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:

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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…

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“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:

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It’s like that scene in Moneyball when Beane-y Baby is talking to David Justice and says something along the lines of, “You pissed off the other team so much, they’re paying 2/3 your salary!”  Except the Pistons are going to pay 3/3 of Josh Smith‘s salary…

Geez, over the weekend plus a travel day, I feel like I missed two season’s worth of the NBA!  Smoove gets waived, there’s trades…  I think Andrew Wiggins is even contemplating retirement!  In Detroit Rock City, Stan Van is tired of seeing Detroit Brick City.  Shooting a career-low (even for Smoove!) 39.1% from the field (including 9-37 from deep for a Gargantuan 24.3 3PTM%), Stan Van is about as sick of labradoodles as Michael Vick.  Too soon!  I could go Larry Sanders there too, he is on my all-hate team…  Wow, this got too serious.  Josh Smith is terrible at basketball!  Another year of 2.6 TO is doing no favors, but even in only 32 minutes a game (a low since 2005-06), he’s at a career-best 4.7 AST this year.  Then again, another flip-side with a career worst 46.8 FT%.  I’m rattling things off we already know, but mostly want to mention in H2H leagues, he’s still a useful player if your team is built the right way.  And my pre-season rank was hoping he would come off the bench and boost the FG% and bad TO rate by playing against second units.  Right now the Rockets are front-runners to pick him up (which also is a big indictment on Terrence Jones coming back any time soon), which should limit his labradoodles and keep him in line for defensive stats.  I’m really hating what Stan Van is doing to DET for us fantasy-players – these shifts in minutes and rotations are infuriating – so I’m actually a little encouraged.  We’ll see how it shakes out, but if you’ve been able to weather the Smoove storm of horrific efficiency, I’d keep holding.  Here’s what else has gone on across the league since we last checked in:

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Tracking Rudy Gobert‘s path to the NBA has been movie worthy.  After an accident at his former job at the local steel mill, Rudy had Jon Favreau (he really could be French!) keep his grades up in exchange for Rudy helping Jonny out with the ladies.  Gobert almost gave up on his dream for basketball, but Charles S. Dutton gave a heartfelt speech on BEING REAL!  Utah fans tried carrying Gobert off the court chanting “Rudy!  Rudy!” after that win against the Spurs last Tuesday, but it was a big hazard to the overhead lights.

Derrick Favors‘ ankle turned into a kankle over the weekend, but luckily X-rays were negative and he’s day-to-day.  No reason for the lowly Jazz to throw him out there gimpy.  Monsieur Elbow time!  Filling in for Favors on Friday night, Rudy had one of the best games of his young career for 9/11/4/1/5 shooting 2-2 FG and 5-6 FT.  Followed it up with a start last night next to Enes Kanter for 7/9/0/2/3 in 31 minutes.  Playing with the big boys!  A wingspan that would make a pterodactyl jealous, Gobert should murder blocks for you if you’re able to stream him through the couple starts he’s likely to get this week.  No timetable for Favors, but big men + kankles = John Goodman.  I mean, not good for a speedy return.

Boy did the Fantasy God of Injuries not get enough human sacrifices over the weekend!  This might turn out to be the most depressing NBA recap I’ve ever written.   Stay positive JB!  Stay positive JB!  Thanks inner monologue…  Any other advice to help me get through today’s news?  Well, remember when in Interstellar it looked like there was no hope due to another Dust Bowl, then he just finds the newly incarnated NASA – – Wait, how does any of that make sense, they didn’t know he was alive yet he was their best hope!?  And then there’s that giant plot hole with the planet with the – – it just makes no – – uhughuhguhguhguhgug – – – - F, now my inner monologue is injured…  Here’s how the weekend of death went down in NBA action:

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I’ve got the ring in the cake.  The scoreboard operator has got it cued up for the 2nd quarter under-8 timeout.  The plane with some really carcinogenic toxins is ready to pollute the atmosphere in a “Will U Marry Me?” loopy smokestream.

An unsung contributor this year, DeMarre Carroll racked up another under-the-radar line last night for 14 Pts, 11 Reb, 3 Ast, 3 Stl, 2 3PTM, and a partridge in a pear tree!  No TO, and other than blocks really hits all the Silver Bells and whistles.  Hitting a career best 1.6 treys a game, it’s a Christmas miracle his FG% is at 46%.  The dimes don’t do much either, but there’s no reason not to to Sleigh Ride him while he’s hitting most of the cats this hard.  Even a Silent Night or two won’t scare me away, and at only 61% ownership in Yahoo, I feel like there’s still a lot of leagues where he could bring Joy to the World.  So sing a holiday carol for DeMarre, and even though nothing is too sexy, I felt like I needed Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (full disclosure, I had to look up a list of Christmas songs for this bit, I’m such a Grinch).  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball:

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“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:

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Totally off the wagon!  My sobriety is over.  On my bender this weekend, I ate a roasted chicken off the bone for dinner, lost my voice yelling trying to talk to Germans, tried to order steak at a carnival stand, and woke up the next day hating life.   Well, that was actually my time at Oktoberfest, but more or less the same thing!

We all know how much I love Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.  He’s probably my most talked about fantasy player since last season that hasn’t fully broken into 100%-owned fantasy relevance.  And of course, after a slow start and swearing him off – with me finally admitting to my KCP obsession – he turns it back around culminating in another fantastic line against OKC for 19/3/5/1/0 shooting 6-12 FG (1-5 3PTM 6-7 FT).  Did have 3 TO, but one was a very questionable charge on a nasty layup in transition.  I think Kevin Durant took it – MVP call!  In the finale last year, KCP went 30/6/0/2/1 on 11-19 shooting with 5 treys against OKC.  Slim – how many times have I brought up that game now?!  I worked Yahoo highlights on that one when my company did them last year, so harkening to the memories of that 30-burger is like reliving your ultimate drug trip.  “The trees were melting into the sky!”  So of course seeing him rip apart OKC once again has my teeth grinding more than a cokehead stranded in Antarctica.

KCP’s got steals in 9 of 10 games now, his TO rate is fantastic (3 was a season high yesterday – averaging 1.0 TO a game before last night), but I’m recently liking how much more he’s getting involved inside the perimeter.  Through the first 15 games, 47.4% of KCP’s shots were 3s, but through the last six, 35 of his 80 shots were treys taking it down to 43.8%.  And in that time his USG% (estimate of the percentage of team plays used by a player while he was on the floor) – something I don’t look at too, too often – jumped from 18% those first 15 games, to 20.3% not including yesterday.  I watched a lot of last night’s game, and he was more involved in the O than any other Pistons game I’ve seen all year – and due to my addiction, it’s been a lot.  While it was yet another loss, they still gave OKC a run for their money – given the Thunder studs are still shaking off some rust.  So I’m back to being a KCP addict!  Let’s hope this doesn’t start impacting my work and ruining my relationships…  I won’t go rehab again!  Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy basketball:

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Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Hopefully you’re enjoying your turkey leftovers and your star players are all healthy!

After successful wrist surgery on Tuesday, Kevin Martin is expected to miss 6-8 weeks. Martin broke his wrist the previous week in a Minnesota win over the New York Knicks. The crazy thing is that Martin hurt his wrist in the first quarter and ended up scoring 34 points in the game. He was 6-9 from downtown with a broken wrist! Too bad everyone can’t play that well through their injuries!

It’s a big blow to the Timberwolves who are already missing Ricky Rubio and Nikola Pekovic. Replacing Kevin Martin in the starting lineup is Corey Brewer. He’s not as pure of a shooter as Martin, but Brewer will provide points and steals for as long as he’s starting. His minutes have already jumped from 23.5 to 31.2 per game since Martin went down.

Without Martin’s 3-point prowess, the T’Wolves will need another shooter to step up. Enter Mo Williams. He was already seeing an increase in minutes due to Rubio’s injury, but should see even more 3-point looks. In two games without Martin, Williams has seen his 3-point attempts rise from 1.8 to 5.5 per night. It’s a small sample size, but Williams is a cheap source of threes, points, and assists.

Already owned in most leagues, Andrew Wiggins should see increased opportunities as well. Since Martin went down, Wiggins has taken 14+ shots a night, after not taking more than 13 shots in any game prior. With any rookie, there will be some growing pains, but it’s clear that the Timberwolves want Wiggins to take on more of a role on offense.

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Up until this year, Jimmy Butler looked like he was always going to be a Wesley Johnson-Iman Shumpert type of wing. Can get you 13-15 points on a good night, hits a few three balls, shoots crappy from the field and nabs a few steals here and there.

His improvement was steady over his first three seasons, but heading into this year’s fantasy drafts, the thought going through most people’s minds was: This guy’s a sleeper, sure, but Derrick Rose is coming back. If Rose is finally healthy, Butler is a non-factor, and even if he isn’t, we’re not missing out on much.

Right here I instruct you to crank up the volume on your device/computer as loud as you can and click on this link.

Butler came into Friday’s tilt against the Blazers with a string of four straight games where he topped 20, including a 32-point explosion against the Pacers. I’m singling out that Blazers game as a caveat, as Da Bulls entered Portland with no Rose, no Pau Gasol, no Kirk Hinrich and no chance of winning. Butler, who had nine points on 3-13 shooting, joined his teammates in chucking up prayers to try and stay in the game, and almost none of those prayers were answered.

I will say this. The Portland game does expose Butler as a guy who cannot carry a real NBA team. In other words, he is not a healthy Derrick Rose in Derrick Rose’s prime. I think Butler’s value is intrinsically tied to the health of this squad. If, for example, Gasol is healthy, but Rose isn’t, Butler is very valuable. If both are healthy, still valuable, but not as much. If neither is healthy, he will be up and down, struggling against good teams, dominating bad ones.

Long-term, I see a sell-high wing. Yeah, it’ll taste good right now, but later tonight, your significant other will be relegating you to sleeping on the couch. And it won’t be because you snore.

Still hungry? Order up one of these flavors:

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