As we prepare for the 2016-17 Fantasy Basketball Season, I’ll be taking a look at each NBA team with their major adds and drops to see if we can pan for any surprise rotational gold. This open is especially witty for the Nuggets. We’ll be counting down from worst NBA regular season to the best, mainly because I’m still figuring out how to rank the Warriors…

Minnesota Timberwolves (29-53)

Wolves

Key Acquisitions:

G Kris Dunn (Rookie)

C Cole Aldrich

F/C Jordan Hill

G/F Brandon Rush

COACH TIBBY TIBS!

Key Losses:

G Kevin Martin

G Andre Miller

Mayyyyybe Kevin Garnett, which would dramatically drop their average age…

Wow, this is going to be one of the most similar looking teams from last year to this season, with their only overhaul at the head coaching position. And yet, I think they’re going to be a popular sleeper playoff pick after finishing 5th worst in the NBA last year.

The Wolves will presumably roll out the same starting 5 that ended 15-16, and it’s a mad fun team. Rubio with the passes, LaVine with dunks, KAT with the post game, Wiggins with the isos, Dieng with the D, lions and tigers and bears, OH MY! And they add into the fold another combo guard who easily looks ready for the NBA, not to mention the Summer League MVP. Plus some underrated vet backups to get this young crew through their run at making the playoffs. Here’s how their roster is shaping up:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Been a bad start to the year for NBA coaches.

David Blatt could have realized that all he had to do was get out of the way and let LeBron James coach. But I’m pretty sure the clock was running on his tenure in Cleveland the second he was hired.

Jeff Hornacek could have figured out how to turn Archie Goodwin into “Teen Wolf,” or mastered whatever weird magic/religion that fire woman from “Game of Thrones” practices. Not sure either one of those tricks would have turned an injury-ravaged Suns team into a playoff squad.

Somehow, without doing anything close to the above, and racking up a record of 14-35 with a talented but raw roster, Sam Mitchell has managed to keep his job.

And thanks to injuries to Kevin Garnett (wink, wink) and Nikola Pekovic (big shocker), he might actually be forced into doing something right. Mitchell is now playing his best young players, a group that so obviously includes Gorgui Dieng.

After riding the pine all year so Garnett and Tayshaun Prince could log minutes in meaningless games, Dieng finally has the starting slot and minutes (close to 40 per) that he deserves.

He’s responded by averaging 17.6 ppg and 11.3 rpg in those three starts. All Mitchell could do was mutter that he’s “getting a lot better.” No, he’s playing a lot better, because you’re playing him!

Win or lose, the Wolves have to keep running Dieng out there with Karl-Anthony Towns and make it work. Or Sam might go the way of Blatt and Hornacek.

Get Dieng, any way you can, and check out some of these other guys:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As many of you already know (or as my avatar may suggest), I’m a Canadian so I don’t really have a dog in the 2016 United States Presidential fight. I do, however, live close to the border and have enjoyed traveling throughout the United States (including the entire northeast, Florida, California, Colorado, Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands) with my wife over the better part of the last ten years. So I have a keen interest in American politics as it indirectly impacts “my world.”

That leads me to my admission – I watched President Barack Obama’s eighth and final State of the Union address last night (and the subsequent analysis & reaction) instead of basketball. There was basketball to be watched up here, I just chose not to. But it gave me some perspective – it reminded me that a common sense approach to the big picture issues is never as simple as it should be, and that holds true in the NBA as well. Examples from some of the 16 teams in action on Tuesday alone:

  • The Timberwolves have a wealth of young talent to cultivate and yet they start Kevin Garnett & Tayshaun Prince?
  • The Suns have a cancerous presence in their locker room (Markieff Morris) and they can’t decide what to do about it – they give him multiple healthy DNPs in a row, and then they unleash him for 27 minutes, taking opportunity from someone like Jon Leuer (17 minutes) who could actually be a part of their future plans.
  • The Celtics and Knicks – both of whom are in the Eastern Conference playoff hunt – continue to run heavier-than-necessary rotations rather than identifying the best court combinations and maximizing their efficiency and output.
  • The Rockets have an extremely fragile, high-salaried starting center (Dwight Howard) who is prone to usage-related injuries and they run him for 38 minutes when they have a number of other very capable young frontcourt players to ease the burden.
  • The Bulls appear to embrace their future for a moment by giving a solid rotation spot to Bobby Portis, only to yank it out from under him (he played 4 minutes on Tuesday) once they’re back to full health.
  • The Pelicans offer center Omer Asik a massive contract in the offseason and even when he’s playing well (13 rebounds, a steal and a block, team-high +7 net rating), and they’re absent their best frontcourt player, he can’t get minutes (18).

Essentially what I’m saying is that there are a lot of things we, as fantasy owners, think should happen by any measure of common sense, but just don’t because of a number of factors beyond our control. We can go data mining until the cows come home and have an open & shut case to make why Player X deserves more minutes/opportunity, but it doesn’t matter. We can only do so much. There will always be someone on the other side who impacts that situation and we just have to make the best of it. Thankfully, the NBA has a long season and, unlike football, one or two bad weeks won’t spell doom for your campaign. I love that we get 82 games to try and figure out what the heck is going on. We’ll never be right 100% of the time, no matter that the stats or common sense says we maybe could be, but it sure doesn’t stop us from trying…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

After making history this weekend with arguably the best Halloween costume from an NBA player of all time, LeBron James made his way into the NBA record books becoming the youngest player to score 25,000 career points. Despite the record-breaking basket coming against the hapless Philadelphia 76ers, the feat nonetheless is one of the most impressive in recent memory. With all the scrutiny surrounding the potential decline of the Artist Formerly Known as King James, tonight’s performance was an instant reminder of how effectively he can impact the game not only on the hardwood, but the fantasy box score as well.

Registering 22 points, 11 assists, 9 rebounds, 4 steals, and 2 blocks on 9-19 shooting, James had his most well-rounded performance of the season. Moving forward, James should begin to impact other areas of the box score (assists, rebounds, steals, and FG percentage) as the Cavs offense clicks.

As the Cavs begin to realize the full potential of their All-Pro floor spacer in Kevin Love, James ability to facilitate and control the pace of the game will open up his true fantasy potential. Pencil him in for at least 20 points, 8 boards, and 6 assists on .500+ shooting. All hail the King.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

History has its fair share of dynamic duos, whose split left one basking in overwhelming success and the other flying off into oblivion.

Simon and Garfunkel. Bret “The Hitman” Hart and Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart. Richard Gere and the gerbil.

When it comes to famous big man pairs, it’s just as tough to predict how things are going to shake out. Tim Duncan did pretty OK after David Robinson retired. Ralph Sampson after he was separated from Hakeem Olajuwon? Not so much. When the Rockets split up the original “Twin Towers” during the 1987-1988 season, “The Dream” went on to win a couple titles while Sampson – instead of becoming the best pro ever, as predicted – went on to a life on the end of the benches in Oakland and Sacramento. At the time, this was not a good thing.

This past offseason, Detroit decided one big dude was plenty, so they kept Andre Drummond and let Greg Monroe sign with the Bucks.

For now, we can gawk at the big brains (and big shiny dome) on Greg Bower and say the Pistons made a wise choice.

(editor’s note – Daily Notes will be out later this morning!)

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Wow, big upset last night as the Pistons beat the Gizz 105-95.  I had “Grizz” typoed but laughed too hard to fix it…

And leading the way in running the Gizz out of Detroit was Reggie Jackson‘s Goromotaro!  Well, not really, 20/20 in Pts/Dimes doesn’t have an official Razzball name…  20 dimes is a double dimebag though!  Wait, no one gets those, it goes up to a quarter…  Can’t really complain that R-Jax didn’t get to 25 assists, but yeah, focus JB!  I wonder what could’ve flared up my ADD!

With my boyfriend Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hitting so many shots (not doing much else though in a 24/0/1/0/0 line), making 10-16 FG and scoring 16 Pts in the 3rd quarter, R-Jax piled up a ton of dimes on jumpers.  In the 3rd alone he had 6 dimes on 20+ foot FGM – 4 to KCP.  Helps when your fellow shooters are hot!  Just ask Stephen Curry how his season is going…  R-Jax has certainly had his ups and downs, and didn’t even have a single assist against the Jazz on Saturday!  I wanna say it was all due to Rudy Gobert, but if he was D-ing up R-Jax then Dante Exum would be on Andre Drummond!  I’m not depending on high-volume dimes here on out, but when R-Jax is in his lows, remember he was a pickup for a lot of his owners. So just thank your lucky stars for last night and enjoy the wave without putting the R-Jax on the pedestal, the underlining message from The 40-Year-Old Virgin.  Or else you let the Gizz win!  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“Hey JB G.”

I feel like I’ve played this song and dance all year.  “I love KCP!”  “KCP is dead to me!”  “He’s a usable ThrAGNOF!”  “He’s worse than month-old stroganoff!”  And on and on and on like a never clean addict.  “Why can’t I quit you?!”

In what was a great game until the 4th quarter, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had maybe one of his best games as a pro.  It didn’t show up in any glaring numbers on the stat sheet, but this new backcourt with Reggie Jackson is mad fun.  KCP for 21/2/1/2/0 hitting 7-13 FG (5-7 3PTM) including two ridiculous threes in transition.  Both would’ve been near-cringeworthy if he missed them!  Lead the break in unfavorable numbers (more or less was just KCP vs. 2 or 3 defenders) and pulled up leaning forward burying them both.  Then in back-to-back plays, knocked the ball of LeBron James‘ leg for a TO then drew a charge, both in transition where LeBron is his best.  Just the overall confidence and swagger was there that I haven’t always seen.  Then again, I am always biased due to the addiction!  I was brushing my teeth with my finger and hopping around like a madman this whole game…  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Man, what an exciting trade deadline!  Thanks for checking out our Trade Deadline Live Post, where you can read about all the trades that went down yesterday

And off the emotional roller coaster of those deadline deals, the NBA is finally back after a week away.  I certainly need to consult my physician since it’s definitely lasting more than 4 hours…  Especially after seeing Serge Ibaka pull a Goro right out of the 2nd-half gate!  Twas an empty big man line, but 21/22/0/0/0 is a nice way to start a shortened week!  Hit 8-12 from the field and 5-6 FT which twill get it done.  Serge didn’t take a trey, and while he hit a few jumpers, look how much closer to the hoop his shot chart was:

Serge Ibaka Shot Chart

With Enes Kanter on his way to OKC to bring his own brand of mid-rangeness, I think Ibaka can look forward to a nice boost in FG%.  Sure it may cost him a trey here and there, but Serge should still seek shots from the seashore.  And while Kanter had his share of nice rebounding games with the Jazz, putting him out there for his mid-range O is going to help Serge’s post presence.  I really like the move for Ibaka’s value.  Here’s what else went down last night in our return to NBA action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

[We’ve got the Trade Deadline Podcast up!  Slim and I react to all this hooblah as this post continues to be updated – you can find the Pod the post below this one as well as that link.]

Razzball Nation!

The Trade Deadline is nigh, which is to say, soon.  Can I trade the start of this open with a different one…?  “Did you hear the one about how the Hawks got nothing for the broke ass of Josh Smith last trade deadline?!”  Imagine the Hawks with a lottery pick as well…  I guess as fortune-tellers, they knew they didn’t need anything for Smoove!

The 2015 NBA Trade Deadline will pass at 3:00 PM EST, and up until the closing moments, I’ll be updating this post as each trade moves across my virtual news desk.  Fantasy spins galore!  That’s the younger sister of Pussy Galore…  So be sure to constantly ping that refresh like Goldfinger on Kitco!  Here’s what’s gone down so far:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

What is going on out there?!  Stupid Northern teams…  I can’t remember Toronto ever canceling games because of snow!

Both Portland at Brooklyn and Sacramento at New York ended up getting postponed as this foreign concept of “snow” began “falling” from the sky.  These New Yorkers have no idea what goes on outside of their bubble!  Damn, we got snow, we got fires canceling games like in Mexico City last year…  Game of Basketball: A Song of Ice and Fire.  Well, of course there’s the game missed from all those players, but the blizzard that’s rolling in could cause another postponed game or two.  Basketball all the sudden is as dependent on weather as those “other” sports…  Once all of the inclement weather has blown over and all the games that need to be cancelled have been nixed, then we’ve got the big variable – rescheduling.  And for H2H leagues, that could mean some big changes to the H2H playoff schedule.  We already know Kings/Nets will be March 3rd, but Blazers/Nets will be April 6th, the first Monday of week 24 if your playoffs go that deep.  Somehow both were scheduled right before and after the standard H2H playoffs!  NBA schedule makers are fantasy players…  But any further reschedules could become impactful if they happen March 16-April 5 (weeks 21-23).  It will throw Slim’s incredibly awesome playoff breakdown for a loop!  Seriously though, that shizz is gold…  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?