Man, that title seems all sorts of wrong… But what is right is Nikola Vucevic returned to action last night For a solid 16/10 dub-dub in only 20 minutes.  Efficiency!  Shot 6-12, 4-4 from the stripe and added a few steals.  Very encouraging return for a guy people were dismissing since he had no timetable from the concussion.  Concussions can really jack ya up, but hopefully you stayed true on your course to the playoffs and have a dynamic top-20ish big man.  Of course the Magic now have lost value in other places, with Big Baby going 5/4/4 in 32 minutes, Arron Afflalo looking like the scrub I’ve said he was all year (still think his 20+ PPG is one of the most preposterous stats this year) and Tobias Harris temporarily moving to the bench.  Although T Dawg isn’t Walking Dead (going 9/11/3/1/1 in 37 minutes), he shot like a stiff going 2-8.  Afflalo is still a sell as soon as you can, Davis a drop, and hope you bought low on Vuc while there was a window open.    Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy hoops:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Last night was a doozy.  Flummoxing.  I actually had to look up flummoxing to be sure it worked.  And it does!  But there are numerous things that aren’t working for the Kings, mainly Rudy Gay‘s Achilles and DeMarcus Cousins‘ ankle.  Gay actually wasn’t “Leon” down in pain like DeMarcus after DMC fully rolled his ankle, but neither sounds like any sort of fun.  With Cousins, the diagnosis is a “moderate sprain” and I gotta say, a big near 300-pounder putting all his weight on an ankle the turns 90 degrees the wrong way doesn’t sound moderate.  Moderate maybe in the sense that the dude in 127 hours only had to “moderately” scratch his arm to get free!  I’d expect at least a few weeks.  But, “I’m not a doctor, I’m a pool man!”  Then there’s Gay’s Achilles which you could see in his face he was in bad pain and exited pretty quick, albeit under his own power.  We all saw Kobe Bryant limp off under his own power with the torn Achilles, so this one is definitely a hold-your-breath injury.  The obvious immediate add in most formats is Derrick Williams, who I kinda disregarded when he was acquired, but now is in a “you-better-be-able-to-score-a-lot-because-we’ll-need-it” starting role.  Solid 22/11/1 with three treys last night in 40 minutes of duty.  Just added him in one league for the ice cold Terrence Ross for example.  Ross is like, “hey don’t blame me, it’s this effin’ weather!”  Yes – I narrate my fantasy teams.  Someday soon I hope to put on a finger puppet show.  Here’s what else I saw last night in a wild evening of fantasy action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ohhhhh Brad Stevens.  You look like you’re 12 and coach like you’re… 12.  But at least, unlike Larry Drew, his inconsistencies have been pretty centralized to the… center.  I need to work on expanding my vocab!  First there was the Vitor Faverani early (albeit very brief) breakout, then Kelly Olynyk got some starts, followed by a really nice run from Jared Sullinger.  I at first brushed him off, but then had Yahoo highlights for a Celtics game and was really impressed.  I liked how he saw the floor, played hard, a nice-looking shot, and just overall looked like a guy that would be a must-own.  Then after some flagrant fouls and rough-n-tough play racking up the personals, Stevens threw him to the bench.  From December 22nd to January 8th he was brutal and I had to jump ship as well.  And of course right after that happens, he goes for 21/11 and 14/10 over the weekend, with a pair of treys in both.  The first comment on Friday was asking about dropping Sullinger and I said “12 team with a solid squad I might hold, but if I had injuries or needed production now, he’s droppable. I think he is bad a few weeks, but gets back into the starting lineup.”  That’s me quoting me!  My timetable was off, turned out he was done being bad/underplayed, but I still had some faith.  I think he needs to be owned in most leagues with double-double upside, a perimeter game, and I think the assists come back (only 1 in the past 4, but was at 2.3 dimes a game in December).  Let’s all just hope Stevens doesn’t keep sullying fantasy hoops for us… Here’s what else I saw over the weekend (through tears of sadness after the refs rigged the 49ers a playoff win) in fantasy basketball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If you recall back to last week, I remember talking up Jon Leuer as an interesting deep league play.   Loved the out-of-position threes, the boarding, the all-around production.  I said I would probably go after him in REL, and then Slim tells me he’s probably not bidding on him this week.  So I figure, I can dangle a few bucks and if someone beats me to him so be it.  But it shouldn’t have been you Slim!!  He Leuered me in with scoffing and brush-off ness.  Slim, you want to repay me for this horrific slight of hand?  Trade him to me!  I guess I should talk more about Leuer than rant…  Just over 27 minutes last night for 16/12 with a three on 7-14 shooting.  This now marks five straight games of 23:30+ minutes, averaging nearly a double-double a game on top of almost a three a game with a few blocks.  He’s not going to turn into some superstar, but he’s a great stretch the court center, which fits Mike Conley trying to drive and dish.  Sorry Kosta Koufos, but your outside shots are labradoodles!  That term needs to be added to the glossary…  I see Leuer continuing his PT as a double double threat while Marc Gasol is out, with a handful of threes, steals and blocks to help out deeper leagues.  Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy hoops:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ending up with a late-round pick in this year’s fantasy draft is like reaching the front of the line at McDonald’s and having the former computer analyst behind the counter tell you that they only have chicken sandwiches left.

Hey, there’s nothing wrong with Al Jeffersons and Carmelo Anthonys, but I came here for the Big Macs, not those Southwest whatever-you-call-its with the weird sauce.

Picking in that slot seems to be having a ripple effect. At that point all the elite guys are gone, so you have to take someone like Jefferson or Anthony or gamble a little on a guy like Derrick Rose. Also, if you didn’t get James Harden, Stephen Curry or Paul George, you’re going to have to either reach or punt a little on SG, because there isn’t one of proper value to take at that spot.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Continuing on with updated rankings after the top 10 and top 20, below rounds out my to 50.  Previous rankings are in parentheses next to these updated ranks, with up and down designations only for guys hopping up or down significant spots.  Have fun grilling these!

(22) 21. Nicolas Batum – A lot of commenters have wondered why he’s not in the top-20, and as I said in my previous 20-50 rankings, the declining FG% (45.1% to 42.3%) and 3PT% (39.1% to 37.2%) from 2011-12 to 12-13 gives me pause.  Despite playing over 8 more minutes a game in 11-12 to 12-13, his scoring average only went up 0.4 Pts a game and he only averaged 12 a game after the All-Star Break with his wrist injury.  He’s said the wrist is completely healed, and despite not needing surgery I would be worried with Batum as my second-rounder as the wrist could plague him again.  He’ll still be a multi-cat workhorse, but I see no way he chucks up 6.1 3′s a night with new acquisitions Mo Williams and C.J. McCollum also manning the perimeter.  Yeah their PT may not overlap too consistently, but I just don’t see the three point output mimicking last year.

(23) 22. LaMarcus Aldridge – Another big fantasy asset I’m slightly down on, the Blazers could very easily have another rough first half and look to trade their franchise big.  The rumors have been swirling for quite some time, and there’s virtually no destination where I think he would be a better fantasy player than in Portland.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The period of free agency continues to shape the fantasy basketball-scape with fresh meat on terrible teams and players signing with contenders to be relegated to bench duty.  With baseball in full swing and the NFL getting half of the ESPN air time no matter what time of year it is, a lot of NBA moves have been made under the radar.  Look for every division to get a team-by-team breakdown and some early fantasy thoughts on the new faces in new places:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As we continue to navigate through the NBA Playoffs, it’s been a fun challenge to rank for the 2013-2014 season.  There’s still free agency.  There’s still a draft.  Hey, at least we know there will be a season unlike 2011!

If you missed it, my top 10 then top 20 came out last week.  Hey, it’s early, you might say “way too early” (see what I did there, it’s in the title!) so these rankings are subject to change.  And I want no accusations of flip-flopping!  It’s not my fault if all the sudden Dwight Howard goes to the Bobcats and becomes a first-rounder!  OK, so that is as likely as Rony Seikaly… returning.  You gotta stop on the word that rhymes Jean-Ralphio!  Man I’m liking that show.  Also, random side note, Googling Rony Seikaly to spell his name correctly broke Google.  I searched it and it would freeze, despite everything else working.  Weird.

As I battle my ADHD to get into the rankings, let’s just dive into it:

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So these guys aren’t in the top ten.  They automatically hate me and I automatically hate them… Well not really of course, but I want to tease out the drama!

After the first 6 picks, ending with Chris Paul for me, it’s becomes a mess of upside players and seasoned vets all tossed around like Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton in Twister.  Then that tornado finished the job last year, ripping off Hunt’s clothes for The Sessions.

Without further ado, here are the guys I’d be ripping my clothes off for to round out my top 20:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In a light slate of games, there were two premiere matchups with the Knicks at Celtics and Clippers at Mavericks.  What game do I get highlights for?  Timberwolves at Pistons.  C’mon Gary!  J.J. Barea looked good!  Sigh.

The Knicks took care of the Celtics and apparently after being compared to Stevie Nicks in a major sports media outlet, have started playing like a team atop the East again.  In the West, The Mavs needed overtime to knock off the Clippers with both Chris Paul and Dirk Nowitzki putting up 33 a piece.  “Whatever you can do, I can do equal!”  How communistic.

Let’s go through the noteworthy fantasy performances last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?