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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So the Pistons were looking like a playoff contending team with all their offseason acquisitions, but after a 2-1 record with the only loss a close one on the road to Memphis, the Pistons have dropped 4 straight to fall to 2-5.  Plus Memphis looks god awful after that looking like a “good” loss.  The Pistons aren’t very good.  Hire Jim Leyland!  The culmination of the four-game skid climaxed in an ugly 18- point loss to the Warriors last night that sent a few fantasy shockwaves down our fantasy spine.  First Josh Smith was benched before playing 19 minutes and shot 1-6 for 2 Pts and no boards.  That’s like a Robin Lopez line! He reportedly took some bad three-pointers.  Those familiar with Josh Smith are like, “aren’t they all bad three pointers coming from him?!”  Still think Smith will be fine and this could actually help him from killing your FG% on his off nights.  The biggest benefactor to the J Smoove benching was my boyfriend (!) Kentavious Caldwell-Pope getting 24 minutes and going 9/3/1 with a trey and two steals playing a small (literally) forward role at times.  Now I didn’t watch this game, so if he was matched up on Andre Iguodala who isn’t exactly a domineering 3, that makes sense.   Then to top off a terrible night for Pistons fans, Razzball commenter favorite Andre Drummond went down with an ankle injury, playing way too late in the game that was a blowout.  It was like a Booby Miles injury.  He walked off the court under his own power, but ankle injuries are like the fantasy grim reaper’s wheel of fortune.  Sometimes a terrible looking one turns into nothing, and sometimes you’re Tobias Harris.  Hell Tyson Chandler walked off the court with a broken leg!  You just never know… Keep your eye out for updates during the day.  Hey, at least Drummond put up 16/14/0/3/3 for ya!  Here’s what else I saw across the NBA last night:

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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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Things were looking oh so good for the Colonel’s original recipe heading into the season.  I bought the whole bucket, the two sides and a giant big gulp of tea.  But Larry Sanders could very well be one of fantasy’s biggest disappointments in 2013-14, for reasons on and off the court.

Sanders signed a 4-year deal in the offseason worth a cool $44 million bucks (worth, about, a million buckets of chicken!), and the Bucks regime had big plans for their center.  GM John Hammond, while trying to keep his Jurassic Park island under control, said Sanders was the key to the team.  Hammond, you lost your keys!  Bucks are locked out… Then the season started with Sanders nearly fouling out in 12 minutes, and in three games hasn’t played more than 22 minutes, hit 2 FGs, or grabbed more than 4 boards.  I was on the buy low bandwagon faster than a short sell in Trading Places.  But after complaining about playing time, Sanders reportedly got into a bar fight Saturday night and effed up his thumb.  Stop giving him roids, Braun, we don’t need more roid rage in Milwaukee!  I wonder if he was getting hazed by Ersan Ilyasova like Richie Incognito.  “You must play better, now!” yells Ersan in a thick Turkish accident.  Hey, Ilyasova was a scratch last night too, Gus Ayonin’!  Anyway, Sanders is accused of breaking champagne bottles over peoples’ heads, and to top if off he then missed Monday’s game because his wife went into labor.  Sorry Larry Sanders Jr… I’m just sorry… Hopefully this version of The Larry Sanders Show ends anti-climatically with Sanders getting back on the court and giving fantasy owners something.  If you’ve got him, you have to be holding and hoping Sanders can settle down and have this blow over, before he’s looking back at his life and he’s Robert Swift.  Here’s what else went down 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:

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Man, what a huge night it was across the NBA with nearly every team in action.  It obviously all starts with the shocker Philly put on the Heat, and Michael Carter-Williams‘ unreal debut.  I was following with my co-workers during the game and tweeted that if he got a triple-double in his first NBA game, the universe would implode.  Thankfully MCW was a steal short and we’re all still here.  His final line of 6-10 (4-6 3PTM 6-8 FT) 22 Pts 7 Rebs 12 Asts and 9 Stls might actually win some owners their matchups this week on its own.  Just preposterous.  Most steals in NBA history in a player’s debut.  Ok before we all go nutso, remember the Heat played without Dwayne Wade (rest), don’t have a PG, and had all their hands weighed down with new championship rings.  So that’s not really an excuse, but so what?!  The shooting efficiency was fantastic (the biggest knock on him coming into the year), plus he had only one turnover (his second main knock).  “Nice knockers!”  Thanks Young Frankenstein!  MCW indeed moves up a fair bit in value in my eyes, but this is likely his best line on the year.  MCW was wildly inconsistent in college and I don’t expect much consistency on a terrible 76ers team (I know they just beat the Heat, but c’mon).  Look for John Wall to lock him up on Friday and cool the hype.  Despite inconsistencies, it goes without saying that MCW should be owned in all leagues now (78% Yahoo, 59.4% ESPN), so if for some reason he’s available in your league, you gotta get him.  I’m not expecting MCW to be an elite player, but will continue to contribute even in down games.  Here’s what else I saw across Fantasy Basketball last night:

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Listen, I know a lot of drafts have gone down, but I think we’re still right in the sweet spot of the drafting season.  And while we’re in that sweet spot, why not start up an RCL Hoops league where we need more commishes!  I am putting an embargo on comments unless you start up a league!  Haha – kidding.  But what’s less funny is the curse of my love for Trey Burke, as he’s going to have surgery on his index finger.  “Don’t you point at me!”  “I can’t help it, it’s the cast!”  The original report of him missing 8-12 weeks had him a 100% no bueno in my book, but then he tweeted out (I guess using other fingers) that it should only be 4-6 weeks.  Apparently he’ll be in a splint three weeks and will be reevaluated.  As in – “my fingy still hurty!”  I’m moving Burke way down and taking it as a sign to completely cool off my love for him.  As in Arnold in the last bad Batman movie cool.  “Tonight’s forecast – a freeze is coming in!”  John Lucas III becomes the starting PG it appears in most games and probably needs to be owned in deeper leagues, but I wouldn’t drop someone that good for him. Lucas III didn’t crack the updated rankings because I don’t see season-long impact from him.  Alec Burks could start some games at the point as well, and remains ranked as I think he plays both guard positions and minutes all year.  That is despite a horrible 1-13 shooting performance last night…  The Jazz are also re-evaluating trading for the Bulls’ Marquis Teague in a possible trade.  Then there’s a rumor that free agent Jamaal Tinsley might also get signed.  Sounding more and more like the Jazz PG is going to be a black hole this season.  So I’m avoiding them all, but still holding Burke in 12+ team leagues (like my 1st RCL League) and hoping.  Here’s what else has been going down through the preseason, and a final rankings update:

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After re-ranking the top 10top 20, and top 50, it’s easy to see there’s been big changes since last May.  Below are the Razzball Updated Rankings with the previous May rankings in parentheses before the adjusted rank:

(68) ↑ 51. Derrick Favors – Utah declining to bring back either Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap gives you a slight inclination on their thoughts on Favors, and they’re already talking contract extension with their emerging big as well.  I love his athleticism, and if I miss out on Serge Ibaka who I’m high on early, I’m gonna want to reach on Favors to win blocks. I think he’ll be a top-5 NBA swatter.

(51) 52. Kemba Walker – Kemba has been higher on virtually every rankings I’ve seen, and I’m just not top-50 high on him.  He had a really solid season last year, but the terrible FG% still worries me as I feel like he forces some offense.  The acquisition of Big Al is going to give the Bobcats/soon-to-be Hornets an actual scorer down, and I don’t think that translates into helping Kemba all that much.  I like Gerald Henderson a lot too to take a bigger scoring role.  The 2.0 steals a game last year was elite, but I see those going down along with the scoring, and a comparable 5.7:2.4 Ast:TO ratio.  All that spells a slightly down ranking for me.  Although to be fair, he’s played in every single Bobcats game in his career, so there’s that reliability that can’t be ignored.

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The period of free agency continues to shape the fantasy basketball-scape with fresh meat on terrible teams and players signing with contenders to be relegated to bench duty.  With baseball in full swing and the NFL getting half of the ESPN air time no matter what time of year it is, a lot of NBA moves have been made under the radar.  Look for every division to get a team-by-team breakdown and some early fantasy thoughts on the new faces in new places:

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I’ve got to say, growing up a huge Charlotte Hornets fan, I am going to finally have a favorite team again next year.  I mean, the Bobcats is such a horrific name for a professional sports team that it actually made me not cheer for them.  If they follow my logic – citizens of New Orleans, I’m sorry, you’re no longer cheering for your NBA team.

If you missed it the other night, the 2013 NBA Draft Lottery was selected (coincidentally right when a huge Powerball was built up and won – conspiracy?!) with the Cleveland Cavaliers winning another #1 pick.  Nerlens Noel, or Captain N as I’m going to call him, looks like he’s heading to one of basketball’s friendliest cities.  Just don’t leave for another team in a televised special.  Honestly, my first thought was, “great, another talented player I have to navigate through injury estimates with.”

Anyway, I doubt any NBA rookies will crack the top 100 for fantasy this year, it’s a pretty weak draft class, but that’s why these way too early rankings will be capped at 100 before readdressed closer to the season when they’ll expand to 200.  As always with rankings this early, it’s May, the Finals haven’t even started yet, and there will be a lot of revisions.  But here’s how I see things shaking out as of right now:

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