Pat Connaughton benefited from the absence of Donte DiVincenzo, playing 26 minutes off the bench. He hit four of his 11 threes to score 14 points, while also hauling in eight rebounds. It was Connaughton’s third straight double-digit scoring game, and he’s dropped in 11 threes in that stretch. However, he’s as streaky as they come as he finished with single-digit point totals and only three triples over his previous seven outings. If you’re desperate for threes you can stream him and hope he gets hot from deep, and he provides solid rebounding for his position as well (five percent owned in Yahoo!).

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Lauri Markkanen shot the ball exceedingly well, making eight out of 10 attempts for 18 points. Everything else about his night was concerning though, especially the minutes, which also topped out at just 18. Markkanen’s playing time has taken a hit—he’s been under 24 minutes in five of his past six outings. In those limited runs, he’s failed to corral more than six rebounds in a game, and totaled just two assists, one steal, and one block. With fantasy playoffs looming, he could be a cut candidate. Chicago just embarked upon a four-in-five-nights set, so let’s see if he can slingshot his hot shooting from last night into some real momentum.

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We have already seen a good chunk of the season and can safely see how the stats and teams are shaping up. An interesting topic every year around the NBA is the MVP race and this year it is supposedly a very ambiguous one, with Lebron being Lebron, Embiid and Jokic stepping up, and Durant returning to his pre-injury form. However, the true MVP this year in my mind up to this point is someone that is not being mentioned so often as the aforementioned players and is only ranked 7th in ESPN’s early MVP rankings.

Stephen Curry is carrying the Warriors to the playoffs by averaging 30.1 points per game on a ridiculous 66.9% True Shooting Percentage. Opposing defenses have been often helpless and left standing to watch in awe as Steph dribbles, razzles and dazzles through them, making tough shot after tough shot with insane accuracy. The most mind-boggling stat is that in 2016, Curry won the first unanimous MVP award by averaging……… 30.1 points per game, on a ridiculous 66.9% True Shooting Percentage, the exact same stats that he is currently averaging. The fact that he is only viewed as the 7th candidate for MVP is atrocious in my mind. Plus, he can casually do this at the end of games.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Pretty big Monday for Pistons and ex-Pistons, eh? In case you missed it, news broke yesterday that current-Piston big man Blake Griffin and former-Piston big man Andre Drummond have both been taken out of the rotation for their respective NBA teams, marched out to the frozen beach, and forced onto the icebergs that are slowly but surely winning the war against Lake Eire. 

Figuratively speaking, of course.

Both the Cavs and the Pistons are exploring the trade market for their big men, and neither will play until a deal is struck and new homes are found. Stuck in a Great Lakes limbo, Blake and Andre will have no choice but to wait it out until they’re liberated from their winter wastelands. The trade deadline is about a month away but hopefully, arrangements will be made well before the buzzer. Drummond has slipped a touch from last year, but he’s still a valuable and productive player. It would be a pity to watch him wither on the vine.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Russell Westbrook has always been a controversial figure in basketball. There are those who love his competitive spirit, ability to lead and mentor his teammates, and dynamic and physical play. There are also those who criticize the lack of progress in his shooting, defensive commitment, and success in the playoffs. Whatever your take is on Westbrook, in terms of fantasy, there was one moment that proved to be a major turning point. And it wasn’t a trade, an injury, or anything else related to his play.

Over the summer of 2017, the NBA changed the delay of game rules, making it so that a free throw shooter is no longer allowed to go beyond the 3-point line, or he will be assessed a delay of game violation. Westbrook’s ft% average before this rule was 82.4%. His average after it is 70.3%. And he is shooting a whopping 7.1 free throws per game for his career, so you can understand the fantasy impact this has. His shooting woes this year (41.3%) along with a major decrease in steals (0.8) and increase in turnovers (4.9) has him ranked 207th in per-game value. Let that sink in…Take an extra moment, you need it. Now see things clearly and try with all your might to trade him if you drafted him, taking advantage of his name value and the owners in your league that like him in real life, because he is actively hurting your fantasy team, even if you are punting turnovers.

Regarding last week’s suggestions, all were serviceable, with Thaddeus Young leading the bunch with three excellent fantasy lines. Beware that from the “Buy” suggestions, De’Anthony Melton hurt his shoulder and is questionable, so feel free to stream his spot, if necessary.

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Today it’s time for those less appreciated players to take the spotlight. Those so-called “Glue Guys”, the players that every winning team needs to have if they hope to succeed. Those guys who will not complain about their touches, those guys who know exactly what their role is and what their limitations are and are not afraid to sacrifice themselves for the team by making the vital hustle plays. Those guys who are becoming more and more the exception in the modern NBA and surprisingly can fit specific niche roles even for your fantasy teams, especially in leagues where turnovers matter.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Surprise, I’ve taken over the Wednesday recap this week, let’s get jiggy with it!

Nets vs Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks undefeated 2020-2021 season came to an end at the hands of the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, December, 30th, but not without some positive signs of progress for this new look roster. At the moment, the Hawks have the second best Offensive Rating in the league at 119.9 and their opponent, the Nets, have the best Defensive Rating at 98.3. I’m not sure if these numbers include the data from Wednesday’s competition, but either way, the Hawks were the team that lived up to their statical billing in this one. The teams went shot for shot through most of the game until Kyrie Irving took over in the fourth quarter and the Hawks suffered enough empty possessions on offense to walkaway with their first L. Both teams broke a hundred by the third quarter and the final score of 141-145 tells you everything you need to know. Neither team played much defense in this game and that end of the floor will remain the biggest question for both teams going forward.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We’ve come to the end of the road of the rankings/projections. Sniff. Sniff. I’m sad, but don’t cry, dry your eye, as this means the season is almost upon us. If you want to see the players past the 150, click HERE.

If you missed previous editions, here you go:

Top 10
Top 25
Top 50
Top 75
Top 100

Before I begin…

THESE RANKINGS MUST BE UTILIZED IN THE CONTEXT OF YOUR LEAGUE SETTINGS, TEAM ROSTER CONSTRUCTION, AVERAGE DRAFT POSITION, AND PERSONAL PHILOSOPHIES.

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All right fam, I sat on this preview long enough. The season is nigh, and it seems that if James Harden won’t be joining the Brooklyn Nets (prays to the God of Editors that I don’t need to rewrite this), and we’re at a position where we can focus on the Nets’ other luminary players — Caris LeVert and Taurean Prince. I kid! We all know I’m a Jarret Allen stan.

[loads up the the ol’ roster-nator] [giggles at the word “roster-nator”]

How am I supposed to find information on Kyrie Irving? ALEXA! WHAT’S A DURANTULA? 

ENYWHEY, faithful Razzball readers might know me as the pitcher ranker on the baseball side, and the quarterback ranker on the football side (and the guy who writes the Razzbowl fan fiction), and now you get good ‘ol Blair giving you hot taeks on the basketball side for 2020-2021. So, without risking the 24-second clock running down to zero here, let’s take a look at the hottest team in the NBA for 2021.

Please, blog, may I have some more?