Sorry Bargs, it’s not “Il Mago” you’re “Il Diva”.  After whining about playing time in Toronto saying he wanted to play somewhere warmer to the Italian media, the obvious answer is the tropical climate of New York City.  Il Diva disappeared in his final year in Toronto, playing under 30 minutes a game for the first time since 07-08.  His FG% fell to a career-second worse, the 3PT% second worst and tied a career-worst in rebounding.  After 35 games, they cut open his elbow and he cut his ties with the great country of Canadia (sp?).  Enter 2013-14 and Bargnani was coming off the bench, and Knicks fans were even booing him after one quarter.  Welcome to the Big Apple!  I saw some early Knicks action as well, and Bargnani looked as bad as Amar’e Stoudemire.  Hey-o!  But then Tyson Chandler went down with the broken leg, thrusting Il Diva into a starting role.  At that point, I put no stock in either Bargs or Amar’e, but Bargnani has been able to prove something to me: he needs big minutes to be able to do anything.  And it’s not a per/48 thing, it’s getting comfortable in the game.  Through this season, in the 5 games he’s under 30 minutes he’s shooting 48.8% for 10.2/1.4/0.4 with 0.8 threes a game.  And didn’t log a single block.  In 3 games over 30 minutes, he’s 53.8% 23/7.7/1.7 2.3 Blks and 2.7 threes a game.  Even at per/48 rates and taking into account the small sample, the disparity is shocking.  Since Chandler is out a good while healing up the broken leg and Amar’e is just a huge contract sitting on the bench, Bargnani is going to get huge minutes (almost always over 30) and continue this run.  “Let me play lots or else I stand around!”  Must own in all leagues, a statement I made last week and confirmed with another 24/4 line with three threes and a block last night.  Here’s what else I saw in last night’s action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Sooooo… Last night just happened.  It was the wildest night of fantasy hoops that I could ever remember.  Sure my memory isn’t exactly like Ken Jennings, but yea… Definitely going to break the “what the hey?!” record!  The Fantasy Basketball world just stood still.  It was just like the remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still.  Is that Keanu Reeves?  What is Jaden Smith doing here?  Wait, is this an actual plot?  There’s just too much crazy to care about these special effects!  There were like, a million three pointers last night.  Tony Wroten had a triple double.  Ok, who had Wroten in the triple-double pool?  I think if you had bet on that in Vegas you coulda turned a dollar into owning the state of Nevada.  18/10/11 while shooting 7-18.  A lot of Philly stats got boosted by the Rockets pace, and if you hadn’t heard yet, Michael Carter-Williams was a very late scratch with a sore foot.  What are they feeding these guards in Philly?  I think it’s obvious that to be a good NBA PG you must diet solely on cheesesteaks.  But enough meandering, let’s go straight into the nitty gritty, the CGI effects if you will, for the reason why you’re here:

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So the Pistons were looking like a playoff contending team with all their offseason acquisitions, but after a 2-1 record with the only loss a close one on the road to Memphis, the Pistons have dropped 4 straight to fall to 2-5.  Plus Memphis looks god awful after that looking like a “good” loss.  The Pistons aren’t very good.  Hire Jim Leyland!  The culmination of the four-game skid climaxed in an ugly 18- point loss to the Warriors last night that sent a few fantasy shockwaves down our fantasy spine.  First Josh Smith was benched before playing 19 minutes and shot 1-6 for 2 Pts and no boards.  That’s like a Robin Lopez line! He reportedly took some bad three-pointers.  Those familiar with Josh Smith are like, “aren’t they all bad three pointers coming from him?!”  Still think Smith will be fine and this could actually help him from killing your FG% on his off nights.  The biggest benefactor to the J Smoove benching was my boyfriend (!) Kentavious Caldwell-Pope getting 24 minutes and going 9/3/1 with a trey and two steals playing a small (literally) forward role at times.  Now I didn’t watch this game, so if he was matched up on Andre Iguodala who isn’t exactly a domineering 3, that makes sense.   Then to top off a terrible night for Pistons fans, Razzball commenter favorite Andre Drummond went down with an ankle injury, playing way too late in the game that was a blowout.  It was like a Booby Miles injury.  He walked off the court under his own power, but ankle injuries are like the fantasy grim reaper’s wheel of fortune.  Sometimes a terrible looking one turns into nothing, and sometimes you’re Tobias Harris.  Hell Tyson Chandler walked off the court with a broken leg!  You just never know… Keep your eye out for updates during the day.  Hey, at least Drummond put up 16/14/0/3/3 for ya!  Here’s what else I saw across the NBA last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

For some reason, the hype coming into this year was all about Andre Drummond and how he was gonna punk Greg Monroe and take all his boards and blocks and the such. These same people drafted Drummond in the same round as Monroe and in some cases even higher. They were Monroe haters, just like Mr. Rush on “Too Close For Comfort” and the Federalists.

But now those same peeps who slept on the big guy are flipping out in classic Ted Knight style.

Monroe has been a stud for Mo Cheeks, racking up almost 12 boards and 2 blocks per contest. He’s also scoring 16.3 ppg and hitting 54 percent of his shots. In his most recent game, against Oklahoma City on Friday, he compiled 15 boards and 3 blocks to go along with 20 points – a vintage big man stat line.

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In yet another bad turn for fantasy top-100 Cs, JaVale McGee joins the triage with Tyson Chandler as centers with broken legs.  However unlike Chandler with the impact fracture, McGee discovered a stress fracture in his tibia with the ominous “out indefinitely” declaration.  It’s a very tough break (ugh) for the Nuggets and fantasy owners hoping to see stat lines of 10/10/5  when the Nuggets were on the slate.  All joking aside, I hate seeing players get injuries and it’s my least favorite open in news recaps in any sport.  There are a select few that are funny (my favorite will always be Bartolo Colon trying to swing for the fences and throwing out his back, and I have little sympathy because he’s a roider), but I wish McGee a speedy recovery.  For fantasy, he’s droppable in virtually all leagues.  A tall guy with a stress fracture isn’t swell, plus he was only playing 16 minutes a game anyway.  J.J. Hickson and Tomfey Mozgov get immediate boosts in value, Mozgov is decent when he’s not getting posterized, but Hickson I think is the biggest takeaway and probably should be scooped up in most leagues if he’s not owned already.  He proved he can be valuable with starting minutes and is a quality big man.  Here’s some other headlines from over the weekend:

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Full disclosure: I’m getting killed in my first two weeks of Fantasy. The reason? I have 3 bench spots, filled by Wilson Chandler, Kobe Bryant and Tobias Harris. Am I dropping any of these guys? Nope. I’m cool, Daddio. Remember, good reader, that being down by a couple points early in the season will hurt, but dropping talented players for stop gaps can spell doom for your season. I’m betting smart money that these guys will kill it when they return, and were I to drop one or more, it leaves me to stream guys, gambling on good performances from players overachieving week-to-week. Dangerous.  But if you like to live on the edge, or you lost Tyson Chandler for 4-6, and are a man of action, not words, then take a look at these fine fantasy finds:

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Things were looking oh so good for the Colonel’s original recipe heading into the season.  I bought the whole bucket, the two sides and a giant big gulp of tea.  But Larry Sanders could very well be one of fantasy’s biggest disappointments in 2013-14, for reasons on and off the court.

Sanders signed a 4-year deal in the offseason worth a cool $44 million bucks (worth, about, a million buckets of chicken!), and the Bucks regime had big plans for their center.  GM John Hammond, while trying to keep his Jurassic Park island under control, said Sanders was the key to the team.  Hammond, you lost your keys!  Bucks are locked out… Then the season started with Sanders nearly fouling out in 12 minutes, and in three games hasn’t played more than 22 minutes, hit 2 FGs, or grabbed more than 4 boards.  I was on the buy low bandwagon faster than a short sell in Trading Places.  But after complaining about playing time, Sanders reportedly got into a bar fight Saturday night and effed up his thumb.  Stop giving him roids, Braun, we don’t need more roid rage in Milwaukee!  I wonder if he was getting hazed by Ersan Ilyasova like Richie Incognito.  “You must play better, now!” yells Ersan in a thick Turkish accident.  Hey, Ilyasova was a scratch last night too, Gus Ayonin’!  Anyway, Sanders is accused of breaking champagne bottles over peoples’ heads, and to top if off he then missed Monday’s game because his wife went into labor.  Sorry Larry Sanders Jr… I’m just sorry… Hopefully this version of The Larry Sanders Show ends anti-climatically with Sanders getting back on the court and giving fantasy owners something.  If you’ve got him, you have to be holding and hoping Sanders can settle down and have this blow over, before he’s looking back at his life and he’s Robert Swift.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops:

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As an ancient proverb goes – “I’d like to introduce you to an old friend and a new friend.”  Ok, so I made that up.  But it sounds good!

For an old friend I’ve mentioned a few times and pumped up in my last rankings update before the season started up, my boy Omri Casspi had another solid outing last night that probably was under the radar.  In 24 minutes, he went 7/8/5 with no turnovers, 2-4 from the field and 3-4 from the line.  He just looks awesome every time I see him play.  Did you know he was the first Israeli to play in the NBA?  He’s pretty much Chandler Parsons but with Chandler Parsons in his way.  After a ho-hum first two games, his past two have been fantastic – and this last one without hitting a three which is a big part of his game.  Not necessarily a must own in 12-teamers, but definitely worth a look, and needs to be grabbed in 14+.

Then my new friend – Gal Mekel on the Mavericks.  You’re like, “who the eff is Gal Mekel?  I thought this was NBA not WNBA!”  Mekel was signed to a three-year deal by the Mavs this offseason, and became the second Israeli to join the NBA.  Cut to Amar’e Stoudemire going, “Hey, I should count!”  With Shane Larkin dealing with an ankle injury, and no Devin Harris for a while, Mekel is getting full-on backup PG run and playing well doing it.  He got his 2nd 6 assist game last night going 9/4/6 and hitting a 3.  Sure some run was in junk time, but with the oft-injured Jose Calderon the only one ahead of him (hasn’t played in over 68 games since 2007), Mekel could find his way into starts.  Of course, now I’ve ruined my play on him in the REL League.  Let’s just hope no one in that league is reading!  Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy hoops:

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Are you not entertained?!

Chris Paul sure put on a show last night, dropping treys, lobbing alleys, fending off tigers chained up as obstacles.  You name it!  He torched the Warriors in the Clippers “home opener” (despite it being their second straight game in LA) for an unreal 42/4/15 and 6 steals.  Shot 12-20 from the field and won you FT% this week going 16-17 at the stripe.  Paul was so much like Russell Crowe.  In LA there’s even a “Coliseum” (ok maybe that’s a stretch)!  Games like this support Doc wanting to cover up the banners and jerseys.  Even when Kobe gets back, Paul has to be the best player in LA.  I said it before on Opening Night and reiterate below, but the acquisition of J.J. Redick does wonders for Paul in the Clippers spacing.  I said he’ll have double-digit assists almost every game.  I said he’d score 42 against the Warriors.  Dammit, OK so I didn’t say that second one.  Elite assists and steals are par for the course, and scoring like this in a few more games will have him the easy #3 fantasy player.  Here’s what else I saw in last night’s two NBA games:

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After re-ranking the top 10top 20, and top 50, it’s easy to see there’s been big changes since last May.  Below are the Razzball Updated Rankings with the previous May rankings in parentheses before the adjusted rank:

(68) ↑ 51. Derrick Favors – Utah declining to bring back either Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap gives you a slight inclination on their thoughts on Favors, and they’re already talking contract extension with their emerging big as well.  I love his athleticism, and if I miss out on Serge Ibaka who I’m high on early, I’m gonna want to reach on Favors to win blocks. I think he’ll be a top-5 NBA swatter.

(51) 52. Kemba Walker – Kemba has been higher on virtually every rankings I’ve seen, and I’m just not top-50 high on him.  He had a really solid season last year, but the terrible FG% still worries me as I feel like he forces some offense.  The acquisition of Big Al is going to give the Bobcats/soon-to-be Hornets an actual scorer down, and I don’t think that translates into helping Kemba all that much.  I like Gerald Henderson a lot too to take a bigger scoring role.  The 2.0 steals a game last year was elite, but I see those going down along with the scoring, and a comparable 5.7:2.4 Ast:TO ratio.  All that spells a slightly down ranking for me.  Although to be fair, he’s played in every single Bobcats game in his career, so there’s that reliability that can’t be ignored.

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