You know, Raymond Felton broke his hand last year, and this is no joke, less than two weeks after Twinkies were officially discontinued. I imagine him hearing the news after a Knicks loss, and punching the glass out at a NYC convenience store. “How will I ever carboload before rolling onto the court!” Then Twinkies, after being bought out and licensed, again appeared on store shelves in July 2013. And ohhhh boy, was it an offseason to remember for Roly Poly Felton! Even though he’s always looked like a big boy, concerns about his weight surfaced yet again, and this year his stats were down before a myriad of injuries took their toll. This past groin injury, where Felton reportedly heard a “pop”, finally got him to listen to the advice of the trainers. “When my little guy down there told me something was wrong, I finally listened.” Knicks head athletic trainer Roger Hinds had to think on the fly, eventually settling on a 12-grain/cashew cream vegan Twinkie-substitute. Instead of the 15-17 off-the-shelf Twinkies comprising the majority of Felton’s daily diet, he was down to 12-14 “healthy-makers” (as he called them) while rehabbing his groin injury. “The first three or four were kinda funky, but then you get that urge for more-and-more just like the old ones.” After losing 34 pounds in 72 hours, Felton was ready to rejoin the team in practice. “I felt great out there, mobile, my arms stopped running into my love handles when I was drivin’ to the hoop.” Another 42 pounds came off in the next week, and he was ready to play last night. And man, did those 76 lost pounds come in handy! 13/5/14/1/0 against the Heat in a surprise win. I caught up with him after the game: “No J.R. Smiff in the game helped me keep the rock and everything runnin’ through me. He can untie e’rybody’s shoelaces all I care!” Back to reality, I did watch this game, and the bulk of those assists came on dishes to Carmelo Anthony burying jumpers, so the assist total is obviously a big outlier. But Felton did look good. Made good moves, looked agile, and more importantly, made the Knicks look better while playing 39 minutes. We can have fun all we want, but I think I was wrong to be a little dismissive on him returning. I like him right now over D.J. Augustin and Kendall Marshall for example. More staying power, and while the most injury prone of the bunch, I think helps you more in the long-haul. Must-own in 12-teamers, depends on need and depth in 10ers. Here’s what else I saw last night:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Well, Andrew Bynum is Mr. Glass too… But the other way! And he’s also Mr. Franchise Killer, as the Cavs had to suspend him just to get him to stay out of the stadium. “Hey Andrew, leave the HurryCane at home today, we don’t wanna keep paying the stadium workers to put down the handicap ramps!” Just saves money across the board. Once Bynum gets waived, I think even Obama will be shaking his head at Bynum’s healthcare bills. Anyway, the obvious benefactor to that whole mess is Anderson Varejao, who after his dominating 18/25 game last night has double-digit boards in 4 of the last 5. Varejao was cleaning up the glass like he was the Unbreakable one! The leading rebounder in the NBA last year before he got hurt (at a ridiculous 14.4 a game), Varejao should be a monster in 2014. Although it does help when Nikola Vucevic is hurt and the starting center against you is Jason Maxiell. Hell, I coulda had a double double against them last night! And I don’t even have Jerry Curls! Here’s what else I saw last night across the NBA:Please, blog, may I have some more?
I trust everyone has been a good boy or girl this year, and has sent their wish list to Santa already, right? I have it on good authority that jolly old St. Nick is a huge NBA fan, so naturally I suggest you ask for fantasy help. And I have a strategy: bear in mind, if you ask for too much, you get burned for being greedy, and you will get coal bricks under your tree (like Drummond at the free throw line, amirite?? Awful, sorry.). So, that in mind, I’m simply asking for dimes. I need help with assists in my 2 leagues, I took Kyrie in both leagues, and he is not exactly packing that stat line, I have Jameer, and he’s been on and off the court… well, whining to you guys won’t do anything about it. But whining to Santa will. It has to, as there is no quality points on my waiver. And with that let me bend your eyeballs to a few guys that might make excellent stocking stuffers:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Now I’m not sure about this, but when Taj Gibson had a couple good games over the Thanksgiving week, I probably recapped and gobble-gobbled at it. My jowls flapped around like Boss Nass bein’ all “Hmmpphhherr Rumpity-Doooo, Taj Gibson, rabble rabble rabble!” At least that sounds like me… Now you see what I deal with in my inner monologue! It’s like I battle a drunk Kenny Rogers. Which is to say, I battle Kenny Rogers. Gibson has been a scrate-up beast the past four, going 23/8, 18/4, 26/14 5 blks, and 19/6/0/1/1 last night. Bringing big time energy to that front line as the main big off the bench, he’s playing insane out there, shooting 67% from the floor in those past 4. I watched the game last night and was impressed with his spark, but then again, the Heat bigs are awful. They got out-rebounded 49-27 last night! Back in the day, I used to love Taj when Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah battled injuries. But now… it took some time and four in a row to buy it. I think it’s because the Bulls are my least favorite team. Sorry Bulls fans! Boozer & Noah just yell on virtually every rebound and definitely every single putback attempt. It’s unreal! It’s like Maria Sharapova is rebounding. And Gibson does it at least 50% of the time. He’s becoming the Bulls Sex Panther. “50% of the time he’s yelling… every time!” But regardless of how annoying he/the Bulls bigs are to watch/listen to, he’s playing like a must-own in all formats. At 33% owned in Yahoo and 24% in ESPN, he’s hot while a lot guys are not. I don’t think he’s going to turn into a set-it and forget-it guy the rest of the year, he doesn’t do enough of anything else besides score and board (if not for that 5 block game, he’d be under 1 in Asts, Stls & Blks on the year), but I think he’s a ride the wave kinda add right now. Here’s what else I saw on the light Thursday slate of games and a few updates for tonight:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Sorry Bargs, it’s not “Il Mago” you’re “Il Diva”. After whining about playing time in Toronto saying he wanted to play somewhere warmer to the Italian media, the obvious answer is the tropical climate of New York City. Il Diva disappeared in his final year in Toronto, playing under 30 minutes a game for the first time since 07-08. His FG% fell to a career-second worse, the 3PT% second worst and tied a career-worst in rebounding. After 35 games, they cut open his elbow and he cut his ties with the great country of Canadia (sp?). Enter 2013-14 and Bargnani was coming off the bench, and Knicks fans were even booing him after one quarter. Welcome to the Big Apple! I saw some early Knicks action as well, and Bargnani looked as bad as Amar’e Stoudemire. Hey-o! But then Tyson Chandler went down with the broken leg, thrusting Il Diva into a starting role. At that point, I put no stock in either Bargs or Amar’e, but Bargnani has been able to prove something to me: he needs big minutes to be able to do anything. And it’s not a per/48 thing, it’s getting comfortable in the game. Through this season, in the 5 games he’s under 30 minutes he’s shooting 48.8% for 10.2/1.4/0.4 with 0.8 threes a game. And didn’t log a single block. In 3 games over 30 minutes, he’s 53.8% 23/7.7/1.7 2.3 Blks and 2.7 threes a game. Even at per/48 rates and taking into account the small sample, the disparity is shocking. Since Chandler is out a good while healing up the broken leg and Amar’e is just a huge contract sitting on the bench, Bargnani is going to get huge minutes (almost always over 30) and continue this run. “Let me play lots or else I stand around!” Must own in all leagues, a statement I made last week and confirmed with another 24/4 line with three threes and a block last night. Here’s what else I saw in last night’s action:Please, blog, may I have some more?
In yet another bad turn for fantasy top-100 Cs, JaVale McGee joins the triage with Tyson Chandler as centers with broken legs. However unlike Chandler with the impact fracture, McGee discovered a stress fracture in his tibia with the ominous “out indefinitely” declaration. It’s a very tough break (ugh) for the Nuggets and fantasy owners hoping to see stat lines of 10/10/5 when the Nuggets were on the slate. All joking aside, I hate seeing players get injuries and it’s my least favorite open in news recaps in any sport. There are a select few that are funny (my favorite will always be Bartolo Colon trying to swing for the fences and throwing out his back, and I have little sympathy because he’s a roider), but I wish McGee a speedy recovery. For fantasy, he’s droppable in virtually all leagues. A tall guy with a stress fracture isn’t swell, plus he was only playing 16 minutes a game anyway. J.J. Hickson and Tomfey Mozgov get immediate boosts in value, Mozgov is decent when he’s not getting posterized, but Hickson I think is the biggest takeaway and probably should be scooped up in most leagues if he’s not owned already. He proved he can be valuable with starting minutes and is a quality big man. Here’s some other headlines from over the weekend:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Man, what a huge night it was across the NBA with nearly every team in action. It obviously all starts with the shocker Philly put on the Heat, and Michael Carter-Williams‘ unreal debut. I was following with my co-workers during the game and tweeted that if he got a triple-double in his first NBA game, the universe would implode. Thankfully MCW was a steal short and we’re all still here. His final line of 6-10 (4-6 3PTM 6-8 FT) 22 Pts 7 Rebs 12 Asts and 9 Stls might actually win some owners their matchups this week on its own. Just preposterous. Most steals in NBA history in a player’s debut. Ok before we all go nutso, remember the Heat played without Dwayne Wade (rest), don’t have a PG, and had all their hands weighed down with new championship rings. So that’s not really an excuse, but so what?! The shooting efficiency was fantastic (the biggest knock on him coming into the year), plus he had only one turnover (his second main knock). “Nice knockers!” Thanks Young Frankenstein! MCW indeed moves up a fair bit in value in my eyes, but this is likely his best line on the year. MCW was wildly inconsistent in college and I don’t expect much consistency on a terrible 76ers team (I know they just beat the Heat, but c’mon). Look for John Wall to lock him up on Friday and cool the hype. Despite inconsistencies, it goes without saying that MCW should be owned in all leagues now (78% Yahoo, 59.4% ESPN), so if for some reason he’s available in your league, you gotta get him. I’m not expecting MCW to be an elite player, but will continue to contribute even in down games. Here’s what else I saw across Fantasy Basketball last night:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Listen, I know a lot of drafts have gone down, but I think we’re still right in the sweet spot of the drafting season. And while we’re in that sweet spot, why not start up an RCL Hoops league where we need more commishes! I am putting an embargo on comments unless you start up a league! Haha – kidding. But what’s less funny is the curse of my love for Trey Burke, as he’s going to have surgery on his index finger. “Don’t you point at me!” “I can’t help it, it’s the cast!” The original report of him missing 8-12 weeks had him a 100% no bueno in my book, but then he tweeted out (I guess using other fingers) that it should only be 4-6 weeks. Apparently he’ll be in a splint three weeks and will be reevaluated. As in – “my fingy still hurty!” I’m moving Burke way down and taking it as a sign to completely cool off my love for him. As in Arnold in the last bad Batman movie cool. “Tonight’s forecast – a freeze is coming in!” John Lucas III becomes the starting PG it appears in most games and probably needs to be owned in deeper leagues, but I wouldn’t drop someone that good for him. Lucas III didn’t crack the updated rankings because I don’t see season-long impact from him. Alec Burks could start some games at the point as well, and remains ranked as I think he plays both guard positions and minutes all year. That is despite a horrible 1-13 shooting performance last night… The Jazz are also re-evaluating trading for the Bulls’ Marquis Teague in a possible trade. Then there’s a rumor that free agent Jamaal Tinsley might also get signed. Sounding more and more like the Jazz PG is going to be a black hole this season. So I’m avoiding them all, but still holding Burke in 12+ team leagues (like my 1st RCL League) and hoping. Here’s what else has been going down through the preseason, and a final rankings update:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Maybe because I didn’t follow the NBA preseason as closely last year as I was working exclusively on Football, but I feel like there’s been a lot more preseason injuries in only the first week of action than in year’s past. Then again, Rodney Stuckey wasn’t even on the court, and slammed his thumb in his car door and needs surgery. It’s gonna make for a hell of a hitchhiking thumb in that cast! What it is with Detroit athletes and getting hurt in their cars? Not even a month ago Nate Burleson broke his arm reaching over to keep some boxes from falling and slamming into the median. All Detroit athletes need to avoid using motor vehicles. Maybe that’s proof right there Obama shouldn’t have bailed out GM. Give them all mopeds. Oh wait, yeah that won’t work, will is Monta Ellis? Maybe segways? I’ve got it! Just tell Andre Drummond he has to carry every Detroit athlete to where they need to go until his FT% goes above 50. He’ll be like a Detroit athlete tauntaun. See, tell me why I’m not an NBA coach. I already had moved Kentavious Caldwell-Pope way up before the Stuckey injury with how the Pistons coaching staff was praising him, and look for KCP to move to right around 100 overall in my next rankings update. Here’s what else went down since we last looked in at preseason action:Please, blog, may I have some more?
After re-ranking the top 10, top 20, and top 50, it’s easy to see there’s been big changes since last May. Below are the Razzball Updated Rankings with the previous May rankings in parentheses before the adjusted rank:
(68) ↑ 51. Derrick Favors – Utah declining to bring back either Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap gives you a slight inclination on their thoughts on Favors, and they’re already talking contract extension with their emerging big as well. I love his athleticism, and if I miss out on Serge Ibaka who I’m high on early, I’m gonna want to reach on Favors to win blocks. I think he’ll be a top-5 NBA swatter.
(51) 52. Kemba Walker – Kemba has been higher on virtually every rankings I’ve seen, and I’m just not top-50 high on him. He had a really solid season last year, but the terrible FG% still worries me as I feel like he forces some offense. The acquisition of Big Al is going to give the Bobcats/soon-to-be Hornets an actual scorer down, and I don’t think that translates into helping Kemba all that much. I like Gerald Henderson a lot too to take a bigger scoring role. The 2.0 steals a game last year was elite, but I see those going down along with the scoring, and a comparable 5.7:2.4 Ast:TO ratio. All that spells a slightly down ranking for me. Although to be fair, he’s played in every single Bobcats game in his career, so there’s that reliability that can’t be ignored.Please, blog, may I have some more?