How do you decide who is most deserving of the lead between these two stellar performances?:

  • Player A – 25 points, 18 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 block, 10-15 FGs
  • Player B – 22 points, 14 rebounds, 10 blocks, 10-14 FGs

I’m going to give the nod to the player who posted his gaudy stats in a winning effort and that would be Player A, also known as Detroit center, Andre Drummond. The Pistons asked a lot from their franchise big man, and he responded with 39 minutes of terrific play that helped lead his team to a win over the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers. Drummond was a +17 in a five point win, and even made the Cavs pay when they intentionally fouled him in the fourth quarter. After starting 1-4 from the line, AD made four of his last five to help seal the deal. It was a great overall performance and at this point the only thing fantasy owners need to fear is this heavy workload catching up to him later in the season. But at only 22 years old, there’s no reason why Drummond can’t make 2015-2016 his career campaign.

Player B is Miami Heat center, Hassan Whiteside. In just his 77th career game, Whiteside treated fantasy owners to his second points/boards/blocks triple-double. Unfortunately it was in a losing effort to the visiting Timberwolves, and was accompanied by four turnovers and a 2-9 mark from the charity stripe. Despite the sub-par free throw shooting (which was a bugaboo coming into the season), Hassan is providing first round returns and very likely earning himself a max contract when he hits free agency in the summer of 2016. Similar to Andre Drummond, there are no legitimate threats to Whiteside’s value other than injury, so it’s a “sit back and enjoy the ride” opportunity for his owners.

Honorable mention goes to Brooklyn’s pivot, Brook Lopez, who wasn’t too shabby himself on Tuesday night, dropping a 24/10/1/1/3 line in a two point win over the visiting Hawks. BroLo only turned the ball over once in 35 minutes and made 11-21 from the floor against a reasonably stout Atlanta front line. He may not be posting the monster lines like Whiteside and Drummond, but he’s chugging along as a third round per-game value in 9-cat leagues which is likely providing his owners with a solid return on their draft day investment.

Let’s take a look at what else shook down on a highly entertaining seven-game Tuesday evening…

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Maybe he didn’t call glass on his clutch three with 1:05 left in the 4th, but when you’re Dirk Nowitzki, a future hall of famer, who cares? I know fantasy owners don’t care whether it was a swish or a banked in three. All we care about are the final stats. And, boy, did Dirk deliver.

Down one going into the second half, Dirk took over for the Mavericks, leading them to a 10-point win against the Clippers. Dirk finished the game with 31 points and 11 rebounds on 11-14 shooting, including 5-6 from downtown. It was vintage Dirk.

Midway through the 3rd quarter he caught a Zaza Pachulia pass off of an offensive rebound and without squaring up, knocked down an one foot fade away jumper without hesitation. He knocked down threes with DeAndre Jordan in his grill. It was truly a great game.

As a fan of the game, it’s amazing to watch games like this, but as a fantasy owner, you have to realize that these games aren’t as common for the 37 year-old as they used to be. It was Dirk’s first 30-point game since December 28, 2014. In his 18th year in the NBA, Dirk is still a top 50 player when he plays, but just be aware his minutes are monitored more closely and he sits on back to backs, hurting his total overall value.

Now onto the other nightly notables:

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rcl-basketball-logoThe regular season approaches — fewer than three weeks before our lives finally have meaning again! My RCL had a draft last weekend, and I wanted to share the results with all of you wonderful readers as a fascinating case study and (perhaps) cautionary tale! This was an excellent draft– I think all managers were drafting live, making some ballsy and brilliant picks. I’ve included a grade and a few words on each of their teams after my pick-by-pick blow-by-blow. Off we go!

[editor’s note – we still have leagues open to join the RCL fun, plus we need more leagues!  Hop over to the RCL sign-ups and start a league today!]

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Yeah. It goes like this right here. It’s the return of the writings of Slim! That reminds of an Outkast song, and that song reminds me of 1998. If you don’t remember it was the year we learned there was yet another way to be disgusted by a cigar. That near, far, wherever you are you probably found yourself at some point rooting for the most unlikeliest of protagonists, Billy Zane. And of course it was the year the ‘Blue Screen of Death‘ truly became a meme, long before anyone knew what a meme was.

Gangstaaaaa… It’s the return… turn…

In the NBA draft that year there were 3 guys drafted that are still playing and should one day be in the Hall of Fame. I’ll give you a hint, the top 3 draft picks were Michael Olowokandi, Mike Bibby, and Raef LaFrentz, and if you were playing fantasy basketball back then you might have gone all-in on one of them. Give up? They are Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki, and Paul Pierce. Pick number 5, 9, and 10 respectively. That’s not to say great players aren’t drafted 1st, but the only thing guaranteed when you are first overall is a whole boat load of money. Something about the use of the word ‘only’ there doesn’t quite feel right.

Return… Ganstuhuhuh… It’s the re…

It seems so easy to see when you’re talking time traveling, something mind unraveling. Get Down. It’s a whole lot harder to do here and now using some funky combination of math, logic, illogical fandom, a random number generator, and of course the occasional dart throw. For some reason though, after about an hour on 350 (or about 176c) it develops a creamy caramel colored crust. Once it cools, just cut it up and consume. So here’s you’re 1st taste. Slim’s, I can’t believe I’m writing this in 3rd person, RCL playoff schedule post.

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Ugh, things are drying up faster than Tom Selleck’s avocado farm, that’s for sure!

Maybe it’s the shallower draft class…  Maybe it’s a really long list of aging vets…  Or maybe it’s just that all the guys I like could only fill up my top 65 of so…  But eesh, I really don’t want any of the guys ranked 65 and beyond, and rounding out the top 100 was like trying to sit through True Detective season 2.  Hah, still haven’t seen it, I’m just applying some groupthink there…  Here’s to hoping ESPN and Yahoo botch their pre-ranks and skew some nasty ADPs!  And just throwing it out there to astute re-draft commishes – ESPN and Yahoo’s initial ranks always look pretty poopy before a massive re-adjust closer to the season.  Maybe you can con your league to draft earlier and dominate the ill-informed, non-Razzball reading scrubbos… Here’s the Top 100 for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball Season:

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Summer is here!  And what else do you think about during summer than campy dancing shark mascots?  Or Sharks trying to dance campy?  Or campy shark movies!?  “Tequila’s on you guys, and I’m super thirsty!”  Maybe that should be the tagline for my new donate button…

While it’s way too friggin’ hot to do anything constructive outside, we get to go the great indoors to get our first look at NBA rookies in Summer League!  And there’s almost always one surpriser, one Shyamalan twist…  Except, well, in a good way.  Myles Turner already had the ingredients to be a fantasy beast heading into the draft (which we mentioned in our mock a month earlier), then he landed in one of the most ideal situations to a team needing a big man contributor right away.  On top of his already fantasy-friendly skill set, Turner murdered it in summer ball for a 18.7/8.3/0/0.7/4.3 slash line over three games, hitting 8-10 from the stripe and 2-3 treys.  Ibaka-lite might actually be more fitting than I jokingly quipped!  Even Larry Bird has chimed in saying Turner is better than they thought, and his only real competition for minutes is Jordan Hill.  While Turner did have an 8 foul game in there (it’s comical it takes 10 to foul out), it’s about the only knock on a guy who took 11+ shots every game and made at least half of them every time, averaging over 60% from the field.  Plus only 3 total TO.  It’s easy to dismiss popcorn stats like that in Summer League, but the opportunity is there and I think he might be the #1 rookie big off the draft board in 9-cat leagues, as crazy as that sounds.  If Jahlil could just make an effin’ FT!  Where’s a good FT coach like Andris Biedrins when you need them…  Here’s what else went down through Summer League action, which wrapped up over the weekend:

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Crazy game in OKC last night!  It was a crazy night across the board!  For a while I thought the Sixers were really going to pull that one out – had the lead most of regulation and then clawed back late – but Russell Westbrook playing like Michael Jordan these days got the Thunder the OT win.

Behind all of RW’s historical hooblah which we’ll go into later, is Isaiah Canaan‘s career game.  Career best 31 points on 10-16 FG (8-13 3PTM 3-3 FT) 31/7/6/1/0.  And of course he does that right after I said you’d rather own Ish Smith!  And Ish did ish in 15 minutes…  All that said, Canaan had 29 early in the 4th and the Sixers couldn’t figure out ways to consistently get their hot shooter the rock.  The continuity was awful with Philly only staying in the game by taking some horrible deep 3 pointers with no spacing or rebounders.  It felt like one of those college intramural games where the much better team was struggling because the other team’s scrubs kept hitting 3s for some reason.  Did I say intramural?  I meant more like every time Duke beats Chapel Hill!  Only because of the 3s…  Although Chapel Hill has trouble teaching their players the difference between “2” and “3” so there’s that…  I would still Aaron Brooks over Canaan and I’m not dropping a valuable guy just for this hot shooting game.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops action:

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So, I don’t know how old you guys are, obviously, but I’m at the age where I have “lost youth’ moments. Most recently, I was at the local TargWalmar-conglomerate, and happened to see some of my favourite hip hop acts in the bargain CD bin. Ice-T’s “Power” album for $2? Big Daddy Kane, Eric B and Rakeem, tossed away like so much trash? My blood began to boil, but then I remembered that my doctor told me to watch my angina (don’t worry, I have pills for that), so I shuffled off to the suspender aisle to find my zen. But there is a lesson to be gleaned from this experience, beyond me cantankering about the youth today, and that is: you can find gold in the bargain bin, if you know what to look for.

Remember, the NBA trade deadline is fast approaching, and that fact should remind you to be aware when your fantasy trade deadline is, if you don’t already know. It’s always difficult to slow-play, counter, or reject a trade if you have 48 hours to pull something off, and it puts more pressure on both you and your trading partner. I know this isn’t any great revelation, but it happens every year, some dude in the league sends out an email after the deadline complaining that he/she (he/she?…  even I’m not taking the obvious joke there) wasn’t aware, and should be allowed to make one last trade. Don’t be that he/she! What you can do right now, is try and start building the big trade, if you’re in contention. If you’re not (and in a keeper), analyze your team, and start trading assets for picks before the guy in second last does it before you. The third thing to do is pay close attention to the waiver wire gets, as they will be all that’s left in that post-trade apocalyptic wasteland. Guys rise and fall, due to injury and the subsequent opportunity, and you need to be aware of those streamers who can fill those voids. Keep your eye on the following bargains and fool’s gold:

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Looks like we are in full trade mode in the NBA.  Teams trying to get better for the playoff push.  Then we have teams dumping salary and getting much needed draft picks.  How does this relate to the daily game you say?  If NBA teams are in the advanced stage of trade talks the players involved in the deal can not play that night.  So if players that are involved in trade talks do not play them.  Go a different route.  As far as the article goes, I am going to tell you when the article does good and last week wasn’t one of my better efforts.  We had players sitting out for injuries, bereavement issues, and I just flat out missed on some guys.  This is a new week so lets kick some ass and make money playing some DFS hoops.

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It’s been a bad couple weeks for big men. A lot of top producing forwards and centers seem to have been bitten by the injury bug around Thanksgiving.

Initially, DeMarcus Cousins was only considered day-to-day with viral meningitis. After missing his 8th straight game, coach Mike Malone was unsure when he would get his big man back. He’s been ruled out for the rest of the weekend, with his playing status in jeopardy for next week.

While Cousins has been out, Reggie Evans has grabbed almost every available rebound. Well not really, but he has had games of 13, 14, and 20 rebounds, while starting for Cousins. Jason Thompson has offered a more balanced increase in production (11 ppg, 10.2 rpg, and 2.4 apg in last 5 games), but the biggest beneficiary has been Rudy Gay.

With Cousins declared out for at least the weekend, now is the best time to sell high on Gay. He has a usage rate (total number of possessions per 48 minutes) of 30.2 when Cousins is out, but a 25.3 usage rate when Cousins is playing alongside him. As a result, Gay has increased his scoring, rebounds, and assists with Cousins off the floor. Try to trade him this weekend for a top 20/30 player, before Cousins gets back and steals touches away from him.

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