Free agency is here!  It has been a bit mum since the FA pool is awaiting that LeBron James cannonball, leaving us without a good snapshot of how the league will look in 2014-15.  But we’ve got Summer League getting into gear and a couple interesting FA moves.

With the The Decision 2.0 on hold, even P.J. Hairston is antsy and trying to get some ball in.  According to reports, he got into a fight with a high school senior, literally at the YMCA closest to the one where I play pickup (Chapel Hill).  While some guys are really good at Chapel Hill, there aren’t any NBA players actin’ a fool and calling three in the key!  This is likely a non-story, but it just makes you shake your head.  Almost as much as my former rookie nookie Archie Goodwin getting arrested at an Arkansas skating rink.  Sure, you can tweet “Don’t assume if you don’t know the whole story…” to which I say, “the hell you gonna get into that kinda situation at a skating rink for!”  Man, that pine gonna stay warm this year, Archie!  Here’s some other [actually useful for fantasy] news and notes of free agent signings and early Summer League performances:

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Razzball Nation!  You’ve seen a dime a dozen… And no I’m not talking about lady parts or buttcheeks on Game of Thrones…. But mock 2014 NBA Drafts!  And since Game of Thrones is the hottest thing on TV, Slim and I decided to join the fray.  Let’s pretend he’s built like Drogo, the facial hair is fa rizz folks,  and I back-and-forth with him like whatever the hell that giant was north of the wall.  But not like that!  Wait, this just got way off track…

What we did differently is alternate picks to adjust our thoughts and expectations accordingly.  Slim thinks Embiid to the Cavs, I think it’s Wiggins, many others think Parker… We then have to make new thoughts as we go, and track players falling to get them to their upcoming destinations.  We both go into why we made that pick for the team, and a quick blurb on their fantasy impact on said destination should it come to fruition.  Here’s how we see the 2014 NBA Draft’s First Round going down:

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Wow, what a wild night across the NBA-osphere.  Tons of injuries, lots of scrubs getting some burn, if I didn’t know better, I woulda though it was late March.  But no!  I guess we can start with that other JB as Jerryd Bayless moved into the starting line-up and lit up the Hawks for a season-high 29 Pts.  Shooting 12-21, it was pretty ThrAGNOFfy for 29/2/2/1/0 with 5 treys.  Why you avoid the 3-point specialists on draft day!  Who knows what preppy-boy Brad Stevens is going to do next, and while getting the Pacers on Saturday isn’t a great matchup, home games vs. GS, BKN, then DET next week could be a 10 3PTM week for JB.  And while he’s not as multi-cat as the real JB over here, we can all grab the band if we need some scoring.  I’ll wear a headband as well for the moral support!  Here’s what else went down on a very busy night of injuries and surprise games in the NBA:

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Ross can!  Rosssssss can!  Ross can get me the tickets!  Somebody call the Police, because Terrence Ross is on fire!  Or, ummm, do we call the Mounties?  I plain just don’t know…  But if anyone (aherm, me) had to feel the Sting of that 51-point outburst against them – out of so left field from Ross that it was out of the Pacific Ocean – then you’re certainly sending a message in a bottle to the fantasy gods asking “Whyyyyyy?!”  51/9/1/1/0 shooting 16-29 and hitting 10 Harvey’s Trays.  “What’s with the sit-com references today JB?!”  Yeah, no one will get that last one… Sit-coms are always fun, light, and don’t end on Sunday nights with me throwing things.  “Enough about you, JB!”  Damn, commenters are angry this morning!  DeMar DeRozan sprained his foot in that game, and while Ross was already hot, no DeRozan helped him get hotter.  “Hansel is so hot right now.”  DeRozan looks like he’ll miss at least a few games – already not traveling tonight – making Ross a must-own for this week and the immediate future.  The Raptors are all the sudden with 18 less shots a game (no, that’s not me throwing out an arbitrary number, that’s really DeRozan’s FGA a game!) so this is a great opportunity for Jonas Valaciunas as well to go on a solid run.  Will be an interesting game tonight at Brooklyn to see how the two younguns perform.  Here’s what else I saw over the weekend in NBA action:

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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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All hail Trey Burke!  May all the inhabitants of the great Salt Lake City and all their respective wives rejoice!  And… the Jazz are still atrocious.  Poor Tyrone Corbin.  He’s got to fiddle with Burke, Alec Burks, John Lucas III and now Diante Garrett at the point.  Jerry Sloan got John Stockton.  Then Deron Williams.  It just ain’t fair!  In yet another Jazz loss moving them down to 1-12, Burke got 12 minutes even, going 11/1/1 with a steal and hitting a trey shooting 5-8.  Trey with the trey!  If only Deuce McAllister was an NBA player.   Deuce with the deuce!  Or if McAllister was a dunker, “Deuce with the upper decker!”  I had the unfortunate pleasure of doing highlights for my second Jazz game now, but it was cool to see Burke’s debut and I thought he looked pretty good.  His first NBA points were off a long rebound then coast-to-coast for a controlled, attacking floater.  Obviously he’s getting eased in and he’ll get more minutes – hippity-skippity to a few months back and I was bigger on Burke than anyone – but I’m not ready to go nuts and drop quality guys for him.  Of course it’s a case-by-case scenario, but I really wanted Burke to get tons of preseason work; instead he broke his finger and missed some really crucial development time.  For example, I think I’m still holding Patrick Beverley over him.  PBev is the Razzball “why can’t I quit you?!” fantasy asset.  Lucas III is obviously not a long-term solution, and while he’s in the mix, he didn’t look good last night but was the only guy that could hit any long balls.  Alec Burks looked awful, sure his line 8/1/1/1/2 is fine, shot 3-6 – fine – but racked up 4 TOs in 16 minutes.  Just looked bad.  Which brings me to Diante G, who I thought looked really good.  Garrett actually led the Jazz in PG minutes with 20, and racked up a 4/1/6 line with three steals and only 2 TOs (one late one was pretty bad, but the game was over) and played down the stretch.  Garrett was the only point who could create opportunities.  So it’s a little crowded with Burks’ potential wilting away and Garrett looking decent as a D-League gamble and could get run through the season.  I think Lucas III gets cut at some point and Burks plays strictly backup 2 minutes, but that’s just me.  It’s a mess.  Shocker, considering it’s the Jazz!  Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Sometimes it’s nice, oh so nice, to see so much potential that you saw through the preseason finally get the chance to shine, the star to sizzle, the Sun to finally get his run.  With Eric Bledsoe sitting last night with a bruised shin, my boy Archie Goodwin finally got a chance, running a season-high 19 minutes for 16/2/2/2 shooting 7-10 and hitting a three, including this highlight worthy pick 6.  “Give me a chance coach!”  Goodwin has great speed and a good feel for the game for a 19-year-old, and is showing a little bit of what he could do should he get extended time.  The Suns backcourt is flooded, muddled mostly by the breakout Gerald Green is putting on, but the hot start-Suns have now dropped three straight, going from 3-1 to 5-5.  Green is an ultimate sell-high, both in fantasy and in the NBA trade market, for his highlight-inducing big plays and he’s shooting 12% better from the field and 11% better from 3-point land than last year.  Obviously 2012-13 was a disaster, so some bounce back was coming, but yea, if the Suns could get anything in return, they’ll take it.  With Green signed through next season and Goran Dragic with a player-option for next year, both are potential trade chips the Suns could use to build around Bledsoe.  Sure, I’m dreaming up a scenario that may not be the most likely, but what I’m really dreaming about is a Bledsoe/Goodwin starting backcourt.  Mmmmmm.  Fantasy goodness everywhere!  Goodwin is worth keeping an eye on with the Bledsoe shin injury in the deepest of leagues, and deeper dynasty leagues should have him on the radar as well.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops:

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In yet another bad turn for fantasy top-100 Cs, JaVale McGee joins the triage with Tyson Chandler as centers with broken legs.  However unlike Chandler with the impact fracture, McGee discovered a stress fracture in his tibia with the ominous “out indefinitely” declaration.  It’s a very tough break (ugh) for the Nuggets and fantasy owners hoping to see stat lines of 10/10/5  when the Nuggets were on the slate.  All joking aside, I hate seeing players get injuries and it’s my least favorite open in news recaps in any sport.  There are a select few that are funny (my favorite will always be Bartolo Colon trying to swing for the fences and throwing out his back, and I have little sympathy because he’s a roider), but I wish McGee a speedy recovery.  For fantasy, he’s droppable in virtually all leagues.  A tall guy with a stress fracture isn’t swell, plus he was only playing 16 minutes a game anyway.  J.J. Hickson and Tomfey Mozgov get immediate boosts in value, Mozgov is decent when he’s not getting posterized, but Hickson I think is the biggest takeaway and probably should be scooped up in most leagues if he’s not owned already.  He proved he can be valuable with starting minutes and is a quality big man.  Here’s some other headlines from over the weekend:

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As an ancient proverb goes – “I’d like to introduce you to an old friend and a new friend.”  Ok, so I made that up.  But it sounds good!

For an old friend I’ve mentioned a few times and pumped up in my last rankings update before the season started up, my boy Omri Casspi had another solid outing last night that probably was under the radar.  In 24 minutes, he went 7/8/5 with no turnovers, 2-4 from the field and 3-4 from the line.  He just looks awesome every time I see him play.  Did you know he was the first Israeli to play in the NBA?  He’s pretty much Chandler Parsons but with Chandler Parsons in his way.  After a ho-hum first two games, his past two have been fantastic – and this last one without hitting a three which is a big part of his game.  Not necessarily a must own in 12-teamers, but definitely worth a look, and needs to be grabbed in 14+.

Then my new friend - Gal Mekel on the Mavericks.  You’re like, “who the eff is Gal Mekel?  I thought this was NBA not WNBA!”  Mekel was signed to a three-year deal by the Mavs this offseason, and became the second Israeli to join the NBA.  Cut to Amar’e Stoudemire going, “Hey, I should count!”  With Shane Larkin dealing with an ankle injury, and no Devin Harris for a while, Mekel is getting full-on backup PG run and playing well doing it.  He got his 2nd 6 assist game last night going 9/4/6 and hitting a 3.  Sure some run was in junk time, but with the oft-injured Jose Calderon the only one ahead of him (hasn’t played in over 68 games since 2007), Mekel could find his way into starts.  Of course, now I’ve ruined my play on him in the REL League.  Let’s just hope no one in that league is reading!  Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy hoops:

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So Russell Westbrook played yesterday… Ummm… What?

After hurting his knee in last year’s playoffs, then requiring a second surgery on October 1st, Westbrook was one of the biggest fantasy news stories early in preseason with an uncertain timetable.  Well that table has expired much earlier than anyone expected, and Westbrook was out there without a minutes restriction last night.  It’s like the first surgery was done in Hostel, then the next one at the X-Mansion.  Seriously, reports ranged from from early to mid-December as a target return date, but a little Adamantium in your bones goes a long way!  The good news is he’s back, but the bad (and frankly, not shocking) news is he was mighty rusty.  In nearly 33 minutes, Westbrook shot only 5-16 (0-2 3PTM 11-14 FT) for 21 points, with 4 Reb and 7 Ast and 4 TOs.  Besides shooting like Michael Chiklis, you’ll take that line any day.  Very encouraging to see Westbrook get to the line that frequently, and the minutes were indeed non-limited.  He looked pretty Westbrook-ish in highlights as well.  Even if Westbrook isn’t quite the player he was the past few seasons, all owners are looking at a steal for where they got him post-second surgery.  Here’s what else I saw over the weekend in fantasy hoops action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?