Ah, the almost-studlies.  The “still can’t quite miss, but you can start reaching round.”  …Almost sounds like I said reach around…

This is where the sommeliers really can knock their drafts out of the park – it’s all about the pairings.  You don’t serve red wine with fish, you cro-magnon!  But what’s great about fantasy hoops as opposed to a pretentious French restaurant is there’s very few pairings that can go wrong.  I mean your first rounder is awesome and your second rounder awesome with it!  I know a lot of people like the FT punt builds, but really the only pairing I can’t see doing is going big-big.  There’s a ton of FT-punt bigs littered through the first 4-5 rounds, so I think you can still punt, but start with a LeBron James/Draymond Green pair, then PG/C in 3/4.  I’m sure Slim and I will work on more culinary pairings as we go through the ranks and do some mocks on the Podcast, as we attempt to put together the best fine dining experience…  I just wanna avoid the friggin’ snails!  Here’s the Top 20 for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball Season.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The NBA really is Jordan Belfort.  The Wolf of Fantasy Sports!  It’s tantric and never slows down, from the Finals ending less than two weeks before the draft, free agency hitting a week later and we’re already starting summer ball.  And the NBA will soon revel in the excess that is the 16-17 salary cap boost with a TV deal that put Seinfeld reruns to shame.  I need my ludes to get me through!

Even the Spurs couldn’t avoid the world of excess and massive free agency signings, bringing in LaMarcus Aldridge for a cool $80 million.  Loosening up the purse strings!  My first thought was, “dammit, Kawhi is never gonna be the guy!”  Then again, he got over $90 mil with his extension, so there’s that!  But Kawhi Leonard sometimes struggles with the mid-range and long-distance shooting, so L.A. should help Kawhi by opening up some lanes and keeping him in his game.  This is going to be a crazy offense, with Tim Duncan moving to center and likely being his solid old self.  Which leaves us with what to expect from Aldridge…  And, me no likey for fantasy.  After being really durable early in his career, he’s had a few bumps and bruises (I know, I know, playing through a torn thumb tendon gets mad props) and the Spurs – as we all know – love to limit the minutes.  I also don’t think he quite gets to 20 shots a game like we’ve seen the past few years.  I had him 20 in my way too early rankings, but the move drops him a few spots at the least.  L.A. in S.A. is not OK!  Here’s what else has gone on through the first few days of free agency and rookie ball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yikes, after the top 10 things become a hodgepodge of nitpickery!  I think I made that word up, but I’m not going to let my creativity wane during the offseason!

After putting out my Way Too Early Top 10 last week, I fought some procrastination and internal debates to get 11-20 down.  Fought some ranker’s block!  It’s like writer’s block, except I’m a lot less cool than Hank Moody in Californication.  Ranker’s block doesn’t score me the Hollywood A-listers!  But with a bottle of booze and in a plain black T, I truck forward thanks to the insistence of Runkle.  Here’s my Way Too Early Top 20 for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball Season:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The 2014-15 Fantasy Basketball season is officially in the books!  But we won’t be slowing down too much, with a lot of great off-season content planned and my Way Too Early Ranks for 2015-16 coming in a few weeks…

In 14-15 we had ups (#OccupyDraymondGreen baby!), we’ve had downs (cough, MCW, cough), but what matters most is we had fun I finished better than Slim in the REL league!

And one of the highest of highs from last night was James Harden‘s triple double, going 16/11/10/1/1 in only 27 minutes against the Jazz.  Only took 8 shots!  That’s what Mel Gibson tried to tell the police anyway…  3-8 FG, 2-5 3PTM, and more of that oh-so-sweet FT volume hitting 8-8 freebies.  Assists, rebounds and steals all went up this season, along with the obvious scoring and he was at a career best 8.8-10.2 FT a game entering last night.  The TO are brutal, but he also chipped in a career best 0.7 blocks in an absolutely elite year.  So I can say with pretty good confidence he’ll be my #1 player for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball season.  Was durable (81 games this season, 73+ the past 3 years), consistent, and I just love mustache rides.  Take me to the promised land in 15-16, Mr. Beard!  Here’s what else went down on the final night of 2014-15 Fantasy Basketball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Playoffs? Unlike Jim Mora, there’s no question it’s playoff time. With the season almost over, tough decisions and moves need to be made. A guy that helped you during the regular season may not be helpful now. You’re trying to win a championship and there are only so many weeks left in the season to accomplish that. Hopefully your team is healthy, but if not, here’s an update on the latest injuries:

Dwight Howard returned for the Houston Rockets, after missing 26 games with swelling in his right knee. In 16 minutes as a starter, Howard recorded 4 points, 7 rebounds, and 1 block. Howard only played 16 minutes because of a minutes’ restriction, rather than because of foul trouble (he had 4 fouls in the game).

This is definitely good news for the Rockets and fantasy owners’ playoff runs. Each game, Howard should see his minutes rise, but it probably won’t be another week or so until he’s back to playing full minutes. Even then, he may sit a game or two if he feels any discomfort or the Rockets decide to rest him for the playoffs. This is pure speculation on my part, but it wouldn’t surprise me, since Howard has been limited to 33 games this season. The Rockets want to be careful with him.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Well, I can’t say I haven’t been steadfast (double negative police!) about my Dwight Howard hatred…  Look at that rock bottom red right there!

And with Dwight coming back from his knee injury and the precursing news of his return, I have said I wouldn’t add him in virtually any 10 or 12ers.  I don’t trust the minutes, and after giving Slim a 19 minutes over/under for Dwight’s return on the Pod, he only went for 16:27 putting up 4/7/2/0/1 with a TO.  At least he stayed off the FT line!  After we had started the Pod, McHale said he was only giving Dwight 16 minutes, just enough to be sure his TO and FT% wouldn’t hurt fantasy teams.  I may have been liberal with McHale’s quote for that last part…  In 8-cat or non-FT% leagues I guess he probably should be scooped up, but he’ll probably sit back-to-backs and the Rockets have a pair left on the schedule with Sun/Mon and Wed/Thurs games this upcoming week.  Get your sales ready, Big & Tall, we got a bigun needing more street clothes!  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Woooo, Jimmy Buckets is back!  And Tom Thibodeau does what Tom Thibodeau does…  Runs his guys to death.

After missing exactly 3 weeks with his elbow injury, Jimmy Butler returned last night and played a ridiculous 39-and-a-half minutes for 19/9/1/0/0.  Almost 40 minutes?!  And he shot 6-20!?  Sure he’s taken a ton of shots the past week to be sure the elbow is healthy, but the aggression in that 7-10 FT really solidifies he should be 100% the rest of the way.  That is, until Tibs plays him 63 minutes in a 3-OT game!  Sheesh, I gotta wonder if I’ll ever be huge on Bulls again…  Derrick Rose and all-a-dat, Joakim Noah goes through injury spells…  And Tibs refuses to run his starters on any sort of minutes limits.  I’m more posing the thought than really setting any personal beliefs in my fantasy bedrock, but Rose for sure I could never draft.  You can call that Fred Flintstone because it’ll make my Fantasy Bedrock!  I don’t think I’m using that lyric right…  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Thunder just can’t catch a break this season. Kevin Durant is still out with a foot injury and now Serge Ibaka will join him on the sidelines.

Ibaka underwent surgery this week to help address discomfort in his knee. Apparently, Ibaka had been experiencing soreness since February. Despite setting up a management plan to help alleviate the pain, the Thunder ultimately decided that surgery was the best option.

Ibaka is expected to be out between four and six weeks. If all goes well in his recovery, Ibaka should be able to return for the Thunder’s first round series, should they hold off the Pelicans for the eighth playoff spot.

As a result of the timeline, Ibaka’s regular season is over. He’s safe to drop in redraft leagues. Ibaka’s MRI prior to the surgery revealed no structural or long-term issues so Ibaka is a great keeper for next season.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

For one week this season, it feels like there are more stars returning from injury than ones getting hurt. However, that won’t console those who saw their players were added to the injury list. So we’ll start with the bad news first.

All-Star Jimmy Butler suffered an elbow sprain in Sunday’s game and will miss the next 3-6 weeks. Fortunately the injury will not require surgery, but that still puts him out for most, if not all of March.

Joining Derrick Rose and Butler on the sideline, Taj Gibson is out with another ankle injury. Out since suffering the injury in Friday’s game, he’s no longer wearing a walking boot. Gibson has a history of ankle injuries so the Bulls’ may want to be extra cautious with him, but Gibson should be considered day-to-day going forward.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ugh.

Three letters to sum it up right there (and I wrote the beginning of this open before seeing Rotoworld’s update!  Groupthink.)

In only a light slate of two games last night, we had a very solid and steady fantasy contributor in Wesley Matthews go down with a torn Achilles and will miss the rest of the season.  I haven’t been this mad at Achilleses (multiple Achilles?) since Brad Pitt in Troy!  Man was Orlando Bloom a pansy too…  Rough, rough injury and owners will have to scramble to find replacements for his 2.9 3PTM and 16.1 points a game with only 1.3 TO.  Tagline of Taken baby!  “Good luck.”  And well, probably the guy filling in for Matthews is as good as any replacement, as Arron Afflalo should immediately step in the role and be Afflalo of old.  I was shocked that late last night he was already owned in 66% of leagues, but that was probably spiking harder than a Charlie Sheen punchbowl with the devastating news last night.  While Matthews was great for what he did, threes are a-plenty on the wire, and veterans of ThrAGNOF should be able to get their stream gloves dirty!  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?