Ah, the almost-studlies.  The “still can’t quite miss, but you can start reaching round.”  …Almost sounds like I said reach around…

This is where the sommeliers really can knock their drafts out of the park – it’s all about the pairings.  You don’t serve red wine with fish, you cro-magnon!  But what’s great about fantasy hoops as opposed to a pretentious French restaurant is there’s very few pairings that can go wrong.  I mean your first rounder is awesome and your second rounder awesome with it!  I know a lot of people like the FT punt builds, but really the only pairing I can’t see doing is going big-big.  There’s a ton of FT-punt bigs littered through the first 4-5 rounds, so I think you can still punt, but start with a LeBron James/Draymond Green pair, then PG/C in 3/4.  I’m sure Slim and I will work on more culinary pairings as we go through the ranks and do some mocks on the Podcast, as we attempt to put together the best fine dining experience…  I just wanna avoid the friggin’ snails!  Here’s the Top 20 for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball Season.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There’s some sort of postseason going on, Stephen Curry is flying through the air, Klay Thompson is luckily OK after a Vincent Van Gough scare, there’s only two teams left…  but all of that is less exciting to us than the new blood to enter the 2015-16 Fantasy player pool!  As we’ve done for the second straight year (is two years considered a tradition yet?!), Slim and I mocked the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft by alternating picks for their respective teams with a fantasy outlook for each rook.  2014 didn’t… um…  go quite to plan.  But hey!  We got a couple right and this year doesn’t quite offer the top-to-bottom talent as 2014.  With a little bit more of an even playing field, I have a feeling this Draft will feature even more trades and more surprising risers and fallers…  Hopefully we get a good portion of the lottery right!  The optimist in me is ready ta go!  Here’s our 2015 Mock NBA Draft:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Thunder just can’t catch a break this season. Kevin Durant is still out with a foot injury and now Serge Ibaka will join him on the sidelines.

Ibaka underwent surgery this week to help address discomfort in his knee. Apparently, Ibaka had been experiencing soreness since February. Despite setting up a management plan to help alleviate the pain, the Thunder ultimately decided that surgery was the best option.

Ibaka is expected to be out between four and six weeks. If all goes well in his recovery, Ibaka should be able to return for the Thunder’s first round series, should they hold off the Pelicans for the eighth playoff spot.

As a result of the timeline, Ibaka’s regular season is over. He’s safe to drop in redraft leagues. Ibaka’s MRI prior to the surgery revealed no structural or long-term issues so Ibaka is a great keeper for next season.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Man, off an emotional win beating the Gizz (I hope that catches on), the Pistons go back-to-back and lose in Philly.  Seems like that kind of emotional high/low happens all the time!  Shoulda bet some money on Philly with probably a good betting line against em.

And it was pretty easy to see how Detroit lost with Reggie Jackson (4-17), Jodie Meeks (2-12), and Spencer Dinwiddie (2-11) combining for 7-40 from the field!  That FG% isn’t even legal at 17.5%!  That shooting percentage is statutory rape!  But swooning in all cool and ready to rob the cradle was the 44% from my boy Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the only shooter who could hit anything going 7-16.  Normally the lead for this game would be R-Jax’s trip-dub (11/11/10/0/0), but with 5 TO and that shooting %, he was pretty poopy.  KCP isn’t going to suddenly be a multi-cat stud, but it’s back-to-back 20 point games with a 20/8/2/1/0 line last night and a trey.  What I really like was his aggressiveness driving to the hole, netting 5-6 FT and he’s 7-9 from the stripe the past two games after a stretch with virtually no freebies.  He’s taken 14+ shots in 6 of 7 games and at least 10 shots in 13 of 15 taking a bigger role in the O with R-Jax able to probe (I can only think of South Park every time I hear a broadcast say that…).  Of course the FG% will be a struggle, but if your team build can handle it/if it’s a punt, the low TO and decent steals make him a solid add in the stretch run.  Here’s what else happened last night in fantasy basketball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

H2H Playoffs are here!  But geez, the amount of DNPs for minor injuries and general soreness (General Soreness!) over the weekend was infuriating!  Unless they hit your oppo harder than you, then they were infatuating!  I certainly almost lost a playoff spot to the former…

I guess our main stop on the DNP bandwagon would be the Atlanta Hawks and that darned Coach Butthole.  I imagine we’ll be using that nickname for Budenholzer a ton down the stretch!  The Hawks sat Jeff Teague, DeMarre Carroll and Paul Millsap (who had a nasty 23/9/3/3/3 rainbow Friday) last night, then had Kyle Korver break his nose and have to leave early on top of it.  Korver was already set for a DNP tonight, so there’s that, and Al Horford owners will have to start the week with a DNP-rest.  What a shizz-show!  Which kinda sounds like Szechuan.  Which makes me hungry…  About as hungry as Dennis Schroder looks when he gets starts, ripping apart the Lakers in a 24/3/10 line hitting 7-16 FG (1-5 3PTM 9-11 FT).  Even if you’re not a Teague owner, I think it’s impossible to leave the German on the wire.  It would just improve The Lives of Others!  And Coach Butthole has learned from Pop himself to sit everyone any chance he gets, with that line of thinking infecting the entire league this weekend.  It already feels like the last week of the season, doesn’t it?!  Maybe the playoffs need to start in week 10…  Sheesh…  Here’s what else went down on DNP Weekend in fantasy basketball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

From the depth of 90s video games, crossed with the beastly rancor of Joakim Noah (can you use rancor as an adjective?  is that even the right part of speech?!), it’s the Goromotaro!  An epic performance of 20/20 needed a name, but ever since Joakim pulled off a few back in the day, he hasn’t scored 20 points in like… a million years.  Hasn’t yet this year!  Shocking he’s scored double digits in only 2 of the past 19… But I digress…

The way things have looked the past month, Goromotaro might need a name or image change to feature Hassan Whiteside!  Dude is hitting the glass harder than Cheech at a bong-only party.  24/20/0/3/2 last night for his first career Goro.  Not that he hasn’t been close!  Had a 23/16 and a 16/24 in there.  Unreal!  There’s only been 23 20+ board games this year, and Whiteside is two of them and has only 8 starts!  Whiteside has the 7th Goro this year (the others belonging to Kenneth Faried, Zach Randolph, DeAndre Jordan, Andre Drummond, Pau Gasol and… you ready for this…?  Jason Thompson!), and as good as those guys are (well, minus Thompson), I’d put good money on Whiteside being the first with multiple.  He’s also 73% from the stripe his past 13 games!  Getting a little unreal out there, and the 4 TO last night were very fluky – especially one on an inbounding violation that was totally Norris Cole‘s fault.  Cole tried handing it back to Whiteside after he tossed it in during an odd, weird lack of awareness that cost the Heat the game!  I’m pretty sure it was a play ran to perfection from the Larry Drew playbook…  Here’s what else went down last night across the NBA:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Man, who woulda thought the Bucks without Brandon Knight (sat with minor injuries) would’ve been able to beat the Raptors last night?!  I figured that big Jurassic Park reboot trailer during the Super Bowl would have pumped the Raps up!  Well, I guess Canadians don’t really watch the Super Bowl, so their loss!

And while the 82-75 win was a defensive grinder, it didn’t slow down that impressive O from The Duchess K Middleton!  25/9/1/3/0 for Khris Middleton, hitting 10-17 FG (3-4 3PTM 2-2 FT) and only 1 TO.  All that with Jorge Gutierrez as the fill-in starting PG!  It didn’t matter though, since they had a JB waiting in the wings as well…  But more there later.  With 25 Pts last night, K-Midd is 17+ points in 4 of 5 and 3+ treys in 4 of 5.  And multi-steals in 4 of 5 for good measure as well!  Even though a lot of the counting stats are lower than the breakout last year, so are the minutes and the %s are much better.  But my favorite leap is 1.0 steals in 30 minutes last year to a whopping 1.5 in only 26 this year.  The Duchess is secretly a world-class thief!  I think Keira Knightley could star in that movie.  Larry Drew could be the evil drug lord!  Maybe Ersan Ilyasova can be a Turkish arms dealer.  The script is writing itself!  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Man, the question posed in the title there is a real toughie…  I need to make a pros and cons list.  I mean, more like a pros and D-league list…

First to last night – how can you call a throw right there?!  Is Brad Stevens calling plays for the Seahawks all the sudden?!  Ugh, enough football, but we’ll tie one more NFL reference here in the open if we can…

The Cavs went into Minnesota on Saturday night, and Kevin Love‘s return to Minnesota wasn’t exactly a metaphorical hug.  I love the random ginger at 0:55…  He has no idea what to do!  He’s like, “boo!” wait, I mean, maybe I should clap?  It’s like the end of Air Bud where both the creepy pedophile looking dude and the annoying kid try to call for the emotionally conflicted dog.  Anyway, Cleveland got to see both of their #1 picks from the last two years, and spoiler alert!  Andrew Wiggins did better.  A cool 31/1/1/4/0 on 14-25 shooting and absolutely no issues with Kevin Martin back in the line-up.  And still no Ricky Rubio, who is back tonight! All of Wiggins’ damage done with recent-signee Lorenzo Brown playing all 48.  Meanwhile, Cleveland’s “other” former #1 pick Anthony Bennett played 13 minutes of nothingball.  0/1/1/0/0, and as we mentioned on the Pod with Andy Behrens the other week, Draymond Green went in the second round of that draft!  Hopefully Kevin Costner had nothing to do with this Cleveland team’s Draft Day.  That movie bombed harder than the Manziel pick!  Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?