This time of the year is always bittersweet. Shuffling up the collective deck of players and dealing them all over the NBA map is fun and exciting, like the time you see your first boob up close. You’ve spent a lot of time imagining it, then – poof – it’s there right in front of you and you have no idea what to do. You never really thought it would be a reality. Man, I can’t wait ’til I see my first boob. Anyway, after spending six months wondering what Carmelo was going to do, we find out 36 hours later what Deron Williams was going to do. The only thing is, no one was wondering what D’Will was going to do. Now? Now we have to wonder. And we have to wonder about Devin Harris on the Jazz or Derrick Favors playing the role of 2008 Paul Millsap or Troy Murphy floating out in a weird limbo where he might wear a jersey again this season, or he might not. Actually, that last one should be easy to imagine. Almost 30 players have been traded in the last 48 hours. Thirty, you guys. That’s a ton of hypothesizing. Hypothesizing about fantasy basketball is like waking up from a dream only to realize you’re still dreaming. Also, someone stole Liam Neeson’s identity and he wants to know why! Who knows how it’s all going to shake out – especially because you just know there’s a couple more trades coming. Yesterday’s trade, although huge and shocking, doesn’t much help anyone except, perhaps, some of the Nets. It certainly doesn’t help Al Jefferson, who thought he had finally hit paydirt in Utah and lost a Hall of Fame coach and an elite point guard in the span of three weeks. Someone take his shoelaces away. Williams has a significantly softer roster to distribute the ball to (unless Williams can make Lopez and Humphries and Morrow better, which didn’t prove to be the case with anyone on the Jazz this season). I’m suggesting everyone remain in a holding pattern. With the exception of Favors, don’t drop anyone. With the exception of Kris Humphries, don’t pick anyone up. Humphries will likely become the starting PF, with Brendan Wright coming off the bench and producing just enough that you’ll wonder whether to pluck him off waivers, but not enough for me to suggest you pluck him off waivers. Nothing was holding Harris back in Jersey, except for an overmatched coach with a hodgepodge roster. So, yeah. Utah. Should be about the same. Favors is a drop in all but the deepest of leagues and I’ve still got about 15 traded players to mention in today’s rundown. Come. Join in my reindeer games. Not to be confused with Reindeer Games with Theron and Affleck. No one wants to join in on that.
Here’s what else happened in fantasy basketball yesterday:
Marcus Thornton – Traded from the Hornets bench, where he was inexplicably used sparingly and everyone wondered why to the Kings where he’ll likely be inexplicably used sparingly and no one will notice.
Carl Landry - Went from Sacramento to New Orleans. I’m guessing Landry spends every free moment during home games to sneak over the Texas border in his old Rockets uniform hoping no one remembers they got rid of him 12 months ago.
Kirk Hinrich – Will do his Mike Bibby impression for Atlanta, only better and with less physical grossness. For those of you who missed out on Ty Lawson (or, as it appears now, “avoided Ty Lawson”), Hinrich is a must-add for any leagues of 12-or-more teams.
Joakim Noah – 7/16, in 28 minutes. His shot was off and he didn’t get a block, but if you own the guy, you’re happy with this first game in two months. If you want to keep him on the bench for Chicago’s next game against Miami, go ahead (though he’ll likely clobber Z and Joel Anthony). After that, they face Milwaukee and D.C. Make sure he’s in your lineup by then.
Mike Dunleavy - Out indefinitely with a broken thumb. It now matches his oblong Skeletor face. Grab Paul George (good) and Brandon Rush (starting), in that order.
Troy Murphy – He’s a Warrior now, but the Warriors don’t want him. Hiya, 2006. Meet 2011.
Kendrick Perkins – Out a week, strained MCL. His sour face was appropriate for a fleeting minute when he received the news.
Brandon Roy – He returned, dropped a 5/0/1 line in 16 minutes. If you’re into trends, look for this one to continue. Also, he’s still not returning calls.
Ron Artest – 24/6/4, with five threes. Whoa, Ron Artest. Chill out.
Peja Stojakovic – He’s averaging 15.5 ppg in his last four, along with 3 3ptm in that span. Yes, I’m surprised. No, I don’t think he’ll keep it up.
James Johnson – 9/5, with three blocks in 29 starter’s minutes. He was sub-par talent in Chicago, which makes him about the third best player on the Raptors. Medium-sized leagues should surveille him as if he were a group of punkass teens huddled near the porno section of your 7-11.
Gary Neal – Four threes last night. Eight threes in his last two games. Eighteen in the last 10. Jrue story.
Chase Budinger - Hey Kyle Lowry, nice 1-for-10. Aaron Brooks, your 2-for-12 was also appreciated. Don’t make Houston replace you both with a lanky blonde dude. Don’t make th… KaBoOom! 30/8 with four threes in 29 minutes. I wouldn’t pick him up based on one performance (see: Patterson, Patrick from 2/22/11), but it’s important to remember this game in case the other two stay frozen longer than Han Solo in Empire.
JaVale McGee – Played a little more than 12 minutes. His back didn’t look to be giving him fits and he wasn’t on the court long enough to be in foul trouble. If you can get rid of Epic Vale, do it.
Andray Blatche – Sprained his ankle, returned, possibly injured the ankle further. I’d be shocked if he plays in D.C.’s next game. For the record, blatche is the exact sound of a sprained ankle getting sprained a second time.
Tracy McGrady – 16/5/12, after being in a slump his last few games. Still, we all owe T-Mac an apology for how we treated him before this season. We’ll also owe him an apology in October when he still isn’t ranked in the top 100.
Greg Monroe – A career-high 27 points in addition to a dozen rebounds. He’s still a little erratic, but Monroe is at the top of my sleeper list for next season. Keeper leagues should find a spot for this guy on their roster even if they have no use for him this year.
Jermaine Taylor - 21/5. I know what you’re thinking. Yes. He has had two solid games in a row, including a career-high 21 points, but he shot 9-for-12 last night and didn’t contribute much else. Is it more likely that this guy continues shooting .609 from the field (as he has in his last two games) or that he goes back to shooting .450? 13/5 is more what you should expect with Evans out. You were warned.
Toney Douglas - 23/3/3, with two steals from the bench. Now that New York has decimated their bench, Douglas, Williams and Walker are the only three that might produce anything. My guess would have been Douglas. It still is Douglas.
Amar’e Stoudemire – “Hey Carmelo, it’s cool, man. Don’t worry about me. We got the win, that’s what’s important. Just gotta get used to y’all” Yeah. I’m really not feelin’ the pep talk now dawg. “Yeah but, you win some you lose some, C. I scored 19 points. The rebounds? They were down a bit. I’m not down about it.” That’s the problem, STAT … Five rebounds and you fouled out, man. Four turnovers! I double-doubled first time out. Six fouls on Mbah a Whatever? “Aw, don’t be like that ‘Melo–” No, I’m gonna be like that. You only get one chance to make a first impression on New York and we looked beatable. You couldn’t have gotten a few more boards, STAT? “Sorry C. My goggles was foggy and –” Just stop that, Amar’e. Your excuses demean the both of us. Lemme just sit here silently for a minute while I figure out why just lookin’ at Ersan Ilyasova makes me giggle.