After a tough loss in Detroit, it’s safe to say things have yet to take flight for this year’s Houston Rockets. While many came into the season thinking Houston’s out-of-this-world lineup had the potential to challenge the incumbent Golden State Warriors for the title as best team in the West, those dreams came crashing back to earth weeks ago (and Kevin McHale is still searching through the wreckage for the cause of the incident). Last night’s struggles are just another indication of this season’s overall trend: the Houston Rockets are looking more like Team Rocket when they step on the court.

Even a near triple double from James Harden (29 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists) wasn’t enough for Houston to surmount a surprising Pistons squad. With Harden passing 40 minutes for the fourth straight game, it’s looking like the Rockets are going to be riding their thoroughbred until the saddle cracks. In fairness, a monster game from Harden is probably the best chance Houston has to win every night, but for fantasy owners, the team’s struggle bodes well for the Beard’s outlook. Harden is going to score in abundance while racking up rebounds, assists, 3s, and steals as Houston fights to stay in the playoff hunt early. I think these past five games are particularly telling for the current state of the team as well as Harden’s prospects for the next few weeks as they try to right the ship (or the rocket).

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Merry Thanksturkey day Razzballers!

I would like to start by saying, C.J. Miles is a god. Period. No, you are not allowed to argue. He’s an inconsistent god, but a god nonetheless! He is unowned in 56% of Yahoo leagues. SHAME ON THOSE LEAGUES!!! Yes I’m league shaming, and no, all the social activists out there can’t do a thing about it!

Not a whole lot has changed in terms of pickups lately, but a few names have stood out in the past week:

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Man, is it really Thanksgiving Day again? Seems like yesterday that I was thanking that the Wizards were a playoff team….

Paul Pierce is gone and now we got Kris Humphries and Jared Dudley thinking they can play the stretch four. And how has that worked out for us? A 17-point loss to the Pacers on Tuesday and another 14-point loss to the Hornets on Wednesday. The Wizards are looking closer to the Redskins everyday. At least one doesn’t have a racist name.

So rather than complain about my home team, let’s say thanks to all teams and players that have actually helped us on Wednesday – I can try to enjoy Marvin Williams (14 pts, 11 rebs, 2 3s), Nicolas Batum (16 pts, 11 asts, 7 rebs), and Jeremy Lamb (18 pts., 7 rebs., 3 asts.) putting up fantasy worthy numbers against my Wiz kids.

On the Wizards side, Marcin Gortat had a monster double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Gary Neal had 18 points off the bench. Neal is straight buckets off the bench, but consistency will be a problem. I’d suggest investing in Bradley Beal, while he’s getting back into the swing of things after missing a few.

Moving onto the rest of the games:

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After witnessing the Philadelphia lose their eleventh straight contest this year, needless to say, it certainly takes balls to be a 76ers fan right now. I’m not referring to testicular fortitude or alpha masculinity, but rather literally, to the ping pong balls of hope known as the 2016 NBA Draft Lottery. With the possibility of multiple lottery picks in the 2016 Draft, it’s going to be okay Philadelphia fans. Put down your weapons, we’ll get through this together.

But it may take some time, since the franchise is focusing on future contention; the on-court product suffers as the 76ers appear to be the worst team in basketball once again.

At this point, I’m just surprised Philadelphia still has a team website, since they can’t string three “W’s” together…

I think I’m going to hide in a corner for the rest of my life after that joke.

Philly, I’m rooting for you, and I’m rooting for the process!

Jahil Okafor continued to impact the box score with a 19 points, 11 boards, 1 assist, 1 steal, and 2 blocks. The Rookie of the Year frontrunner recorded his second straight double double against a soft Dallas front court. Luckily for fantasy owners, Okafor will see plenty of minutes to develop in the interim despite concerns about his immediate impact to the team’s chances of winning. Long term, his inabilities to defend the rim and stretch the floor may impact his fit in Philadelphia. I don’t think the coaching staff has any surprising moves in store for 2015 (such as playing more small ball around Noel or limiting Okafor’s minutes experimenting with more perimeter-based lineups), but moving forward, it is a trend to monitor as he continues to develop this year.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Well, you might lose your patience after I plagiarized last week’s title and didn’t even have a rhyme-y pun in it!  I’m like the Robert De Niro of short filmmaking

But it is interesting that we’ve had back-to-back weekends of patience paying off.  It’s like having to hold it in and thinking of baseball to make it last!  Although when I think of baseball I think of Grey, so it’s not making anything last!  The injuries have been ridiculously frustrating the past two years, but this last one was just a bad cut that Terrence Jones accidentally squeezed lemon juice in when he was making shrimp scampi.  At least it wasn’t a leg or body part injury, so I remained firm in my Tjones love.  A lot of commenters were asking about selling Tjones away for virtually nothing, and there was even some drop Tjones sentiment.  After a pretty lowly return last Wednesday, Jones showed everyone how good he is when his run is normalized, putting up 23 Pts on Friday and Saturday, with 23/7/0/0/4 and 23/6/1/1/3 lines hitting well over 50% from the field with a combined 4 treys.  I can’t think of baseball fast enough when seeing those numbers!  As I quickly change my pants, it’s probably too late to swing some buy low offers and hopefully you own Tjones in several leagues to ride the wave.  If anyone wants to pay top-30 or 40 value (doubtful), Jones does have the inherent risk of more injuries, so I might sell him off at that price.  But I’m not looking at this weekend as a fluky, sell-high couple of games.  Pateince is a Tjones!  Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy hoops action, and The 7 Ahead for week 4:

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Ok, so I’ll admit that I’m really stretching this, just so I can write the name Metta World Peace.  However!  The artist formerly known as Ron Artest is averaging over a 3, steal and a block per game so far.  That’s fantasy gold if you ask me!  On top of that, he’s started when Kobe Bryant misses time, and Kobe is likely to miss a lot of time…  From a basketball standpoint, his shot is looking good, and he actually dropped 4 trey-balls in his last start.  Basically, I’m not telling you to run out and grab World Peace, but I’m not telling you not to either…  Make sense? Good, didn’t think so!

For this weeks article, I’m not going to separate by category, since not a huge amount has changed from the first two weeks.  If you want to see the first couple weeks of recommended pickups, check the links: Here and Here!  Just follow those as the main recommendations based on category, and this will simply be a few guys that have stood out this week! (I’ll get back to the category format next week, there just isn’t enough new in every category to do that this week.)

That being said, lets get it started!

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Well, that was a bit of a bloodbath.

On what should have been a relatively quiet evening in the NBA, there sure wound up being a lot of noise. And not a lot of it was good noise. For a lot of fantasy owners, Tuesday probably sounded a bit like this.

Mid-game injuries, late-breaking inactives, and low minutes due to a few blowouts seemed to be the consistent narrative of the night.

We’ll get to all that depressing stuff, but let’s start out on a high note – Mo Williams had himself a game. On nearly perfect shooting (8-9 FGs, 9-10 FTs, 4-4 from 3-point range), Mo helped the Cavaliers slip past the Utah Jazz 118-114 in the best game of the night. In addition to the stellar percentages, Williams chipped in six boards, six dimes, and stole the ball twice just for funzies. Five turnovers took a bit of shine off an otherwise brilliant outing, but this still goes down as one of the top fantasy lines of the evening. Mo Williams will continue to be a must-start player until Kyrie Irving comes back, and common sense would suggest that if Mo keeps balling at a high level and the Cavs keep winning, there’s no reason to rush Kyrie back anytime soon. So it’s a bit of a snowball effect in that the immediate returns are great, but they’re also likely to help extend Mo’s opportunity for a 30+ MPG role on a title contending team. People waiting on Irving to return won’t enjoy hearing that, but it’s championship-or-bust in Cleveland, so Kyrie isn’t coming back with health a single percentage point below 100.

Not to be outdone, LeBron James had himself a phenomenal fourth quarter, scoring 17 points (6-8 FGs), 4 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal as the Cavs scored 38 points in the final frame against one heck of a good defensive team. LBJ finished the game with 31/7/8/2/0 and dropped in a three pointer. He matched Mo Will’s five giveaways and missed four of his 12 freebies, but for all intents and purposes this was a win for LeBron owners as he made it out of the game healthy after soldiering through an owwy on his thigh.

Let’s get on to the rest of the notables…

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When you go out on a limb on a guy and it starts slow, at least I can pull the “it’s a long season” card.  Or the “his back has been a little spasmy” card.  Hah, little Pod joke there…

I gotta say, I love you commenters here on Razzball.  A lot of Andrew Wiggins frustration has been thrown around, like “he single-handedly killed my FG%”, and “he’s why I started 1-8”, and “Wiggins must be dating yet another one of those Kardashians”.  But I was really honored to say almost all of the vitriol wasn’t at me.  Hell, I was expecting to be served on the coals for that one!  Or some sort of cliche that works…  Maybe it was out of the decency of your hearts since I obviously own him on several teams with this rank.  I got way more hate for saying Nate Robinson was a good opening night streamer/last draft pick in 12ers!  But like the worst drunken one night stand in history, I got rid of Nate about 4 or 5 minutes in.  While with Wiggins, I’m entrenched in a life-long relationship.  Hope my wife isn’t reading this!  After a really rocky start, Wiggins finally looked like the breakout talent I was hoping for on Saturday night against the Bulls, going 31/3/2/0/1 with only 1 TO and hit 4 treys.  Of course it wouldn’t be a pristine line, but then again what relationship is suddenly perfect?!  Except my marriage of course!  Wiggy still shot like poo (11-27) and had an odd 5-10 FT game.  He’s usually gonna be a high-volume 80% guy from the stripe, plus he hit 4-5 from deep, so there’s still hope the FG% climbs as his bum back gets healthier and he shoots his way out of it.  Of course you can point to Kevin Martin not playing (personal) for the burst in treys, but big picture we still think K-Mart gets moved.  Even with K-Mart, they’re using him as a 6th man and Wiggy is the only real perimeter option in the starting 5 anyway.  I also think with a little more health, he’ll play more aggressive on D.  The one swat he had was a legit one, not a lazy strip that’s scored a block, WHICH STILL FRUSTRATES ME!  The buy low window is closing rapidly, so if you’re still hoping to buy in on Wiggy, I’d wait until tonight and see if he has another rough shooting game before opening the floodgates.  If you own Wiggy, definitely hold, particularly with the Wolves playing 5 games this week. Here’s what else went down over the weekend in NBA action, plus The 7 Ahead for week 3:

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So I Googled “crisis of leadership” because, well, it’s been a pretty annoying ride for NBA franchises in Charlotte since the 90s.  According to never-wrong Wikipedia, the term was coined about something with Trotsky and Communism, I ain’t goin’ there!  It’s been well-documented and scrutinized through the years, but Charlotte certainly seems to make odd decisions behind Michael Jordan.  And before that, they moved to New Orleans, brought in an expansion team called “The Bobcats” (????@#?#$%@#%), and drafted Sean May.

While Charlotte’s follies could be it’s own dedicated article, I’m just going to talk about the planning behind PF/C minutes for 15-16.

TANGENT!  Speaking of planning, we’re debuting a new part of Monday daily notes this season.  The 7 Ahead!  After wrapping up the standard daily notes from the weekend, at the bottom will be a weekly planner for the upcoming 7 nights of NBA action.  Let me know if you like it!  And as always, add any suggestions you commenters have for The 7 Ahead moving forward.  If you don’t like it, ya know, not wanting to read such a long effin’ blog post when you’ve got a case of the Mudiays, just let me know!

FOCUS!  So the Hornets draft Frank Kaminsky 9th in the draft, passing on in-state product Justise Winslow (who looks great in early run for the Heat) and the undeniably awesome Myles Turner.  Part of the argument seemed to be NBA-readiness.  But instead of sticking with the decision, or continuing to play Cody Zeller, another high-draft pick, they instead come out and start Starvin Marvin Williams.  I mean, if you’re just going to take a no-upside PF/C for bench depth, why not go pure upside of my boy Kelly Oubre?!?!  Such a wasted pick and poor planning for the rotation, as now Marvin is running away with the role with a fantastic start to 15-16.  Opening the season with back-to-back dubdubs, Marvin went 15/5/1 with 3 blocks and 5 treys last night.  They need some speed on D and a perimeter player to compliment Al “slow feet” Jefferson, and it’s put Marvin clearly in the ThrAGNOF category.  The blocks were a little fluky, but I don’t think the minutes are.  He’s surged to 34% owned which seems a smidge high, but on low-schedule nights, he’ll be a frequent streaming target of mine.  And if I sounded unnecessarily bitter, it’s because I had him as a $1 REL keeper and let him walk.  Friggin’ Hornets.  What a waste of draft picks only to play the low-paid vet…  Here’s what else happened over the weekend in fantasy basketball action:

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Yeah. It goes like this right here. It’s the return of the writings of Slim! That reminds of an Outkast song, and that song reminds me of 1998. If you don’t remember it was the year we learned there was yet another way to be disgusted by a cigar. That near, far, wherever you are you probably found yourself at some point rooting for the most unlikeliest of protagonists, Billy Zane. And of course it was the year the ‘Blue Screen of Death‘ truly became a meme, long before anyone knew what a meme was.

Gangstaaaaa… It’s the return… turn…

In the NBA draft that year there were 3 guys drafted that are still playing and should one day be in the Hall of Fame. I’ll give you a hint, the top 3 draft picks were Michael Olowokandi, Mike Bibby, and Raef LaFrentz, and if you were playing fantasy basketball back then you might have gone all-in on one of them. Give up? They are Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki, and Paul Pierce. Pick number 5, 9, and 10 respectively. That’s not to say great players aren’t drafted 1st, but the only thing guaranteed when you are first overall is a whole boat load of money. Something about the use of the word ‘only’ there doesn’t quite feel right.

Return… Ganstuhuhuh… It’s the re…

It seems so easy to see when you’re talking time traveling, something mind unraveling. Get Down. It’s a whole lot harder to do here and now using some funky combination of math, logic, illogical fandom, a random number generator, and of course the occasional dart throw. For some reason though, after about an hour on 350 (or about 176c) it develops a creamy caramel colored crust. Once it cools, just cut it up and consume. So here’s you’re 1st taste. Slim’s, I can’t believe I’m writing this in 3rd person, RCL playoff schedule post.

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