FIVE… DAYS. The NBA “offseason” has kept us almost constantly entertained with a loaded draft, free agency rumors, the best summer league ever, and multiple superstar trades. But, it’s time for some real, official action. And by that, I mean actual stats that count in our fantasy leagues, of course. This season, more than any other, I’m just a huge fan of the entire NBA and my fantasy teams. You see, I’m a longtime Bulls fan. And while I’m an optimist that’s been quite obsessed with the Sixers rebuild and their amazing potential, the Bulls have messed up their tank job in half a dozen ways prior to even getting it off the ground. So, I’m really itching for some Lonzo outlets, CP3-to-Capela lobs, and an unexpected six-steal game from my most recent free agent acquisition. Let’s get going already with this new crop of talent!

Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

Last week, I talked about ways to find advantages by removing certain stats your team doesn’t need for various reasons and shuffling up player values so you have a better idea of who’s actually the most helpful for your team during drafts. That’ll be a theme as the season goes on, because it really leads us to trades that can help us a ton, while helping the other team enough that they pull the trigger. But we’ve got another weekend of drafting to go, so I’ve compiled a list of a few more places to take advantage of what I see as market inequities. If you’ve already drafted, maybe this can spark some trade proposal ideas, too.

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In a battle for real life playoff implications, Hassan Whiteside tipped in Goran Dragic’s missed putback to give the Heat a 97-96 win:

It was just the tip, but sometimes that’s all you need, as the Heat went up a game on the Bulls and 2.5 games ahead of the Pistons for the final playoff spot in the east. Whiteside finished with 17 points and 9 rebounds, while Dragic added 28/4/4 on 9-16 shooting.

Oddly enough, it was the Heat’s first game-winning buzzer-beater since 2013, when a little known player by the name of LeBron James beat the Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals.

With the playoffs in full swing, every game matters, so here are the rest of your nightly notables:

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…comin’ for to carry me OUT of my fantasy playoffs!  Brutal news yesterday that Kyle Lowry has to undergo surgery on his right wrist – his shooting wrist – to remove some loose bodies.  Should’ve kept those bodies in a well, like Buffalo Bill!  “It puts the lotion on the skin!”  Without an IL spot, you’re cutting him in your redraft leagues, even with the prospect he gets a couple games in right before the playoffs.  The timeline is “hopeful to return in 4-5 weeks”, which would put us in early April.  Plus he’s a shooter, and gonna have a rusty wrist.  Hah, that sounds like a sex thing…  Moving on!

In his place, it’s time for the Cojo mojo!  11/1/6/3/0 then 14/1/6/1/0 over the weekend for Cory Joseph, with only 2 combined TO, showing what kind of sexy roto-asset he could be.  But thennnnn, struggled last night – as did the Raps as a while – to knock off the Poppycockers in a 1-point win, going 6/3/4/2/0 with 2 TO.  Still got 33:30 minutes, but he’s more in the fringy starting PG class (your Brogdon, McConnell, et ceteras) than in the most-own zone.  You could say he’s in the friendzone.  Although dudes don’t really have a friendzone, it’s only chicks that apply that logic.  The friendzone is a very sexist area!  After this dunk in the 2014 Western Conference Finals (back when he was on my REL team), Cojo could have his way with me any time he wanted!

Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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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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Oh man, super emo title for today! But what kind of irony is it that on Valentine’s Day, we might get some terrible news about Kevin Love‘s knee… After playing a few nights ago, nothing big on the news front until he was ruled out for tonight last Sunday afternoon, then yesterday news broke he’s “seeking a second opinion on his knee”. This coming after an MRI, with results that have not been revealed yet. Ugh! I traded for him a week ago in the REL as all my good injury karma is drastically flipping the past week! And tonight the Cavs go to Minny, in what could’ve been a great “revenge” game. Although, I bet he’s kinda happy he’s on the Cavs instead, hah! Andrew Wiggins is actually playing a little better lately as well, and it would’ve been nice to see them face off again… Alas, be prepared for a lengthy absence from Love, and while he’s having a great season – much better than in 15-16 – thankfully his stats to replace aren’t the tougher-to-find AST-STL-BLK. There have been a lot of bigs to emerge for PTS/REB, and for the treys, we all know you can always ThrAGNOF! So if we get some brutal news today, hop into the comments, and let me be your Love counselor! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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For the love of tripdubs! Dayum Draymond Green had a ridiculous Friday night, nay, a legendary Friday night! One of the craziest lines I can remember since helming Razzball hoops, Dray was the one bringing the defense instead of the Grizz, going 4/12/10/10/5.

Well, when Marc Gasol tries a slow-ass, lackluster behind-the-back dribble right in front of you, it’s easy to get 10 steals! I think I coulda stolen that! Speaking of stealing, Andre Iguodala totally stole my dance move at the end of that highlight there… When I go to the club, it’s like I’m walking on hot coals! Anyway, it was the NBA’s first triple-double without scoring 10 points, and Dray couldn’t even get a 5×5 line! Chump. Then #Occupy followed it up Saturday with a 6/8/8/3/1 line, with the weekend boosting his season averages to 2.1 steals and 1.5 blocks per. He’s exactly copying the 7.4 AST which he also had in 15-16, but he’s cut down the TO from 3.2 to 2.4 this year, while averaging career-bests in the stocks. We all expected the scoring to go down, but man, the defense numbers the Dubs crank out is insanity, thanks in part to their pace. If you didn’t win steals and blocks with Dray’s 13 steals and 6 blocks over the weekend, then something went drastically wrong! Would be time to occupy that trading block! Here’s what else went down over a fun weekend of NBA action:

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Robert Covington came onto the fantasy radar last year due to his ability to add threes, steals, and blocks in bunches. He started this season slowly, but has been picking it up lately. That continued on Tuesday with 13 points (4-14 FG), 10 rebounds, 4 steals, and 1 block. But no shot was bigger than his buzzer beater:

His offensive production may remain inconsistent, but his nightly contributions in steals, blocks, and rebounds have made him a viable fantasy contributor in all leagues. Now is a perfect time to buy low, before it’s too late.

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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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JB was on a long-weekend celebrating his birthday so I’m handling Monday’s daily notes this week. Wish him a happy birthday when you get a chance!

The walking triple-double machine that is Russell Westbrook fell a little short of his usual triple-double on Monday night, but no one will be complaining about 46 points, 11 rebounds, and 7 assists. He scored 18 points in the 2nd quarter to give the Thunder a halftime lead, before the Hawks stormed back and won the game.

Westbrook may want to talk to Andre Roberson (14 points, 5 rebounds), who shot just 1-7 after passes from Westbrook. Whether he continues to average a triple-double or not, it’s clear that Westbrook is a fantasy monster and has been well worth the first round price.

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So a little bit of a weird daily notes this morning, as I’m speaking to you from a day behind!  I’m out traveling as I add another notch to my belt as they say, and well in more ways than one!  Eating some good food and going on brewery tours is pretty much the pinnacle of life!  Long story short, notes are through Friday/Saturday games and I’ll be a little slow with comments until Tuesday.  Although I’ll likely pop in at some point with some horrible typos and weird drunken advice….

Anyway, we mentioned on the Pod last week how surprisingly bad the Wolves have been this year, and it looked like they might be turning the corner Saturday night, maintaining a big lead against the red hot Rockets.  But they collapsed in the final minute losing a 9 point lead pushing it to OT, the Rockets took over, Zach LaVine hit a big 3 with 5 seconds left, then on the last gasp, LaVine got nudged out off bounds throwing up the desperation shot.  Another game you throw up your arms and go “huh?!”; all the starters played well and they held Houston to 95 in regulation!  Plus Karl-Anthony Towns went off for a 40 burger!  41/15/5/0/1 on 15-28 shooting and 10-12 FT including this NBA Jam quality alley:

I don’t have much else to expand on here, except the Wolves are going to have to go through some sort of massive change.  Yes, they’re the youngest team/starting 5 in the NBA, but all of the starters are already too good for this team to be 7-19.  Obviously Ricky Rubio getting traded is what most point to, but we’ll see what happens.  And I think KAT is the kind of player that will keep his motor going every night, and not phone it in down the stretch (cough, Hassan Whiteside, cough)…  Here’s what else down over Friday and Saturday’s games in fantasy hoops action:

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