Matt Stroup

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Fresh Blatche

Thursday, January 20, 2011


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Three on the Rise:

Daniel Gibson: Finally back from his ankle injury, Gibson returned 16 points, four threes, a steal and two blocks in 30 minutes off the bench on Wednesday. Never mind that the Cavs are horrendous � points, threes and steals (if accompanied by a slight hindrance in field goal percentage) are going to be very plentiful from Gibson going forward, and he needs to be on a roster and in active lineups in virtually all formats.

Corey Maggette: Last three games: 20.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.3 apg, 0.7 spg, 0.7 threes. He's not a valid source of threes or steals (averaging just 0.2 of both on the season) and it doesn't help that Carlos Delfino (concussion) is nearing a return, but Maggette is otherwise worth an add for scoring and percentages. (And since I mentioned Delfino, my quick take on him is that he needs to be watched closely. Getting into rhythm may take a while, but he has the potential to reestablish a prominent role in Milwaukee.)

Chuck Hayes: I can't believe I'm writing this, but I actually added Hayes in one of my main leagues after seeing him post 8.8 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.5 spg and 1.3 bpg in his first four games back from an ankle injury. His game is not dynamic to watch and I would be surprised if he keeps those numbers up, but owners in need of a serviceable and somewhat versatile center could certainly do worse at the moment. And for the record, Hayes' free throw stroke currently looks a lot better than it used to.

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Three on the Plummet:

James Harden: I was fully in support of adding him when he was playing well, but whether because of the injured fingers on his shooting hand or simply an unrelated dip in playing time, Harden's stock has plummeted drastically in January. Averaging just 7.5 ppg in 22 minutes over his last six games, his recent dip in production warrants an immediate drop and search for help elsewhere.

Stephen Curry: This is obviously a very different kind of plummeting than that pertaining to Harden, but Curry's recent hit in value still needs to be addressed. First, the bad news: He has lost some minutes lately due to defensive issues and is clearly not the team's first or second option (that would be Monta Ellis and Monta Ellis). But with that said, it's not all terrible. Even while struggling, Curry is still averaging 15.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 5.7 apg, 1.9 spg and 1.8 threes in January, numbers that place him 25th overall in Basketball Monster's eight-category rankings this month. My stance on this remains to stay patient.

Paul Millsap: If the other owners in your league have a tendency to get impatient quickly, Millsap's last three games (9.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg) make him a nice short-term buy-low option. Quite simply, he's just four games removed from a huge 27-10-4 line and has too steady a game to struggle for any prolonged stretch.

Three Random but Hopefully Useful Observations

1. Last year's Andray Blatche is back (sort of). Okay, so maybe it's not quite the same Blatche who memorably averaged 21.5 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 5.1 apg and 1.4 spg in April 2010, but the oft-frustrating Wiz PF has posted a formidable 20.3 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 1.7 apg, 2.7 spg and 1.7 bpg in his last three. It was a somewhat maddening first couple months of the season, but Blatche's season stats remain solid (16.5 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 1.5 spg, 0.8 bpg) and there's still room to improve.

2. Lamar Odom: Holding steady. I was among those anticipating a notable drop in production with the return of Andrew Bynum, but Odom's loss has been far less pronounced than I anticipated. Even with Bynum starting and averaging 27 minutes per game this month, Mr. Kardashian has averaged 14.4 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 2.3 apg, 0.8 spg, 1.0 bpg and 0.9 threes in 29 minutes per game this month. Last year's precedent suggested that his scoring dropoff would be more drastic, but it hasn't happened that way and at this point I'm reasonably convinced he can keep it up.

3. Grant Hill's recent scoring binge is impressive � and totally unsustainable. Don't get me wrong � Hill is a useful source of points and percentages regardless, but his recent run of 24.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg and 1.3 threes in his last three games cannot last. He torched two very generous defenses in New York and Cleveland this week, but shouldn't be considered more than a 15.0 ppg scorer going forward.

10 Quick-Hitting Statements of Fact and/or Opinion

1) Samuel Dalembert's 10.0 ppg, 7.4 rpg and 1.8 bpg in his last five looks appealing, but I'm not in any rush to add him and still expect maddening inconsistency in the long run.

2) Ryan Anderson would have made the "Three on the Rise" list above, but presumably he's already gone in most competitive leagues after posting 14.1 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.0 bpg and 2.9 threes in January.

3) I don't know exactly what Rick Adelman is planning for the Houston PG situation, but it's feeling more and more like Kyle Lowry (16.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 5.5 apg, 1.3 spg, 1.2 threes in his last six games) is not about to surrender his value any time soon.

4) Normally limited to scoring and threes, Nick Young (22.3 ppg, 2.3 threes in January) has upped his playmaking acumen this month (2.8 apg) after averaging just 0.7 apg through his first 30 games.

5) Greatly enjoyed Boris Diaw's 25-11-11 line on Monday, but his 12-2-2 line one day later underscored that it was, unfortunately, a wonderful fluke.

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6) Andris Biedrins has hit double figures in scoring just twice in 32 games this year, and has posted an ugly 4.7 ppg and 5.4 rpg (with 1.7 bpg) this month. Unless you're truly desperate for blocks, the GSD (Golden State Dalembert) does not need to be occupying a spot on your roster.

7) I wouldn't offer Jason Kidd up in a trade immediately after his 21-point, 10-assist, five-three game Wednesday. Seems too desperate. Wait until he has logged a few useful games in a row, then shop him.

8) After shooting 10-for-53 (18.9 percent) on threes in his first 19 games, Baron Davis has hit 13-for-33 (39.4 percent) through his first eight games of January.

9) He was visibly in pain, but Eric Gordon otherwise looked great playing through the torn ligament in his finger on Wednesday. Based on his willingness and effectiveness in playing with only nine fingers on Wednesday, fantasy owners should feel reasonably confident that he can continue to play through the injury effectively.

10) Even with the slight 8-for-13 setback from the line on Wednesday, Blake Griffin (27.8 ppg, 13.6 rpg, 4.3 apg this month) is shooting a much-improved 68.8 percent on free throws this month. Going forward, I still think 70-plus percent is a realistic expectation.

(And yes, as you may have gathered from the last three observations, I have probably watched too many Clippers games this year.)


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