Sorry Bargs, it’s not “Il Mago” you’re “Il Diva”.  After whining about playing time in Toronto saying he wanted to play somewhere warmer to the Italian media, the obvious answer is the tropical climate of New York City.  Il Diva disappeared in his final year in Toronto, playing under 30 minutes a game for the first time since 07-08.  His FG% fell to a career-second worse, the 3PT% second worst and tied a career-worst in rebounding.  After 35 games, they cut open his elbow and he cut his ties with the great country of Canadia (sp?).  Enter 2013-14 and Bargnani was coming off the bench, and Knicks fans were even booing him after one quarter.  Welcome to the Big Apple!  I saw some early Knicks action as well, and Bargnani looked as bad as Amar’e Stoudemire.  Hey-o!  But then Tyson Chandler went down with the broken leg, thrusting Il Diva into a starting role.  At that point, I put no stock in either Bargs or Amar’e, but Bargnani has been able to prove something to me: he needs big minutes to be able to do anything.  And it’s not a per/48 thing, it’s getting comfortable in the game.  Through this season, in the 5 games he’s under 30 minutes he’s shooting 48.8% for 10.2/1.4/0.4 with 0.8 threes a game.  And didn’t log a single block.  In 3 games over 30 minutes, he’s 53.8% 23/7.7/1.7 2.3 Blks and 2.7 threes a game.  Even at per/48 rates and taking into account the small sample, the disparity is shocking.  Since Chandler is out a good while healing up the broken leg and Amar’e is just a huge contract sitting on the bench, Bargnani is going to get huge minutes (almost always over 30) and continue this run.  “Let me play lots or else I stand around!”  Must own in all leagues, a statement I made last week and confirmed with another 24/4 line with three threes and a block last night.  Here’s what else I saw in last night’s action:

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Sooooo… Last night just happened.  It was the wildest night of fantasy hoops that I could ever remember.  Sure my memory isn’t exactly like Ken Jennings, but yea… Definitely going to break the “what the hey?!” record!  The Fantasy Basketball world just stood still.  It was just like the remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still.  Is that Keanu Reeves?  What is Jaden Smith doing here?  Wait, is this an actual plot?  There’s just too much crazy to care about these special effects!  There were like, a million three pointers last night.  Tony Wroten had a triple double.  Ok, who had Wroten in the triple-double pool?  I think if you had bet on that in Vegas you coulda turned a dollar into owning the state of Nevada.  18/10/11 while shooting 7-18.  A lot of Philly stats got boosted by the Rockets pace, and if you hadn’t heard yet, Michael Carter-Williams was a very late scratch with a sore foot.  What are they feeding these guards in Philly?  I think it’s obvious that to be a good NBA PG you must diet solely on cheesesteaks.  But enough meandering, let’s go straight into the nitty gritty, the CGI effects if you will, for the reason why you’re here:

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So the Pistons were looking like a playoff contending team with all their offseason acquisitions, but after a 2-1 record with the only loss a close one on the road to Memphis, the Pistons have dropped 4 straight to fall to 2-5.  Plus Memphis looks god awful after that looking like a “good” loss.  The Pistons aren’t very good.  Hire Jim Leyland!  The culmination of the four-game skid climaxed in an ugly 18- point loss to the Warriors last night that sent a few fantasy shockwaves down our fantasy spine.  First Josh Smith was benched before playing 19 minutes and shot 1-6 for 2 Pts and no boards.  That’s like a Robin Lopez line! He reportedly took some bad three-pointers.  Those familiar with Josh Smith are like, “aren’t they all bad three pointers coming from him?!”  Still think Smith will be fine and this could actually help him from killing your FG% on his off nights.  The biggest benefactor to the J Smoove benching was my boyfriend (!) Kentavious Caldwell-Pope getting 24 minutes and going 9/3/1 with a trey and two steals playing a small (literally) forward role at times.  Now I didn’t watch this game, so if he was matched up on Andre Iguodala who isn’t exactly a domineering 3, that makes sense.   Then to top off a terrible night for Pistons fans, Razzball commenter favorite Andre Drummond went down with an ankle injury, playing way too late in the game that was a blowout.  It was like a Booby Miles injury.  He walked off the court under his own power, but ankle injuries are like the fantasy grim reaper’s wheel of fortune.  Sometimes a terrible looking one turns into nothing, and sometimes you’re Tobias Harris.  Hell Tyson Chandler walked off the court with a broken leg!  You just never know… Keep your eye out for updates during the day.  Hey, at least Drummond put up 16/14/0/3/3 for ya!  Here’s what else I saw across the NBA last night:

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Well… Larry Sanders hasn’t had the best few weeks…  The Colonel held his injuries from the field surgeon just long enough to keep hope alive in his troops, but had to undergo the knife to repair his thumb and will be out 6 weeks.  Was it from a punch, the champagne bottle, or just getting too close in the delivery room?  No one will ever know.  Talk about easily the biggest fantasy bust this season thus far.  With no IR spot, drop this dude.  Zaza Pachulia is now a big pickup for anyone needing big man stats.  Za/Za is such a good Scrabble play!  Definitely a go-to for 60+ point moves on the triples.  If you have the cajones to challenge me in Words With Friends, hit me up (user ID: Jbronze).  But if I smell any Word Gen, I’ma publicly smite you!  Oh yeah, hoops, John Henson gets a big boost as well looking at consistent run.  But beware Henson’s terrible FT shooting and prepare thusly.  Speaking of thusly, herebe the NBA beings-all I saw last fortnight (wait, doesn’t that mean like 20 days ago?  Eh you know what I meant):

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In yet another bad turn for fantasy top-100 Cs, JaVale McGee joins the triage with Tyson Chandler as centers with broken legs.  However unlike Chandler with the impact fracture, McGee discovered a stress fracture in his tibia with the ominous “out indefinitely” declaration.  It’s a very tough break (ugh) for the Nuggets and fantasy owners hoping to see stat lines of 10/10/5  when the Nuggets were on the slate.  All joking aside, I hate seeing players get injuries and it’s my least favorite open in news recaps in any sport.  There are a select few that are funny (my favorite will always be Bartolo Colon trying to swing for the fences and throwing out his back, and I have little sympathy because he’s a roider), but I wish McGee a speedy recovery.  For fantasy, he’s droppable in virtually all leagues.  A tall guy with a stress fracture isn’t swell, plus he was only playing 16 minutes a game anyway.  J.J. Hickson and Tomfey Mozgov get immediate boosts in value, Mozgov is decent when he’s not getting posterized, but Hickson I think is the biggest takeaway and probably should be scooped up in most leagues if he’s not owned already.  He proved he can be valuable with starting minutes and is a quality big man.  Here’s some other headlines from over the weekend:

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The Fournier-Year-Old Virgin

After a very tough start to his season going 2-14 in his first two games, Evan Fournier finally found his stroke last night going 5-10 (2-3 3PTM) for a 12/3/2 line in a season high 25 minutes.  If you’re like me, you’re a Fournier virgin in all leagues.  Sure he’s way off the map (I don’t know where France is!), but I have a feeling he could surprise later on in the season.  In the last 8 games of 2012-13, Fournier went 11.5 Pts (0.9 3PTM) 2.3 Rebs 2.8 Asts 1.4 Stls while shooting 50% from the field and 92.9% from the stripe in only 23 minutes a game.  Now that was on a playoff team, resting some stars – sure, but this Nuggets team is a mess right now.  I know they just beat the Hawks, but a lineup starting Randy Foye and Jordan Hamilton (of course Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari are on the shelf), Fournier could get late season run as I highly doubt the Nuggets make the playoffs.  He’s a great off-the-radar multi-cat guy to keep your eye on especially in deeper leagues as we start getting into the meat of the season.  Here’s what else I saw last night in the NBA:

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Things were looking oh so good for the Colonel’s original recipe heading into the season.  I bought the whole bucket, the two sides and a giant big gulp of tea.  But Larry Sanders could very well be one of fantasy’s biggest disappointments in 2013-14, for reasons on and off the court.

Sanders signed a 4-year deal in the offseason worth a cool $44 million bucks (worth, about, a million buckets of chicken!), and the Bucks regime had big plans for their center.  GM John Hammond, while trying to keep his Jurassic Park island under control, said Sanders was the key to the team.  Hammond, you lost your keys!  Bucks are locked out… Then the season started with Sanders nearly fouling out in 12 minutes, and in three games hasn’t played more than 22 minutes, hit 2 FGs, or grabbed more than 4 boards.  I was on the buy low bandwagon faster than a short sell in Trading Places.  But after complaining about playing time, Sanders reportedly got into a bar fight Saturday night and effed up his thumb.  Stop giving him roids, Braun, we don’t need more roid rage in Milwaukee!  I wonder if he was getting hazed by Ersan Ilyasova like Richie Incognito.  “You must play better, now!” yells Ersan in a thick Turkish accident.  Hey, Ilyasova was a scratch last night too, Gus Ayonin’!  Anyway, Sanders is accused of breaking champagne bottles over peoples’ heads, and to top if off he then missed Monday’s game because his wife went into labor.  Sorry Larry Sanders Jr… I’m just sorry… Hopefully this version of The Larry Sanders Show ends anti-climatically with Sanders getting back on the court and giving fantasy owners something.  If you’ve got him, you have to be holding and hoping Sanders can settle down and have this blow over, before he’s looking back at his life and he’s Robert Swift.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops:

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As an ancient proverb goes – “I’d like to introduce you to an old friend and a new friend.”  Ok, so I made that up.  But it sounds good!

For an old friend I’ve mentioned a few times and pumped up in my last rankings update before the season started up, my boy Omri Casspi had another solid outing last night that probably was under the radar.  In 24 minutes, he went 7/8/5 with no turnovers, 2-4 from the field and 3-4 from the line.  He just looks awesome every time I see him play.  Did you know he was the first Israeli to play in the NBA?  He’s pretty much Chandler Parsons but with Chandler Parsons in his way.  After a ho-hum first two games, his past two have been fantastic – and this last one without hitting a three which is a big part of his game.  Not necessarily a must own in 12-teamers, but definitely worth a look, and needs to be grabbed in 14+.

Then my new friend - Gal Mekel on the Mavericks.  You’re like, “who the eff is Gal Mekel?  I thought this was NBA not WNBA!”  Mekel was signed to a three-year deal by the Mavs this offseason, and became the second Israeli to join the NBA.  Cut to Amar’e Stoudemire going, “Hey, I should count!”  With Shane Larkin dealing with an ankle injury, and no Devin Harris for a while, Mekel is getting full-on backup PG run and playing well doing it.  He got his 2nd 6 assist game last night going 9/4/6 and hitting a 3.  Sure some run was in junk time, but with the oft-injured Jose Calderon the only one ahead of him (hasn’t played in over 68 games since 2007), Mekel could find his way into starts.  Of course, now I’ve ruined my play on him in the REL League.  Let’s just hope no one in that league is reading!  Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy hoops:

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I always love when an off night (only 4 games yesterday) yields one of the best NBA games we’ve seen all year.  So many story lines, so many stars.  And more importantly – so much fantasy goodness!

I guess I shouldn’t have curtsied around it, but there’s no way Chris Paul doesn’t lead the NBA in assists this year.  I said in the first recap of the season he would average a bajillion assists and rack up double-digit dimes almost every game.  Score two for JB!  Averaging 12 a game equates to a bajillion, right?  John Stockton is deadpan staring me down right now. Creepy, Stockton!  Creepy… J.J. Redick will be a really underrated acquisition if the Clips indeed make a title run with how he helps space the floor with his movement and shooting, and while we all know Chris Paul is awesome, I’m already putting him as the #3 fantasy player right now, leapfrogging James Harden.

I lucked out getting last night’s only late game, making Yahoo highlights for the 137-118 Clippers win.  Pretty much everything played out like a video game.  Everyone was hitting 3s, the scoring was astronomical, the pace was like a Peyton Manning offense, and finished off with some late alleys for the icing on the cake.  Fantasy God #1 really got that L2 + Square alley working out by the end of the game; Fantasy God #2 just couldn’t quite time Harden’s 3-point shot release.  Wait, do they even need controllers?  We are the controllers!  Whoa, too much philosophizing.  Let’s just get this back on the rails and go over some of the news and notes from last night:

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Coming into this year, the fantasy freaks of the world had two guys on their radar as far as Phoenix Suns centers. Would it be one-time fantasy darling and all-the-time Polish Hammer Marcin Gortat, or lottery pick Alex Len, who could either end up as a modern-day Jon Koncak or a white Dwight Howard.

How about neither? Gortat was traded to the Washington Cheese Wiz in a very odd trade where the Suns ended up with a protected first-round pick and a frozen-in-Carbonite Emeka Okafor – which really isn’t that different than Emeka Okafor – while the ex-Bullets got Gortat and three guys they waived.

Len, meanwhile, is injured, and won’t be ready even when he’s ready, if that makes any sense.

And all of this is perfectly fine in the retirement capital of the world.

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