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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Welcome back, Mr. Slim Reaper!  It’s a perfectly apt nickname too, because I own him in the JB vs. Slim RCL league and he’s going to be Slim’s reaper!  Even though I’m getting crushed this week so far…

After a decent enough start, Kevin Durant was still without the big eruption type game in his first three back, but last night dismantled the Bucks in an uber-efficient 23/9/7/1/1 game shooting 7-11 FG and 8-8 FT.  He’s worth 9 or 10 Bucks, at the least!  Was 1-5 from deep, so didn’t miss within the arc.  All of that in 29 minutes, as Beam-me-up Scotty Brooks benched the Thunder studs down the stretch of the double-digit win.  Even though this was against the young Bucks, the Thunder as a whole are coming together with Russell Westbrook having a fantastic 28/5/7 night with like, a million free throws made, and Serge Ibaka is back to his %-gold ways for 15/5/0/2/2 shooting 5-5 FG & 5-5 FT.  Durantula and Westy are going to command their first-round values in trades, but I bet you could still swindle Ibaka away at a buy-low price.  3+ blocks the past four games and 16-26 from the field his last three, and isn’t needing to force shots anymore.   Things are right in order for OKC to go on a mad run, so be counting your lucky stars if you got KD at a discount on draft day!  What we preached all preseason post-injury!  Here’s some other happenings from the NBA last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“Did you coach the Celtics to a win last night, B-Rad?!”  “No…  But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night!”

Since returning from his bad ankle sprain, Marcus Smart has had quite the timeline.  Returned last Wednesday and played five minutes, and Stevens said he didn’t look ready.  And when you’re not ready, you get demoted to the D-League.  And when you shoot 1-12 FG in that D-League game, you still get a promotion.  I want to work for that company!  Any time you get reprimanded, you just have to explain why you’re currently better than 1-12!  Then DNP Friday, and 8 minutes of nada Sunday.  So of course, everyone expected that he’d play 35 minutes and go 23/4/5/1/0 shooting 7-14 FG (4-8 3PTM, 5-5 FT) without a single TO last night.  And everyone expected Rajon Rondo, off a triple-double, to be benched in favor of Smart down the stretch and for both the overtimes.  Well, the Celtics did almost upset the Wiz at home!  Key word… almost.  And sure, Boston had a big 4th quarter with the subs to make it a game, but an L is an L!  Rondo owners collectively throw things at their computers – no one is safe from a Stevens line-up bamboozle.  Before you run out and grab Smart, consider that timeline this past week.  And don’t forget before last night he was shooting sub-30% FG and 21.4% from deep with only 1.1 dimes a game.  Given some of those were in low-minute spells, but it was still only 8 dimes in 114 minutes to 6 TO.  So don’t pull a Stevens and feel like the smartest one in the room by dropping, well virtually anyone in a 12 or 14 teamer for him, unless you plan to stash.  Rondo could still be moved, but I never bet on a trade.  It’s like betting on a successful hostage trade in an action movie.  They never work out!  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Did everyone survive their holiday, hmm? I know not everyone who reads the Razzball basketball articles are from the US, but seeing as the NBA is based in the continental United States (save the Raptors, from my hometown of Toronto, Canada!), we will default to the US holiday schedule. Sorry Buddists, you get screwed. Again. But until Krishna can dunk a basketball, we’re going with Thanksgiving and Christmas, as it affects the game schedule, as well as our hearts. The reason I like Thanksgiving from a fantasy perspective, is that it indicates the first quarter of the fantasy season is done – we’ve just rounded the first post. Which is relevant, why? You should know where your squad’s deficiencies are by now, and, theoretically, the guys to target to address said needs. It’s a process, fella, so don’t freak out if you’re not on top, nor feel too smug if you sit upon the throne thus far. I have been waiting in the weeds with Kevin Durant, for example, so I hope to be rising in the ranks in my Razzball league (League Awesome, for those who are uninformed). Perhaps some of these following cats can help you in your climb:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Some big games last night!  Easily the most fun Tuesday we’ve had on the young season.  Twas a… Ruby Tuesday?  There’s really no good Tuesday references… Have you ever thought about how much Tuesday sucks?  There’s nothing interesting at all about Tuesday!  Tuesday is just a lost day… Except let’s hope you were able to watch some hoops action, as this Tuesday was a big one!

And none bigger than LaMarcus Aldridge torching Denver, putting up 39 Pts on 16-30 shooting.  What’s hilarious about his 39/11/1/0/2 line is that one assist was a high-low pass to the awful Robin Lopez for the game-winning layup with one second left.  Surprised Lopez didn’t botch it!  When you have Sonic the Hedgehog as your haircut, it’s got to be distracting… L.A. with all that production with no TO and 7-9 FT is showing us why he’s boring, but reliable as a second-round fantasy producer.  It’s easy to miss the solid volume FT% and if he gets that 3-pointer dropping like the 0.5 he’s bringing this year – a new development for L.A. – it’s icing on the cake.  Mostly this whole open was just to highlight I’m up 3-0 on Slim in our 30-point challenge!  Even after his slimy Kevin Durant pick.  Slimy, I say!  I think Aldridge has moved into that top 13 or 14 overall, with double-digit boards in six straight bringing those rebounds closer to the 11.1 we saw last year.  If he can avoid any injuries, he’ll be a premiere day of the week, like Friday or something.  No one wants to be a dud like Tuesday, which more than suitably personifies Robin Lopez.  Henceforth, I will now call Tuesdays “Robin Lopez Day”.  Here’s some other happenings that went on across the NBA on Robin Lopez Day:

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Kinda sounds like a porn name, doesn’t it?

After a day of giving thanks, fantasy owners got a huge boost while scarfing microwaved plates of Thanksgiving leftovers with Russell Westbrook healing up and putting on a historic comeback off the broken hand.  Is this guy’s bones made of Adamantium or what?!  Señor Westback seems to beat his timetable every injury the past few years, which I don’t know if it’s really a good or bad thing… Can heal fast, but is gettin’ hurt a lot!  Reckless Russell.  The made-for-TV Skinimax sequel to Wreck-It Ralph starring Russell Westback.  I’d watch that!  Although they’re apparently making a Wreck-It Ralph 2, which I hope embraces some Grand Theft Auto elements.  Would make sense to star Russell Westback!  Rated R, sorry kids…  It’s like confusing them with Death to Smoochy having a purple dinosaur.  Anyway, Westbrook absolutely torched the Knicks last Friday night in his return for 32/7/8 hitting 12-17 shots and notching three treys.  Twas the first 32 Pts 8 Ast game in 24 minutes or less in the shot-clock era.  It was like stealing the car, then running over the driver trying to sprint away for good measure.  Even though it’s “just” his hand, got a huge layoff from that game until facing the Pelicans tomorrow.  Plenty of time to catch up on his turkey leftovers, and refuel to give fantasy owners that first-round production for the bulk of the season ahead.  So drop the confetti, and welcome Westback!  But let’s hope it’s a little less Reckless, and we’ll take 25/5/5 every 24 minutes without any issues… Here’s what else went on around the league since we’ve been off from Thanksgiving:

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Happy draft lottery, Cleveland-ites!  Is having another 1st overall pick enough to lure LeBron back?!  I think chances of that are as good as Anthony Bennett turning out to be a good player…

And now to the fun stuff… Figuring out where to rank the volatile middle-tier guys.  As Paris Hilton once said, “Studs are studs!  Except for when they’re busts!”  Wow, awful.  Needed to get some shock value in here – that was my proverbial watermelon mallet.

After the top 20, things get pretty tricky this early in the offseason.  And until a good bit after the NBA Draft, 50 is as high as we’re gonna go.  The draft class is loaded, and several should proliferate into the top 100, with a few even top 50 guys in the right situation.  Then free agency, old guys retiring, all that hooblah.  But if you’re thinking ahead to some dynasties or formulating some early fantasy draft strategies, here’s my way too early Top 50 for the 2014-15 Fantasy Basketball Season (spoiler alert: still no Jonas Valanciunas):

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So we’re through my top-50 and now getting into the mid-rounds.  We’re taking this through the whole top 100, but some of these are going to be gold and some fool’s gold.  As in, Larry Sanders‘ gold.  If I got to the end of a rainbow and Larry Sanders was there, I’d ask for a refund…

Through the Top 20 and Top 50, I think I’ve done the rankings pretty well.  They tell you towards the end of high school, “the smart ones get the As, but the most successful get Bs.”  I might have made that up since I never studied for virtually anything and got Bs…  But a 3.00 GPA thus far sounds about right!  Rankings are based on my final updated top 200, comparing them to the FantasyPros aggregate Draft Day Rankings along with Basketball Monster’s Total Value for 9-cat leagues on the season.  Slim then grades me.  I asked him, “will you give me As if I show you my double-Ds?”  He then flunked me…  Here’s a look back at the Top 75 for the 2013-14 Fantasy Basketball Season:

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Can I has Triple Doublez? Man watching Kevin Love is fun.  I think he should enter the NFL draft.  Deep outlets like these, plus he’s almost 7 feet and would never get a pass deflected at the line!  I can just picture Kevin Costner and Denis Leary debating over it with the Browns first round pick.  “I’m not taking some bearded seven foot douchebag when I’ve got Johnny Football and a bottle of Johnnie Walker Green!”  Eh, was going for a Leary-ism there, it’s hard to type it…  Huge night for Love, going 24/16/10/1/1 with two treys and continually adding millions to his next contract.  All after a report a few days ago that he was “exhausted” after a couple of non-Love-ish games.  Unloved games?  Something like that.  He’ll be one of the biggest stories to follow in the offseason, but he’s pretty much a shoe-in top-5 pick.  In Basketball Monster, he’s #3 in overall value and #4 per game.  He’s stayed durable and has been beastly.  Godly.  I kinda wanna get a Love bobblehead and put it in my locker and serve him rum.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops:

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“1,000, 1,001, 1,002, 1,003.  Wow, I can hardly lift my left arm I did so many. I don’t know if you heard me, but I did over 1,000.”  Maybe should’ve stopped at like 40!  Kyrie Irving strained his left biceps a couple weeks ago, sending owners into a furious frenzy of wire replacements.  And one of the most fun times of the year (although you could argue most frustrating) is when the fringe or struggling playoff teams make drastic moves.  Well, I would argue dropping Kyrie when news hit wasn’t a drastic move, but I think you all know what I’m saying in H2H leagues.  After a very positive reevaluation, Uncle Drew was cleared for practice yesterday and could return as soon as tomorrow.  Talk about positivity!  While the game tomorrow against the Magic seems questionable, there still is cloudy uncertainty.  Both that game and the Cavs next on Friday at the Hawks are on very busy, heavily-scheduled days.  Of course when healthy, Kyrie is a no-brainer, but I’d imagine his first game back comes with a little bit of training wheels.  So if you’re in your final week in your title hopes, I’m not seeing an immediacy in picking him up.  But if your finals are next week, or a two-week final, go ahead and Cry Uncle.  Wait, that doesn’t mean what I was hoping.  Go ahead and pry Uncle?  Eh…  In Roto, hopefully you held Kyrie as that’s what I would’ve done.  Looking ahead to next week, it’s sadly only three games for the Cavs, but stay positive!  One against Detroit and another against da Bucks.  Gotta like those.  Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?