The Thunder just can’t catch a break this season. Kevin Durant is still out with a foot injury and now Serge Ibaka will join him on the sidelines.

Ibaka underwent surgery this week to help address discomfort in his knee. Apparently, Ibaka had been experiencing soreness since February. Despite setting up a management plan to help alleviate the pain, the Thunder ultimately decided that surgery was the best option.

Ibaka is expected to be out between four and six weeks. If all goes well in his recovery, Ibaka should be able to return for the Thunder’s first round series, should they hold off the Pelicans for the eighth playoff spot.

As a result of the timeline, Ibaka’s regular season is over. He’s safe to drop in redraft leagues. Ibaka’s MRI prior to the surgery revealed no structural or long-term issues so Ibaka is a great keeper for next season.

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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’ve never been a huge fan of his, but at least Mo Williams makes it really easy to have a punny title…

I would’ve said you’re as high as Busta Rhymes if you told me Mo Will was about to drop 50 last night.  What a crazy, crazy world we live in where the T’Wolves finally break out of their 15-game losing streak behind a franchise record 52-point game.  Some really weird biguns for the Wolves, remember when Corey Brewer put up 51 last year?  So both of those guys stay in the franchise record books as better scorers than Kevin Love or Kevin Garnett.  Go figure.  Makes me wanna headbutt something!  Mo with an unbelievable line of 52/4/7 hitting 19-33 FG (6-11 3PTM 8-9 FT).  Where to even start with the crazy?!  Mo hadn’t scored 30 since MARCH 2012 (!!) according to our friends at Rotoworld.  I would look at his game-logs to fact check, but we don’t fact check!  And as good as this game is, he’s not even a good pickup!  I think that’s the craziest thing…  Ricky Rubio is almost back to retake the PG minutes, and even if Flip wanted to run some combo guard lineups out there, Kevin Martin (so many Kevins in Timberwolves history!) is almost back.  Plus this game should make him easier to sell in the NBA.  Might get the Wolves a first rounder.  So while Mo is maybe worth an add for the very short-term (only 32% owned on Yahoo late last night), I’m certainly not losing anyone of value for him.  Here’s what else went down on a crazy and injury-riddled night of NBA action:

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Operation shutdown: when a team shuts down a star player in order to preserve them for the future. It’s a fear of every fantasy owner and that’s exactly what the Knicks are contemplating doing with Carmelo Anthony and his sore knee.

As a DC sports fan, I’m all too familiar with the shutdown. Different sport, different circumstances, but it’s the same idea.

As of now, Anthony refuses to be shut down. He’s said that his knee won’t get any worse by playing on it, but he’s already missed the last five games with the injury.

Having lost 14 games in a row, the Knicks have now surpassed the 76ers as the worst team in the league. It’s clear that the Knicks are in total rebuild mode. This week, the Knicks waived Samuel Dalembert and traded JR “I’ve Never Taken a Bad Shot” Smith and Iman Shumpert to the Cavaliers in a salary cap dump.

Right now, Anthony is day-to-day without a timetable for his return. He says he wants to play next week in London, but we don’t know for sure.

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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.

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One of the reasons I’m spotlighting Giannis Antetokounmpo is because I love his game, view him as a poor man’s Kawhi Leonard, and have visions of him blossoming this year if Jason Kidd stops doing his best Larry Drew impersonation.

Although he’s starting to fill the stat sheet with regularity, he’s still a highlight waiting to happen and we can’t overlook his overall entertainment value. Case in point: The play last weekend where he covered half the court in one move against the Pistons. Was it a walk? Probably. Did it look badass? You bet your Mokeski it did.

But the real reason is for the betterment of humanity and Giannis himself. Has there ever been an athlete’s name that was more difficult to pronounce? It’s so bad that he was smacked with a nickname (The Alphabet) the second he was drafted because people were too lazy to look up how to say his name.

Even after a whole year in the league no one knows how to say it, players, coaches and announcers included.

So here it is:

Yee-an-es Ant-tet-toh-koomp-oh.

You can also hear Antetokounmpo say it the right way, and his teammates say it the wrong way, in this hilarious video.

Never say it wrong again. Especially if you ask someone in your league to trade him to you in person or on the phone.

Here’s some more wing-a-ding-dings:

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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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