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Previous “Jump Ball” articles:

9/19 – Russell Westbrook v Damian Lillard


San Antonio Spurs Team Chicago Bulls
SG, SF Position (Y! Eligibility) SG, SF
2014 Results
12th 9-Cat Rank (Total Value) 15th
6th 9-Cat Rank (Per Game) 8th
64 Games Played 65
31.8 Minutes Per Game 38.7
21.4 (T-93rd) Usage Rate (Rank) 20.6 (T-112th)
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Ah, the late-round fliers!  Which I think is “fliers”.  A lot of the time, I almost write it “flyers”.  Zach LaVine is a late round flyer!  Eesh, being a married man makes you start getting reallllll corny with the jokes.

So as I’ve mentioned a few times getting through the top 100 (Rank 1-10 | Rank 11-20 | Rank 21-50 | Rank 51-75 | Rank 76-100), there just isn’t many warm bodies out there to call “JB’s late sleepers”.  And, well, a lot of that is because I have guys that are ranked in the 100s on Yahoo and ESPN in my mid-rounds (cough, Jordan Clarkson – ESPN 99 Yahoo 144, what the hey?! aherm, cough cough – I’ve caught the plague!), while just as much is the lack of sexy rookies in good situations.  Jahlil Okafor is awful for fantasy.  D’Angelo Russell loves talking 401ks with Josh Smith by the turnovers at the breakfast buffet.  Stanley Johnson looks awesome, but Detroit has a bigger wing mix than Bdubs.  Asian zing – that one my jam!

With these final rounds of players, it’s also important to factor in league size.  These ranks are [hoping to tailor] for a 12-team league, so I’ll reach for a tad more upside the later we go than go for stability.  Tristan Thompson is going to be mad consistent for some points and boards for the very deep leagues, but lordy he’ll be unownable in a 12er.  You’re fired!  Can’t believe this Trump stuff is still going on…  Anyway, here’s the Top 150 for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball Season:

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The NBA really is Jordan Belfort.  The Wolf of Fantasy Sports!  It’s tantric and never slows down, from the Finals ending less than two weeks before the draft, free agency hitting a week later and we’re already starting summer ball.  And the NBA will soon revel in the excess that is the 16-17 salary cap boost with a TV deal that put Seinfeld reruns to shame.  I need my ludes to get me through!

Even the Spurs couldn’t avoid the world of excess and massive free agency signings, bringing in LaMarcus Aldridge for a cool $80 million.  Loosening up the purse strings!  My first thought was, “dammit, Kawhi is never gonna be the guy!”  Then again, he got over $90 mil with his extension, so there’s that!  But Kawhi Leonard sometimes struggles with the mid-range and long-distance shooting, so L.A. should help Kawhi by opening up some lanes and keeping him in his game.  This is going to be a crazy offense, with Tim Duncan moving to center and likely being his solid old self.  Which leaves us with what to expect from Aldridge…  And, me no likey for fantasy.  After being really durable early in his career, he’s had a few bumps and bruises (I know, I know, playing through a torn thumb tendon gets mad props) and the Spurs – as we all know – love to limit the minutes.  I also don’t think he quite gets to 20 shots a game like we’ve seen the past few years.  I had him 20 in my way too early rankings, but the move drops him a few spots at the least.  L.A. in S.A. is not OK!  Here’s what else has gone on through the first few days of free agency and rookie ball:

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Yikes, after the top 10 things become a hodgepodge of nitpickery!  I think I made that word up, but I’m not going to let my creativity wane during the offseason!

After putting out my Way Too Early Top 10 last week, I fought some procrastination and internal debates to get 11-20 down.  Fought some ranker’s block!  It’s like writer’s block, except I’m a lot less cool than Hank Moody in Californication.  Ranker’s block doesn’t score me the Hollywood A-listers!  But with a bottle of booze and in a plain black T, I truck forward thanks to the insistence of Runkle.  Here’s my Way Too Early Top 20 for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball Season:

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Let’s be honest… We were all watching March Madness!  Ugh, I knew going with my heart over my gut for UNC was wrong…  They were so close!

But in the NBA’s only game last night, both of the Pacers’ C.J.s went nuts against the Bucks!  C.J. Miles at the starting 2 went 26/3/1/1/0 on 7-14 FG (4-8 3PTM 8-10 FT) and C.J. Watson as the combo G 6th man went for 23/7/7/2/0 with a crazy 13-15 FT.  Watson’s best game ever!  Was even better than that IBM supercomputer on Jeopardy.  When it missed one I knew, I was like, “Maybe I’m like Deckard and unknowingly a Replicant!”  Rodney Stuckey missed his third straight with a calf strain, and while C.J. Miles has gotten a slight uptick in shots taken, he’s 100% ThrAGNOF and reliant on those treys.  So if Stuckey keeps being stucky on the bench, I’m actually pretty interested in Watson as a stream.  23, 11, 23 are his points the last three games with 5, 2, 7 dimes.  The Pacers are off until Sunday, but if you need a decent grab to round out your semi-final week, I’d certainly pull a Sherlock Holmes and rely on Watson.  Here’s what else went down in last night’s game:

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Oh man, not a fun night for Mark Cuban unless he’s also invested in the Dallas area sports medicine clinics.  The way the NBA has gone this year, it’d be a smart investment!

First into the Shark Tank was Tyson Chandler, who sprained his ankle a minute and half in and couldn’t return.  He had an earlier ankle sprain and it didn’t cost him any time, so even though it looked bad, ol’ Tyson is no Chicken.  Then a mere couple minutes later, Monta Ellis hurt his hip and only played 3 and a half minutes.  As Kevin tells us in The Office – “That’s Dallas!”  Man, good thing the All-Star Break is right around the corner!  Even if both guys say they’re 100%, I see no reason why the Mavs would push em for their game tomorrow night hosting the Jazz.  While they’re out, we’re a bunch of preying sharks circling the bloody waters like Mr. Wonderful and Herjavec!  And last night it was the hairless ghost (wait, ghosts usually don’t have hair right?) of Charlie Villanueva who piled up some junky stats hitting 9-13 from the field for 26/5/1 with 5 treys.  Was awful other than points and treys with 3-6 FT and 4 TO.  Big man ThrAGNOF!  But for me, the big winner for tomorrow night is Mark Cuban’s own (seriously, kinda seems like he’s his dadShawn Marion comp?) Al-Farouq Aminu.  Only 19 minutes last night, but hit all the cats for 5/6/1/1/1.  Mark Cuban Jr. is only owned in 10% of Yahoo leagues, and in a shortened week where every steal and block will count, he should be one of your first calls on the wire in what should be a spot-start.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops 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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I hope everyone had a good Christmas and made some money on DraftKings.  The Christmas Day article did great and I hope you all enjoyed it.   I was able to score 287 points on Christmas, winning all my 50/50’s and was able to make some GPP money too.  We have a 9 game slate for ya on Saturday.  So how about we get you guys on the road to winning some money over at DraftKings.

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Hope everyone is having a happy holiday season. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, Christmas has always a great day for basketball fans. We got a great slate of games, including some pretty amazing performances from John Wall, Russell Westbrook, and Dwayne Wade. We even got to see the Knicks’ teammates come to Qunicy Acy’s aid for a fight with John Wall.

Unfortunately, a few stars were missing from the Christmas games. The Thunder beat the Spurs in San Antonio, despite having superstar Kevin Durant on the sideline. He missed his fourth game in a row due to an ankle sprain. Durant was quoted as saying, “I can’t play basketball. I can’t run. I can’t jump. I’m not just sitting out just because. If I could play I would play. But I can’t play.”

Based on his comments, owners should expect to see him out another week or so. The injury is not related to his surgically repaired foot, but is similar to an injury he had in 2009, when he missed nine games. While Perry Jones will replace KD in the starting lineup, Durant is impossible to replace in real life and in fantasy. Owners will have to just wait for his return.

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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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