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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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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Ugh…

So any readers out there grow up in that emo scene or get into any of that stuff at the turn of the century?  I was all about the band Thursday’s CD Full Collapse, and man, listening back to it now is ridiculous!  Even in high school I could make fun of the music that was going on then, talking about how emo bands had a crier.  But Paris in Flames legit sounds like there’s some dude in the corner cry-yelling!  Hey, it beats the Slipnkot dude who’s one job is to bang the trashcan lid…

Where to start with the cryfest?  I think we gotta go with Russell Westbrook, and well, hold a seance for all Thunder fans right now.  Sustained a fracture in his hand last night, and will likely miss about a month.  We’ll know more by later today, but I think OKC should change their uniforms to the Bubble Boy outfits.  Look where that movie took Jake Gyllenhaall!  Kinda hard not to think about picking up Sebastian Telfair, but he’s still behind the Donald Sloan-types.  Shooting up with some medium-term value is Reggie Jackson if his ankle heals up.  I’d look to see if he was dropped in your league, as now he’s a dynamite hold until healthy, as long as it’s not another month for him as well… We still don’t really have a clear picture, so I think Telfair can make a couple starts.

Then the other biggie… My Panthers… I was actually at the game, and man, the amount of angst and frustration in the stands really could’ve been an emo wah-party.  Pop quiz, who had more TOs – Cam or the main Cav?!  Well, it was the main Cav, but we’ll start there and then get into everything else that went down last night in fantasy hoops:

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I don’t know why JB would do this to me. Do you know what he told me?  He told me I didn’t fit in.  He told me my only chance of being accepted was for me to join some program he was calling, “Avatar”.  I believe his exact words were, “Yeah we can change your avatar, what were you thinking?”  Wait… this was my idea?  Was it me who asked him to take my sexy, bearded, aboriginal face and join it with my real life sexy, bearded, non-aboriginal face?  I can’t tell what is reality and what is a dream anymore.  All I do know is that in this world of mixed mediums, my body, or as JB keeps calling it, my “Avatar”, is merely a shell for my one track mind.  A mind dedicated only to fantasy basketball; unfortunately sometimes this mind can wonder.  Wonder back to yesteryear when Patrick Beverley was a sleeper or when Alec Burks was supposed to start for the Jazz.  In an attempt to relieve those nostalgic days, I present to you my beginning of the season All Under-Owned Team.  My cutoff was 30% owned in Yahoo leagues and hopefully with season-long appeal.

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Uh oh…  Brandon Knight had a good game…  JB’s gonna talk about his Brandon Knight infatuation all year now!  Great…

One of my big sleeper calls last year (which was, only, kindasorta right), I again came into this season with Knight well ahead of the consensus (six spots ahead of the next highest among 25 experts – the only one in green!).  And while his knight (womp womp) was still redonkulous, there was more to like than only the stat line.  Went 22/8/13/0/1 with 2 treys and 10-10 FT. But what’s to salivate over is he led the Bucks in minutes, clearly started the game as the PG, and both Kendall Marshall and Nate Wolters didn’t get off the bench.  Jerryd Bayless was the only backup PG to get off the pine for a measly 14 minutes.  I think a big hesitation for fantasy owners was if Knight was going to play more SG like he did down the stretch last year, having his dimes eaten away like Raymond Felton at a CiCis.  Certainly looks like that won’t be the case, and when I face opposing fantasy teams, Knight is going to be my Public Enemy #1.  Here’s what else went down in our first big slate of games for the 2014-15 season:

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With the season just a few days away, I’ll be covering the latest injury news for all those last minute drafters. Guys will be held out of preseason games for various ailments, so don’t overreact to every DNP in the preseason box scores. I can’t cover every NBA injury, but will try to cover the biggest injuries to start the season.

Unless you have been living under a rock over the summer, you have seen Paul George’s gruesome injury. He broke his leg in an US Olympic Team scrimmage. The leg injury has a 12-18 month timetable so George will be out for the entire regular season. He may play in the playoffs, but that doesn’t affect us fantasy players.

In redraft leagues, you don’t draft George. He won’t be playing this season, but should return to form the following year. In dynasty leagues, it gets a little trickier. If your team isn’t competing this year, then definitely invest a mid-round pick on him and stash him for the next season. If you think you can compete this year, get someone else who will play this year.

With George’s injury and Lance Stephenson’s trade to the Charlotte Hornets, there will be a lot of playing time and statistics up for grabs. Larry Bird says that the offense will rely more on George Hill. He’s never been the focal point of the offense so there may be some growing pains, but he’s a solid career shooter (44.8 FG%, 80.8 FT%, and 37.1 3FP%) and with increases in the counting stats, should be a solid mid-round value. He’s suffered a knee contusion, but should be ready to go for the start of the season.

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So this is why preseason wrap ups are tough.  News flutters around willy-nilly like that bag that dumbass had an obsession with in American Beauty.  And most of the news has about as much meaning…

First there’s Razzball lovebrows Anthony Davis spraining his wrist last night, and Monty Williams held him out as a precaution.  Davis wanted to come back into the game, but Monty was like, “nuh uh, girlfriend!  Shaniqua don’t live here no mo’!”  Not to be out-overreactioned, Russell Westbrook also sprained his wrist on Sunday.  Neither are serious, and this is why the wrap-ups are eye-roll fests through preseason.  A lot of worthless mud to pan through just to get a fleck of gold.  (True story – when I was like 8 or 9 years old, we did a class field trip to pan for gold and a portly kid got a tiny mote worth, the only one to get any.  Then I traded him some peanut butter-filled chocolate my mom packed me for lunch for it.  Talk about knowing your audience!)

Can you believe we’re a week away from opening tip?!  This is the last preseason wrap until next Tuesday to preview the season, and daily from there.  Can’t wait for this shizz to start!  My final re-rankings will be out tomorrow, we’ll get to meet some new writers, and two final preseason Pods (tomorrow and next Tuesday) before we get some real games to talk about on air.  Here’s what else has gone on in the world of preseason NBA action:

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Slim and I dressed up in suits and bow ties, Slim gelled his beard, I flossed for the first time since 2011, and we went in and crashed the Yahoo Friends & Family League!  What fantasy basketball draft isn’t improved with an early Latrell Spreewell joke in the draft chat?

So with the updated Yahoo player ranks eerily mimicking a lot of our sleeper calls, Slim and I had to really pull A Beautiful Mind to get our draft strategy in order.  On top of drafting with some experts, league settings were a major factor in our strategy.  The league is a 12 team H2H, but instead of RCL/default week 21-23 playoff schedule, the Y! F&F is weeks 22-24.  Right away, all Cavaliers were absolutely off-limits.  Looking at Slim’s ridiculously awesome breakdown of playoff schedules, the Cavs have 3 games week 22, 2 in week 23, then week 24 is the final 10 days of the season.  I’m not even going to look at their schedule, since there’s a good chance the Cavs rest their starters for several games in that final 10 days.  The experts knew this too, as Kevin Love fell to 15th overall, with us passing on him with pick 14.

The other main settings differences were roster composition and the league is weekly with only 2 moves allowed a week.  The roster breakdown is PG, SG, SF, PF, C, UTIL, UTIL, UTIL, UTIL, UTIL, BN, BN, BN.  Slim and I unanimously agreed to go PG and C heavy, filling out SG/SF with ThrAGNOFs.  Limited moves also made us want to hoard PG since fewer will break out off the wire.  Here’s how team Razzball (will be co-managed by both of us) panned out:

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Well, there’s certainly been no lack of news this past week!  No fantasy sport is safe from injuries, even in the preseason!  Well, maybe fantasy fishing (yes, I’ve played it!).

As reported everywhere, even on tweens.com (I hope that’s not a real site and/or not an illegal site!  Not gonna find out in my web history!), Kevin Durant has a broken bone in his foot, and the initial timetable in 6-8 weeks.  But of course given it’s KD, and we’re nearing the home stretch of the fantasy drafting window, there’s all sorts of shrouds of uncertainty.  First there’s surgery vs. non-surgery, which I’m guessing the latter involves rum and Jobu, but I’m no voodoo.  Despite my limited knowledge on Jones fractures, I am hoping he opts for the surgery.  If he doesn’t get it, it seems like Durant is playing with fire.  We saw the Thunder bring back Westbrook earlier than expected last year with his knee issues, then he suffered re-injury (of course, causation is merely speculative).  Which leads to point number two – either way you look at it surgery vs. non-surgery, Jones fractures are all sorts of tricky.  Lingering issues, re-injuring it, it’s all up in the air. My perspective is Durantula has been healthy for virtually his whole career, spanning 7 seasons.  So I’m optimistic he can be a fast healer, and splitting the difference of 6-8 weeks to 7 weeks out.  Given when news broke, that’s missing just over a month of the regular season.

In my re-ranks I published yesterday, I only moved KD down to 2 with Anthony Davis up to #1 (side note - found this article with NBA MVP odds, how can I hop in on this?!  Brow 25/1?!  I’ll throw $10 on him to win $250!).  In H2H, if you’re a confident manager, you can stream and bear a .500 record for a month.  Then you have KD for the playoffs!  I think if you try to sell right now in a panic if you’ve already drafted, or let him fall too far in your draft, you’ll be kicking yourself in the postseason.  All that said, in Roto, I’m probably letting him fall until at least the middle of the first round.  Having by far the best per-game player for the fantasy playoffs weeks obviously doesn’t matter.  Hopefully by early next week there’s a little more clarity on Durant, and I’ll have one final rankings revision next Wednesday.  Here’s what else has gone down in fantasy hoops since the last wrap-up (which will be daily during the season!):

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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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