Wooooooo, it’s DraftKings Friday! 

What’s a better way to kick off the early part of the Holiday weekend (kinda, sorta) than by hopping in a DraftKings contest and watch that sweet, sweet money flowing your way on Friday night.  I love playing some daily fantasy, because last Friday I had Anthony Davis as a big-$ pick and he goes down in the first quarter…  Wipe the slate clean tomorrow!  And tripled up a couple days ago in my next foray.

We’re again hopping into the NBA $45K LAYUP, where $45,000 in payouts are given out, including a cool, hard $5 grand to the overall winner.  Pick me!  Pick me!  Oh man, I’ve got a wedding coming up next year and $5,000 would go a long way in paying for… The chairs?  Everything is so friggin’ expensive!  And at only a $2 entry fee, even broke-as-a-joke-JB can afford dat!  So hop in that contest linked there, join us for a festive time tonight, and good luck to your DraftKings line-ups! 

Here are my starting 5 for DraftKings tonight:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The embargo is lifted!  I can’t wait to buy some cigars… If you missed it, Obama has opened his front door to Cuba while continuing to backdoor the Canada oil pipeline.  Hey-o!

And Mark Cuban has opened up his roster for some international trade, bringing Rajon Rondo into Texas.  The Mavericks are reportedly changing their team name to the Dallas “You Don’t Mess With Texas!”  Huge move in real basketball, but who cares about any of that?!  Rondo takes a pretty substantial hit to his value, as Monta Ellis is going to sap a lot those assists with his slashes.  But it’s nothing to panic about, as his atrocious 40.5 FG% will go up and the 3.4 TO should go down.  And maybe a coach there can teach him how to hit a FT…

The rest of the swapperoo is Jameer NelsonBrandan WrightJae Crowder and a first-rounder to Boston for Rondo and Dwight Powell with a swap of second-round picks thrown around in there just to make it look fancier.  I guess if you still had Nelson in a 12 or 14er, he’s droppable.  I could see Tyler Zeller lose some PT to Wright, but who knows.  Chapel hill centers, reunite!  The obvious big impact here is Marcus Smart, who was at 30% owned right when the trade broke (somehow got him in both RCLs!).  That only shot up to 40% right when this posts, so he’s still available in several leagues.  Boston has no reason to start Nelson over him in order to get a ton of development time for their rook PG.  His fantasy game is really limited – I still don’t think the treys are going to come around in a huge way this year and we’ll be happy to see half the assists Rondo was getting a night.  But he should be plenty good enough for all 12ers.  Smart stashers feeling smart!  Here’s what else went down last night in NBA action:

[Psyche!  Quick note that I’m off next Monday, then Thursday and Friday due to Holiday scheduling.  So Daily Notes will only be out Tuesday and Wednesday next week, along with our Holiday special Razzball Basketball Podcast on Tuesday.  But I am of course always here for comments, even on Christmas, so if you need to get away from screaming kids in order to scream about how Batum has been awful, we’re ya spot!]

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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:

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I was off last week because of the holiday.  Hope you all had a safe and profitable Thanksgiving in DFS.  As you know I try to pass along some news if there is any and advice.  The best advice I can give to any new or veteran player in DFS is bankroll management.  Can’t stress enough how important it is.  50/50’s are the best way to build your bankroll.  It doesn’t matter if you finish 1st in these contests.  All you have to do is beat half the field to double your money.  Yeah GPP (Guaranteed Prize Pool) money is nice but it’s hard to cash in these contests consistently.  What I do for example is if I was going to play $100 for the night, $85 of that is going to be in 50/50’s.  Now if I am just starting out I’m probably playing all my money in 50/50’s to build that bankroll up.  Hope this advice is helpful.  Now let’s get on with some picks for a smallish 6 game slate on Saturday night.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

One of the reasons I’m spotlighting Giannis Antetokounmpo is because I love his game, view him as a poor man’s Kawhi Leonard, and have visions of him blossoming this year if Jason Kidd stops doing his best Larry Drew impersonation.

Although he’s starting to fill the stat sheet with regularity, he’s still a highlight waiting to happen and we can’t overlook his overall entertainment value. Case in point: The play last weekend where he covered half the court in one move against the Pistons. Was it a walk? Probably. Did it look badass? You bet your Mokeski it did.

But the real reason is for the betterment of humanity and Giannis himself. Has there ever been an athlete’s name that was more difficult to pronounce? It’s so bad that he was smacked with a nickname (The Alphabet) the second he was drafted because people were too lazy to look up how to say his name.

Even after a whole year in the league no one knows how to say it, players, coaches and announcers included.

So here it is:

Yee-an-es Ant-tet-toh-koomp-oh.

You can also hear Antetokounmpo say it the right way, and his teammates say it the wrong way, in this hilarious video.

Never say it wrong again. Especially if you ask someone in your league to trade him to you in person or on the phone.

Here’s some more wing-a-ding-dings:

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Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Hopefully you’re enjoying your turkey leftovers and your star players are all healthy!

After successful wrist surgery on Tuesday, Kevin Martin is expected to miss 6-8 weeks. Martin broke his wrist the previous week in a Minnesota win over the New York Knicks. The crazy thing is that Martin hurt his wrist in the first quarter and ended up scoring 34 points in the game. He was 6-9 from downtown with a broken wrist! Too bad everyone can’t play that well through their injuries!

It’s a big blow to the Timberwolves who are already missing Ricky Rubio and Nikola Pekovic. Replacing Kevin Martin in the starting lineup is Corey Brewer. He’s not as pure of a shooter as Martin, but Brewer will provide points and steals for as long as he’s starting. His minutes have already jumped from 23.5 to 31.2 per game since Martin went down.

Without Martin’s 3-point prowess, the T’Wolves will need another shooter to step up. Enter Mo Williams. He was already seeing an increase in minutes due to Rubio’s injury, but should see even more 3-point looks. In two games without Martin, Williams has seen his 3-point attempts rise from 1.8 to 5.5 per night. It’s a small sample size, but Williams is a cheap source of threes, points, and assists.

Already owned in most leagues, Andrew Wiggins should see increased opportunities as well. Since Martin went down, Wiggins has taken 14+ shots a night, after not taking more than 13 shots in any game prior. With any rookie, there will be some growing pains, but it’s clear that the Timberwolves want Wiggins to take on more of a role on offense.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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Happy Thanksgiving Razzball Nation!  This is my last daily recap for the week, so wishing everyone a happy Turkey Day where we can take a day off hoops, watch football, then shame eat pounds of leftovers while watching Goran Dragic standing idly by as he gets no usage for the Suns this weekend…

But what better way to sendoff into the Holiday weekend with the Six-Foot-Turkey himself, Dr. Ersan Ilyasova.  While he’s averaging under 21 minutes a game in the past five games (That doesn’t look very scary!), the consistency is kinda preposterous right now.  Is exactly in 20-21 minutes in five straight as Kidd apparently knows Ersan’s optimal usage, and has scored 13+ points in all of them.  Multi-3PTM in three of those five, grabbing a few boards, and actually a semi-usable player right now off 13/9/0/1/0 and two treys last night.  It’s bottom-end 12er worthy, but in limited-move RCLs, I grabbed him Monday to use for a four-game week and like him for matchups play.  A low-end ThrAGNOF with some boards!  What the wire is for, and even though he’s owned in 44% of Yahoo leagues, it’s a little inflated by dead/auto-draft teams given his silly pre-draft ranks by a lot of experts.  I’m keeping that Turkey fresh and might even hold on through next week as well, and then gobbling down the rest of my leftovers before week 7 and the Bucks’ two-game week.  Threes ain’t got no face!  And I’d be just plain sick of all the Turkey leftovers at that point… Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If you’re a Harry Potter fan, then you’re in the wrong place.  Gave me a punny title!  All you’re good for, Rowling…  Some friends tried to get me into that noise and there’s like these whore-cruxes hidden around the world or some crap?!  Made no sense at all.  Get enough whore-cruxes in half the reality shows out there…

Through a few comments over the last couple weeks, I feel like I’ve had to fight for Donald Sloan as a guy to hold onto and not give up for a peanut shell and ABC gum.  The sell-high label still applies, but sometimes you gotta just ride the broom like a whore-crux!  No idea what that means.  Huge night from Sloan in a shocking win at Dallas going 10-14 FG (3-5 3PTM 6-9 FT) 29/2/5/1/0 all with only one turnover.  It’s been a little under the radar since he’s not a huge dimer, but has 2 TO or fewer in 9 straight games.  Somebody get Michael Carter-Williams some Sloan tape for the film room!  Despite a little bit of a struggle at the stripe last night, is well over 80% on freebies this year.  Really his only knocks are low steals and FG%, but if I’m getting mad at MCW (which is tough to do after last night!), all the sudden Sloan’s numbers are looking mighty tasty.  I still think whatever you get in a trade won’t be worth just riding Sloan another month, as George Hill‘s knee is rumored to keep him out until the latter part of December now.  And Sloan’s big play should have him above C.J. Watson, who is also lingering into December with trench foot.  Who knows, maybe the Pacers go crazy and start Hill and Sloan when Hill is back anyway, and play Stuckey as a 6th man.  Sloan’s been a big part of any success the Pacers have had, so he’ll certainly remain in the rotation.  I’ve written Sloan’s name enough for the open here, let’s start gushing over some more of JB’s favs who did well last night:

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Up until this year, Jimmy Butler looked like he was always going to be a Wesley Johnson-Iman 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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Young players Michael Carter-Williams and Victor Oladipo returned to their respective teams last week, after missing the first few weeks due to injury. This week, the Washington Wizards welcomed back shooting guard Bradley Beal. He came off the bench to a standing ovation (or rather, the 25 fans in attendance stood up and cheered), but impressed in his first game of the season. In 26 minutes, Beal scored 20 points, with 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 3PTM. It was only one game, but expect Beal to put up similar lines all season. He averaged 17.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg, and 3.3 apg last season and I expect those numbers to rise slightly this year.

Now that Beal is back, owners should move on from Garrett Temple and Otto Porter. Garrett Temple started off hot, but has since cooled off and will go back to being a reserve and defensive replacement. In Wednesday’s game against the Mavericks, Temple threw a 3-pointer off the side of the basket and then air balled another three on the same possession! Porter is more offensively gifted than Temple and will have a good game off the bench here and there, but look elsewhere for more consistent production.

Please, blog, may I have some more?