Adam Levitan

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Hibbert's Hop

Tuesday, February 01, 2011




CLEVELAND
PG Ramon Sessions
SG Manny Harris
SF Christian Eyenga
PF Antawn Jamison
C J.J. Hickson

Mo Williams' hip injury may very well be serious, but I can guarantee you he isn't rushing back. The Cavs have lost a jaw-dropping 21 straight games and Williams wants no part of this team. He will be a prime candidate to get traded, the question is simply if anyone wants his bloated contract. Consider Williams a hold through the Feb. 24 trading deadline.

The debate between Daniel Gibson and Manny Harris really should not be a debate at all. But without Williams, the Cavs have no backup point guard. Additionally, Gibson's string of nagging injuries has marred any momentum he had gained. Gibson will still play 28-30 minutes nightly off the bench and bang a ton of treys, but his upside is now capped by Harris. The arrow is down here outside of a 3-point specialist.

DETROIT
PG Tracy McGrady
SG Ben Gordon
SF Tayshaun Prince
PF Chris Wilcox
C Greg Monroe

Ben Gordon's situation is difficult to decipher, mostly because it all revolves around him making shots. When Richard Hamilton was first benched back on Dec. 19, Gordon was presented with a starting opportunity for 10 straight games. But he went cold, averaging just 11.5 points on 43-of-112 (38.3 percent) shooting. That resulted in a trip back to the pine as coach John Kuester went to a backcourt of Tracy McGrady and Rodney Stuckey.

Gordon's back-to-back big games have come with Stuckey (shoulder) out. It's also worth noting that the Pistons have lost both those games -- Gordon scored 35 points against the Knicks Sunday but Detroit lost by 18 points. Look for Stuckey to regain the starting job once healthy, leaving Gordon in a sixth man role again. He is worth a stash while we wait for an inevitable Tracy McGrady injury, but today is a good sell-high point on Gordon.

Kuester's handling of Austin Daye is maddening. Every time the youngster gets real minutes, he produces big shots. And with the Pistons at 17-31, Kuester should be playing all his young players through their inevitable mistakes. It's clear Kuester fears for his job -- and rightfully so. It appears only a coaching change will give Daye reliable minutes.

Quick note on Greg Monroe: He is locked in as the starter ahead of Ben Wallace, but that does not mean he is not affected by Wallace's presence. In the last three games that Wallace has played, Monroe has averaged 27.3 minutes. In the last eight games Wallace has not played, Monroe has averaged 34.8 minutes.

MIAMI
PG Mario Chalmers
SG Dwyane Wade
SF LeBron James
PF Chris Bosh
C Zydrunas Ilgauskas

Finally back at full strength, the Big Three is ready to sap the fantasy life out of all their teammates. If Mike Miller were on the Warriors, he would be a top-30 fantasy player. On the Heat, he is a weak play. Coming into Monday, LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade combined to take 50.8 shots per game. The Heat take just 77.1 shots per game as a team. Don't get tempted by random big games from Miller, James Jones, Eddie House, Zydrunas Ilgauskus or Joel Anthony.

Mario Chalmers promotion into the permanent starter's role is interesting, but all his value is tied up in 3-point shots. On the Heat, he does not get enough of those looks to be a factor. Like the previously mentioned players, he'll have a big night here or there but is not worth chasing those stats.

MILWAUKEE
PG Keyon Dooling
SG Carlos Delfino
SF Corey Maggette
PF Ersan Ilyasova
C Andrew Bogut

Brandon Jennings (foot) is looking really healthy and will resume starting shortly -- probably as soon as Wednesday against the Suns. He's a lock for 36-plus minutes every night, making Keyon Dooling a safe drop.

The constant injuries to the Bucks swingmen make this rotation unsettled. It's clear that John Salmons will start when healthy, but no one knows exactly when that will be. Meanwhile, Carlos Delfino is finally back and playing big minutes. It will be a battle between him and Corey Maggette for burn, with Maggette likely owning the early edge. Take a "wait and see" approach with both while keeping in mind that Delfino's has a very fantasy-friendly game.

Even if Drew Gooden can ever get his foot right, it's obvious that Ersan Ilyasova is the man for the power forward spot. He started all 16 games in January and came into Monday night averaging 11.6 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.2 steals. There is much more upside than that for the glue guy thanks to his 3-point range.

NEW JERSEY
PG Devin Harris
SG Stephen Graham
SF Travis Outlaw
PF Derrick Favors
C Brook Lopez

Although Anthony Morrow is clearly one of the Nets' best five players, he is still coming off the bench. Coach Avery Johnson is hinting that could role stick as he needs Morrow's shooting with the second unit. Already a fringe player when playing starter's minutes, Morrow is now really borderline. Even when he was playing 35 minutes a night earlier this season, the sharpshooter was averaging 1.3 assists, 3.2 rebounds, 0.3 steals and 0.2 blocks. He is a simple 3-point specialist.

The Derrick Favors vs. Kris Humphries situation is not going to change. The Nets are committed to developing Favors and will continue to start him. Just note that entering Monday, Favors was playing 20.8 minutes since his promotion 14 games ago. Over that same span, Hunphries was playing 26.5 minutes. I would certainly rather own Humphries, but neither is very appetizing.

No, I am not buying Travis Outlaw's monster game Monday night. In his previous 15 games, he averaged 7.8 points and 5.1 rebounds on 37.9 percent shooting. That's the real Travis Outlaw.


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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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