Mid-January approaches. I am about to be snowed in up in Toronto, so I am acutely aware that we are in the thick of winter. If you follow an NBA team’s social media, you likely have been getting the email prompts to vote in your potential All Stars. If you didn’t know, I am a long-suffering Raptors fan, and I’m finally getting rewarded for all those dark days with a team that is finally relevant. I got the prompt to vote in Kyle Lowry and  DeMar DeRozan, both deserving of the honour, and I should expect they will make the Eastern All Star team, either through fan voting, or by coach appointment. But all that glitters ain’t gold, and there are several players that are on the voting ballot that aren’t skilled enough for that lofty appointment, both in real life, as well as from a fantasy perspective. So lets take a gander at which All Star hopefuls are made of gold, and who’s just made out of tin:

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Well, it’s New York, and it’s Derrick Rose. Mo’ drama! After attending shootaround and everything seeming about status quo, Rose just flat out didn’t show up for last night’s game against the Pelicans. Didn’t tell anyone, didn’t shoot someone a text… He had no problem sending all sorts of horrible texts to that ex-girlfriend… The AWOL was so abrupt, that apparently the Knicks sent team representatives to his apartment and his teammates were praying for him! Yikes. According to reports, he’s fine and it was a “family issue” in Chicago, but this is redonk! I can’t remember a starting player just “not showing up” for a game, much less a former MVP! Things have gotten super sour in NY… Then the actual game last night happened! …which was an absolute shitshow. At least Brandon Jennings played well, as he’s been given a golden opportunity to start and show what he can do again (20/5/4/2/0 with 4 treys and 2 TO in 29 minutes – I would probably give him a spec add in 12ers based on this drama). But nothing but downhill from there. Carmelo Anthony got ejected for arguing, probably because the Knicks were down 20 and his knees hurt. “My fingers hurt!” “Well now your back is gonna hurt, because you just pulled landscaping duty!” Then our favorite Irishman Kyle O’Quinn apparently hit the Jameson too hard on the bench watching the Knicks implode, and fouled the crap outta Anthony Davis, causing the brittle 7 footer to fly into the stands and exit with a hip injury.

I’m sure that’s exactly what all Brow owners wanted to see, in a game with NO up 22 in the late 3rd… See, calling him KOQ makes all sorts of sense now! We call that defensive play a “KOQ block”. The Knicks ended up losing at home to the Pelicans, have lost 8 of 9, and have fallen to 17-21 (I erroneously on the Podcast thought there were still .500, man this fell apart quick!). Yup. The Poppycockers ladies and gents! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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Half man, all amazing.  Or something like that. 49 points, 8 boards, 5 assists, and 2 steals.  Oh yeah, he also went 8-15 from deep.  He had 5 TOs, but I feel like we can forgive him with all of the extra 3s tonight.  The assists and boards have been off his triple double place, but man can this guy ball.

  • Jeff Teague – Absolutely slaughtered the depleted Nets backcourt with 21 points and 15 assists.  Throw in 9-13 shooting, and this tells you more about the bad defense than the good offense.

So I’m not a basketball historian, and I’m still a young pup. I barely remember the Bulls glory years – I was in elementary school when they won titles 4-6 (yikes, aging the crap outta myself), but I do vividly remember the Byron Russell push-off and I cherished my Michael Jordan cards. I still have a bunch of em! This one is still in a nice case and one of my favorites… Anyway, when I saw Jimmy Butler go off for 52/12/6/3/1 last night, I was about to make all sorts of tongue-and-cheek MJ parallels…

Got the same reverse layup and everything! But then it dawned on me… Butler is more like Scottie Pippen if there was no Jordan. Pippen’s best season was 93-94, unsurprisingly the year without MJ, and went 22.0/8.7/5.6/2.9/0.8 on 49% shooting with 0.9 treys. So far this year, J Buckets is 25.3/6.8/4.4/1.7/0.3 on 46% shooting with 1.1 treys. While Pippen was obviously one of the best defensive players of his generation, Butler is a much better FT shooter and gets to the line more. But the rest is really close, and I thought kinda interesting food for thought. So the answer for the Bulls is simple – find a Michael Jordan for Buckets to play next to! I’m a problem-solver – if only every team’s issue in the NBA was this easy! Hah! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

…and by that, I mean they finally got Chandler Parsons into his stockings and ready to friggin’ play an NBA game again! And stockings is very apt, have you seen his leggings these days?! Looks like an elf! Well, of course you haven’t seen him “these days”, he’s barely played at all! Stupid knees… I tried Googling an image of “Chandler Parsons legs”, but that just got my safe search in all sorts of trouble… Knees; who needs em?! At least he’s not as bad an investment as Ian Mahinmi is looking to be on the Wizards… Awwww, boo, too soon! I’m a little frustrated with knee injuries these days, OK?!

After barely playing 100 total minutes through his first 6 games due to offseason knee operations, Parsons got back on the court last night after over another month off due to a knee bruise to the other knee. My silver lining was always that it gave the surgically repaired knee another stretch to recover, so hopefully after another round of easing-in, we can finally see if he’s going to be that fantasy stalwart I expected on this Grizzlies team. Of course, it doesn’t help his “easing-in” timetable that the Grizzlies are somehow 19-12 despite all their injuries, but ya know! Got 15 minutes off the bench for a paltry 2/2/2/0/0 line, but this was always going to take a minute. So hike up your stockings, activate him off your IL, and if he’s somehow available add him immediately, because 2017 is a new year and right around the corner. Either way, I’ll still find myself Googling Parsons all the time! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So a little bit of a weird daily notes this morning, as I’m speaking to you from a day behind!  I’m out traveling as I add another notch to my belt as they say, and well in more ways than one!  Eating some good food and going on brewery tours is pretty much the pinnacle of life!  Long story short, notes are through Friday/Saturday games and I’ll be a little slow with comments until Tuesday.  Although I’ll likely pop in at some point with some horrible typos and weird drunken advice….

Anyway, we mentioned on the Pod last week how surprisingly bad the Wolves have been this year, and it looked like they might be turning the corner Saturday night, maintaining a big lead against the red hot Rockets.  But they collapsed in the final minute losing a 9 point lead pushing it to OT, the Rockets took over, Zach LaVine hit a big 3 with 5 seconds left, then on the last gasp, LaVine got nudged out off bounds throwing up the desperation shot.  Another game you throw up your arms and go “huh?!”; all the starters played well and they held Houston to 95 in regulation!  Plus Karl-Anthony Towns went off for a 40 burger!  41/15/5/0/1 on 15-28 shooting and 10-12 FT including this NBA Jam quality alley:

I don’t have much else to expand on here, except the Wolves are going to have to go through some sort of massive change.  Yes, they’re the youngest team/starting 5 in the NBA, but all of the starters are already too good for this team to be 7-19.  Obviously Ricky Rubio getting traded is what most point to, but we’ll see what happens.  And I think KAT is the kind of player that will keep his motor going every night, and not phone it in down the stretch (cough, Hassan Whiteside, cough)…  Here’s what else down over Friday and Saturday’s games in fantasy hoops action:

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Ho! Ho! Ho! Hark the herald, Jerry Stackhouse sings! The NBA has never been in fuller effect across the years than at the culmination of this week every year: CHRISTMAS! It’s unofficial start to the season (or the official start in the lockout-shortened 2011 season), and the first day since June owned by the NBA on the sports calendar. It’s been football, football, football for the past six months, but even the King Kong NFL takes a back seat to basketball on Christmas (only 2 NFL games in Week 16 are actually on Sunday, December 25). Make way, because winter is no longer just coming…it’s here! And with it comes all the basketball glory we can handle for the next 6 months.

From now on we’ll see teams jockeying for playoff position. You know, those coveted spots that only the few get to have in calling themselves the next up to be humiliated by the Cavs or Warriors. But seriously, this is where we start to see what teams really are. And it’s similar in other sports. Sure, you can start 5-0 Falcons in 2015, but you’re finishing 8-8. Or in baseball, everyone knows that the record before Labor Day is all just feeling it out. And in the NBA the Hawks may begin 9-2, but are they really that great? My optimistic homerism is hopeful, but their record now shows the answer is no. How about the Raptors? They started sluggish; they must have taken a step back this year. Well, um…nope. They’re a favorite to reach the Eastern Conference Finals again. See, Christmas brings out the best in us all, and acts as a litmus test for starting the year.

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Welcome back Lady and Gents!  It’s time for another Thursday night recap!  Unfortunately, I didn’t have a lot of time to devote to this particular set of notes, so bear with me.  It’ll be much more in depth next week!

Jeff Teague – Actually had a solid game!  21 points and 10 assists with a block and 6 boards.  Who knows if he can keep doing this, but it definitely is an improvement.

Myles Turner – 11-14 from the field!  26/8/1/0/1 – No complaints, even though the line is a bit empty.  More than one block would be nice, but I’m nitpicking at this point.

Jrue Holiday –  16 points, 14 assists!  He’s backkkkkkk, and this REL owner couldn’t be happier.

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Peter here, back from a work trip in Jamaica. JB was right when I needed to escape the cold of the Wizards losing season. Maybe they will bring back JaVale McGee and Javaris Crittenton!?!? One can only hope.

Fortunately, the Wizards were off on Tuesday so that meant I got to watch actually good teams, including an overtime game in Phoenix. Here’s your Tuesday recap:

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Apr 5, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz guard Shelvin Mack (8) dribbles the ball during the first quarter against the San Antonio Spurs at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Nothing of huge note happened tonight, so I figured the return of Shelvin Mack to relevance would make a decent headline.  Surprisingly, the Jazz made it a game against the Warriors with Gordon Hayward, George Hill, Rodney Hood, and Derrick Favors all out of the lineup.  Mack definitely did his part, and put up a solid 19 points in 36 minutes.  If he would lay off some of the treys (1-8 from deep), he could even be an efficient scorer.

At any rate, let’s see what happened last night!  Oh, the TNT double header was moved to 7 and 9:30 pm EST, so I’m thrilled about that.  No idea why that happened – maybe someone in the comments can enlighten me on that one…

Please, blog, may I have some more?