I’ve got the ring in the cake.  The scoreboard operator has got it cued up for the 2nd quarter under-8 timeout.  The plane with some really carcinogenic toxins is ready to pollute the atmosphere in a “Will U Marry Me?” loopy smokestream.

An unsung contributor this year, DeMarre Carroll racked up another under-the-radar line last night for 14 Pts, 11 Reb, 3 Ast, 3 Stl, 2 3PTM, and a partridge in a pear tree!  No TO, and other than blocks really hits all the Silver Bells and whistles.  Hitting a career best 1.6 treys a game, it’s a Christmas miracle his FG% is at 46%.  The dimes don’t do much either, but there’s no reason not to to Sleigh Ride him while he’s hitting most of the cats this hard.  Even a Silent Night or two won’t scare me away, and at only 61% ownership in Yahoo, I feel like there’s still a lot of leagues where he could bring Joy to the World.  So sing a holiday carol for DeMarre, and even though nothing is too sexy, I felt like I needed Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (full disclosure, I had to look up a list of Christmas songs for this bit, I’m such a Grinch).  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Up until this year, Jimmy Butler looked like he was always going to be a Wesley Johnson-Iman Shumpert type of wing. Can get you 13-15 points on a good night, hits a few three balls, shoots crappy from the field and nabs a few steals here and there.

His improvement was steady over his first three seasons, but heading into this year’s fantasy drafts, the thought going through most people’s minds was: This guy’s a sleeper, sure, but Derrick Rose is coming back. If Rose is finally healthy, Butler is a non-factor, and even if he isn’t, we’re not missing out on much.

Right here I instruct you to crank up the volume on your device/computer as loud as you can and click on this link.

Butler came into Friday’s tilt against the Blazers with a string of four straight games where he topped 20, including a 32-point explosion against the Pacers. I’m singling out that Blazers game as a caveat, as Da Bulls entered Portland with no Rose, no Pau Gasol, no Kirk Hinrich and no chance of winning. Butler, who had nine points on 3-13 shooting, joined his teammates in chucking up prayers to try and stay in the game, and almost none of those prayers were answered.

I will say this. The Portland game does expose Butler as a guy who cannot carry a real NBA team. In other words, he is not a healthy Derrick Rose in Derrick Rose’s prime. I think Butler’s value is intrinsically tied to the health of this squad. If, for example, Gasol is healthy, but Rose isn’t, Butler is very valuable. If both are healthy, still valuable, but not as much. If neither is healthy, he will be up and down, struggling against good teams, dominating bad ones.

Long-term, I see a sell-high wing. Yeah, it’ll taste good right now, but later tonight, your significant other will be relegating you to sleeping on the couch. And it won’t be because you snore.

Still hungry? Order up one of these flavors:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In a jam-packed weekend with all sorts of big news and Anthony Davis putting up a career-high, I figured why not start as off-the-fantasy-radar as possible!  Well, that’s a lie, my Steve Nash open about him being a malnourished librarian turned out to already be a commercial

The injury gods were working overtime this weekend, as big ol’ Roy Hibbert landed funky on his ankle and left very early in the Pacers’ game Saturday.  The bad news continues to floweth down the bad news river in Indianapolis.  Drown your sorrows in onion rings, Pacers fans!  Not gonna have any other rings any time soon.  “That was mean, JB!”  I’m rooting for Paul George to come back healthy next year and shock the Cavs in the playoffs, don’t you worry.  But back to the issue at hand, when Howard Cosell made the call “Down goes Hibbert!” I immediately had something bubbling up inside [Mahin]me.  Certainly not one of the premiere backup Cs in the NBA, but Ian Mahinmi is passable, and a solid short-term add for some early-week big man upside.  Mahinmi carried the torch with the starters for an all-leagues usable 12/10/1/3/1 line in only 26 minutes, without even finishing down the stretch as the Suns went full supernova to the Pacers white/brown dwarves (I don’t wanna say one or the other, might get into trouble…).  The backup Frenchy could easily go 10/10 with 2 swats in a few starts early this week.  Tonight is against a gimpy Tyson Chandler who tweaked his kankle, then Wednesday against a Spurs team who have struggled to handle bigs since Tiago Splitter has been in a siesta.  So while I Mahin-Me, I hope while reading this there is time to Mahin-You!  Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy basketball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We are a few weeks into the NBA season and things are really taking shape.  The 76ers might set the record for losses in a season, the Knicks are still the same garbage team after paying Melo, Brian Shaw has made a mess with the Denver Nuggets and the Sacramento Kings set a NBA record for losing consecutive games in which they were up 18+ points after the first quarter.  With that said how about we get on with some picks.

On Saturday night we have a big 10 game slate:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

With the full 2014-15 Fantasy Basketball Rankings now complete, let’s take a look at the final 50.  Sean Connery.  Kevin Costner.  Tons of Great Depression-esque costumes.  I’d imagine if you’re in a deep league and looking at the field below with your last pick or two, you’re feeling something like this:

It’s pretty hopeless, as in 12-teamers these are all likely guys you’re merely starring on your watch list post draft.  There’s some questionable talent, some questionable roles, maybe even someone that’ll give you The Grapes of Wrath, but some untapped upside!  Here’s my top 200 for the 2014-15 Fantasy Basketball Season (based on 9-cat H2H):

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Happy draft lottery, Cleveland-ites!  Is having another 1st overall pick enough to lure LeBron back?!  I think chances of that are as good as Anthony Bennett turning out to be a good player…

And now to the fun stuff… Figuring out where to rank the volatile middle-tier guys.  As Paris Hilton once said, “Studs are studs!  Except for when they’re busts!”  Wow, awful.  Needed to get some shock value in here – that was my proverbial watermelon mallet.

After the top 20, things get pretty tricky this early in the offseason.  And until a good bit after the NBA Draft, 50 is as high as we’re gonna go.  The draft class is loaded, and several should proliferate into the top 100, with a few even top 50 guys in the right situation.  Then free agency, old guys retiring, all that hooblah.  But if you’re thinking ahead to some dynasties or formulating some early fantasy draft strategies, here’s my way too early Top 50 for the 2014-15 Fantasy Basketball Season (spoiler alert: still no Jonas Valanciunas):

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Probably because he’s, well, Elton Brand, I haven’t paid much attention to him.  It’s like telling me, “Hey JB, Robert Parrish is on the wire, what’da think?!”  Brand is getting tons of run lately with Gustavo Ayon and Pero Antic still hurt decimating the Hawks 5s (and Paul Millsap out as well), to the tune of 40+ minutes the past two games and 30+ in 4 of 5.  And grandpa Elton topped off his big run with a rainbow line last night, 7/13/3/2/2 in 42 minutes.  That’s like an Andrew Bogut line!  Had a comment last night asking if Brand is a flash in the pan.  More like flash in the bedpan!  Yeah, I don’t see any sustainability here with none of the aforementioned hurt guys really out that long.  But hey, maybe a one-game stream?  The Hawks are going at Boston tonight who lack any sort of consistency up front as well and Brand could get ya another multi-cat gem.  Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy hoops:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The trade deadline is here!  Today!  And even though we had a few trades already go down, more are sure to proliferate through the league office.   Hopefully the NBA has faster fax machines than the NFL.  I mean, seriously on that Elvis Dumervil thing?!  BREAKING NEWS!  The Heat trade LeBron James to Cleveland for Anthony Bennett, but the trade was sent just over a month too late.  Reports indicate it was sent on April 1st.  Hah!  Sent from some hooligan named David Stern…  You’ve been punked Adam Silver!  Back to reality, we’ve seen Marcus Thornton get traded to the grandpa Nets for Jason Terry and Reggie Evans and Steve Blake get all his fantasy value decapitated Hershel-Walking Dead style by getting shipped to the Warriors for Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks.  The takeaways thus far is you can cut Blake in virtually all leagues, and in deeper leagues I actually think Reggie Evans could start at some point as the Kings 4.  Jason Thompson is one of the many rumored on the trading block which would open up that role.  I’m not saying Evans would play 30 minutes or anything, but could maybe average 8 boards a game while doing nothing else in the typical Evans fashion.  So when I say deeper leagues, I mean deeeeeeper.  We’ll recap the rest of the trades in tomorrow morning’s piece as well as in the comments throughout the afternoon to help with your fantasy moves.  Here’s what else went down in NBA action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

And we’re back baby!  The All-Star break in Nawleans has come and gone, with a disappointing dunk contest, no bounce passes in the skills contest (yeah, what was up with that Prez?!) and All-Star jerseys that made the finale look like an adult rec league game on a Thursday night.  “Help, I think Stanley has a hernia!”  I was constantly thinking to myself about the Major League quote, but the opposite.  Brian Scalabrine or Matt Bonner coming into their first practice with sleeves and a hat on, and their coaches were like, “We don’t wear caps and sleeves at this level son!”  Sure made that coach look stupid on Sunday night!  And if you’re a Cleveland fan, you’ve got to be thinking, “Crikey wtf is going on!?” after seeing Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters go off in their respective ASB games over the weekend.  Then to see neither of them do anything against the 76ers last night!  To be fair, the Cavs let their scrubs do all their damage in a blowout.  So I guess if Cavs are thinking crikey, Philly fans are thinking, “if we don’t win 20 games this year, I’m giving up cheesesteaks!”  Drastic?  Probably.  Be liking asking me to give up that delicious BBQ.  Now I’m all sorts of hungry… How did this get into food?  Let’s just dive right in to last night’s return to action, like how you’d dive into an all-you-can-eat Southern food buffet with mac & cheese, hush puppies, chopped BBQ, whole BBQ, biscuits & gravy, and then, and then…:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When Glen Davis went to the pre-season Magic weigh-in, the trainer was like, “355 Big Baby, really?”  “These hips don’t lie!”  And in a very full slate of games last night, we had two pretty premiere big men have their hips not lie and go out on them.    “Help I’ve fallen and can’t get up!”  The NBA to start issuing players life alerts to wear around their necks.  DeMarcus Cousins was the first to succumb to the AARP ailment.  Suffered a left hip flexor, but coach Mike Malone said it probably wasn’t serious.  Destiny is like, “wait a ‘left’ hip?  I thought, like, for people we had only one hip!”  No child left behind fails us yet again.  Good thing it’s the All-Star break for Boogie!  An All-Star Boogie!  Dude, that should totally be an event.  Breakdance Horse!  Hah.  Then Derrick Favors went out and re-aggravated his right hip that had caused him to miss games here and there over the past month.  This one is a lot less bueno.  But hey, DeMarcus and Derrick have a pair of healthy hips!  If only they were siamese twins – they’d get, like, 35 rebounds a game.  Favors will likely get an MRI and be brought along very slowly since this is a re-aggravation.  Enes Kanter to the rescue!  Might get some solid run and deserves love in a lot of leagues.  And don’t sleep on Rudy Gobert in deep leagues if you need some blockage.  Speaking of blockage, look at some of the traffic photos of NC from yesterday.  No one learned from Atlanta!  And the best basketball game on the slate, UNC-Duke, cancelled.  Travesty.  Let’s get this global warming going again!  Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy hoops:

Please, blog, may I have some more?