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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It’s been a bad couple weeks for big men. A lot of top producing forwards and centers seem to have been bitten by the injury bug around Thanksgiving.

Initially, DeMarcus Cousins was only considered day-to-day with viral meningitis. After missing his 8th straight game, coach Mike Malone was unsure when he would get his big man back. He’s been ruled out for the rest of the weekend, with his playing status in jeopardy for next week.

While Cousins has been out, Reggie Evans has grabbed almost every available rebound. Well not really, but he has had games of 13, 14, and 20 rebounds, while starting for Cousins. Jason Thompson has offered a more balanced increase in production (11 ppg, 10.2 rpg, and 2.4 apg in last 5 games), but the biggest beneficiary has been Rudy Gay.

With Cousins declared out for at least the weekend, now is the best time to sell high on Gay. He has a usage rate (total number of possessions per 48 minutes) of 30.2 when Cousins is out, but a 25.3 usage rate when Cousins is playing alongside him. As a result, Gay has increased his scoring, rebounds, and assists with Cousins off the floor. Try to trade him this weekend for a top 20/30 player, before Cousins gets back and steals touches away from him.

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Danny, Jeff, Draymond, and Gerald. It sounds like a the real, non-stage names of a boy band. Everybooooody…. Rock yo booooody! Rock yo body right, the Green team’s back, ALRIGHT?!! I’m onto something here: this analogy even has some Jackson 5 tangents, with Willie Green (Orlando), JaMychal Green (San Antonio), and Erick Green (Denver) playing the Tito and Germaine roles of the family members who haven’t hit the limelight yet guys. Or the jilted Destiny’s Children? I dunno, you talk amongst yourselves, and work it out. Willie, JaMychal and Erick (much better boy band names) are all rooks/sophs who are coming along slowly. Like Janet, they’ll have their chance to shine further down the road, hopefully. All I can say is that the Greens that matter are come up rosy.  So get out and something something about the players being money, because they’re named Green! And you might want to trade in some of those Greens for these cats:

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“Did you coach the Celtics to a win last night, B-Rad?!”  “No…  But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night!”

Since returning from his bad ankle sprain, Marcus Smart has had quite the timeline.  Returned last Wednesday and played five minutes, and Stevens said he didn’t look ready.  And when you’re not ready, you get demoted to the D-League.  And when you shoot 1-12 FG in that D-League game, you still get a promotion.  I want to work for that company!  Any time you get reprimanded, you just have to explain why you’re currently better than 1-12!  Then DNP Friday, and 8 minutes of nada Sunday.  So of course, everyone expected that he’d play 35 minutes and go 23/4/5/1/0 shooting 7-14 FG (4-8 3PTM, 5-5 FT) without a single TO last night.  And everyone expected Rajon Rondo, off a triple-double, to be benched in favor of Smart down the stretch and for both the overtimes.  Well, the Celtics did almost upset the Wiz at home!  Key word… almost.  And sure, Boston had a big 4th quarter with the subs to make it a game, but an L is an L!  Rondo owners collectively throw things at their computers – no one is safe from a Stevens line-up bamboozle.  Before you run out and grab Smart, consider that timeline this past week.  And don’t forget before last night he was shooting sub-30% FG and 21.4% from deep with only 1.1 dimes a game.  Given some of those were in low-minute spells, but it was still only 8 dimes in 114 minutes to 6 TO.  So don’t pull a Stevens and feel like the smartest one in the room by dropping, well virtually anyone in a 12 or 14 teamer for him, unless you plan to stash.  Rondo could still be moved, but I never bet on a trade.  It’s like betting on a successful hostage trade in an action movie.  They never work out!  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Totally off the wagon!  My sobriety is over.  On my bender this weekend, I ate a roasted chicken off the bone for dinner, lost my voice yelling trying to talk to Germans, tried to order steak at a carnival stand, and woke up the next day hating life.   Well, that was actually my time at Oktoberfest, but more or less the same thing!

We all know how much I love Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.  He’s probably my most talked about fantasy player since last season that hasn’t fully broken into 100%-owned fantasy relevance.  And of course, after a slow start and swearing him off – with me finally admitting to my KCP obsession – he turns it back around culminating in another fantastic line against OKC for 19/3/5/1/0 shooting 6-12 FG (1-5 3PTM 6-7 FT).  Did have 3 TO, but one was a very questionable charge on a nasty layup in transition.  I think Kevin Durant took it – MVP call!  In the finale last year, KCP went 30/6/0/2/1 on 11-19 shooting with 5 treys against OKC.  Slim – how many times have I brought up that game now?!  I worked Yahoo highlights on that one when my company did them last year, so harkening to the memories of that 30-burger is like reliving your ultimate drug trip.  “The trees were melting into the sky!”  So of course seeing him rip apart OKC once again has my teeth grinding more than a cokehead stranded in Antarctica.

KCP’s got steals in 9 of 10 games now, his TO rate is fantastic (3 was a season high yesterday – averaging 1.0 TO a game before last night), but I’m recently liking how much more he’s getting involved inside the perimeter.  Through the first 15 games, 47.4% of KCP’s shots were 3s, but through the last six, 35 of his 80 shots were treys taking it down to 43.8%.  And in that time his USG% (estimate of the percentage of team plays used by a player while he was on the floor) – something I don’t look at too, too often – jumped from 18% those first 15 games, to 20.3% not including yesterday.  I watched a lot of last night’s game, and he was more involved in the O than any other Pistons game I’ve seen all year – and due to my addiction, it’s been a lot.  While it was yet another loss, they still gave OKC a run for their money – given the Thunder studs are still shaking off some rust.  So I’m back to being a KCP addict!  Let’s hope this doesn’t start impacting my work and ruining my relationships…  I won’t go rehab again!  Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy basketball:

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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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Boy is the Kikkoman Juice (less sodium) flowing!

With Tony Wroten out with a knee injury (banged it against a barrel of turnovers), it’s given Brett Brown a bitch slap of sanity to run K.J. McDaniels like he deserves minutes.  Who else is there to even play, Eric Snow?!  McDaniels hadn’t played 30 minutes in a game this year, until surpassing that mark the past three games including a swashbuckler against the Spurs last night.  Getting rainbows that have golden arcs bigger than McDowell’s with a 10/9/2/3/2 line last night, after 21/13/1/1/2 & 18/6/1/0/1 in this latest minutes explosion the last three 76ers games losses.  While he’s playing better than I imagined, there’s still minutes for Wroten when he gets healthy, so I’m not ready to put all my Kookaburra eggs in my Kookaburra juice carton.  Worth owning in all leagues right now while getting the PT, but if he’s back down to 20 minutes when Wroten is healthy and T-Wrote plays his trademarked brickfest game (Wroten plays Tetris!), I’m fine moving on.  So for now, pour that sweet sweet kabob juice all over your line-up!  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops:

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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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No Nicolas Batum, no problem!

The Blazers went nuts in the first half last night, putting up 84 on the hapless Nuggets through 24 minutes.  Indiana won last night at Miami scoring 81!  All your usual suspects had some good games, but who was the Keyser Soze?  The greatest trick bench players have ever pulled was convincing the fantasy basketball world they don’t matter!  But Chris Kaman is off yet another brilliant game, putting up 16/7/2/1/2 on 6-8 shooting (4-5 FT), and needs to be owned in virtually all leagues.  Was a little in junk time?  Sure.  Is he better than Robin Lopez?  Who isn’t?!  Will he start any time soon?  Well, no, but dude has grabbed at least 5 boards in every game and averaging over a block and a half a night.  The minutes are going to be there all year, as several NBA teams needing a starting big man have got to be mad they didn’t float Kaman a little offerewski.  And he’s a must add for RoLo fantasy owners, as while he had a good game last night scoring 19, zero blocks, only 5 boards, and most importantly only 21 minutes.  Blowout induced, yes, but topped 30 minutes only twice this year after averaging 32 a game last year.  He’s down 4 MPG from 2013-14 as Terry Stotts is utilizing the Blazers’ vastly improved bench, but thus far RoLo’s numbers are nearly identical from last year, and I don’t see that continuing with such lower PT.  So sell RoLo high!  And when other owners try to figure out why, tell em because you got high.  Here’s what else went down in fantasy action last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?