Well, so much for the prime time matchup last night!  Yesterday afternoon LeBron James‘ knee flared up, and after a mid-afternoon report that the Cavs weren’t worried but would be cautious, they ended up holding him out.  I think LeBron was mostly worried about another Serge Ibaka wrister.

How you can finish that play after breaking your nose…?!  Legit.  Anyway, for the Cavs it didn’t mean much to the Big Two, but somehow Tristan Thompson is playing his way into relevance again.  Yes, Slim and I’s oft-discussed, Pts/Reb only Tristan Thompson – except these days he’s hitting some other cats!  14/13/1/0/2 last night, shooting 4-8 FG and 6-8 FT in 30 minutes.  He’s finally making shots at an acceptable rate this year, with his FG% at 53.6% before last night and got the blocks back up to nearly 1 a game after being at 0.4 last year in almost 6 more minutes per.  The big catalyst here is getting back that big run with the second unit.  After only topping 30 minutes one time through the first 14 games, is over 30 four of the past seven culminating in dubdubs three of the past four.  I’m frankly surprised he’s owned in 38% of Yahoo leagues already, but for the streamers/DraftKings players out there, LeBron might sit one more and assure another big workload for TT.  I don’t think he plays this much long-term, but you can get some big man stats on the cheap.  It’s no conundrum!  Here’s what else went down in the two games 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?

Totally off the wagon!  My sobriety is over.  On my bender this weekend, I ate a roasted chicken off the bone for dinner, lost my voice yelling trying to talk to Germans, tried to order steak at a carnival stand, and woke up the next day hating life.   Well, that was actually my time at Oktoberfest, but more or less the same thing!

We all know how much I love Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.  He’s probably my most talked about fantasy player since last season that hasn’t fully broken into 100%-owned fantasy relevance.  And of course, after a slow start and swearing him off – with me finally admitting to my KCP obsession – he turns it back around culminating in another fantastic line against OKC for 19/3/5/1/0 shooting 6-12 FG (1-5 3PTM 6-7 FT).  Did have 3 TO, but one was a very questionable charge on a nasty layup in transition.  I think Kevin Durant took it – MVP call!  In the finale last year, KCP went 30/6/0/2/1 on 11-19 shooting with 5 treys against OKC.  Slim – how many times have I brought up that game now?!  I worked Yahoo highlights on that one when my company did them last year, so harkening to the memories of that 30-burger is like reliving your ultimate drug trip.  “The trees were melting into the sky!”  So of course seeing him rip apart OKC once again has my teeth grinding more than a cokehead stranded in Antarctica.

KCP’s got steals in 9 of 10 games now, his TO rate is fantastic (3 was a season high yesterday – averaging 1.0 TO a game before last night), but I’m recently liking how much more he’s getting involved inside the perimeter.  Through the first 15 games, 47.4% of KCP’s shots were 3s, but through the last six, 35 of his 80 shots were treys taking it down to 43.8%.  And in that time his USG% (estimate of the percentage of team plays used by a player while he was on the floor) – something I don’t look at too, too often – jumped from 18% those first 15 games, to 20.3% not including yesterday.  I watched a lot of last night’s game, and he was more involved in the O than any other Pistons game I’ve seen all year – and due to my addiction, it’s been a lot.  While it was yet another loss, they still gave OKC a run for their money – given the Thunder studs are still shaking off some rust.  So I’m back to being a KCP addict!  Let’s hope this doesn’t start impacting my work and ruining my relationships…  I won’t go rehab again!  Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy basketball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

What a night, what a night!  While we didn’t see the fireworks of say, a QB drafted by San Diego saying he’d only play for the Giants, but we had some interesting reaches, some surprising fallers, and one very happy/newly re-acquainted Hornets fan!

The crew and I had a blast tweeting through the draft, so I have a few other thoughts sprinkled in the first round recap below.  It didn’t go quite (read: at all) like Slim and I’s mock draft, but here’s how the draft went down, with a fantasy outlook for these rookies for the 2014-15 Fantasy Basketball Season:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Probably because he’s, well, Elton Brand, I haven’t paid much attention to him.  It’s like telling me, “Hey JB, Robert Parrish is on the wire, what’da think?!”  Brand is getting tons of run lately with Gustavo Ayon and Pero Antic still hurt decimating the Hawks 5s (and Paul Millsap out as well), to the tune of 40+ minutes the past two games and 30+ in 4 of 5.  And grandpa Elton topped off his big run with a rainbow line last night, 7/13/3/2/2 in 42 minutes.  That’s like an Andrew Bogut line!  Had a comment last night asking if Brand is a flash in the pan.  More like flash in the bedpan!  Yeah, I don’t see any sustainability here with none of the aforementioned hurt guys really out that long.  But hey, maybe a one-game stream?  The Hawks are going at Boston tonight who lack any sort of consistency up front as well and Brand could get ya another multi-cat gem.  Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy hoops:

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The trade deadline is here!  Today!  And even though we had a few trades already go down, more are sure to proliferate through the league office.   Hopefully the NBA has faster fax machines than the NFL.  I mean, seriously on that Elvis Dumervil thing?!  BREAKING NEWS!  The Heat trade LeBron James to Cleveland for Anthony Bennett, but the trade was sent just over a month too late.  Reports indicate it was sent on April 1st.  Hah!  Sent from some hooligan named David Stern…  You’ve been punked Adam Silver!  Back to reality, we’ve seen Marcus Thornton get traded to the grandpa Nets for Jason Terry and Reggie Evans and Steve Blake get all his fantasy value decapitated Hershel-Walking Dead style by getting shipped to the Warriors for Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks.  The takeaways thus far is you can cut Blake in virtually all leagues, and in deeper leagues I actually think Reggie Evans could start at some point as the Kings 4.  Jason Thompson is one of the many rumored on the trading block which would open up that role.  I’m not saying Evans would play 30 minutes or anything, but could maybe average 8 boards a game while doing nothing else in the typical Evans fashion.  So when I say deeper leagues, I mean deeeeeeper.  We’ll recap the rest of the trades in tomorrow morning’s piece as well as in the comments throughout the afternoon to help with your fantasy moves.  Here’s what else went down in NBA action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Deron Williams could sell Citizen Eco-Drive watches too!  “Be precise!  Be powerful!  And whatever you do, don’t in-bounds the ball on a terrible underthrown pass when you’re up a point with seconds to go!”  Just an awful way for the Nets to drop a game last night, as one of my favorite underrated guys right now Patrick Patterson stole Deron’s pass and buried a game-winner.  If only that was a fantasy category!  While you may have been suckered in thinking I’m gonna talk about Deron, Pit Pat is who I want to lead with, who ended with a 15/3/1/2/0 night, punctuated by that steal and dos points on that last play.  In 22 minutes he shot 6-11, hit a three, and is playing pretty well in limited time.  In only 23:12 a game thus far in 2014, 11/5.6/1.6/0.8/0.6 with a trey a night.  Dem fightin’ numbers!  Obviously was on the court in the critical juncture last night, and pulled a Richard Sherman defensive play.  Plus he played after breaking his nose Saturday!  Dem fightin’ numbers!  Only owned in 12% of Yahoo leagues, Pit Pat’s strong play should have him on the brink of high 20 minutes a game.  Not like he’s playing for the Bucks or anything!  Sure he’s behind Amir Johnson, but Amir was quiet last night in 30 minutes (8/6/1/0/1) and Tyler Hansbrough is still out with a psycho ankle.  If you step up in an opportunity, rewards shall be reaped!  Just don’t typo that last word without the first “e”.  Like I almost did!  Hashtag edetting.  Here’s what else I saw last night in NBA action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yeah, I think about the Thompson Twins. They sang one of the 1980s most epic cheese ballads. And yeah, I think about the Minnesota Twins, specifically the 1987 Minnesota Twins, who were one of the raddest teams ever, especially on RBI Baseball. And what was the deal with the Wonder Twins? Who decided to come up with superheroes where one could turn into animals and the other forms of water? How is that helpful at all to anyone?

But I never gave the Morris twins’ story much thought beyond, “Hey, that’s pretty cool that twin brothers play for the Phoenix Suns.”

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?

Hide your kids, hide your wife, crank up the Owl City and hand me a KFC Double Down. The Class of 2010 is in the hizzous!

That’s right, it’s looking like that draft wasn’t so bad after all, what with a healed and dazzling John Wall; the Doug Collins-less, unleashed Evan Turner; a settled-in DeMarcus Cousins; Boards-N-Blocks favorite Greg Monroe; my NBA BFF Paul George; and now Derrick Favors, who – here we go again – appears he has achieved Breakout Status.

Had a 21-13-3 against Denver, a 12-12-2 but with 5 steals (!) vs. the Pelicans, a monster 20-18-3 against the Spurs and then had a more typical Favors effort with a 17-7-1 in Oakland.

Some say this means he’s out of the buy-low window now. But that means, at least to me, he’s in the sell high. I need to see consistent beastly efforts, or a 20-point, 20-board game (hell Nikola Vucevic does this in his sleep), and until then I’ll keep saying to trade him whenever he gets hot.

Please, blog, may I have some more?