Who is the hottest team in the NBA right now?  The Pacers are surprisingly playing well and OKC is still winning through injuries, but those Utah Jazz are as tough to score on as the bookish chicks in college!

5-1 since the trade deadline, the Jazz have wins against Portland, San Antonio and now Memphis in that span (their loss was against the Lakers, but we’ll overlook that), and other than that fluke Lakers game, no one has scored over 82 points.  And we all know the key to the Jazz D is Rudy Gobert.  Moving into the starting line-up, Gobert has been playing unreal with a 15/24/1/0/0 line last night on 6-10 FG and 3-4 FT.  He was on a 6-game streak of 3+ blocks, so a random outlier of 0 last night isn’t a biggie especially since Marc Gasol loves his mid-range.

I’ve seen a few comments of owners looking to trade for FG% and a big man boost, and I would be all-in on trying to bring Rudy to those squads.  Even his FT% is improving at 11-15 from the stripe the past 3!  And the Jazz have that oh so saucy 4/4/4 playoff sched.  Yesterday on the Podcast, I asked Slim if he would take Gobert or Hassan Whiteside first in next year’s drafts.  It’s really really close and comes down to a points need (Whiteside) vs. steals need (Gobert).  It’s crazy that probably the biggest value change during the deadline was just the stubborn Jazz finally unleashing the beast that is Gobert.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

After a tough groin injury, we really weren’t sure how long DeMar DeRozan would be Frozen.  “Let it go!  Let it go!  Blah dee, blah dee, blah…”  Trying to reach out to our younger readers.

DD is back and immediately entices with immense cleavage!  Younger readers, alienated.  DeRozan returned after missing a month and a half/21 games for a very solid 20/4/4/1/1 game hitting 9-14 FG.  It was against the soon to be relegated Sixers, so there’s that, but this is mighty encouraging.  In a game where Toronto didn’t need him at all, he started, got 29 minutes, and looks healthy for the stretch run.  Toronto letting the DD out!  I bet chicks aren’t letting the DD out this time of year in Canada, sheesh it’s cold in NC!  Lots of ripples with DeRozan back out there.  The biggest is it looks like James Johnson can go in several leagues, as sad an epitaph as it is…  Played only 15 minutes for 5/2/2/0/0.  Some of that was probably matchup based since the Sixers backup depth is in guards (and Amir Johnson played well), but it’s a swift death.  Terrence Ross also played only 18 minutes as the starter and scored 2 Pts without doing anything else.  Ross is barely 16-teamer worthy now, as one of the deepest lineups in the NBA is healthy top to bottom.  The Raptors bench could probably contend for a playoff spot in the East.  Well they’d have to replace Tyler Hansbrough.  I think one of those inflatable flailing arms things has more ball skills than Psycho T…  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Man, what an epic game in San Antonio!  Marc Gasol hitting a preposterous buzzer-beater to put it in OT, then Tim Duncan makes this rim job to put it into 3OT… Crazy man.  Two things – 1 – Sean Elliott is maybe my favorite commentator in the NBA and B – look at Marco Belinelli just bowl over Courtney Lee in that second highlight…  Strike!  Haven’t see a Lee update for an injury, so stay tuned there…

I guarantee you that Gregg Popovich was fuming like President Snow that this game kept going on, and on, and on and… Kinda like book series that have the final book broken into into two movies.  I mean The Hunger Games: Mockinjay – Part 1…?  I got confused and disinterested once Woody Harrelson stopped drinkin’.  So I guess last night’s Spurs vs. Grizzlies games was San Antonio vs. Memphis – Buzzer-beaters traded: Duncan’s Rim Job – Part 3.  Another huge game from Timmay (excluding the real fluky 5-15 FT) for 23/16/5/2/3.  Rainbow line!  Duncan really hasn’t skipped a beat this year, well except for when he’s benched with a DNP-Rest.  I know it’s hard to believe, but we’re in Week 9 of the season already!  And for H2H leagues that play standard 3-week playoffs (RCL standard), we’re almost halfway through the regular season with playoffs starting Week 21.  A game like last night is only going to make Pop go restier, so if you’re killing it at first or second in your standings, I wouldn’t mind selling high at all.  But there’s a flip side – if you’re 8 or 9 and see Duncan on a team running away with a playoff spot, it’s actually a good time to think about bringing him aboard.  He’ll be frustrating with the DNPs, but could put you over the edge if you’re hanging on the rim.  If you know what I mean…  Here’s what else went down in A Wednesday Night of NBA: OTs Galore – The Return of Hack-a-Shaq: The Revenge:

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Welcome back, Mr. Slim Reaper!  It’s a perfectly apt nickname too, because I own him in the JB vs. Slim RCL league and he’s going to be Slim’s reaper!  Even though I’m getting crushed this week so far…

After a decent enough start, Kevin Durant was still without the big eruption type game in his first three back, but last night dismantled the Bucks in an uber-efficient 23/9/7/1/1 game shooting 7-11 FG and 8-8 FT.  He’s worth 9 or 10 Bucks, at the least!  Was 1-5 from deep, so didn’t miss within the arc.  All of that in 29 minutes, as Beam-me-up Scotty Brooks benched the Thunder studs down the stretch of the double-digit win.  Even though this was against the young Bucks, the Thunder as a whole are coming together with Russell Westbrook having a fantastic 28/5/7 night with like, a million free throws made, and Serge Ibaka is back to his %-gold ways for 15/5/0/2/2 shooting 5-5 FG & 5-5 FT.  Durantula and Westy are going to command their first-round values in trades, but I bet you could still swindle Ibaka away at a buy-low price.  3+ blocks the past four games and 16-26 from the field his last three, and isn’t needing to force shots anymore.   Things are right in order for OKC to go on a mad run, so be counting your lucky stars if you got KD at a discount on draft day!  What we preached all preseason post-injury!  Here’s some other happenings from the NBA last night:

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Up until this year, Jimmy Butler looked like he was always going to be a Wesley JohnsonIman 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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As most of you don’t know, I’m actually Will Smith’s illegitimate first son.  If you don’t believe me, well you more or less have to click on that link and read it, or else the following will be too esoteric… Too ephemeral…

After Mo Williams was moved back into the starting line-up last night, he showed his Rubio-esqueness going 14/3/13 in a fantastic dimebag performance.  The chosen player for the open this morning, I asked Mo to interview me and my method for compartmentalizing everything fantasy basketball into a daily recap:

Mo: What have you been reading lately?

JB: Ya know, totem pole haikus, Ke$ha’s twitter profile, because ya know… Because living.

Mo: I feel ya.  So what’d you think about my facilitating last night?  Pretty sick line back in the starting 5.

JB: Well, I don’t really watch the NBA.  There’s no sports I like to watch, so I make them up myself and watch them again, and it’s the best thing…  But even in my self-created NBA, it was pretty impressive.  The way you can distribute while making time go slow… Or fast… As you please… And how you know it doesn’t exist.

Mo: I have been turning back the clock, that’s for sure!  That baby Zach LaVine is way behind me for fantasy these days, right?

JB: He’s the feeling of like, a fragment of a holographic reality…

Mo: You’re right, pretty easy call there.  So are you dropping say… Tony Wroten for me?

JB: There’s a duality to it.  So when one thought goes into your mind, it’s not just one thought, it has to bounce off both hemispheres of the brain.  When you’re thinking “yes”, you’re thinking “no”.  It’s a tool for understanding.  It comes from a place of oneness.

Mo: I have no idea what the F you’re saying.  Just tell me, am I a good medium-term value until Ricky Rubio gets his ankle all healed up?!

JB: If he wants his muscles to grow, he has to shock them.  If you want society to change, you have to shock them.  That’s what art is, shocking people.

Mo: Fine.  Whatever.  I know I’m legit, LaVine shoulda stayed in school longer…

JB: You never learn anything in school. Think about how many people die in hospitals every day.  Med school?  What’s up with that!?  I still haven’t been to med school and I haven’t died in a hospital, I can’t see how med school is really helping anyone out…  Same with LaVine, in whatever universal form he occupies…

Mo: Occupy?  #OccupyDraymondGreen?!

JB: Forever, ‘til the day that we’re in our bed!

 

Here’s what else went down in NBA action last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

A popular sleeper on draft day (well, made more popular by us!), Markieff Morris had been driving fantasy owners crazier than Joaquin Phoenix in The Master.

Through the first 10 games, Markieff had numbers eerily identical to what he did last year despite four more MPG.  His engine is on hybrid!  But for as atrocious as his previous 4 games were, broke out in a big way against the Celtics for 30/7/5/4/0 hitting 14-21 shots including a trey.  And only 1 TO!  Career-high scoring for Kieff, after four games in a row under 12 and three of those scoring single-digits.  “I found the beef, it’s Jeff Green‘s terrible D!”  While my Kieff teams are loaded with swagger after this big Monday, there is something slightly concerning with his stats.  Only 1-1 FT last night, and now is under half as many FT makes a game compared to last year, in nearly 5 more minutes a game (playing 39 bumped up his minutes finally!).  In 13-14, Kieff-er Sutherland was at 3.2-4.0 at the charity stripe, but is suddenly more like Donald Sutherland and not attacking the cup.  Less driving means fewer OREB (down from last year sinking his REB per-36), and his dimes have fallen a smidge as well.  None of these stats are major, but it seems he’s not creating and the Suns G-rotation is handling all the rock.  Another week of big stats with weak FT numbers and low-ish dimes – on top of Hornacek’s tendency to roll the hot hand, even the starters – and I’d actually sell high.  The steals and handful of blocks are nice, but not loving the lack of aggression and new role as more a spot-shooter, which could make him benchable to Horny a lot of games if he’s cold, something we’ve already seen a little of with the waffley minutes.  Where’s the beef?!  Let’s hope not in the waffles, but ya never know, that could be good!  Fried chicken n waffles is out of this world.  Here’s what else happened on an unusually busy Monday night of action:

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We are a few weeks into the NBA season and things are really taking shape.  The 76ers might set the record for losses in a season, the Knicks are still the same garbage team after paying Melo, Brian Shaw has made a mess with the Denver Nuggets and the Sacramento Kings set a NBA record for losing consecutive games in which they were up 18+ points after the first quarter.  With that said how about we get on with some picks.

On Saturday night we have a big 10 game slate:

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#OccupyDraymondGreen baby!

Occupying so hard!  He’s like the Russia to the Nets Crimea!  The person whizzing in the bathroom on the plane while you wait in the aisle!

Owning the Nets front line (I can’t really say “owning Kevin Garnett as KG prematurely a-bench-iated for only 13 minutes since well, DrayDray overmatched him!), Draymond Green was magnificent for 17/8/7/1/2 shooting 7-14 (3-8 3PTM).  Near rainbow and three treys?!  But you gotta love the 33 minutes of burn with only a singular TO.  #OccupyEfficiency!  After a little bit of a rocky start, Green was money in bigger minutes from Nov. 5-9 but had 13 TO.  Wasn’t flashy against the Spurs on Tuesday, but had 5 dimes to only 1 TO and then had the monster last night.  There have some comments wondering how many minutes DrayDray is gonna play play when David Lee finally gets his new hamstring, but Steve Kerr has pretty much made Green the heart-surrounded face of his trapper keeper.  Quotes like ” I don’t know what my philosophy is… We’re 4-0 with DG,” and “We’re 4-0 and Draymond’s starting, he’s playing well, so I’ll keep starting him,” and “Yeah, I’d leave my wife for that!”  Maybe I made up the last one, but you get the gist!  Sure the minutes might go down from the 33 he’s at, but I don’t think by much.  #BuyIfYouStillCan!  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When I was a kid, I could tell the difference between a name brand and an off-brand cereal instantly.

I knew when my parents tried to cheap out and pass off Puffy Choco-Balls as Coco Puffs or Fruity Dino Bites as Fruity Pebbles. I didn’t even need to put the spoon in my mouth to realize that it was Tasty Silly Trinkets, not Lucky Charms, sitting before me in a sea of milk.

So if I plugged Kevin Martin in where Klay Thompson sat on your fantasy roster, would you know the difference?

MARTINKLAY

If you were in a keeper league, yes, of course. You’d be pissed because I swapped a 24-year-old young buck with a 31-year-old injury risk. But in a normal league, you might notice a slight drop-off in quality, but you’d probably just keep plowing ahead like I do now when I eat the Smack Yo Mamas I bought for my kids instead of Sugar Smacks.

This argument looked a lot better before both guys put up absolute duds on Saturday night, but Thompson’s hand injury sort of balances it out. So bear with me.

Please, blog, may I have some more?