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:

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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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The Houston Rockets made a ton of moves in the offseason. The one that best exemplifies this squad, though, was……..

Ha! The 80s. Anyways, the Rockets did re-sign a Bobby Brown to a $1.5 million contract. This Brown is a 33 year old point guard that played his college ball at Cal State Fullerton and actually played in 25 games last season. Now, he will make no impact from a basketball perspective. Maybe he’s a good dancer and can provide energy on the bench perhaps? Maybe he performs on the court during timeouts and halftime? It would be an efficient use of resources. Honestly, the only reason I mention Bobby at all is because I chuckled when I saw his name on the depth chart and immediately thought of the song above. It’s an apt song, if you don’t take the lyrics literally. EVERY. LITTLE. STEP. I grew up playing Kung Fu on the NES. Basically, you start on a floor, kick and punch a bunch of things, then climb a set of stairs….rinse and repeat until you get to the top. That’s how I view this Rockets team. They’ve made improvements and EVERY. LITTLE. STEP. will be spent towards one goal. How quickly they can figure out things and traverse the landscape will determine how high they can go.

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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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I love videogames. I can’t play them as much now since I’m a father of two, but I’ll sneak in a game or two when I get a chance. Anyways, I especially enjoyed sports videgames: baseball, basketball, football, and even hockey. After spending countless hours…who am I kidding? After spending countless weeks drafting and tinkering with sliders, I’d finally embark on playing a season. At first, it’s a rush. Everything is fresh and vibrant. Over time, though, the monotony sets in. Things start to drag. You start seeing the same things over and over again. That’s where I’m at with these rankings. With that said, I love doing them. Like how I trudged through all those videogame seasons. I’ll admit, I’ve never been able to finish a complete baseball season, but c’mon!!! 162 games with more for the playoffs? I’ve come close, but I blame the corporate capitalistic videogame maker pigs for releasing a new version every year. I know I’m the idiot for buying it every year, but….I have no excuse. I’m just an idiot. Anyways, here’s my Top 75 for 2017.

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If you recognize this picture, then you’ll certainly understand the title.  If you don’t, then how dare you call yourself a basketball fan… Also, you should check out Vince Carter in the 2000 slam dunk contest.

We have reached my final recap of the season.  It has been a long journey.  We have laughed and cried, we have shouted and groaned, but most of all, we have experienced the deep love of fantasy basketball that transcends us all.  For the good times we’ve had, I thank you.  For those who have offered comments, compliments, and constructive criticism, I appreciate you.  And for the haters, I say fuck you.  Wait, am I allowed to say that??? Well shit…

We start our night in Detroit, where the Pistons barely manage to edge the Nets 90-89… Let’s dive in!

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Ah, the fountain of youth. Something Arizona certainly doesn’t have! The retirement haven of America – just ask Tyson Chandler – oddly boasts the most ridiculously young team. Last Thursday, they had a younger starting 5 than all but 1 of the 8 college teams playing in the Sweet Sixteen that night, and not surprisingly, the youngest starting 5 in NBA history. The retirees in Phoenix love to watch em young!

Despite being a god awful team, there still is a lot of promise with the draft picks they made, highlighted by the absolute insanity that Devin Booker dropped 70 points on the Celtics last Friday night. Insanity that he was the youngest player to break 70, that he set a franchise record, OR THAT THE SUNS STILL LOST?! Hah, take your pick.

On that layup there to kick off the GIF, Marcus Smart is like, “meh, whatever, we up 20.” 21-40 FG (4-11 3PTM 24-26 FT) for 70/8/6/3/1 in the craziest line of the year. I mentioned on our last Pod that the Suns are kinda like random number generators right now, so who knows what you’ll get next?! Well, next was 23/4/5/0/1 with 4 TO in a blah encore for Dbook. His shooting arm was tired! He did get another 7-7 FT yesterday though against the Hornets (nice to see the volume staying high), but they yet again lost, and he’s doing this without Eric Bledsoe, instead with a group of similarly young pups. It might vault him to be drafted a little too high for my liking for next year, but maybe he can turn into DeMar DeRozan with 3s. Which hurts the FG%, but I’m all optimism right now! “Never Seen So Many Guys Happy After An L!” huh?! Well, Jae Crowder – aka Party Pooper – it’s the end of March and I’m in super depressed mode after I had 3 of my 4 alive teams lose in semis this week! Why you gotta harsh my buzz!  Here’s what else went down in fantasy basketball action over the weekend:

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Ugh, rebuilding teams are starting to rebuild earlier, which is good for the waiver wire hounds, but sucks for our stars!  I wish teams would avoid the backlash of the shame they get by just shutting guys down like 2/3 of the way through the season.  Suns even did that more-or-less with Tyson Chandler!

Last night we got word Eric Bledsoe wouldn’t be starting, then after the game we got confirmation the Pee-nix Suns are shutting him down for the rest of the season with “knee soreness”.  Here’s Bledsoe’s response.

Hah!  Well fantasy owners’ emojis would be a lot angrier than that!  A few commenters have posted about a Bledsoe shutdown, but I certainly didn’t think it would be this soon…  Redraft leagues you obviously have to cut him; in keepers – at anything beyond about a 3rd round value – you’re holding on.  Which brings us to one of the of big nights from emerging must-adds from Wednesday’s action – Ulis S. Great!  Big night in the start for Tyler Ulis, going 13/1/13/2/1 in 39 minutes in the youthfest against the Kings.  Yeah, he’s pretty much must-own now.  Above Cory Joseph, Malcolm Brogdon, all those iffy PG that are hanging around as your last roster spot or two in 10/12ers.  So be Great, and add Ulis!  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

Hold up there, Speedy Gonzalez!  Before you keep reading, be sure and fill out your Razzball March Madness Bracket!  Brackets are due by noon and we’re giving out a $50 Amazon Card, create yours this morning if you haven’t yet!

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…comin’ for to carry me OUT of my fantasy playoffs!  Brutal news yesterday that Kyle Lowry has to undergo surgery on his right wrist – his shooting wrist – to remove some loose bodies.  Should’ve kept those bodies in a well, like Buffalo Bill!  “It puts the lotion on the skin!”  Without an IL spot, you’re cutting him in your redraft leagues, even with the prospect he gets a couple games in right before the playoffs.  The timeline is “hopeful to return in 4-5 weeks”, which would put us in early April.  Plus he’s a shooter, and gonna have a rusty wrist.  Hah, that sounds like a sex thing…  Moving on!

In his place, it’s time for the Cojo mojo!  11/1/6/3/0 then 14/1/6/1/0 over the weekend for Cory Joseph, with only 2 combined TO, showing what kind of sexy roto-asset he could be.  But thennnnn, struggled last night – as did the Raps as a while – to knock off the Poppycockers in a 1-point win, going 6/3/4/2/0 with 2 TO.  Still got 33:30 minutes, but he’s more in the fringy starting PG class (your Brogdon, McConnell, et ceteras) than in the most-own zone.  You could say he’s in the friendzone.  Although dudes don’t really have a friendzone, it’s only chicks that apply that logic.  The friendzone is a very sexist area!  After this dunk in the 2014 Western Conference Finals (back when he was on my REL team), Cojo could have his way with me any time he wanted!

Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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