Times are a changin’. Out with the old, in with the new. All good things must come to an end. Any more of those and the cliche police are going to have me cuffed and begging for forgiveness. Well, the biggest change is by far and away the departure of LeBron to Hollywood. Last time this happened the city burned his jersey, but now they reminisce about the most impressive feat of his storied career, beating the Warriors in the midst of their rule as a dynasty. The perennial Eastern Conference powerhouse will now be fighting for a playoff spot, but that doesn’t mean the fantasy gods left us hanging. When pieces move, value arises, and that is what we have in The Land.
I'm going to take a break from numbers this week. A break from Trey Burke, Quinn Cook, and Denzel Valentine impacting fantasy playoff teams infinitely more than Steph Curry, Demarcus Cousins, and Kawhi Leonard. A break from dealing with players on tanking teams sitting indefinitely every time someone steps on their toe, or from players on playoff teams resting without notice. Heck, a break from the NCAA tournament that only has one projected lottery pick left to watch. This is probably going to most interest dynasty and keeper league players, but those already itching to rank and project players for next season will find this intriguing, too. Today, I'm going to look at who this summer's free agents are. That period from the draft (draft lottery only 47 days away!) through the first week of free agency is probably my favorite on the NBA calendar, since about a third of the league seems to change teams. So many new dynamics to consider for so many teams. The impact on fantasy is huge, too. I'm definitely no insider with information to help predict who's going where, but I do find it helpful to know whose value is likely to remain the same and whose has a wide range of outcomes. The latter are often good targets if you need to get risky to improve your keeper/dynasty team over the summer. Do you have a Terry Rozier type that would gain a ton of value if he moved on to a starting role? Is he free to do so? Also, remember to think of which teammates might be affected by these players should they change teams. For example, are the players blocking Mario Hezojna's path to more minutes likely to get out of his way? Then again, might LeBron, PG13, and CP3 all be coming to your player's team to squash his usage? Here are the most fantasy relevant free agents. Wow, this summer could be a big one.
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.
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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:
When I was growing up, I would always hear these words.....Be quiet.....Listen.....Don't cry.....Have no fear.....Don't worry.....It was as if everyone wanted me to be a robot. I get it. Being robotic brings many beneficial things, like efficiency, discipline, and the ability to perfect technical things that can be achieved through repetition. But I'm human. We are human. It is emotion that allows us to experience the full gamut of life. It is emotion that allows us to access realms of our brain that no robot can. It is emotion that allows us to feel, for better or for worse. Last night, I was both happy and sad when I watched Larry Nance Jr. get his first start for the Cavs.
22 15 1 2 0 0 0/1 9/15 4/5
He played 32 minutes, but it could have been a bigger night. Unfortunately, the Cavs blew out the Pistons, 112-90. I've been wanting to see Nance play the small ball 5 for both the Lakers and the Cavs. He can shoot from the perimeter J, grab boards, and play D. His basketball IQ is high, he's unselfish, and he plays his ass off. He is fleet of foot, able to switch multiple positions on D, and has the hops of a flea. A little undersized, but he makes up for it with all the things I just listed. As a Lakers fan, I was happy to see him ball out because he showed that ability in Los Angeles. As a Lakers fan, I was also sad because he is now in Cleveland. Now, Tristan Thompson did not play due to injury, but how can the Cavs not go with Nance going forward? Anyways, there's a perfect song from back in the day that filled me up with emotion and made me bob my head and made me wanna dance. Enjoy. Both the song and fantasy production that Nance will deliver. Here's what else I saw last night:
I worked on a trading floor before the Internet Bubble went snap, crackle, and pop. Crazy times I tell ya. I always felt bad for the IT guys, though. They used to get shitted on all day, everyday. It didn't help that they would say, "Did you turn it off then back on?" I kid. They were a vital cog to the operation because without them, things would cease to function. But dudes on the floor could be ruthless, especially when making or losing money were at stake. The IT guy was always the punching bag. Sound familiar? Isaiah Thomas has had a rough season. He struggled mightily in Cleveland and took much of the brunt for the Cavs' struggles. Now in LA, things are looking a little brighter, as last night he went:
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He played 30 minutes coming off the bench. Now, Josh Hart did not play due to injury so that gave IT some extra run. With that said, he was getting around 25 minutes of run per game. Around January, I did start writing in the recaps that I was bullish on IT. He was getting the minutes and the shot attempts were there. I just felt like he was getting his legs under him. Let's not forget that he was recovering from a hip injury. After the trade to LA, I thought it was a pretty good situation for him, as the Lakers like to play free and fast. I just had questions about how many minutes he would get and what the rotations would be. I think we have our answer now. IT is the microwave. Instant offense off the bench. The Lakers with IT on the court have a 114.9 offensive rating, highest on the team. Without him on the court, that number drops to 105.6. Crazy. Granted, it's only been seven games, but still. He's getting healthy and is mighty motivated, as he's essentially playing for a big contract right now. Here's what else I saw last night:
I loved the Chappelle Show. My favorite episode was The Racial Draft, but right behind was Charlie Murphy's True Hollywood Stories: Rick James. When he first met James, Charlie saw an "orange......auro" around him, as if he were some transcendental god. After getting to know him a bit, he realized that James was "mad niggerish." He would "walk up to any chick and lick the whole side of their face" then yell, "I'm Rick James, bitch!" I think Rick and LeBron James are the same person, except for the whole "licking the whole side of the face" thing, but.....I don't know what LeBron is into. Anyways, LeBron has been a trancendental figure in the sport of basketball since he was in high school. He's a savant on the court, and polished and refined off the court, but when it comes down to it, he don't take any shit. Last night, he messed around.
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The triple-dub was his 12th of the season. I'm LeBron James, bitch! But, it doesn't end there. For the month of February (11 games), he AVERAGED a triple-dub: 26.6 points, 10.3 boards, and 10.4 dimes. I'm LeBron James, bitch! But, it doesn't end there. With last night's performance, LeBron became the FIRST player in NBA HISTORY to score 30,000 points, dish out 8,000 dimes, and grab 8,000 rebounds. I'm LeBron James, bitch! Here's what else I saw last night:
A holiday, as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is a day marked by a general suspension of work in commemoration of an event. Outside of those that are affected by a business shut down, most love holidays. No work. All play? Probably not, but at least no work. There are 11 federal holidays. As a society, we have created a number far greater than that, though. After all, we do live in a capitalist society. Valentine's Day. St. Patrick's Day. Halloween. Cyber Monday. Mother's Day. Father's Day. There really is a "holiday" for every occassion. Law Day. Loyalty Day. National Librarian's Day. Native American's Day. Ha! That one makes me chuckle. Anyways, all of the above mentioned are listed as holidays, but I don't remember ever getting a day off for them. Ok, we just making shit up now? Cool. Let's make everyday a holiday then. This would kind of fit into our advertisement/marketing-dominated society. The concept of work will just be rebranded. Play for pay? Or has that already been trademarked by the NCAA? Anyways, Madonna put it best when she sang this. Yesterday, Jrue Holiday had himself a day.
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34.4 usage rate!!! He's been en fuego the past four games: 28.2 points, 5.75 boards, 9.5 assists, 0.5 blocks, 2 steals, and 1.25 3s on 21.5 shot attempts per game. See, this everyday Holiday thing may not be such a bad idea after all. But....there's always a but....Holiday is prone to the occasional 3-of-13 shooting night and sub-20 usage rate game. The inconsistency makes him a mid-20s player, rather than a fringe top 10 one. One thing that must be mentioned is that, since Boogie went down, the Pelicans are playing at the fastest pace in the league (105.70). Holiday. Celebrate. Here's what else I saw last night:
With a wife, two kids, and fantasy sports to play and write about, the videogaming has taken a back seat. Wait? Isn't that where all the action happens? That's when you know you are washed. Anyways, I always enjoyed fantasy drafting teams, whether it be football, basketball, and/or baseball. I'd spend hours upon hours.....who am I kidding? I'd spend months upon months drafting, playing, scouting, etc. Usually, I'd eschew the awareness categories and just focus on the physical attributes. As a Raiders fan, I probably received drafting strategy from Al Davis via osmosis: size and speed. As we all know, physical attributes are not the end all be all in the real world, though. Remember Harold Miner? Exactly. Fundamentals and IQ are important characteristics for any player, but they are often overlooked, as we always get enamored with the physical traits. Case in point, Nikola Jokic. Pre-draft scouting report from nbadraft.net. Strengths: Very high basketball IQ. Strong personality. A team player. Has a great work ethic. My favorite part was that he "doesn't drink or smoke." Ha! Weaknesses: An average athlete lacking great speed and leaping ability. Well, last night, Nikola messed around:
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It ain't about how high you jump or how fast you run. It's about understanding the game of basketball and making plays. That's why Nikola ain't no Jokic. And he's only 22 years old! He is going to be such a beast. Here's what else I saw last night:

“Champions keep playing until they get it right” (Billie Jean King)

The trade deadline offers weird results, with teams in both fantasy and reality changing rosters. The biggest moves over the past week in the RCLs involved those players that moved in real life; Larry Nance Jr., Jae Crowder, Rodney Hood, George Hill, Emmanuel Mudiay and D.J. Augustin. I'm happy to announce the creation of a Champions League for next year, which will pit all of this year's league winners and some Razzball writers against each other. I will keep you all informed as things progress.   [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qlsu7RhOnsQ[/embed] Here is how the action went down in Week 17 across our 12 RCL Leagues:
Back in the 1960s, the Batman television show with Adam West would have POW graphics written across the screen. Although corny, they brought us back to the comic book roots and accentuated a fight scene. Or disguised the "terribly choreographed" ones. I never really thought about it like that until I came across that article, but it does make total scene. The acting and fight scenes were an abomination, but I guess that was part of the allure. Anyways, to get the bad taste out of my mouth from re-watching old clips and remembering the unfortunate state of much of my childhood, I went to the good ole YouTube search box and typed in Mike Tyson knockouts. I don't feel so bad about my youth anymore. Now, those POWs had substance. Which brings me to Dwight Powell of the Dallas Mavericks.
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Got the start at center again and played 29 minutes. Since January 31st, Powell has played 29, 23, 31, 29, 31, and 28 minutes. There's been only one game during that stretch he hasn't started. Dirk Nowitzki did miss last night's game, but Powell had been starting next to Dirk when he was in the lineup. With the Mavs out of contention, it only makes sense for Powell to continue getting run down the stretch. Over the past week, he's been a top 50 player for fantasy, averaging over 15 points, 8 boards, 1 steal, 2 assists, and shooting over 70% from the field and 80% from the free throw line. Ka-POW! Here's what else I saw last night: