Deja vu much? Maybe so. As I said in the Celtics preview, one game away. That’s how close I was to being right in predicting the Celtics and Rockets in the finals and basking in that glory. The Rockets, in my opinion, had the best shot at beating the Warriors last year, and I think we will see them in the Western Conference finals once more. This time going the distance and winning the championship. This is a fantasy-friendly site and fantasy-based article, so I can leave my hot takes at the door, but I think the Rockets got better with their additions, and I look forward to watching their success this coming year.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Despite being one of the youngest teams in the NBA, the Phoenix Suns were expected to at least perform a little bit better last season. A shaky start led to a quick coaching change, as the team fired head coach Earl Watson after 3 games (and 3 losses) and named Jay Triano the interim head coach. The Suns also made a bunch of in-season personnel moves, with the biggest being the trade of disgruntled point guard Eric Bledsoe to the Milwaukee Bucks for Greg Monroe and some draft picks.

The Suns enter this season with new head coach Igor Kokoskov, the number one pick in the draft Deandre Ayton, and a bunch of new faces thanks to a number of off-season moves. I do not expect the Suns to battle for a playoff spot in the stacked Western Conference, but they should be more competitive this season. Also, there are a number of position battles to keep an eye on this preseason that could have a big impact on fantasy values. So let’s take a look:

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What’s up Razzballers? Fan favourite Aaron Gordon had a monster line, destroying the lowly Suns to the tune of 29/11/8/3/1 on 10-for-18 FG (3-for-6 3P, 6-for-9 FT) and three TOs. It was a clean and lethal stat line, and exactly the kind that you needed on the Saturday of your playoff semifinals. AG’s been a beast since his return and I really hope you stashed him where you could. Anyway, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

What do you think of when you hear the phrase “messing around?” Perhaps a joke. Maybe it takes you back to high school. First base. Second base. Third base with Peggy Sue or Billy Bob. How about Ice Cube when he called up the homies and asked them which park are y’all playin’ basketball? Whatever it may be, “messing around” is not associated with being of the serious variety. For fun. For shits and giggles. For Russell Westbrook? “Messing around” ain’t no joke. It’s 100% pedal to the metal. It’s I’m going to dunk on your head and shoot in your eye. It’s I’m grabbing every rebound because the ball is mine. That reminds me of Shaq’s T.W.I.S.M. Any of you remember that? Ha! Anyways, for Russ, it’s I’m dishing every dime because I will not be denied of my stat orgy. Yesterday, Russ notched his 102nd career triple dub.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
37 13 14 2 0 5 1/1 15/22 6/8

That’s now five straight triple-dubs. For the season, he’s 0.3 rebounds shy of AVERAGING a triple-dub, which would make back-to-back seasons of accomplishing the feat. Damn, Russ ain’t no joke, espccially when it comes to “messing around.”

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Don’t take Anthony Davis in the top 5. He’ll miss at least 25 games. Avoid Old Man LeBron James, because he rests all the time. Tyreke Evans has only played 65 games in the last two years combined. Not even worth drafting.

A few of the prevailing opinions going into the season that I thought had gotten a bit overblown. The risk of missing games is scary, but it’s not often very predictable. And yes, I’m cherry picking examples, but AD has played 54 of the first 60 games and is #4 on the ESPN Player Rater (#3 per game). LeBron hasn’t sat one game yet, is among the league leaders in minutes per game again, and is #1 (#5 per game). Tyreke  has played 49 of 59 games, sitting five of those when the team was holding him out before the trade deadline. He’s #58 (#44 per game). And sure, that’s partly due to Mike Conley missing almost the whole season. Yes, there are examples of injury fears being once again substantiated, like in the case of Danilo Gallinari. It’s all guesswork. It’s part of the fun, predicting what a season will bring. But, figuring out the puzzle can drive you mad.

Today, I thought we’d have a little fun revisiting some preseason predictions. Maybe we can learn a bit about what types of projections are more trustworthy than others. Maybe not. I also don’t think this would be a great way to figure out who’s great at predicting things like sleepers and breakouts, because this is a small sample size. Continue to look at the methodology behind the predictions to see if it’s backed up by reason. I just figured that we rarely actually go back to see what was right and what was way off. If it teaches us something for next preseason, great.

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We all know what B.C. is. Before Christ. So, A.D. means After Dagagsfgbaerta[rhfasivgpvhfamrgfviargiusefav. How the F did we end up with A.D., Anno Domini, which means “in the year of the Lord?” Seriously? A.B.C., After Birth of Christ, didn’t work? Easy as 1-2-3. Instead, the powers that be decided to go full Latin on everyone. And not any Latin, but Medieval Latin no less. I guess in that context it kind of makes sense. Anyways, there are people that believe in Jesus Christ and there are people that do not. This post is not about that. What it is, though…..and I need to tread mighty carefully here…..is a post about A.D., Anthony Davis. In the year of the Lord? That’s right. A.D. is our fantasy Lord and the Savior to one lucky owner in your league. Did he sacrifice more virgins than you? Abstain from jerking off for a year? Whatever the case may be, A.D. is currently the #1 player in fantasy. Yeah, I know, lot of games left and he will likely get hurt, but you know what? For all the crap we give him about missing time due to injury, take a look at where his final ranking was at the end of each year: 45th (rookie season), 5th, 2nd, 17th, and 2nd. For those that are not aware, last night A.D. did this:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 53 18 3 1 5 1 0/1 16/29 21/26

As StatMuse tweeted out last night, the number of 50-point, 15-rebound games in the last 17 years has been six. AD has three of them. He also fouled out three Suns. For us mere mortals, all we can do is this. For those of you that have been blessed with good fortune, I’d expect plenty of this the rest of the year.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 23 13 11 0 1 1 2/5 8/15 5/6

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I was a big subscriber of superstitions and curses in my younger days. Sports team I root for wasn’t playing well? Had to move to another seat, like I was some antenna made out of aluminum foil. Never drafted a player in fantasy football if he graced the cover of Madden. I mean, come on. Without fail, either a player got injured or production fell off hard the following year. We have grown as a society, though. I have grown as well. We now utilize our brains to explain things that were previously unexplainable. For the Madden Curse, a logical explanation was that players are celebrated by being on the cover of the videogame because they have reached the pinnacle of their careers.

pin·na·cle
ˈpinək(ə)l/
noun
              “he had reached the pinnacle of his career”
There’s literally no place to go but down. Add in the age factor and number of games played, and the “curse” doesn’t seem so mysterious after all. How things have gone down the past couple of weeks in the NBA, I’m beginning to reevaluate my stance on the issue. In late January, LeBron James and Steph Curry particiated in the All-Star Draft.

First, DeMarcus Cousins went down with injury. Then, Kevin Love. John Wall. The latest victim? Kristaps Porzingis. Last night, he tore the ACL in his left knee after this. I will think of you everytime my 2-year-old daughter puts on My Little Pony. Michael Beasley is the obvious get, but he’s probably been rostered already. Kyle O’Quinn is also an interesting pickup, as he would be the big off the bench to give either a break. Yo, LeBron. Whatever you’re doing? STOP!!!

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When Blake Griffin was traded to the Detroit Pistons there were a lot of concerns. In the interest of time I will stick to just those relevant to fantasy basketball. Ok, actually that only leaves one major concern: Would Andre Drummond continue to be the rebounding machine he was prior to the arrival of the Kia-jumping, oft-injured, polarizing, human-highlight film come-again Blake Griffin?

Yes, the answer is yes. The dude is a beast. He sucks in rebounds like black holes suck in matter. And while black holes spit out gamma rays, Andre Drummond spits out sick slash lines. Forget the 3-point shooting, point-forward, stretch-four big men we are calling unicorns. The true unicorns are the old-school low-post bangers like Drummond, who even Charles Oakley would agree, could hang during any era of NBA basketball.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
23 20 1 4 4 6 0/0  11/15   1/3

Here is what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Whaddup Razzball nation! Welcome back to another edition of Any Given Saturday! Last night, the Thunder walked into Cleveland and embarrassed the Cavs, dropping a whopping 148 points. It was a team effort, but Russell Westbrook was especially impressive, dropping a double dimebag and going for 23/9/20/2 on 9-for-17 FG (1-for-1 3P, 4-for-5 FT) and five TOs. Russ’s efficiency is trending up nicely after being abysmal to start the season. All of a sudden, the Thunder look like an incredibly scary team. Anyway, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?