Making a trade in fantasy basketball can be a daunting task.  We all want something for nothing but that’s only a reasonable expectation if we want a month-old fruit cake leftover from Christmas or an STD.  But unfortunately for us, neither can blocks shots; they both do however require one.   For me there is a psuedoscientific method to follow when formulating a trade.  A simple step-by-step process that when followed should accomplish two things.  Firstly, the process helps us determine a player’s value in the eyes of our trade partner.  This is crucially important for the second part, to help prevent us from selling our players for less than they’re worth.  Here before you today I present my ‘get rich quick‘ guide to trading.  Fantasy basketball players I mean, not STDs.  Because that’s what ChristianMingle.com is for.

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JB really made me proud a few days ago. I guess it’s become kind of a ritual for us now. I know laser tag in an arena is fun and all but we needed real world experience. We decided the best place to hone our skills was to play at our local mall… at high noon. Of course we dress up in our best urban camouflage, for me it’s a simple business suit, that way I can stealthily weave in between what I’ve come to call the ‘zombie horde’. I never know what to expect from JB. He got me a few times with his police uniform but it hasn’t worked well recently so he adjusts. On this day he wore his most villainous of camouflage, the stripper schoolgirl, we have the mall security footage to prove it. But that’s neither here nor there, we were celebrating a match well played at the Candy World when two kids started rap battling in between the Pop Rocks and the Laffy Taffy. I thought they both played the role better than Jamie Kennedy, they’re accents were especially spot on. The hilarity of the situation wasn’t lost on anyone except of course, the two kids.

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I’m sure we’ve all experienced a day in our lives that through some kind of grueling experience we somehow came out victorious.  On the inside all we cared about was the instant satisfaction of winning but on the outside we appeared broken and defeated.  Not so long ago I had such a night.  It’s not the shame that makes it so difficult to talk about, but the shame that there’s a sense of glory and accomplishment that goes with it.  JB and I decided a few drinks were in order one night and we decided, while watching some NBA action, to have ourselves a little drinking game.  Sure I thought, I’ve had a few already how bad can this be?  The deal was that we would pick a player and for each assist that player had the other person would have a drink.  JB wanted it to be field goals made but I managed to talk him into assists, or so I thought.  “Chris Paul“, I said without hesitation.  Looking back I probably had a really stupid smirk on my face.  JB calmly ordered himself another, then he ordered me an appetizer – which looking back may have saved my life.  With a perfectly calm demeanor I got to hear words that will still cause me to cringe, “Kendell Marshall“.

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If you’re like JB and myself, then you like your fantasy basketball to be Head-To-Head.  The ability to talk smack to a new opponent every week keeps the intensity high.  And unlike Roto or NCAA football, we get The Playoffs, where heroes are made and injures decimate championship aspirations.  A nasty little side effect however is a shortened regular season.  After this week we will have played 10 weeks.  Marking the halfway point of the regular season.  If you’re in the bottom 3rd of your league then sacrifices must be made.  Injured players may need to be traded at less than face value or flat out dropped.  Streaming takes priority over upside.  There is still plenty of time to make up ground and sneak into the playoffs but it’s safe to say something isn’t working.  If you’re in the middle 3rd then you should take a long hard look at who on your team is on the way up and who is on the way down.  We all had our favorite sleepers coming into the year, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was one of mine, Archie Goodwin was well liked around these parts too.  They weren’t giving enough so we had to move on to the next opportunity, c’est la vie, life goes on…  If your in the top 3rd of your league then you need to ensure you stay there.  You can be much more risky and shouldn’t pass up any high upside guy who is getting big minutes.

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The misadventures of JB and Slim will not be shown today at its normally scheduled time due to Slim’s sudden disappearance into da bush. Instead we proudly present our D-League extravaganza.  A showcase of the talent currently being developed in the minors.

Pierre Jackson – PG – Idaho Stampede (NOP) – After transferring to Baylor from Southern Idaho, Pierre quickly proved he was a D1 talent.  In 2 years, Pierre twice achieved All-Big 12 Second Team honors with averages of 16.5 points and 6.5 assists.  With the 42nd overall pick Jackson was drafted by Philadelphia and then dealt to New Orleans in a draft day trade.  After barely playing in the summer league and not seeing any minutes in the preseason Pierre began his professional career in earnest for the Idaho Stampede.  Ya know Vern, through 8 games Pierre is averaging 30 points, 5.0 assists, and 2.4 steals to go with an unwieldy 5.0 turnovers, good enough to be twice named performer of the week.  Jackson doesn’t have a direct route to playing time and needs to get the turnovers in check before he steps foot on an NBA court.  There is a ton of talent here though and with a trade or injury Pierre could be given an opportunity this year, uh huh oui oui!

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I would like to get your opinion on something.  It’s been bothering JB and I to the point that we finally made a friendly wager on it.  By friendly I don’t mean without a consequence.  If somehow I’m wrong I have to finally teach JB how to play, I’m Blue, with a didgeridoo.  In public I laugh at him for liking that song but between you and me…  That’s my Jam!  There’s a reason he knows I can teach it to him.  But that’s not important cause he’s not going to win our bet.  When I win he’s going to finally teach me the one true Carolina secret.  I’m going to finally learn how much vinegar it takes to ruin otherwise perfect BBQ.  You would think if you just pour a bottle of vinegar in with the sauce you would be done.  Oh no, It’s far more complicated than that.  The trick is that perfect amount to lure them in just enough to try a bite because as the old southern adage goes, “The first time you taste Nort Carlina BBQ, will also be the second.”   I trust you can now see the urgency by which we need this settled.  It really is a simple question.  I’m surprised we’ve had such heated debates.  OK, so assuming Bigfoot is real.  Obviously that isn’t exactly a stretch of the imagination.  Would seeing him in the wild be enough to convince you to just give up your lifes work as a cryptozoologist?  I know right!  Wouldn’t it just further the drive to explore every fuzzy photoshopped picture that gets posted in a random message board?  I’ll let that sink in for sec, until you realize just how long you’ve actually spent thinking about it.

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As I look back on my fantasy basketball career, I find it astonishing how much the game has changed.  Back when JB and I wore bell-bottom jeans and flowing paisley shirts it was just the two of us playing fantasy basketball.  We didn’t have all these fancy categories the kids have today.  All we could keep track of was points and that was hard enough.  Back then we would use a CB radio to relay the scores across the country.  Some nights we would hear, “Wilt Chamberlain scored 72″ and others we would hear how, “Harry pests poured only poo.”  Confusing to some, but to us it meant Jerry West must have gotten injured if he only scored 2 points.  We would start our draft with a coin flip to determine draft order.  Nowadays it takes as much computing power to determine draft order as it did to land a man on the moon.  I’m not sure If you have ever played in a 2 team league, but believe me trading was tough.  Once a year I would say, “I’ll give you West and Oscar for Wilt and Bellamy.”  Then JB would say, “Heyyy mannn, I’m not trading Wilt for nothin’, how about just Oscar for Bellamy.”  Inevitably, trade talks ended because we played with only a 2 man roster.

Now people play in 20 team leagues, with 17 player rosters, and my personal favorite the dynasty.  Thankfully when JB and I started, there would be that coin flip every year and our teams would change.  Well, about half the time they changed.  Today’s dynasty format favors those who try to predict how the entire career of a 20 year old kid will turn out.  That sounded much easier to do before I typed it out.  Nothing I can do about that now.  Here’s a couple:

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I have never seen JB so shaken up as he was the other day.  Everything was completely normal when I walked in.  Jude Judy was on like normal.  His hands were covered in orange Cheetos residue like normal.  A slight hint of alcohol in the air did have me question whether I really wanted to stop by but I risked it anyway.  I didn’t get two feet in the door and the first thing he says is, “I can’t believe he’s dead.”  It was strange because I couldn’t tell what the emotion was.  He was definitely sad, angry too.  “How could they just… he’s dead.”  Oddly there was laughter in his voice.  He could tell I had no idea what he was talking about and he continued, “Bryan’s gone.”  I was saddened to hear the news but I had to stop him and tell him I didn’t know anyone named Bryan and NO I’m not going to shake your hand until you clean it off.  He explained to me about Family Guy and the dog dying and it all began to make sense.  Except for why he cared so much.  I watched the show enough to know there was a dog but until then I didn’t know the dog even had a name.  He could not accept this so he sat me down, muted the Judge, handed me the Cheetos, and began that days lesson in pop culture.

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As JB and I sit at our local Starbucks at 4 PM, him in a 2-piece flannel Carolina Panther outfit he just woke up in and me in only my usual loin cloth, we notice that there are some very odd looking people who drink coffee in the middle of the afternoon.  It isn’t just for yuppies and house wives anymore.  Middle schoolers walk in, talking about how badly they need their caffeine.  Really?  Was your long day of sleeping in class stressful?  More than anything, a coffee shop has become a place to be seen, and fortunately for us on this day, it was worth watching.  A couple of girls walk in, one on her phone talking, laughing and the other with a nasty scowl on her face.  She must have said something on the phone because all of a sudden the other girl starts yelling like a banshee and slapping the girls face as hard as she could.  In what I feel was an appropriate response, JB began his play-by-play a la Howard Cosell, “There’s another left by George he’s getting into Fraziers head.”  We all knew what was coming, “I think he hurt Joe Frazier, I think Joe is hurt!”  Right when JB was about to formulate that iconic saying, the girl on the phone delivers a thundering overhand right, dropping the aggressor and immediately ending the altercation.

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Have you ever sat back and thought, “What if I got a shot at the NBA when I was in my prime?  Everyone knows I average a double double in my men’s league, I tell them all the time.  I’m 6’7″ and can jump higher than even Steve the Electrician’s kid.  What if I got minutes against the best in the world?”  I know one Razzball writer who’s had that exact thought.  Usually after one too many crown and cokes.  Someone thanks him for helping them win their weekly match-up 7-2 and we go out and celebrate at the bar.  Well played sir.  Well Played.  This night gave us much more than just a terrible hangover.  It gave questionable decision making and a highly impaired thinking process.  At some yet still hazy point that night we began playing the fantasy ‘What If’ game, culminating in the question what if Nick Calathes started and got 36 minutes?  Wouldn’t he average 10 assists per game?  With that eureka moment I knew it was time to hail a cab and call it a night.  Obviously I was far too tired to think straight.  When I awoke the next day, thinking clearly once more, I decided to play the ‘What If’ game again.  This time with you as my live studio audience and hopefully with a more level head.  Would everyone please now fill out your name tag and be seated.  Because you may just be the next contestant on, ‘What… If… He Starrrrrtsss…’  And it’s a Go for the Theme Song.

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