Adam Levitan

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DeAndre Decision

Tuesday, January 25, 2011




LOS ANGELES LAKERS
PG Derek Fisher
SG Kobe Bryant
SF Ron Artest
PF Pau Gasol
C Andrew Bynum

Lamar Odom's per-minute production since he became a reserve is nothing short of remarkable. He is playing six less minutes a game, but his shot attempts are actually up to 11.3 per game in 14 stints off the bench. The bottom line is that he has been more assertive offensively while playing with the second unit. So, it stands to reason that he can maintain his scoring, but I remain skeptical that his rebounds and defensive numbers will hold with these reduced minutes. I would still consider Odom a sell high.

With Andrew Bynum healthy, Pau Gasol's minutes have returned to normal levels. After averaging 39.5 minutes per game in November, Gasol is down to 35.5 in 12 January games. That has resulted in a drastic hit to his rebound and scoring numbers, taking Pau from a top-5 option to a top-15 fantasy player. Still, there's no reason to sell here. Gasol's percentages are difference-making.

MEMPHIS
PG Mike Conley
SG Sam Young
SF Rudy Gay
PF Zach Randolph
C Marc Gasol

This rotation has been among the most stable in the league ever since the O.J. Mayo demotion. The black hole of Sam Young, Tony Allen and Xavier Henry should never be trusted while Mayo is going to play 25-27 minutes nightly.

The most encouraging development is the recent play of Marc Gasol. After reaching double figures in rebounds just five times in his first 31 games, he's gotten there four times in his last 13 games. Gasol is also averaging 2.15 blocks over that span. Finally in a groove, the arrow is pointing up.

MINNESOTA
PG Luke Ridnour
SG Corey Brewer
SF Michael Beasley
PF Kevin Love
C Darko Milicic

Jonny Flynn's horrid play since coming off that hip surgery is a major concern for the Wolves. But it has been a blessing for fantasy owners, as we have not had to deal with a value-killing timeshare. Luke Ridnour is the clear starter that plays 32-35 minutes nightly. Flynn is the clear No. 2 and gets just 12-15 minutes. With Flynn showing no signs of improvement, there's no reason to sell high on Ridnour.

Corey Brewer's promotion to the starting five has to be looked at as a success. He has done exactly what we thought he would do in his last seven starts -- average 2.57 steals per game. The problem is that he has missed practice lately to be with his ailing father in Tennessee and the Wolves are committed to developing Wes Johnson. Consider Brewer a specialist that you are willing to cut bait with at any time.

Darko Milicic continues to impress anytime he isn't nicked up or in foul trouble. The problem is he suffers from those two ailments often. Still, the upside when it comes together for Milicic is too great to sit down. Despite a few clunkers, Darko is averaging 11.1 points, 5.6 boards and 2.0 blocks over his last 11 games.

NEW ORLEANS
PG Chris Paul
SG Marco Belinelli
SF Trevor Ariza
PF David West
C Emeka Okafor

Marcus Thornton still isn't starting, but he is definitely on the radar. Finally ahead of Quincy Pondexter and Willie Green in the rotation, Thornton has played 21 minutes or more in four straight games. Over that span, he is averaging 14.0 points and 2.0 3-pointers made per game. With Marco Belinelli struggling badly, Thornton's role can only grow and deep leaguers should have already added him.

OKLAHOMA CITY
PG Russell Westbrook
SG Thabo Sefolosha
SF Kevin Durant
PF Jeff Green
C Nenad Krstic

Coach Scott Brooks has been pressed recently about his starting five. Many want to see Serge Ibaka starting in place of Nenad Krstic and James Harden in there for Sefolosha. Brooks response was simple -- we are winning and I don't want to mess with my player's roles. It's a smart strategy and Brooks does not figure to stray from it no matter how well Ibaka is playing.

So, once again, we need to ignore the fact that Ibaka does not start. Over his last 10 games, Ibaka is averaging 11.4 points, 8.6 boards and 1.6 blocks on 60.7 percent shooting. It is the kind of line almost every owner needs.

Jeff Green had been really struggling with his shot over the last couple weeks, so his 8-for-13 line Monday night is highly encouraging. Green, who averaged 39.5 minutes per game in November and 37.0 in December, may have been wearing down. The All-Star break will do him well.


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Adam Levitan is in his sixth season covering football and basketball for Rotoworld. He won the Fantasy Sports Writers Association award for Best Series in 2011 and 2009, and ESPN's overall fantasy football title in 2000. Find him on Twitter.
Email :Adam Levitan



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