Merry Christmas Razzball Nation!  I hope everyone is looking forward to a great holiday.  What have you asked for for Christmas?  A ridiculous stroke of luck to get you a Fantasy Football championship tonight?  A Christmas Day where three of your guys have triple doubles?  Mine is hoping that no more injuries roll through the NBA, at least with questionable return dates.  Hey, at least Brook Lopez has a certain return date.  October 2014.  Huge loss (I was going to say break, but um, yea) for fantasy owners with a broken foot.  Here’s what I said in my ranks with him at 50, lower than most other places: “Love his game, had him top-20 in May.  Foot injury and big trade limits #s.”  That’s me quoting me!  Ok, ok, so I get a ton wrong and you can’t project injuries (which I didn’t really, gotta love vagueness!), but I avoided Lopez everywhere so I am not suffering a stocking full of coal like BroLo owners.  BroLo’s stocking is actually full of a swollen foot, but you get the idea.  Andray Blatche becomes a must-own with the boost in minutes, and was already at double-digits and 19:40 plus of playing time in 15 of 17 games before Friday night’s dud when BroLo got hurt.  I see him grabbing 7 to 8 boards with decent %s – along with his scoring – for a bottom end guy on rosters with a tad of upside.  Here’s what else/who else got hurt over the weekend:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I trust everyone has been a good boy or girl this year, and has sent their wish list to Santa already, right? I have it on good authority that jolly old St. Nick is a huge NBA fan, so naturally I suggest you ask for fantasy help. And I have a strategy: bear in mind, if you ask for too much, you get burned for being greedy, and you will get coal bricks under your tree (like Drummond at the free throw line, amirite?? Awful, sorry.). So, that in mind, I’m simply asking for dimes. I need help with assists in my 2 leagues, I took Kyrie in both leagues, and he is not exactly packing that stat line, I have Jameer, and he’s been on and off the court… well, whining to you guys won’t do anything about it. But whining to Santa will. It has to, as there is no quality points on my waiver. And with that let me bend your eyeballs to a few guys that might make excellent stocking stuffers:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In Shaq-ramento, when Christmas carolers sing at your doorstep, if it’s deck the halls you must insist a free a Rudy Gay jersey! You better believe Sleep Train Arena is gonna deck their halls with Gay apparel.  That is, if it has power.  Zing!  Last night, the Kings picked up Gay from the Raptors in a 7-player deal with a lot more fantasy impact than just the players involved.  The Kings also picked up Aaron Gray and Quincy Acy, for the fewest letters in three surnames you could ever receive in a three-player haul.   In return, Greivis Vasquez, John Salmons, Patrick Patterson and Chuck Hayes got exported to Canada.  I hope they have winter wear!  Instead of going over all of the impact in the open, it’ll be fettered out and we’ll focus on Gay at the top.  Nothing changes.  Brevity!  Lots of shots, the Kings don’t become any better or worse, but get a good all-around player.  The fantasy impact on Gay seems null.  The trade overall I think it a win-win, both in real hoops and in fantasy.  The Kings dumped guys that don’t really help their rotations for a star, and the Raptors break up their two high-volume shots guys with it not working.  Plus the Raptors are looking to rebuild around the Luminescent Lithuanian.  Then all sorts of fantasy optimism below, along with other action across the NBA over the weekend:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I have never seen JB so shaken up as he was the other day.  Everything was completely normal when I walked in.  Jude Judy was on like normal.  His hands were covered in orange Cheetos residue like normal.  A slight hint of alcohol in the air did have me question whether I really wanted to stop by but I risked it anyway.  I didn’t get two feet in the door and the first thing he says is, “I can’t believe he’s dead.”  It was strange because I couldn’t tell what the emotion was.  He was definitely sad, angry too.  “How could they just… he’s dead.”  Oddly there was laughter in his voice.  He could tell I had no idea what he was talking about and he continued, “Bryan’s gone.”  I was saddened to hear the news but I had to stop him and tell him I didn’t know anyone named Bryan and NO I’m not going to shake your hand until you clean it off.  He explained to me about Family Guy and the dog dying and it all began to make sense.  Except for why he cared so much.  I watched the show enough to know there was a dog but until then I didn’t know the dog even had a name.  He could not accept this so he sat me down, muted the Judge, handed me the Cheetos, and began that days lesson in pop culture.

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We are, brothers and sisters, into our 4th week of fantasy, and things are starting to shake out, no?  Stevie Blake continues to produce, and all is right in the world of baskets and balls. Or is it?

I had written a smelly little article last week, another Buy/Sell, and one of you kind readers, Giant Gigantes, asked why my article read like a add/drop, and not buy/sell, as I didn’t recommend any players that are playing over their head, ones that the reader should look to move. At first I blew it off, not thinking anything of it. I mean, how would I, or anyone else know this early in the season who is over valued, and who is under performing? The nerve of this cat, right?

But I couldn’t leave it alone, because I’m petty, and can’t take criticism of any form due to my tenuous opinion of myself. In this case, there was something to what he was saying. Giant was right to expect me to make some wild assertions, if for no other reason than to spark some discussion amongst you guys. I needed to go deeper, do some serious introspection about what motivates me, who I am, and who I want to be as a hack sports advice guy. But only after a healthy dose of porn. Don’t judge my methods, that’s how I reach my spirit guide.

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All hail Trey Burke!  May all the inhabitants of the great Salt Lake City and all their respective wives rejoice!  And… the Jazz are still atrocious.  Poor Tyrone Corbin.  He’s got to fiddle with Burke, Alec Burks, John Lucas III and now Diante Garrett at the point.  Jerry Sloan got John Stockton.  Then Deron Williams.  It just ain’t fair!  In yet another Jazz loss moving them down to 1-12, Burke got 12 minutes even, going 11/1/1 with a steal and hitting a trey shooting 5-8.  Trey with the trey!  If only Deuce McAllister was an NBA player.   Deuce with the deuce!  Or if McAllister was a dunker, “Deuce with the upper decker!”  I had the unfortunate pleasure of doing highlights for my second Jazz game now, but it was cool to see Burke’s debut and I thought he looked pretty good.  His first NBA points were off a long rebound then coast-to-coast for a controlled, attacking floater.  Obviously he’s getting eased in and he’ll get more minutes – hippity-skippity to a few months back and I was bigger on Burke than anyone – but I’m not ready to go nuts and drop quality guys for him.  Of course it’s a case-by-case scenario, but I really wanted Burke to get tons of preseason work; instead he broke his finger and missed some really crucial development time.  For example, I think I’m still holding Patrick Beverley over him.  PBev is the Razzball “why can’t I quit you?!” fantasy asset.  Lucas III is obviously not a long-term solution, and while he’s in the mix, he didn’t look good last night but was the only guy that could hit any long balls.  Alec Burks looked awful, sure his line 8/1/1/1/2 is fine, shot 3-6 – fine – but racked up 4 TOs in 16 minutes.  Just looked bad.  Which brings me to Diante G, who I thought looked really good.  Garrett actually led the Jazz in PG minutes with 20, and racked up a 4/1/6 line with three steals and only 2 TOs (one late one was pretty bad, but the game was over) and played down the stretch.  Garrett was the only point who could create opportunities.  So it’s a little crowded with Burks’ potential wilting away and Garrett looking decent as a D-League gamble and could get run through the season.  I think Lucas III gets cut at some point and Burks plays strictly backup 2 minutes, but that’s just me.  It’s a mess.  Shocker, considering it’s the Jazz!  Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Listen, I know a lot of drafts have gone down, but I think we’re still right in the sweet spot of the drafting season.  And while we’re in that sweet spot, why not start up an RCL Hoops league where we need more commishes!  I am putting an embargo on comments unless you start up a league!  Haha – kidding.  But what’s less funny is the curse of my love for Trey Burke, as he’s going to have surgery on his index finger.  “Don’t you point at me!”  “I can’t help it, it’s the cast!”  The original report of him missing 8-12 weeks had him a 100% no bueno in my book, but then he tweeted out (I guess using other fingers) that it should only be 4-6 weeks.  Apparently he’ll be in a splint three weeks and will be reevaluated.  As in – “my fingy still hurty!”  I’m moving Burke way down and taking it as a sign to completely cool off my love for him.  As in Arnold in the last bad Batman movie cool.  “Tonight’s forecast – a freeze is coming in!”  John Lucas III becomes the starting PG it appears in most games and probably needs to be owned in deeper leagues, but I wouldn’t drop someone that good for him. Lucas III didn’t crack the updated rankings because I don’t see season-long impact from him.  Alec Burks could start some games at the point as well, and remains ranked as I think he plays both guard positions and minutes all year.  That is despite a horrible 1-13 shooting performance last night…  The Jazz are also re-evaluating trading for the Bulls’ Marquis Teague in a possible trade.  Then there’s a rumor that free agent Jamaal Tinsley might also get signed.  Sounding more and more like the Jazz PG is going to be a black hole this season.  So I’m avoiding them all, but still holding Burke in 12+ team leagues (like my 1st RCL League) and hoping.  Here’s what else has been going down through the preseason, and a final rankings update:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

After re-ranking the top 10top 20, and top 50, it’s easy to see there’s been big changes since last May.  Below are the Razzball Updated Rankings with the previous May rankings in parentheses before the adjusted rank:

(68) ↑ 51. Derrick Favors – Utah declining to bring back either Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap gives you a slight inclination on their thoughts on Favors, and they’re already talking contract extension with their emerging big as well.  I love his athleticism, and if I miss out on Serge Ibaka who I’m high on early, I’m gonna want to reach on Favors to win blocks. I think he’ll be a top-5 NBA swatter.

(51) 52. Kemba Walker – Kemba has been higher on virtually every rankings I’ve seen, and I’m just not top-50 high on him.  He had a really solid season last year, but the terrible FG% still worries me as I feel like he forces some offense.  The acquisition of Big Al is going to give the Bobcats/soon-to-be Hornets an actual scorer down, and I don’t think that translates into helping Kemba all that much.  I like Gerald Henderson a lot too to take a bigger scoring role.  The 2.0 steals a game last year was elite, but I see those going down along with the scoring, and a comparable 5.7:2.4 Ast:TO ratio.  All that spells a slightly down ranking for me.  Although to be fair, he’s played in every single Bobcats game in his career, so there’s that reliability that can’t be ignored.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The period of free agency continues to shape the fantasy basketball-scape with fresh meat on terrible teams and players signing with contenders to be relegated to bench duty.  With baseball in fun swing and the NFL getting half of the ESPN air time no matter what time of year it is, a lot of NBA moves have been made under the radar.  Look for every division to get a team-by-team breakdown and some early fantasy thoughts on the new faces in new places:

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I’ve got to say, growing up a huge Charlotte Hornets fan, I am going to finally have a favorite team again next year.  I mean, the Bobcats is such a horrific name for a professional sports team that it actually made me not cheer for them.  If they follow my logic – citizens of New Orleans, I’m sorry, you’re no longer cheering for your NBA team.

If you missed it the other night, the 2013 NBA Draft Lottery was selected (coincidentally right when a huge Powerball was built up and won – conspiracy?!) with the Cleveland Cavaliers winning another #1 pick.  Nerlens Noel, or Captain N as I’m going to call him, looks like he’s heading to one of basketball’s friendliest cities.  Just don’t leave for another team in a televised special.  Honestly, my first thought was, “great, another talented player I have to navigate through injury estimates with.”

Anyway, I doubt any NBA rookies will crack the top 100 for fantasy this year, it’s a pretty weak draft class, but that’s why these way too early rankings will be capped at 100 before readdressed closer to the season when they’ll expand to 200.  As always with rankings this early, it’s May, the Finals haven’t even started yet, and there will be a lot of revisions.  But here’s how I see things shaking out as of right now:

Please, blog, may I have some more?