We had the first big name get traded this year with Rajon Rondo getting dealt to the Mavs.  It’s a perfect “Shark Tank” deal for Mark Cuban.  It sends a message that the Mavs are going for it this year.  I don’t blame them since Dirk isn’t getting any younger.  I really like this deal for Dallas.  It brings stability to the PG position for Dallas and we seen in the past what Rondo can do with skilled talent surrounding him.  Dallas sure has that.  Plus, Rondo isn’t under contract next year. If it doesn’t work out in Dallas the Mavs aren’t on the hook for any money after this year.  I was surprised they got him so cheap.  Yeah, Dallas sent 3 players in the deal but it’s not like those players were really heavily involved in the rotation for the Mavs.  Also, rumors are the Celtics are already shopping Brandan Wright.  The only thing the Celtics really wanted was the two picks they got in the deal and the $12.9 million trade exception .  The Celtics now have eight first round picks in the next four years.  I’m also curious to see if what Jae Crowder can do if he gets some time.  I really liked his game at Marquette and never felt like he was given a great opportunity in Dallas.  Now the the player to keep your eye is first round pick Marcus Smart with Rodo out of town.  This kid can flat out score but the biggest hurdle is if he can stay healthy.  With all that said, how about we get on with this small 6 game slate: 

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The biggest injury news of the week definitely belongs to Jabari Parker. Initially diagnosed as a strained knee, Parker underwent more tests and it was discovered that he tore his ACL. As a result, Parker will miss the rest of his rookie season.

This is a tough blow to the Bucks. At 14-13, they are currently in the 6th spot in the East and are in the hunt for a playoff berth. That says more about the pitiful East, than it does about the Bucks.

As my roommates can attest, I may not be able to pronounce his name, but I know Giannis Antetokounmpo is good. He’s athletic and long enough to play multiple positions and should continue to make strides this season. Khris Middleton isn’t as versatile as the Greek Freak, but can still provide fantasy owners with value. He put up 17 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 steals off the bench in Wednesday’s game, before putting up a dud (only 1/2/1) in Thursday’s game.

Brandon Knight, OJ Mayo, Jared Dudley, and even Ersan Ilyasova will also see added looks on offense as well. Ilyasova won’t return from his facial fracture and concussion until at least next week, but is a player to watch. He was playing well prior to his injury and could be a sleeper pickup if he can return to the 13 ppg, 7 rpg, and 1 three per game from a few seasons ago.

Jason Kidd will probably mix and match with his lineups and these guys may be inconsistent night in and night out, but they are guys to watch as their production and minutes rise.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Man, what an epic game in San Antonio!  Marc Gasol hitting a preposterous buzzer-beater to put it in OT, then Tim Duncan makes this rim job to put it into 3OT… Crazy man.  Two things – 1 – Sean Elliott is maybe my favorite commentator in the NBA and B – look at Marco Belinelli just bowl over Courtney Lee in that second highlight…  Strike!  Haven’t see a Lee update for an injury, so stay tuned there…

I guarantee you that Gregg Popovich was fuming like President Snow that this game kept going on, and on, and on and… Kinda like book series that have the final book broken into into two movies.  I mean The Hunger Games: Mockinjay – Part 1…?  I got confused and disinterested once Woody Harrelson stopped drinkin’.  So I guess last night’s Spurs vs. Grizzlies games was San Antonio vs. Memphis – Buzzer-beaters traded: Duncan’s Rim Job – Part 3.  Another huge game from Timmay (excluding the real fluky 5-15 FT) for 23/16/5/2/3.  Rainbow line!  Duncan really hasn’t skipped a beat this year, well except for when he’s benched with a DNP-Rest.  I know it’s hard to believe, but we’re in Week 9 of the season already!  And for H2H leagues that play standard 3-week playoffs (RCL standard), we’re almost halfway through the regular season with playoffs starting Week 21.  A game like last night is only going to make Pop go restier, so if you’re killing it at first or second in your standings, I wouldn’t mind selling high at all.  But there’s a flip side – if you’re 8 or 9 and see Duncan on a team running away with a playoff spot, it’s actually a good time to think about bringing him aboard.  He’ll be frustrating with the DNPs, but could put you over the edge if you’re hanging on the rim.  If you know what I mean…  Here’s what else went down in A Wednesday Night of NBA: OTs Galore – The Return of Hack-a-Shaq: The Revenge:

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I’ve got the ring in the cake.  The scoreboard operator has got it cued up for the 2nd quarter under-8 timeout.  The plane with some really carcinogenic toxins is ready to pollute the atmosphere in a “Will U Marry Me?” loopy smokestream.

An unsung contributor this year, DeMarre Carroll racked up another under-the-radar line last night for 14 Pts, 11 Reb, 3 Ast, 3 Stl, 2 3PTM, and a partridge in a pear tree!  No TO, and other than blocks really hits all the Silver Bells and whistles.  Hitting a career best 1.6 treys a game, it’s a Christmas miracle his FG% is at 46%.  The dimes don’t do much either, but there’s no reason not to to Sleigh Ride him while he’s hitting most of the cats this hard.  Even a Silent Night or two won’t scare me away, and at only 61% ownership in Yahoo, I feel like there’s still a lot of leagues where he could bring Joy to the World.  So sing a holiday carol for DeMarre, and even though nothing is too sexy, I felt like I needed Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (full disclosure, I had to look up a list of Christmas songs for this bit, I’m such a Grinch).  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball:

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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:

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Man, both NBA games last night were atrocious…  Even if the Rockets McDonald’s unis were effing awesome, love those 90s reds and yellows!

Gregg Popovich sat Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan (on top of Marco Belinelli and Tiago Splitter injured) that’s sure to get Adam Silver pitching a tent in his NBA-fines PJs.  With no Duncan or Splitter, the Spurs had to play Aron Baynes and Boris Diaw at C.  Wow.  And against an inconsistent-at-best post player in Dwight Howard!  But Dwight destroyed his “defenders” and looked like a 17 year old high school kid with college aspirations playing against middle schoolers.  Like watching Taco Fall play against other high school JV teams.  Man, Taco makes a basketball look like a grapefruit!

There’s really only one explanation to last night’s travesty – Pop owns Dwight on his fantasy team.  And well, let’s guess Kevin McHale drafted Tim Duncan and was against Pop this week.  Pop DOES NOT like to lose in fantasy basketball.  I’d imagine when he talks to his fantasy opponents it goes something like this.  “What’s more powerful than me winning every year?  Hope.  That I’d ever let anyone else win!”  Dwight for 32/16/0/1/2 shooting 12-18 from the field.  It was pretty bad out there, matchup wise.  He did his Dwight thing missing FT but ended up fine hitting 8-13.  I’m very steadfast in my anti-Dwight ways, so if you have Howard and have thought about trading, this is the game to be off of to do it.  Here’s what else went down in a light slate of Thursday action:

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It’s finally here!  “The lockout is over!”  You’re like, “wtf, a lockout?!”  I’m quoting a Dave Cowens commercial!  And after the 98-99 Lockout at that!  Anything vintage Hornets is nostalgic gold right now.  Ridiculous amounts of bonus points to readers who are Hornets fans and remember that commercial and/or can find the video.  Because I couldn’t!

The return of the Hornets is one of the many things I’m looking forward to this year.  Getting past my horrific Jonas Valanciunas love, finally changing the page to a new season, is another.  But one of the biggest is a healthy (for now) Kobe Bryant and the return of the “Guess Kobe Bryant’s Stat Line”!  Even if you’re a long-time reader, you might not know this one!  It’s like the NBA scheduled the Lakers on a light opening night just for this momentous Razzball event, not because the Lakers are a widely popular team or anything…

I don’t remember exactly what spawned this prestigious contest, but as with everything that is oddly conversational in Razzball, traditions can start any time!  Like how we all guessed what Kobe would do, the like, 5 games he played last year.  So in order to carry this tradition, and to accurately-ish credit the winner, guess the Kobe line will be limited to the PTS/REB/AST projection to determine the victor.  Feel free to guess more stats than that, but when we did it last year with steals and blocks and turnovers, it was hard to say which commenter was closer than another.  The winner gets a shout out in the recap the next day, along with the jealous ire of all other Razzballers… I think Kobe has a big one in the opener vs. Houston… I’m going 31/5/6.  Shoot your guesses below, and happy return to Fantasy Basketball!  We’re pumped for our biggest season to date here at Razzball, and thanks to everyone for checking us out through the offseason!

Here’s some other news and notes since the last wrap-up, and what I’ll be focusing on for opening night (and we’re daily every weekday with the wrap-ups here on out!):

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With the full 2014-15 Fantasy Basketball Rankings now complete, let’s take a look at the double digit rounds.  The debate over Scrub A or Scrub B.  We don’t want no scrubs!  Well, play in a shallower league then!  People say you win your leagues in the later rounds.  I don’t know who these people are, but they’re probably jaded after drafting Derrick Rose in the 2nd round last year.  Where’s the violins?!  What I would say, is if you hit on one guy in the late rounds with 30th or 40th overall value, you’re set.  75% of your last picks are probably going to be drops.  So 75% of your late picks will be passes to Brandon LaFell.  Wrong sport!  Still bitter about how bad he was… Go Kelvin Benjamin!  Aka my favorite Panther.  Stay focused!  Here’s my top 150 for the 2014-15 Fantasy Basketball Season (based on 9-cat H2H):

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Oh man.  Am I sorry if anyone had to watch Battle: Los Angeles last night.  I hated that movie and actually would rather have watched that again than the atrocity in Staples.  Reggie Miller was having so much fun dogging that game.  I was saying that it was like watching an All-Star game at the office, then either Miller or Kerr then said the same thing!  Followed by, “well, except all the All-Stars are on one team!”  Lakers burn!  El Burro, I hope you’re around, because I’d love a rant from this game from a true Lakers fan.  Sure there have been worse NBA blowouts, but man, that was straight up Cornell going on the road to Wichita State.  Even that would be a lot better to watch!  I’m not taking much to heart fantasy-wise in the 48-point romp of blue/red over yellow/purple, but my main takeaway was that Kendall Marshall still got a 7/4/7 line in 24 minutes and Jordan Farmar was awful in his 21 minutes.  I’m a big Farmar hater, and think Marshall is actually a little underrated right now.  Marshall as we all know was playing well in big minutes earlier in the year, and I think can get back to the 30ish range.  And even if he falls short of that, the dimebags will afloweth like a Denver dispensary.  Cash cow business for the Girl Scout cookie industry as well!  Probably should’ve had a few Girl Scouts paroling the Staples Center last night.  “Eat your pities away, Lakers fans!”  “A peanut butter delight won’t disappoint you at all!”  Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy hoops:

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When Glen Davis went to the pre-season Magic weigh-in, the trainer was like, “355 Big Baby, really?”  “These hips don’t lie!”  And in a very full slate of games last night, we had two pretty premiere big men have their hips not lie and go out on them.    “Help I’ve fallen and can’t get up!”  The NBA to start issuing players life alerts to wear around their necks.  DeMarcus Cousins was the first to succumb to the AARP ailment.  Suffered a left hip flexor, but coach Mike Malone said it probably wasn’t serious.  Destiny is like, “wait a ‘left’ hip?  I thought, like, for people we had only one hip!”  No child left behind fails us yet again.  Good thing it’s the All-Star break for Boogie!  An All-Star Boogie!  Dude, that should totally be an event.  Breakdance Horse!  Hah.  Then Derrick Favors went out and re-aggravated his right hip that had caused him to miss games here and there over the past month.  This one is a lot less bueno.  But hey, DeMarcus and Derrick have a pair of healthy hips!  If only they were siamese twins – they’d get, like, 35 rebounds a game.  Favors will likely get an MRI and be brought along very slowly since this is a re-aggravation.  Enes Kanter to the rescue!  Might get some solid run and deserves love in a lot of leagues.  And don’t sleep on Rudy Gobert in deep leagues if you need some blockage.  Speaking of blockage, look at some of the traffic photos of NC from yesterday.  No one learned from Atlanta!  And the best basketball game on the slate, UNC-Duke, cancelled.  Travesty.  Let’s get this global warming going again!  Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy hoops:

Please, blog, may I have some more?