so much pettiness, so much drama, so much F U-ness, and….so many wins. The Lebrons went 35-47 his rookie year. The next year they improved to 42-40. Those were the only years the Lebrons did not make the playoffs. Including those two years, the Lebrons went 349-225 (61% win percentage) with two 60+ win seasons and two 50 win seasons. Then, the Decision happened. The Cavaliers proceeded to go 97-215 (31% win percentage) with only one season above 30 wins. When Lebron returned, 161-85 (65% win percentage) with three seasons above 50 wins and the team’s first NBA Championship. I truly believe that this is Lebron’s last season in Cleveland. Remember this? I remember Lebron saying, “Even my wife was like, my momma and my wife was like, ‘I’m not with that.’ My mom was definitely like, ‘[expletive] that, we ain’t going back.“As I said on the pod, the only way Lebron returns to Cleveland is if Dan Gilbert sells him the team. As a result, he’s going balls to the wall this season. That Brooklyn pick? Lebron is going to use that to get someone. He’s pushing all the chips into the middle of the table to make one final last run. Even if management doesn’t sign off trading the pick, Lebron will morph into Kayser Soze….

Image result for keyser soze gif

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On Tuesday morning, President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge received an email. The sender was: [email protected] You don’t become the President of Basketball Operations for the Boston Celtics by being a dummy. Knowing that it was a scam of some sort, he asked his secretary to dial up the IT department so that they could help him reconfigure the spam folder settings. He saw the light for the IT department flash three times on his state-of-the-art phone before Jane, his secretary, intercommed over that Art was on the line. “Hey Art. This is Danny.” “What can I do for you, sir?” See, Art, I received this email from a Nigerian prince this morning and I was wondering if you could fix the problem so I won’t receive these spam emails anymore.” “Sir, did you try shutting the computer on and off?” Just at that moment, Jane intercommed over to say that Koby Altman, general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers, was on the line. “Hey Art. Hold on a sec.” “Hi Koby, what can I do for you?” “Well Danny, I have a problem. You see….” Koby kept talking and talking and talking, but what Danny didn’t know was that the hackers that Dan Gilbert hired over the Dark Web a week earlier figured out a way to hypnotize an individual via their computer screen. Not to get too technical, but it required a specific state-of-the-art phone that had two lines open at the exact time with an email displayed from a particular address emanating from the screen. Unbelievable you say? Then how else can you explain the trade that went down?!

Ok, I kid. Just wanted to have fun with things. Before I get too serious, though, why was the first thing to pop into my head when the trade was announced this song?

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Last week, I gave you my Top 10 for 2017 Fantasy Basketball. Today, I present to you the Top 15 after the Top 10. Since I’ve included the link for the Top 10, it’s technically the Top 25 but not really. Top 15 after Top 10 just doesn’t flow off the tongue properly, so I’ll just go with Top 25. Plus, it’s so cumbersome and annoying for me to write. Similar to if I had to spell out Giannis Antetokounmpo every time. Sure, I could just copy and paste it, but what if I had to copy and paste something else? What if I had to turn off my computer and re-copy and paste? I ain’t got time for that nonsense! Bing! Lightbulb suddenly appears over my head, which is good because my halo is now illuminated. From this day on, I shall call Giannis Antetokounmpo, G. I believe that gets G up to five nicknames now, right? That has to be the dopest nickname of all time. Hear me out. One-names were all the rage back in the day. Cher, Prince, Pele, etc…but then Prince took it to another level by eschewing letters altogether and just going with a symbol. But you know what? A symbol, while cool, is difficult to write. It’s also very difficult to utilize on the computer, although, it’s pretty amazing that people figured out a way to do it. Anyways, G is already on the keyboard. Yes, you do have to press Caps Lock or Shift to get it right, but…damn, you lazy!! Who else do you think of when I say G? When I say G, you say what? G. Anus. See?  No bueno. It’s a good thing no one ever reads intros. Well, at least I will know who didn’t read this intro when I get the inevitable, “What does G stand for?”

As always, big shout-out to Slim, who provided projections and insight.

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