Adam Levitan

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Embattled Augustin

Tuesday, February 15, 2011




CLEVELAND
PG Mo Williams
SG Anthony Parker
SF Christian Eyenga
PF Antawn Jamison
C J.J. Hickson

Byron Scott has made a couple things very clear: First, he considers Mo Williams his starting point guard, no matter how well Ramon Sessions is playing. Second, he views Daniel Gibson as a scorer off the bench.

We can't be certain if the Cavs are simply showcasing Williams for a trade, but his contract is going to be extremely difficult to move. He is making $9.3 million this year and has two years and $17 million left after that. With the new CBA looming, it's hard to see a team willing to take that much money on. The same can be said for Antawn Jamison (due $15 million next season).

So, we are looking at Sessions as a backup point guard. Here is coach Byron Scott on the situation: "[Sessions'] role hasn't changed, just his minutes have changed." That is about as clear as it gets.

Even with Daniel Gibson (quad) out again, Sessions' arrow is pointing way down. In 21 starts this year, he is averaging 32.1 minutes per game. In 33 games off the bench, that number falls to 24.1. Hold Sessions through the deadline, but we will likely have to cut bait after that.

Speaking of cutting bait, Daniel Gibson's latest quad aggravation is a headache. Scott is on the record saying that he prefers Gibson off the bench no matter what, so minutes will be sporadic even when healthy. Look for anywhere from 20 to 32 minutes a night behind Anthony Parker, depending on game flow. If you can deal with the headaches, you'll get about 2.0 3-pointers per game when it is said and done.

Christian Eyenga is locked in as the starting small forward. The Cavs are high on his future and are giving him a chance to spread his wings. He won't score much despite 27-plus minutes nightly, but deep leaguers could use his steals and blocks.

DETROIT
PG Tracy McGrady
SG Rodney Stuckey
SF Tayshaun Prince
PF Greg Monroe
C Ben Wallace

In this space two weeks, ago I predicted Ben Gordon would be relegated to a sixth man role once Rodney Stuckey got healthy. Every squirrel finds a nut sometimes. Stuckey and Tracy McGrady are locked in as the starting backcourt, leaving Gordon with 24-27 minutes a night. Once T-Mac gets hurt, Stuckey would kick to point guard and Gordon would likely rejoin the starting five.

Meanwhile, Stuckey's minutes will gradually rise. Coach John Kuester sees the combo guard as his best bet to win, even when guys like Will Bynum and Gordon have it going. Look for Stuckey to settle in around 30-32 minutes the rest of the way as a low-end fantasy option.

The Pistons have chose to run with a twin towers lineup of Greg Monroe at power forward and Ben Wallace at center. It shows their commitment to developing Monroe, but it doesn't help the rookie's inconsistency. He appears bothered by playing next to Big Ben and has scored less than 10 points in each of his last four games. The good news is that we know the minutes will be here, there's room to grow.

INDIANA
PG Darren Collison
SG Mike Dunleavy
SF Danny Granger
PF Josh McRoberts
C Roy Hibbert

Interim coach Frank Vogel has used the exact same starting five in each of his eight games, producing an impressive 7-1 record. Let's look at some minutes per game over that stretch.

WINGS
Danny Granger: 34.1
Mike Dunleavy: 24.0
Paul George: 23.4
Dahntay Jones: 14.5

Note that Brandon Rush (ankle) is relatively healthy, but there is simply no room for him in the rotation with the team playing like it is right now. That leaves Mike Dunleavy and Paul George locked in a nearly even timeshare, something that figures to continue the rest of the way. George is the one to take a shot on as the player with greater upside, but he's a poor bet for difference-making stats this season. There just are not enough minutes and Rush is talented enough to fill in should Dunleavy get hurt. In standard-sized formats, this whole situation is "hands off" outside of Danny Granger.

POWER FORWARD
Josh McRoberts: 26.6
Tyler Hansbrough: 21.8

These two have settled into their roles nicely. Hansbrough has proven he can be a strong scoring option with the second unit, while McRoberts stabilizes the starters with his unselfish play. Hansbrough clearly has the better offensive game, but his lack of steals, blocks or assists is embarrassing. So with the edge in minutes likely to hold and the better fantasy game, McRoberts is the one to own here for deep leaguers.

There is not much to say about Roy Hibbert, other than it is going down just as we thought it would. In the eight games under Vogel, Hibbert is averaging 16.3 points, 7.9 boards and 1.5 blocks. He has been moved to the block and the Pacers are now playing inside-out instead of simply chucking up treys. Expect 31-33 minutes of high-end production nightly the rest of the way.

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

The Heat have started playing without a point guard on the court for huge portions of games. Over the last six games, Mario Chalmers is playing 21.9 minutes while Carlos Arroyo has a DNP-CD in five of those. Coach Erik Spoelstra is fine with using Dwyane Wade or LeBron James as his point guard as he looks toward the playoffs. Both are lined up for monster minutes.

Meanwhile, this bench continues to be a wasteland. Mike Miller will have a decent game randomly, but there is simply not enough shots to go around. Over the last eight games, he is averaging just 5.8 attempts per game. Even his roto-friendly skill set can’t survive that.

Random stat: Joel Anthony is averaging 2.6 blocks per 36 minutes.

MILWAUKEE
PG Brandon Jennings
SG John Salmons
SF Carlos Delfino
PF Ersan Ilyasova
C Andrew Bogut

Corey Maggette's back injury is not considered overly serious -- it would be a surprise if he is not ready right after the All-Star break. At that point, it will be a battle between Maggette and Carlos Delfino for minutes. Considering that the Bucks are dead last in the NBA in scoring at an anemic 91.2 points per game, they badly need someone that can create their own shot and get to the line. That man is Maggette. They also need someone to stretch the floor with 3-point shooting. That man is Delfino.

Here is a quote from coach Scott Skiles Monday night when he announced that Maggette would be out. "I want to get Carlos back in there and this gives me an opportunity to do it." There is enough room here for both players to play around 30 minutes. The Bucks will just have to sacrifice Chris Douglas-Roberts and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. Hold both Delfino and Maggette -- with Delfino as the preferred option thanks to his extreme roto-friendly game.

John Salmons is not part of the wing battle here. Much like Danny Granger in Indiana, Salmons is above the fray. Salmons has played in 75 games for the Bucks over the last 1 1/2 years, starting 70 of those. The only ones he didn't start were right after the trade and last week when he was coming off injury. He is locked in to 34-37 minutes nightly.

NEW JERSEY
PG Devin Harris
SG Anthony Morrow
SF Travis Outlaw
PF Derrick Favors
C Brook Lopez

Anthony Morrow has resumed his starting role and logging huge minutes. In his last six games heading into Monday night, the sharpshooter was averaging 11.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.8 treys per game in 34.5 minutes a night. He projects to maintain that kind of workload, making two-plus treys a night a strong bet going forward.

Meanwhile, Travis Outlaw is on the verge of losing his starting job due to ineffectiveness. Heading into Monday, Outlaw had started 50 games but was shooting 38.4 percent. It's just not good enough, and Damion James will take over as soon as he is healthy. Look for an even timeshare, with neither player emerging with any value.

Coach Avery Johnson is going to keep starting Derrick Favors, but he doesn't seem too happy about it. Here is a recent quote from Johnson: "Even next year, Favors is not going to be a stud. He's not going to be able to play 38 minutes. Who knows when? You see him every night. He's not ready." The current timeshare (20 minutes for Favors, 27 for Kris Humphries) will remain the status quo.


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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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