You can’t win a championship at the beginning of a season, but you can lose one. Much as it pains me to say, I think I’ve already lost.

After a successful Writer’s League last year that ended against Kostas in the semifinal and a pretty intensive offseason of thinking about hoops, I came into this year’s draft feeling like I was in decent shape to post a good showing again. But this year ain’t last year. Stats and success don’t carry over, and if you’re resting on laurels rather than applying lessons learned, there’s no way to bank Ws on account of “experience.” If you’ve been following Kelder’s weekly recaps, you might have noticed that my team isn’t anywhere in the mix. Indeed, you’ve got to scroll almost the way to the bottom of the table to see my name. A record of 19-34-1 is good enough for 11th and I feel all but certain the hole that I’ve put myself in is going to be too deep to recover from. I’m not quite ready to quit on some other struggling squads, but I think it’s safe to let go of preseason expectations at this point and set a different goal for the remaining three-quarters of the season here in the Writer’s League.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The week begins with a container ship in the old windows, its long red belly splitting the gray vault of sky from the mirror gray of lake. Flakes fell a day or two later, a dusting, a sign of things to come. A day after that, the sun and wind wipe the dry snow from the concrete into the grass. Overnight on Friday, a second ship, this one white, appears in the same window. I’m two years late to winterizing, but this year will be different, I think, as I squeeze out lines of caulk along the sill. We’ve passed a significant, severe line up here. Winter has arrived irrevocably and my mind, perhaps now finally falling into the rhythms of this place, sets in on ideas like patience and endurance. It’s the slow season up here, perhaps slowest of all for that red ship lingering in the bay. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Rookie forward AJ Griffin finished the night with 17 points, but his biggest bucket came in the closing moments of overtime when he knocked down a wide-open layup to steal the victory over the Toronto Raptors.
De’Andre Hunter was second on the Hawks in scoring with 22 points; Dejounte Murray finished with 17 points, seven rebounds, and four assists; Clint Capela had a double-double with 18 points and 14 rebounds along with three blocks.
Scottie Barnes had an amazing night with a near triple-double but missed the potential game-winner in regulation
OG Anunoby finished with 27 points, three rebounds, and five assists; he missed the go-ahead basket before Barnes and could have won the game.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Welcome, Razzball Nation! We continue our weekly dive into uncovering value for players who, at the infancy stage of the season, have yet to yield the dividends envisioned on draft day. For those new to the column, allow me to again go over what the criteria is to be a player featured here. I look for players who are performing well below, not only their ADP (average draft position), but historical production as well. I search for pathways that could indicate improvement, such as heavy minutes and/or increased usage.

This week we are in the 6ix, The T Dot, The North or whatever other nickname you are familiar with when describing Toronto.

Heavy Drizzy Drake quotables afoot.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

While I’d love to talk about Tim Hardaway testing the double-jeopardy statute of being cancelled (there is no law), quickly getting right back into it after his post-hate clarity of attacking and then apologizing to the LGBTQ community and then moving straight into describing basketball plays as raking. It could have been graping because no one ever thinks about the grapes, you know? But as I said, Tim’s swan song as an NBA broadcaster isn’t exactly “fantasy basketball” relevant, so it might be better to focus on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s continued emergence as a legit NBA star (second team for sure, first team anyone?). Coming off a night where he scored 37 points with 4 rebounds and 8 assists, there were times last night (and during the season) where he just looks simply unguardable. Even the Celtics, who don’t run too many doubles, were throwing everything at him. While still pulling out the win, the Celtics’ elite defenders exposed SGA’s agility and shot IQ to be exceptional and confirmed that this may actually be a very special year despite tanking towards Wembanyama. (Trademark pending.)

Here’s what else I saw during last night’s light slate of games:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We have some more clearly defined tiers at this point in the Writer’s League.  Edge, PB And G, and Kostas are clearly the top 3, followed by seven teams within five games of each other.  We all have a chance!  Of course, I arbitrarily cut off the five games number there to include myself (why are you all reading this, he’s clearly a narcissist!  Wait, quiet down 13 year old daughter.  And how do you know such big words?)  Even Son, Mr. Hooper, and the Oracle (the last three teams) are only like 6 back.

https://www.fantrax.com/fantasy/league/3l3er6yal84ps3ep/standings  These are the standings here, I have no idea if this will work!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Welp.  Went up against the first place team and predictable things happened. JokerSmoker outclassed the Infector 6-2, but I did manage a glorious tie in the blocks category!  I was within ten points in every category.  My strategy of well-rounded guys to start, then fill in the gaps has failed.

What do do when your plan fails?  Trade!  Scottie Barnes, Jayson Tatum, and Anthony Edwards should be able to fetch good big guys.  I’m in good shape with rebounds and blocks.  I’m finna make some bad offers on paper but try to magnify my strengths and maybe get some Ws.  I’m also guessing none of the writers read this site trying to defeat an Infector.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The NBA on Friday Night rolled back the clock two nights too early (the end of daylight savings is Sunday 2 a.m.), harkening the days where big men ruled the professional basketball roost. There were myriad starting backcourts taking the night off with injuries and “injuries” (the league loves it when teams rest their stars on Friday night!), leading to a slew of point-forward play and 7-footers trying out for the 3-point contest.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As the early part of the NBA 2022-23 season churns on, a lot of storylines and off-the-court drama permeates. Some of these were built off the back from previous seasons; the trending bewilderment of Ben Simmons, the Lakers continued struggles while inadvertently tanking for Wembanyama while the Pelicans have the rights to their first-round pick also remains a bold strategy. Kyrie Irving is still a hateful idiot. But there are also new and interesting storylines being created right now, like the Jazz competing with the Spurs and TrailbBlazers for the number one seed (early, but you can talk about it!), the Clippers being a mess, the resurgence of James Harden… and the Bucks continue their quest for 82-0, squeaking out a win last night. While there’s a lot to ridicule (mostly the Nets), there’s a lot of interesting items both on and off the court that have made this season already special. Here’s what else I saw last night:

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The Writer’s League is supposed to be for the Razzball writers. With Son being a dummy and not password protecting the league, we were infiltrated by a fan. But with that mishap, sweet lemonade was squeezed from the lemons because Kelder23 has graciously written about his experience. Enjoy!

Brian Kelder here, been playing fantasy hoops since the 90s when I would compile the stats by hand. I
had a league fold and decided, regardless of my talent level and prognosticating ability, to join a
writers’ league. I have no idea what I’m doing, but here are my basic rules:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

On a recent podcast with Son, I let slip, “If you’re a center that doesn’t get blocks, I don’t think I have any use for you.” It was a knee-jerk line, one that I hadn’t much considered before it fell out of my mouth, and I’ve been wrestling with how true that might actually be ever since. For most of the summer, I’ve been vexed by the center position because, outside of the elite guys, the shortcomings of the position are obvious and numerous. For many, their usefulness in category leagues extends only to rebounds, blocks and FG%, and oftentimes those few spoils are sacrificed at the altar of points, dimes, triples, and free-throw percentage. Drafting a center that doesn’t, it’s a steep tradeoff in the best of circumstances, so when looking at someone like Deandre Ayton – a top-50ish, center-eligible player who produced exactly enough swats last year to break even in the category by z-score – I began to wonder what exactly the point was. 

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The path should be crystal clear now for your squad. If not, then it may be time to order those seppuku knives on Amazon. Don’t forget the sharpener. I kid, I kid. Drafts are fluid so pivoting and changing lanes are always within the range of outcomes, especially when there are snipers and ADP jumpers to your left, to your left, to your left. Then you have all those heathens to your right. This is why we must always adhere to the wise and venerable Bruce Lee:

Please, blog, may I have some more?