Welcome back from Thanksgiving! After a week of indulgent eating, I’m back with an extra 20 lbs of writing weight. Those drumsticks went right into my index fingers. So I didn’t learn the typical QWERTY typing method, sue me! I taught myself how to type in “Olsen Twins Turn 18 Countdown” chat rooms when I was in middle school… Fantasy hoops had a ton go down through the Turkey Day holiday, although Omer Asik wasn’t traded to the Magic for Hedo Turkoglu. Now that would’ve been a Turkey Day! Of all the things that went down, I am positively giddy for the run Patrick Beverley is about to give us with Jeremy Lin set to miss two weeks with a knee strain. Thanks in part to Slim’s water torture, I’m a big Beverley believer for some real mulit-cat upside. Early returns started slow, with PBev going 7/2/2/2/0 the game Lin got hurt during the first quarter, then only 5/4/1/0/0 in 24 minutes on the Friday night. But on Saturday against the Spurs, 11/6/5/3/1 no turnovers and three treys. “Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!” Thanks Maury Ballstein. Even though PBev isn’t a focal point of the offense, I buy the peripheral stats, and a must-have addition to your own “Balls Models” squads. Steals, boards a-plenty, with some dimes and out-of-position blocks will floweth like a river. Or Slim’s water torture device. You said you weren’t into S&M! This is my fantasy update writing of shame… Here’s what else I saw since we last checked in:Please, blog, may I have some more?
So… It was a ridiculous weekend of injuries with the NBA pulling its best NFL impression. “Look how many people we can hurt too!” Right now the safest big sport might be hockey… The survivors of this NBA-wide injury bug should barricade themselves in a giant prison. OK, so that’s not exactly the best analogy… Look out for the Governor! Arguably the biggest injury over the weekend was another knee giving out for Derrick Rose, who tore his meniscus and is having surgery some time today. This is about the worst thing that could’ve happened for fantasy this season. No, not because I’m a Rose owner… But because of all the Rose questions! Of course this would happen for a second straight year. So obligatory memo, statement, press release – Razzball’s official stance on answering questions on Rose will involve no guesses or speculation to his return! Well, Pete, Slim, & Dan can… I guess. But I’m not doing this again! “Hey JB, when’s the end of the world?” “When am I going to win the lottery?” “How in God’s green earth did the Patriots win last night?” “When will the Spurs finally kick out all the vets and give Kawhi Leonard superstar touches?!” I just don’t have the answers! We saw Russell Westbrook go down with a meniscus injury, only to need a second clean-up surgery. Rose has said he’s leaning towards a reattachment procedure that would cost him the season, plus Rose has his other knee just off the ACL. His knees have gone the way of Kyle’s knees in that South Park episode after his expletive-plasty. Hopefully Rose’s surgeon is part-Borg and can get something mechanical going on in there. “He’s more machine now than man…” Dude, I just crossed sci-fi swords there in a major fail… Here’s what else went down across fantasy hoops over the weekend:Please, blog, may I have some more?
All hail Trey Burke! May all the inhabitants of the great Salt Lake City and all their respective wives rejoice! And… the Jazz are still atrocious. Poor Tyrone Corbin. He’s got to fiddle with Burke, Alec Burks, John Lucas III and now Diante Garrett at the point. Jerry Sloan got John Stockton. Then Deron Williams. It just ain’t fair! In yet another Jazz loss moving them down to 1-12, Burke got 12 minutes even, going 11/1/1 with a steal and hitting a trey shooting 5-8. Trey with the trey! If only Deuce McAllister was an NBA player. Deuce with the deuce! Or if McAllister was a dunker, “Deuce with the upper decker!” I had the unfortunate pleasure of doing highlights for my second Jazz game now, but it was cool to see Burke’s debut and I thought he looked pretty good. His first NBA points were off a long rebound then coast-to-coast for a controlled, attacking floater. Obviously he’s getting eased in and he’ll get more minutes – hippity-skippity to a few months back and I was bigger on Burke than anyone – but I’m not ready to go nuts and drop quality guys for him. Of course it’s a case-by-case scenario, but I really wanted Burke to get tons of preseason work; instead he broke his finger and missed some really crucial development time. For example, I think I’m still holding Patrick Beverley over him. PBev is the Razzball “why can’t I quit you?!” fantasy asset. Lucas III is obviously not a long-term solution, and while he’s in the mix, he didn’t look good last night but was the only guy that could hit any long balls. Alec Burks looked awful, sure his line 8/1/1/1/2 is fine, shot 3-6 – fine – but racked up 4 TOs in 16 minutes. Just looked bad. Which brings me to Diante G, who I thought looked really good. Garrett actually led the Jazz in PG minutes with 20, and racked up a 4/1/6 line with three steals and only 2 TOs (one late one was pretty bad, but the game was over) and played down the stretch. Garrett was the only point who could create opportunities. So it’s a little crowded with Burks’ potential wilting away and Garrett looking decent as a D-League gamble and could get run through the season. I think Lucas III gets cut at some point and Burks plays strictly backup 2 minutes, but that’s just me. It’s a mess. Shocker, considering it’s the Jazz! Here’s what else I saw last night:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Even though he looks exactly like the youngest kid from Malcolm in the Middle, Steve Blake is playing like an NBA PG in the top. Last night’s 16 Asts gives him 10+ in four straight, and starting to remind us of Chris Paul who has started the year with the ten straight 10+ dime games. You can’t go anywhere in LA without someone trying to give you a dimebag! I think that’s going to be a new term I’m going to add into the Razzball lexicon, 10+ assists equals a dimebag. As in, “the Lakers got so high last night with Steve Blake handing out a dimebag!” Pretty soon it won’t even be a crime anywhere. Rasheed Wallace is like, “man I played at the wrong time!” Blake is an obvious must-own in all leagues, and I think will be all year. He’s been D-Antoni-ed. Here’s what else I saw across fantasy hoops over the weekend: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?
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?
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?
Continuing on with updated rankings after the top 10 and top 20, below rounds out my to 50. Previous rankings are in parentheses next to these updated ranks, with up and down designations only for guys hopping up or down significant spots. Have fun grilling these!
(22) 21. Nicolas Batum – A lot of commenters have wondered why he’s not in the top-20, and as I said in my previous 20-50 rankings, the declining FG% (45.1% to 42.3%) and 3PT% (39.1% to 37.2%) from 2011-12 to 12-13 gives me pause. Despite playing over 8 more minutes a game in 11-12 to 12-13, his scoring average only went up 0.4 Pts a game and he only averaged 12 a game after the All-Star Break with his wrist injury. He’s said the wrist is completely healed, and despite not needing surgery I would be worried with Batum as my second-rounder as the wrist could plague him again. He’ll still be a multi-cat workhorse, but I see no way he chucks up 6.1 3′s a night with new acquisitions Mo Williams and C.J. McCollum also manning the perimeter. Yeah their PT may not overlap too consistently, but I just don’t see the three point output mimicking last year.
(23) 22. LaMarcus Aldridge – Another big fantasy asset I’m slightly down on, the Blazers could very easily have another rough first half and look to trade their franchise big. The rumors have been swirling for quite some time, and there’s virtually no destination where I think he would be a better fantasy player than in Portland.Please, blog, may I have some more?
The period of free agency continues to shape the fantasy basketball-scape with fresh meat on terrible teams and players signing with contenders to be relegated to bench duty. With baseball in full swing and the NFL getting half of the ESPN air time no matter what time of year it is, a lot of NBA moves have been made under the radar. Look for every division to get a team-by-team breakdown and some early fantasy thoughts on the new faces in new places:Please, blog, may I have some more?