Who is the hottest team in the NBA right now?  The Pacers are surprisingly playing well and OKC is still winning through injuries, but those Utah Jazz are as tough to score on as the bookish chicks in college!

5-1 since the trade deadline, the Jazz have wins against Portland, San Antonio and now Memphis in that span (their loss was against the Lakers, but we’ll overlook that), and other than that fluke Lakers game, no one has scored over 82 points.  And we all know the key to the Jazz D is Rudy Gobert.  Moving into the starting line-up, Gobert has been playing unreal with a 15/24/1/0/0 line last night on 6-10 FG and 3-4 FT.  He was on a 6-game streak of 3+ blocks, so a random outlier of 0 last night isn’t a biggie especially since Marc Gasol loves his mid-range.

I’ve seen a few comments of owners looking to trade for FG% and a big man boost, and I would be all-in on trying to bring Rudy to those squads.  Even his FT% is improving at 11-15 from the stripe the past 3!  And the Jazz have that oh so saucy 4/4/4 playoff sched.  Yesterday on the Podcast, I asked Slim if he would take Gobert or Hassan Whiteside first in next year’s drafts.  It’s really really close and comes down to a points need (Whiteside) vs. steals need (Gobert).  It’s crazy that probably the biggest value change during the deadline was just the stubborn Jazz finally unleashing the beast that is Gobert.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s always nice to see the deep league guys you love turn into Mr. Planters and go nuts!

After 22 minutes, many of which trying to play through it, Jimmy Butler finally waved the white flag and checked out with a shoulder injury.  He first hurt it last Sunday, and that black tape stuff (that I still don’t completely understand how it works) didn’t keep Buckets’ shoulder together.  Maybe the black tape is more a statement.  Like, “Yeah brah, I got a jacked up shoulder but I’m still gonna go ham!”  Either way, it opened up some huge run for Tony Snell, playing 41 minutes.  And they were 41 heat check minutes!  Made his first 6 from the field including 4 treys, ending up with a career-high 24 points in a 9-11 FG (4-6 3PTM 2-2 FT) 24/2/2/1/0 line with no TO.  Snell going full Mr. Planters!  Even with Mike Dunleavy returning after nearly a month-and-a-half off, you can’t suppress the sense of Snell!  I keed of course, this is an anomaly type of game, but Butler could easily get tomorrow night off against the Cavs to rest that shoulder through the ASB making Snell a very interesting end-of-the-short-week streamer (only the one game Thursday night).  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy NBA action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

From the depth of 90s video games, crossed with the beastly rancor of Joakim Noah (can you use rancor as an adjective?  is that even the right part of speech?!), it’s the Goromotaro!  An epic performance of 20/20 needed a name, but ever since Joakim pulled off a few back in the day, he hasn’t scored 20 points in like… a million years.  Hasn’t yet this year!  Shocking he’s scored double digits in only 2 of the past 19… But I digress…

The way things have looked the past month, Goromotaro might need a name or image change to feature Hassan Whiteside!  Dude is hitting the glass harder than Cheech at a bong-only party.  24/20/0/3/2 last night for his first career Goro.  Not that he hasn’t been close!  Had a 23/16 and a 16/24 in there.  Unreal!  There’s only been 23 20+ board games this year, and Whiteside is two of them and has only 8 starts!  Whiteside has the 7th Goro this year (the others belonging to Kenneth Faried, Zach Randolph, DeAndre Jordan, Andre Drummond, Pau Gasol and… you ready for this…?  Jason Thompson!), and as good as those guys are (well, minus Thompson), I’d put good money on Whiteside being the first with multiple.  He’s also 73% from the stripe his past 13 games!  Getting a little unreal out there, and the 4 TO last night were very fluky – especially one on an inbounding violation that was totally Norris Cole‘s fault.  Cole tried handing it back to Whiteside after he tossed it in during an odd, weird lack of awareness that cost the Heat the game!  I’m pretty sure it was a play ran to perfection from the Larry Drew playbook…  Here’s what else went down last night across the NBA:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Man, the question posed in the title there is a real toughie…  I need to make a pros and cons list.  I mean, more like a pros and D-league list…

First to last night – how can you call a throw right there?!  Is Brad Stevens calling plays for the Seahawks all the sudden?!  Ugh, enough football, but we’ll tie one more NFL reference here in the open if we can…

The Cavs went into Minnesota on Saturday night, and Kevin Love‘s return to Minnesota wasn’t exactly a metaphorical hug.  I love the random ginger at 0:55…  He has no idea what to do!  He’s like, “boo!” wait, I mean, maybe I should clap?  It’s like the end of Air Bud where both the creepy pedophile looking dude and the annoying kid try to call for the emotionally conflicted dog.  Anyway, Cleveland got to see both of their #1 picks from the last two years, and spoiler alert!  Andrew Wiggins did better.  A cool 31/1/1/4/0 on 14-25 shooting and absolutely no issues with Kevin Martin back in the line-up.  And still no Ricky Rubio, who is back tonight! All of Wiggins’ damage done with recent-signee Lorenzo Brown playing all 48.  Meanwhile, Cleveland’s “other” former #1 pick Anthony Bennett played 13 minutes of nothingball.  0/1/1/0/0, and as we mentioned on the Pod with Andy Behrens the other week, Draymond Green went in the second round of that draft!  Hopefully Kevin Costner had nothing to do with this Cleveland team’s Draft Day.  That movie bombed harder than the Manziel pick!  Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy basketball action:

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Well, yet another example of why a starting nod doesn’t equate to production, even for seemingly good players…

The Bulls got embarrassed last night in LA, with Nikola Mirotic getting the start at SF.  It was disastrous before, and twas disastrous again!  Only got 12 minutes and did nothing other than get a steal and a turnover, and it looks like old Tibs wasn’t too happy.  The ghost of Carlos Boozer shoved Mirotic around on a layup and he just isn’t a good defender – why we saw another healthy dose of Tony Snell.  Even in a 2OT game, Tibs didn’t let Mirotic off the bench!  Went small instead with Kirk Hinrich and Aaron Brooks picking up more PT late and in the OTs.  And ultimate insult to injury – the Bulls still lost.  But it was really Derrick Rose‘s fault as he continues to lay brickhouses on top of batches and batches of turnovers.  He’s like a Martha Stewart version of The Big Bad Wolf!  And the Bulls should’ve pulled this one out since the Lakers continually refuse to play their best player…  Tarik Black!  Outrageous!  Egregious!  Opprobrious!  (thank you Thesaurus)  Black is an MVP waiting to happen…  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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So, I don’t know how old you guys are, obviously, but I’m at the age where I have “lost youth’ moments. Most recently, I was at the local TargWalmar-conglomerate, and happened to see some of my favourite hip hop acts in the bargain CD bin. Ice-T’s “Power” album for $2? Big Daddy Kane, Eric B and Rakeem, tossed away like so much trash? My blood began to boil, but then I remembered that my doctor told me to watch my angina (don’t worry, I have pills for that), so I shuffled off to the suspender aisle to find my zen. But there is a lesson to be gleaned from this experience, beyond me cantankering about the youth today, and that is: you can find gold in the bargain bin, if you know what to look for.

Remember, the NBA trade deadline is fast approaching, and that fact should remind you to be aware when your fantasy trade deadline is, if you don’t already know. It’s always difficult to slow-play, counter, or reject a trade if you have 48 hours to pull something off, and it puts more pressure on both you and your trading partner. I know this isn’t any great revelation, but it happens every year, some dude in the league sends out an email after the deadline complaining that he/she (he/she?…  even I’m not taking the obvious joke there) wasn’t aware, and should be allowed to make one last trade. Don’t be that he/she! What you can do right now, is try and start building the big trade, if you’re in contention. If you’re not (and in a keeper), analyze your team, and start trading assets for picks before the guy in second last does it before you. The third thing to do is pay close attention to the waiver wire gets, as they will be all that’s left in that post-trade apocalyptic wasteland. Guys rise and fall, due to injury and the subsequent opportunity, and you need to be aware of those streamers who can fill those voids. Keep your eye on the following bargains and fool’s gold:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ya know, the Lakers deserved to lose like that last night.  After building a solid lead against the Wizards, the Purp and Gold collapsed yet again…  And they didn’t play my boy or fan-favorite Tarik Black!  I find this an atrocity…  Gonna be about 30 straight losses at this rate!

But as much as I want to rant about Black, that would be a pretty weak open… So the next best ranty Lakers subject has to be Wayne Ellington‘s crazy game, putting up a 28/3/3/3/0 line on 12-20 FG (3-9 3PTM 1-1 FT).  Sell if you can!  No Nick Young last night as he’s dealing with a minor ankle injury from practice on top of being in the doghouse.  Swaggy Peed on the carpet!  We all know Swaggy never touched a basketball he didn’t think he could shoot, and that will sap into Ellington’s future upside.  I could see some interesting buzziness floating around Wayne given Kobe Bryant‘s shoulder fell off, so if any deeper league owners are interested and you can get a value, I’m down like Byron Scott a clown.  That said, he’s out there in a ton of league fa free (9% owned last night when I grabbed him in an RCL), so maybe you get a couple hot games before you Sellington.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Little was known about the severity of LaMarcus Aldridge’s thumb injury when he missed Wednesday’s game. I was texting with Razzball’s own JB about the Blazers and JB voiced his concern that Aldridge would “be out a while.” After undergoing another MRI on Thursday, the Trail Blazers announced that Aldridge would be out 6-8 weeks with a torn ligament in his left thumb.

Is JB some sort of psychic? As his college roommate, I can neither confirm nor deny that, but what I do know is that owners will be hard pressed to replace Aldridge in their lineups. He was averaging 23.2 ppg, 10.2 rpg, and 1.2 bpg. Those are some pretty huge shoes to fill.

The Blazers are already shallow in the frontcourt, since Robin Lopez and Joel Freeland are also ailing. As a result, they will use Dorell Wright and Thomas Robinson more at the four. Wright started Wednesday against the Suns (15 points, 5 assists, 3 threes), but then Robinson started Thursday’s game against the Celtics (9 points, 12 rebounds, 2 blocks). It’s unclear who will start or if coach Terry Stotts will play matchups. Unless someone gets the majority of minutes, Wright and Robinson will eat into each other’s playing time, limiting their fantasy appeal.

To make matters worse, Nicolas Batum left early in the third quarter with a wrist injury. An upcoming MRI this weekend will reveal more information, but this could be even more devastating to the Blazers.

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I know, I know.  Much bigger headlines on the injury front, but it’s Injury Friday with Pete’s Fantasy Basketball Infirmary coming out in a few hours, so I’m not gonna steal his spotlight!

With LaMarcus Aldridge out 6-8 weeks with a hitchhiking injury, on top of Robin Lopez still a few weeks out, there’s a ton of PF/C minutes to fill your Blazing hole.  After Dorell Wright had a very solid 15/3/5/2/0 line with three treys on Wednesday, it kinda felt like Wright could’ve run away with the gig.  But Stotts was like “I want someone else with Ciroc!” and put Thomas Robinson in the PF spot for 28 minutes last night.  Almost rainbowed too!  I’ve always thought T-Rob could turn into something, and 9/12/1/2/2 was mighty solid.  Can’t hit a FT, but who can these days?!  By tomorrow night, Stotts could pound a few more Jamesons and be like “F it, we’ve lost two in a row, it’s Meyers Leonard time!”  All that said, Nicolas Batum also hopped into the Fantasy Basketball Infirmary leaving early with a wrist injury, so maybe Wright will HAVE to play some starting F.  Stotts will take another 5-6 shots of, I dunno, something so low shelf it’s ridiculous – let’s go Popov – to get over last night’s crushing loss and start Steve Blake at PF tomorrow night.  At pressers tomorrow he’s going to be lit like Drunk Uncle!  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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Hope everyone is having a happy holiday season. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, Christmas has always a great day for basketball fans. We got a great slate of games, including some pretty amazing performances from John Wall, Russell Westbrook, and Dwayne Wade. We even got to see the Knicks’ teammates come to Qunicy Acy’s aid for a fight with John Wall.

Unfortunately, a few stars were missing from the Christmas games. The Thunder beat the Spurs in San Antonio, despite having superstar Kevin Durant on the sideline. He missed his fourth game in a row due to an ankle sprain. Durant was quoted as saying, “I can’t play basketball. I can’t run. I can’t jump. I’m not just sitting out just because. If I could play I would play. But I can’t play.”

Based on his comments, owners should expect to see him out another week or so. The injury is not related to his surgically repaired foot, but is similar to an injury he had in 2009, when he missed nine games. While Perry Jones will replace KD in the starting lineup, Durant is impossible to replace in real life and in fantasy. Owners will have to just wait for his return.

Please, blog, may I have some more?