Holy schnike, what an opening set of games! And what a night for Believeland! The Cavs get to raise their banners and get their ring pops to open the 2016-17 NBA Season, then top it off by playing a disjointed group of SUPER streetballers that a high school team might be able to beat. Really, Knicks?! 17 assists to 18 turnovers?! Just an absolute collapse by New York after a nice 2nd quarter run. I guess they're going to end up going 115-1... Then a mere 50 feet away, the Windians pick up game 1 in the World Series, shutting out the Cubs 6-0. The dude who wrote Major League couldn't have even foreseen this! After seeing what LeBron James did last night, it made me want to link MAC's comment on our staff picks article. Of course I'm overreacting to one game, but man did Bronny Bron look hungry from some MVPness (be sure to say that word out loud). 19/11/14/0/1 for his first career Opening Night tripdub, as the Cavs stand-n-shooters all hit their threes boosting the dimes. Monster dunks early and often, but still had his deficiencies in FT (1-2), treys (0-3) and TO (4). If Cleveland can keep rolling like this, and the MVP talk remains clamorous, we all know we need to be shopping him in a month or two. As we mentioned a few times in the offseason, his schedule in the H2H Playoffs (or at the end of the Roto season) is fraught with DNP landmines. I got The King in one of my RCLs, and if he's still around by the All-Star Break, I have a feeling I'm going to have trouble dealing him away. But others in your league are likely a little less competent with foresight and don't read Razzball, even though it's a Shakespearean Tragedy! So hopefully in those leagues, you'll be able to capitalize. Who knows, in Razzball leagues, maybe the hate and talk of trading him will create a buying opportunity! And maybe even the Knicks will turn it all around and fight the Cavs for the best record in the East... Hah, now we're getting into some super crazy talk! Here's what else went down across the first 3 NBA Openers last night:
As we prepare for the 2016-17 Fantasy Basketball Season, I’ll be taking a look at each NBA team with their major adds and drops to see if we can pan for any surprise rotational gold. This open is especially witty for the Nuggets... We’ll be counting down from worst NBA regular season to the best, mainly because I’m still figuring out how to rank the Warriors…
Utah Jazz (40-42)
Key Acquisitions:G George Hill G/F Joe Johnson F Boris Diaw
Key Losses:G Trey Burke F Trevor Booker A terrible logo! Hell yes! Look at the Jazz bringing sexy back, using their old school look as their official logo of 16-17. Ya know, this team reminds me of a defensive-minded version of the Wolves. Oodles of young talent, they barely made any changes, and I think Slim will indeed get his wish and see them as a postseason team. Slim loves his Jazz! I think it’s just because they’re a team in the West who didn’t burn his Heat… Anywho, the position where they made the biggest change was a MASSIVE upgrade at PG, so A+ in the offseason moves department! And oh man, wait until you get idea of what this second unit is gonna be… Here’s how the 16-17 Utah Jazz are coming together for the upcoming season:
Finally! Our flaccid fantasy line-ups that have experienced a ton of shrinkage on the front line can re-erect their Stifle Towers! Although we certainly HOPE this lasts more than 4 hours... After missing just over a month, Rudy Gobert returned to action right in the sweetspot of his 4-6 week timetable and looked solid off the bench for 6 Pts and 3 Reb, hitting 3-4 "from the field" (a couple were dunks). He looked spry and pretty close to the Gobert of old, which isn't old at all - he's still a young Flyin' Frenchman. It'll probably be one or two more games before he's fully unleashed, but since he didn't have a block (one was called a foul that seemed close), maybe the buy low window is still narrowly cracked open. If the minutes rise to 20 then 25 the next two outings and the stat lines aren't shimmering with Boards-n-Blocks goodness, then I would be assaulting Gobert owners in one final push to acquire him. If you own Gobert, don't get nervous, let your Stifle Tower stand strong, and let Monsieur Elbow pitch a tent on your front line! (I had to edit out like 5 worse metaphors - you're welcome...) Here's what else went down last night in fantasy hoops action:
I'm as surprised as you are, that Withey is relevant. In spite of the odds, he has been stuffing the stat sheet like crazy this past week, with nearly a double double, 3 blocks, and 1.6 steals per game over the last 5! I have no idea how long this will keep up, but while Favors is out, he's starting to look like a must own. Probably just a short term add, but those stats are too sweet to turn down! Not a whole lot of big news this week, but in Raptor land, Carroll is set to miss 6-8 weeks worth of games, and is probably a cut in standard league. I don't see an immediate pickup, but it's worth keeping an eye on James Johnson and Terrence Ross, to see if anyone can run away with the job.
I’m living at home with my parents temporarily, while work is being done on my condo. I didn’t want to be bothered living there while they’re painting and installing new carpeting and flooring. As a result, I’m getting kicked off the television so that my mom can watch her shows. I missed the Sunday Night Football game for “Downton Abbey” and then had to turn off the Wizards/Cavs and Knicks/Heat games for “Law & Order.” I guess it’s a fair trade, since I’m getting so many home cooked meals and leftovers for lunch. Fortunately SVU ended early enough for me to catch the Thunder’s dismantling of the Grizzlies. Kevin Durant returned from a toe injury to post 26 points and 17 rebounds, while Russell Westbrook continued his near triple-double stat lines with 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists. You always worry with Durant's foot being a problem last season, but it was nice to see KD back, after only missing one game. It was all Thunder in this game, as the Grizzlies played down due to injuries. Mike Conley was out because of a sore left Achilles and Courtney Lee, who started for Conley, left early in the second half after injuring his hip. That left Mario Chalmers, who exploded for 23 points, 9 assists, 8 rebounds, and 4 threes. It’s unclear how long Conley and Lee could be out, but Chalmers would become the starter by default. It’s not like the Grizzlies will give Vince Carter lots of minutes! Now onto the other Wednesday night games:
Although Byron Scott hasn’t been the best NBA head coach of all time, his opinion is the only one that matters in L.A. at the moment, and at the moment Byron Scott says Larry Nance Jr. would be a lottery pick if they redrafted the 2015 draft (he went 27th for reals) and Julius Randle stinks and needs to grow up. Indeed, Nance has improved gradually since being inserted in the starting lineup last month. And over the past week, he’s averaging 10 and 10, including a 15-point, 14-rebound outburst against the Suns on January 3. I watched him during his 14-board performance on New Year’s Day against the Sixers and I did get visions of his dandy dunker daddy. Larry Jr. is about the same size and flies around in much the same way as once did Larry Sr., who has a special place in my heart. He always wowed but lost to Dominique Wilkins or Michael Jordan in the classic Slam Dunk Contests of the mid-1980s, and he’s one of the dudes featured on that rad Sultans of Slam poster from that era. Hard to believe pappy’s not in the Hall with these nice career numbers: 17.1 ppg, 8.0 rpg, and 2.2 bpg. As good as Larry Sr. was, I think those numbers aren’t out of the question for Larry Jr. if everything falls right. Buy in now! Here’s some other goings-ons in Boards-N-Blocks land:
I'M ON MY IIISSSSSHHHHHH, CALL IT!!! I WATCH THESE HATERS TAKE THEY SHOTS LIKE THEY WERE ALCOHOLICS. Now if Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ish Smith hasn't selected a song for his lineup introduction, I highly recommend someone reach out to him to let him know I would like to speak to him. While there may be other reasons Childish Gambino has yet to endorse Smith, it has been a rough 2016 for the newly acquired guard until last night's performance against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Smith finished with 21 points, 11 assists, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals while leading Philadelphia to their fourth victory of the year. While the efficiency stats will not always be there, Smith rewarded fantasy owners last night with a 9-15 shooting performance from the field. As the new lead man in an up-tempo offense, expect lots of production in multiple statistical categories from Smith on a nightly basis. The 76ers are starved for capable ballhandlers, granting Smith the opportunity to rack up points and assists as he pounds the rock. Although he's most likely gone from the waiver wire in most leagues, I think it still might be possible to snag him in a quick trade. Smith has been a beacon of hope for a horrendous 76ers team this year, but in assessing his fantasy value, he still leaves a little to be desired, avoiding 3-point shots and suffering from some abysmal shooting nights. Overall, I would love to have Smith on my team, and would encourage owners with a need at point guard to explore a trade before nights like this become too common.
No, no, no, we never root for injuries. It's terrible fantasy karma. But as one of the main cliches as fantasy lays out - injuries are the great equalizer. They end campaigns and create opportunities. Fortunately the torn ACL to Jarrett Jack isn't going to end anyone's campaign! But the opportunity for Shane Larkin is monumental. Last Saturday night, we saw the dreaded non-contact knee buckle from Jack against the Celtics, and we got the somber news yesterday afternoon that he has a torn ACL and meniscus. "Wahhhhhh, I bet I never start a game again!" Meh, the Wahhhh gag just seems too mean right now... And if you listen to the Pod, you know I'm a Jack supporter and of course everyone in Razzball Nation wishes him a speedy recovery. But with the starting job open, Larkin-the-Herald-Angels-Sing immediately steps in as the no-question starter. While he's looked mad impressive to me the few Nets games I've watched and he's certainly a must-add, I'm not banking on top-50 value or anything. His skill set should make him more valuable than Jack as the starter with more 3s and STL, but I imagine he'll have fewer AST with the same bad TO. Add Larkin everywhere, and if he starts absolutely gangbusters then sell high. I also could see Donald Sloan having a bigger role than most envision - after that nice run he had in Indy to start last year, I was really impressed with him as a player. Here's what else went down over our first weekend of 2016, and The 7 Ahead for Week 11:
Here's tonight's slate: Detroit Pistons (18-15) at indiana Pacers (18-14) Spread: Ind -4 ½ O/U 201 ½ Oklahoma City Thunder (23-10) at Charlotte Hornets (17-15) Spread: OKC -6 ½ O/U 208 Orlando Magic (19-14) at Cleveland Cavaliers (21-9) Spread: Cle -9 O/U 194 ½ Milwaukee Bucks (13-21) at Minnesota Timberwolves (12-21) Spread: Min -1 O/U 201 ½ New Orleans Pelicans (10-22) at Dallas Mavericks (19-14) Spread: Dal -3 O/U 207 ½ Houston Rockets (16-18) at San Antonio Spurs (28-6) Spread: SAS -11 200 ½ Memphis Grizzlies (18-16) at Utah Jazz (14-17) Spread: Mem -1 186 Denver Nuggets (12-21) at Golden St. Warriors (30-2) Spread: GS -14 213 1/2 Philadelphia 76ers (3-31) at L.A. Clippers (21-13) Spread: LAC -12 ½ 210
Happy 2016, Razzball Nation! I hope all of you had a fun and safe New Year's Eve party. Because for me, well, let's just say I woke up with no clothes on laying in a field with a partially eaten deer carcass... What can I say, I thought it was Jason Kidd at first! Dumb rotations... The party started out all normal - Slim had some Australian 'shine, Matty brought the poutines, Dan A DJ-ed with his awesome hip hop mixes, the Petes just wanted to talk about their decent (Wizards) and atrocious (Sixers) Eastern conf. teams, danb was too busy following his DFS slate to bring anything, charlie showed up drunk since he's on winter break, and Adam, well, I stayed away from him since all he wanted to talk about is how lucky my Panthers 14-0 run was and I knew a couple sips of Aussie shine in I might not be able to hold off my gun show. Stupid Bucs fans! Once we all got settled, we couldn't figure out a good movie to watch, so I put on A Scanner Darkly since during my Holiday travels I went to the Arctor house! Then at some point once Woody Harrelson said "don't blame the drugs!", it was the second half of the Pistons bludgeoning the Wolves and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope starting going nuts. He's my Substance D, that's for sure! My KCP addiction just took another monster hit, as he started slow but went bonkers late, ending with a 22/4/3/3/0 line on 7-17 shooting, with 2 treys and nary a TO. Everything started to get all Rotoscope-y, I turned into a Jeff Bridges Altered States cave person, and went hunting through the prairie. KCP has been ridiculous this past month, with a strong finish to 2015 after a couple of duds. I think we easily see a top-100 finish that could creep to top-75 if he stays healthy with all these minutes. All I know is when my KCP addiction is strong, I don't feel any muscle in my body! I stay up for 3 days at a time! So 37:33 MPG should be no issue for him. Here's what else went down on our final night of 2015 in fantasy basketball: