Well, so much for the prime time matchup last night!  Yesterday afternoon LeBron James‘ knee flared up, and after a mid-afternoon report that the Cavs weren’t worried but would be cautious, they ended up holding him out.  I think LeBron was mostly worried about another Serge Ibaka wrister.

How you can finish that play after breaking your nose…?!  Legit.  Anyway, for the Cavs it didn’t mean much to the Big Two, but somehow Tristan Thompson is playing his way into relevance again.  Yes, Slim and I’s oft-discussed, Pts/Reb only Tristan Thompson – except these days he’s hitting some other cats!  14/13/1/0/2 last night, shooting 4-8 FG and 6-8 FT in 30 minutes.  He’s finally making shots at an acceptable rate this year, with his FG% at 53.6% before last night and got the blocks back up to nearly 1 a game after being at 0.4 last year in almost 6 more minutes per.  The big catalyst here is getting back that big run with the second unit.  After only topping 30 minutes one time through the first 14 games, is over 30 four of the past seven culminating in dubdubs three of the past four.  I’m frankly surprised he’s owned in 38% of Yahoo leagues already, but for the streamers/DraftKings players out there, LeBron might sit one more and assure another big workload for TT.  I don’t think he plays this much long-term, but you can get some big man stats on the cheap.  It’s no conundrum!  Here’s what else went down in the two games last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I imagine even some Knicks fans were chanting that!

In what ended up being a nailbitier for the Cavs in MSG, Kyrie Irving was unstoppable shooting 12-18 FG (3-6 3PTM 10-11 FT).  Heat check!  Just don’t say that about LeBron when he’s hot… Uncle Drew making NY Blue!  Gave him 37 big ones for a 37/3/2/2/0 with LeBron James assuming the point-forward role racking up a diming with 12 assists.  Freaky Friday!  Well I guess it’s Freaky Thursday, but I like the idea of Kyrie Irving as an angsty teenager in kinda a goth phase…  But while he just “doesn’t connect” with Jamie Lee Curtis, he’s been one of fantasy’s biggest surprises this year.  As mentioned on the Pod yestderday by our guest Justin Phan, for Kyrie to be averaging MORE points a game from last year with the Cavs big three now amassed, it’s amazeballs.  Coming into last night’s game, Kyrie was 5th in per game value and 6th in total value according to the BB Monster metrics, and probably passes Damian Lillard for 5th in total value after this bigun.  While the assists have understandably fallen from 6.1 last year to under 5 thus far in 14-15, I don’t really think there’s anything unsustainable.  Maybe shooting over 48% and over 42% from deep fall a wee bit, but with Lebron and Kevin Love out there, I do see him having career-highs in both.  And the big kicker – TO were at 1.7 last night and will remain well under 2.0 a game even with 3 against the Knicks.  Plus that great FT volume… and baby you got a stew goin’!  I feel like I’ve revelled at every single one of Kyrie’s stats… So go get him if you can!  Drafted in the late 2nd/early 3rd in most drafts, if you can only spend 2nd round value to bring in Uncle Drew, it’ll make you party it up on Championship Sunday of your H2H final like Drunk Uncle!  Here’s what else went down in the three games last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Kinda sounds like a porn name, doesn’t it?

After a day of giving thanks, fantasy owners got a huge boost while scarfing microwaved plates of Thanksgiving leftovers with Russell Westbrook healing up and putting on a historic comeback off the broken hand.  Is this guy’s bones made of Adamantium or what?!  Señor Westback seems to beat his timetable every injury the past few years, which I don’t know if it’s really a good or bad thing… Can heal fast, but is gettin’ hurt a lot!  Reckless Russell.  The made-for-TV Skinimax sequel to Wreck-It Ralph starring Russell Westback.  I’d watch that!  Although they’re apparently making a Wreck-It Ralph 2, which I hope embraces some Grand Theft Auto elements.  Would make sense to star Russell Westback!  Rated R, sorry kids…  It’s like confusing them with Death to Smoochy having a purple dinosaur.  Anyway, Westbrook absolutely torched the Knicks last Friday night in his return for 32/7/8 hitting 12-17 shots and notching three treys.  Twas the first 32 Pts 8 Ast game in 24 minutes or less in the shot-clock era.  It was like stealing the car, then running over the driver trying to sprint away for good measure.  Even though it’s “just” his hand, got a huge layoff from that game until facing the Pelicans tomorrow.  Plenty of time to catch up on his turkey leftovers, and refuel to give fantasy owners that first-round production for the bulk of the season ahead.  So drop the confetti, and welcome Westback!  But let’s hope it’s a little less Reckless, and we’ll take 25/5/5 every 24 minutes without any issues… Here’s what else went on around the league since we’ve been off from Thanksgiving:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

A popular sleeper on draft day (well, made more popular by us!), Markieff Morris had been driving fantasy owners crazier than Joaquin Phoenix in The Master.

Through the first 10 games, Markieff had numbers eerily identical to what he did last year despite four more MPG.  His engine is on hybrid!  But for as atrocious as his previous 4 games were, broke out in a big way against the Celtics for 30/7/5/4/0 hitting 14-21 shots including a trey.  And only 1 TO!  Career-high scoring for Kieff, after four games in a row under 12 and three of those scoring single-digits.  “I found the beef, it’s Jeff Green‘s terrible D!”  While my Kieff teams are loaded with swagger after this big Monday, there is something slightly concerning with his stats.  Only 1-1 FT last night, and now is under half as many FT makes a game compared to last year, in nearly 5 more minutes a game (playing 39 bumped up his minutes finally!).  In 13-14, Kieff-er Sutherland was at 3.2-4.0 at the charity stripe, but is suddenly more like Donald Sutherland and not attacking the cup.  Less driving means fewer OREB (down from last year sinking his REB per-36), and his dimes have fallen a smidge as well.  None of these stats are major, but it seems he’s not creating and the Suns G-rotation is handling all the rock.  Another week of big stats with weak FT numbers and low-ish dimes – on top of Hornacek’s tendency to roll the hot hand, even the starters – and I’d actually sell high.  The steals and handful of blocks are nice, but not loving the lack of aggression and new role as more a spot-shooter, which could make him benchable to Horny a lot of games if he’s cold, something we’ve already seen a little of with the waffley minutes.  Where’s the beef?!  Let’s hope not in the waffles, but ya never know, that could be good!  Fried chicken n waffles is out of this world.  Here’s what else happened on an unusually busy Monday night of action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

You might as well set up a Civil War style triage on the Thunder bench, because somebody has the team set of Thunder voodoo dolls and isn’t wasting any time!  Adding to this virtually unprecedented injury wave to hit an NBA team through only week one of the season, Perry Jones knocked knees for the second game in a row; this time in a ton of pain and had to exit.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so check out the Thunder depth chart on Rotoworld, where the red S means sidelined:

Oklahoma City Thunder Depth Chart

Oklahoma City Red S-es!  And while a “knee contusion” usually wouldn’t worry me too much, George Hill had the same deal and he’s going to be out until late-November is sounds…

On the plus side, Serge Ibaka is absolutely en fuego out there.  25/11/2/0/1 and forced to take contested jumpers the whole night, but hit 11-14 including three treys.  And played 46 minutes out of desperation!  The blocks will come, so if you got Serge late round 1 (like we had him) or round 2, you’ve got something of your own surging in your pants.

On the negative side, Reggie Jackson is playing with some ill-advised reckless abandon.  I mean, give the kid some props for playing through numerous injuries last night, but he ended up with his butt on the hardwood more often then Paris Hilton.  Had a fantastic slash of 13/4/14 but hurt his wrist limiting him to 4-14 FG (0-6 3PTM).  Plus the ankle still looks gimpy.  I know the upside is immense the next month, but I might try to sell RJax high after watching this game.  It was like watching Denard Robinson at Michigan.  I’m not a huge college football fan, but my dad went there and I watch parts of most games, and Shoelace is still the most dynamic player I’ve ever seen in Maize & Blue.  But he seemed to leave early almost every game, getting battered and beaten up.

The Thunder need to do everything and anything to get healthy, with three straight off days until Friday.  My recommendations include – every player eating a live octopus chasing it with raw eggs, hiring the Wolverine (Jackman, not Denard) for some mutant healing blood, and calling Mrs. Cleo to figure out which guy will be hurt on Friday and benching him.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

One of me and JB’s favorite forms of philanthropy is the celebrity car wash.  Obviously we aren’t going to fool anyone into thinking we’re famous without a bit of a makeover.  To achieve that ‘celebrity look’ all you have to do is rent a minivan old enough to still have a tape deck, hire a dozen or so hourly day laborers, and borrow your parents/grandparents circa 1980s shoulder mounted video camera.  Now just find a Walmart parking lot with access to water and you have almost everything you need.  I say almost because you still need to stick out from your newly created entourage.  A pair of henna sleeves representing as many religions as possible and as much costume jewelry as weight you can squat is all you will need to complete the look.  Once you’re set up with everything you need to start the car wash borrow a cassette tape from one of your laborers, swing those double rear doors open, and crank it up to 11.  Just don’t forget to make sure your documentarian is recording it all.

We don’t do it for charity per se but I’m sure what we do is still called philanthropy.  You see we don’t charge money either.  We do it for the sheer pleasure our performances gives others.  Although, we still don’t do it just for them.  I know it’s the same for JB even though he doesn’t really talk about it, but I can surely say for me that once the soaps are sudsin’, the water gets flowing, and I’m dancing to the plucking of guitar strings in nothing but my pink string bikini – I feel alive!  So what if my skin turns red from the sun, green from the ‘gold’, and brown from the ‘ink’, the joy, at least I think that’s joy, we see on the faces of an entire car load of Smiths can’t be washed off in a week either.

In fantasy basketball this amount of joy can only be achieved by guessing right on a rookie and being rewarded with an all-star.  The two top rookies this year are unquestionably Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker.  Both are as talented as they come and both should receive plenty of fantasy relevant playing time immediately.  You want one, I want one, everyone else we’re drafting with wants one.  Before I decide if that’s going to be me I need to figure out what kind of player they are, or in a dynasty what kind of player they could become.  So I give to you Wiggins v Parker, in all its hip-shaking, beard-drenched glory:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Razzball Nation!  You’ve seen a dime a dozen… And no I’m not talking about lady parts or buttcheeks on Game of Thrones…. But mock 2014 NBA Drafts!  And since Game of Thrones is the hottest thing on TV, Slim and I decided to join the fray.  Let’s pretend he’s built like Drogo, the facial hair is fa rizz folks,  and I back-and-forth with him like whatever the hell that giant was north of the wall.  But not like that!  Wait, this just got way off track…

What we did differently is alternate picks to adjust our thoughts and expectations accordingly.  Slim thinks Embiid to the Cavs, I think it’s Wiggins, many others think Parker… We then have to make new thoughts as we go, and track players falling to get them to their upcoming destinations.  We both go into why we made that pick for the team, and a quick blurb on their fantasy impact on said destination should it come to fruition.  Here’s how we see the 2014 NBA Draft’s First Round going down:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

…And we’re here!  Finally wrapping up a recap of the top 100 and how much I hated Andre Drummond coming into the year.  It’s not my fault!  He still can’t hit free throws!  Aherm, cough, I think I’m going to miss today’s class with the flu.

So far, and I’m not just saying this for my ego, I think I did the Nation better than I expected.  Sure there were swing-and-misses – I’m not Biff from Back to the Future Part II!  But it’s been a great learning experience recapping my ranks, and our loyal, bearded Slim comes in with his grades.  Rankings are based on my final updated top 200, comparing them to the FantasyPros aggregate Draft Day Rankings along with Basketball Monster’s Total Value for 9-cat leagues on the season.  Slim then recaps JB’s best ranks in the 101-200 range and worst.  Giannis Antetokounmpo for MVP!  To keep it unbiased, Slim picked the best 4 and worst 4, so we’ll have to see who he goes with… Here’s a look back at the Top 100 for the 2013-14 Fantasy Basketball Season:

Please, blog, may I have some more?