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:

Image result for it's alive

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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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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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On Saturday, September 23rd, 2017, the New York Knicks agreed to trade Carmelo Anthony to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The assets that New York received were Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott, and a 2018 second-round pick (via the Chicago Bulls). On July 6th, 2017, the Indiana Pacers agreed to trade Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domas Sabonis. So, the Thunder acquired 10-time All-Star Melo and four-time All-Star PG13 for Kanter, McBuckets, Oladipo, Sabonis, and a second-round pick. Holla Holla.

Sam Hinkie receives much adulation for his Manifesto and #TTP, but General Manager Sam Presti of the Oklahoma City Thunder needs to be shown the same amount of love. How many GMs would’ve crumbled after losing a Kevin Durant? Granted, he traded away James Harden back in the day, but you can’t win them all. Presti is the guy at the poker table that is the aggressive maniac. He doesn’t sit at the table meekly waiting for a good hand. He’s betting and folding, but never checking. Will the moves work? No idea, but here’s the thing…at least he’s giving his team a chance. And….he’s all-in baby for 2017. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Presti Manifesti.

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This is the best time of the year. Baseball is going to get real soon, pigskins are being thrown around, it’s the eye of the WNBA season, and my rankings start flowing out. I also forgot that my kids go back to school soon. I love my kids and all, but they need to start getting edumacated again. You scoff at the WNBA mention? I admit, I was not a fan in the early days, but those ladies got skills. In addition, they play beautiful basketball and the offensive sets that they run are poetry.

Since August 1st happened to be on a Tuesday, I’ll release rankings every Tuesday from here on out. Can one be semi-OCD? That’s an oxymoron right? Maybe I’m just a moron. Anyways, I get a little particular about things, like it would’ve bothered me if I started this whole endeavor on Monday the 31st. I know. I know. I’ve got issues, but lucky for you, the subscription is free!

Ok, before I begin, shit happens. As a result, I’ll put out a Top 200 list in early October that will highlight any player movement that happens over the next few months.

A big shout-out to Slim, who provided projections and his thoughts and opinions on many players.

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Whoa, how weird is that?!  “2017-18 Fantasy Basketball”?!?!  Already?!  Well, as what typically happens with postseason fantasy hoops disappointments for me, I’m ready to again turn the page.  Gonna get nothing but titles next year, wooooo!  I’m gonna be like UCLA in the 60s-70s.  Plenty of white players on those teams, right LaVar Ball!?  Oh shizz, yeah let’s get straight to the inappropriate right off the bat for 2017-18!

As tradition, we’re kicking off our Way Too Early Ranks for 17-18 on the last day of the 16-17 season, passing the torch to next year on a hot handoff, but not hot enough to knock the baton out of someone’s hands.  Ish ain’t allowed!  Also, I should be disallowed from ranking Chandler Parsons, amiright?!  Thanks again to everyone reading through the season, and let’s get some early rankings on!  Here’s my Way Too Early Top 10 for the 2017-18 Fantasy Basketball Season:

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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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The H2H season is in the books!  Well, at least if you did a standard format, ain’t no reason to play out games the final week-and-a-half!  People getting sat with hangnails!  Even James Harden missed a game…  Say it ain’t so!

Quick scheduling note for this week.  Tomorrow we’ll announce the RCL winner, then Wednesday unveil the REL champ with their gold jersey.  We’ll catch up with the Pod either Wednesday or Thursday and some daily notes by the end of the week for you Roto-ers still trucking through to the finish line, and then start up the Way Too Early Ranks for 2017-18!  That’s what I’m excited about.  Mostly just to never see Chandler Parsons in my ranks ever again…

So who were some unlikely heroes over the championship week?  How about stupid, no good, can’t-take-a-shower-without-breaking-his-wrist Rajon Rondo just running game, and knocking me out of my one title-contending RCL.  What a joke….  10/9/9/3/0 last night against the Pels, giving him a 42/29/30/8/1 line over the Thur/Sat/Sun 3-games-in-4 nights stream if you used him in the Finals.  Who woulda thought my death knell would’ve been made by Rondo…  Eh well, baseball is here at least!  Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy basketball action:

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