Happy New Year, Razzball Nation!  It’s great to be back, a new year in front of us, and back to the beck and call of the Fantasy Basketball regular season.  We’re halfway through the standard league season, a 2013 that brought us Larry Drew spite, Brandon Knight love, Andre Drummond being a nuisance and Larry Sanders being a… well nuisance, but more like just a moron.   I love how three of the first four things that came to mind were Bucks.  Man the Bucks have been a ridiculous team, and shows us why Fantasy Basketball saves lives.  We’re talking about the worst team in the NBA here!  And they’re the middle of a lot of drama.  Sure there have been a ridiculous amount of other big name injuries and movers-and-shakers, but my new year couldn’t have started better than Knight going 15-25 37/8/2/4 with three treys on New Year’s Eve.  Watching that going on while Miley Cyrus was being a wrecking ball was quite entertaining.  And while the ball dropped, Knight only dropped two balls himself!  Wow, that sounds like a horrible puberty joke.  Only 2 TOs from Knight, who only has 10 TOs over his last six games after his 8 TO coming out game when he put up 36.  He’s got a 14 Ast-dimebag in there, two 36/8+ games, just some redonk numbers the past 8 games.  Hopefully he keeps it up all year.  Happy 2014 for Knight owners!  It’s great to be back on daily.  Here’s what else I caught since we last checked in:

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In Shaq-ramento, when Christmas carolers sing at your doorstep, if it’s deck the halls you must insist a free a Rudy Gay jersey! You better believe Sleep Train Arena is gonna deck their halls with Gay apparel.  That is, if it has power.  Zing!  Last night, the Kings picked up Gay from the Raptors in a 7-player deal with a lot more fantasy impact than just the players involved.  The Kings also picked up Aaron Gray and Quincy Acy, for the fewest letters in three surnames you could ever receive in a three-player haul.   In return, Greivis Vasquez, John Salmons, Patrick Patterson and Chuck Hayes got exported to Canada.  I hope they have winter wear!  Instead of going over all of the impact in the open, it’ll be fettered out and we’ll focus on Gay at the top.  Nothing changes.  Brevity!  Lots of shots, the Kings don’t become any better or worse, but get a good all-around player.  The fantasy impact on Gay seems null.  The trade overall I think it a win-win, both in real hoops and in fantasy.  The Kings dumped guys that don’t really help their rotations for a star, and the Raptors break up their two high-volume shots guys with it not working.  Plus the Raptors are looking to rebuild around the Luminescent Lithuanian.  Then all sorts of fantasy optimism below, along with other action across the NBA over the weekend:

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It’s the time of crazed shopping for discounted electronics. The argument: “At that price, I couldn’t afford NOT to get it!” will be heard all around the country over Turkey leftovers this weekend. I give to you the Buy/Sell shortened holiday edition, free packaging, 70% off, this weekend only! And with that in mind, here are a few guys you can’t afford not to get:

Buy:

Jordan Farmar PG

You got up late, you’re one of the last to the mall, cursing the excessive turkey and alcohol consumption, and you’re scrambling for points, treys, steals and the odd assist. Well, the basketball gods are smiling on you, because although he’s one of the last in the sales bin, Jordan Farmar is still there for you. In the last 2 games, he has hit 8 3pts, with almost 5 dimes per game. He’s only owned 9% of leagues. It’s not a perfect choice, but that’s what you get when you sleep in, mutton-head!

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As JB and I sit at our local Starbucks at 4 PM, him in a 2-piece flannel Carolina Panther outfit he just woke up in and me in only my usual loin cloth, we notice that there are some very odd looking people who drink coffee in the middle of the afternoon.  It isn’t just for yuppies and house wives anymore.  Middle schoolers walk in, talking about how badly they need their caffeine.  Really?  Was your long day of sleeping in class stressful?  More than anything, a coffee shop has become a place to be seen, and fortunately for us on this day, it was worth watching.  A couple of girls walk in, one on her phone talking, laughing and the other with a nasty scowl on her face.  She must have said something on the phone because all of a sudden the other girl starts yelling like a banshee and slapping the girls face as hard as she could.  In what I feel was an appropriate response, JB began his play-by-play a la Howard Cosell, “There’s another left by George he’s getting into Fraziers head.”  We all knew what was coming, “I think he hurt Joe Frazier, I think Joe is hurt!”  Right when JB was about to formulate that iconic saying, the girl on the phone delivers a thundering overhand right, dropping the aggressor and immediately ending the altercation.

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So the Pistons were looking like a playoff contending team with all their offseason acquisitions, but after a 2-1 record with the only loss a close one on the road to Memphis, the Pistons have dropped 4 straight to fall to 2-5.  Plus Memphis looks god awful after that looking like a “good” loss.  The Pistons aren’t very good.  Hire Jim Leyland!  The culmination of the four-game skid climaxed in an ugly 18- point loss to the Warriors last night that sent a few fantasy shockwaves down our fantasy spine.  First Josh Smith was benched before playing 19 minutes and shot 1-6 for 2 Pts and no boards.  That’s like a Robin Lopez line! He reportedly took some bad three-pointers.  Those familiar with Josh Smith are like, “aren’t they all bad three pointers coming from him?!”  Still think Smith will be fine and this could actually help him from killing your FG% on his off nights.  The biggest benefactor to the J Smoove benching was my boyfriend (!) Kentavious Caldwell-Pope getting 24 minutes and going 9/3/1 with a trey and two steals playing a small (literally) forward role at times.  Now I didn’t watch this game, so if he was matched up on Andre Iguodala who isn’t exactly a domineering 3, that makes sense.   Then to top off a terrible night for Pistons fans, Razzball commenter favorite Andre Drummond went down with an ankle injury, playing way too late in the game that was a blowout.  It was like a Booby Miles injury.  He walked off the court under his own power, but ankle injuries are like the fantasy grim reaper’s wheel of fortune.  Sometimes a terrible looking one turns into nothing, and sometimes you’re Tobias Harris.  Hell Tyson Chandler walked off the court with a broken leg!  You just never know… Keep your eye out for updates during the day.  Hey, at least Drummond put up 16/14/0/3/3 for ya!  Here’s what else I saw across the NBA last night:

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As an ancient proverb goes – “I’d like to introduce you to an old friend and a new friend.”  Ok, so I made that up.  But it sounds good!

For an old friend I’ve mentioned a few times and pumped up in my last rankings update before the season started up, my boy Omri Casspi had another solid outing last night that probably was under the radar.  In 24 minutes, he went 7/8/5 with no turnovers, 2-4 from the field and 3-4 from the line.  He just looks awesome every time I see him play.  Did you know he was the first Israeli to play in the NBA?  He’s pretty much Chandler Parsons but with Chandler Parsons in his way.  After a ho-hum first two games, his past two have been fantastic – and this last one without hitting a three which is a big part of his game.  Not necessarily a must own in 12-teamers, but definitely worth a look, and needs to be grabbed in 14+.

Then my new friend - Gal Mekel on the Mavericks.  You’re like, “who the eff is Gal Mekel?  I thought this was NBA not WNBA!”  Mekel was signed to a three-year deal by the Mavs this offseason, and became the second Israeli to join the NBA.  Cut to Amar’e Stoudemire going, “Hey, I should count!”  With Shane Larkin dealing with an ankle injury, and no Devin Harris for a while, Mekel is getting full-on backup PG run and playing well doing it.  He got his 2nd 6 assist game last night going 9/4/6 and hitting a 3.  Sure some run was in junk time, but with the oft-injured Jose Calderon the only one ahead of him (hasn’t played in over 68 games since 2007), Mekel could find his way into starts.  Of course, now I’ve ruined my play on him in the REL League.  Let’s just hope no one in that league is reading!  Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy hoops:

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The period of free agency continues to shape the fantasy basketball-scape with fresh meat on terrible teams and players signing with contenders to be relegated to bench duty.  With baseball in full swing and the NFL getting half of the ESPN air time no matter what time of year it is, a lot of NBA moves have been made under the radar.  Look for every division to get a team-by-team breakdown and some early fantasy thoughts on the new faces in new places:

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Heading into the upcoming Fantasy Basketball Season, Razzball will be interviewing local NBA beat writers for some actual in-depth basketball knowledge to shed some additional light on our fantasy basketball knowledge. Keep your eye out for an interview for every NBA team through the summer. This installment comes courtesy of Dave Rueter from leading Philadelphia 76ers blog Liberty Ballers.

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Some music fans believe the 1982 Fleetwood Mac album “Mirage” got its name because Lindsey, Stevie, Christine, John and Mick hated each other, were trying to pass off a dated band as relevant, recorded it while whacked out on assorted liquids and/or substances, or all of the above.

While any of this could be true, the opinion here is that “Mirage” is a criminally underrated album by an often derided band. Can they be as corny as Nick Young’s early 2012-2013 ’do? You bet ya. But here, without trying, they actually pull off a “mirage” that’s a good one and not one that, say, Spike in “Tom & Jerry” might have had where he mistook Tom for a giant hambone.

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