Ah, the early weeks of the fantasy season, when a young man’s or woman’s fancy turns to love. Love of the game, love of that reach you made for Gordon Hayward in the draft when others were worried about his injury. Love of how good your picks look thus far, and how bad your opponents picks look. Because everyone has a chance at this stage, right? And that’s good for the game, no? Somewhere out there, somebody is giddy that they selected JJ Barea in the later rounds. Others are pleased that they nabbed a tasty morsel, or pleased their blue chip pick is performing as advertised. The scientific term is the honeymoon phase, and fella, you are smack-dab in the middle. At this time people often complain that it’s hard to make trades, so while I will make some trade recommendations, I will also comb the waiver for you, gentle reader, to try to polish the proverbial turd for you to grab. Let take a look at what is to be had:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As I try to do in my opens, I pull in some real-life news or experience to try and humanize the open. No one wants robot reporting! Just ask Mark Cuban. And that whole situation seems like such a cop out, “I’m going to ban reporters, and the reason why is that I want more human reporting!” Something else is going on there…

Anywho, for this open, I actually have relevant life experience! As previously mentioned regarding Derrick Favors, I too have suffered from IT Band Syndrome. It’s an inflammation of a thin band of nerves that connect from your hip bone on the outside of your leg, past your knee, and connected to your lower leg. Sometimes it can manifest itself in a mad sore hip, but usually it impacts the outside of your knee. When it flares up, it feels like a bone-on-bone “catching” on the outer part of your knee, like you have some horrific scar tissue from a torn meniscus (something I’ve also had). The real annoyance of the injury is you can feel awesome for a few days, then it flares up out of nowhere. You’re just walking normal, and all the sudden that “catch” makes your knee feel like you re-tore something. It’s pretty friggin’ frustrating.

So when I heard Favors was starting last night despite a flare up of knee soreness again on Saturday, I wasn’t the most surprised. I bet it felt great in warm-ups! Then at some point, I’m guessing he felt that same nerve irritation, and he ended up leaving early. I know his frustration. As a nerve thing, this isn’t really a consistent pain-tolerance thing, or a sprain to play through. It feels fine, then a sudden flare up makes your knee feel unstable. I didn’t watch any of this game, but he apparently didn’t look right, and went only 6/2/0/2/0 in 21 minutes. As I mentioned on the Pod, I nabbed some shares of Trey Lyles on Sunday given Favors’ knee issues and knowing this could be a long-term thing, getting rewarded with an 18/5/2/2/0 line with a trey. A trey from Trey! With leaving games early a persistent issue now, I wouldn’t be surprised if Favors gets treatment for a few weeks, and I would take the flier on Lyles where I could. It took me about two months of rehab and a session of dry needling to stimulate the nerves to finally shake my IT issues. Don’t watch if you don’t like needles! Here’s what else happened in fantasy hoops action last night:

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All eyes were on the NBA on Tuesday night. Just messing. I’m sure most people were following along to see who would come out on top in the Presidential race. In the end, Donald Trump won.

Whatever your political affiliations, it’ll be different with the Donald in office. Barack Obama is a huge sports fan and loves basketball. It’ll probably be a while until we see another President filling out a bracket during March Madness, playing a game of H-O-R-S-E with Clark Kellogg, or clowning the Warriors when they were in town to celebrate their championship.

If nothing else, let’s be happy it’s over. It’s been a long and drawn out process. Now we can focus on things that really matter…like recapping Tuesday night’s games:

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So admittedly, we’re not going to quite get through all of these…  I always underestimate the time it takes to keep the rankings afloat!  But we have time for at least a few more….

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…

Memphis Grizzlies (42-40)

grizzliess

Key Acquisitions:

F Chandler Parsons

G Wade Baldwin

F Deyonta Davis

G Troy Daniels

Key Losses:

F Jeff Green

Mario Chalmers

Lance Stephenson

JOERRRRRRRGER!

Well, not too much of a change for the most famous city in Tennessee!  Weird reference to another Podcast – I think like 4 years ago and on a baseball Podcast – but let’s see if anyone gets it!  Without losing much, the Grizz sign Chandler Parsons, who new coach David “Plop, plop, fizz” Fizdale said they want to use like LeBron.  Aherm, OK!  And apparently Fizdale is scrapping the Grizzlies slow-paced mold, and going for more uptempo looks.  Any time someone is comparing an offense to D’Antoni, my fantasy tent gets pitched!  So let’s take a look at their roster, and see if an uptempo system can work:

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NCAA+Basketball+Tournament+West+Regional+Salt+Hm_kXXj3f7Vm

Shelvin Mack has finally been reunited with Gordon Hayward, and the Jazz definitely feel so good about it. (If you don’t remember their heroic run with Butler to the championship game against Duke, then I feel very sorry for you.) Mack immediately becomes a must own after leapfrogging the rest of the dismal PG depth. Shelvin has always been a versatile guard, but he really lacked a true playmaker’s skill-set during his early years. Fortunately, he really adapted to that point guard role, during his time with the Hawks. Don’t get too carried away with projections though, he’s likely to average points in the low teens, 4 or 5 assists, and probably over a 3. Odds are, he won’t produce a lot of defensive stats, but on the plus side, he won’t turn the ball over much. (Ignore the 6 TO outlier last game, since he’s been fairly consistent career wise.) He is likely to be impacted by the return of Alec Burks, so that’s another thing to keep an eye on. Overall though, he needs to be owned for now, and we’ll deal with Burks when he gets back.

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With any All-Star list, it’s impossible to include everyone who is having a great year. There are only 12 roster spots and there will always be well-deserving candidates that just don’t fit on the roster. It’s what makes the All-Star selection so noteworthy.

With the All-Star Game this weekend, here is my list of valuable fantasy all-stars who just don’t receive as much love:

Eastern Conference:

Kemba Walker – The Hornets are right in the hunt for the 8th playoff seed in the east and that’s due to the play of Walker. Al Jefferson and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (more on him later) have missed most of the season, while Nicolas Batum (11/6/5) has been in and out of the lineup. Walker produces night in and night out with whoever is playing alongside him. Walker scored 25 points with 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals to lead the Hornets to another victory.

Nikola Vucevic – Vucci Mane has been the cornerstone of the Magic and has single-handedly won the game for them with a few recent game-winners. He did much of the same on Wednesday with 20 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 blocks. He’s only 25 so there’s still time for him to make the roster one of these years.

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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:

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Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge Christopher Nolan fan.  I remember in early middle school, Memento blew me away; a year or two later I made my mom take me to see Insomnia and she probably thought I was nuts…  And again I was blown away by tour-de-force acting and a great character study.

Then of course came all the Batmans which were great, even though the third one had, well, a few issues that the Honest Trailer people figured out.  And I even really liked Inception even though it also had some problems.

And then we get Interstellar.  Nolan doing sci-fi.  Check.  About space.  Check.  About the future.  Check.  And man was I mad!  It’s like no one read the script except Nolan, who is apparently going nuts!  Really the only thing about the movie that isn’t flawed is the amazing score by Hans Zimmer, who is the man.  It’s also shot really well…

So I decided to go back and watch Interstellar and find 50 plot holes (sure, some may be more “issues” than “plot holes”) and connect them using metaphors – like how the movie uses the metaphor for human love to explain everything – to fantasy basketball.  The plot holes that really grinded my gears are in italics.

FULL DISCLOSURE!  I’m not going to watch the Honest Trailer for Interstellar until I’m done!

If this isn’t your viewing companion next time you watch Interstellar, then I don’t know what is… Here we go:

(note – if I really need to say “spoiler alert” for a post like this if you haven’t seen it, then that might be your issue…)

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Man, what an epic game in San Antonio!  Marc Gasol hitting a preposterous buzzer-beater to put it in OT, then Tim Duncan makes this rim job to put it into 3OT… Crazy man.  Two things – 1 – Sean Elliott is maybe my favorite commentator in the NBA and B – look at Marco Belinelli just bowl over Courtney Lee in that second highlight…  Strike!  Haven’t see a Lee update for an injury, so stay tuned there…

I guarantee you that Gregg Popovich was fuming like President Snow that this game kept going on, and on, and on and… Kinda like book series that have the final book broken into into two movies.  I mean The Hunger Games: Mockinjay – Part 1…?  I got confused and disinterested once Woody Harrelson stopped drinkin’.  So I guess last night’s Spurs vs. Grizzlies games was San Antonio vs. Memphis – Buzzer-beaters traded: Duncan’s Rim Job – Part 3.  Another huge game from Timmay (excluding the real fluky 5-15 FT) for 23/16/5/2/3.  Rainbow line!  Duncan really hasn’t skipped a beat this year, well except for when he’s benched with a DNP-Rest.  I know it’s hard to believe, but we’re in Week 9 of the season already!  And for H2H leagues that play standard 3-week playoffs (RCL standard), we’re almost halfway through the regular season with playoffs starting Week 21.  A game like last night is only going to make Pop go restier, so if you’re killing it at first or second in your standings, I wouldn’t mind selling high at all.  But there’s a flip side – if you’re 8 or 9 and see Duncan on a team running away with a playoff spot, it’s actually a good time to think about bringing him aboard.  He’ll be frustrating with the DNPs, but could put you over the edge if you’re hanging on the rim.  If you know what I mean…  Here’s what else went down in A Wednesday Night of NBA: OTs Galore – The Return of Hack-a-Shaq: The Revenge:

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Up until this year, Jimmy Butler looked like he was always going to be a Wesley JohnsonIman 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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