Basketball is back baby!  The NBA season returns from the All-Star Break tonight after four-and-a-half months off…  Maybe hyperbolic, but certainly feels that way!

And right as games start, we’ve got the NBA Trade Deadline passing this afternoon at 3:00 PM EST.  That was fast!  We’ve got a big day of trade analysis, with a live post that will go up around 1:00 PM-ish EST and get frequently updated to track all of the last-minute trades as they go down, then a slightly later podcast record time with our special edition Trade Deadline Razzball Basketball Podcast up sometime around 4:00-4:30 PM EST.  It’s all hoops all afternoon!

With these big changes about to ripple through the fantasy hoops landscape, the biggest news from over the break is probably the most anti-climatic – Carmelo Anthony has been officially shutdown.  “3P0 – Shut down all the garbage smashers on the detention level!”  “No! Shut them ALL down, hurry!”  Pretty apt to The Poppycockers shituation, amiright?!  We’ve known Melo was about to be Melba Toast sometime around the break, and now the swift gavel of realism has hit (huh? weird metaphor day!  I’m rusty OK?!).  Langston Galloway, who has probably been picked up in most leagues (and subsequently dropped in some after struggling) should likely be scooped up.  He’s not going to do anything too special, but his career-high in shots (19) was in a Melo-less game and should give you some low-TO guard stats.  Tim Hardaway Jr. also gets a bit of a boost, but he does absolutely nothing beyond score and trey.  Would be a nice, high-minute ThrAGNOF!  But those ain’t got no face…  So I’m not married to Timmy J at all even if he starts hot with Melo now gone.  Here’s what else has gone down since we left for the break:

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The All-Star weekend begins on Friday, giving most of the league some time off before the final stretch of the season. After the break, there are only four weeks left in the regular season for standard leagues. That’s not a lot of time to wait for guys to return from injuries. Owners will have to make hard decisions on whether to keep their injured stars or let them loose. More should be known after the All-Star break about the severity of many of these recent injuries, so hold on until then.

Blake Griffin underwent surgery on Monday to remove a staph infection in his right elbow. Prior to surgery, Griffin was expected to miss anywhere from 2-to-6 weeks. Griffin will be reevaluated in three weeks, which should help clarify when owners can expect to have Griffin back. Since Griffin is a top talent and there isn’t much clarity on his timeline, owners should hold onto Griffin for the time being.

With Griffin out, DeAndre Jordan and Spencer Hawes become the biggest benefactors. Jordan has put up back-to-back 20/20 games and looks like he’ll grab every rebound that Griffin used to get.

While Jordan is universally owned, Hawes becomes a top waiver wire pickup. In the three games that Griffin has missed, Hawes has averaged 11.0 ppg and 1.7 rpg. The numbers have been underwhelming so far, but Hawes has shown that he can fill up the box score when given starters’ minutes in the past. Last year as a starter, he averaged 13.2 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.2 bpg, and 1.6 3PTM. He probably won’t approach those numbers, but I expect Hawes to be useful for owners for as long as Griffin is out.

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Well Ello there, Poppet!  Bootstraps Bill Turner pulled a scoop and squat shot with under a second left to pull off the upset of the century…. It’s only been 15 years this century, it could be true!

Evan Turner put together a solid 12/7/9/1/0 line hitting 4-11 from the field and all 4 freebies with only 2 TO.  Ending the first half on a high note!  The move back to his more natural SF spot is finally paying off, as he’s averaging at least 6/6/6 (THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST!) the past 4 games.  The FG% is terrible, but I guess I have to believe a little in the out-of-position dimes.  The greatest trick Miss Turner ever played was convincing me he wasn’t fantasy usable!  Well, he still isn’t ever going to be a stalwart on 10 or 12 team squads due to the low %s, TOs, and absence of 3s, but a lot of teams could use his popcorn stats for their build.  He’s like Lance Stephenson, but actually worth owning!  At least for now, if he sticks with Boston until the end of the year… Here’s what else went down in our last busy slate of NBA games before the All-Star Break:

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Oh man, not a fun night for Mark Cuban unless he’s also invested in the Dallas area sports medicine clinics.  The way the NBA has gone this year, it’d be a smart investment!

First into the Shark Tank was Tyson Chandler, who sprained his ankle a minute and half in and couldn’t return.  He had an earlier ankle sprain and it didn’t cost him any time, so even though it looked bad, ol’ Tyson is no Chicken.  Then a mere couple minutes later, Monta Ellis hurt his hip and only played 3 and a half minutes.  As Kevin tells us in The Office – “That’s Dallas!”  Man, good thing the All-Star Break is right around the corner!  Even if both guys say they’re 100%, I see no reason why the Mavs would push em for their game tomorrow night hosting the Jazz.  While they’re out, we’re a bunch of preying sharks circling the bloody waters like Mr. Wonderful and Herjavec!  And last night it was the hairless ghost (wait, ghosts usually don’t have hair right?) of Charlie Villanueva who piled up some junky stats hitting 9-13 from the field for 26/5/1 with 5 treys.  Was awful other than points and treys with 3-6 FT and 4 TO.  Big man ThrAGNOF!  But for me, the big winner for tomorrow night is Mark Cuban’s own (seriously, kinda seems like he’s his dadShawn Marion comp?) Al-Farouq Aminu.  Only 19 minutes last night, but hit all the cats for 5/6/1/1/1.  Mark Cuban Jr. is only owned in 10% of Yahoo leagues, and in a shortened week where every steal and block will count, he should be one of your first calls on the wire in what should be a spot-start.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops action:

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Oh boy, more injuries to studs and more teams scrambling…

Sometime before the weekend, Blake Griffin had a fairly routine (and he’s had a few) elbow draining.  Blake’s draining jumpers, the team docs are draining elbows!  But over the weekend the elbow developed a staph infection, and he’ll have surgery and won’t be evaluated until after the All-Star Break.  Blake is firing off jumpers and the team docs are about to be fired!  Reports are saying it could be a 4-6 week sort of thing, but with staph infections you never know.  Either way, he’s an obvious hold in all leagues.  While Blake goes all Leo McGarry on us, Samurai Spencer Hawes and his little hair bun went 17/1/0/0/1 on 7-16 shooting with two treys in 35 minutes.  Samurai Spence should be an add in virtually all leagues, as his mix of scoring/treys/blocks can help a lot of teams.  Sure he won’t board almost at all for a big with DeAndre Jordan swallowing em all up, but we can ignore that.  Kinda like how Denis McDonough ignored that second “n” in his first name.  What is it with “Mc” real-life and fictional Chiefs of Staph?!  I bet the Oval Office whisky is well stocked…  Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy basketball action:

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Anyone watch the Mavs host the Celtics last night?  Game be scrappy!  Rajon Rondo tackled Monta Ellis towards the end trying to restrain him for a hard foul, and I got confused if I was watching hoops or that MNF tragedy!  Ellis held his knee for a bit there, so let’s hope he’s OK…

But the big story in that one was Jeff Green‘s absurdity.  Well, it actually mimicked the absurdity of this game.  Down 30 in the second quarter, the Celtics somehow came back – in Dallas – to make it a nailbiter to the finish.  The Mavs took Jeff Green as seriously as fantasy owners this year, and he had one of his three monster games he’ll have this season.  35/7/2/1/2 shooting 14-28 including 5-12 from downtown.  If there was ever a sell high game, this would be it.  You need any data to back it up?  How about after his last big game – 39/6 with four treys against the Pelicans on March 16th, 2014?  The subsequent 8 games immediately afterwards – 11.8/3.6/2.3 shooting 34% from the field.  Green is Brandon Jennings in a SF/PF body.  They couldn’t even do a Freaky Friday remake with these two, they’d wake up and look at their new bodies in the mirror and go, “meh, at least I can still get hot one game outta ten shooting the ball…”

Green’s first two games were the expected blah, and he just doesn’t do anything but score and trey… Glorified ThrAGNOF!  Is Chris Copeland really that much worse than Jeff Green right now?  Maybe Citizen Copeland doesn’t have this kind of big game upside, but it’s why we preach to stream your threeballers.  Stream your polyorchids!  Learn something new every day here at Razzball… Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops action:

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Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t listen to country music…  I don’t listen to that emo we talked about last Friday anymore either… This is quickly turning into JB’s music blog (I’ll always shoot anyone some recommendations if you want rock/shoegaze/ambient stuff!  Flip side to Grey’s rapcoin!)…

Anyway, I googled The Band Perry, because well, I know that they’re something popular, and the first image looks like some hot chick standing in front of two of the Stark ninnies from Game of Thrones.  Which would be a pretty apt way to think about the Thunder a mere month ago.  Kevin Durant & Russell Westbrook standing in front of some ninnies.  Don’t get me wrong, RJax and Lurch are some exciting young talent, but I preach da truff!  Then the injury bug swept the Thunder locker room more aggressively than Ebola media coverage (I would say just Ebola, but even THAT isn’t spreading as fast…), and everyone is hurt.  With all that offense recovering and enjoying painkiller prescriptions, somebody was bound to step up.  And why not the talented Perry Jones, who I compared in his first mention last year to James Johnson – multi-cat with 3s.  I knew the tags would help me!  Click on a player name on the bottom of the article there and you get every article that dude was mentioned…  Focus!  After that huge 32/7/3 breakout last Thursday night, encored it with 23/4/2/2/0 Saturday shooting 9-18 with three treys in a whopping 41 minutes.  While his rest of season outlook remains a little murky when the rest of Perry’s cast of Friends return, he’s an obvious must-add for the short term.  Another big week, and you can sell him faster than a Courtney Cox sitcom about boning cougars.  Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy basketball action:

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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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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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Ahh, it’s good to be back. I feel like a bear coming out of hibernation. Except it’s the fall, not the spring. And I’m fatter, not thinner… Ok, it’s a terrible simile. Just shaking off the rust. But it appropriately illustrates what you should expect from the following cerebral voiding.

This is my bold predictions article, my writing equivalent to a Dubbya Bush “going with my gut!” moment. You want facts, stats, metrics? Keep walking, fella. This here piece is chock full of conjecture, fact-glossing best guesses, and shockingly basic deductive reasoning. Slim and JB are the fact finders, and, let’s face it, the guys whose advice you really should follow. BUT FORTUNE FAVOURS THE BOLD! And if nothing else, the following moves would certainly be considered bold. What I hope you take away from this, good reader, are reasons that I think a few players may be under valued, and therefore grabbed, or higher than they should be, and not reached for.

We’re wheeling and dealing here folks, no reasonable offer refused, so come on down to the lot, there’s a clown making balloon animals for the kids! Take a gander:

Please, blog, may I have some more?