Basketball is back baby!  The NBA season returns from the All-Star Break tonight after four-and-a-half months off…  Maybe hyperbolic, but certainly feels that way!

And right as games start, we’ve got the NBA Trade Deadline passing this afternoon at 3:00 PM EST.  That was fast!  We’ve got a big day of trade analysis, with a live post that will go up around 1:00 PM-ish EST and get frequently updated to track all of the last-minute trades as they go down, then a slightly later podcast record time with our special edition Trade Deadline Razzball Basketball Podcast up sometime around 4:00-4:30 PM EST.  It’s all hoops all afternoon!

With these big changes about to ripple through the fantasy hoops landscape, the biggest news from over the break is probably the most anti-climatic – Carmelo Anthony has been officially shutdown.  “3P0 – Shut down all the garbage smashers on the detention level!”  “No! Shut them ALL down, hurry!”  Pretty apt to The Poppycockers shituation, amiright?!  We’ve known Melo was about to be Melba Toast sometime around the break, and now the swift gavel of realism has hit (huh? weird metaphor day!  I’m rusty OK?!).  Langston Galloway, who has probably been picked up in most leagues (and subsequently dropped in some after struggling) should likely be scooped up.  He’s not going to do anything too special, but his career-high in shots (19) was in a Melo-less game and should give you some low-TO guard stats.  Tim Hardaway Jr. also gets a bit of a boost, but he does absolutely nothing beyond score and trey.  Would be a nice, high-minute ThrAGNOF!  But those ain’t got no face…  So I’m not married to Timmy J at all even if he starts hot with Melo now gone.  Here’s what else has gone down since we left for the break:

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The All-Star weekend begins on Friday, giving most of the league some time off before the final stretch of the season. After the break, there are only four weeks left in the regular season for standard leagues. That’s not a lot of time to wait for guys to return from injuries. Owners will have to make hard decisions on whether to keep their injured stars or let them loose. More should be known after the All-Star break about the severity of many of these recent injuries, so hold on until then.

Blake Griffin underwent surgery on Monday to remove a staph infection in his right elbow. Prior to surgery, Griffin was expected to miss anywhere from 2-to-6 weeks. Griffin will be reevaluated in three weeks, which should help clarify when owners can expect to have Griffin back. Since Griffin is a top talent and there isn’t much clarity on his timeline, owners should hold onto Griffin for the time being.

With Griffin out, DeAndre Jordan and Spencer Hawes become the biggest benefactors. Jordan has put up back-to-back 20/20 games and looks like he’ll grab every rebound that Griffin used to get.

While Jordan is universally owned, Hawes becomes a top waiver wire pickup. In the three games that Griffin has missed, Hawes has averaged 11.0 ppg and 1.7 rpg. The numbers have been underwhelming so far, but Hawes has shown that he can fill up the box score when given starters’ minutes in the past. Last year as a starter, he averaged 13.2 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.2 bpg, and 1.6 3PTM. He probably won’t approach those numbers, but I expect Hawes to be useful for owners for as long as Griffin is out.

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…But it’s not like Tony Snell doesn’t deserve it!

Long time readers will know that for the past year-and-a-half I’ve been a big Snell fan, and he’s finally flourishing in huge minutes with a 22/2/1/3/0 line hitting 9-11 FG, 4-6 FT, and all with no TO.  The anti-LeBron!  Poor ol’ king James didn’t meet a turnover at the Chicago hotel continental breakfast he didn’t like, going 31/5/4/0/0 with 8 giveaways.  Snell was D-ing up BronBron all game, and ended up with a +29 to LeBron’s -27!  Bron was like, “Ohhhhh what’s that Snell?!”  Tony has been on fire the past 4 games, hitting 28-41 including 15-25 from deep.  And he flashed the full bag of tricks on the Cavs bag of bones slamming a couple early, hitting a floater late, sandwiched with some Kyle Korver-esque 3PT shooting.  I don’t think there’s much we can do about it though in 10 or 12ers with Jimmy Butler probably back after the break, Kirk Hinrich still there to fill some empty minutes, and Mike Dunleavy side-cocking some treys.  But in deeper leagues or dynasties, I think Snell could really turn into something and I have for a long while now.  Here’s what else went down in our final first half game of the NBA season:

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Well Ello there, Poppet!  Bootstraps Bill Turner pulled a scoop and squat shot with under a second left to pull off the upset of the century…. It’s only been 15 years this century, it could be true!

Evan Turner put together a solid 12/7/9/1/0 line hitting 4-11 from the field and all 4 freebies with only 2 TO.  Ending the first half on a high note!  The move back to his more natural SF spot is finally paying off, as he’s averaging at least 6/6/6 (THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST!) the past 4 games.  The FG% is terrible, but I guess I have to believe a little in the out-of-position dimes.  The greatest trick Miss Turner ever played was convincing me he wasn’t fantasy usable!  Well, he still isn’t ever going to be a stalwart on 10 or 12 team squads due to the low %s, TOs, and absence of 3s, but a lot of teams could use his popcorn stats for their build.  He’s like Lance Stephenson, but actually worth owning!  At least for now, if he sticks with Boston until the end of the year… Here’s what else went down in our last busy slate of NBA games before the All-Star Break:

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It’s always nice to see the deep league guys you love turn into Mr. Planters and go nuts!

After 22 minutes, many of which trying to play through it, Jimmy Butler finally waved the white flag and checked out with a shoulder injury.  He first hurt it last Sunday, and that black tape stuff (that I still don’t completely understand how it works) didn’t keep Buckets’ shoulder together.  Maybe the black tape is more a statement.  Like, “Yeah brah, I got a jacked up shoulder but I’m still gonna go ham!”  Either way, it opened up some huge run for Tony Snell, playing 41 minutes.  And they were 41 heat check minutes!  Made his first 6 from the field including 4 treys, ending up with a career-high 24 points in a 9-11 FG (4-6 3PTM 2-2 FT) 24/2/2/1/0 line with no TO.  Snell going full Mr. Planters!  Even with Mike Dunleavy returning after nearly a month-and-a-half off, you can’t suppress the sense of Snell!  I keed of course, this is an anomaly type of game, but Butler could easily get tomorrow night off against the Cavs to rest that shoulder through the ASB making Snell a very interesting end-of-the-short-week streamer (only the one game Thursday night).  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy NBA action:

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Oh man, not a fun night for Mark Cuban unless he’s also invested in the Dallas area sports medicine clinics.  The way the NBA has gone this year, it’d be a smart investment!

First into the Shark Tank was Tyson Chandler, who sprained his ankle a minute and half in and couldn’t return.  He had an earlier ankle sprain and it didn’t cost him any time, so even though it looked bad, ol’ Tyson is no Chicken.  Then a mere couple minutes later, Monta Ellis hurt his hip and only played 3 and a half minutes.  As Kevin tells us in The Office – “That’s Dallas!”  Man, good thing the All-Star Break is right around the corner!  Even if both guys say they’re 100%, I see no reason why the Mavs would push em for their game tomorrow night hosting the Jazz.  While they’re out, we’re a bunch of preying sharks circling the bloody waters like Mr. Wonderful and Herjavec!  And last night it was the hairless ghost (wait, ghosts usually don’t have hair right?) of Charlie Villanueva who piled up some junky stats hitting 9-13 from the field for 26/5/1 with 5 treys.  Was awful other than points and treys with 3-6 FT and 4 TO.  Big man ThrAGNOF!  But for me, the big winner for tomorrow night is Mark Cuban’s own (seriously, kinda seems like he’s his dadShawn Marion comp?) Al-Farouq Aminu.  Only 19 minutes last night, but hit all the cats for 5/6/1/1/1.  Mark Cuban Jr. is only owned in 10% of Yahoo leagues, and in a shortened week where every steal and block will count, he should be one of your first calls on the wire in what should be a spot-start.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops action:

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Oh boy, more injuries to studs and more teams scrambling…

Sometime before the weekend, Blake Griffin had a fairly routine (and he’s had a few) elbow draining.  Blake’s draining jumpers, the team docs are draining elbows!  But over the weekend the elbow developed a staph infection, and he’ll have surgery and won’t be evaluated until after the All-Star Break.  Blake is firing off jumpers and the team docs are about to be fired!  Reports are saying it could be a 4-6 week sort of thing, but with staph infections you never know.  Either way, he’s an obvious hold in all leagues.  While Blake goes all Leo McGarry on us, Samurai Spencer Hawes and his little hair bun went 17/1/0/0/1 on 7-16 shooting with two treys in 35 minutes.  Samurai Spence should be an add in virtually all leagues, as his mix of scoring/treys/blocks can help a lot of teams.  Sure he won’t board almost at all for a big with DeAndre Jordan swallowing em all up, but we can ignore that.  Kinda like how Denis McDonough ignored that second “n” in his first name.  What is it with “Mc” real-life and fictional Chiefs of Staph?!  I bet the Oval Office whisky is well stocked…  Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy basketball action:

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With the football season over we can now fully concentrate on the NBA.  Last weekend the article did awesome.  I had my best day of the year and if you followed the write up I am sure you did well too.  We have a 7 game slate on tap for tonight.  I want you to take note that I am not going to write up any of the starting Golden St. players.  It’s not that they aren’t good plays.   Golden St. is in the middle of a tough schedule.  They are playing their 6th game in 8 days, the  third set of a series of b2b’s.  After playing a tough game in Atlanta last night, a game against the Knicks gives Steve Kerr a opportunity to limit the minutes or rest some of the starters.

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As we gear up for the All-Star break next week, owners should pay extra attention to their daily lineups. Guys that are typically playing through minor injuries could miss a game or two, as teams try to give them some extra rest before heading into the second half of the season.

There are already quite a few guys who have played their last game prior to the All-Star break. Sidelined for the last five games, Rockets’ center Dwight Howard is expected to miss about a month after undergoing a bone marrow injection in is right knee. The Rockets plan to reevaluate him in four weeks, in hopes that his knee responds well to this treatment. Howard just can’t catch a break. He’s only played in 32 of the Rockets’ 49 games this season.

The Rockets frontcourt is very crowded, but Howard’s injury should help alleviate some of the playing time issues. Joey Dorsey and Donatas Motiejunas should continue to start, while Terrence Jones and Josh Smith will see plenty of time off the bench.

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Right now, Kings games from here on out can be perfectly embodied by a The Ben Stiller Show skit.  Such an underrated show (couldn’t find the clip on Youtube, it’s too old!).  Andy Dick is on the bomb squad, gets to the bomb, then starts doing ridiculous things while the 10 seconds counts down that take a lot longer than 10 seconds…  Cooks lunch, changes a baby, shizz like that.  All the while the countdown clicks down unfathomably slow, until it’s at 1 and blows him up.  Man, it’s hard to describe things when there’s not a video for it!  3rd Century problems…

Well, losing a quality PG like Darren Collison in the second quarter never helps (abdominal strain – getting an MRI today.  Good thing he’s not a baseball player, he’d be out two months!), but the Kings are a bigger failed experiment than that prison Stanford thing after getting bludgeoned by the Dirk-less, Rondo-less Mavs.  Too many good players to be this bad!  Boogie turns it over too much, Gay isn’t working next to him, and the abyss that is the starting PF can’t be all to blame.  At 17-31, that’s NOT how the West was won…  Gay and Cuz make a lot of dough, but Colly playing this well on a 3-year $15 mil deal is starting to look mighty tasty to potential suitors.  If he gets through this ab MRI with nothing worse than a “nice six pack” prognosis, I think it’s about time to sell.  Of course Derrick Williams would be nice to dump, and, well, anyone else not named Ben McLemore (who is taking a nice step forward) would be awesome for SAC to kick out.  A nice kick in the SAC is what the Kings need!  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops action:

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