The NBA really is Jordan Belfort.  The Wolf of Fantasy Sports!  It’s tantric and never slows down, from the Finals ending less than two weeks before the draft, free agency hitting a week later and we’re already starting summer ball.  And the NBA will soon revel in the excess that is the 16-17 salary cap boost with a TV deal that put Seinfeld reruns to shame.  I need my ludes to get me through!

Even the Spurs couldn’t avoid the world of excess and massive free agency signings, bringing in LaMarcus Aldridge for a cool $80 million.  Loosening up the purse strings!  My first thought was, “dammit, Kawhi is never gonna be the guy!”  Then again, he got over $90 mil with his extension, so there’s that!  But Kawhi Leonard sometimes struggles with the mid-range and long-distance shooting, so L.A. should help Kawhi by opening up some lanes and keeping him in his game.  This is going to be a crazy offense, with Tim Duncan moving to center and likely being his solid old self.  Which leaves us with what to expect from Aldridge…  And, me no likey for fantasy.  After being really durable early in his career, he’s had a few bumps and bruises (I know, I know, playing through a torn thumb tendon gets mad props) and the Spurs – as we all know – love to limit the minutes.  I also don’t think he quite gets to 20 shots a game like we’ve seen the past few years.  I had him 20 in my way too early rankings, but the move drops him a few spots at the least.  L.A. in S.A. is not OK!  Here’s what else has gone on through the first few days of free agency and rookie ball:

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The nitty gritty!  Oh man, ranking an early Top 50 before the draft and free agency is a bigger fool’s errand than hiring the Clippers a FT coach.  Especially since DeAndre Jordan might go to the Mavs!  Cuban will use some sort of Shark Tank invention to help him out at the stripe.  Flubber 2!

We’ve gone through the Top 10 and Top 20 for our early 2015-16 ranks, but 21-50 certainly gets interesting.  My biggest takeaway is the sheer depth at PG.  Almost every team will have a fantasy-viable PG (cough, not the Bucks, cough) so it’s a position to fill up on in the mid rounds.  Sure I’d like to start with one of the top 10 overall elite guys, but I’m likely filling up on a wing and a big, then it’s time to go with the sides.  Mmmmm, this is sounding like a great KFC order…  Here’s my Way Too Early Top 50 for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball Season:

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Fractions.  Math.  It’s hard…

Kinda like variables…  Is it IT2?!  Is it IT3?!  I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!

Apparently it’s “IT2″ when alluding to his non-related, same-named NBA legend Isiah Thomas.  For like a year I thought Isaiah Thomas was legit his son!  But then Thomas flashed the “IT3″ nickname because he…  shoots a lot of 3s?  Eesh.  Originality is lacking!  So I have officially donned him IT2/3 to solve all the confusion, and to reference his diminutive size.

After returning from elbow and back injuries, IT2/3 was atrocious last Wednesday for 4 Pts and 3 TO against the Heat.  I was passing on him in at least 2/3 of comments!  But IT2/3 had a monster weekend with 18/1/6 and 19/0/7 lines with a combined 17-19 at the stripe.  Getting a foul called on 2/3 of his drives!  Certainly a must-own down the stretch, it has also made Marcus Smart a dumpster fire.  Hopefully those of you still alive in Razzball Nation ignored my 2/3-of-the-time wrong advice and can ride IT2/3 through the H2H Finals!  Here’s what else happened over the weekend in fantasy basketball action:

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…Well I dunno what he woulda snitched about, but ya know…

The injuries and tanking DNPs continue in one of the most utterly annoying final months to the NBA in recent memory.  There will always be guys getting hurt, but we’ve lost yet another with Hassan Whiteside tearing up his hand and needing 10 stitches last night after jamming it up against the rim.  Right in the webbing!  Between the fingers!  Youchie.  After the game he said he couldn’t feel it.  I’m no doctor, but none of that sounds good for his status tonight!  I mean, sometimes losing all feeling in a hand can be good like in The Stranger…  Certainly sounds like he’ll take at least a game off, unless they can fit him with one of those oven mitts they give guys in the NFL when they play with broken hands.  It might end up being a good thing, because if Kelly Olynyk says something about Whiteside’s mama, we could see an even longer suspension!  Here’s what else went down last night in another “dropping like flies” night of fantasy basketball action:

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Man, off an emotional win beating the Gizz (I hope that catches on), the Pistons go back-to-back and lose in Philly.  Seems like that kind of emotional high/low happens all the time!  Shoulda bet some money on Philly with probably a good betting line against em.

And it was pretty easy to see how Detroit lost with Reggie Jackson (4-17), Jodie Meeks (2-12), and Spencer Dinwiddie (2-11) combining for 7-40 from the field!  That FG% isn’t even legal at 17.5%!  That shooting percentage is statutory rape!  But swooning in all cool and ready to rob the cradle was the 44% from my boy Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the only shooter who could hit anything going 7-16.  Normally the lead for this game would be R-Jax’s trip-dub (11/11/10/0/0), but with 5 TO and that shooting %, he was pretty poopy.  KCP isn’t going to suddenly be a multi-cat stud, but it’s back-to-back 20 point games with a 20/8/2/1/0 line last night and a trey.  What I really like was his aggressiveness driving to the hole, netting 5-6 FT and he’s 7-9 from the stripe the past two games after a stretch with virtually no freebies.  He’s taken 14+ shots in 6 of 7 games and at least 10 shots in 13 of 15 taking a bigger role in the O with R-Jax able to probe (I can only think of South Park every time I hear a broadcast say that…).  Of course the FG% will be a struggle, but if your team build can handle it/if it’s a punt, the low TO and decent steals make him a solid add in the stretch run.  Here’s what else happened last night in fantasy basketball:

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…It’s like the beginning of a 1950s B&W horror movie.  “As I recall it was a horror film!”

“…From the depths of the muck – ya know, that soft clay shizz at the bottom of a lake – comes the waiver-wired, until recently available in a ton of leagues, RODNEY STUCKEY!”

Monster game from R-Stuck, who gets to R-Stick it to a hot Reality-TV show wife, unquestioningly motivating him to a 34/6/7/1/1 line last night with an NBA Jam “he’s on fire!” 13-19 FG and 6 treys.  Just a redonk game in 31 bench minutes, especially since the Pacers started Damjan Rudez who couldn’t miss either, hitting 6-8 including 5-7 from deep.  It’s like the Pacers were playing on Fisher-Price baskets!  Although those “throwback” (well, just older, not too throwback) unis are schweet.  While a big game and all, Stuckey was averaging a monstrous 0.6 3PTM a game before last night, so a huge anomaly there.  1,000% more 3s!  And the dimes were an outlier as well, with only two games more than 6 before yesterday.  Anyone in the NBA can get hot on any given night, and Stuckey is a good low-to-mid-teens scorer ala that creeper who stayed home instead of going to college.  He’s fine as a last guy on your bench in 10 or 12ers, but I don’t think he’s someone to drop a stud for.  A great comment yesterday was Stuckey or Brandon Knight, who was spotted on crutches yesterday.  Yeah, unless you have a H2H week one bye, I’ll probably pick the guy who can currently walk.  Here’s what else happened last night in fantasy hoops action:

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Ugh.

Three letters to sum it up right there (and I wrote the beginning of this open before seeing Rotoworld’s update!  Groupthink.)

In only a light slate of two games last night, we had a very solid and steady fantasy contributor in Wesley Matthews go down with a torn Achilles and will miss the rest of the season.  I haven’t been this mad at Achilleses (multiple Achilles?) since Brad Pitt in Troy!  Man was Orlando Bloom a pansy too…  Rough, rough injury and owners will have to scramble to find replacements for his 2.9 3PTM and 16.1 points a game with only 1.3 TO.  Tagline of Taken baby!  “Good luck.”  And well, probably the guy filling in for Matthews is as good as any replacement, as Arron Afflalo should immediately step in the role and be Afflalo of old.  I was shocked that late last night he was already owned in 66% of leagues, but that was probably spiking harder than a Charlie Sheen punchbowl with the devastating news last night.  While Matthews was great for what he did, threes are a-plenty on the wire, and veterans of ThrAGNOF should be able to get their stream gloves dirty!  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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I really don’t like this 7 game slate on Saturday night.  If you want to take the night off or play less volume I wouldn’t argue against it.  There isn’t a player over 9k on Draft Kings if that tells you what kind of night it’s going to be.

Point Guards

Ricky Rubio has really been fantastic the past 5 games.  His price has come up but still not to the level where his play has been.  Memphis gives up the 4th most fantasy points the last three weeks to PG’s.  Back on Feb. 6th Rubio had 17-5-5-3 in only 26 minutes against this same Memphis team.

Reggie Jackson has only had 3 games with the Pistons.  Yeah it’s a small sample size, but he’s been given the keys to the car and seeing the same workload as D.J. Augustin was.  The Wizards have been decent defending against opposing PG’s if you look at their season totals, but the last three weeks they haven’t defended well at all.  I think that has to do with all of John Wall’s nagging injuries.

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“Hey JB G.”

I feel like I’ve played this song and dance all year.  “I love KCP!”  “KCP is dead to me!”  “He’s a usable ThrAGNOF!”  “He’s worse than month-old stroganoff!”  And on and on and on like a never clean addict.  “Why can’t I quit you?!”

In what was a great game until the 4th quarter, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had maybe one of his best games as a pro.  It didn’t show up in any glaring numbers on the stat sheet, but this new backcourt with Reggie Jackson is mad fun.  KCP for 21/2/1/2/0 hitting 7-13 FG (5-7 3PTM) including two ridiculous threes in transition.  Both would’ve been near-cringeworthy if he missed them!  Lead the break in unfavorable numbers (more or less was just KCP vs. 2 or 3 defenders) and pulled up leaning forward burying them both.  Then in back-to-back plays, knocked the ball of LeBron James‘ leg for a TO then drew a charge, both in transition where LeBron is his best.  Just the overall confidence and swagger was there that I haven’t always seen.  Then again, I am always biased due to the addiction!  I was brushing my teeth with my finger and hopping around like a madman this whole game…  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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Man, what an exciting trade deadline!  Thanks for checking out our Trade Deadline Live Post, where you can read about all the trades that went down yesterday

And off the emotional roller coaster of those deadline deals, the NBA is finally back after a week away.  I certainly need to consult my physician since it’s definitely lasting more than 4 hours…  Especially after seeing Serge Ibaka pull a Goro right out of the 2nd-half gate!  Twas an empty big man line, but 21/22/0/0/0 is a nice way to start a shortened week!  Hit 8-12 from the field and 5-6 FT which twill get it done.  Serge didn’t take a trey, and while he hit a few jumpers, look how much closer to the hoop his shot chart was:

Serge Ibaka Shot Chart

With Enes Kanter on his way to OKC to bring his own brand of mid-rangeness, I think Ibaka can look forward to a nice boost in FG%.  Sure it may cost him a trey here and there, but Serge should still seek shots from the seashore.  And while Kanter had his share of nice rebounding games with the Jazz, putting him out there for his mid-range O is going to help Serge’s post presence.  I really like the move for Ibaka’s value.  Here’s what else went down last night in our return to NBA action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?