Adam Levitan

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Tuesday, February 01, 2011




NEW YORK
PG Raymond Felton
SG Landry Fields
SF Danilo Gallinari
PF Amare Stoudemire
C Ronny Turiaf

Timofey Mozgov's breakout game Sunday (23 points, 14 rebounds, 39.8 minutes) has the fantasy world buzzing. Consider me a non-believer. First of all, the Knicks played that game without Wilson Chandler (calf) and Shawne Williams (suspension). Prior to Sunday, Mozgov had recorded a DNP-CD in 15 of his last 17 games, with his two appearances coming in absolute garbage time. And perhaps most importantly, Mozgov was up against the Pistons without top post defender and rebounder Ben Wallace.

Yes, the Knicks are desperate for a true center to take some wear and tear off Amare Stoudemire. But they were just as desperate when the season started, and that is why Mozgov started nine of the first 11 games. In those nine games, however, Mozgov faceplanted: 3.6 points, 2.4 rebounds, 0.8 blocks, 14.5 minutes. The DNP-CDs quickly ensued. I'd expect a similar series of events this time around -- Mike D'Antoni gives Mozgov chance, Mozgov struggles, Mozgov falls back out of rotation.

Wilson Chandler's recent struggles can be attributed to nagging injuries (calf, wrist) and incessant trade rumors that he admits bother him. It could end up costing Chandler his starting job, but I think the breakout swingman will eventually get back on track. He fits the system too well and is too talented not to get 30 minutes nightly. Do not sell low.

ORLANDO
PG Jameer Nelson
SG Jason Richardson
SF Hedo Turkoglu
PF Brandon Bass
C Dwight Howard

At this point, we can no longer say that Ryan Anderson is just hot. We can say that he is a legit player despite Monday's clunker. Being used in the old Rashard Lewis role as a stretch four, Anderson came into Monday averaging 15.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.1 3-pointers and 1.0 blocks per night in 15 January games. The most interesting part is that Anderson has done it all as a reserve, playing a meager 24.9 minutes a game.

Will Anderson start at power forward over Brandon Bass at some point? It's possible. Coach Stan Van Gundy is not shy about making changes to his lineups and loves to play "four around one" with Dwight Howard. But we can't ignore the fact that Anderson has topped 30 minutes just once in his last 20 games. Van Gundy needs Bass' defensive presence out there often.

So we're left with 24-29 minutes nightly for Anderson, whether he is starting or not. It's not ideal, but his unique skill set combining blocks, boards and treys means we are not selling high. And if something were to happen to Bass, the sky is the limit. UPDATE: In Monday's game, Brandon Bass went down with an ankle sprain. He is day-to-day, but it looked pretty bad. Anderson will be looking at 30-35 minutes as long as Bass is out.

The Magic may be regretting their acquisition of Gilbert Arenas. He is not coming close to threatening Jameer Nelson and performed poorly on Friday when needed for extended duty. With just 21.8 minutes per game since the trade, Arenas can be dropped.

PHILADELPHIA
PG Jrue Holiday
SG Jodie Meeks
SF Andre Iguodala
PF Elton Brand
C Spencer Hawes

Coach Doug Collins loves to talk about how his best five players do not start for him. It has been a glaring fact of late. Over the last 14 games, Jodie Meeks has averaged 23.1 minutes a night while Lou Williams has been up at 26.3. Similarly, Spencer Hawes Is playing just 17.4 minutes versus 28.1 for Thaddeus Young. This is one of the few bench situations in the league where we can count on reliable production from two players.

Rookie Evan Turner's improvement has been noticeable to the naked eye. Then again, when you start at zero it’s easy to improve. After playing just 19.8 minutes a night in December -- and picking up two DNP-CDs along the way -- he earned 25.4 minutes in January. The problem is that Turner averaged just 8.4 points,4.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists in the month. His versatility will lead to some random nice lines, but his offensive game is still far too raw to even be average at the NBA level. Leave the No. 2 overall pick on waivers.

There will be plenty of talk about Andre Iguodala getting traded as the deadline approaches, but I don't see it happening now. The Sixers finally have some buzz and badly want to make the playoffs. No matter what the fans think, selling Iguodala for expiring contracts will not help and other teams will not offer real talent for Iguodala at his current salary. He is a good bet for 35-37 minutes nightly as a Sixer for the rest of the season.

TORONTO
PG Jose Calderon
SG DeMar DeRozan
SF Sonny Weems
PF Amir Johnson
C Andrea Bargnani

The laundry list of injuries to the Raptors has turned this rotation into a mess. Sonny Weems has a chance to lock down the starting small forward job with Linas Kleiza (knee) out, but Weems still appears bothered by that back ailment. Without much 3-point upside, Weems is not worth tracking.

It's very obvious that Jerryd Bayless is not a threat to Jose Calderon. Coach Jay Triano raves about Calderon, and with good reason. In 28 starts entering Monday, Calderon is averaging 11.5 points, 10.0 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.2 3-pointers on 49.1 percent shooting. Those are top-40 fantasy numbers easily.

Reggie Evans (foot) is targeting Feb. 17 for his return, meaning the end of whatever value Amir Johnson and Ed Davis had. Look for Evans to eventually get his starting job back, likely leaving Johnson as the odd man out. Davis needs to get minutes as a big part of the Raptors' future. The bottom line is that all three of these guys will cancel each other out.

WASHINGTON
PG John Wall
SG Nick Young
SF Rashard Lewis
PF Trevor Booker
C Andray Blatche

The only reason JaVale McGee didn't start on Monday night was because he missed five days of work due to the flu. Look for him to start on Tuesday, send Trevor Booker back to the bench and play his usual 27-30 minutes a night.

Without an injury to John Wall or Nick Young, we can no longer rely on Kirk Hinrich. When coming off the bench this season, he is playing just 23.3 minutes per game. It's just not enough, even for a player with an extremely fantasy-friendly game like Hinrich.

Rashard Lewis is still declining badly, but extended minutes in Washington have revived his fantasy value -- he’s playing 36.5 minutes a night as a Wizard despite soreness in his knees. Owners should be praying that he doesn't get moved again at the trading deadline as Lewis will provide mid-range value the rest of the way for the dreadful Wizards. Hold him.

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


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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