With this being the NBA All-Star Weekend, our typical weekend streamer options post will take a backseat to some fantasy implications of any trades that have (and will) occur with the trade deadline coming next week.  There’s been a couple of trades that already happened.  I was hoping to get a glimpse on all of them but looks like the players involved in the ORL-TOR trade didn’t suit up for their new teams.

I said fantasy implications, but let me just add to the growing voices that are asking the Magic management-WTF?!  You trade Victor Oladipo, a near solid (at the very least pretty darn serviceable) stretch 4 in Ersan Ilyasova, the #11 pick (Domantas Sabonis) for Serge Ibaka which you in turn trade for Terrence Ross and TOR’s 1st round pick which is probably no earlier than the 20th pick.  It doesn’t take a math genius to figure out that ORL traded away all those essentially for Ross and that 1st round pick.  No disrespect to Ross but seriously?! </rant>

So, with both Ibaka and Ross not playing last night, we can only speculate as to see how they could initially be utilized in their respective teams.

Let’s start with Ross: I think he will end up being the starting SF.  The way I see it the starting lineup will be this:

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All we needed is a royal event! Unfurl the red carpet, roll it out in the The Colonies’ biggest city, and The Duchess will grace over his royal territory! Wow, I just made a Brooklyn Mess game sound like a big event. FOOL YOU!

As we continue to see Khris Middleton get his minutes ramped up, this was maybe the most encouraging game of the night for me yesterday, as he gets the ASB to rest up and looks ready for a big second half. Even though it’s more like a big final 1/3, but ya know, NBA… 20/3/7/3/0 for The Duchess K Middleton, with only 1 TO and shooting 7-13 with a trey. His most minutes thus far (played 26 off the bench) and I just loved this little glimpse of chemistry with Giannis Antetokounmpo with the big highlight from this game:

Guys are looking N’Sync! I would totally watch The Duchess and Greek Freak lead a boy band… Through his 4 games back, Middleton hasn’t looked like he’s lost anything, with a stellar 18:4 AST:TO, is shooting 47%, and has two 3 steal games. With Jabari Parker out and a line-up that will need a playmaker next to Greek, this could be a really fun upcoming stretch. Kudos if you were able to stash him all season on your IL, and get ready for a royal finish! Here’s what else went down on the last busy slate of action before the All-Star Weekend:

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C.J. McCollum, last year’s Most Improved Player, continues his ascension as one of the best shooting guards in the game. In a battle for the 8th playoff spot in the west between the Trail Blazers and Mavericks, McCollum dropped 32 points (13-21 FG), none bigger than his runner with 0.9 seconds left that sealed a Blazers’ win:

Ultimately the game winner, it came right after Dirk Nowitzki hit a clutch three to put the Mavericks up 113-112 with 3.9 seconds to go. Nowitzki turned back the clock in the game to post 25 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, and 4 threes, but it wasn’t enough as McCollum put the nail in the coffin.

The 4th year guard is having a career year, but has been shooting even better lately. In the last 5 games, he’s knocked down 13-28 from deep and shot 55.8% from the field overall.

Having such an efficient backcourt mate has taken some of the pressure off of Damian Lillard (29 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, and 5 threes), who is having his best shooting season of his career as well.

Unfortunately, both guys will need to continue to step up, if the Blazers have a chance at the playoffs, as guard Evan Turner broke his right hand in the third quarter of the game. No timetable has been announced, but he should miss at least a couple weeks. The injury should open up opportunities for Allen Crabbe (4 points) and Maurice Harkless (8 points, 7 rebounds).

It was a short slate of games on Tuesday, as only 3 games were played. JB made sure to make it known to me that he had to recap 11 games on Monday. Boy, did I get lucky this week! Here are the rest of the nightly notables:

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Down at halftime and without fellow All-Star DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry took over in the 2nd half, carrying the Raptors to an overtime victory against the Pelicans. He hit a big time step back jumper with just 4.3 seconds to play to secure the win. Lowry finished with 33 points, 10 assists, 4 rebounds, and a season-high 6 threes.

After returning to the court on Sunday, DeRozan experienced swelling in his ankle, forcing him to sit Tuesday’s game. He’s already been ruled out for Wednesday’s game, giving Lowry another chance at monster scoring numbers.

Known for pouring it on in stretches, it was his 3rd straight 30+ point game, the longest streak of his career. Had he scored 1 more point last Wednesday, he’d have a streak of 5 games. You’re already starting Lowry regardless, but the loss of DeRozan really ups Lowry’s value.

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Oh man, what a fun day this is for Razzball Basketball! Let’s start with our big announcement we’re making later today – I’ve teased it a few times, but it’s coming this afternoon! We’ve got a special post going up today that is going to: Blow. Your. Mind. I’ll just leave it at this – it involved robots and very short shorts…

On top of THAT, what a fun night of hoops on Humpday! We had epic drama with the Kings somehow beating THE King (in Cleveland no less!), yet another tripdub for Russ, but then a late night wonder with my boyfriend Ivica Zubac having another awesome game! My preseason darling looked further away than ever for minutes when he barely got run in preseason games, but he just kept his head down and powered through some D-League stints and a handful of junk time minutes here and there until the Lakers finally started unleashing him. Had the 11/13/1/1/3 line 3 games ago against the Nugs, then after low minutes for two games, exploded again last night for 12/10/2/0/3.

He’s just so big and so fundamental! He did only shoot 5-15 from the field (a few “misses” were on consecutive putback attempts though…) and had 4 TO, but hit 2-2 FT and typically should be a true 8-cat guy (no treys). As I mentioned on the Pod last week, in the D-League he shot 57.8% from the field, 82.9% from the FT line, and had a 15.6/9.7/1.3/0.2/1.0 line in 13 games at 30 MPG. I mean, it’s not “epic”, but he’s still only 19 and looks like he could turn into Jonas Valanciunas with D-stats. With ZuBlock showing off his potential and our big announcement today, I’m like a rabid Beatles fan this morning!

After pimping him hard as a possible second-half sleeper in the preseason (I initially ranked him like 160 or something, but then they signed Tarik Black and never played Zubac in the preseason, so I cut him out of my top 200), it’s 100% time to add him if you need a big. It might be bumpy for minutes, but the Lakers have fallen to 16-33 and it’s time to keep the youth developing. Here’s what else went down in fantasy basketball last night:

PS – Podcast will be out tomorrow morning – we are recording later today, just a day behind. Can’t wait to gloat about taking back the 30-point challenge lead!

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A lot of people were mad at 2016. Thought it was a year without morality. Without decency. Without justice… So I’m watching the Thunder/Hornets last night, and in the 3rd quarter, Dell Curry is like, “I just had some terrible news cross my desk – Justise Winslow is going to be out for the year.” Whoa, way to be a news breaker, Dell! He also broke the news that his wife was in the crowd and circled her on the teleprompter when the camera showed her, so there’s that… Awk-ward! Anyway, Winslow’s injured shoulder ended up being a labrum tear, after it was reported it was only a tweak and he didn’t anticipate it being a long-term issue. Doctor G, how come major tears only feel like tweaks sometimes?! He’s going to have corrective surgery today and will likely miss the rest of the season, ya know, unless the Heat make the playoffs! Hahahahaha, sorry Slim, had to do it… This is definitely a bummer, because we saw this with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and he ended up tearing it a second time after only a few games back, so I’m going to be very leery about ranking Winslow decently next year. Well, the injury, and the fact he’s going to end the year shooting 35.4% from the field. Yeesh. So with Miami lacking any Justise, it would appear James Johnson is going to get all the minutes he can handle, and is must own for me ROS. Really everywhere. I raved about him as the lead to the notes earlier in the week, Adam led with him for RazzWired, and he shouldn’t have any issue getting 30ish MPG the rest of the way. I was initially surprised to only see 25 minutes last night in a 5-point win, but yeah, he fouled out (game was on too late for grandpa JB!). 14/6/6/0/3 for JJ on an awesomely efficient night, shooting 4-8 FG, knocking down 2 treys, and hitting 4-4 FT. Only black eye was the 3 TO, which look like will be an issue for him as he takes on a big role on the offense. So be sure Johnson is owned in all your leagues, and hopefully by the 17-18 season, we’ll see a return of Justise in the world! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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Oh man, no rest for the wicked! Speaking of wicked, oh man quick shout out to the Wicked Weed Funkatorium, that brewery rocked! But yeah, an absolutely amazing slate to catch me back up on the daily notes, with 4 overtimes last night. Including a super size me doubler in Miami! Most of the other games stayed close too, and 20 of the 22 teams in action last night topped 100 points. Fantasy orgasm! And leading the charge on such a big-and-tall NBA night was of course Isaiah Thomas! Career-high 44 points for IT2/3, putting up a 4/3rd’s of a full line of 44/3/6/1/1 on 10-16 FG (7-10 3PTM, 17-17 FT) including a big three in extra time in the OT win.

I’m just glad this groin thing got worked out! …That sounded wrong… If you have a smaller groin muscle, does it heal faster?! I’m not saying he doesn’t have a kick stand down there with a line like this, but just wondering! After semi-breaking out last year (well he was only 2/3 better than his career year in 13-14 for the Kings), IT2/3 has taken an even further step up – scoring 26.6 PPPG, upping the FT volume to 8.8/per at 90% (remember when he was like 70% the first few weeks, that changed quick!), and even though the steals are only at 0.9, he’s drastically cut his TO rate to only 2.2 despite all the added USG. After a slow start due to injuries, the Celtics look like a pretty tough team at full strength right now, and maybe IT2/3 can lead this squad into a deep run. I’ll be cheering for them! (cough, REL bias, cough…) Here’s what else happened on an action-packed Tuesday night of Holiday Season basketball:

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Welcome back Lady and Gents!  It’s time for another Thursday night recap!  Unfortunately, I didn’t have a lot of time to devote to this particular set of notes, so bear with me.  It’ll be much more in depth next week!

Jeff Teague – Actually had a solid game!  21 points and 10 assists with a block and 6 boards.  Who knows if he can keep doing this, but it definitely is an improvement.

Myles Turner – 11-14 from the field!  26/8/1/0/1 – No complaints, even though the line is a bit empty.  More than one block would be nice, but I’m nitpicking at this point.

Jrue Holiday –  16 points, 14 assists!  He’s backkkkkkk, and this REL owner couldn’t be happier.

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Peter here, back from a work trip in Jamaica. JB was right when I needed to escape the cold of the Wizards losing season. Maybe they will bring back JaVale McGee and Javaris Crittenton!?!? One can only hope.

Fortunately, the Wizards were off on Tuesday so that meant I got to watch actually good teams, including an overtime game in Phoenix. Here’s your Tuesday recap:

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Man, without fantasy, blowout NBA games featuring sub-.500 teams might be more insufferable to watch than Vanderpump Rules. I would know, because I was watching both last night – L.A. hipsters being the absolute worst on the TV with the wife, then professional NBA players being the absolute worst on the iPad!

But of course some guys played well in the Denver @ Dallas travesty – a game I know Slim watched as well due to his Nuggets-bias – including Nikola Jokic going for a career-high 27/11/4/0/1. Hit 10-12 FG, 7-7 FT, and after Salah Mejri looked like Hassan Whiteside with 3 blocks in the first few minutes, Jokic really helped anchor down better post play.

Side note on those first two buckets for Jokic – look at Dwight Powell struggling to play D on centers. Just sayin’ based on our Pod this morning! Anywho, this is obviously the right step forward for Jock Itch to get unleashed, and he should have no problem working his way up to 30+ MPG every night now, right? RIGHT?!

F@#% You, Malone. So that tells me both A) you don’t reward players for playing well, B) but you do punish players for playing poorly, C) actually that makes total sense! It’s why we keep seeing the rotations wildly different night-to-night with no consistency for good performers. It’s exploitative coaching 101 – you don’t reward your underlings for doing something good, only punish them if they disobey. This also tells me it’s yet another Jusuf Nurkic slam, who went 4/6/2/1/0 on 2-6 shooting with 3 TO, and got thrown around a little by Mejri. I think Slim chose the wrong time to be REL-biased by the Nuggets, shoulda stuck with his Jazz! Here’s what else happened last night in fantasy basketball action:

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