Adam Levitan

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Embattled Augustin

Tuesday, February 15, 2011




NEW YORK
PG Raymond Felton
SG Landry Fields
SF Danilo Gallinari
PF Wilson Chandler
C Timofey Mozgov

Coach Mike D'Antoni likes the idea of playing a true center next to Amare Stoudemire and he is intrigued by Timofey Mozgov's raw skills. As long as the big Russian does not completely faceplant, he'll start going forward. Here are Mozgov's numbers over his last four games since earning the promotion: 8.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, 26.5 minutes. Those are reasonable expectations going forward.

Amare Stoudemire's toe injury does not sound serious, but he would be wise to sit out Wednesday anyway as it is the last before the All-Star break. That means Wilson Chandler (assuming he does not get traded) would stick in the starting five for just one more game.

Owners of Chandler should be hoping for a trade to Denver. In 30 starts this year, Chandler is averaging 37.9 minutes. In 20 games off the bench, he gets 29.3. It is still enough to have value in New York, but Chandler's upside is capped as a reserve. In Denver, he would settle nicely into a starting small forward role and would not have to fight for shots with Carmelo Anthony. And if Anthony is dealt, the Nuggets would be wise to blow it up and trade Chauncey Billups/Nene as well. Hold Chandler through the deadline.

ORLANDO
PG Jameer Nelson
SG Jason Richardson
SF Hedo Turkoglu
PF Ryan Anderson
C Dwight Howard

Brandon Bass came off the bench in his return from an ankle sprain Sunday, but that won't last. In Ryan Anderson's seven starts, the Magic went just 4-3. Additionally, Anderson struggled as a starter, shooting 41.2 percent and playing 25.8 minutes. He was playing 25.0 minutes off the bench in his previous 16 games anyway.

Look for the old splits to take hold again. Anderson will play about 25 minutes while Bass will get about 27.5. Anderson is the one to own as the deadly 3-point shooter -- he will get hot again. Meanwhile, Bass averages just 12.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 0.6 blocks in 26 games as a starter this season. His game does not have much upside.

Two weeks ago, I recommended dumping Gilbert Arenas in this space. Nothing has changed. He looks lost on the court and his confidence is somehow shot. With just 20.5 minutes a night over his last seven games, there is nothing to see here.

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

Jrue Holiday is worn down physically and mentally, but his talent level is too high for fantasy owners -- or the Sixers -- to bail on. We saw that on Friday night when Holiday came out of nowhere to torch the Spurs for 27 in 37.7 minutes. The All-Star break will do him wonders and 31-33 minutes nightly down the stretch of the season is a good bet.

Andre Iguodala's new role as a point-forward, is another story. No matter what Doug Collins says, it is not a fluke that Iguodala is averaging 8.0 assists since the switch seven games ago while Holiday is at 3.7. The point guard in the Sixers' offense initiates things by passing the ball to the wing and getting it back off a down screen. Then the point guard runs a pick-and-roll up top. Iguodala simply has the ball in hands more now, sending his arrow up and Holiday's down.

Speaking of Iguodala, I highly doubt he gets traded at the deadline. After a 3-13 start, the Sixers have gone 23-15. They finally have a buzz and will make the playoffs if they keep Iguodala. This rotation -- bench roles included -- is locked in the rest of the way.

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

Leandro Barbosa has come off a hamstring injury and assumed his old role. He will play about 24 minutes off the bench nightly, leading to wild inconsistency but upside in treys and steals. Deep leaguers could do worse, especially with Linas Kleiza (knee) done for the year.

Sonny Weems is locked in as the starting small forward and will play around 30 minutes most nights, but the lack of treys is a real downer. In his last six games, Weems is averaging 10.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 0.0 3-pointers. We can do better.

The power forward spot here is interesting. Amir Johnson appeared to finally "get it," averaging 14.8 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 32.4 minutes over his last 10 games prior to Sunday. His percentages have the potential to be difference-making: 58.5 percent from the field and 80.8 from the line this season. However, sustaining this run is going to be a problem. Always playing through nagging injuries, Johnson is now dealing with ankle and back woes. Ed Davis is coming on and Reggie Evans (foot) is coming back. Johnson should hold the starting gig, but something closer to 26-28 minutes is more reasonable after the All-Star break.

I like Ed Davis' skill set, but he is not going to separate from Johnson/Evans. Still just a 21-year-old rookie, Davis needs to be brought along slowly. Expecting more than 22-24 minutes nightly is reaching.

WASHINGTON
PG John Wall
SG Nick Young
SF Josh Howard
PF Andray Blatche
C JaVale McGee

Rashard Lewis' knee woes are a major concern. He is 31 years old and playing for a team that is 15-38. Why force it through painful tendinitis? The situation has (coincidentally?) gotten progressively worse since Lewis joined the Wizards, and a shutdown is possible. Limited minutes and days offs on back-to-backs are likely, especially with Lewis admitting that he will need an offseason scope.

Enter Josh Howard. Coach Flip Saunders ditched the idea of a three-guard lineup by bring Kirk Hinrich off the bench Sunday, but Hinrich still played 29.2 minutes. Howard played 25.1. That figures to be a reasonable split as long as Lewis is out -- Howard has had complications in his recovery from ACL surgery and will not push 30 minutes per game at any point this year. Unless Lewis completely shuts it down, Howard won't be worth the headache.

Meanwhile, Hinrich's minutes and production are more stable. Even when Rashard Lewis plays, Hinrich gets plenty of burn as the third guard. Over the last six games, Hinrich is averaging 12.2 points, 3.7 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.2 treys. He's the one to add despite the bench role.

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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