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Ah, the almost-studlies.  The “still can’t quite miss, but you can start reaching round.”  …Almost sounds like I said reach around…

This is where the sommeliers really can knock their drafts out of the park – it’s all about the pairings.  You don’t serve red wine with fish, you cro-magnon!  But what’s great about fantasy hoops as opposed to a pretentious French restaurant is there’s very few pairings that can go wrong.  I mean your first rounder is awesome and your second rounder awesome with it!  I know a lot of people like the FT punt builds, but really the only pairing I can’t see doing is going big-big.  There’s a ton of FT-punt bigs littered through the first 4-5 rounds, so I think you can still punt, but start with a LeBron James/Draymond Green pair, then PG/C in 3/4.  I’m sure Slim and I will work on more culinary pairings as we go through the ranks and do some mocks on the Podcast, as we attempt to put together the best fine dining experience…  I just wanna avoid the friggin’ snails!  Here’s the Top 20 for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball Season:

11. Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors – Dude, if Klay poops the bed this year and my – I’ll guess consensus average – rank is way off, he’ll never hear the end of it!  My former poster boy of ThrAGNOF decided to up his steals to 1.1, blocks to 0.8, dimes to 2.9, and add three PPG to his game.  Way to be good at basketball, ya dick!  Oh, and shot career-highs from the field and from deep, and had career bests in FG% and 3PTM% to boot.  Every facet of his game took a pretty solid step forward, and nothing should be unrepeatable in 15-16.  If he played 36 MPG he’d be a no-question first-rounder, but those Warriors do blow out the scrubbos, giving KT 31:52 MPG last year, a number I don’t see changing much.

12. John Wall, Washington Wizards – When you look up and down the Wizards roster, there just isn’t another ball handler and Wall’s dimes could see yet another boost.  At 10.0 last year, it really wouldn’t shock me to see it go over 11, and while his 3.8 TO last year was a mighty issue, it was nice to see a 1.2 AST bump with only 0.2 more TO from 13-14 to last year.  A few extra blocks help as well, and he’d be back in my top-10 if his treys didn’t fall from 1.3 to 0.8 last year.  Plus Wall has to back up slamming all the free agent deals!  Can’t wait to see what happens when they play the Pistons!

13. Paul Millsap, Atlanta Hawks – Steady as she blows!  One of our big sleepers since 13-14, Millsap delivered handily and gave everyone another handy in 14-15 with a top-18 finish in both per-game and overall value.  Not too much to say for his game other than I could see an expansion of the deep ball with DeMarre Carroll no longer camping out there, getting replaced by…  Thabo Sefolosha?  Not exactly known for the deep ball or bone density, that Thabo.  I wish Trillsap could get that FT% up to the 80% range, but other than that, should help you across the board.

14. Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors – Wooooo, #OccupyDraymondGreen baby!  The hero of Razzball went from nearly undrafted last year to a no-question second rounder this year, and I’d be more than happy getting him towards the top of the turn.  Finishing 20th in per-game, his durability of 81 games gave him a 13 overall finish with his rainbow line ability.  Everything about his monster 14-15 breakout seems repeatable, except I do worry if he gets a tad more usage, his 66% shooting from the FT line might have a little more volume.  But that’s about all the cold water I could shower on him.  Shower me in that hot golden water, DrayDray!  I mean, ummmmmm…

15. Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers – One of the more shocking seasons last year came from Irving, in that it wasn’t talked about too much just how good he was…  We all know he can ball.  Everyone knows that.  But with BronBron in town, we all thought Uncle Drew’s usage would take a big hit, and even though it fell from 28.2% in 13-14 to 26.2% last year which dropped the AST 0.9 a game, BronBron did open up the floor and help Kyrie up his FG% from 43.0% to 46.8%, and for the first time in his career he shot over 40% from downtown (41.5%) on a career-high 5 per game.  All the improved efficiency also translated to a career-best 2.5 TO per-game.  All that said, the Cavs are going to want to get Kevin Love even more involved, and I don’t see Kyrie’s dimes getting back to over 6.  Plus Kyrie’s got a littered injury history including that awful broken kneecap he suffered in the Finals.  He should be fine for 15-16, but the 36:23 MPG we saw last year might not happen.

16. Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz – Ruuuuuuudy!  Monsieur Elbow is surely going to be buzzy heading into the season, and boy do I want to be on the Gravy train!  Do they have gravy in France?  Meh, I guess they call it remoulade, or some fancier word…  Too much about effin’ French food, this post!  Anyway, “the guy who I’d most want to do the no pants dance with from France” (Unwieldy?  Nicknames just follow this guy everywhere!) was unbelievable in the second half, going 11.1/13.4/1.8/1.0/2.6, all with only 1.8 TO.  His offensive game is dunks and putbacks at 57% from the field, and the only negative is the FT%.  Although – while minimal – it was nice to see him shoot 2% better from the stripe in nearly double the attempts as a starter.

17. Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls – Mr. Buckets!  Just an incredible season from Butler who had a revelatory offensive showing, Butler proved he can lead the O.  That said, Derrick Rose is going to play at some point, and suck a lot of that usage back up.  Butler was a monster finishing 8th in per-game value, but only got through 65 games after only 67 the year before.  In both of those seasons, Buckets played over 38 minutes a game in Tibs’ “run-em-until-they-die” system, so maybe new coach Fred Hoiberg will rein that in a bit.  Will it help Butler’s health?  I don’t think there’s any way to answer that, but I do think 20.0 PPG again seems unlikely.  Everything else in Buckets’ repertoire seems more than repeatable, and we might even see a further boost in FG% with Rose helping open things up.

18. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers – Oh man, for a while it looked like Blake might crash and burn for a 2nd rounder last year!  BG averaged only 0.5 Stl and 0.3 Blk through the first 17 games (not like he does much in those cats anyway), plus his usual 3.8 dimes for a very underwhelming start.  But then things took off, with Blake going up to by far a career best 5.3 dimes and dropped his TO 0.5 from 13-14 to 14-15.  The drop of two boards was annoying, but Blake has become a not-terrible FT shooter getting up to 72.8% last year, and with DeAndre Jordan returning, not too much should change for this year.

19. Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City Thunder – Mmmmm, another Razzball asset I’ve put my flag on a few times (not like that!), Iblocka developed his offensive game so well that it actually hurt his fantasy value!  His treys skyrocketed to 3.2 attempts pet game, making a very respectable 1.2 a game out there for 37.6%, but it dropped his career mid-50% FG to 47.6% last year.  And the blocks have steadily fallen from 3.7 to 2.4 over the past 4 seasons…  While Ibaka’s mix of blocks/treys/good FT% is almost solely unique, he barely takes any freebies, and I’m a little worried how many treys he’ll take with Enes Kanter there.  Post-ASB after the Kanter deal, Ibaka’s 3s fell drastically from 1.4 to 0.3 in 11 games before his injury, and there will be even less offensive touches with Kevin Durant back.  Sure on the flip side Ibaka got back to 54.7% from the field and 3.1 blocks in that time span, but I don’t know if the blocks come all the way back and his rebounds are likely going to maintain in the 7s.  All this said, I’ll probably have him a tad above ADP, but he’s not in the 10 range like I’ve had him the past few years – coming off that knee surgery doesn’t help either.

20. Paul George, Indiana Pacers – Long-time readers will remember the “elite-gate” which became an argument for much of 2013-14, with me constantly poking you awesome commenters’ bears (that metaphor make ANY sense?!) saying he wasn’t elite.  He was right on the back end of the top ten most of the first half, but then fell apart as did the whole Pacers team in the second half, and we didn’t get to see an encore last year.  One really positive thing for George is he was able to play some last year, although he was a shell of himself with numbers we can’t use.  It was just good to see him on the court.  Anyone arguing/ranking PG13 higher is completely overvaluing what he’s done in HEALTHY seasons, and off a major injury like his, I don’t think it’s fair to assume he’s going to be right back to his best season.  This rank likely prices me out, as I think people are going to overrate George.  HE’S NOT ELITE!  Hah, glad this will be back…

 

And there’s your top-20!  I’ll be locked up in a room with a chalk board the next few days as we get through the top 50, so wish me luck, hope that I don’t go full Howard Hughes, and happy summer Razzball Nation!

  1. CTMN says:
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    I’m still interested in LeBron, maybe even over a guy like Curry. I think his effiency will go up just like it did his second year in Miami, even with too many isos and not enough ball movement and deep post ups. I’d love to have him knowing that he almost never misses games for injuries, and hopefully won’t need a rest this year. He can be paired with literally anyone in the 2nd round, which is really useful.

    I’d still take Wall over Klay and maybe over Lillard, just crazy assists and steals, and I like having a first rounder who I know is the best guy on his team and will always get his.

    I loved my Millsap-AD combo last year, but I’m worried about Millsap a little bit with there being Splitter to go with Horford now, especially against bigger teams like Cleveland (even tho most teams will go small). If Horford plays more at the 4, that might hurt Millsap’s minutes at least a little bit. Thoughts on that?

    I feel like people will still not know or trust how great Gobert or Draymond are, and I think they might both be there in the third round (which would be a steal).

    I think Ibaka will pretty much always play when Kanter is on the floor, because he has to cover up how bad Kanter is on defense. I think he’s good where you have him, like you said, FG% goes up but shots go down.

    I really have no idea what PG13 will do this year. Looks like he’s gonna get a ton of minutes at the 4, and he might be the starting 4, which is kinda concerning for a guy coming off a broken leg. It could wear him down and maybe he’ll miss games. He’s still the alpha dog but Ellis needs the ball…it’s gonna be weird. I’m staying away from him.

    I’m pretty curious where you’re gonna have Drummond, DeAndre, Whiteside. Also: what the hell is gonna happen to Melo? I feel like he’ll get drafted first round by some clueless person who still thinks he’s a superstar.

    • MAC says:
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      @CTMN:
      i like lebron also, but no way over the top 3. he is in the next tier of lebron, cp3 and kd. and id rank them that way not knowing the playoff sched yet.

      i agree with you, definitely gonna get wall over lillard especially over klay. wall i think is with the 3rd tier of westbrook and cousins. the risk of a shutdown with lillard is big with R.I.P. city rebuilding.

      not concerned about splitter regarding the hawks bigs, but the concern there is they are pretty much like the spurs. missed games due to rest, minutes might go down, minor injuries will require longer missed games, etc.

      yup! include millsap and horford there as well. loved to get dray2, millsap, horford and gobert as my 3rd rounder.

      as for ibaka, the only concern for me is his injuries. ibaka is getting a little bit of an injury risk already. though i would definitely like getting ibaka as a 3rd rounder. include him as well to those guys getting undervalued.

      not touching pg13 this year.

      the 3 bigs should be at the 20-30 range. with drumm, dj, whiteside in that particular order for me. im looking at drummond this year as his breakout season. with dj basically getting the same. i like drummond upside more with more spacing in the paint and pistons 2nd season with svg.

      that will definitely happen, melo going as early as early 2nd round. not touching melo as well.

      • JB Gilpin

        JB Gilpin says:
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        @MAC: Well Lillard hasn’t missed a game yet, so I’m not worried about any shutdowns. Wall just hasn’t turned in a top 10 season yet, and I don’t see that changing so I couldn’t get him in higher.

        Yay another PG13 avoider with me! I bet his ADP is 14 or 15. If not I might have to move him down, but I try not to let ADP results affect me.

        Yup those bigs are in that range for me too. Drummo for sure my top of the 3.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @CTMN: Well BronBron did miss a few weeks there last year, but a big part is he doesn’t filter in those blocks any more and not a great FT guy. Wall vs. Klay was indeed close. I think Lillard is gonna be so much better in treys and pts it makes it better than a steal a night.

      I don’t think horford playing any 4 hurts, if anything it helps Millsap keep developing the 3 ball as I mention. He could get to 1.5-2 per. I hope ppl sleep on Gobert and Dray too!

      Glad to hear avoiding George seems to be a theme with us smart people 🙂 I’ll let someone else reach.

      Melo will be right at 21-22. Obviously not on any of my teams, but still not too far down to be crazy about it haha

      • MAC says:
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        @JB Gilpin:
        youre right with wall not having a top 10 season yet, and the outlook is not good as well, i actually find wall a tad overrated in fantasy as well, but the pickings after the top 8, which has a massive drop off is thin. yeah, lillard hasnt missed a game yet in his career. but for me, the risk of a shutdown in march onwards is big. well i guess you can persuade me to have lillard at 9 over wall. as you can probably trade him in his peak mid season. haha!

        yeah, not touching pg13 this season. if his ranking is at the 30-40 range, i might think about it. but its not gonna happen. hed definitely be overrated just like melo. id rather have hayward early 3rd round than pg13 and feel a whole a lot better. hehe.

        • CTMN says:
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          @MAC: @MAC: I know Wall probably won’t get 10th ranked value from that spot, but he’s missed only 3 games since a knee injury caused him to miss half the season in 2012-13. He’s just reliable and I like how you can start a team with a big head start in assists, to go with good pts, rebs and blks for a PG, and steals. I can see taking Lillard over him, having Lillard’s crazy usage half the year, then trading Lillard at the deadline. I agree that Lillard might get shut down near the end because Blazers will be tanking, but I bet most people don’t think he’ll be this good, and he’ll really surprise people so it’s a perfect sell high at the deadline.

          • JB Gilpin

            JB Gilpin says:
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            @CTMN: I still dunno about the shut down for Lillard – if he gets hurt sure, but he hasn’t missed a game in his career yet. I don’t know why they’d shut him down if healthy

            • CTMN says:
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              @JB Gilpin: Meh I hope they don’t, but remember Dragic on the Suns a couple years back, when they just “rested” him for no reason when they were already far out of the playoff picture? I think it was 2012-13, they were tanking.

              • JB Gilpin

                JB Gilpin says:
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                @CTMN: Yeah, didn’t they only rest him like 2-3 games though? Yeah still played 77 games. I remember that though, but then they let him come back and play. I think with all that youth at the other 4 positions, they can still tank with Lillard out there haha

                • CTMN says:
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                  @JB Gilpin: That’s a good point, I’ll take 75+ games if he produces the way we think he will. Anyway, it’s easy to lose even with your best player in the lineup when you’re a bad team in the West.

                  • JB Gilpin

                    JB Gilpin says:
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                    @CTMN: Hah for sure, I don’t think any of the greats – LeBon, Jordan, Abdul-Jabbar could even win with those other 4 on the team haha

        • MAC says:
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          @MAC:
          lebron is no doubt in the next tier, the question is who do you get of the 3? cp3, kd or lebron at 4. and for me, its lebron cp3 then kd. without knowing playoff sched yet. kds feet still worries me and im the type that wants to see it first that hes good to go all season long. wall vs klay for me is not close. hehe.

          horf and sap only issue would be dnps just like what spurs do. i like them at 2nd round, just like dray2. gobert as well, but not as thrilled with drumm dj whiteside ibaka in that range as well. people would definitely undervalue those guys. and picking top 3 is a boom! as the next picks are at that 22-27 range where you can combo those bigs with draymond.

          • JB Gilpin

            JB Gilpin says:
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            @MAC: Hahaha trade Lillard after a huge start sounds like a great idea!

            Eesh, yeah maybe I will have to move George down, but I think I’d rather have him over Melo for the steals, which means I had to have him there at 20. I bet Slim loves to hear that hayward talk!

            • MAC says:
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              @JB Gilpin:
              no doubt george over melo. but definitely not touching them both. love me some hayward as well.

              • JB Gilpin

                JB Gilpin says:
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                @MAC: I dunno if I’ll be too big on Hayward. We’ll def be talking a lot of Hayward on the next Pod

                • MAC says:
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                  @JB Gilpin:
                  im big on hayward if hes ranked again at 30-40 range. but again, if i have to choose pg13 vs hayward at mid late 20s, rather have hayward. hehe

                  • JB Gilpin

                    JB Gilpin says:
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                    @MAC: Hah well George I doubt falls that far! I would probably have to risk George, but it’s close

  2. Jensen says:
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    I actually like Ibaka this year.

    If he plays next to Kanter, as we all think he will, he is going to get to help a lot on D. Which means he should be in line to up his blocks and steals if he is constantly getting/having to help Kanter. It might not make for good NBA defense, but it should be good for his fantasy stats.
    Secondly, with Kanter down low and the usual cast of KD and Westbrook jacking 3’s he should have tons of space to run his midrange game. I like his %’s and defensive stats a lot. I would love to pair him with Lillard who could easily compete for the scoring title and should have good dimes.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Jensen: I do too, don’t get me wrong. i think his ADP will be outside top 20. One thing you mention – Kanter isn’t really a down low guy. He’s more mid-range. That’s what concerns me over Ibaka’s jumpers/3s. But yeah, Lillard/Ibaka would be a mad combo to start

  3. Dante Green says:
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    TBH, I’d pick Dray and Gobert over LMA and Griffin. Lol

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Dante Green: Yessir that’s what I’m talking about!

      • MAC says:
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        @JB Gilpin:
        same here! dray2 possible at round 3 with gobert. so basically, landing a top 3 pick, then a combo of dray2 and gobert assuming u had curry/harden is sick!

        • JB Gilpin

          JB Gilpin says:
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          @MAC: Whewwwww that’d be a monster team to start

          • Dante Green says:
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            @JB Gilpin: landing one of the top 3 picks is golden, hope I could be that lucky come draft night. Lol, JB I just gotta ask, assuming I’m pick no.5 and the first 4 picks went like this: Brow, Harden, Curry, LBJ/CP3/KD, is it too crazy to draft Dame at 5 over KD, CP3 or LBJ?? I mean I’m with you with Dame being one of the top 10 guys (others have been skeptic, I know lol) and I’m betting all my chips on the guy, lol. Thanks brotha

            • JB Gilpin

              JB Gilpin says:
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              @Dante Green: Hah, ummmm I dunno about “too crazy” but I just couldn’t do it. With your KD fears – totally understandable too – I think CP3 or LeBron, whoever isn’t taken 5, has gotta be your move. Any time man!

              • Dante Green says:
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                @JB Gilpin: hah! U know me all to well with my avoid-KD movement! Hahaha yea, it has to be CP3 or LBJ! Thanks brotha

                • JB Gilpin

                  JB Gilpin says:
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                  @Dante Green: If KD gets hurt again, you will come out unscathed!

                  • MAC says:
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                    @JB Gilpin:
                    i would hate picking 6 with kd available. assuming lbj cp3 has been taken. so basically, pick 6 with no choice but kd, then picking 9 with cousins on board as well with westy and dame taken, and picking 10 onwards. i dont like those. hehe. kd with the injury risk, cousins being cousins, then the dropoff at pick 10.

                    • JB Gilpin

                      JB Gilpin says:
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                      @MAC: Yeah, I feel like picking late was a big detriment to my teams last year. Only draft I had a top 10 pick I got Durant – ah!

                      Thompson + something with a late pick I might be OK with. Thompson/Wall then big/big I could get on board with, but not ideal

                  • Marl says:
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                    If KD is not hurt, can he get back to top 2-3 ? How about the upside of Whiteside, can he be a 3rd rounder for a 12 team league?

                    More power!

                    • JB Gilpin

                      JB Gilpin says:
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                      @Marl: Oh for sure! In the Top 10 I said would it really shock anyone if he ends up 1st again? I just think my rank of 4, and likely consensus at 4-5 builds in the risk. And for sure Whiteside is that high! I have him 31 right now, so early 3rd round.

                      Thanks for stopping by!

            • CTMN says:
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              @Dante Green: I would probably pick CP3 or LeBron and then try to trade for Lillard plus something, or even trade the pick to move down before the draft.

              • Dante Green says:
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                @CTMN: that’s what I’m actually planning to do. I know it’s foolish to draft Lillard ahead of CP3 and LeBron so the best thing to do really is to trade either one of them for Dame. Lol LBJ+4th rounder for Lillard+Gobert/Draymond. HAH

                • CTMN says:
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                  @Dante Green: If someone will do that trade you better run with it and make sure they don’t take it back lol

                  • JB Gilpin

                    JB Gilpin says:
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                    @Dante Green: @CTMN: Hah yeah that’d be sick if it works!

  4. Philzilla says:
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    Nice list. Don’t tell me you have Love in the top 10. I’d take Bosh over him this year and I wouldn’t consider him a top 10 player either. I’d draft PG13 at 20 in a heartbeat.

  5. CTMN says:
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    Would you say Westbrook is 7th in 8-cat, behind only Curry/Harden/Davis and LeBron/KD/CP3? Or even above any of those?

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @CTMN: Yeah he’s def higher, I think I’d go up to 6th and take him ahead of Paul in 8 cat

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