Inflated line alert! The Thunder and Sixers went into triple overtime and guys in this game were playing minutes in the fifties, so you got some huge lines in this one. No one likes inflated stat lines more than Russell Westbrook! 2-27-18-15-2-0-6. Some guys do that in a week… The Thunder won, in the battle of interconference eighth seeds, but you don’t care about that, its time for the Friday fantasy recap!

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In 2016, Daryl Morey hired Mike D’Antoni as head coach. It was a match made in heaven, as Morey believed that three-pointers, layups, and free throws were the most efficient shots to take. D’Antoni? Did someone say three-pointers? Three-coooooola. The Rockets improved from 41-41 in 2015 to 55-27 with D’Antonio at the helm. They blitzed the league with 115.3 points per game, just 0.6 fewer than the vaunted Golden State Warriors. They hoisted up an absurd 40.3 three-pointers a game and made a league-high 14.4. Then the playoffs happened. After disposing of the Oklahoma City Thunder, D’Antoni and Morey were bested by Greg Popovich. Pop did not figure out the magic formula to shut down the Rockets O. What he did do was disrupt the rhythm and force the Rockets to do what they were most uncomfortable doing: shoot the midrange. Pop would use Kawhi Leonard to chase James Harden all over the court and plant Pau Gasol in the middle of the lane. The other three players would be paparrazi and follow their subjects wherever they went. As a result, three-pointers, layups, and free throws were defended. Everything in the midrange was conceded. Result? Spurs 4. Rockets 2. There was only one option to pursue. Better Call Paul, as in

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For most things in life, more is better. More digits and commas in your bank account is good. When walking down a dark alley, more companions by your side is beneficial. Having more points than an opponent in any competition is usually optimal. For E’Twaun Moore of the New Orleans Pelicans, though, less has been Moore.  In November, Moore was averaging 29.4 minutes per game. So far in December, he’s averaging 37.5 minutes per game. But Son! You said that less is Moore. Patience my grasshoppers. In November, Alvin Gentry had a pretty deep rotation. Nine players were playing over 15 mpg. In December, that number has dropped to seven. See? Less is Moore. Now, what happens when AD can’t play due to injury (shocker)? Three players get 40+ minutes, with another one at 39. Last night against the Houston Rockets, Moore played 42 minutes and went:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 36 3 3 0 0 3 6/8 15/20 0

The 36 points were a career-high and he’s not going to shoot 75% from the field every night. With that said, he’s scored in double digits in seven of the last eight games and, as mentioned above, he’s been playing a ton of minutes. With teams focused on Boogie, Rondo, Holiday, and AD (when he plays), Moore is going to get a ton of open looks. Translation: LESS defensive attention equals MOORE points.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Good morrow to thee, neighbours! It was a fun night for hoops, especially if you’re a fan of mediocre basketball teams! The Atlanta Hawks scraped by the previously decent Orlando Magic and what a matchup it was! A special shoutout goes to Ersan Ilyasova who went for 26/3/4 on a perfect 9-for-9 FG with five threes, 3-for-5 FT. and no turnovers. It was a pretty spectacular game for Ersan. With Dewayne Dedmon and John Collins (and Mike Muscala) all missing from the Hawks’ frontcourt, there’s minutes to go around and Ilyasova is definitely the man in line to take them. Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

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Image result for draymond green

One of the reasons I prefer fantasy basketball to fantasy football is that in basketball it is much less likely to have your entire season derailed by an injury. That being said, opening night of the 2017-18 NBA season twisted my world view right along with Gordon Hayward’s ankle. Ouch!

It is when these things happen that I am reminded of two famous quotes: “Knowledge is power,” which I saw on a bumper sticker, and “Chaos is a ladder,” words spoken by the scheming Littlefinger in Season 1 of Game of Thrones. An injury can open the door for this year’s waiver wire MVP or at least offer a younger player an opportunity to get more minutes and become fantasy relevant. In order to take advantage you must not only act quickly, but you need to know which players will benefit the most, and that my friend is not easy.

So without further ado, here are the major injuries lingering around the NBA, some suggestions for which replacements to target, and whether you should stash, drop, or use an I.R. spot (if your league allows it):

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According to NASA, a black hole is a place in space where gravity pulls so much that even light can not get out. When two black holes collide, they send ripples through the space-time fabric of the Universe and cause “cosmic carnage.” Once they cannot escape each other’s gravity, they merge into a bigger black hole (courtesy of hubblesite.org). That doesn’t sound like a very beneficial thing. Now, the Oklahoma City Thunder possess a basketball black hole in Russell Westbrook. Granted, he is not a basketball black hole in the truest sense of the word because he will dish out plenty of dimes, but he had an insane 41.7% usage rate last year. In the offseason, OKC acquired Paul George and the NBA black hole spokesman, Carmelo Anthony. Many were expecting carnage of a different variety. There’s only one basketball. How can a 40% usage player coexist with two other 30% usage players? 40+30+30 does equal 100. Well, if Thursday night was any indication, everything gonna be alright in OKC. Anthony finished with 22 points, one board, one dime, two steals, and two blocks on 8-for-20 shooting (3-for-10 from downtown). George finished wth 28 points, six boards, one dime, one steal, and one block on 9-for-23 shooting (6-for-13 from downtown). Westbrook messed around a got a triple-dub: 21 points, 10 boards, 16 dimes, and one block on 7-for-12 shooting. Seriously, the dude wasn’t even trying and put up that stat line. He now has 80 triple-dubs for his career. The leader is Oscar Robertson with 181. As I mentioned in the offseason, Westbrook had his FU Tour last season. This season is all about winning and placating to his teammates. Anthony with 20 shot attempts and George with 23. Besides Westbrook, no one had more than seven attempts. This could be a really scary team if everyone knows their role because there’s always going to be a guy on the court that can get a bucket when called upon. OK…C?

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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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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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Razzball Nation!  For most of us H2Hers the season is over, but we’ve still got Roto wrapping up and some ill-conceived H2H finals pressing through, so I wanted to take a quick look at some Daily Notes over the last stretch of action.  Really the only reason it would be fun to still have games matter is if you own superstars on teams vying for the 7th or 8th seed.  Enter Omen, stage left!

Damian Lillard showed Utah why he really hates jazz music, going 59/6/5/1/0, and somehow dropping that kind of line without a TO.  Hit 9 triples and 14-16 FT, on his way to a career and franchise high…  It’s a horror film watching him slice up oppo D’s!  Career-highs in FG%, FT%, scoring, and he’s dropped his TO rate from 3.2 last year back down to 2.6.  Funny how no one complains about his sub-1.0 STL rate though, unlike Dennis Schroder!  But when you’re hitting 3 treys a game at almost 45% from the field, you get a pass!  What a year from “Baby”, as he plays his way into a clear early-to-mid second rounder for drafts in 2017-18.  Can’t wait to unveil some ranks!  Tomorrow we’ll have the Razzies Presentation (if you haven’t voted yet – vote now!), then Wednesday my 2017-18 Top 10.  Fantasy never sleeps over here on hoops!  Here’s what else went down over the past week in fantasy basketball action:

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