Adam Levitan

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DeAndre Decision

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

PG Steve Nash
SG Vince Carter
SF Grant Hill
PF Channing Frye
C Robin Lopez

Coach Alvin Gentry has stayed true to his word, not tinkering with his lineup at all over the last couple weeks. What he has done, however, is have a quick hook with starting center Robin Lopez. Lopez has played 16 minutes or fewer in five straight games, allowing Marcin Gortat to play near-starters minutes. Still, as we saw Monday night, both centers can get lost in the shuffle when the Suns either get behind or play a team that goes small. Gortat is the player to own here as the better rebounder and shot blocker, but be prepared for some clunkers.

Vince Carter's usage since becoming a Sun is highly encouraging. Coach Alvin Gentry is on the record saying he needs Carter to take 15-20 shots per game and the veteran is playing 33 minutes a night since the trade. That's three more than he was playing in Orlando and he's getting three more shots up per game in Phoenix. If you can handle the field goal percentage, Carter is worth starting for his treys and points -- he is playing the role Jason Richardson used to.

PG Andre Miller
SG Wesley Matthews
SF Nicolas Batum
PF LaMarcus Aldridge
C Joel Przybilla

The injury to Marcus Camby's knee is reportedly not as severe as originally thought, meaning he should be held in most formats. Joel Przybilla and Dante Cunningham are proving that they can not replace him by any stretch of the imagination, and the Blazers are capable of hanging at the No. 8 seed in the West over the next two weeks. Whatever athleticism Przbilla had has been sapped by knee surgeries as he is no longer a shot-blocking threat. After swatting 1.8 a game as a starter last year, Przybilla had just one in his first two starts this year.

When Rudy Fernandez is making shots, he can put up huge fantasy lines. When his jumper is off, he rides the pine. That makes Fernandez a risky play as a streak shooter. Meanwhile, Nicolas Batum has coach Nate McMillan's faith no matter what. That's because Batum plays defense and is viewed as the prize of the Blazers' organization. Now a lock for 36-plus minutes nightly, Batum is a favorite to be one of the second half's true breakout stars in fantasy.

PG Beno Udrih
SG Tyreke Evans
SF Omri Casspi
PF Jason Thompson
C DeMarcus Cousins

Paul Westphal's decision to roll with Omri Casspi in place of Francisco Garcia (calf) is interesting. While Donte Greene provided just 8.3 points and 4.0 rebounds in 20 starts, Casspi has a skill we can all use: 3-point shooting. In nine starts heading into Monday night, Casspi was attempting 5.8 treys per game and converting at a very solid 38.5 percent clip. Casspi is also rapidly improving as a rebounded. In the last five games which Casspi has gotten 30 minutes or more, he is averaging 9.8 boards a night. Players often lose their starting jobs to injury under Westphal, so Casspi is a candidate to stick. He just needs to produce at a better rate than he did Monday night.

We advised to buy low on Tyreke Evans in this space last time around, and hopefully you were able to do so. With his foot finally looking healthy and a procedure on his plantar fasciitis no longer being considered, Evans is regaining his form. Over his last nine games prior to Monday, the reigning Rookie of the Year is averaging 19.4 points, 6.7 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 2.9 steals.

The Kings are not going to let Samuel Dalembert derail DeMarcus Cousins' growth. Dalembert's contract is up after this season and at age 30, he is not part of the future. Cousins has shown raw signs of being an All-Star down the line and will get as many minutes as his attitude/foul trouble allows. The arrow on Cousins is still pointing up.

PG Tony Parker
SG Manu Ginobili
SF Richard Jefferson
PF Tim Duncan
C DeJuan Blair

Richard Jefferson has predictably regressed back to the form that made him a liability a year ago. As his jumper has gone wayward, his confidence has been shot. Heading into Monday night, Jefferson was averaging just 7.1 shot attempts per game in 12 January contests. He averaged 9.7 attempts a night in the previous 30 games. If Jefferson is gun shy, he can not help your fantasy team due to a lack of defensive stats, assists or rebounds. Heck, even Jefferson's free-throw percentage is down to 73 percent. Dump him.

DeJaun Blair's minutes are impossible to predict. He has been helped by the absence of Matt Bonner (knee), but Gregg Popovich does not hesitate to have a quick hook with Blair. In the last month, he has played less than 15 minutes four times. He has played more than 30 minutes twice. Without any blocks upside, only deep leaguers should deal with the inconsistency.

PG Deron Williams
SG Raja Bell
SF Gordon Hayward
PF Paul Millsap
C Al Jefferson

After sticking with the same starting five for the first 43 games of the season, coach Jerry Sloan finally made a move on Saturday. With the Jazz riding a three-game losing streak, he inserted Gordon Hayward as a starter at small forward ahead of Andrei Kirilenko. That resulted in a nine-point loss to the 19-25 Sixers. So now, Sloan may be back to the drawing board. His options are going back to AK47, sticking with the unimpressive Hayward, or turning to his best shooter off the bench, C.J. Miles.

I'd expect Kirilenko to eventually get his starting job back. As the best defender of the group (and one of the best in the league), he is best used against the opposition's first unit. He is also a plus-passer, unlike Hayward and Miles. Once the dust on this brutal five-game road trip settles, look for Kirilenko to get back to his usual 31-33 minutes a night. But until that happens, Kirilenko is just a stash in fantasy. Bench players rarely play more than 24-26 minutes for Sloan, and Kirilenko's history as a reserve does not suggest otherwise.

The idea of Miles in the starting five is intriguing. During last year's playoffs, Miles started all 10 games and averaged 14.4 points and 1.5 3-pointers a contest. But Sloan continues to lament Miles' inability to defend, so any promotion would likely be short term.

Follow Adam Levitan on Twitter for instant news and reaction to changes in NBA depth charts throughout the week.

Adam Levitan is in his seventh 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.
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