Am I a few months too early on my title? Yup! Do I know Thanksgiving is on the mend? Yup! Am I talking about Denzel Valentine? Yup! Did we all just become best friends? Hell ya we did. Like Denzel Washington, Denzel Valentine is efficient, reliable to perform when called upon, and a jack of all trades. Some of the best movies of Washington’s era have won slews of awards. He has won 39 total awards in his career, including three Golden Globes and two Academy Awards. Denzel Valentine? He was the Lansing State Journal Player of the Year as a senior in High School, George Alderton Male Athlete of the Year (Michigan State award), The AP National Player of the Year, The Big 10 Player of the year, and a 1st Team All-American all in his senior year of college. Between these two Denzel’s we have a ton of awards to talk about, both on and off the court. Today, we talk about Denzel of the Bulls from House Chicago. Yes, I am re watching Game of Thrones for the 3rd time and that’s just the way I speak now.

He sure got game

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Mike James. Talk about a blast from the past. This guy was the ultimate backup PG with some random, formative, fantasy friendly seasons. From 1998-2015, James played for 10 different franchises including two stints with the Bulls and Mavericks. 12 teams in 17 years. If I had a poster child for steroids in the NBA, Mike James would be my man. He never averaged over 11.8 PPG and 4.2 AST. He literally was the perfect backup. Come in for 20 minutes a game, play off the ball at times, start 10+ times per year due to injury or rest. Scratch that, only the pansies of this decade take games off for rest. But for one single season in 2005, playing across the border for the Raptors of Toronto, Mike James not only started 79 games, he averaged 20.3 points with 5.8 assists at the ripe old age of 30. If that’s not the Barry Bonds of basketball, I don’t know what is. This wasn’t in the era where everyone was hitting 20 homers, or rather averaging 20 points a game, but rather during a time where defense was still being played, a ton of draft picks were at least 2 year college players, or Lebron James, and Dwight Howard was the next big thing, besides Lebron James. So Mike James, take a bow, because no one has uttered your name since that blurb about you playing in Turkey in 2011… until now.

Take a bow, Mike

When you google Mike James NBA, two wikipedia pages pop up. Mike James (basketball, born 1975) and Mike James (basketball, born 1990). The Mike James I want to discuss is the 27 year old PG for the Phoenix Suns. This Mike James was one of the best high school players in Oregon his senior year yet found himself stuck at DIII East Arizona College. He then found his way to Lamar University. No relation to Lamar Odom, or any of the Ball brothers, although I would not be shocked if Lavar had something do with Lamar Odom and his University. He actually had a fantastic senior year, but from the years 2012 until now, James, Mike James, has played in Croatia, Israel, Italy, Greece, and Spain. Five countries in three years. Now, who has two thumbs and finds himself on the verge of being on your fantasy team?

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Hello everybody. I am TonyRP, one of the new fantasy writers at Razzball. I love fantasy and writing about this great game. For my first post, I am going to analyze one of my RCL teams. This team was drafted in the Straight Cash Homie 4 league. This league consists of some other Razzball writers and a host of other skilled players. Going forward, I will be recapping all the RCL leagues and keep you abreast of the hot and heavy action.

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Image result for official chicago bulls logo

Such a strange season for the Bulls last year. It all started before a single game was played, as Derrick Rose (I miss pre-ACL injury Rose so much), Justin Holiday, and a pick were traded for Jose Calderon, Jerian Grant, and Robin Lopez in the offseason. Then, Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol were allowed to leave via free agency. Rajon Rondo and Dwayne Wade were signed to multi-year contracts. Tony Snell was traded for Michael Carter-Williams. Huh? At the trade deadline, Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott were traded away for Joffrey Lauvergne, Anthony Morrow, and Cameron Payne. Huh what? The Bulls ended the regular season with a 41-41 record and got the eighth and final playoff spot. Then they went up 2-0 over the number one seeded Boston Celtics!!! Rajon Rondo gets hurt and they proceed to lose the next four. Jimmy Butler gets traded to the Timberwolves for Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, and Lauri Markkanen around the draft. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2016 Chicago Bulls.

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Image result for got anymore of that meme

Wow. What a riveting week for basketball fans. And not a single game was played! It harkened me back to the days of drafting on the PS2, then sitting back and simming the season. Then making my big board for the incoming rookies. Then drafting, with a bite of pizza here and a sip of Coke there. I would zone out for hours, enthralled by the team building process. And that’s what makes the NBA Draft so great. The new crop of players are entering the league and the general managers are filling in the pieces of the puzzle. Hope and optimism pervade fan bases across the country. Sorry Bulls fans. I didn’t mean you. Which segues nicely to my first rant…

How the flying F does Jimmy Butler get traded for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, and the No. 7 pick (Lauri Markkanen)? AND the Bulls threw in the No. 16 pick (Justin Patton). The only explanation I can come up with is that Tom Thibodeau has a suitcase worth of “things” that he’s been waiting for the proper moment to utilize. I believe I’ve just figured out what’s in the Pulp Fiction briefcase. Remember, back in 2015, the Bulls kicked Thibs to the curb in a rather unceremonious way. Finally, Thibs got his revenge. I mean, what other possible explanation could there be? LaVine is an explosive athlete, but he tore his ACL last season. Kris Dunn….I think this tweet explains it all:

https://twitter.com/markstrot/status/878040700239085569

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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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All we needed is a royal event! Unfurl the red carpet, roll it out in the The Colonies’ biggest city, and The Duchess will grace over his royal territory! Wow, I just made a Brooklyn Mess game sound like a big event. FOOL YOU!

As we continue to see Khris Middleton get his minutes ramped up, this was maybe the most encouraging game of the night for me yesterday, as he gets the ASB to rest up and looks ready for a big second half. Even though it’s more like a big final 1/3, but ya know, NBA… 20/3/7/3/0 for The Duchess K Middleton, with only 1 TO and shooting 7-13 with a trey. His most minutes thus far (played 26 off the bench) and I just loved this little glimpse of chemistry with Giannis Antetokounmpo with the big highlight from this game:

Guys are looking N’Sync! I would totally watch The Duchess and Greek Freak lead a boy band… Through his 4 games back, Middleton hasn’t looked like he’s lost anything, with a stellar 18:4 AST:TO, is shooting 47%, and has two 3 steal games. With Jabari Parker out and a line-up that will need a playmaker next to Greek, this could be a really fun upcoming stretch. Kudos if you were able to stash him all season on your IL, and get ready for a royal finish! Here’s what else went down on the last busy slate of action before the All-Star Weekend:

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With the regular season drawing to a close, the waiver wire is starting to get pretty sparse, so today I’ll just talk about a few highlight players, and you can ask me about individual situations in the comments below!  As a bonus, feel to ask me anything else you feel like – basketball or non basketball related.  I’m an open book for today!

Terrence Ross – I’m not quite sure how he’ll blend into the Orlando rotation, but I could definitely see some major playing time as the team kicks his tires a bit.  A nice speculative add in the wake of the Serge Ibaka trade.

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The All-Star Break. The Halfway Point. Well, the 65% Point. Haha, the NBA season is a funny animal. Beginning in the heart of football season, it’s not until December that the league begins to take center stage of the national attention. Then, once the league hits the true half-way mark, everyone is hyped for the Super Bowl. So, finally, in the dead of winter, we reach the All-Star game and everyone’s favorite exhibition game and festivities. Sure, the entire weekend has lost a little luster over the past decade or so, but this week will be defined by the NBA All-Star Game. Oh. Hell. Yeah. Son. (OHYS)

However, like I said, it’s an interesting spot. We’re now 17 weeks into this thing. At the 17 week mark of baseball your past the trade deadline and in the home stretch towards the playoffs. With football you’re season is officially over (unless you’re one of those strange folks that plays Week 17). Yet, with fantasy basketball I feel like we just started. This little break will give us a quick breath before the final charge to the playoffs, but also, unlike other sports, creates a little chaos during the middle of that charge. The games shut down on Thursday, and don’t pick up again until the following Thursday. It’s brilliant for NBA players, but brutal for fantasy players. I thought about combining the two weeks into one, but a whole heckuva lot can happen between now and next week. Just beware, there aren’t many games for the next 14 days, so while we’re focusing on the next week, there’s also one eye on the following set to get a little ahead.

Now, onto the final few games, my predictions for the All-Star Game, and the 7 Ahead! Who do y’all have winning the All-Star Game? Dunk Contest? 3 Point Contest?

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