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?

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?

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Happy Thanksgiving Razzball Nation!  This is my last daily recap for the week, so wishing everyone a happy Turkey Day where we can take a day off hoops, watch football, then shame eat pounds of leftovers while watching Goran Dragic standing idly by as he gets no usage for the Suns this weekend…

But what better way to sendoff into the Holiday weekend with the Six-Foot-Turkey himself, Dr. Ersan Ilyasova.  While he’s averaging under 21 minutes a game in the past five games (That doesn’t look very scary!), the consistency is kinda preposterous right now.  Is exactly in 20-21 minutes in five straight as Kidd apparently knows Ersan’s optimal usage, and has scored 13+ points in all of them.  Multi-3PTM in three of those five, grabbing a few boards, and actually a semi-usable player right now off 13/9/0/1/0 and two treys last night.  It’s bottom-end 12er worthy, but in limited-move RCLs, I grabbed him Monday to use for a four-game week and like him for matchups play.  A low-end ThrAGNOF with some boards!  What the wire is for, and even though he’s owned in 44% of Yahoo leagues, it’s a little inflated by dead/auto-draft teams given his silly pre-draft ranks by a lot of experts.  I’m keeping that Turkey fresh and might even hold on through next week as well, and then gobbling down the rest of my leftovers before week 7 and the Bucks’ two-game week.  Threes ain’t got no face!  And I’d be just plain sick of all the Turkey leftovers at that point… Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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?

We are a few weeks into the NBA season and things are really taking shape.  The 76ers might set the record for losses in a season, the Knicks are still the same garbage team after paying Melo, Brian Shaw has made a mess with the Denver Nuggets and the Sacramento Kings set a NBA record for losing consecutive games in which they were up 18+ points after the first quarter.  With that said how about we get on with some picks.

On Saturday night we have a big 10 game slate:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

No Nicolas Batum, no problem!

The Blazers went nuts in the first half last night, putting up 84 on the hapless Nuggets through 24 minutes.  Indiana won last night at Miami scoring 81!  All your usual suspects had some good games, but who was the Keyser Soze?  The greatest trick bench players have ever pulled was convincing the fantasy basketball world they don’t matter!  But Chris Kaman is off yet another brilliant game, putting up 16/7/2/1/2 on 6-8 shooting (4-5 FT), and needs to be owned in virtually all leagues.  Was a little in junk time?  Sure.  Is he better than Robin Lopez?  Who isn’t?!  Will he start any time soon?  Well, no, but dude has grabbed at least 5 boards in every game and averaging over a block and a half a night.  The minutes are going to be there all year, as several NBA teams needing a starting big man have got to be mad they didn’t float Kaman a little offerewski.  And he’s a must add for RoLo fantasy owners, as while he had a good game last night scoring 19, zero blocks, only 5 boards, and most importantly only 21 minutes.  Blowout induced, yes, but topped 30 minutes only twice this year after averaging 32 a game last year.  He’s down 4 MPG from 2013-14 as Terry Stotts is utilizing the Blazers’ vastly improved bench, but thus far RoLo’s numbers are nearly identical from last year, and I don’t see that continuing with such lower PT.  So sell RoLo high!  And when other owners try to figure out why, tell em because you got high.  Here’s what else went down in fantasy action last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

After getting down as much as 23 points, I was going to pose the question – is Nicolas Batum the glue for the Blazers?

But then the Charlotte Hornets looked like the Kelly Tripucka Charlotte Hornets, hiked up their shorts, and got run out of Portland in the second half.  This is Damian Lillard‘s show!  29/4/7/2/0 hitting 5 treys and 12 of 21 shots for The Omen.

With Batum out last night (and is hopeful to miss only two more and returning next Monday – he likes the weekly league fantasy players!), a lot of minutes opened up for Blazers SF.  And of all the options, I don’t think anyone would’ve projected Allen Crabbe as the starter!  Play Chris Kaman at the 3!  I actually remember watching a few of Crabbe’s games at Cal when they were in the NCAA tourney and thought he was a good little player.  But dude had 4 combined minutes on the season!  And even the starting role did nothing for him, going 2/2/2/0/0 in 22 minutes shooting 1-4.  Allen Crabby, want more rock!  Crabbe has virtually no value, and Batum’s injury just means a few stats will trickle down through the Blazers starters and role players.

The under-the-radar winner is Steve Blake, who nearly rainbowed for 5/4/2/2/1.  Season-high 25 minutes and he’s averaging over 3 dimes a game this year.  Your line-up is probably filled out tomorrow and Saturday for the next two Blazers games, but hey, if you have one streaming spot open and need a little PG love, don’t be afraid to turn to grown-up Dewey for help.  Here’s what else went down in fantasy hoops 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?

Ay dios mio!

Friday was a cryday for me.  Then Saturday was a sadderday.  Muy triste!  Ricky Rubio severely sprained his ankle in the second quarter against the Magic Friday night, effectively crushing several of my teams and ruining my DraftKings squad!  Seems like every year there’s several bad ankle sprains with players rolling their foot on their own, get these guys better footwear!  Rubio’s gonna miss at least a month, with a widely circulated update it “could” be 7-8 weeks.  All I want for Christmas is Rubio back on the court!  I’m holding in virtually all leagues, as he was finally banking on the high expectations I’ve set for him with my high ranks the past two years.  Because we all know the Razzball Ranks are bulletin board material for NBA locker rooms…

Everything seemed to point towards a massive workload for Mo Williams, who through the first four games (with Rubio in there full time as the starter), Mo was averaging 21.4 minutes and 3 dimes per.  But surprisingly, Flip Saunders went sushi on us with the raw Zach Lavine getting the start and going 5/6/4 in 26 minutes (only 2 TO) while Mo’s 2/4/5 in 22 minutes (3 TO) doesn’t inspire any sort of confidence Williams will get more rock.  Add into the stew the Wolves were actually in that game against the Heat until the end, and it’s a stew I don’t think I want any part of anymore.  I mean, who puts sushi in a mother f stew?!  Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This NBA DFS season has been kind of a roller coaster ride.  The ownership of players is higher than normal.  Seems like everyone is on the same value players night after night.  If your high priced players you spend on don’t tank and reach value then you’re going to do well.  So be smart and don’t take too many risky players.  Also with the NFL, NHL and College Football going on too, be smart with your bankroll.

On Saturday we have a 7 game slate:

Please, blog, may I have some more?