It’s like that scene in Moneyball when Beane-y Baby is talking to David Justice and says something along the lines of, “You pissed off the other team so much, they’re paying 2/3 your salary!”  Except the Pistons are going to pay 3/3 of Josh Smith‘s salary…

Geez, over the weekend plus a travel day, I feel like I missed two season’s worth of the NBA!  Smoove gets waived, there’s trades…  I think Andrew Wiggins is even contemplating retirement!  In Detroit Rock City, Stan Van is tired of seeing Detroit Brick City.  Shooting a career-low (even for Smoove!) 39.1% from the field (including 9-37 from deep for a Gargantuan 24.3 3PTM%), Stan Van is about as sick of labradoodles as Michael Vick.  Too soon!  I could go Larry Sanders there too, he is on my all-hate team…  Wow, this got too serious.  Josh Smith is terrible at basketball!  Another year of 2.6 TO is doing no favors, but even in only 32 minutes a game (a low since 2005-06), he’s at a career-best 4.7 AST this year.  Then again, another flip-side with a career worst 46.8 FT%.  I’m rattling things off we already know, but mostly want to mention in H2H leagues, he’s still a useful player if your team is built the right way.  And my pre-season rank was hoping he would come off the bench and boost the FG% and bad TO rate by playing against second units.  Right now the Rockets are front-runners to pick him up (which also is a big indictment on Terrence Jones coming back any time soon), which should limit his labradoodles and keep him in line for defensive stats.  I’m really hating what Stan Van is doing to DET for us fantasy-players – these shifts in minutes and rotations are infuriating – so I’m actually a little encouraged.  We’ll see how it shakes out, but if you’ve been able to weather the Smoove storm of horrific efficiency, I’d keep holding.  Here’s what else has gone on across the league since we last checked in:

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We had the first big name get traded this year with Rajon Rondo getting dealt to the Mavs.  It’s a perfect “Shark Tank” deal for Mark Cuban.  It sends a message that the Mavs are going for it this year.  I don’t blame them since Dirk isn’t getting any younger.  I really like this deal for Dallas.  It brings stability to the PG position for Dallas and we seen in the past what Rondo can do with skilled talent surrounding him.  Dallas sure has that.  Plus, Rondo isn’t under contract next year. If it doesn’t work out in Dallas the Mavs aren’t on the hook for any money after this year.  I was surprised they got him so cheap.  Yeah, Dallas sent 3 players in the deal but it’s not like those players were really heavily involved in the rotation for the Mavs.  Also, rumors are the Celtics are already shopping Brandan Wright.  The only thing the Celtics really wanted was the two picks they got in the deal and the $12.9 million trade exception .  The Celtics now have eight first round picks in the next four years.  I’m also curious to see if what Jae Crowder can do if he gets some time.  I really liked his game at Marquette and never felt like he was given a great opportunity in Dallas.  Now the the player to keep your eye is first round pick Marcus Smart with Rodo out of town.  This kid can flat out score but the biggest hurdle is if he can stay healthy.  With all that said, how about we get on with this small 6 game slate: 

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The biggest injury news of the week definitely belongs to Jabari Parker. Initially diagnosed as a strained knee, Parker underwent more tests and it was discovered that he tore his ACL. As a result, Parker will miss the rest of his rookie season.

This is a tough blow to the Bucks. At 14-13, they are currently in the 6th spot in the East and are in the hunt for a playoff berth. That says more about the pitiful East, than it does about the Bucks.

As my roommates can attest, I may not be able to pronounce his name, but I know Giannis Antetokounmpo is good. He’s athletic and long enough to play multiple positions and should continue to make strides this season. Khris Middleton isn’t as versatile as the Greek Freak, but can still provide fantasy owners with value. He put up 17 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 steals off the bench in Wednesday’s game, before putting up a dud (only 1/2/1) in Thursday’s game.

Brandon Knight, OJ Mayo, Jared Dudley, and even Ersan Ilyasova will also see added looks on offense as well. Ilyasova won’t return from his facial fracture and concussion until at least next week, but is a player to watch. He was playing well prior to his injury and could be a sleeper pickup if he can return to the 13 ppg, 7 rpg, and 1 three per game from a few seasons ago.

Jason Kidd will probably mix and match with his lineups and these guys may be inconsistent night in and night out, but they are guys to watch as their production and minutes rise.

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Wooooooo, it’s DraftKings Friday! 

What’s a better way to kick off the early part of the Holiday weekend (kinda, sorta) than by hopping in a DraftKings contest and watch that sweet, sweet money flowing your way on Friday night.  I love playing some daily fantasy, because last Friday I had Anthony Davis as a big-$ pick and he goes down in the first quarter…  Wipe the slate clean tomorrow!  And tripled up a couple days ago in my next foray.

We’re again hopping into the NBA $45K LAYUP, where $45,000 in payouts are given out, including a cool, hard $5 grand to the overall winner.  Pick me!  Pick me!  Oh man, I’ve got a wedding coming up next year and $5,000 would go a long way in paying for… The chairs?  Everything is so friggin’ expensive!  And at only a $2 entry fee, even broke-as-a-joke-JB can afford dat!  So hop in that contest linked there, join us for a festive time tonight, and good luck to your DraftKings line-ups! 

Here are my starting 5 for DraftKings tonight:

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The embargo is lifted!  I can’t wait to buy some cigars… If you missed it, Obama has opened his front door to Cuba while continuing to backdoor the Canada oil pipeline.  Hey-o!

And Mark Cuban has opened up his roster for some international trade, bringing Rajon Rondo into Texas.  The Mavericks are reportedly changing their team name to the Dallas “You Don’t Mess With Texas!”  Huge move in real basketball, but who cares about any of that?!  Rondo takes a pretty substantial hit to his value, as Monta Ellis is going to sap a lot those assists with his slashes.  But it’s nothing to panic about, as his atrocious 40.5 FG% will go up and the 3.4 TO should go down.  And maybe a coach there can teach him how to hit a FT…

The rest of the swapperoo is Jameer NelsonBrandan WrightJae Crowder and a first-rounder to Boston for Rondo and Dwight Powell with a swap of second-round picks thrown around in there just to make it look fancier.  I guess if you still had Nelson in a 12 or 14er, he’s droppable.  I could see Tyler Zeller lose some PT to Wright, but who knows.  Chapel hill centers, reunite!  The obvious big impact here is Marcus Smart, who was at 30% owned right when the trade broke (somehow got him in both RCLs!).  That only shot up to 40% right when this posts, so he’s still available in several leagues.  Boston has no reason to start Nelson over him in order to get a ton of development time for their rook PG.  His fantasy game is really limited – I still don’t think the treys are going to come around in a huge way this year and we’ll be happy to see half the assists Rondo was getting a night.  But he should be plenty good enough for all 12ers.  Smart stashers feeling smart!  Here’s what else went down last night in NBA action:

[Psyche!  Quick note that I’m off next Monday, then Thursday and Friday due to Holiday scheduling.  So Daily Notes will only be out Tuesday and Wednesday next week, along with our Holiday special Razzball Basketball Podcast on Tuesday.  But I am of course always here for comments, even on Christmas, so if you need to get away from screaming kids in order to scream about how Batum has been awful, we’re ya spot!]

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Man, what an epic game in San Antonio!  Marc Gasol hitting a preposterous buzzer-beater to put it in OT, then Tim Duncan makes this rim job to put it into 3OT… Crazy man.  Two things – 1 – Sean Elliott is maybe my favorite commentator in the NBA and B – look at Marco Belinelli just bowl over Courtney Lee in that second highlight…  Strike!  Haven’t see a Lee update for an injury, so stay tuned there…

I guarantee you that Gregg Popovich was fuming like President Snow that this game kept going on, and on, and on and… Kinda like book series that have the final book broken into into two movies.  I mean The Hunger Games: Mockinjay – Part 1…?  I got confused and disinterested once Woody Harrelson stopped drinkin’.  So I guess last night’s Spurs vs. Grizzlies games was San Antonio vs. Memphis – Buzzer-beaters traded: Duncan’s Rim Job – Part 3.  Another huge game from Timmay (excluding the real fluky 5-15 FT) for 23/16/5/2/3.  Rainbow line!  Duncan really hasn’t skipped a beat this year, well except for when he’s benched with a DNP-Rest.  I know it’s hard to believe, but we’re in Week 9 of the season already!  And for H2H leagues that play standard 3-week playoffs (RCL standard), we’re almost halfway through the regular season with playoffs starting Week 21.  A game like last night is only going to make Pop go restier, so if you’re killing it at first or second in your standings, I wouldn’t mind selling high at all.  But there’s a flip side – if you’re 8 or 9 and see Duncan on a team running away with a playoff spot, it’s actually a good time to think about bringing him aboard.  He’ll be frustrating with the DNPs, but could put you over the edge if you’re hanging on the rim.  If you know what I mean…  Here’s what else went down in A Wednesday Night of NBA: OTs Galore – The Return of Hack-a-Shaq: The Revenge:

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Who says NBA is an indoor sport?!  Roll out the tarp!

During a rainy night in Brooklyn, all the sudden the ballboys were throwing towels on this spot on the court as somewhere in the rafters was a pretty steady leak.  I looked away from the game for a minute then looked back, and I thought at first they were cleaning up a massive bleeding injury!  At least that wasn’t the case… Ended up being about half an hour rain delay, complete with maintenance rolling out a trash can to collect the water.  It’s like Kap said when we were chattin’ last night – just like his high school gym!  The Nets arena leaking with the tears of Nets fans…

While Brooklynites had to watch a short-handed Heat team beat them at home, there’s at least some fantasy goodness to be had from some flashy younguns.  Professor Plumlee!  Young professors I bet would make a killing with college chicks… Anyway, Mason Plumlee for 21/9/1/1/1 last night, shooting 8-12 FG and leading the Nets in scoring.  Sure the Heat front line is a bunch of dudes you’ve never heard of and an over-the-chicken coup Birdman, but good to see him hitting on his potential as the starter, finally.  There’s still some blemishes – 4 TO and a surprisingly good-for-Plumlee but bad-for-real-life 5-8 FT (stop it with the hyphen phrases!), but if you can handle the FT drain or already have a FT-punting (dammit!) team, he’s a perfect fit.  I think he’s as close to a must-own in all leagues while Brook Lopez is out, but many teams don’t have a streamer spot and/or can’t handle the bad FT%.  Brolo is getting reevaluated Saturday, meaning he’s out at least three more.  So while the Nets are leaking talent, don’t let Plumlee leak through your waiver wire.  Here’s how the rest of the NBA big news shook out:

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Replace “Heat” with “Jay Cutler” and that’s what I have on in the background…

So a rough couple of days for Miami fans as both Chris Bosh and Josh McRoberts suffered seemingly minor injuries over the weekend, with some really bleak news coming out on Monday.  McBob’s knee injury that came out of nowhere in last Wednesday’s shootaround was diagnosed as a torn meniscus and needs to go under the knife.  Yikes.  Probably out for the season, and right when he was turning it on.  Then to Bosh, who has reports swirling his bum calf might cost him a few weeks.  It’s murky waters for the Brontosaurus, but for the long-term, you’re just sitting and praying to the Fantasy God of Injury.  I mean, dude was already so busy over the weekend!  Bosh is still staying involved with practice on a limited basis, but then again we all know what happens when “we talkin’ bout practice.”  In the interim, Shawne Williams probably gets the biggest uptick in minutes.  But he was pretty low-ceiling in big minutes to start the year… He had a couple nice games early on, very blah though.  Justin Hamilton is looking at a big role as well, off 10/3/1/2/0 in 33 minutes last Sunday.  A low-yield big role…  A little bit lost in the shuffle is Da Birdman!  Chris Andersen returned for Sunday, playing 18 minutes for 2/3/1/0/1.  He’s not going to get a ton of run given his age, but should offer a little blocking upside in a slight uptick of minutes.  Really none of these guys move the needle for me much, as it’s just an Abyss out there on the front line, with no aliens to save you by raising the ocean floor on some platform thingy.  I’m still in Lovington with Robert Covington and want it in the booty for Rudy.  They’re way above any of these Heat fill-in schlubs.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops:

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Tracking Rudy Gobert‘s path to the NBA has been movie worthy.  After an accident at his former job at the local steel mill, Rudy had Jon Favreau (he really could be French!) keep his grades up in exchange for Rudy helping Jonny out with the ladies.  Gobert almost gave up on his dream for basketball, but Charles S. Dutton gave a heartfelt speech on BEING REAL!  Utah fans tried carrying Gobert off the court chanting “Rudy!  Rudy!” after that win against the Spurs last Tuesday, but it was a big hazard to the overhead lights.

Derrick Favors‘ ankle turned into a kankle over the weekend, but luckily X-rays were negative and he’s day-to-day.  No reason for the lowly Jazz to throw him out there gimpy.  Monsieur Elbow time!  Filling in for Favors on Friday night, Rudy had one of the best games of his young career for 9/11/4/1/5 shooting 2-2 FG and 5-6 FT.  Followed it up with a start last night next to Enes Kanter for 7/9/0/2/3 in 31 minutes.  Playing with the big boys!  A wingspan that would make a pterodactyl jealous, Gobert should murder blocks for you if you’re able to stream him through the couple starts he’s likely to get this week.  No timetable for Favors, but big men + kankles = John Goodman.  I mean, not good for a speedy return.

Boy did the Fantasy God of Injuries not get enough human sacrifices over the weekend!  This might turn out to be the most depressing NBA recap I’ve ever written.   Stay positive JB!  Stay positive JB!  Thanks inner monologue…  Any other advice to help me get through today’s news?  Well, remember when in Interstellar it looked like there was no hope due to another Dust Bowl, then he just finds the newly incarnated NASA – – Wait, how does any of that make sense, they didn’t know he was alive yet he was their best hope!?  And then there’s that giant plot hole with the planet with the – – it just makes no – – uhughuhguhguhguhgug – – – – F, now my inner monologue is injured…  Here’s how the weekend of death went down in NBA action:

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It’s been a bad couple weeks for big men. A lot of top producing forwards and centers seem to have been bitten by the injury bug around Thanksgiving.

Initially, DeMarcus Cousins was only considered day-to-day with viral meningitis. After missing his 8th straight game, coach Mike Malone was unsure when he would get his big man back. He’s been ruled out for the rest of the weekend, with his playing status in jeopardy for next week.

While Cousins has been out, Reggie Evans has grabbed almost every available rebound. Well not really, but he has had games of 13, 14, and 20 rebounds, while starting for Cousins. Jason Thompson has offered a more balanced increase in production (11 ppg, 10.2 rpg, and 2.4 apg in last 5 games), but the biggest beneficiary has been Rudy Gay.

With Cousins declared out for at least the weekend, now is the best time to sell high on Gay. He has a usage rate (total number of possessions per 48 minutes) of 30.2 when Cousins is out, but a 25.3 usage rate when Cousins is playing alongside him. As a result, Gay has increased his scoring, rebounds, and assists with Cousins off the floor. Try to trade him this weekend for a top 20/30 player, before Cousins gets back and steals touches away from him.

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