Who is the hottest team in the NBA right now?  The Pacers are surprisingly playing well and OKC is still winning through injuries, but those Utah Jazz are as tough to score on as the bookish chicks in college!

5-1 since the trade deadline, the Jazz have wins against Portland, San Antonio and now Memphis in that span (their loss was against the Lakers, but we’ll overlook that), and other than that fluke Lakers game, no one has scored over 82 points.  And we all know the key to the Jazz D is Rudy Gobert.  Moving into the starting line-up, Gobert has been playing unreal with a 15/24/1/0/0 line last night on 6-10 FG and 3-4 FT.  He was on a 6-game streak of 3+ blocks, so a random outlier of 0 last night isn’t a biggie especially since Marc Gasol loves his mid-range.

I’ve seen a few comments of owners looking to trade for FG% and a big man boost, and I would be all-in on trying to bring Rudy to those squads.  Even his FT% is improving at 11-15 from the stripe the past 3!  And the Jazz have that oh so saucy 4/4/4 playoff sched.  Yesterday on the Podcast, I asked Slim if he would take Gobert or Hassan Whiteside first in next year’s drafts.  It’s really really close and comes down to a points need (Whiteside) vs. steals need (Gobert).  It’s crazy that probably the biggest value change during the deadline was just the stubborn Jazz finally unleashing the beast that is Gobert.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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?

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?

A popular sleeper on draft day (well, made more popular by us!), Markieff Morris had been driving fantasy owners crazier than Joaquin Phoenix in The Master.

Through the first 10 games, Markieff had numbers eerily identical to what he did last year despite four more MPG.  His engine is on hybrid!  But for as atrocious as his previous 4 games were, broke out in a big way against the Celtics for 30/7/5/4/0 hitting 14-21 shots including a trey.  And only 1 TO!  Career-high scoring for Kieff, after four games in a row under 12 and three of those scoring single-digits.  “I found the beef, it’s Jeff Green‘s terrible D!”  While my Kieff teams are loaded with swagger after this big Monday, there is something slightly concerning with his stats.  Only 1-1 FT last night, and now is under half as many FT makes a game compared to last year, in nearly 5 more minutes a game (playing 39 bumped up his minutes finally!).  In 13-14, Kieff-er Sutherland was at 3.2-4.0 at the charity stripe, but is suddenly more like Donald Sutherland and not attacking the cup.  Less driving means fewer OREB (down from last year sinking his REB per-36), and his dimes have fallen a smidge as well.  None of these stats are major, but it seems he’s not creating and the Suns G-rotation is handling all the rock.  Another week of big stats with weak FT numbers and low-ish dimes – on top of Hornacek’s tendency to roll the hot hand, even the starters – and I’d actually sell high.  The steals and handful of blocks are nice, but not loving the lack of aggression and new role as more a spot-shooter, which could make him benchable to Horny a lot of games if he’s cold, something we’ve already seen a little of with the waffley minutes.  Where’s the beef?!  Let’s hope not in the waffles, but ya never know, that could be good!  Fried chicken n waffles is out of this world.  Here’s what else happened on an unusually busy Monday night of action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ohhhh man, the mile run.  Nothing establishes popularity in middle school more than the mile run.  You have the athletes who can just jog but have to semi-try, the dorks who are OK at sports that do pretty well (me!), the cool kids that just walk, the unhealthy people who saunter, and then the coolest dudes who hide behind the scoreboard on the other side of the track as the teachers and smoke cigs.  True story!  But the real run to talk about this morning is C.J. Miles‘ run, who’s capped off three straight great games.  Hit a ridiculous 10 treys last night, for a 34/5/2/2 line shooting 11-18 and 10-14 from deep.  If only someone called it yesterday!  And proof to the theory of ThrAGNOF.  Got you 10 treys for just one spot start.  Great night for Miles and shows us yet again that if you need to stream guys, play anyone facing the Sixers.  As I mentioned yesterday, their D is league worst in points allowed by nearly 7 points more a game given up than the second-worst.  It’s a fast-paced team with bad D no matter how you slice it.  Unfortunately for Miles, the acquisition of Luol Deng is really going to hurt his minutes, making him a guy you’re probably not picking up in standard leagues or solid 12-teamers.  Just won’t have the minutes or upside.  But luckily he had one last game to show his range and should stay in the mix for deeper leaguers.  Here’s what else I saw last night in a big slate of games:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ahhhh weed jokes.  The Pacific Northwest.  Their team is the Blazers.  Rasheed Wallace used to play for them!  But I don’t think Oregon has legalized it yet.  What’s the world like in Colorado and Washington these days?  Something like Amsterdam?  Although, even though I went there, I hardly remember it.  If you have Damian Lillard though, you’re surely remembering the night he put up last night!  11-23 shooting, 8-12 3PTM for 36 points, a surprising 8 boards, and a dimebag right on the nose with 10 assists.  Plus a game-winner!  The near triple-double moves Lillard to 10th overall in Total Value according to Basketball Monster, and a true American Hero!  And by that, I mean my 19 overall rank of him got flack more than a few times through the rankings iterations, and looking peachy keen now.  He’s lowered his TOs almost a full turnover a game since his rookie year, upped the 3PT% and my favorite –  is becoming an elite FT% guy going 5.2-5.6 a night at 91.8% for the season.  Getting to the line and making em, pretty much the antithesis of Andre Drummond!  Hey o!  Oh wait, I mean, I’m jinxing Drummond, he’s the bast center in the world and will all the sudden shoot 95% from the stripe once he adopts the Barry granny shot… Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy hoops:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Pretty much anyone involved in the big Rudy Gay trade has gotten nothing but positive return except Greivis Vasquez.  Poor Vasquez… And easily the biggest winner right now is Isaiah Thomas just going off with the backcourt to himself, going 29/6/2 on Friday night and 19/2/8 last night.  With both PGs there in Shaq-ramento to start the year, it was like the first Terminator, then IT2 got flipped into the main good guy and it’s movie magic in the sequel.  Coach Mike Malone even came out and said Thomas is gonna lead the NBA in minutes.  Iron man!  Well I guess it would be hyperalloy combat chassis covered by living human tissue man… I wish Vasquez had never gone to Sacramento, because as I mentioned last week, I aggressively ranked Thomas early in the summer.  I love this kid.  He’s going to be extremely tough to go out and trade for right now, and I certainly would not be selling.  He’s got both Gay and DeMarcus Cousins to dish to, plus he’s a fantastic scorer.  I have all sorts of IT2 regret now since he’s not on any of my teams… Womp womp… Here’s what else went down over the weekend:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If you recall back to last week, I remember talking up Jon Leuer as an interesting deep league play.   Loved the out-of-position threes, the boarding, the all-around production.  I said I would probably go after him in REL, and then Slim tells me he’s probably not bidding on him this week.  So I figure, I can dangle a few bucks and if someone beats me to him so be it.  But it shouldn’t have been you Slim!!  He Leuered me in with scoffing and brush-off ness.  Slim, you want to repay me for this horrific slight of hand?  Trade him to me!  I guess I should talk more about Leuer than rant…  Just over 27 minutes last night for 16/12 with a three on 7-14 shooting.  This now marks five straight games of 23:30+ minutes, averaging nearly a double-double a game on top of almost a three a game with a few blocks.  He’s not going to turn into some superstar, but he’s a great stretch the court center, which fits Mike Conley trying to drive and dish.  Sorry Kosta Koufos, but your outside shots are labradoodles!  That term needs to be added to the glossary…  I see Leuer continuing his PT as a double double threat while Marc Gasol is out, with a handful of threes, steals and blocks to help out deeper leagues.  Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy hoops:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

What if Roy Halladay changed his mind about retiring and switched to pitching left-handed as a means to extend his career? He’d look like someone trying to do the stereotypical “girl throw” and the ball would end up killing a bat boy.

What if Robert Griffin III started throwing left-handed because Kyle Shanahan’s offense stinks and because RGIII just does things differently? Mike Shanahan would turn redder than well, you know, and become permanently frozen with the Anthony Perkins face.

This is why people were sort of baffled when Tristan Thompson decided to switch shooting hands from left to right during the 2013 offseason in an effort to avoid getting his shot blocked.

Is it working? Not really. His FG percentage is down six points from last year.

Do we care? In a word, no.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Now I’m not sure about this, but when Taj Gibson had a couple good games over the Thanksgiving week, I probably recapped and gobble-gobbled at it.  My jowls flapped around like Boss Nass bein’ all “Hmmpphhherr Rumpity-Doooo, Taj Gibson, rabble rabble rabble!”  At least that sounds like me… Now you see what I deal with in my inner monologue!  It’s like I battle a drunk Kenny Rogers.  Which is to say, I battle Kenny Rogers.  Gibson has been a scrate-up beast the past four, going 23/8, 18/4, 26/14 5 blks, and 19/6/0/1/1 last night.  Bringing big time energy to that front line as the main big off the bench, he’s playing insane out there, shooting 67% from the floor in those past 4.  I watched the game last night and was impressed with his spark, but then again, the Heat bigs are awful.  They got out-rebounded 49-27 last night!  Back in the day, I used to love Taj when Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah battled injuries.  But now… it took some time and four in a row to buy it.  I think it’s because the Bulls are my least favorite team.  Sorry Bulls fans!  Boozer & Noah just yell on virtually every rebound and definitely every single putback attempt.  It’s unreal!  It’s like Maria Sharapova is rebounding.  And Gibson does it at least 50% of the time.  He’s becoming the Bulls Sex Panther.  “50% of the time he’s yelling… every time!”  But regardless of how annoying he/the Bulls bigs are to watch/listen to, he’s playing like a must-own in all formats.  At 33% owned in Yahoo and 24% in ESPN, he’s hot while a lot guys are not.  I don’t think he’s going to turn into a set-it and forget-it guy the rest of the year, he doesn’t do enough of anything else besides score and board (if not for that 5 block game, he’d be under 1 in Asts, Stls & Blks on the year), but I think he’s a ride the wave kinda add right now.  Here’s what else I saw on the light Thursday slate of games and a few updates for tonight:

Please, blog, may I have some more?