At no point this season did I ever think that Markieff Morris would be getting the lead in an article…unless, maybe, it was because he killed a guy or something (leading victim candidates included a coach, a referee, or a reporter who spoke ill of his twin brother). Well, he got the lead and nobody died…that I’m aware of.

In his first game playing for interim head coach Earl Watson, ‘Kieff showed out to the tune of 30 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, a steal, and a pair of blocks. If that wasn’t worthy of a raised eyebrow or two, Morris also drained a three and shot 13-20 from the field in his 41 minutes. Hot damn.

Whether he’s actually interested in helping the Suns win games or simply trying to improve the value of his stock in an effort to facilitate a move out of the desert, it doesn’t really matter for fantasy purposes. If he’s going to get the run…if he’s going to keep his attitude in check…if he’s going to play with effort and focus…he needs to be on fantasy rosters. Trying to predict what kind of situation he’ll be in this time next month is likely a fool’s errand, but there is big time upside (as we just witnessed) when everything is kosher with Markieff. I wouldn’t give up anything of value or break your free agency bank account because this could be very temporary, but if you have some dead weight to drop, you could do a lot worse than having Morris occupy your last roster spot until the trade deadline.

Let’s take a look at what else shook down on a five-game Tuesday evening in the NBA…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The prototypical Boards-N-Block dude is not a Hoosier. They don’t Tweet about how the best thing ever is singing “Silent Night” on Christmas Eve, and they don’t shoot well from the line.

Yet here we are leading a B-N-B column with one Cody Zeller, the once-proclaimed savior of Indiana basketball, crooner of carols and 74 percent career free-throw shooter.

Zeller

Look, this isn’t something I want to do. Zeller is the modern-day Brad Lohaus, the most un-fun player on the fantasy hoops planet. Who the hell wants Cody Zeller on their fantasy team?

Well, if you want boards, maybe that’s you. Because over his past four games, Zeller is averaging more boards (10 rpg) than Al Horford and Nerlens Noel and almost as many as Andre Drummond (11.5 rpg), minus the major charity stripe headaches (25 percent; more on this later).

Zeller is actually really close to becoming a double-double machine on the order of another cheap source of rebounding this season, Zaza Pachulia, who also shoots for high percentages from the field and the charity stripe (and is averaging more than 14 rpg over the past week, by the by).

I’m selling Zeller here mainly for points-leagues players. I had Drummond in one points league and just couldn’t take it anymore. The free-throws had me lodged in third-place with no way out. So I got what I could for ‘Dre (Gordon Hayward, ugh) and decided to try and use dudes like Zeller and Zaza to make up for the loss of boards while patching up that lowly FT percentage. Don’t know if it’ll work, but it was worth a try.

In other B-N-B news …

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Finally! Our flaccid fantasy line-ups that have experienced a ton of shrinkage on the front line can re-erect their Stifle Towers! Although we certainly HOPE this lasts more than 4 hours…

After missing just over a month, Rudy Gobert returned to action right in the sweetspot of his 4-6 week timetable and looked solid off the bench for 6 Pts and 3 Reb, hitting 3-4 “from the field” (a couple were dunks). He looked spry and pretty close to the Gobert of old, which isn’t old at all – he’s still a young Flyin’ Frenchman. It’ll probably be one or two more games before he’s fully unleashed, but since he didn’t have a block (one was called a foul that seemed close), maybe the buy low window is still narrowly cracked open. If the minutes rise to 20 then 25 the next two outings and the stat lines aren’t shimmering with Boards-n-Blocks goodness, then I would be assaulting Gobert owners in one final push to acquire him. If you own Gobert, don’t get nervous, let your Stifle Tower stand strong, and let Monsieur Elbow pitch a tent on your front line! (I had to edit out like 5 worse metaphors – you’re welcome…) Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Conventional basketball wisdom suggests that smaller lineups play at a faster pace and typically score more points. That wasn’t exactly the case in Chicago on Tuesday night. The Milwaukee Bucks rolled out their massive starting lineup that features five players who all measure between 6’6″ and 6’11”. The Bulls countered with considerable size of their own, as only Derrick Rose came in under 6’7″ among the first unit. Coming into this one, Chicago ranked 10th in the league in pace while Milwaukee was 24th, and both teams sat in the bottom third in offensive efficiency. On paper this looked like a matchup destined to be played in half court sets with plenty of contested late-in-the-shot-clock possessions. The opposite came to pass as all ten starters scored in double figures and we saw 223 combined points poured in.

Following his record breaking 40-point second half against that basketball team that plays in a country other than the United States, Jimmy Butler remained en fuego, scoring 20 first half points to give him an even 60 for that four quarter stretch. The man they call “Buckets” finished with a game-high 32 on 11-21 from the field, 2-4 from beyond the arc, and a perfect 8-8 on his freebies. Jimmy is every bit a first rounder this year regardless of whether or not the usage-sucking, possession-wasting Rose lines up next to him or not. (He did on Tuesday.) There aren’t ten players I’d rather have on my roster, especially considering the Bulls’ outstanding playoff schedule.

On the other side, Khris Middleton did his best to keep the Bucks in it, posting a stellar 26/4/7/1/0 line. The Duchess of Wisconsin did his damage on 10-21 shooting, pouring in five threes and only turning the ball over twice in 38 minutes. Middleton has been a top-20 nine category player over the last month and with Jason Kidd not around to mess with lineup & rotation consistency, there’s no reason to think Khris can’t keep this hot streak going.

Let’s have a little look-see at the rest of the notable fantasy lines from Tuesday night, shall we?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Although Byron Scott hasn’t been the best NBA head coach of all time, his opinion is the only one that matters in L.A. at the moment, and at the moment Byron Scott says Larry Nance Jr. would be a lottery pick if they redrafted the 2015 draft (he went 27th for reals) and Julius Randle stinks and needs to grow up.

Indeed, Nance has improved gradually since being inserted in the starting lineup last month. And over the past week, he’s averaging 10 and 10, including a 15-point, 14-rebound outburst against the Suns on January 3.

I watched him during his 14-board performance on New Year’s Day against the Sixers and I did get visions of his dandy dunker daddy. Larry Jr. is about the same size and flies around in much the same way as once did Larry Sr., who has a special place in my heart. He always wowed but lost to Dominique Wilkins or Michael Jordan in the classic Slam Dunk Contests of the mid-1980s, and he’s one of the dudes featured on that rad Sultans of Slam poster from that era. Hard to believe pappy’s not in the Hall with these nice career numbers: 17.1 ppg, 8.0 rpg, and 2.2 bpg.

As good as Larry Sr. was, I think those numbers aren’t out of the question for Larry Jr. if everything falls right. Buy in now!

Here’s some other goings-ons in Boards-N-Blocks land:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

NBA TV will now take you live to the 2030 NBA Hall of Fame induction ceremony, where legendary Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside is taking the podium …

“Thank you friends, family, Crockett, Tubbs, members of the Miami Sound Machine not named Gloria Estefan, and all of you who came out today. And what an honor it is for me as a basketball player to have the all-time great and fellow Hall of Famer Chris Bosh presenting me here tonight. I kind of wish we hadn’t drank a whole case of Bosh’s “Make It – Take It” Dogfish Head beer last night, but dang that’s some good stuff! In all seriousness though Chris, I love you like a father, like a big daddy praying mantis. You’re the best.

I’ve been a King, a Bighorn, a Viper, a Blue Whale, a Monkey King and a Grizzly… I’ve been Energy, Heat and part of a Skyforce and a Thundering Herd. I’m proud of every organization I’ve played for. No I’m not. But still those are some pretty wacked names eh? A lot more exciting than “Warriors, Lakers, Bucks,” amIright?

When I started thinking about what I would say on this momentous occasion, I sifted through the many memories … playing with Bosh and Dwayne Wade … escaping Sacramento, aka DeMarcus Cousins’ Crazy Town Express, averaging a double-double in my breakthrough 2014-2015 campaign … making ten straight all-star games starting in 2015-2016. Winning the 2020 NBA title with my homeboy Jahlil Okafor – shout-out Jah! And thank you Sam Hinkie, you moron! Your 10-year rebuilding program in Philadelphia really worked wonders for Miami and every other team that poached your frustrated young players.

Actually, thinking back to that ’15-’16 season, that was really the start of it all for me. I remember how fantasy ballers doubted me. Maybe it was because I had been a late second-round pick of the Kings in 2010, then ended up in the D-League, Lebanon, China, Lebanon, China and the D-League again. Then after busting out of nowhere to put up 11.8 ppg, 10.9 rpg and 2.6 bpg in 48 games in 2014-2015, I had kind of a meh preseason the next year, kind of slipped in fantasy drafts and didn’t really have a great first two games of the season. The whole fantasy world freaked and I was sold low by dumb owners everywhere!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When you go out on a limb on a guy and it starts slow, at least I can pull the “it’s a long season” card.  Or the “his back has been a little spasmy” card.  Hah, little Pod joke there…

I gotta say, I love you commenters here on Razzball.  A lot of Andrew Wiggins frustration has been thrown around, like “he single-handedly killed my FG%”, and “he’s why I started 1-8”, and “Wiggins must be dating yet another one of those Kardashians”.  But I was really honored to say almost all of the vitriol wasn’t at me.  Hell, I was expecting to be served on the coals for that one!  Or some sort of cliche that works…  Maybe it was out of the decency of your hearts since I obviously own him on several teams with this rank.  I got way more hate for saying Nate Robinson was a good opening night streamer/last draft pick in 12ers!  But like the worst drunken one night stand in history, I got rid of Nate about 4 or 5 minutes in.  While with Wiggins, I’m entrenched in a life-long relationship.  Hope my wife isn’t reading this!  After a really rocky start, Wiggins finally looked like the breakout talent I was hoping for on Saturday night against the Bulls, going 31/3/2/0/1 with only 1 TO and hit 4 treys.  Of course it wouldn’t be a pristine line, but then again what relationship is suddenly perfect?!  Except my marriage of course!  Wiggy still shot like poo (11-27) and had an odd 5-10 FT game.  He’s usually gonna be a high-volume 80% guy from the stripe, plus he hit 4-5 from deep, so there’s still hope the FG% climbs as his bum back gets healthier and he shoots his way out of it.  Of course you can point to Kevin Martin not playing (personal) for the burst in treys, but big picture we still think K-Mart gets moved.  Even with K-Mart, they’re using him as a 6th man and Wiggy is the only real perimeter option in the starting 5 anyway.  I also think with a little more health, he’ll play more aggressive on D.  The one swat he had was a legit one, not a lazy strip that’s scored a block, WHICH STILL FRUSTRATES ME!  The buy low window is closing rapidly, so if you’re still hoping to buy in on Wiggy, I’d wait until tonight and see if he has another rough shooting game before opening the floodgates.  If you own Wiggy, definitely hold, particularly with the Wolves playing 5 games this week. Here’s what else went down over the weekend in NBA action, plus The 7 Ahead for week 3:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s great to have NBA back; I hope everyone had a chance to read the staff picks.  Who was the only person to pick Greg Monroe and C.J. McCollum?  Yeah this guy.  Ok, enough bragging.  Since it’s Halloween, we are going to have some tricks to stay away from and of course some treats.  So let’s get on with this small 6 game slate:

Disclaimer: James Harden, Anthony Davis, LeBron James, Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Demarcus Cousins should always be considered.

 

Point Guards

We have four PG’s above 9k:  Steph Curry, Chris Paul, John Wall, Damian Lillard.  All are fine plays.  Then we don’t find a PG in the 8k or 7k range.

C.J. McCollum (6,600) is a plug and play at this price.  He will be in the 8k range this time next week or he should be IMO.  McCollum is a flat out scorer. He hasn’t met a shot he hasn’t liked.  On nights that his jumper might be off, he has the ability to drive and get to the foul line.  He’s the lowest I am willing to spend at PG on Saturday night.  

On Halloween don’t be tricked into playing Rajon Rondo (5,600). Personally I think he is trash and I wish he was cheaper so the masses would play him.  

Jrue Holliday (4,900) does have a nice price but don’t be fooled.  He is coming of a major injury and is on a minutes limit.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Flashy player.  Ridiculous opportunity.  Buzzy preseason.  A lot of times it ends up fizzling out, sometimes it works out OK, and one time it’s C.J. McCollum.

C.J. went absolutely bonkers in his 15-16 debut, hitting 14-22 from the field including 6-9 3PTM for 37/6/1/1/0 and no TO.  Video game numbers!  So he’s a shooter, and he does what NBA shooters do – keeps draining em when they hot!  But I think we need to take a step back and consider a few things:  Other than massive Pts and treys it was fairly empty.  This was against the Pelicans, who without Brow, might look worse than the Sixers; they look horrific.  And the third thing that no one seemed to mention while anointing McCollum the next big thing in combo guards this preseason – he’s got a pretty extensive injury history.  He’s at the pinnacle of a sell high for me.  Do I think he’ll be hot garbage all the sudden?  Of course not.  But do I think he scores 37 again this year?  I don’t.  Well, unless they faced the Pelicans every night…  I’d shop around in the 40-50 range of ADP and see if you can get lucky.  As with all fantasy takeaways off one game, it’s always good to keep from overreacting.  Compared to fantasy football, we’re at the same point as about 9 minutes into the first quarter of week 1.  Still a long way to go.  Here’s what else went down during the first full slate of fantasy basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If you’re a fan of a bad team, you know to expect a spell of the ol’ Lottery Fever that begins every Spring with the race to the crappiest record, continues with the actual Lottery drawing in May and real-deal NBA draft in June, and finally dissipates after fantasy drafts in the fall and the start of actual basketball, when actual orange spheres go through actual steel rims.

Your real-life, garbage-juice-slathered team doesn’t play in Minnesota? Vindication can be yours by reaching for Karl-Anthony Towns as early as possible. Are you a Knicks fan who has already started using “Kristaps” as a euphemism for what happens after you just had some bad Taco Bell? Go get yourself some D’Angelo Russell – who cares if he’s gonna stink as a pro. And everyone who grabbed Stanley Johnson felt real good, regardless of what human team they follow.

But hold it right there when it comes to Willie Cauley-Stein, who should always have something before his name.  As in “Bad Bad” Willie Cauley-Stein, or “Wild” Willie Cauley-Stein, or “Old Man” Willie Cauley-Stein.

From a Boards-N-Blocks perspective, I like him for all the reasons everyone else likes him: He’s a 7-footer, he’s athletic, he runs the floor, George Karl said that’s he’s going to start, and he fulfills every fantasy in a would-be porno directed by Jay Bilas (Upside! Yes, baby! Wingpsan! Oh, yeah!).

Please, blog, may I have some more?