Up until this year, Jimmy Butler looked like he was always going to be a Wesley Johnson-Iman Shumpert type of wing. Can get you 13-15 points on a good night, hits a few three balls, shoots crappy from the field and nabs a few steals here and there.

His improvement was steady over his first three seasons, but heading into this year’s fantasy drafts, the thought going through most people’s minds was: This guy’s a sleeper, sure, but Derrick Rose is coming back. If Rose is finally healthy, Butler is a non-factor, and even if he isn’t, we’re not missing out on much.

Right here I instruct you to crank up the volume on your device/computer as loud as you can and click on this link.

Butler came into Friday’s tilt against the Blazers with a string of four straight games where he topped 20, including a 32-point explosion against the Pacers. I’m singling out that Blazers game as a caveat, as Da Bulls entered Portland with no Rose, no Pau Gasol, no Kirk Hinrich and no chance of winning. Butler, who had nine points on 3-13 shooting, joined his teammates in chucking up prayers to try and stay in the game, and almost none of those prayers were answered.

I will say this. The Portland game does expose Butler as a guy who cannot carry a real NBA team. In other words, he is not a healthy Derrick Rose in Derrick Rose’s prime. I think Butler’s value is intrinsically tied to the health of this squad. If, for example, Gasol is healthy, but Rose isn’t, Butler is very valuable. If both are healthy, still valuable, but not as much. If neither is healthy, he will be up and down, struggling against good teams, dominating bad ones.

Long-term, I see a sell-high wing. Yeah, it’ll taste good right now, but later tonight, your significant other will be relegating you to sleeping on the couch. And it won’t be because you snore.

Still hungry? Order up one of these flavors:

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In a jam-packed weekend with all sorts of big news and Anthony Davis putting up a career-high, I figured why not start as off-the-fantasy-radar as possible!  Well, that’s a lie, my Steve Nash open about him being a malnourished librarian turned out to already be a commercial

The injury gods were working overtime this weekend, as big ol’ Roy Hibbert landed funky on his ankle and left very early in the Pacers’ game Saturday.  The bad news continues to floweth down the bad news river in Indianapolis.  Drown your sorrows in onion rings, Pacers fans!  Not gonna have any other rings any time soon.  “That was mean, JB!”  I’m rooting for Paul George to come back healthy next year and shock the Cavs in the playoffs, don’t you worry.  But back to the issue at hand, when Howard Cosell made the call “Down goes Hibbert!” I immediately had something bubbling up inside [Mahin]me.  Certainly not one of the premiere backup Cs in the NBA, but Ian Mahinmi is passable, and a solid short-term add for some early-week big man upside.  Mahinmi carried the torch with the starters for an all-leagues usable 12/10/1/3/1 line in only 26 minutes, without even finishing down the stretch as the Suns went full supernova to the Pacers white/brown dwarves (I don’t wanna say one or the other, might get into trouble…).  The backup Frenchy could easily go 10/10 with 2 swats in a few starts early this week.  Tonight is against a gimpy Tyson Chandler who tweaked his kankle, then Wednesday against a Spurs team who have struggled to handle bigs since Tiago Splitter has been in a siesta.  So while I Mahin-Me, I hope while reading this there is time to Mahin-You!  Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy basketball:

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The Lakers Win, The Lakers Win!  Down Goes Frazier!  Titanic Sinks!  All usable newspaper headlines for rare events.

The Purp & Gold surprised the Left-Facing Pacmen last night, as the Lakers are now an undefeated team when Nick Young plays!  Just oh so Swaggy… 28 minutes off the bench notching a really solid line, shooting 6-10 (2-4 3PTM 3-5 FT) for 17/5/0/1/0.  Swaggy bein’ ThrAGNOFfy!  It’s hard to imagine him getting to 18 points and 14 shots a game like last year with Mamba ultra-hot doggin’ it (nice one JashFath!), but looked pretty good out there.  I’m a little biased since I’m not a big Young fan – not enough of a contributor in any stats except contested fadeaway shots – but worth some 3PTM streaming while the gettin’ is good!  The Lakers will need his O to keep pressure off Bryant, and Wesley Johnson had an uber-schlubby 32 minutes of nothingball starting at SF.  Young will probably continue to come off the bench, but that shouldn’t deter you from some 12-team streaming.  Here’s what else went down last night in NBA action:

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Slam Dunk Contest winners scare me.

There’s pretty much no in between with these dudes. Other than, say, Nate Robinson, they’re either future all-stars or total duds. For every Michael Jordan there’s a Harold Miner. For every Kobe Bryant there’s a Fred Jones. For every Dominque Wilkins, there’s a Brent Barry.

And then there’s Gerald Green, who is definitely not an NBA jobber, but is not quite an all-star yet. Not really sure if he ever will be, and what scares me most is that while he was a pretty awesome dunker, he’ll always be known as a gimmick dunker for his Birthday Cake Dunk. And being a gimmick dunker is kind of like being a gimmick wrestler on the order of Koko B. Ware or the Gobbledy Gooker.

In a way, it would be interesting if Green never was an all-star, because he wouldn’t be the first 6-7-ish wing sixth man for the Suns who can run the floor, shoot from distance, was on the same team as Jeff Hornacek and never made the All-Star Team.

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It’s finally here!  “The lockout is over!”  You’re like, “wtf, a lockout?!”  I’m quoting a Dave Cowens commercial!  And after the 98-99 Lockout at that!  Anything vintage Hornets is nostalgic gold right now.  Ridiculous amounts of bonus points to readers who are Hornets fans and remember that commercial and/or can find the video.  Because I couldn’t!

The return of the Hornets is one of the many things I’m looking forward to this year.  Getting past my horrific Jonas Valanciunas love, finally changing the page to a new season, is another.  But one of the biggest is a healthy (for now) Kobe Bryant and the return of the “Guess Kobe Bryant’s Stat Line”!  Even if you’re a long-time reader, you might not know this one!  It’s like the NBA scheduled the Lakers on a light opening night just for this momentous Razzball event, not because the Lakers are a widely popular team or anything…

I don’t remember exactly what spawned this prestigious contest, but as with everything that is oddly conversational in Razzball, traditions can start any time!  Like how we all guessed what Kobe would do, the like, 5 games he played last year.  So in order to carry this tradition, and to accurately-ish credit the winner, guess the Kobe line will be limited to the PTS/REB/AST projection to determine the victor.  Feel free to guess more stats than that, but when we did it last year with steals and blocks and turnovers, it was hard to say which commenter was closer than another.  The winner gets a shout out in the recap the next day, along with the jealous ire of all other Razzballers… I think Kobe has a big one in the opener vs. Houston… I’m going 31/5/6.  Shoot your guesses below, and happy return to Fantasy Basketball!  We’re pumped for our biggest season to date here at Razzball, and thanks to everyone for checking us out through the offseason!

Here’s some other news and notes since the last wrap-up, and what I’ll be focusing on for opening night (and we’re daily every weekday with the wrap-ups here on out!):

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Preseason is here!  Preseason is here!  I’m as giddy as N64 kid on Christmas Day.

But before we got into any action, Nick Young had a rough end of to his week last week, jacking up his thumb on his shooting hand requiring surgery.  He’ll be out 8 weeks, which puts him back in Purp-n-Gold mid-to-late November, optimistically.  You can drop him off your fantasy teams now!  He’s got a plenty big cast to hitchhike his way somewhere else.  I would say to “Scrubtown” but if you say that three times fast it starts to sound kinda like Scranton and I don’t want to offend Scrantonites or fans of The Office.

I wasn’t big on Swaggy P anyway, but no reason to touch him except in the very deepest of leagues.  Pretty empty scoring.  Wesley Johnson gets a minor bump up, and that’s the extent of the impact.  Now back to preseason!  Of course every performance must be taken with a grain of salt, and this early it’s a friggin’ pillar of salt, but it’s never too early to see how players are doing – especially this year’s ridiculous class of rooks.  Here’s what’s gone on across the league:

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I don’t know today’s title has a Boston accent, just sorta happened!  Tyreke Evans absolutely tore up the Thunder last night, slashing-n-gashing his way to a 41/9/8/3/0 line with only one turnover.  I don’t know what’s crazier, that line or a Pelicans win!  That starting NO line-up other than Evans was scrub city.  If you followed the news leading up to this game, it went from Evans being unlikely to play a mere hour-and-a-half before tip, to getting the start right before the game started.  The emotional toil on fantasy owners was bigger than in Silver Linings Playbook!  Since the All-Star Break, right around when the Pels finally decided to start this guy, Evans has been a monster averaging 17.1/5.4/6.1.  He’s also boosted his FG% and actually made a three or two, despite a 3PT% even Josh Smith thinks is poopy.  But despite a big second half, the Pelicans owner isn’t too impressed.  Haha, that was hilarious – I made highlights for this game if you couldn’t tell.  Been a lucky run for my games the past two, getting this one and the Corey Brewer one Friday!  Almost 100 points from those two!  Hopefully the Pelicans realize they need Evans as a starter in 14-15, but it’s tough to see another stretch with 6+ dimes next year with a healthy Jrue Holiday.  If the price is right, I’ll be a buyer next season, however Evans seems to always have a little more hype than substance ever since his rookie year.  If this second half inflates some big buzz next year, I’ll be about as deadpan as the Pelicans owner!  Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball action:

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Brewers baby!  Best record in baseball.  9 in a row.  Oh yea, this is basketball, but man!  My Brewers are unstoppable!  And it carried over to the hardwood, when Corey Brewer had maybe the most preposterous, out-of-nowhere game all year.  I actually did highlights for the Wolves Rockets game Friday night, and it was like watching a pickup game where one guy was just light years better than everyone else.  Slice-n-dice, no need to take shots.  In the first quarter, I leaned over to a co-worker and said Brewer is having the game of his life.  Made me look smart!  Going in with a career-high of 29, Brewer dropped 51 on like, a trillion layups and pick 6s.  51/2/1/6/0, and just how everyone learned from Oliver, “you’ve got to pick a pocket or two!”  Or six.  And probably 5 of them led to uncontested layups, but he did have some pretty sick and-ones for good measure.  Deeper leaguers that had Brewer probably thought stat tracker was broken Friday night.  I’ve always been a Brewer fan, it was sad to have to trade him to Slim, but when Kevin Martin and Kevin Love returned, it was cool down time for the NBA’s Brew Crew on Sunday, going for only 10 and two steals.  Regardless, I love that Brewer now gets to share a milestone with Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson and Rick Barry as the only guys to go 50+ with 6+ steals.  One of these is not like the other!  Good for Brewer, and if the Wolves indeed deal Love and/or let K-Mart walk, Brewer could be pretty interesting next year.  Here’s what else I saw over the weekend in fantasy basketball action:

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Last night might have been an utter low for the New York Knickerbockers.  Haha, yup they get a full name scolding like your mom used to do.  Got shellacked by the Lakers by 31, in another horrific TNT Overtime fail.  It’s funny that the Lakers were involved in another redonkulous blowout this month:  One because the first was also on TNT OT when the Clippers beat them by, I dunno a million (?), and second because I had the following remarks on Xavier Henry, whom I call Wheels, three-ish week ago after that Clips blowout: “I dunno, I just have a weird feeling he is going to be fantasy-relevant even in shallower leagues in a few weeks because D’Antoni likes him.  And why not give him minutes again on this team?”  And that’s me quoting me!  It’s been a little up-and-down, and Wheels is a bit of a ThrANOF, but 8-11 (3-4 3PTM 3-5 FT) 22/3/0/2/1 last night.  Only 23 minutes (and oddly enough 23:20 exactly in the past two games), but mid-20 minutes seems about right the rest of the way.  He can easily score mid-teens, get a couple swipes, and nab a trey for you.  Jodie Meeks-lite, if you will.  I think even in 12-teamers he’s worth a look right now for the remainder of the week with three games left on the slate that all are pretty saucy (@MIL, @MIN, PHX).  And another 4-gamer next week with good matchups.  I just picked him up myself as I hope to slip by the Slippery Squirrels in my RCL playoffs.  Need more points and only up one in steals.  Go JB HUMAN!  Here’s what else I saw last night in NBA action:

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Oh man.  Am I sorry if anyone had to watch Battle: Los Angeles last night.  I hated that movie and actually would rather have watched that again than the atrocity in Staples.  Reggie Miller was having so much fun dogging that game.  I was saying that it was like watching an All-Star game at the office, then either Miller or Kerr then said the same thing!  Followed by, “well, except all the All-Stars are on one team!”  Lakers burn!  El Burro, I hope you’re around, because I’d love a rant from this game from a true Lakers fan.  Sure there have been worse NBA blowouts, but man, that was straight up Cornell going on the road to Wichita State.  Even that would be a lot better to watch!  I’m not taking much to heart fantasy-wise in the 48-point romp of blue/red over yellow/purple, but my main takeaway was that Kendall Marshall still got a 7/4/7 line in 24 minutes and Jordan Farmar was awful in his 21 minutes.  I’m a big Farmar hater, and think Marshall is actually a little underrated right now.  Marshall as we all know was playing well in big minutes earlier in the year, and I think can get back to the 30ish range.  And even if he falls short of that, the dimebags will afloweth like a Denver dispensary.  Cash cow business for the Girl Scout cookie industry as well!  Probably should’ve had a few Girl Scouts paroling the Staples Center last night.  “Eat your pities away, Lakers fans!”  “A peanut butter delight won’t disappoint you at all!”  Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy hoops:

Please, blog, may I have some more?