How could you be so Dr. Evil? You’re bringing out of a side of that I don’t know. Maybe this was the beginning of the end for legit Kanye, when we started to see the side of him that we (he) didn’t know? Sorry Yeezy fans, but his last great album was Graduation. But maybe that’s what we all need to do…graduate. Onto better seasons. Onto changes perceptions. Onto the playoffs.

As we move into (or closer to) the playoff part of the season, strategies change. For your squad, perhaps you’ve sat middling in the standings when it comes to certain categories. What if you punted 3 cats for the sake of bolstering the other 6? In a head-to-head format that’s all you need (me personally, I’m not the biggest proponent of this move). Or, if it’s not a roster building strategy, perhaps what changes is just the way you assess the value of certain players. At this point in the season injuries, losses and trades have adjusted the mindset of so many teams that a few names seemingly so awful just a month ago may now be the key to your playoff push. Can you change your mind on them before the others in your league? Can you find their value in spite of their potential pitfalls?

When they have 5 games in a week where basically everyone else has 4…yep. (Pour one out for all the Russy owners. Worst possible timing for a short week. Good luck to ya!)

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Man, what a horrid week for injuries!  Highlighted by the worst injury of all: yesterday we got news that JB Gilpin – yes pickup basketball superstar – rolled his ankle in his after-work pickup game on someone else’s fat foot.  That’s right, I got a kankle!  Some rough swelling, probably out 1-2 weeks, go ahead and give me that INJ tag!  No joke, this is the second time in a row I’ve gotten a kankle before a big trip.  Now I’m gonna be gimpy walking around Spring Training games on my baseball trip starting this weekend!  Stupid kankles…

Anyway, some lower-tier basketball talents also got news of rough injuries, of course highlighted by Kevin Durant‘s MRI revealing a Grade 2 MCL strain and a tibial bone bruise.  Stupid Zaza Pachulia flying around willy-nilly!  He’s going to be “re-evaluated” in 4 weeks, so there’s no way he’s making an impact on your fantasy playoffs.  Mayyyyybe he plays in the last game or two, but I highly doubt it.  According to BB Monster, he was by far the best per-game player and total value player, so it’s an unbelievable loss.  But hey, he got you to your fantasy playoffs (hopefully) and anything can happen week-to-week in H2H leagues.  Injuries are the mother-flippin’ worst!  Here’s what else went down across the NBA last night, including one other major injury piece of news:

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The biggest news of the night comes from a guy who barely played at all. Less than 2 minutes into the game between Golden State and Washington, Warriors’ center Zaza Pachulia (12 points, 8 rebounds) fell into Kevin Durant’s left knee. KD walked away gingerly before heading to the bench and being whisked away into the locker room. Diagnosed with a hyperextended left knee, Durant did not return to the game.

Is this karma from the Basketball Gods for his comments about not wanting to come home to play for the Wizards? Kidding aside, this is terrible news to the Warriors, fans of the NBA, and fantasy owners. Hopefully KD’s injury isn’t long-term, but more will be known after examining the MRI results.

In the meantime, the Warriors wasted no time in reaching out to free agent Matt Barnes and are expected to sign him later this week. Released by the Kings after trading DeMarcus Cousins to the Pelicans, Barnes is excited to rejoin the Warriors, after playing for them from 2006-2008. I wouldn’t rush to add Barnes until more is known about KD’s injury, but Barnes has been useful for fantasy purposes before.

On happier notes, here are the other nightly notables:

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I don’t typically do this, but I’m going completely off-script for the open today, after we got the awful news Bill Paxton passed away in his early 60s due to complications from heart surgery.  Isn’t it weird how attached we get to actors we obviously don’t know in person?!  Especially more a character guy like Bill, but this one hit me hard for some reason!  Who doesn’t love True Lies?  Aliens?  The GOOD James Cameron movies?!

And for this to happen on Oscar weekend too, just a real shame.  Alas, it’s been a busy-as-hell weekend across the association plus I finally wrapped up my Pitcher Rankings over on baseball that’ll be out this afternoon or tomorrow.  Weekend of writing!  That’s what really pulls me through man, getting to write about sports for all you wondrous people in Razzball Nation.  The game will never be over, there will always be basketball and baseball!  Tackle football…?  Eh, maybe not-sa-much…  Here’s what went down over the busy weekend – the first after the break with a lot of fresh faces in new places – in fantasy basketball action:

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… A Long Ass post trade deadline analysis (couldn’t come up with a word that rhymes with automobiles). I’ll dive deep into a couple of trades (Boogie and Nerlens Noel). I’ll also cover the much hyped but somewhat boring (thanks to Boston, Indiana & Chicago!) trade deadline that has come and gone.

Oh and by the way, if you’d rather just listen to an analysis instead of read and see some copy/pasted stats from NBA.COM, just go ahead and listen to JB’s podcast.

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The most exciting part of the evening, was clearly the debut of the Pelicans shiny new front court. While the Pels did get overwhelmed by the Rockets shooting, the chemistry was obviously there with the New Orleans big men. I would say though, that they’re both a bit tentative, and that will change as they get more comfortable and assertive. I am not scared to say though, that this is possibly the greatest PF/C duo in NBA history. Up there with McHale and Parrish, and Duncan and Robinson. Both bigs have absurd skillsets. I think the key for the Pelicans will be the play of Jrue Holiday, and how involved in the offense he is. Tonight, he was locked down by Beverly, but more slashing in the pick and roll should really help him. I could see his efficiency being extremely high, given the opposite player in the pick and roll.

At any rate, here’s your recap for most of Thursday night! Thank goodness the break is over…

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Ah, the All-Star Break. The week where fantasy basketball goes to die, but fantasy basketball writers get a few days off! Hah, sorry I probably shoulda had this post go up yesterday, but I was lazy, OK! Speaking of lazy, did you see what kind of horrendous offer the Kings caved on to deal away DeMarcus Cousins?! Well, of course you did by now, that was the world’s most rhetorical question! Kings dealt Boogie and Omri Casspi to the Pels for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans (reunion!), Langston Galloway, and a 1st and 2nd round pick in this summer’s draft. I mean, it’s not THE WORST deal in the world, but the first round pick being top-3 protected is a little rough. Wouldn’t it be HILARIOUS if the Pels go in like 11th or 12th for the lottery, end up drawing one of those top 3 picks, then pair one of these elite guys going pro with Boogie, Brow and Jrue… Still feels like the Kings could’ve gotten more… Wait, what was that Vlade Divac?! You DID have more on the table?! Yeesh, the Kings get this brand-spankin’ new stadium, only to have their superstar dealt mid-season with the GM openly admitting he took a lesser deal…? Did Jeffrey Loria buy the Kings too?! Meanwhile, Pels fans be dancing like this:

I actually don’t think Anthony Davis takes too big of a hit here, and remains your primary guy. He’s only taken a range from 12-24 shots the last 9 games, which doesn’t seem tough at all to maintain even with a USG-whore coming to town. I actually think it might even HELP Brow, as his TO rate has soared to 2.6 this year, and we all know Boogie is a TO vortex. Boogie is who the big hit here; his range the last 9 games is 14-30 shots (given the 30 was an outlier in that surprise win over GSW), plus he’s playing with a much better facilitating PG in Jrue Holiday. I’d expect Boogie’s AST – 4.8 on the season and spiking as of late – to drop closer to the 3.0 range. It’ll be an interesting pairing, and suddenly the Pelicans look like they could make a little noise in the playoffs. We’ll have to see if they can get out of this 23-34 hole they’re in… Wait, the Kings at 24-33 have a better record, and made the sell out for the future deal?! Hah, NBA man, NBA… GMs must be bored during the ASB as well! l Here’s a few other notes from the last few days during our NBA respite:

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The biggest news from Tuesday may have happened off the court. Prior to playing the Chicago Bulls, the Toronto Raptors traded Terrence Ross and a 2017 first-round draft pick to the Orlando Magic for Serge Ibaka.

Playing in what will be one of the last games without Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas nearly posted a double-double with 12 points and 9 rebounds. Dwyane Casey wasn’t sure if Ibaka would join the team before the All-Star Break so Valanciunas might have one more game sans-Ibaka (Wednesday night), but I expect his numbers to take a hit playing alongside Ibaka. Both guys should still be valuable so I wouldn’t even think about dropping either guy.

The biggest beneficiary of the trade is Norman Powell, who will see an increase in production with Ross gone. Powell led the Raptors in scoring off the bench versus the Bulls with 13 points, 4 assists, and 2 steals.

The trade couldn’t have happened quickly enough. DeMar DeRozan had an off night, scoring 18 points (5-19 FG), 5 rebounds, 3 assists, as the Raptors dropped their 11th game in the last 15. To add insult to injury, the Bulls weren’t even at full strength, with Dwyane Wade (wrist) and Nikola Mirotic (back spasms) sitting.

Kyle Lowry was the only bright spot for the Raptors, posting 22 points (8-17 FG, 4-11 3PT FG), 4 assists, and 4 threes.

Now here’s the rest of this Valentine’s Day edition of the Daily Notes:

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Injury karma, man…  The injury gods love to play with our emotions, and they really jacked with the Bucks last night!  First with the good – The Duchess returned to the court with great fanfare!  Sooooo good to get Khris Middleton back, after it was initially thought he might miss the entire 2016-17 season.  The Duchess got 15 minutes off the bench for 5/2/2/0/1 on 2-5 shooting.

Looked pretty healthy out there!  He’s going to be on a 15-20 minute limit until the All-Star Break, but that’s in a mere week, so we could see him getting unleashed sooner than later.  Then on the flip side, a mere 2 quarters after the long-awaited season debut of Middleton, Jabari Parker suffered a scary knee injury, and is scheduled for an MRI today.  From all reports it didn’t look good (I don’t like to watch injury highlights…), and it’s the same knee he tore his ACL in his rookie year, so we’re all holding our breath here.  Would be a big shame to see him miss a lot of time after putting together this breakout campaign…  Well, let’s be all happy and pie in the sky the rest of the daily notes today!  Here’s what went down on a busy Wednesday night in fantasy basketball:

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C.J. McCollum, last year’s Most Improved Player, continues his ascension as one of the best shooting guards in the game. In a battle for the 8th playoff spot in the west between the Trail Blazers and Mavericks, McCollum dropped 32 points (13-21 FG), none bigger than his runner with 0.9 seconds left that sealed a Blazers’ win:

Ultimately the game winner, it came right after Dirk Nowitzki hit a clutch three to put the Mavericks up 113-112 with 3.9 seconds to go. Nowitzki turned back the clock in the game to post 25 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, and 4 threes, but it wasn’t enough as McCollum put the nail in the coffin.

The 4th year guard is having a career year, but has been shooting even better lately. In the last 5 games, he’s knocked down 13-28 from deep and shot 55.8% from the field overall.

Having such an efficient backcourt mate has taken some of the pressure off of Damian Lillard (29 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, and 5 threes), who is having his best shooting season of his career as well.

Unfortunately, both guys will need to continue to step up, if the Blazers have a chance at the playoffs, as guard Evan Turner broke his right hand in the third quarter of the game. No timetable has been announced, but he should miss at least a couple weeks. The injury should open up opportunities for Allen Crabbe (4 points) and Maurice Harkless (8 points, 7 rebounds).

It was a short slate of games on Tuesday, as only 3 games were played. JB made sure to make it known to me that he had to recap 11 games on Monday. Boy, did I get lucky this week! Here are the rest of the nightly notables:

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