The tennis balls are off the legs, the HurryCane back in the closet, the pre-game meal eaten at 5:00 AM at the early bird special – we’ve got Kemba Walker back!

After a month and a half off, Walker came off the bench last night for the Hornets, and looked like Louis C.K.’s nethers.  Rusty.  2-9 from the field for 6/1/2/0/1 with a TO in 16 minutes.  While there’s no need to be harsh – we expected some rust after knee surgery – but Mo Williams played pretty well with 8 dimes and Gerald Henderson shocked the world with a career-high 11 assists.  Ok, “shocked the world” may be a slight overstatement, I could say “it was so shocking it blew all his hair off!”  It’s certainly interesting he had a previous career-high 9 dimes just last Sunday, so now there’s two facilitators to battle with.  Makes me worried about Kemba’s assists upside, and he’s kinda looking like an Isaiah Canaan clone.  Wait, I said I didn’t need to be harsh!  That said, Kemba is healthy and has a lot more upside, so obviously worth owning everywhere.  I just wouldn’t be shocked (unlike Hendo’s dimebag!) if he’s towards the end of the line if you’re killing Pts/3s and need to stream a stat at the end of week one of the playoffs…  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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For one week this season, it feels like there are more stars returning from injury than ones getting hurt. However, that won’t console those who saw their players were added to the injury list. So we’ll start with the bad news first.

All-Star Jimmy Butler suffered an elbow sprain in Sunday’s game and will miss the next 3-6 weeks. Fortunately the injury will not require surgery, but that still puts him out for most, if not all of March.

Joining Derrick Rose and Butler on the sideline, Taj Gibson is out with another ankle injury. Out since suffering the injury in Friday’s game, he’s no longer wearing a walking boot. Gibson has a history of ankle injuries so the Bulls’ may want to be extra cautious with him, but Gibson should be considered day-to-day going forward.

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The all-star break has come and gone.  For DFS purposes it seemed like an eternity.  For me it was a nice break to step away and recharge batteries.  Thursday was the NBA trade deadline and we seen a ton of movement. 39 players were traded.  Now I’m not going to sit here and tell you who the winners and losers were cause I could care less.  I will tell you it opens up opportunity for a lot of players for DFS and also takes the value away from a few players.  When you are building your lineups make sure these players that were involved in a trade are playing for their new teams.  This process can take a few days because of the amount of trades at one time and the players have to pass physicals.  On Saturday we a small 5-game slate so let’s get on with it:

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Well, it finally happened. The New York Knicks shut down Carmelo Anthony for the season. The news isn’t surprising, especially after he went 6-20 in the All-Star Game on Sunday night. The East players tried their best to get Anthony the ball, but it was clear something was amiss with his jump shot.

On Thursday, Anthony had successful surgery to repair his patella tendon in his left knee. The initial recovery time is around 4-to-6 months, but more will be known about his timeline in the days after the surgery. He’s safe to drop in all redraft leagues.

As mentioned in previous injury posts, Tim Hardaway, Jr. and Langston Galloway become the primary beneficiaries on offense. Someone will have to take the shots that Anthony was accustomed to taking. When starting this season, Hardaway has averaged 14.6 ppg and 2.1 3PTM, while Galloway has averaged 11.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg, and 3.0 apg. Readily available on the waiver wire (22% for Hardaway and 24% for Galloway in Yahoo leagues), these guys can become useful pickups for the playoff run.

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Man, what an exciting trade deadline!  Thanks for checking out our Trade Deadline Live Post, where you can read about all the trades that went down yesterday

And off the emotional roller coaster of those deadline deals, the NBA is finally back after a week away.  I certainly need to consult my physician since it’s definitely lasting more than 4 hours…  Especially after seeing Serge Ibaka pull a Goro right out of the 2nd-half gate!  Twas an empty big man line, but 21/22/0/0/0 is a nice way to start a shortened week!  Hit 8-12 from the field and 5-6 FT which twill get it done.  Serge didn’t take a trey, and while he hit a few jumpers, look how much closer to the hoop his shot chart was:

Serge Ibaka Shot Chart

With Enes Kanter on his way to OKC to bring his own brand of mid-rangeness, I think Ibaka can look forward to a nice boost in FG%.  Sure it may cost him a trey here and there, but Serge should still seek shots from the seashore.  And while Kanter had his share of nice rebounding games with the Jazz, putting him out there for his mid-range O is going to help Serge’s post presence.  I really like the move for Ibaka’s value.  Here’s what else went down last night in our return to NBA action:

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Basketball is back baby!  The NBA season returns from the All-Star Break tonight after four-and-a-half months off…  Maybe hyperbolic, but certainly feels that way!

And right as games start, we’ve got the NBA Trade Deadline passing this afternoon at 3:00 PM EST.  That was fast!  We’ve got a big day of trade analysis, with a live post that will go up around 1:00 PM-ish EST and get frequently updated to track all of the last-minute trades as they go down, then a slightly later podcast record time with our special edition Trade Deadline Razzball Basketball Podcast up sometime around 4:00-4:30 PM EST.  It’s all hoops all afternoon!

With these big changes about to ripple through the fantasy hoops landscape, the biggest news from over the break is probably the most anti-climatic – Carmelo Anthony has been officially shutdown.  “3P0 – Shut down all the garbage smashers on the detention level!”  “No! Shut them ALL down, hurry!”  Pretty apt to The Poppycockers shituation, amiright?!  We’ve known Melo was about to be Melba Toast sometime around the break, and now the swift gavel of realism has hit (huh? weird metaphor day!  I’m rusty OK?!).  Langston Galloway, who has probably been picked up in most leagues (and subsequently dropped in some after struggling) should likely be scooped up.  He’s not going to do anything too special, but his career-high in shots (19) was in a Melo-less game and should give you some low-TO guard stats.  Tim Hardaway Jr. also gets a bit of a boost, but he does absolutely nothing beyond score and trey.  Would be a nice, high-minute ThrAGNOF!  But those ain’t got no face…  So I’m not married to Timmy J at all even if he starts hot with Melo now gone.  Here’s what else has gone down since we left for the break:

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The All-Star weekend begins on Friday, giving most of the league some time off before the final stretch of the season. After the break, there are only four weeks left in the regular season for standard leagues. That’s not a lot of time to wait for guys to return from injuries. Owners will have to make hard decisions on whether to keep their injured stars or let them loose. More should be known after the All-Star break about the severity of many of these recent injuries, so hold on until then.

Blake Griffin underwent surgery on Monday to remove a staph infection in his right elbow. Prior to surgery, Griffin was expected to miss anywhere from 2-to-6 weeks. Griffin will be reevaluated in three weeks, which should help clarify when owners can expect to have Griffin back. Since Griffin is a top talent and there isn’t much clarity on his timeline, owners should hold onto Griffin for the time being.

With Griffin out, DeAndre Jordan and Spencer Hawes become the biggest benefactors. Jordan has put up back-to-back 20/20 games and looks like he’ll grab every rebound that Griffin used to get.

While Jordan is universally owned, Hawes becomes a top waiver wire pickup. In the three games that Griffin has missed, Hawes has averaged 11.0 ppg and 1.7 rpg. The numbers have been underwhelming so far, but Hawes has shown that he can fill up the box score when given starters’ minutes in the past. Last year as a starter, he averaged 13.2 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.2 bpg, and 1.6 3PTM. He probably won’t approach those numbers, but I expect Hawes to be useful for owners for as long as Griffin is out.

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Oh boy, more injuries to studs and more teams scrambling…

Sometime before the weekend, Blake Griffin had a fairly routine (and he’s had a few) elbow draining.  Blake’s draining jumpers, the team docs are draining elbows!  But over the weekend the elbow developed a staph infection, and he’ll have surgery and won’t be evaluated until after the All-Star Break.  Blake is firing off jumpers and the team docs are about to be fired!  Reports are saying it could be a 4-6 week sort of thing, but with staph infections you never know.  Either way, he’s an obvious hold in all leagues.  While Blake goes all Leo McGarry on us, Samurai Spencer Hawes and his little hair bun went 17/1/0/0/1 on 7-16 shooting with two treys in 35 minutes.  Samurai Spence should be an add in virtually all leagues, as his mix of scoring/treys/blocks can help a lot of teams.  Sure he won’t board almost at all for a big with DeAndre Jordan swallowing em all up, but we can ignore that.  Kinda like how Denis McDonough ignored that second “n” in his first name.  What is it with “Mc” real-life and fictional Chiefs of Staph?!  I bet the Oval Office whisky is well stocked…  Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy basketball action:

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Awwwwww, yeah!  Yeah J-Val.  Gimme a little peek.  Gimme a little glimmer of hope!

Oh man, was it a tale of two halves for the Raptors last night!  They were lobbin’ shizz all over the place like they were the Globetrotters against the…  Who do they play again?  That they always beat?  Oh yeah, the Knicks, like they were the Globetrotters against the Knicks.  Kyle Lowry had 9 dimes in the first quarter and Jonas Valanciunas put up 14 points on 7-8 shooting.  Drummo playing uggo!  Kinda a “but his D” lately…  The Luminescent Lithuanian ended up going 14-15 for 31/12/0/0/1.  The FT% is nice (3-4 last night and right at 80% on the year), but his combined – yes COMBINED – Ast/Stl/Blk this year are under 2.  Sigh.  I thought he could turn into something so much more special!  There are some long-term nice things – per-36s he’s cut down a few TO, scoring more, fouls are down – but Casey is playing him lower minutes than last year (and wouldn’t consistently feed him after that hot start) and I don’t know if he’s ever going to be more than a slightly taller Zach Randolph.  And with that, J-Val is all insulted, buttoning up his clothes, and not giving me that flash of hope.  Dammit, I’m my own cockblocker!  Me n Valaciunas are gonna be awkward for a while until safely in the friendzone.  Here’s what else went down on a light night of Monday action:

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Yesterday afternoon was a frenzy!  A frenzy because no Mozzy!  About as crazy as I was last Saturday about Fozzy!  Go Panthers!

Our prayers have been answered with Timofey Mozgov getting shipped out to Cleveland for two first round picks.  Two first-rounders?!  For Healthcare.Mozgov?!  Well, they’re like controlled picks from Memphis in some sort of hooblah where all that matters is they’re not going to be very high.  Not as high as say, Afroman!  Or 16th!  That’s where Jusuf Nurkic went in the first round this Summer, originally picked by the Bulls then traded.  Good thing for Nurkic!  It originally seemed really muddied there in Denver at C, but JaVale McGee just can’t get healthy, and Mozgov couldn’t go 3 minutes before getting multiple fouls.  So out ya go TinaFey, and huge role ahead for Nurkic!  At least 35 minutes every night given how good he’s been!  Andddddddd, only 22 minutes for 8/4/3/1/2 last night.  Still respectable numbers though!  Given one of his made FGs was this.  To quote my favorite sound from 90s gaming, “Oopsie!”  Or whatever he really says…  Anyway, J.J. Hickson is still there to give us a headache, as he went 11/10/1/2/1 in 30 solid minutes.  Yikes.  I still love me some Nurkic, and to the patient man goes the spoils!  Something like that…  Kinda lost in all of this yesterday was Hickson’s deep league value shooting up.  He’s not a terrible player for some Pts/Reb relief in a very poor man’s Zach Randolph kinda way now that minutes should be coming.  While many owners are mad they didn’t scoop Nurkic up quick enough, shoot out some buy lows with who you would’ve dropped, and maybe last night’s dud is enough to sneak Jamba Jus into your Mini-mall.  That sounds so wrong…  Here’s what else went down on a busy night of NBA action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?