After celebrating Ohio State’s National Championship on Monday, LeBron James returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers lineup on Tuesday. He picked up right where he left off, scoring 33 points, grabbing 7 rebounds, and dishing out 5 assists following a two-week break due to knee and back issues. The Cavaliers still lost the game, but fantasy owners won’t care about the Cavs’ record as long as James continues to put up lines like that.

James looked healthy and explosive, especially on these dunks. He wasn’t on a minutes restriction, as he saw 37 minutes of court time. James’ return pushes Mike Miller back to the bench, but he wasn’t providing much in starter’s minutes anyways.

While Miller moved back to the bench, J.R. Smith put up 29 points in his third start for the Cavs, after scoring 4 and 27 points in his two previous starts. It’s clear that Smith can still score in bunches on any given night, but expect the inconsistency to continue, as he is the fourth option on offense. There are just not enough shots to go around when you’re starting alongside Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, and LeBron James.

Now that J.R. Smith is teammates with Shawn Marion, perhaps Smith will stop trying to untie Marion’s shoes.

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Looks like we are in full trade mode in the NBA.  Teams trying to get better for the playoff push.  Then we have teams dumping salary and getting much needed draft picks.  How does this relate to the daily game you say?  If NBA teams are in the advanced stage of trade talks the players involved in the deal can not play that night.  So if players that are involved in trade talks do not play them.  Go a different route.  As far as the article goes, I am going to tell you when the article does good and last week wasn’t one of my better efforts.  We had players sitting out for injuries, bereavement issues, and I just flat out missed on some guys.  This is a new week so lets kick some ass and make money playing some DFS hoops.

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The new year brings us the glorious 2nd coming of the Durantula, again.  Kevin Durant looked better than expected going 44/10/7/0/1 with 6 3s and 12-12 FTs.  Sure you could argue the stat line was OT aided but just that Durant played 40 minutes after missing 6 games tells me there is nothing wrong with his ankle.  I imagine any buy low window is long gone after this game but he might be worth one last attempt to trade for.  If you thought this is why I watched this game though you would be wrong.  I wanted to see the Steven Adams vs Alex Len match-up.  Lurch with 9/7/1/1/0 in 27 minutes and Len with 2/6/0/0/1 in 22 minutes.  There is no question Adams is the guy to own.  Neither are part of the offense but at times Len looked bored and unsure of what he was supposed to be doing on both ends of the court.  That is a sentence I will never write about Steven Adams.  His aggression does one of two things.  The foul trouble associated will give him a few duds but it will also lead to big games which I don’t think Len has in him this year.  There were a ton of huge stat lines in this 137-134 overtime thriller but perhaps the stat that tells the biggest story was the 6 technical fouls.  Including two and an ejection for…

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Hope everyone is having a happy holiday season. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, Christmas has always a great day for basketball fans. We got a great slate of games, including some pretty amazing performances from John Wall, Russell Westbrook, and Dwayne Wade. We even got to see the Knicks’ teammates come to Qunicy Acy’s aid for a fight with John Wall.

Unfortunately, a few stars were missing from the Christmas games. The Thunder beat the Spurs in San Antonio, despite having superstar Kevin Durant on the sideline. He missed his fourth game in a row due to an ankle sprain. Durant was quoted as saying, “I can’t play basketball. I can’t run. I can’t jump. I’m not just sitting out just because. If I could play I would play. But I can’t play.”

Based on his comments, owners should expect to see him out another week or so. The injury is not related to his surgically repaired foot, but is similar to an injury he had in 2009, when he missed nine games. While Perry Jones will replace KD in the starting lineup, Durant is impossible to replace in real life and in fantasy. Owners will have to just wait for his return.

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The biggest injury news of the week definitely belongs to Jabari Parker. Initially diagnosed as a strained knee, Parker underwent more tests and it was discovered that he tore his ACL. As a result, Parker will miss the rest of his rookie season.

This is a tough blow to the Bucks. At 14-13, they are currently in the 6th spot in the East and are in the hunt for a playoff berth. That says more about the pitiful East, than it does about the Bucks.

As my roommates can attest, I may not be able to pronounce his name, but I know Giannis Antetokounmpo is good. He’s athletic and long enough to play multiple positions and should continue to make strides this season. Khris Middleton isn’t as versatile as the Greek Freak, but can still provide fantasy owners with value. He put up 17 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 steals off the bench in Wednesday’s game, before putting up a dud (only 1/2/1) in Thursday’s game.

Brandon Knight, OJ Mayo, Jared Dudley, and even Ersan Ilyasova will also see added looks on offense as well. Ilyasova won’t return from his facial fracture and concussion until at least next week, but is a player to watch. He was playing well prior to his injury and could be a sleeper pickup if he can return to the 13 ppg, 7 rpg, and 1 three per game from a few seasons ago.

Jason Kidd will probably mix and match with his lineups and these guys may be inconsistent night in and night out, but they are guys to watch as their production and minutes rise.

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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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Yeesh, it’s cold outside, no way around it. Frosty, like an Ice tray (whut what?! …check last week’s article for that reference) I’m up in Toronto, where, yes, it’s a tad chilly, but if you didn’t know, it’s even colder in New York! I mean they freezing their kishkas off, and the infantile side of me couldn’t be giggling more gleefully. I’m chock full of hip hop cultural references today, so strap in, soldier! To that end, If you ever gave a moment’s thought to my avatar, Flav wasn’t chosen haphazardly. While it’s true I’m a beathead from the nineties,  me choosing the most recognizable hype man in the world was intended to be appropriate.  I am the Flava Flav to Slim and JB’s Chuck D, good people, so take the advice I give accordingly, it’s mostly hype: “Yeaaaaah Boooooyyy!” Sorry. But you can take this to the bank, the Knicks are terrible, and the Nets aren’t much better. You gots to get up fo’ dis game, nephew, like Allan and Germaine do. If haven’t seen these Fox ads from back in the day, you sleepin’ son! And speaking of sleeping, and frosty, and New York slippin’, check this out: one two, one two…

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I don’t know why JB would do this to me. Do you know what he told me?  He told me I didn’t fit in.  He told me my only chance of being accepted was for me to join some program he was calling, “Avatar”.  I believe his exact words were, “Yeah we can change your avatar, what were you thinking?”  Wait… this was my idea?  Was it me who asked him to take my sexy, bearded, aboriginal face and join it with my real life sexy, bearded, non-aboriginal face?  I can’t tell what is reality and what is a dream anymore.  All I do know is that in this world of mixed mediums, my body, or as JB keeps calling it, my “Avatar”, is merely a shell for my one track mind.  A mind dedicated only to fantasy basketball; unfortunately sometimes this mind can wonder.  Wonder back to yesteryear when Patrick Beverley was a sleeper or when Alec Burks was supposed to start for the Jazz.  In an attempt to relieve those nostalgic days, I present to you my beginning of the season All Under-Owned Team.  My cutoff was 30% owned in Yahoo leagues and hopefully with season-long appeal.

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With the full 2014-15 Fantasy Basketball Rankings now complete, let’s take a look at the top 75.  Captain N is aboard!  Captain on the bridge!  The respect he garners trumps captain Russell Crowe with long hair… Captain Patrick Stewart with no hair… Captain N has a huge ass flat top!  And this captain is Nerlens Noel; double the N for twice the… nifty…?  Twice the… neat hair?  This captain will put non-believers 20,000 leagues under the sea!  Here’s my top 75 for the 2014-15 Fantasy Basketball Season (based on 9-cat H2H):

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Razzball Hoops Nation!  It’s officially the offseason!  Well for fantasy…  And for the Knicks and the Lakers.  And the Pacers!  Haha, sorry matt, just joshin’…

And what better way to look back on the 2013-14 season than to reflect on the rankings.  Those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it!  Dammit, that means I can’t ever rank Ricky Rubio highly again even though I know I’ll want to!

So I reflected back on my ranks, and patted myself on the back or immolated myself on what I was thinking so long ago.  Rankings are based on my final updated top 200 and eesh!  Looking back on these some are rough!  I then compared them to the FantasyPros aggregate Draft Day Rankings along with Basketball Monster’s Total Value for 9-cat leagues for the season.  I had Slim come in and grade each of my picks, and man, he’s a harsh grader!  And unfortunately he doesn’t take too kindly to giant pasty men flashing their teetans at him either, so I got no extra help. Here’s a look back at the Top 20 for the 2013-14 Fantasy Basketball Season:

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