Tracking Rudy Gobert‘s path to the NBA has been movie worthy.  After an accident at his former job at the local steel mill, Rudy had Jon Favreau (he really could be French!) keep his grades up in exchange for Rudy helping Jonny out with the ladies.  Gobert almost gave up on his dream for basketball, but Charles S. Dutton gave a heartfelt speech on BEING REAL!  Utah fans tried carrying Gobert off the court chanting “Rudy!  Rudy!” after that win against the Spurs last Tuesday, but it was a big hazard to the overhead lights.

Derrick Favors‘ ankle turned into a kankle over the weekend, but luckily X-rays were negative and he’s day-to-day.  No reason for the lowly Jazz to throw him out there gimpy.  Monsieur Elbow time!  Filling in for Favors on Friday night, Rudy had one of the best games of his young career for 9/11/4/1/5 shooting 2-2 FG and 5-6 FT.  Followed it up with a start last night next to Enes Kanter for 7/9/0/2/3 in 31 minutes.  Playing with the big boys!  A wingspan that would make a pterodactyl jealous, Gobert should murder blocks for you if you’re able to stream him through the couple starts he’s likely to get this week.  No timetable for Favors, but big men + kankles = John Goodman.  I mean, not good for a speedy return.

Boy did the Fantasy God of Injuries not get enough human sacrifices over the weekend!  This might turn out to be the most depressing NBA recap I’ve ever written.   Stay positive JB!  Stay positive JB!  Thanks inner monologue…  Any other advice to help me get through today’s news?  Well, remember when in Interstellar it looked like there was no hope due to another Dust Bowl, then he just finds the newly incarnated NASA – – Wait, how does any of that make sense, they didn’t know he was alive yet he was their best hope!?  And then there’s that giant plot hole with the planet with the – – it just makes no – – uhughuhguhguhguhgug – – – - F, now my inner monologue is injured…  Here’s how the weekend of death went down in NBA action:

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Welcome back, Mr. Slim Reaper!  It’s a perfectly apt nickname too, because I own him in the JB vs. Slim RCL league and he’s going to be Slim’s reaper!  Even though I’m getting crushed this week so far…

After a decent enough start, Kevin Durant was still without the big eruption type game in his first three back, but last night dismantled the Bucks in an uber-efficient 23/9/7/1/1 game shooting 7-11 FG and 8-8 FT.  He’s worth 9 or 10 Bucks, at the least!  Was 1-5 from deep, so didn’t miss within the arc.  All of that in 29 minutes, as Beam-me-up Scotty Brooks benched the Thunder studs down the stretch of the double-digit win.  Even though this was against the young Bucks, the Thunder as a whole are coming together with Russell Westbrook having a fantastic 28/5/7 night with like, a million free throws made, and Serge Ibaka is back to his %-gold ways for 15/5/0/2/2 shooting 5-5 FG & 5-5 FT.  Durantula and Westy are going to command their first-round values in trades, but I bet you could still swindle Ibaka away at a buy-low price.  3+ blocks the past four games and 16-26 from the field his last three, and isn’t needing to force shots anymore.   Things are right in order for OKC to go on a mad run, so be counting your lucky stars if you got KD at a discount on draft day!  What we preached all preseason post-injury!  Here’s some other happenings from the NBA last night:

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I kept telling you that was OK to pick up Rasual Butler while he was producing, but certain fantasy sites that sound like “drive-thru” and “he is Alex Len” insisted that he wouldn’t keep it going. He’s washed up, they said. There’s no minutes for him, they said.

Now that he’s averaged 28 mpg and 18.8 ppg over his last four, and shot 54 percent from downtown over that span, the sites that shall remain nameless (you probably use them every day) say oh yeah, maybe you better claim him off waivers. Same old over-the-top song-and-dance they’ve been doing all year.

(One post in the site that sounds like “Ragu” said Jerami Grant is “not very good at basketball,” even though he is in the NBA, and he is getting minutes every game. Nevermind that he can’t hit a shot from 4 feet out, he is athletic and gets stats for deep leaguers.)

My advice is to have fun playing fantasy. Don’t stress about it too much. Unless you have $100 invested in a league or a bad haircut wager on the line, which in that case go ahead and obsess over Rasual Butler. Otherwise, add and ride him while he’s hot.

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… especially since the Sixers are probably going to stay with that one in the win column for a good while!

One… The number of restarts to the Sixers game…  What, was Tim Donaghy reffing and have odds on the Wolves scoring first?!  Seriously, the Sixers couldn’t win a game without controversy?!  Then again there was that Bucks game, sheesh (more below).

One… The number of TOs Michael Carter-Williams will never have in a game… Only one game under three TO this year, but hey, everything else is pretty sexy out there!  Near tripdub last night in the Sixers W for 20/9/9 and three steals.  Finally putting the W in MCW!  Shot 9-20 from the field, but when he’s at the FT line it still gives him delirium triggers like a recovering alcoholic!  It’s actually “delirium tremens”, but man I love that old Coheed song!  2-7 from the stripe last night with the whopping 6 giveaways, and it’s what you bargain for as an MCW owner.  It’s almost like he sold his soul to the efficiency gods just to put up sexy triple-double stats.  Maybe when Tony Wroten comes back, he can just be MCW’s TO-surrogate.  “Tony, just turn it over a few times, and it’ll get em out of my system.”  I feel like trading away/for MCW has been the most frequently asked comment… I was huge on him heading into the year, and even though his FT/TO drain hurt him in the metrics, I think if you can build around that – even in 9-cat – he’s probably worth more than most owners think.  While those 9-cat metrics that rate everything equally are how they should work, remember it’s a team game and strengths/weaknesses play off each other.  All you really want is one!  One more win than the other team in the fantasy championship.  Of course in Roto, you can’t handle those ones!  So I would be selling in those formats.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy action:

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Young players Michael Carter-Williams and Victor Oladipo returned to their respective teams last week, after missing the first few weeks due to injury. This week, the Washington Wizards welcomed back shooting guard Bradley Beal. He came off the bench to a standing ovation (or rather, the 25 fans in attendance stood up and cheered), but impressed in his first game of the season. In 26 minutes, Beal scored 20 points, with 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 3PTM. It was only one game, but expect Beal to put up similar lines all season. He averaged 17.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg, and 3.3 apg last season and I expect those numbers to rise slightly this year.

Now that Beal is back, owners should move on from Garrett Temple and Otto Porter. Garrett Temple started off hot, but has since cooled off and will go back to being a reserve and defensive replacement. In Wednesday’s game against the Mavericks, Temple threw a 3-pointer off the side of the basket and then air balled another three on the same possession! Porter is more offensively gifted than Temple and will have a good game off the bench here and there, but look elsewhere for more consistent production.

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Yeesh, it’s cold outside, no way around it. Frosty, like an Ice tray (whut what?! …check last week’s article for that reference) I’m up in Toronto, where, yes, it’s a tad chilly, but if you didn’t know, it’s even colder in New York! I mean they freezing their kishkas off, and the infantile side of me couldn’t be giggling more gleefully. I’m chock full of hip hop cultural references today, so strap in, soldier! To that end, If you ever gave a moment’s thought to my avatar, Flav wasn’t chosen haphazardly. While it’s true I’m a beathead from the nineties,  me choosing the most recognizable hype man in the world was intended to be appropriate.  I am the Flava Flav to Slim and JB’s Chuck D, good people, so take the advice I give accordingly, it’s mostly hype: “Yeaaaaah Boooooyyy!” Sorry. But you can take this to the bank, the Knicks are terrible, and the Nets aren’t much better. You gots to get up fo’ dis game, nephew, like Allan and Germaine do. If haven’t seen these Fox ads from back in the day, you sleepin’ son! And speaking of sleeping, and frosty, and New York slippin’, check this out: one two, one two…

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The Lakers Win, The Lakers Win!  Down Goes Frazier!  Titanic Sinks!  All usable newspaper headlines for rare events.

The Purp & Gold surprised the Left-Facing Pacmen last night, as the Lakers are now an undefeated team when Nick Young plays!  Just oh so Swaggy… 28 minutes off the bench notching a really solid line, shooting 6-10 (2-4 3PTM 3-5 FT) for 17/5/0/1/0.  Swaggy bein’ ThrAGNOFfy!  It’s hard to imagine him getting to 18 points and 14 shots a game like last year with Mamba ultra-hot doggin’ it (nice one JashFath!), but looked pretty good out there.  I’m a little biased since I’m not a big Young fan – not enough of a contributor in any stats except contested fadeaway shots – but worth some 3PTM streaming while the gettin’ is good!  The Lakers will need his O to keep pressure off Bryant, and Wesley Johnson had an uber-schlubby 32 minutes of nothingball starting at SF.  Young will probably continue to come off the bench, but that shouldn’t deter you from some 12-team streaming.  Here’s what else went down last night in NBA action:

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Slam Dunk Contest winners scare me.

There’s pretty much no in between with these dudes. Other than, say, Nate Robinson, they’re either future all-stars or total duds. For every Michael Jordan there’s a Harold Miner. For every Kobe Bryant there’s a Fred Jones. For every Dominque Wilkins, there’s a Brent Barry.

And then there’s Gerald Green, who is definitely not an NBA jobber, but is not quite an all-star yet. Not really sure if he ever will be, and what scares me most is that while he was a pretty awesome dunker, he’ll always be known as a gimmick dunker for his Birthday Cake Dunk. And being a gimmick dunker is kind of like being a gimmick wrestler on the order of Koko B. Ware or the Gobbledy Gooker.

In a way, it would be interesting if Green never was an all-star, because he wouldn’t be the first 6-7-ish wing sixth man for the Suns who can run the floor, shoot from distance, was on the same team as Jeff Hornacek and never made the All-Star Team.

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Preseason is here!  Preseason is here!  I’m as giddy as N64 kid on Christmas Day.

But before we got into any action, Nick Young had a rough end of to his week last week, jacking up his thumb on his shooting hand requiring surgery.  He’ll be out 8 weeks, which puts him back in Purp-n-Gold mid-to-late November, optimistically.  You can drop him off your fantasy teams now!  He’s got a plenty big cast to hitchhike his way somewhere else.  I would say to “Scrubtown” but if you say that three times fast it starts to sound kinda like Scranton and I don’t want to offend Scrantonites or fans of The Office.

I wasn’t big on Swaggy P anyway, but no reason to touch him except in the very deepest of leagues.  Pretty empty scoring.  Wesley Johnson gets a minor bump up, and that’s the extent of the impact.  Now back to preseason!  Of course every performance must be taken with a grain of salt, and this early it’s a friggin’ pillar of salt, but it’s never too early to see how players are doing – especially this year’s ridiculous class of rooks.  Here’s what’s gone on across the league:

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With the full 2014-15 Fantasy Basketball Rankings now complete, let’s take a look at the final 50.  Sean Connery.  Kevin Costner.  Tons of Great Depression-esque costumes.  I’d imagine if you’re in a deep league and looking at the field below with your last pick or two, you’re feeling something like this:

It’s pretty hopeless, as in 12-teamers these are all likely guys you’re merely starring on your watch list post draft.  There’s some questionable talent, some questionable roles, maybe even someone that’ll give you The Grapes of Wrath, but some untapped upside!  Here’s my top 200 for the 2014-15 Fantasy Basketball Season (based on 9-cat H2H):

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