Up until this year, Jimmy Butler looked like he was always going to be a Wesley Johnson-Iman Shumpert type of wing. Can get you 13-15 points on a good night, hits a few three balls, shoots crappy from the field and nabs a few steals here and there.

His improvement was steady over his first three seasons, but heading into this year’s fantasy drafts, the thought going through most people’s minds was: This guy’s a sleeper, sure, but Derrick Rose is coming back. If Rose is finally healthy, Butler is a non-factor, and even if he isn’t, we’re not missing out on much.

Right here I instruct you to crank up the volume on your device/computer as loud as you can and click on this link.

Butler came into Friday’s tilt against the Blazers with a string of four straight games where he topped 20, including a 32-point explosion against the Pacers. I’m singling out that Blazers game as a caveat, as Da Bulls entered Portland with no Rose, no Pau Gasol, no Kirk Hinrich and no chance of winning. Butler, who had nine points on 3-13 shooting, joined his teammates in chucking up prayers to try and stay in the game, and almost none of those prayers were answered.

I will say this. The Portland game does expose Butler as a guy who cannot carry a real NBA team. In other words, he is not a healthy Derrick Rose in Derrick Rose’s prime. I think Butler’s value is intrinsically tied to the health of this squad. If, for example, Gasol is healthy, but Rose isn’t, Butler is very valuable. If both are healthy, still valuable, but not as much. If neither is healthy, he will be up and down, struggling against good teams, dominating bad ones.

Long-term, I see a sell-high wing. Yeah, it’ll taste good right now, but later tonight, your significant other will be relegating you to sleeping on the couch. And it won’t be because you snore.

Still hungry? Order up one of these flavors:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As most of you don’t know, I’m actually Will Smith’s illegitimate first son.  If you don’t believe me, well you more or less have to click on that link and read it, or else the following will be too esoteric… Too ephemeral…

After Mo Williams was moved back into the starting line-up last night, he showed his Rubio-esqueness going 14/3/13 in a fantastic dimebag performance.  The chosen player for the open this morning, I asked Mo to interview me and my method for compartmentalizing everything fantasy basketball into a daily recap:

Mo: What have you been reading lately?

JB: Ya know, totem pole haikus, Ke$ha’s twitter profile, because ya know… Because living.

Mo: I feel ya.  So what’d you think about my facilitating last night?  Pretty sick line back in the starting 5.

JB: Well, I don’t really watch the NBA.  There’s no sports I like to watch, so I make them up myself and watch them again, and it’s the best thing…  But even in my self-created NBA, it was pretty impressive.  The way you can distribute while making time go slow… Or fast… As you please… And how you know it doesn’t exist.

Mo: I have been turning back the clock, that’s for sure!  That baby Zach LaVine is way behind me for fantasy these days, right?

JB: He’s the feeling of like, a fragment of a holographic reality…

Mo: You’re right, pretty easy call there.  So are you dropping say… Tony Wroten for me?

JB: There’s a duality to it.  So when one thought goes into your mind, it’s not just one thought, it has to bounce off both hemispheres of the brain.  When you’re thinking “yes”, you’re thinking “no”.  It’s a tool for understanding.  It comes from a place of oneness.

Mo: I have no idea what the F you’re saying.  Just tell me, am I a good medium-term value until Ricky Rubio gets his ankle all healed up?!

JB: If he wants his muscles to grow, he has to shock them.  If you want society to change, you have to shock them.  That’s what art is, shocking people.

Mo: Fine.  Whatever.  I know I’m legit, LaVine shoulda stayed in school longer…

JB: You never learn anything in school. Think about how many people die in hospitals every day.  Med school?  What’s up with that!?  I still haven’t been to med school and I haven’t died in a hospital, I can’t see how med school is really helping anyone out…  Same with LaVine, in whatever universal form he occupies…

Mo: Occupy?  #OccupyDraymondGreen?!

JB: Forever, ‘til the day that we’re in our bed!

 

Here’s what else went down in NBA action last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When I was a kid, I could tell the difference between a name brand and an off-brand cereal instantly.

I knew when my parents tried to cheap out and pass off Puffy Choco-Balls as Coco Puffs or Fruity Dino Bites as Fruity Pebbles. I didn’t even need to put the spoon in my mouth to realize that it was Tasty Silly Trinkets, not Lucky Charms, sitting before me in a sea of milk.

So if I plugged Kevin Martin in where Klay Thompson sat on your fantasy roster, would you know the difference?

MARTINKLAY

If you were in a keeper league, yes, of course. You’d be pissed because I swapped a 24-year-old young buck with a 31-year-old injury risk. But in a normal league, you might notice a slight drop-off in quality, but you’d probably just keep plowing ahead like I do now when I eat the Smack Yo Mamas I bought for my kids instead of Sugar Smacks.

This argument looked a lot better before both guys put up absolute duds on Saturday night, but Thompson’s hand injury sort of balances it out. So bear with me.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I gotta say, last night might have been one of the most exhilarating early season nights of NBA action that I can remember for some time.  Career-highs, two buzzer beaters, a triple double, upset Ws… It was awesome.

Before we get into how the city of Cleveland can just give up hope… again… if you haven’t noticed on the main page of the site, Slim is in need of a new didgeridoo!  When my awful Hornets somehow beat the Heat, he took his frustration out on his favorite instrument, banging the wood in fervent frustration.  Wow, that sounded wrong!  But Razzball Nation can help!  Click on his donate button there to help him buy a new didgeridoo, for any value you wish, especially as a thanks for helping with the comments in the wee hours of the morning whilst I beauty sleep snuggled up with my Brandon Knight blow up doll.

But before that mental image is indefinitely burnt into your subconscious, let’s get back to action on the court where the big game was obviously the Jazz knocking off the Cavs on a Gordon Hayward buzzer beating fader.  “Look Butler fans, I can hit big buzzer beater shots!”  Awwwww, low blow… The Cavs had all sorts of terrible sluiced through their stats, like six, count em, SIX assists in the entire game.  Four were from LeBron too.  I guess the other Cavs want to prove to LeBron they all can be ball hogs.  In contrast, the Spurs had six assists on their first six field goals in their win last night…  But not like they’re a model franchise or anything!

As NBA fans, which all of us are even if we care more about fantasy than anything else, last night was a winner.  I guess unless you’re a David Lee owner, or Cleveland fan… There’s always Green, or the Browns tonight!  Colors to the rescue!  Here’s what else went down in fantasy hoops action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t listen to country music…  I don’t listen to that emo we talked about last Friday anymore either… This is quickly turning into JB’s music blog (I’ll always shoot anyone some recommendations if you want rock/shoegaze/ambient stuff!  Flip side to Grey’s rapcoin!)…

Anyway, I googled The Band Perry, because well, I know that they’re something popular, and the first image looks like some hot chick standing in front of two of the Stark ninnies from Game of Thrones.  Which would be a pretty apt way to think about the Thunder a mere month ago.  Kevin Durant & Russell Westbrook standing in front of some ninnies.  Don’t get me wrong, RJax and Lurch are some exciting young talent, but I preach da truff!  Then the injury bug swept the Thunder locker room more aggressively than Ebola media coverage (I would say just Ebola, but even THAT isn’t spreading as fast…), and everyone is hurt.  With all that offense recovering and enjoying painkiller prescriptions, somebody was bound to step up.  And why not the talented Perry Jones, who I compared in his first mention last year to James Johnson – multi-cat with 3s.  I knew the tags would help me!  Click on a player name on the bottom of the article there and you get every article that dude was mentioned…  Focus!  After that huge 32/7/3 breakout last Thursday night, encored it with 23/4/2/2/0 Saturday shooting 9-18 with three treys in a whopping 41 minutes.  While his rest of season outlook remains a little murky when the rest of Perry’s cast of Friends return, he’s an obvious must-add for the short term.  Another big week, and you can sell him faster than a Courtney Cox sitcom about boning cougars.  Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ugh…

So any readers out there grow up in that emo scene or get into any of that stuff at the turn of the century?  I was all about the band Thursday’s CD Full Collapse, and man, listening back to it now is ridiculous!  Even in high school I could make fun of the music that was going on then, talking about how emo bands had a crier.  But Paris in Flames legit sounds like there’s some dude in the corner cry-yelling!  Hey, it beats the Slipnkot dude who’s one job is to bang the trashcan lid…

Where to start with the cryfest?  I think we gotta go with Russell Westbrook, and well, hold a seance for all Thunder fans right now.  Sustained a fracture in his hand last night, and will likely miss about a month.  We’ll know more by later today, but I think OKC should change their uniforms to the Bubble Boy outfits.  Look where that movie took Jake Gyllenhaall!  Kinda hard not to think about picking up Sebastian Telfair, but he’s still behind the Donald Sloan-types.  Shooting up with some medium-term value is Reggie Jackson if his ankle heals up.  I’d look to see if he was dropped in your league, as now he’s a dynamite hold until healthy, as long as it’s not another month for him as well… We still don’t really have a clear picture, so I think Telfair can make a couple starts.

Then the other biggie… My Panthers… I was actually at the game, and man, the amount of angst and frustration in the stands really could’ve been an emo wah-party.  Pop quiz, who had more TOs – Cam or the main Cav?!  Well, it was the main Cav, but we’ll start there and then get into everything else that went down last night in fantasy hoops:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Uh oh…  Brandon Knight had a good game…  JB’s gonna talk about his Brandon Knight infatuation all year now!  Great…

One of my big sleeper calls last year (which was, only, kindasorta right), I again came into this season with Knight well ahead of the consensus (six spots ahead of the next highest among 25 experts – the only one in green!).  And while his knight (womp womp) was still redonkulous, there was more to like than only the stat line.  Went 22/8/13/0/1 with 2 treys and 10-10 FT. But what’s to salivate over is he led the Bucks in minutes, clearly started the game as the PG, and both Kendall Marshall and Nate Wolters didn’t get off the bench.  Jerryd Bayless was the only backup PG to get off the pine for a measly 14 minutes.  I think a big hesitation for fantasy owners was if Knight was going to play more SG like he did down the stretch last year, having his dimes eaten away like Raymond Felton at a CiCis.  Certainly looks like that won’t be the case, and when I face opposing fantasy teams, Knight is going to be my Public Enemy #1.  Here’s what else went down in our first big slate of games for the 2014-15 season:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Slim and I dressed up in suits and bow ties, Slim gelled his beard, I flossed for the first time since 2011, and we went in and crashed the Yahoo Friends & Family League!  What fantasy basketball draft isn’t improved with an early Latrell Spreewell joke in the draft chat?

So with the updated Yahoo player ranks eerily mimicking a lot of our sleeper calls, Slim and I had to really pull A Beautiful Mind to get our draft strategy in order.  On top of drafting with some experts, league settings were a major factor in our strategy.  The league is a 12 team H2H, but instead of RCL/default week 21-23 playoff schedule, the Y! F&F is weeks 22-24.  Right away, all Cavaliers were absolutely off-limits.  Looking at Slim’s ridiculously awesome breakdown of playoff schedules, the Cavs have 3 games week 22, 2 in week 23, then week 24 is the final 10 days of the season.  I’m not even going to look at their schedule, since there’s a good chance the Cavs rest their starters for several games in that final 10 days.  The experts knew this too, as Kevin Love fell to 15th overall, with us passing on him with pick 14.

The other main settings differences were roster composition and the league is weekly with only 2 moves allowed a week.  The roster breakdown is PG, SG, SF, PF, C, UTIL, UTIL, UTIL, UTIL, UTIL, BN, BN, BN.  Slim and I unanimously agreed to go PG and C heavy, filling out SG/SF with ThrAGNOFs.  Limited moves also made us want to hoard PG since fewer will break out off the wire.  Here’s how team Razzball (will be co-managed by both of us) panned out:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

One of me and JB’s favorite forms of philanthropy is the celebrity car wash.  Obviously we aren’t going to fool anyone into thinking we’re famous without a bit of a makeover.  To achieve that ‘celebrity look’ all you have to do is rent a minivan old enough to still have a tape deck, hire a dozen or so hourly day laborers, and borrow your parents/grandparents circa 1980s shoulder mounted video camera.  Now just find a Walmart parking lot with access to water and you have almost everything you need.  I say almost because you still need to stick out from your newly created entourage.  A pair of henna sleeves representing as many religions as possible and as much costume jewelry as weight you can squat is all you will need to complete the look.  Once you’re set up with everything you need to start the car wash borrow a cassette tape from one of your laborers, swing those double rear doors open, and crank it up to 11.  Just don’t forget to make sure your documentarian is recording it all.

We don’t do it for charity per se but I’m sure what we do is still called philanthropy.  You see we don’t charge money either.  We do it for the sheer pleasure our performances gives others.  Although, we still don’t do it just for them.  I know it’s the same for JB even though he doesn’t really talk about it, but I can surely say for me that once the soaps are sudsin’, the water gets flowing, and I’m dancing to the plucking of guitar strings in nothing but my pink string bikini – I feel alive!  So what if my skin turns red from the sun, green from the ‘gold’, and brown from the ‘ink’, the joy, at least I think that’s joy, we see on the faces of an entire car load of Smiths can’t be washed off in a week either.

In fantasy basketball this amount of joy can only be achieved by guessing right on a rookie and being rewarded with an all-star.  The two top rookies this year are unquestionably Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker.  Both are as talented as they come and both should receive plenty of fantasy relevant playing time immediately.  You want one, I want one, everyone else we’re drafting with wants one.  Before I decide if that’s going to be me I need to figure out what kind of player they are, or in a dynasty what kind of player they could become.  So I give to you Wiggins v Parker, in all its hip-shaking, beard-drenched glory:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

With the full 2014-15 Fantasy Basketball Rankings now complete, let’s take a look at the top 100.  After a week filled with triumphs, successful trades going through, and possibly the biggest news of the offseason – Jared Dudley getting moved.  I couldn’t finish the top 100 without knowing where Dudley would be!  The ramifications would be catastrophic!  So past 75 you’re starting to scrape the bottom of the barrel.  The dregs of the cask.  Which means it’s sleeper land!  Bring out the sleeper patrol!  And a lot of times if you hit on just one of these and avoid injuries in your early rounds, you’re set for a playoff run.  Here’s my top 100 for the 2014-15 Fantasy Basketball Season (based on 9-cat H2H):

Please, blog, may I have some more?