Matt Stroup

Roundball Stew

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Spencer: For Hire

Friday, December 17, 2010


Made an unfortunate discovery jut now: The "s" key on my keyboard i only working intermittently. May have omething to do with the glas of water I pilled on my laptop the other day. The good news: I have just realized that if I hammer down on the "s" key extra hard when I type, the s's show up. But if you find that the 19th letter of the alphabet is conspicuously missing in any instances below, you will now know why.

Trendspotting

Three on the Rise:

Spencer Hawes: Fitting that on a day I discover that my "s" key is dysfunctional, we begin with a player whose name is bookmarked by the letter in question. But it's not just because of letter synchronicity that Hawes gets top billing here – in his last five games, the Philly center has averaged 12.2 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 2.2 bpg and 0.6 threes. It's true that Hawes was maddeningly inconsistent last year, and it's also a fact that he's facing off against Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard in his next two games, but the potential for center stats like the ones listed above does not surface often. Act accordingly.

Jason Kidd: It's a very short-term trend, but Kidd's last two games have to make frustrated owners rather happy: 11.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 8.0 apg, 2.0 spg, 2.0 threes. All of that's positive, but I'm especially encouraged by the rebounds (and of course the points after Kidd averaged just 6.8 ppg in his previous 13 games). He's absolutely capable of averaging 10 or so points with six rebounds and nine assists per game the rest of the way, but given the irritation he has caused thus far, I can understand testing his trade value after those two strong games.

Leandro Barbosa: Barbosa has posted 19.3 ppg and 2.5 threes in his last four games, and though a more realistic long-term expectation is something like 13-14 ppg and 1.5 threes, he's a very viable contributor in those two categories right now. And while it certainly helps that Jose Calderon (foot) is sidelined at the moment, there should still be 25 or so minutes per game in Barbosa's future after Calderon returns.

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Three on the Plummet:

Shane Battier: This is not to say I'm overly concerned about the Terrence Williams trade cutting into Battier's value (more on that in a second), but rather, it's an observation that Battier's scoring is reverting back toward levels we've seen in recent years (7.0 ppg in his last five games). He'll remain a solid bet for threes (1.4), steals (0.9) and blocks (1.2), but single-digit scoring games should be the norm going forward. As for the aforementioned Williams…

Terrence Williams: As I tweeted the other day, I like that the trade removed him from Avery Johnson's direct vicinity, but I don't like that he's entering a crowded SG/SF situation in Houston. And after hearing Rick Adelman tell the Houston Chronicle that "Right now, there's not obvious minutes [for Williams]" and "I'm not going to rush into anything," I'm even less optimistic about his immediate outlook. My plan is to see how things play out on Friday against Memphis before making any decisions, but I'm already expecting to drop Williams after either a DNP or limited minutes in that game. (And yes, I hope Rick Adelman plays him a lot immediately and proves me wrong, but I'm not expecting to see it.)

Tyrus Thomas: Superstitious readers of this column may believe that I jinxed Tyrus with a positive writeup back in Roundball Stew No. 5 about a month ago, and though not superstitious myself, I will admit that Thomas' game log has reverted to a maddening display of unreliability. Playing 20 minutes or less in six of his last 10 games, the backup Bobcats forward is averaging 10.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 0.6 spg and 1.5 bpg during that stretch.

In his most recent game on Wednesday, Thomas played just 18 minutes despite Gerald Wallace being sidelined due to an ankle injury. It's possible that Thomas is still limited by his recent quad trouble, but either way, it's clear that Larry Brown prefers to use him for 20 or so minutes rather than 30. His overall production is still decent enough, but the inconsistency is difficult to live with.

Three Random but Hopefully Useful Observations

1. Let's not overlook how useful Wilson Chandler is in fantasy leagues. The No.25-ranked player in eight-category leagues, Chandler's averages of 1.9 bpg and 1.7 threes make him the only player in the NBA averaging more than 1.5 of both. The only other players who are relatively close are Channing Frye (1.3 bpg, 1.9 threes), Rudy Gay (1.3 bpg, 1.4 threes) and the aforementioned Battier (1.2 bpg, 1.4 threes). Adding in 17.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg and good percentages, Chandler is a valuable option who gets overshadowed by higher-ranked teammates Amare Stoudemire and Raymond Felton.

With that in mind, I'm in the process of attempting to acquire an underrated Chandler in most of my leagues.


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Matt Stroup covers basketball, baseball and football for Rotoworld.com. You can find him on Twitter here .
Email :Matt Stroup



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