It’s like that scene in Moneyball when Beane-y Baby is talking to David Justice and says something along the lines of, “You pissed off the other team so much, they’re paying 2/3 your salary!”  Except the Pistons are going to pay 3/3 of Josh Smith‘s salary…

Geez, over the weekend plus a travel day, I feel like I missed two season’s worth of the NBA!  Smoove gets waived, there’s trades…  I think Andrew Wiggins is even contemplating retirement!  In Detroit Rock City, Stan Van is tired of seeing Detroit Brick City.  Shooting a career-low (even for Smoove!) 39.1% from the field (including 9-37 from deep for a Gargantuan 24.3 3PTM%), Stan Van is about as sick of labradoodles as Michael Vick.  Too soon!  I could go Larry Sanders there too, he is on my all-hate team…  Wow, this got too serious.  Josh Smith is terrible at basketball!  Another year of 2.6 TO is doing no favors, but even in only 32 minutes a game (a low since 2005-06), he’s at a career-best 4.7 AST this year.  Then again, another flip-side with a career worst 46.8 FT%.  I’m rattling things off we already know, but mostly want to mention in H2H leagues, he’s still a useful player if your team is built the right way.  And my pre-season rank was hoping he would come off the bench and boost the FG% and bad TO rate by playing against second units.  Right now the Rockets are front-runners to pick him up (which also is a big indictment on Terrence Jones coming back any time soon), which should limit his labradoodles and keep him in line for defensive stats.  I’m really hating what Stan Van is doing to DET for us fantasy-players – these shifts in minutes and rotations are infuriating – so I’m actually a little encouraged.  We’ll see how it shakes out, but if you’ve been able to weather the Smoove storm of horrific efficiency, I’d keep holding.  Here’s what else has gone on across the league since we last checked in:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The biggest injury news of the week definitely belongs to Jabari Parker. Initially diagnosed as a strained knee, Parker underwent more tests and it was discovered that he tore his ACL. As a result, Parker will miss the rest of his rookie season.

This is a tough blow to the Bucks. At 14-13, they are currently in the 6th spot in the East and are in the hunt for a playoff berth. That says more about the pitiful East, than it does about the Bucks.

As my roommates can attest, I may not be able to pronounce his name, but I know Giannis Antetokounmpo is good. He’s athletic and long enough to play multiple positions and should continue to make strides this season. Khris Middleton isn’t as versatile as the Greek Freak, but can still provide fantasy owners with value. He put up 17 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 steals off the bench in Wednesday’s game, before putting up a dud (only 1/2/1) in Thursday’s game.

Brandon Knight, OJ Mayo, Jared Dudley, and even Ersan Ilyasova will also see added looks on offense as well. Ilyasova won’t return from his facial fracture and concussion until at least next week, but is a player to watch. He was playing well prior to his injury and could be a sleeper pickup if he can return to the 13 ppg, 7 rpg, and 1 three per game from a few seasons ago.

Jason Kidd will probably mix and match with his lineups and these guys may be inconsistent night in and night out, but they are guys to watch as their production and minutes rise.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Wooooooo, it’s DraftKings Friday! 

What’s a better way to kick off the early part of the Holiday weekend (kinda, sorta) than by hopping in a DraftKings contest and watch that sweet, sweet money flowing your way on Friday night.  I love playing some daily fantasy, because last Friday I had Anthony Davis as a big-$ pick and he goes down in the first quarter…  Wipe the slate clean tomorrow!  And tripled up a couple days ago in my next foray.

We’re again hopping into the NBA $45K LAYUP, where $45,000 in payouts are given out, including a cool, hard $5 grand to the overall winner.  Pick me!  Pick me!  Oh man, I’ve got a wedding coming up next year and $5,000 would go a long way in paying for… The chairs?  Everything is so friggin’ expensive!  And at only a $2 entry fee, even broke-as-a-joke-JB can afford dat!  So hop in that contest linked there, join us for a festive time tonight, and good luck to your DraftKings line-ups! 

Here are my starting 5 for DraftKings tonight:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The embargo is lifted!  I can’t wait to buy some cigars… If you missed it, Obama has opened his front door to Cuba while continuing to backdoor the Canada oil pipeline.  Hey-o!

And Mark Cuban has opened up his roster for some international trade, bringing Rajon Rondo into Texas.  The Mavericks are reportedly changing their team name to the Dallas “You Don’t Mess With Texas!”  Huge move in real basketball, but who cares about any of that?!  Rondo takes a pretty substantial hit to his value, as Monta Ellis is going to sap a lot those assists with his slashes.  But it’s nothing to panic about, as his atrocious 40.5 FG% will go up and the 3.4 TO should go down.  And maybe a coach there can teach him how to hit a FT…

The rest of the swapperoo is Jameer NelsonBrandan WrightJae Crowder and a first-rounder to Boston for Rondo and Dwight Powell with a swap of second-round picks thrown around in there just to make it look fancier.  I guess if you still had Nelson in a 12 or 14er, he’s droppable.  I could see Tyler Zeller lose some PT to Wright, but who knows.  Chapel hill centers, reunite!  The obvious big impact here is Marcus Smart, who was at 30% owned right when the trade broke (somehow got him in both RCLs!).  That only shot up to 40% right when this posts, so he’s still available in several leagues.  Boston has no reason to start Nelson over him in order to get a ton of development time for their rook PG.  His fantasy game is really limited – I still don’t think the treys are going to come around in a huge way this year and we’ll be happy to see half the assists Rondo was getting a night.  But he should be plenty good enough for all 12ers.  Smart stashers feeling smart!  Here’s what else went down last night in NBA action:

[Psyche!  Quick note that I’m off next Monday, then Thursday and Friday due to Holiday scheduling.  So Daily Notes will only be out Tuesday and Wednesday next week, along with our Holiday special Razzball Basketball Podcast on Tuesday.  But I am of course always here for comments, even on Christmas, so if you need to get away from screaming kids in order to scream about how Batum has been awful, we’re ya spot!]

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Who says NBA is an indoor sport?!  Roll out the tarp!

During a rainy night in Brooklyn, all the sudden the ballboys were throwing towels on this spot on the court as somewhere in the rafters was a pretty steady leak.  I looked away from the game for a minute then looked back, and I thought at first they were cleaning up a massive bleeding injury!  At least that wasn’t the case… Ended up being about half an hour rain delay, complete with maintenance rolling out a trash can to collect the water.  It’s like Kap said when we were chattin’ last night – just like his high school gym!  The Nets arena leaking with the tears of Nets fans…

While Brooklynites had to watch a short-handed Heat team beat them at home, there’s at least some fantasy goodness to be had from some flashy younguns.  Professor Plumlee!  Young professors I bet would make a killing with college chicks… Anyway, Mason Plumlee for 21/9/1/1/1 last night, shooting 8-12 FG and leading the Nets in scoring.  Sure the Heat front line is a bunch of dudes you’ve never heard of and an over-the-chicken coup Birdman, but good to see him hitting on his potential as the starter, finally.  There’s still some blemishes – 4 TO and a surprisingly good-for-Plumlee but bad-for-real-life 5-8 FT (stop it with the hyphen phrases!), but if you can handle the FT drain or already have a FT-punting (dammit!) team, he’s a perfect fit.  I think he’s as close to a must-own in all leagues while Brook Lopez is out, but many teams don’t have a streamer spot and/or can’t handle the bad FT%.  Brolo is getting reevaluated Saturday, meaning he’s out at least three more.  So while the Nets are leaking talent, don’t let Plumlee leak through your waiver wire.  Here’s how the rest of the NBA big news shook out:

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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?

Welcome back, Mr. Slim Reaper!  It’s a perfectly apt nickname too, because I own him in the JB vs. Slim RCL league and he’s going to be Slim’s reaper!  Even though I’m getting crushed this week so far…

After a decent enough start, Kevin Durant was still without the big eruption type game in his first three back, but last night dismantled the Bucks in an uber-efficient 23/9/7/1/1 game shooting 7-11 FG and 8-8 FT.  He’s worth 9 or 10 Bucks, at the least!  Was 1-5 from deep, so didn’t miss within the arc.  All of that in 29 minutes, as Beam-me-up Scotty Brooks benched the Thunder studs down the stretch of the double-digit win.  Even though this was against the young Bucks, the Thunder as a whole are coming together with Russell Westbrook having a fantastic 28/5/7 night with like, a million free throws made, and Serge Ibaka is back to his %-gold ways for 15/5/0/2/2 shooting 5-5 FG & 5-5 FT.  Durantula and Westy are going to command their first-round values in trades, but I bet you could still swindle Ibaka away at a buy-low price.  3+ blocks the past four games and 16-26 from the field his last three, and isn’t needing to force shots anymore.   Things are right in order for OKC to go on a mad run, so be counting your lucky stars if you got KD at a discount on draft day!  What we preached all preseason post-injury!  Here’s some other happenings from the NBA last night:

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?

This was a very big week for the Thunder. They got both of their superstars back in a matter of days.

Russell Westbrook returned on Friday night, putting up 32 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists in only 24 minutes of clock. Now owners may be concerned with the lack of minutes, but know that Westbrook wasn’t on a minutes’ restriction. Instead, Westbrook, along with the rest of the starters, were pulled early since the Thunder were up 32 late in the game. They were playing the New York Knicks after all.

A few days later, Kevin Durant returned to score 27 points on Tuesday night. He showed little rust on the court, shooting 9-18 from twos, 3-8 from downtown, and 6-7 from the line. Durant didn’t do much else outside of the scoring, but those numbers will happen in due time. The important thing is that Westbrook and Durant are both back and healthy.

Westbrook and Durant immediately regain their statuses as two of the top ten fantasy producers. At the same time, their return also hurts the guys filling in for them. Reggie Jackson’s statistics will take a hit, as he won’t be needed as much as an offensive producer. In the two games since Westbrook returned, Jackson had his two lowest usage rates of the season and saw his field goal attempts decrease to 11 FGA per game (down from 17.9 without Durant and Westbrook). Now there is still value to be had with Jackson, since he’ll be getting around 30 minutes a night, but don’t expect the same numbers he was providing early in the season.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Razzball Nation!

DraftKings is back, and while we don’t have a Razzball Only contest this week (bummer, I know…), we can still all get together and sing some campfire songs over a big contest in the several they run every night!  I wanted to keep it low key, albeit with a big payday, so join me why don’t ya in the NBA $50K Layup!  It’s $2 to play, and pays out a cool, hard $50-grand for the overall winner.  If somebody from Razzball Nation wins, I better get a heavy dose of Crown & Cokes!  I’ll be in there with my jbrazzball moniker, so you can track me as I finish middle of the pack, which has been my normal finish most of the time this year in daily… I’m coming for that payday this Friday though!  If not, I might Drunk Uncle rant after tonight… So click-ity click that link right there, draft your team today, and let’s get some skrilla for Razzball Nation!

Here’s 5 of my picks for tonight’s action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?