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:

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With the season just a few days away, I’ll be covering the latest injury news for all those last minute drafters. Guys will be held out of preseason games for various ailments, so don’t overreact to every DNP in the preseason box scores. I can’t cover every NBA injury, but will try to cover the biggest injuries to start the season.

Unless you have been living under a rock over the summer, you have seen Paul George’s gruesome injury. He broke his leg in an US Olympic Team scrimmage. The leg injury has a 12-18 month timetable so George will be out for the entire regular season. He may play in the playoffs, but that doesn’t affect us fantasy players.

In redraft leagues, you don’t draft George. He won’t be playing this season, but should return to form the following year. In dynasty leagues, it gets a little trickier. If your team isn’t competing this year, then definitely invest a mid-round pick on him and stash him for the next season. If you think you can compete this year, get someone else who will play this year.

With George’s injury and Lance Stephenson’s trade to the Charlotte Hornets, there will be a lot of playing time and statistics up for grabs. Larry Bird says that the offense will rely more on George Hill. He’s never been the focal point of the offense so there may be some growing pains, but he’s a solid career shooter (44.8 FG%, 80.8 FT%, and 37.1 3FP%) and with increases in the counting stats, should be a solid mid-round value. He’s suffered a knee contusion, but should be ready to go for the start of the season.

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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):

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As we head into August, now is a perfect time to take a look back at the free agency period for the upcoming 2014-15 NBA season.

While there is one big name yet to sign (Eric Bledsoe), a few less-intriguing options still on the market (Michael Beasley, Andray Blatche, Kent Bazemore, Jordan Crawford), and another who’s unsure whether he’ll play or retire (Ray Allen), most of the fantasy basketball world knows where guys will be playing this season.  Of course, that still doesn’t include the possibility of Kevin Love finding a new home by the end of the summer, but that could be the subject of an entirely different article.

There is little doubt in anyone’s mind that Love will land in Cleveland, which will make them a huge force in the Eastern Conference — and in the entire NBA.

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So one of my favorite Charlotte Hornets memories was Glen Rice winning the All-Star Game MVP in 1997.  I was still a chitlin, but even then I knew the Hornets were the epitome of small market (and moved just a few years later).  Rice seemed like a fill-in bench player (even though he was pretty nasty in 96-97 with a by far career-high 26.8 a game), but went absolutely bonkers in the ASG second half, putting up 20 in the 3rd quarter.  He was hotter than P.J. Hairston in a “yo mama” contest!  I knew the Hornets had no title aspirations (ending up getting swept in the first round), but it made the whole season worth it.

And the Glen Rices of the world now have another, well smaller, trophy on their mantle with Glen Rice Jr. winning the Summer League MVP.  Actually, I’m not sure if he gets a trophy… Maybe just a stack of $1,000 in Belagio chips… Either way, Rice put up a 6-game line of 25/7.8/2.3/2.5/0.5 boosted by a plain stupid 36/11/3/4/0 line with six treys last Saturday.  “Pretend every game is the All-Star game film I always make you watch, son!”  The Wizards boosted their wings (and headband usage) with Paul Pierce brought in, plus Otto Porter should see a lot of minutes off the bench.  But behind Bradley Beal, Martell Webster just had herniated disc back surgery leaving a big early-season gap for backup SG minutes.  Sure Garrett Temple might be able to fill-in, but off the hot Summer, I think Rice Jr. has got some minutes coming his way.  Plus one of the biggest concerns for Beal is his injury risk, so a deep-league gamble on Glenny Jr. could be an interesting flier.  Here’s what else has gone down with Summer League wrapping up and free agency moves:

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…And we’re here!  Finally wrapping up a recap of the top 100 and how much I hated Andre Drummond coming into the year.  It’s not my fault!  He still can’t hit free throws!  Aherm, cough, I think I’m going to miss today’s class with the flu.

So far, and I’m not just saying this for my ego, I think I did the Nation better than I expected.  Sure there were swing-and-misses – I’m not Biff from Back to the Future Part II!  But it’s been a great learning experience recapping my ranks, and our loyal, bearded Slim comes in with his grades.  Rankings are based on my final updated top 200, comparing them to the FantasyPros aggregate Draft Day Rankings along with Basketball Monster’s Total Value for 9-cat leagues on the season.  Slim then recaps JB’s best ranks in the 101-200 range and worst.  Giannis Antetokounmpo for MVP!  To keep it unbiased, Slim picked the best 4 and worst 4, so we’ll have to see who he goes with… Here’s a look back at the Top 100 for the 2013-14 Fantasy Basketball Season:

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Brewers baby!  Best record in baseball.  9 in a row.  Oh yea, this is basketball, but man!  My Brewers are unstoppable!  And it carried over to the hardwood, when Corey Brewer had maybe the most preposterous, out-of-nowhere game all year.  I actually did highlights for the Wolves Rockets game Friday night, and it was like watching a pickup game where one guy was just light years better than everyone else.  Slice-n-dice, no need to take shots.  In the first quarter, I leaned over to a co-worker and said Brewer is having the game of his life.  Made me look smart!  Going in with a career-high of 29, Brewer dropped 51 on like, a trillion layups and pick 6s.  51/2/1/6/0, and just how everyone learned from Oliver, “you’ve got to pick a pocket or two!”  Or six.  And probably 5 of them led to uncontested layups, but he did have some pretty sick and-ones for good measure.  Deeper leaguers that had Brewer probably thought stat tracker was broken Friday night.  I’ve always been a Brewer fan, it was sad to have to trade him to Slim, but when Kevin Martin and Kevin Love returned, it was cool down time for the NBA’s Brew Crew on Sunday, going for only 10 and two steals.  Regardless, I love that Brewer now gets to share a milestone with Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson and Rick Barry as the only guys to go 50+ with 6+ steals.  One of these is not like the other!  Good for Brewer, and if the Wolves indeed deal Love and/or let K-Mart walk, Brewer could be pretty interesting next year.  Here’s what else I saw over the weekend in fantasy basketball action:

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The Lakers and dear ol’ coach Doh-toni are just an absolute mess right now.  And just to make things even more interesting, there are injuries, mystery, intrigue, vets returning, and a scheme to divert water reservoir rights.  With Pau Gasol out for two weeks with a bum groin and a good chance out of L.A. before the trade deadline, this whole team is turning into the end of Chinatown.  “Forget it, Jake.  It’s Chinatown!”  And you really can forget pretty much everyone on this team right now, as three vets returned, two guys got hurt, and it’s turning into a bigger Hollywood disaster than The Adventures of Pluto Nash.  I bet Norbit could play PF for the purple and gold!  Since going through everything that happened for the crumbling Lakers would be an 800-word paragraph, let’s hop out of the open and machine gun through em, plus what else happened last night in the world of fantasy hoops:

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Whoa, domino.

We’ve seen it time and again in this year of NBA action, which has looked more like an episode of “E.R.” wrapped inside a scene from “Grey’s Anatomy” inside Nurse Jackie’s scrubs than it has the FAN-tastic exhibition of athletic excellence constructed by now-ex-commish David Stern.

The injury domino effect has wreaked havoc everywhere in real life, wrecking players’ seasons, sending some teams into tank mode while helping other teams tank.

In the fantasy world, the impact of these boo-boos has been equally killer for some owners and the big ones don’t even need to be listed. You all know ‘em.

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Last time I’m gonna mention it, I’m not a masochist, but last week, I suggested that Terrance Ross should be dropped. Well, I think he may read my smelly little article, because homeboy went off for 51 with 10 treys, making me look a fool. Well, to Terrance I say: “I don’t need any help looking like a fool, thank you very much!” I think I won that joust. But in all seriousness, there’s a good lesson to be learned here: never drop slam dunk winners! Wait, whut? No, Daniel-san, the real lesson is no matter how good you are, you’re gonna make mistakes in fantasy. I had Ross, and dropped him just in time to watch him put in a performance that would have won my week. But he had scored 14 points his previous 3 games, with not a lot of supporting stats, the drop was a good move, based on his numbers up to that point. I, like any good fantasy player, have to shake it off, and not beat myself  up too much.  So on that note, if you’re still reading, you may want to know whom to buy and whom to sell, and to that I say, thank you, read on, but obviously, buyer beware!

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