Ah, the almost-studlies.  The “still can’t quite miss, but you can start reaching round.”  …Almost sounds like I said reach around…

This is where the sommeliers really can knock their drafts out of the park – it’s all about the pairings.  You don’t serve red wine with fish, you cro-magnon!  But what’s great about fantasy hoops as opposed to a pretentious French restaurant is there’s very few pairings that can go wrong.  I mean your first rounder is awesome and your second rounder awesome with it!  I know a lot of people like the FT punt builds, but really the only pairing I can’t see doing is going big-big.  There’s a ton of FT-punt bigs littered through the first 4-5 rounds, so I think you can still punt, but start with a LeBron James/Draymond Green pair, then PG/C in 3/4.  I’m sure Slim and I will work on more culinary pairings as we go through the ranks and do some mocks on the Podcast, as we attempt to put together the best fine dining experience…  I just wanna avoid the friggin’ snails!  Here’s the Top 20 for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball Season.

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There’s some sort of postseason going on, Stephen Curry is flying through the air, Klay Thompson is luckily OK after a Vincent Van Gough scare, there’s only two teams left…  but all of that is less exciting to us than the new blood to enter the 2015-16 Fantasy player pool!  As we’ve done for the second straight year (is two years considered a tradition yet?!), Slim and I mocked the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft by alternating picks for their respective teams with a fantasy outlook for each rook.  2014 didn’t… um…  go quite to plan.  But hey!  We got a couple right and this year doesn’t quite offer the top-to-bottom talent as 2014.  With a little bit more of an even playing field, I have a feeling this Draft will feature even more trades and more surprising risers and fallers…  Hopefully we get a good portion of the lottery right!  The optimist in me is ready ta go!  Here’s our 2015 Mock NBA Draft:

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Yikes, after the top 10 things become a hodgepodge of nitpickery!  I think I made that word up, but I’m not going to let my creativity wane during the offseason!

After putting out my Way Too Early Top 10 last week, I fought some procrastination and internal debates to get 11-20 down.  Fought some ranker’s block!  It’s like writer’s block, except I’m a lot less cool than Hank Moody in Californication.  Ranker’s block doesn’t score me the Hollywood A-listers!  But with a bottle of booze and in a plain black T, I truck forward thanks to the insistence of Runkle.  Here’s my Way Too Early Top 20 for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball Season:

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Playoffs? Unlike Jim Mora, there’s no question it’s playoff time. With the season almost over, tough decisions and moves need to be made. A guy that helped you during the regular season may not be helpful now. You’re trying to win a championship and there are only so many weeks left in the season to accomplish that. Hopefully your team is healthy, but if not, here’s an update on the latest injuries:

Dwight Howard returned for the Houston Rockets, after missing 26 games with swelling in his right knee. In 16 minutes as a starter, Howard recorded 4 points, 7 rebounds, and 1 block. Howard only played 16 minutes because of a minutes’ restriction, rather than because of foul trouble (he had 4 fouls in the game).

This is definitely good news for the Rockets and fantasy owners’ playoff runs. Each game, Howard should see his minutes rise, but it probably won’t be another week or so until he’s back to playing full minutes. Even then, he may sit a game or two if he feels any discomfort or the Rockets decide to rest him for the playoffs. This is pure speculation on my part, but it wouldn’t surprise me, since Howard has been limited to 33 games this season. The Rockets want to be careful with him.

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…Well I dunno what he woulda snitched about, but ya know…

The injuries and tanking DNPs continue in one of the most utterly annoying final months to the NBA in recent memory.  There will always be guys getting hurt, but we’ve lost yet another with Hassan Whiteside tearing up his hand and needing 10 stitches last night after jamming it up against the rim.  Right in the webbing!  Between the fingers!  Youchie.  After the game he said he couldn’t feel it.  I’m no doctor, but none of that sounds good for his status tonight!  I mean, sometimes losing all feeling in a hand can be good like in The Stranger…  Certainly sounds like he’ll take at least a game off, unless they can fit him with one of those oven mitts they give guys in the NFL when they play with broken hands.  It might end up being a good thing, because if Kelly Olynyk says something about Whiteside’s mama, we could see an even longer suspension!  Here’s what else went down last night in another “dropping like flies” night of fantasy basketball action:

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Woooo, Jimmy Buckets is back!  And Tom Thibodeau does what Tom Thibodeau does…  Runs his guys to death.

After missing exactly 3 weeks with his elbow injury, Jimmy Butler returned last night and played a ridiculous 39-and-a-half minutes for 19/9/1/0/0.  Almost 40 minutes?!  And he shot 6-20!?  Sure he’s taken a ton of shots the past week to be sure the elbow is healthy, but the aggression in that 7-10 FT really solidifies he should be 100% the rest of the way.  That is, until Tibs plays him 63 minutes in a 3-OT game!  Sheesh, I gotta wonder if I’ll ever be huge on Bulls again…  Derrick Rose and all-a-dat, Joakim Noah goes through injury spells…  And Tibs refuses to run his starters on any sort of minutes limits.  I’m more posing the thought than really setting any personal beliefs in my fantasy bedrock, but Rose for sure I could never draft.  You can call that Fred Flintstone because it’ll make my Fantasy Bedrock!  I don’t think I’m using that lyric right…  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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The Thunder just can’t catch a break this season. Kevin Durant is still out with a foot injury and now Serge Ibaka will join him on the sidelines.

Ibaka underwent surgery this week to help address discomfort in his knee. Apparently, Ibaka had been experiencing soreness since February. Despite setting up a management plan to help alleviate the pain, the Thunder ultimately decided that surgery was the best option.

Ibaka is expected to be out between four and six weeks. If all goes well in his recovery, Ibaka should be able to return for the Thunder’s first round series, should they hold off the Pelicans for the eighth playoff spot.

As a result of the timeline, Ibaka’s regular season is over. He’s safe to drop in redraft leagues. Ibaka’s MRI prior to the surgery revealed no structural or long-term issues so Ibaka is a great keeper for next season.

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Man, off an emotional win beating the Gizz (I hope that catches on), the Pistons go back-to-back and lose in Philly.  Seems like that kind of emotional high/low happens all the time!  Shoulda bet some money on Philly with probably a good betting line against em.

And it was pretty easy to see how Detroit lost with Reggie Jackson (4-17), Jodie Meeks (2-12), and Spencer Dinwiddie (2-11) combining for 7-40 from the field!  That FG% isn’t even legal at 17.5%!  That shooting percentage is statutory rape!  But swooning in all cool and ready to rob the cradle was the 44% from my boy Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the only shooter who could hit anything going 7-16.  Normally the lead for this game would be R-Jax’s trip-dub (11/11/10/0/0), but with 5 TO and that shooting %, he was pretty poopy.  KCP isn’t going to suddenly be a multi-cat stud, but it’s back-to-back 20 point games with a 20/8/2/1/0 line last night and a trey.  What I really like was his aggressiveness driving to the hole, netting 5-6 FT and he’s 7-9 from the stripe the past two games after a stretch with virtually no freebies.  He’s taken 14+ shots in 6 of 7 games and at least 10 shots in 13 of 15 taking a bigger role in the O with R-Jax able to probe (I can only think of South Park every time I hear a broadcast say that…).  Of course the FG% will be a struggle, but if your team build can handle it/if it’s a punt, the low TO and decent steals make him a solid add in the stretch run.  Here’s what else happened last night in fantasy basketball:

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Wow, big upset last night as the Pistons beat the Gizz 105-95.  I had “Grizz” typoed but laughed too hard to fix it…

And leading the way in running the Gizz out of Detroit was Reggie Jackson‘s Goromotaro!  Well, not really, 20/20 in Pts/Dimes doesn’t have an official Razzball name…  20 dimes is a double dimebag though!  Wait, no one gets those, it goes up to a quarter…  Can’t really complain that R-Jax didn’t get to 25 assists, but yeah, focus JB!  I wonder what could’ve flared up my ADD!

With my boyfriend Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hitting so many shots (not doing much else though in a 24/0/1/0/0 line), making 10-16 FG and scoring 16 Pts in the 3rd quarter, R-Jax piled up a ton of dimes on jumpers.  In the 3rd alone he had 6 dimes on 20+ foot FGM – 4 to KCP.  Helps when your fellow shooters are hot!  Just ask Stephen Curry how his season is going…  R-Jax has certainly had his ups and downs, and didn’t even have a single assist against the Jazz on Saturday!  I wanna say it was all due to Rudy Gobert, but if he was D-ing up R-Jax then Dante Exum would be on Andre Drummond!  I’m not depending on high-volume dimes here on out, but when R-Jax is in his lows, remember he was a pickup for a lot of his owners. So just thank your lucky stars for last night and enjoy the wave without putting the R-Jax on the pedestal, the underlining message from The 40-Year-Old Virgin.  Or else you let the Gizz win!  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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H2H Playoffs are here!  But geez, the amount of DNPs for minor injuries and general soreness (General Soreness!) over the weekend was infuriating!  Unless they hit your oppo harder than you, then they were infatuating!  I certainly almost lost a playoff spot to the former…

I guess our main stop on the DNP bandwagon would be the Atlanta Hawks and that darned Coach Butthole.  I imagine we’ll be using that nickname for Budenholzer a ton down the stretch!  The Hawks sat Jeff Teague, DeMarre Carroll and Paul Millsap (who had a nasty 23/9/3/3/3 rainbow Friday) last night, then had Kyle Korver break his nose and have to leave early on top of it.  Korver was already set for a DNP tonight, so there’s that, and Al Horford owners will have to start the week with a DNP-rest.  What a shizz-show!  Which kinda sounds like Szechuan.  Which makes me hungry…  About as hungry as Dennis Schroder looks when he gets starts, ripping apart the Lakers in a 24/3/10 line hitting 7-16 FG (1-5 3PTM 9-11 FT).  Even if you’re not a Teague owner, I think it’s impossible to leave the German on the wire.  It would just improve The Lives of Others!  And Coach Butthole has learned from Pop himself to sit everyone any chance he gets, with that line of thinking infecting the entire league this weekend.  It already feels like the last week of the season, doesn’t it?!  Maybe the playoffs need to start in week 10…  Sheesh…  Here’s what else went down on DNP Weekend in fantasy basketball:

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