Matt Stroup

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Bragging Wright

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Week 12 challenge: Write a 12-word intro to this column.



Three on the Rise:

Darren Collison: He brought many fantasy owners great anger during the first two months of the season, but let us not ignore Collison's spike in productivity of late. In his last six games, the Pacers PG has averaged 17.2 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 6.5 apg, 1.7 spg and 0.8 threes. That may not be what you expected when you drafted him, but at least he's looking solid and productive in his current allotment of 30 or so minutes a night.

Trevor Ariza: We'll give Ariza a cameo in the most complimentary section of this column, because based on his January stats (14.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.8 spg, 1.5 threes on 52.2 percent shooting), he is technically on the rise. But make no mistake, Ariza is still a bad shooter, still shooting too many threes (4.3 per game this month) and will sabotage your field goal percentage over the long run. He is worth owning right now based on the combo of points, threes and steals, but if I were looking for those stats, I would personally prefer a Leandro Barbosa (more on him below).

Greg Monroe: In his last four games (one start), the No. 7 overall pick in last year's draft has posted 13.5 ppg, 11.5 rpg and 2.3 spg in 34 minutes per night. Known as a good passer, Monroe hasn't yet incorporated that into his NBA repertoire (just three assists total in his last four games) and isn't blocking shots (only three total in his last 12 games). But for points and rebounds with the upside for production in other categories, Monroe should be vacating the waiver wire in most competitive leagues right now.

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Three on the Plummet:

Richard Jefferson: R.J. in January (seven games): 9.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.9 apg, 0.4 spg and 1.3 threes, punctuated by a scoreless 28 minutes on Wednesday night. On the whole, he's just decent enough to convince you that he's worth a roster spot, but maddening to the point that you likely consider dropping him every day.

Keyon Dooling: Though averaging 27 minutes per game this month, his numbers in January (6.3 ppg, 5.0 apg, 0.7 spg, 0.8 threes on 35.9 percent shooting) have been atrocious. Forget using him as a handcuff to Brandon Jennings and look for value elsewhere.

Roy Hibbert: Unlike Jefferson and Dooling (two players I would find it therapeutic to jettison to waivers), I place Hibbert here as a means of encouragement. Yes, his minutes are down (22 per game this month). Yes, his shooting has been bad lately (37.0 percent in January). However, despite those issues, he's still posting 9.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg and 1.2 bpg in the calendar year 2011, which is actually considered thriving in the Tyson Chandler household. Stay patient with Hibbert and it will get better.

Three Random but Hopefully Useful Observations

1. Though he operates quietly, Dorell Wright is something of a statistical wrecking ball. For the season, he's No. 30 in Basketball Monster's eight-category rankings, and over the last month, Wright's 19.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1.9 spg, 0.6 bpg and 3.1 threes rank him 12th overall. I ran directly into his 27-7-4 line with three steals, two blocks and five threes in one of my main leagues on Wednesday (which, for the record, was not pleasant), and would legitimately rank him as a top-25 option going forward. And speaking of the Warriors…

2. Buy low on Stephen Curry while you still can. The preseason first-round pick has posted a relatively quiet 14.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 5.7 apg, 2.3 spg and 1.5 threes in six games so far this month, numbers that rank him No. 26 overall on Basketball Monster's leaderboard for eight-category leagues. However, his very reachable upside for the second half of the season remains the top 10, and it's possible that mild frustration has set in for owners who have been carrying Curry on their roster this whole time.

3. The Baron Davis rejuvenation is in full effect. Davis (13.2 ppg, 8.3 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.7 bpg, 0.8 threes in his last 10) looked highly energized en route to a 20-4-9 line in Wednesday's win over the Heat, even shedding his current ground-bound ways at one point for an emphatic dunk. Though still not accurate from outside, his vision and scoring touch are very much in tact, and the only thing that's going to derail his productivity at this point is an injury.

10 Quick-Hitting Statements of Fact and/or Opinion

1) Leandro Barbosa since Dec. 10 (16 games): 16.4 ppg, 3.1 apg, 1.4 spg, 1.8 threes. He needs to be owned right now in all but the most shallow of leagues.

2) Kris Humphries since Derrick Favors became a starter (four games): 16.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 1.0 bpg, 29 minutes. Derrick Favors since Derrick Favors became a starter: 10.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.5 bpg, 20 minutes. Point, Humphries.

3) The aforementioned Tyson Chandler has seen a nice rise in scoring this month (12.0 ppg with 11.0 rpg and 1.2 bpg through six games), but those points will likely take a dip downward once Dirk Nowitzki returns.

4) Boris Diaw under the Paul Silas regime (eight games): 9.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 4.5 apg, 1.1 spg, 1.1 bpg, 1.1 threes. Those are actually solid numbers, but unfortunately the coaching change doesn't appear to have fully awakened Diaw's oft-dormant offensive aggressiveness.

5) Not that his slump was ever that bad, but Pau Gasol is officially rolling again after averaging 19.5 ppg, 13.0 rpg, 4.3 apg, 1.8 spg and 1.3 bpg in his last four games.

6) Nice to see Ben Gordon score 25 points off the bench on Wednesday. But the fact that he only got 23 minutes and had averaged just 5.7 ppg in his last three are reminders of why he still belongs on waivers.

7) Vince Carter has taken on a Jason Richardson-style shooter's role in Phoenix, averaging 17.9 ppg and 2.4 threes in his first eight games with the Suns. Don't expect much in any other category, but it's a definite improvement on his statistical upside in Orlando.

8) When getting 25-plus minutes this season (three games), Marreese Speights has posted 13.7 ppg, 8.3 rpg and 1.0 bpg. I'm not convinced that the Sixers see him as a long-term answer, but with Spencer Hawes struggling, Speights is worth a close look – especially in deeper leagues.

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9) Three scoring surges from Wednesday that I noticed but will ultimately be disregarding outside of deep leagues: Shawne Williams (25 points, seven threes), C.J. Miles (24 points, four threes), Raja Bell (18 points, four threes).

10) Jodie Meeks has bounced back to average 16.0 ppg and 3.0 threes in his last three, but we've seen these kinds of short-term outbursts from him before, and as much as I want to buy in, I ultimately don't trust him any further than I can throw a life-sized replica of a woolly mammoth.

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