The fantasy hoops world is one of diversity, danger, and drip. Some parts of the world are in constant drought with bricks raining down from the heavens. In others, there are only waterfalls that splash to the rhythm of a metronome. Tucked on the highest peak in the most remote part of the world lies a pantheon of extraordinary magnitude: The Nikola Pantheon. Nikola Jokic has been sitting on its iron throne for much of the season, as he has been the numero uno player in fantasy hoops. Nikola Vucevic has been valiantly trying to unseat Jokic. While he’s been a tier below Jokic for much of the season, there have been moments when the guardians of the Nikola Pantheon have discussed making it a timeshare. Last night, Vucevic went for 32 points, 17 boards, five dimes, and one block while shooting 14-for-29 from the field and 4-of-7 from downtown. Jokic went for 27 points, eight boards, 11 dimes, one steal, and one block in only 27 minutes. What a Jokic! Vucevic is the number 11 player for fantasy and has been narrowing the gap somewhat, but the divide is still a massive one. The iron throne on the Nikola Pantheon is no joke as it will be inhabited by Jokic for the foreseeable future.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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I have so many questions regarding the porn industry. Do the actors get royalty fees? Do they get paid by the hour? Salary? Per orgasm? 401k? Dental? Health insurance? Are performance-enhancing drugs allowed? Are there rivalries? I have too much time on my hands. I mean, I uh, had too much time on my hands. Anyways, I have no questions regarding Collin Sexton of the Bulls. He’s a professional hucker and chucker. Sometimes they go in. Other times they go clang. Last night, though….

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
36 3 4 2 0 6 6/9 13/24 4/6

….as he led the Cavs to a 116-105 victory over the Raptors. Sexton has attempted 24, 25, and 20 shot attempts in the last three games. On the season, he’s attempted 20 shots in a game 12 times. He’s failed to score in double figures just once this season, has gone for 20 points 28 times with four of those 30-burgers and a high of 42 points. Sexton will contribute some steals, tres, boards, and some dimes, but no blocks. The field goal percentage is a respectable 48% while he’s converting 80% of his free-throw attempts. On the season, Sexton is a top 100 player.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Knicks, after getting walloped by the Bucks, took care of business against a Thunder team without their star in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and one of their key young guys in Darius Bazley. 

Julius Randle posted a triple-double after a lackluster return to action against Milwaukee the other night. He scored 26, assisted 12 times, and grabbed 12 boards on top of two steals. RJ Barrett also continued his excellent form with a nice 32 piece and stealing the ball three times. Immanuel Quickley also had an eye-catching game since he racked up 33 minutes of playing time with Derrick Rose and Elfrid Payton not being available for this game. IQ scored 21 points on the back of three triples. 

The Thunder had a balanced scoring effort since they had eight players hit double digits in points. The young Frenchman Theo Maledon scored ten, had two triples, and dished out three assists. Fan-favorite, Lu Dort, scored 14 and grabbed six rebounds with five assists and Al Horford contributed with 16 points and five boards. A new hopeful in the world of fantasy who seems primed to come into a bigger role now in the second half of the season after the dust from the trade deadline settles is Aleksej Pokusevski who scored a measly four points but grabbed seven rebounds with two assists. I think we can expect much better from Poku moving forward. 

The Knicks pick up a much-needed win here ahead of a brutal second half scheduling-wise while the Thunder continue their development in a season where they have exceeded all expectations.

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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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As we approach the All-Star break it is likely increasingly difficult to find value either in a trade or off the wire. No matter what format you play in, be it weekly, head to head, or rotisserie, one of my favourite strategies is unearthing a player who is playing below their potential and executing a deal to obtain said player.

At this point in the season, rosters become hard-wired and GMs may exercise patience with their underperforming player as they have a large sample size of production to reference. However, if you are persistent and do your due diligence you will discover value in your league. This column’s intent is to be a curator of sorts, doing some of that research for you to deliver a player that I believe can be a positive contributor to your team and help increase your position as you move towards your championship aspirations.

My hope for you is that this player is one you are able to obtain before the break and have with you for the second half of the season.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Cleveland Cavaliers upset the Sixers tonight in an overtime confrontation. Impressive win by the Cavs. 

SexLand combined for 53 points (28 from Collin Sexton, 25 from Darius Garland). Garland also provided nine assists while Sexton stole the ball three times. Their big man of the future, Jarrett Allen, put up another double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds while also blocking one shot. The rookie Isaac Okoro also had a good outing with 15 points, eight rebounds, and three steals. 

MVP front runner, Joel Embiid, had another spectacular performance scoring 42 points and grabbing 13 rebounds, while Ben Simmons had a near triple double with a 24/7/8 statline. Danny Green had a peculiar game scoring nine points but swatting three shots and stealing the ball twice. 

The Sixers seemed to miss that extra spark besides Embiid and Simmons, and that could have been the cause of this tough loss for them.  

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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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If you are curious about the title of the article, I divert your attention to the “Buy” entry about Cody Zeller. He is the Balding Mamba. He has always been the Balding Mamba. [Son’s note: There is only one Bald Mamba in the world, and that is Alex Caruso]

In the introduction, I want to touch on something totally different. Today’s NBA and the volatility of team rosters through trades makes it all the more difficult for cool player duos to develop together and have the narrative that they stay on the same team and help it grow to compete. The duo of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry was one of the few exceptions in Toronto, where it was obvious that they enjoyed a great friendship off the court as well. DeRozan’s trade to the Spurs may have brought a championship to Toronto but it also split the dynamic duo. Regardless, DeRozan didn’t miss the chance to roast his old friend in the wake of Fred VanVleet breaking his record for most points scored by a Raptor.

It is always nice to see the human side of these superstars and to understand that many of them are ordinary people behind the veil of fame that comes naturally with the job.

Regarding last week’s suggestions, Wayne Ellington, unfortunately, cooled off a lot after his lights out performances from beyond the arc, Ivica Zubac and T.J.McConnell were both serviceable while Danilo Gallinari confirmed his spot as a “Sell” candidate that can even be dropped at this point.

Please, blog, may I have some more?