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Before this NBA season I couldn’t look at Mike D’Antoni without thinking of Cy Tolliver, the second-tier villain on HBO’s “Deadwood.”

But I had no idea that D’Antoni would behave like his fictional doppelganger (played by Powers Boothe) and that he would turn the Lakers into the Bella Union Saloon, a place rife with rigged gambling, card games that end in gunfire, out-in-the-open prostitution and inexplicable frontcourt rotations. OK, maybe just the last thing.

There really seems to be no method to D’Antoni’s madness. Jordan Hill got some serious run at the end November and responded with some double-digit rebound games, so of course coach slashed his minutes down to the high teens by the beginning of December. Around the middle of the month he called Hill’s number again, and the results weren’t surprising: He produced some nice games, including a 21-9-1 on Dec. 16 at Atlanta. Now Hill is starting, but his minutes have been crunched down to around 20 per game.

Some of this is injuries (Pau Gasol, Kobe Bryant, etc.). But then how do you explain Robert Sacre?

When Hill fell out of favor at the beginning of the month, D’Antoni reached deep into his bench and pulled out the unknown 7-footer, and Sacre played pretty well. But just when feel-good stories about Sacre earning D’Antoni’s trust started appearing, the Moustache chucked Sacre out to Mr. Wu’s pigs.

Now the Lakers are all kinds of banged up, but instead of going back to Sacre, D’Antoni grabbed Chris Kaman, who’s not even on the Laker depth chart anymore but managed to put up a double-double in Friday’s blow-out loss to the Warriors. Did D’Antoni have an “oh yeah” moment there, and realize that Kaman could provide a calming veteran presence? Doubt it. By the end of next week Kaman will start wearing out warm-ups again.

This is all a long-winded way of saying that if you’re looking for a guy who grabs rebounds and/or blocks shots, you should stay away from Cy Tolliver’s wild-west saloon. It’s like chasing saves on a team that uses a closers-by-committee approach, only the committee is the entire bullpen.

Here’s what else I’m seeing in the paint:

Brandan Wright – Did you jump on the Wright train the second it left the station with that 19-point debut a few weeks back? And did you stay on after he laid a stinker in his second game? Congratulations, you’ve got yourself a center. If you don’t have him and he’s out there, I wouldn’t overreact and dump someone good for him just yet, but his line of 19-6-4 against the Suns on Saturday has me sold.

Alexis Ajinca – Deep League Special! The French 7-footer only got in the mix the other night (4 points, 11 boards, 1 block) because of injuries, but there’s gotta be a reason the Pelicans signed him to a two-year deal. Plus, he’s got that satanic Kevin Garnett look (devil goatee, pointy ears) going on, which can’t hurt when he’s storming around the paint.

Al Jefferson - Barely missed three straight 20-10’s but had three blocks to go with 19 points and 11 boards against Utah on Saturday. This is really just an excuse to link to the Charlotte Almost Hornets’ new logo, for my man JB [editor's note - go Hornets!].

Glen Davis – I haven’t been reading the Orlando Sentinel too much these days. Did the Magic become playoff contenders overnight? Is that why they benched Victor Oladipo so they could run with a veteran lineup that includes Big Baby? And does that move even make them better at all? Hey, Jacque Vaughn’s boner can be your gain. Pick up Davis for your bench if you need boards.

Andrew Bogut – The onion continues to bloom for Bogut as he capped off a monster week of boarding, dumping a 12-20-2 on the Lakers. It’s almost like he tries to score in the single digits, but I doubt anyone who owns him is complaining. Kind of like anyone who has …

DeAndre Jordan – Threw up a 14-20-5 for the mini-rainbow line against the Pelicans. That is some choice Boards-N-Blocks Action!

Nene Hilario – He’s back from his latest weirdo injury, but it looks like he’ll be playing as many (read: as little) minutes as he wants while coming off the bench or starting, apparently his choice, whatever. If you can get anyone to take him, I’d sell while he’s healthy.

Trevor Booker – The most recent Hilario injury was the best and worst thing to happen to Booker. He shined for a few games after landing the temporary starting job, but while that was going on …

Kevin Seraphin – Took advantage of the extra minutes while Nene was out, looked good, and now seems to be keeping his time while Booker loses his. I liked Seraphin as a deep-leaguer or a sleeper bench guy heading into the season, and if he gets minutes he’s the guy to own over Booker.

Miles Plumlee – Don’t let his 6-point, 8-board poop on the floor of the U.S. Airways Arena on Saturday scare you off. Stick his nose in it, make him clean it up, and then realize that Plumlee is worth owning right now and for the rest of the season as long as Alex Len remains packed away in cold storage.

Tyson Chandler – Had 8 and 9 boards in 30-plus minutes in his last two games, but leg cramps are telling me those worn-down legs aren’t getting any younger.

Larry Sanders – Hey mom! Santa got me a Larry Sanders for Christmas! Doubt that will be said by anyone anywhere on Dec. 25, but it could be true, as that seems to be the new target return date.

Roy Hibbert – Finally got back into double-digits in boards with 12 (to go along with 3 blocks and 15 points) on Sunday against the Celts, but at 7-2, 280-plus he should be averaging more than 8 rebounds a game, right? After this year’s fantasy drafts I was pissed I didn’t have him on a single team; now, despite the blocks (2.8 per) I’m glad I don’t.

Jared Sullinger – Oh, that’s why Hibbert is so ballyhooed: He shut Sully down on Sunday, holding him to a paltry 6-2-2 line. But defense without numbers is real-life stuff, and we don’t care about that. As for Sullinger, his 22-11 against Washington was nice. But Kelly Olynyk has returned, and Vitor Faverani, although he stinks, continues to reside on the end of the bench. So you have to wonder how long Brad Stevens will be able to resist going back to the whack-a-mole, D’Antoni approach of deploying big men. You’d think Olynyk and Faverani looking like this and this, respectively, would be enough to tell Stevens that Sullinger was the man, but apparently not.

Little Big Man of the Week: Brandon Knight. What the what? When he exploded for 36 against the Knicks last Wednesday, he contributed 9 boards. In his next game in Cleveland, he cleaned the glass 14 times to go along with 17 points. The 6-3 guard is somehow averaging 4-plus rebounds per game, and even though its unreasonable to think he’ll hit double digits again anytime soon, go ahead and enjoy that gravy on some mashed taters or anything you like.

  1. Lasandro says:
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    Nice write up once again man!

    Oh dear, I just traded for Sully.. Please tell me he’s still gonna get good burn in Boston. I’ll like his multi cat potential for a scoring low post presence. Was hoping for something around the 16/7 and a three mark

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Lasandro: Thanks man! What’d you trade to get him? Na, I think he’ll be OK, I was more just referring to Stevens’ early season insanity regarding the C’s C slot. Looks like Sully is entrenched.

      • Lasandro says:
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        @Pete Nice: good to know man! Essentially traded DJ straight up for him. My AD came back early from injury, and I’ve got DMC, Henson and Drummond, so wanted a more rounded PF with multi cat potential.

        Speaking of the celts, I got Rondo in the trade too. How he’ll do is anyone’s guess, but what are you predicting on his return re: production? Close to a dub dub with steals?

        • Pete Nice

          Pete Nice says:
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          @Lasandro: The hard part is no one can really predict his return, period. He’s really being a d-bag about it, and every time I see his jacked up mug I get angry. He is wrecking one of my teams. If/when he comes back yeah he’ll be top shelf, probably more points and maybe fewer assists.

          • Lasandro says:
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            You and me both! He’s a textbook prick. Just hoping he’ll get me numbers when he returns.

            Xmas wishes from Australia bro!

            • Pete Nice

              Pete Nice says:
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              @Lasandro: Merry Ho-Ho!

  2. Bon says:
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    Hey!
    Brewer has been doing horribly this past two weeks+? i was wondering if its time to cut him for another player such as danny granger or AK47, maybe even JR smith. I had brewer for his stats like stls and little pts and boards. What do you think about the rookie from bucks nicknamed alphabet.
    Thanks

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Bon: Yeah dump. And yup, for JR Smith if he’s still out there but the cat’s about out of the bag on him. As for Alphabet some expert dude said he’d take him number one in a redraft if it were held today. I dunno gotta see more.

  3. SheriffMcRawDawg says:
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    What up Pete. I’m hurting for treys and blocks. Is trading Pek for Reddick & Larry Sanders ill-advised? Also – should I drop Steven Adams for Seraphin? 20-teamer. Thanks

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @SheriffMcRawDawg: No and no Sherrif. The Pek-Love (haha) combo is killer in Minny. Seraphin could get better as the season goes on but that frontcourt situation is a little crowded in DC. Hold onto Adams he’s looking good.

  4. Brent

    The Fantasy Dick says:
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    Is this a fair offer:

    Brandon Knight/Evan Turner for Kyrie/Larry Sanders?

    I am in need of boards/blocks/FG%

    Thanks

    Dick

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @The Fantasy Dick: Hmm. You’re getting Kyrie? Logic says he’s the best player in the deal, and should be a fantasy stud, so I’d say Kyrie side, with anything you get out of Larry as a bonus. But I wouldn’t be upset being stuck with Knight (who is REALLY killing it) and E.T. If you’re trying to find reasons not to do it, just do it already.

      • Brent

        The Fantasy Dick says:
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        @Pete Nice: Yeah, I agree that Kyrie is the best player, but the way Knight is playing, he is the best player at the moment. Turner is putting up full lines too. That is why I’m having a hard time with it. I worry that Sanders won’t be that effective (except in blocks).

        You think Kyrie picks up for ROS?

        Thanks

        • Pete Nice

          Pete Nice says:
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          @The Fantasy Dick: I guess my point was if you really want Kyrie you should do the deal. Knight and Turner are like 2nd-3rd shelf guys, Kyrie is a stud. Sometimes you gotta overpay to get the big hosses.

  5. Chasles says:
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    What do you think of this trade?
    Batum for lowry and josh smith

    Im in need of more rebounds and blocks

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Chasles: You getting Lowry and J-Smoove? Yup I’d do it.

  6. hamtime says:
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    would you trade :

    a) my MCW for Al Jeff?
    b) my Kanter for Farmar

    thanks!

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @hamtime: a) I love both guys. Both are a little fragile. Stay with MCW if you’re more of a gambler – if the Sixers clean house, does that hurt or help his stats? Big Al is more steady but maybe not as exciting. b) Flip a coin. I’ll flip my Paul Stanley guitar pick … Kanter.

  7. Corey says:
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    Middleton or Giannis? I swapped Giannis for Middleton in my points league, but in my 9 cat league i’m not sure what to do.

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Corey: Anytime I hear “he does things that don’t end up in the box score” that pretty much screams “not a great fantasy player.” Obviously in the case of Giannis that’s a “yet.” He could be a Kawhi Leonard type. Middleton is tight right now, and although he may lose some minutes when Sanders comes back, he’s shown he can get it done and should keep some time. Hold him over Giannis in the 9-cat.

  8. TestTickles says:
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    On a related note, should I drop Terrence Jones for Middleton? With Ilyasova shut down (for the time being), hes been getting a lot of run. But I just don’t trust the Bucks or Larry Drew

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @TestTickles: Yeah Middleton over Jones.

  9. Matt P says:
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    Was hoping you might have some college basketball knowledge, I have none.

    Would JV go in the top 5 of this years NBA draft? In my dynasty league someone is offering me their 1st rounder for JV and their team is terrible, top 5 almost guaranteed. Should I hold JV? I keep hearing this draft class is unbelievable so I kinda wanna get in on it. I traded away my own pick which would have been top 12 at best.

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Matt P: Na no room in my brain for that. Maybe JB or one of the other Razz writers can help…

    • mike says:
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      @Matt P:

      Just from nbadraft.net, it looks more like that there are 10+ players with strong All-Star potential than that there are 5 Anthony Davis type surefire superstars. JV is probably a safe pick compared to what you’d get at #5, though maybe if you’re looking at a #1 or #2 I’d think about it. But just consider this my friend: If you don’t follow college ball too closely, do you really want to pin your team’s future on your ability to pick the best matriculating college player? I mean, as opposed to sticking with a solid NBA commodity.

      • mike says:
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        @mike:

        I mean just to be crystal clear, there might be at least one player in the 3-5 slots that is better than JV and at least one player in the 3-5 slots who is worse than JV. Do you trust yourself to figure out which one is the former and which ones is the latter?

  10. Rixo13 says:
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    What do you think about this trade offer,
    my stephenson and hickson for dragic???
    16 man h2h league standard

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Rixo13: I don’t mind giving up Hickson, and I kind of don’t trust Stephenson but man he has been putting up some rad multi-cat stats with the ability to score big. Try Stephenson straight up?

  11. Jason says:
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    Hey Pete
    I lost Lopez. I have Jeff Teague that I can trade, but who should I be looking for in return? I have an offer out on Vucevic. Here is my team, any thoughts?
    Wall
    Teague
    George hill
    Wroten
    Reggie Jackson
    Gerald Henderson
    Horford
    Henson
    Jordan hill
    Webster
    Jonas V
    Lopez
    Thanks and happy holidays

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Jason: Yeah if you can get Vuc for Teague I’d do that deal.

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Jason: And happy ho-ho to you too!

  12. Frank White says:
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    Sup Nice… I’m in a 10 team league and I know Pierce has been doing good but on the Yahoo notes it’s saying to drop him unless in standard leagues cause off the bench role will make him inconsistent. Do you agree?? If so would you go with Jordan Farmar??

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Frank White: Neither really excites me but that Pierce stuff really boggles my mind. I guess now that Lopez is out Kidd is just saying eff it? Pierce was blowing up as a starter. And I just read the Yahoo note where the guy is frothing at the mouth about Farmar. I guess he’s worth a look but I wouldn’t be expecting Classic Steve Nash or Jason Kidd or anything.

      • Frank White says:
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        What about Taj Gibson.. Do you think he’s gonna stay consistent enough to grab??

        • Pete Nice

          Pete Nice says:
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          @Frank White: I’d grab him, sure. Even if he doesn’t get run long-term he’s a guy you can ride while he’s going good. When he gets minutes he produces, and right now he’s getting minutes.

  13. Kevin says:
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    Got offered Anthony davis and Terrence Ross for my Lowry and vucevic. Would you take this trade?

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Kevin: It’s really Davis for Lowry-Vucevic, but I think might dern well do that deal.

  14. High as Greg Kite says:
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    Pete- love this feature, favorite article on the site.

    Larry Sanders is on waivers in my league- drop Bogut for him?

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @High as Greg Kite: Thanks man. And nope no way hold onto Bogut. Not bad thinking to stash Sanders tho – anyone else you can snip?

      • High as Greg Kite says:
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        @Pete Nice: Lowest-rung guys are Chandler, G Henderson, T Harris and Hickson.

  15. Patrick says:
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    i have plumlee, wright, glen davis on waiver wire. which has the best production moving forward in H2H 9 cat. i desperately need boards and blocks.

    it’s between plumlee and wright for me plumlee gets more boards but shit fg%, who will have steadier production moving forward?

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Patrick: Plumlee

  16. CDS says:
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    Got a trade offer.. My nowitzki for dragic, klay and boozer
    What do you think?

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @CDS: That’s not a bad haul you’re getting back. What’s your team look like? Do you have a fair amount of studs or guys like the ones here that you’re getting here – not elite but definitely 2nd or 3rd level.

      • CDS says:
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        @Pete Nice:
        I think this trade will work for my team..
        John wall
        MCW
        IT2
        Kyle lowry
        Joe Johnson
        Wilson chandler
        Demar derozan
        Lebron james
        Pekovic
        Dirk nowitzki
        Serge ibaka
        John henson
        Larry sanders

        I’m trading Dirk and dropping Wilson chandler and Joe Johnson for boozer, dragic and klay

        • Pete Nice

          Pete Nice says:
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          @CDS: Yea good stuff man!

  17. guidedbyvoices says:
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    hey Pete….12 team h2h standard league.

    Im desperate for 3PTM and AST’s…..what do y’think about trading David Lee for Lawson?

    or what about Z-Bo for IT2?

    besides Lee and Z-Bo I also have Vucevic,Sully,Josh Smith,Bynum,Jeff Green and Hickson.My only PG’s are Wall,Vasqez,Calderon and Jordan Crawford.

    thnks.

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @guidedbyvoices: YO GBV. I like both trades – gold star for you robot boy! Obviously the first is more even keel and the second has more risk but bigger reward. My only concern with IT2 is how will Rudy Gay effect him if/when Gay gets right. And what happens to Z-Bo when Conley and eventually Gasol get back? It’d be cool if you could unload Bynum, Green and/or Hickson to get a deal done but that might be asking too much.

      Can you get IT2 for Lee?

  18. hamtime says:
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    who do you think is most worthy of a roster spot – kirilenko, terrence ross, or jordan hill?

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @hamtime: It keeps fluctuating. A week ago I would have said Hill, then I would have told you to drop him, and now it looks like you should get him again. All of this is due to the main item above. I think D’Antoni hit his head on the Hollywood sign or something.

      I would say Ross or Hill, depending on your needs. Might be best to ride Hill right now while he’s playing.

  19. Patrick says:
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    i have plumlee and ilyasova at the end of my bench

    who should i drop for brandan wright?

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Patrick: Ilyasova. Right now I’m speculating on Wright but I’d hate to miss out on his upside.

      • Patrick says:
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        @Pete Nice: you seem to be the only one agreeing with me. what about plumlee for wright? plumlee produced some game changing numbers the past few games but i keep reading of wright’s upside

      • Patrick says:
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        @Pete Nice: forget my last post. illyasova is back in practice does that change anything?

      • Patrick says:
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        @Pete Nice: i drafted illyasova in the 4th round and am having trouble letting him go

        • Pete Nice

          Pete Nice says:
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          @Patrick: I like Plumlee better than Wright and definitely Ersan. The Bucks are just really unstable and have a lot of scorers and big men. Not sure where Ersan fits. If you have him I suppose it can’t hurt to hold and see how it goes. I’m not saying Ersan sucks, just that personally I would take a pass.

  20. Steve Stevenson says:
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    Weekly H2H pts league, pick 2 bench guards for the next couple weeks (or 3 if you’d start one at flex over Big Baby):

    Beno (3G next wk: @ SA, @ HOU, @ DAL)
    Hinrich (4G: TOR, BOS, ATL, @ MEM)
    Dunleavy (same)
    Farmar (3G: MIL, UTA, DEN)
    Meeks (same)

    AST and STL play up in our format, which props up low-end PG types like Hinrich and Beno. I think Farmar’s the #1 here. Who else?

  21. Pete Nice

    Pete Nice says:
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    Meeks could be a good source of steals, and if Thibodeau came to his senses he’d keep trying Augustin over Hinrich.

    I don’t really like Farmar but I guess you’re right, him and Hinrich.

  22. AdamH says:
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    I’ve been offered Bledsoe and Jonas V for my D12 and Kawhi. Fair, or keep my side?

    League is 10 team keeper H2H standard cats.

    My team: Rubio, Kawhi, Jordan Crawford, tyreke, harden, Marion, Amir, D12, The Brow, Love, deandre jordan, Kevin Martin, Avery Bradley

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @AdamH: Going into the season everyone thought Kawhi was headed for a next level. Now it looks like he might be what he’s going to be and nothing else. We already know what D12 is too.

      If I were trying to win now I’d hold, but the deal has some big potential down the line.

  23. Bobby says:
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    What’s up Pete? Who’s the best guy to have? With the injured Bucks a possible play tomorrow…..Sanders, Ersan, or Jimmy Butler? Who would you want long term? Or best guy to stay healthy haha thanks!

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Bobby: I have to think Sanders is going to rebound and be solid. If he was available in one of my leagues I’d grab him.

  24. CDS says:
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    @Pete Nice:
    I think this trade will work for my team..
    John wall
    MCW
    IT2
    Kyle lowry
    Joe Johnson
    Wilson chandler
    Demar derozan
    Lebron james
    Pekovic
    Dirk nowitzki
    Serge ibaka
    John henson
    Larry sanders

    I’m trading Dirk and dropping Wilson chandler and Joe Johnson for boozer, dragic and klay

  25. Barenrewn says:
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    Larry Sanders is available in my league. Is it worth dropping either John Henson or Trevor Ariza for him and if so which one? The rest of my team is pretty well set.

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Barenrewn: I’d hold.

  26. Gio says:
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    Hi, 12 teams h2h. Thinking of dropping Varejao and Leuer. Pick 2 out of 3. J Hill, Ersan, Faried.

    Thank u

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Gio: Hill and Faried.

  27. Corey says:
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    Who do u think will have the most value going forward? Ersan is back at practice. Ersan Middleton, mayo or Giannis?

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Corey: You got it right up there.

  28. I love lamp says:
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    12 team h2h points league. I have xavier henry, Jodie Meeks, and Farmar. Should i drop any of these 3 for Brandon Wright? I’m thinking i should drop xavier or farmar

    • I love lamp says:
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      @I love lamp: Actually I’m going to be activating Larry Sanders so i can only keep 2 of these guys. So i should keep Wright and Meeks?

      • Pete Nice

        Pete Nice says:
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        @I love lamp: Yea I think so. For some reason I don’t like Farmar.

  29. Kevin says:
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    Would you trade kemba walker & and jimmy butler for his iggy and Greg Monroe? 9 cat 10 team head to head league. Let me know please I need some advice.

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Kevin: Na hold Walker

  30. Alex says:
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    okay so my team is chris paul,ricky rubio, gordon hayward, j.noah, ,j.holliday, j.r. smith, paul millsap, deron williams. klay thompson, terrence jones, robin lopez, a varejao, and lance stephenson and there is this guy in the league who will give me any player i want from him, because he doesn’t really care he is only in the league because we needed another guy, his team is westbrook(yes i know he is injured),w.matthews, d rose, j butler, zach randolph, tim duncan, n pekovic,t burke, j wall, g dragic, e bledsoe, j harden, and steve nash,

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