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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s been a bad couple weeks for big men. A lot of top producing forwards and centers seem to have been bitten by the injury bug around Thanksgiving.

Initially, DeMarcus Cousins was only considered day-to-day with viral meningitis. After missing his 8th straight game, coach Mike Malone was unsure when he would get his big man back. He’s been ruled out for the rest of the weekend, with his playing status in jeopardy for next week.

While Cousins has been out, Reggie Evans has grabbed almost every available rebound. Well not really, but he has had games of 13, 14, and 20 rebounds, while starting for Cousins. Jason Thompson has offered a more balanced increase in production (11 ppg, 10.2 rpg, and 2.4 apg in last 5 games), but the biggest beneficiary has been Rudy Gay.

With Cousins declared out for at least the weekend, now is the best time to sell high on Gay. He has a usage rate (total number of possessions per 48 minutes) of 30.2 when Cousins is out, but a 25.3 usage rate when Cousins is playing alongside him. As a result, Gay has increased his scoring, rebounds, and assists with Cousins off the floor. Try to trade him this weekend for a top 20/30 player, before Cousins gets back and steals touches away from him.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This was a very big week for the Thunder. They got both of their superstars back in a matter of days.

Russell Westbrook returned on Friday night, putting up 32 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists in only 24 minutes of clock. Now owners may be concerned with the lack of minutes, but know that Westbrook wasn’t on a minutes’ restriction. Instead, Westbrook, along with the rest of the starters, were pulled early since the Thunder were up 32 late in the game. They were playing the New York Knicks after all.

A few days later, Kevin Durant returned to score 27 points on Tuesday night. He showed little rust on the court, shooting 9-18 from twos, 3-8 from downtown, and 6-7 from the line. Durant didn’t do much else outside of the scoring, but those numbers will happen in due time. The important thing is that Westbrook and Durant are both back and healthy.

Westbrook and Durant immediately regain their statuses as two of the top ten fantasy producers. At the same time, their return also hurts the guys filling in for them. Reggie Jackson’s statistics will take a hit, as he won’t be needed as much as an offensive producer. In the two games since Westbrook returned, Jackson had his two lowest usage rates of the season and saw his field goal attempts decrease to 11 FGA per game (down from 17.9 without Durant and Westbrook). Now there is still value to be had with Jackson, since he’ll be getting around 30 minutes a night, but don’t expect the same numbers he was providing early in the season.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Some big games last night!  Easily the most fun Tuesday we’ve had on the young season.  Twas a… Ruby Tuesday?  There’s really no good Tuesday references… Have you ever thought about how much Tuesday sucks?  There’s nothing interesting at all about Tuesday!  Tuesday is just a lost day… Except let’s hope you were able to watch some hoops action, as this Tuesday was a big one!

And none bigger than LaMarcus Aldridge torching Denver, putting up 39 Pts on 16-30 shooting.  What’s hilarious about his 39/11/1/0/2 line is that one assist was a high-low pass to the awful Robin Lopez for the game-winning layup with one second left.  Surprised Lopez didn’t botch it!  When you have Sonic the Hedgehog as your haircut, it’s got to be distracting… L.A. with all that production with no TO and 7-9 FT is showing us why he’s boring, but reliable as a second-round fantasy producer.  It’s easy to miss the solid volume FT% and if he gets that 3-pointer dropping like the 0.5 he’s bringing this year – a new development for L.A. – it’s icing on the cake.  Mostly this whole open was just to highlight I’m up 3-0 on Slim in our 30-point challenge!  Even after his slimy Kevin Durant pick.  Slimy, I say!  I think Aldridge has moved into that top 13 or 14 overall, with double-digit boards in six straight bringing those rebounds closer to the 11.1 we saw last year.  If he can avoid any injuries, he’ll be a premiere day of the week, like Friday or something.  No one wants to be a dud like Tuesday, which more than suitably personifies Robin Lopez.  Henceforth, I will now call Tuesdays “Robin Lopez Day”.  Here’s some other happenings that went on across the NBA on Robin Lopez Day:

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Kinda sounds like a porn name, doesn’t it?

After a day of giving thanks, fantasy owners got a huge boost while scarfing microwaved plates of Thanksgiving leftovers with Russell Westbrook healing up and putting on a historic comeback off the broken hand.  Is this guy’s bones made of Adamantium or what?!  Señor Westback seems to beat his timetable every injury the past few years, which I don’t know if it’s really a good or bad thing… Can heal fast, but is gettin’ hurt a lot!  Reckless Russell.  The made-for-TV Skinimax sequel to Wreck-It Ralph starring Russell Westback.  I’d watch that!  Although they’re apparently making a Wreck-It Ralph 2, which I hope embraces some Grand Theft Auto elements.  Would make sense to star Russell Westback!  Rated R, sorry kids…  It’s like confusing them with Death to Smoochy having a purple dinosaur.  Anyway, Westbrook absolutely torched the Knicks last Friday night in his return for 32/7/8 hitting 12-17 shots and notching three treys.  Twas the first 32 Pts 8 Ast game in 24 minutes or less in the shot-clock era.  It was like stealing the car, then running over the driver trying to sprint away for good measure.  Even though it’s “just” his hand, got a huge layoff from that game until facing the Pelicans tomorrow.  Plenty of time to catch up on his turkey leftovers, and refuel to give fantasy owners that first-round production for the bulk of the season ahead.  So drop the confetti, and welcome Westback!  But let’s hope it’s a little less Reckless, and we’ll take 25/5/5 every 24 minutes without any issues… Here’s what else went on around the league since we’ve been off from Thanksgiving:

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When I see stuff about the DFS industry I always try to pass it along.  This is a nice read if you have the time.   With the holiday coming up I hope everyone has a safe and nice Thanksgiving.

On Saturday night we have a decent 9 game slate:

Point Guards

I don’t think you have to pay the John Wall ($9,600) price tag tonight at PG.  Kyle Lowry ($7,800) is going up against Kyrie Irving ($8,800) who doesn’t really like to play defense.  I think Lowry is a bit under priced and with a O/U around 211,  it’s nice to get a stud PG in a game like this.

Mario Chalmers ($5,800) has been really good the last four games with Dwyane Wade out.  Averaging 35.5 mins, 19 ppg, and 32.56 Draft Kings points over that span.   The match up against Orlando is just OK on paper but for a PG under 6k getting those kind of minutes sign me up. 

Tony Wroten ($5,600) started at SG on Friday night.  If he keeps starting then you can’t pass up the price here.

Flip Saunders finally wised up and decided to start Mo Williams ($4,700).  He faces a Kings team that isn’t good at stopping the PG.  Even though his price as risen he is still a nice value.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Wrong calls, right calls, as long as I’m always closing!  I have that same Baldwin-demeanor when I prep my DraftKings line-up.  I rally my players with a speech like that!  The RAZZBALL ONLY CONTEST is back tonight(!); get your entries in now, and the DraftKings only post will be up later in the day.  I don’t ask from much from you loyal readers in Razzball Nation, but let’s get this contest filled out this week!  Click that link there, it’s only $10, and they take no profit, just Razzball v. Razzball, mano y mano.

It was a light night for news with only the two games, so I figured it was a good day for patting my back!  The Ramon Sessions signing clouded an otherwise already dreamy outlook, but I didn’t let it deter me from my Darren Collison love!  Brought in for serious skrilla, the Kings just happened to land a quality guy in Sessions for peanuts, and even though it hasn’t worked out, they don’t have much tied into him.  With two fantastic scorers in Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins, I knew passing on Colly would be folly, and had him green light go!  Obviously I didn’t think he’d be this good, but the joints keep rollin’ with dimebag after dimebag!  17/6/12/1/1 last night, second game in a row with 10+ dimes, and 23:1 AST:TO in that span.  We all knew he could slash, but with the dimes this high and the low TO, he’s turning into a premiere PG.  After last night and owning Kirk Hinrich, Collison was like, “That’s who Tom Thibodeau praises for defense?!  Must be why he praises Krispy Kreme burgers – for the health benefits!”  Here’s what else went down last night in NBA hoops:

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The Lakers Win, The Lakers Win!  Down Goes Frazier!  Titanic Sinks!  All usable newspaper headlines for rare events.

The Purp & Gold surprised the Left-Facing Pacmen last night, as the Lakers are now an undefeated team when Nick Young plays!  Just oh so Swaggy… 28 minutes off the bench notching a really solid line, shooting 6-10 (2-4 3PTM 3-5 FT) for 17/5/0/1/0.  Swaggy bein’ ThrAGNOFfy!  It’s hard to imagine him getting to 18 points and 14 shots a game like last year with Mamba ultra-hot doggin’ it (nice one JashFath!), but looked pretty good out there.  I’m a little biased since I’m not a big Young fan – not enough of a contributor in any stats except contested fadeaway shots – but worth some 3PTM streaming while the gettin’ is good!  The Lakers will need his O to keep pressure off Bryant, and Wesley Johnson had an uber-schlubby 32 minutes of nothingball starting at SF.  Young will probably continue to come off the bench, but that shouldn’t deter you from some 12-team streaming.  Here’s what else went down last night in NBA action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?