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?

Sooooo… Last night just happened.  It was the wildest night of fantasy hoops that I could ever remember.  Sure my memory isn’t exactly like Ken Jennings, but yea… Definitely going to break the “what the hey?!” record!  The Fantasy Basketball world just stood still.  It was just like the remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still.  Is that Keanu Reeves?  What is Jaden Smith doing here?  Wait, is this an actual plot?  There’s just too much crazy to care about these special effects!  There were like, a million three pointers last night.  Tony Wroten had a triple double.  Ok, who had Wroten in the triple-double pool?  I think if you had bet on that in Vegas you coulda turned a dollar into owning the state of Nevada.  18/10/11 while shooting 7-18.  A lot of Philly stats got boosted by the Rockets pace, and if you hadn’t heard yet, Michael Carter-Williams was a very late scratch with a sore foot.  What are they feeding these guards in Philly?  I think it’s obvious that to be a good NBA PG you must diet solely on cheesesteaks.  But enough meandering, let’s go straight into the nitty gritty, the CGI effects if you will, for the reason why you’re here:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So the Pistons were looking like a playoff contending team with all their offseason acquisitions, but after a 2-1 record with the only loss a close one on the road to Memphis, the Pistons have dropped 4 straight to fall to 2-5.  Plus Memphis looks god awful after that looking like a “good” loss.  The Pistons aren’t very good.  Hire Jim Leyland!  The culmination of the four-game skid climaxed in an ugly 18- point loss to the Warriors last night that sent a few fantasy shockwaves down our fantasy spine.  First Josh Smith was benched before playing 19 minutes and shot 1-6 for 2 Pts and no boards.  That’s like a Robin Lopez line! He reportedly took some bad three-pointers.  Those familiar with Josh Smith are like, “aren’t they all bad three pointers coming from him?!”  Still think Smith will be fine and this could actually help him from killing your FG% on his off nights.  The biggest benefactor to the J Smoove benching was my boyfriend (!) Kentavious Caldwell-Pope getting 24 minutes and going 9/3/1 with a trey and two steals playing a small (literally) forward role at times.  Now I didn’t watch this game, so if he was matched up on Andre Iguodala who isn’t exactly a domineering 3, that makes sense.   Then to top off a terrible night for Pistons fans, Razzball commenter favorite Andre Drummond went down with an ankle injury, playing way too late in the game that was a blowout.  It was like a Booby Miles injury.  He walked off the court under his own power, but ankle injuries are like the fantasy grim reaper’s wheel of fortune.  Sometimes a terrible looking one turns into nothing, and sometimes you’re Tobias Harris.  Hell Tyson Chandler walked off the court with a broken leg!  You just never know… Keep your eye out for updates during the day.  Hey, at least Drummond put up 16/14/0/3/3 for ya!  Here’s what else I saw across the NBA last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Well… Larry Sanders hasn’t had the best few weeks…  The Colonel held his injuries from the field surgeon just long enough to keep hope alive in his troops, but had to undergo the knife to repair his thumb and will be out 6 weeks.  Was it from a punch, the champagne bottle, or just getting too close in the delivery room?  No one will ever know.  Talk about easily the biggest fantasy bust this season thus far.  With no IR spot, drop this dude.  Zaza Pachulia is now a big pickup for anyone needing big man stats.  Za/Za is such a good Scrabble play!  Definitely a go-to for 60+ point moves on the triples.  If you have the cajones to challenge me in Words With Friends, hit me up (user ID: Jbronze).  But if I smell any Word Gen, I’ma publicly smite you!  Oh yeah, hoops, John Henson gets a big boost as well looking at consistent run.  But beware Henson’s terrible FT shooting and prepare thusly.  Speaking of thusly, herebe the NBA beings-all I saw last fortnight (wait, doesn’t that mean like 20 days ago?  Eh you know what I meant):

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Fournier-Year-Old Virgin

After a very tough start to his season going 2-14 in his first two games, Evan Fournier finally found his stroke last night going 5-10 (2-3 3PTM) for a 12/3/2 line in a season high 25 minutes.  If you’re like me, you’re a Fournier virgin in all leagues.  Sure he’s way off the map (I don’t know where France is!), but I have a feeling he could surprise later on in the season.  In the last 8 games of 2012-13, Fournier went 11.5 Pts (0.9 3PTM) 2.3 Rebs 2.8 Asts 1.4 Stls while shooting 50% from the field and 92.9% from the stripe in only 23 minutes a game.  Now that was on a playoff team, resting some stars – sure, but this Nuggets team is a mess right now.  I know they just beat the Hawks, but a lineup starting Randy Foye and Jordan Hamilton (of course Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari are on the shelf), Fournier could get late season run as I highly doubt the Nuggets make the playoffs.  He’s a great off-the-radar multi-cat guy to keep your eye on especially in deeper leagues as we start getting into the meat of the season.  Here’s what else I saw last night in the NBA:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As an ancient proverb goes – “I’d like to introduce you to an old friend and a new friend.”  Ok, so I made that up.  But it sounds good!

For an old friend I’ve mentioned a few times and pumped up in my last rankings update before the season started up, my boy Omri Casspi had another solid outing last night that probably was under the radar.  In 24 minutes, he went 7/8/5 with no turnovers, 2-4 from the field and 3-4 from the line.  He just looks awesome every time I see him play.  Did you know he was the first Israeli to play in the NBA?  He’s pretty much Chandler Parsons but with Chandler Parsons in his way.  After a ho-hum first two games, his past two have been fantastic – and this last one without hitting a three which is a big part of his game.  Not necessarily a must own in 12-teamers, but definitely worth a look, and needs to be grabbed in 14+.

Then my new friend - Gal Mekel on the Mavericks.  You’re like, “who the eff is Gal Mekel?  I thought this was NBA not WNBA!”  Mekel was signed to a three-year deal by the Mavs this offseason, and became the second Israeli to join the NBA.  Cut to Amar’e Stoudemire going, “Hey, I should count!”  With Shane Larkin dealing with an ankle injury, and no Devin Harris for a while, Mekel is getting full-on backup PG run and playing well doing it.  He got his 2nd 6 assist game last night going 9/4/6 and hitting a 3.  Sure some run was in junk time, but with the oft-injured Jose Calderon the only one ahead of him (hasn’t played in over 68 games since 2007), Mekel could find his way into starts.  Of course, now I’ve ruined my play on him in the REL League.  Let’s just hope no one in that league is reading!  Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy hoops:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away…  Is that too cliché?  Yeah it is, but there’s a point.  You knew where it came from as soon as you read it.  You can hear the soundtrack playing in your head.  Well, now that I said it you can hear it.  There’s even a chance you might remember the first time you saw it.  That’s what drafting LeBron James feels like.  It’s a smell in the air, a taste in the back of your throat that tells you there’s something familiar here.  The nurturing feeling of resting against LeBron’s bosom.  Ahh…  Hold me LeBron.  That’s not what this series is going to be about.  This here is akin to trying to remember the first time you saw Spaceballs.  Sure it’s a classic, but we both know you weren’t in the right state of mind to remember the first time you watched any Mel Brooks movie.  Am I right or am I right?  I can hear your silence loud and clear.

Let’s all now jump into our Delorean, Phone Booth, Hot Tub or whatever your time machine of choice is and travel back to last October.  There was something with very large fantasy implications happening in Houston.  It was not the trade for James Harden.  I’m talking about the position battle at SF between Carlos Delfino and Chandler Parsons.  If you would have chosen wisely then you would have gotten the closest thing I can imagine to the fantasy holy grail.  A top 50 player at the low low cost of a free agent pick up, even in the deepest of leagues.  This will be my gift to you.  No, not this overpriced knockoff but the next best thing.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

After re-ranking the top 10top 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?

Razzball Nation!  You’ve been clamoring for some updated rankings, and here they come!  I’m going to release them slowly, teasing them out, just like how we did the offseason rankings 5 months ago.  These top guys haven’t changed too much, but the rankings will expand to the top 200, culminating in an easy-to-use and frequently updated cheat sheet you can use during all your drafts as they commence in the next few months.  Fantasy NBA is coming and we’re ready to win you titles (or titties – depending on your league’s prize pool).  Previous ranks from my Off-Season Rankings are in parentheses before this re-rank:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’ve got to say, growing up a huge Charlotte Hornets fan, I am going to finally have a favorite team again next year.  I mean, the Bobcats is such a horrific name for a professional sports team that it actually made me not cheer for them.  If they follow my logic – citizens of New Orleans, I’m sorry, you’re no longer cheering for your NBA team.

If you missed it the other night, the 2013 NBA Draft Lottery was selected (coincidentally right when a huge Powerball was built up and won – conspiracy?!) with the Cleveland Cavaliers winning another #1 pick.  Nerlens Noel, or Captain N as I’m going to call him, looks like he’s heading to one of basketball’s friendliest cities.  Just don’t leave for another team in a televised special.  Honestly, my first thought was, “great, another talented player I have to navigate through injury estimates with.”

Anyway, I doubt any NBA rookies will crack the top 100 for fantasy this year, it’s a pretty weak draft class, but that’s why these way too early rankings will be capped at 100 before readdressed closer to the season when they’ll expand to 200.  As always with rankings this early, it’s May, the Finals haven’t even started yet, and there will be a lot of revisions.  But here’s how I see things shaking out as of right now:

Please, blog, may I have some more?