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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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?

The new year brings us the glorious 2nd coming of the Durantula, again.  Kevin Durant looked better than expected going 44/10/7/0/1 with 6 3s and 12-12 FTs.  Sure you could argue the stat line was OT aided but just that Durant played 40 minutes after missing 6 games tells me there is nothing wrong with his ankle.  I imagine any buy low window is long gone after this game but he might be worth one last attempt to trade for.  If you thought this is why I watched this game though you would be wrong.  I wanted to see the Steven Adams vs Alex Len match-up.  Lurch with 9/7/1/1/0 in 27 minutes and Len with 2/6/0/0/1 in 22 minutes.  There is no question Adams is the guy to own.  Neither are part of the offense but at times Len looked bored and unsure of what he was supposed to be doing on both ends of the court.  That is a sentence I will never write about Steven Adams.  His aggression does one of two things.  The foul trouble associated will give him a few duds but it will also lead to big games which I don’t think Len has in him this year.  There were a ton of huge stat lines in this 137-134 overtime thriller but perhaps the stat that tells the biggest story was the 6 technical fouls.  Including two and an ejection for…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“Wahhhhhhh, I’m Jarrett Jack!”

He’s.  Just.  So.  Sad!  Cheer up, buttercup!  Deron Williams is just plain terrible these days…  Which means starting minutes!

Even though he didn’t set the world on fire last night (16/3/2/1/0), Jack seems to have a stronghold on the Nets starting PG spot.  With the range for treys (one 3PTM the past three games) and a great FT%, Jack is a must-own in all leagues for me.  However, there is a major concern.  The Showcase Showdown!  Brooklyn is trying to pawn Williams off like a bad case of gonorrhea, and sometimes you have to coax out the virus before it goes away!  Hah – let’s hope that’s not true, totally making that up (cough, cough…).  With another bajillion dollars left on D-Will’s contract, the injury-riddled walking kankle is a tough sell.  Then again, maybe keeping him off the bench will protect him from another injury making him go from normally hard to sell to “leave him on the curb and hope someone takes him” hard to sell.  Regardless, most teams even in 10ers should have room for Jack, as I think it’s likely he starts the rest of the season for the soon-to-be rebuilding Nets.  And there’s no one else that’s even waiting in the wings…  So pick up Jack where you can if he’s still out there, if only to cheer him up!  Here’s what else went down last night in Fantasy Basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

First I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.  Hope no one is on the naughty list this year.  Santa has given us four awesome NBA games and a game with the D-League Knicks.  I don’t know what the NBA is thinking having the Knicks on Christmas Day but I guess it’s the NBA way of getting coal in your stocking.   Now there are a lot of studs playing today and you are not going to be able to roster them all.  I like to refer them as high ceiling and high floor players. We already know Kevin Durant, Chris Bosh, and Anderson Varejao are out. So if there is some news check the comment section.  I will pass along any news I see.  Remember that DraftKings is a late swap site.  Good Luck and hope Santa was good to everyone.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We had the first big name get traded this year with Rajon Rondo getting dealt to the Mavs.  It’s a perfect “Shark Tank” deal for Mark Cuban.  It sends a message that the Mavs are going for it this year.  I don’t blame them since Dirk isn’t getting any younger.  I really like this deal for Dallas.  It brings stability to the PG position for Dallas and we seen in the past what Rondo can do with skilled talent surrounding him.  Dallas sure has that.  Plus, Rondo isn’t under contract next year. If it doesn’t work out in Dallas the Mavs aren’t on the hook for any money after this year.  I was surprised they got him so cheap.  Yeah, Dallas sent 3 players in the deal but it’s not like those players were really heavily involved in the rotation for the Mavs.  Also, rumors are the Celtics are already shopping Brandan Wright.  The only thing the Celtics really wanted was the two picks they got in the deal and the $12.9 million trade exception .  The Celtics now have eight first round picks in the next four years.  I’m also curious to see if what Jae Crowder can do if he gets some time.  I really liked his game at Marquette and never felt like he was given a great opportunity in Dallas.  Now the the player to keep your eye is first round pick Marcus Smart with Rodo out of town.  This kid can flat out score but the biggest hurdle is if he can stay healthy.  With all that said, how about we get on with this small 6 game slate: 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“Did you coach the Celtics to a win last night, B-Rad?!”  “No…  But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night!”

Since returning from his bad ankle sprain, Marcus Smart has had quite the timeline.  Returned last Wednesday and played five minutes, and Stevens said he didn’t look ready.  And when you’re not ready, you get demoted to the D-League.  And when you shoot 1-12 FG in that D-League game, you still get a promotion.  I want to work for that company!  Any time you get reprimanded, you just have to explain why you’re currently better than 1-12!  Then DNP Friday, and 8 minutes of nada Sunday.  So of course, everyone expected that he’d play 35 minutes and go 23/4/5/1/0 shooting 7-14 FG (4-8 3PTM, 5-5 FT) without a single TO last night.  And everyone expected Rajon Rondo, off a triple-double, to be benched in favor of Smart down the stretch and for both the overtimes.  Well, the Celtics did almost upset the Wiz at home!  Key word… almost.  And sure, Boston had a big 4th quarter with the subs to make it a game, but an L is an L!  Rondo owners collectively throw things at their computers – no one is safe from a Stevens line-up bamboozle.  Before you run out and grab Smart, consider that timeline this past week.  And don’t forget before last night he was shooting sub-30% FG and 21.4% from deep with only 1.1 dimes a game.  Given some of those were in low-minute spells, but it was still only 8 dimes in 114 minutes to 6 TO.  So don’t pull a Stevens and feel like the smartest one in the room by dropping, well virtually anyone in a 12 or 14 teamer for him, unless you plan to stash.  Rondo could still be moved, but I never bet on a trade.  It’s like betting on a successful hostage trade in an action movie.  They never work out!  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?