Adam Levitan

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Boosting Beaubois?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It's rare that a championship quality team tinkers with their starting five this late in the season. The Spurs, Lakers, Celtics and Heat all are locked and loaded for the most part. But credit has to be given to Dallas and coach Rick Carlisle for being willing to change at this juncture. In the last two weeks, he has changed 40 percent of his starting lineup and sent ripples through his rotation.

Coaches are constantly tinkering, toying and yanking around with rotations. Sometimes it has to do with injuries. In other instances, it's a result of ineffective play from a certain player. The effect this has on minutes played and thus statistical production is where we come in.

Each week in this space, I'll explore the rotations of half the league's teams while attempting to get inside coaches' heads. The idea is not to tell you what Kevin Durant and LeBron James are going to do -- it's to decipher how much production we can get out of fringe players. Last week, I hit the East. Let's start this week off with the Mavericks, where Roddy Beaubois and Peja Stojakovic find themselves starting.

* Note that lineups listed reflect the starters in the team's previous game. Stats are through Monday's games unless otherwise noted.

PG Jason Kidd
SG Roddy Beaubois
SF Peja Stojakovic
PF Dirk Nowitzki
C Tyson Chandler

Roddy Beaubois projects as the Mavs' starting shooting guard for the rest of the season. It's an easy decision -- Roddy B is a Ferrari and DeShawn Stevenson is a Pinto. However, we need to keep minute projections in check despite the starting status.

The Mavs prefer to bring Jason Terry off the bench -- but play him starter's minutes. Terry is playing 32.2 minutes per game this year and has played no less than 33 minutes per game in four of the previous five seasons. He's going to get his. J.J. Barea has also been playing at a high level of late. He is averaging 24.5 minutes per game over his last eight contests.

So what we have is about 26-29 minutes available for Beaubois. It's certainly enough for him to be worth an add in most formats thanks to his high shooting volume and 3-point/steal upside. But expecting much more than 12-14 points per game the rest of the way is a stretch for a 22-year-old kid that hasn't played since August.

Meanwhile, Peja Stojakovic has settled into his starting small forward role and produced about how we expected. He'll hover around 20 minutes nightly and jack up 4-5 treys per game. But without any defensive, assist or rebounding numbers, Peja is a just a weak specialist. His current 9.7 points and 1.5 treys a game should be the norm until his knees give out.

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PG Chauncey Billups
SG Arron Afflalo
SF Carmelo Anthony
PF Kenyon Martin
C Nene

The biggest thing we can take from the entire Carmelo Anthony mess is that the Nuggets will be turning the keys over to Ty Lawson. Even when they get Raymond Felton, they plan on moving him along immediately. It's a wise move as Felton is ready to play right now.

In 14 career starts, Lawson is averaging 16.4 points, 5.9 assists, 3.2 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.2 3-pointers per game. The scary part is that those numbers can get even better as he is still getting used to the NBA game. Lawson should be nowhere near any waiver wires at this point as he stares 32-34 minutes a night in the face.

Here is a projected Knicks rotation if/when the trade goes down: Chauncey Billups, Landry Fields, Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Timofey Mozgov. Carmelo and Billups take small hits from playing with another superstar, but that will be canceled out by coach Mike D'Antoni's up-tempo offense.

As for projecting the Nuggets rotation A.C. (after Carmelo), it is an exercise in futility. Once the Melo bomb drops, Nene, J.R. Smith, Al Harrington, any Knicks they get and more are all likely to be moved. It's going to be one giant mess that we can only follow as it unfolds.

PG Stephen Curry
SG Monta Ellis
SF Dorell Wright
PF David Lee
C Andris Biedrins

Stephen Curry is not ready to guard the best point guards in the NBA and it is showing in foul trouble. Deron Williams, Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups have each saddled him with fouls over the last five games, leading to three sub-30 minute nights. It's a concern, but there is no reason to panic. Curry's game is just so unbelievably roto-friendly that it is worth riding out his youth for the top-5 upside.

There was some thought that Andris Biedrins had turned the corner. Nope. With averages of 3.8 points, 7.0 rebounds and 0.8 blocks in his last eight games, it's clear he has not. The only reason he is still starting and getting 20-22 minutes nightly is that Ekpe Udoh is not ready to play yet. Biedrins is also still starting because the Warriors have also won seven of their last nine games despite his ineffectiveness. This is a situation to avoid.

PG Kyle Lowry
SG Kevin Martin
SF Shane Battier
PF Luis Scola
C Chuck Hayes

The Rockets are expected to be one of the more active teams at the trading deadline, although Aaron Brooks rumors have been slim to none. At this point, a trade to somewhere he could get playing time would be a surprise. Names more likely to be dealt include Shane Battier, Jared Jeffries and the expiring contract of Yao Ming.

The goal would be to bring back some size. Chuck Hayes is doing his best, but at 6-foot-6 he is not a realistic long-term option. Hayes has played 25 minutes or fewer in each of his last three games, losing minutes to Jordan Hill, Patrick Patterson and Brad Miller. The odds of Hayes regaining those 30-plus minutes are low -- feel free to cut bait.

PG Baron Davis
SG Randy Foye
SF Ryan Gomes
PF Blake Griffin
C DeAndre Jordan

Chris Kaman was not expected back until the end of February or early March. Then, out of nowhere, he popped up for 9.5 minutes in the final game before the All-Star break. The line was impressive, even though it came against the Wolves: Four points, six rebounds, three blocks. So now the question is what will become of the Kaman/DeAndre Jordan situation?

Jordan appeared to hit a wall over the last two weeks. In nine February games, he averaged just 6.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks while seeing his minutes sink to 28.1 a night. That's not him, he's a better player than that. But the Clippers lost seven of those nine games and Jordan is taking some of the blame.

Look for Kaman to ramp up his minutes slowly. Jordan will likely continue to start and get his 26-28 minutes while Kaman makes sure his ankle soreness doesn't linger. If Jordan doesn't snap out of his funk, Kaman would take over at that point. There is enough room for both to play around 28 minutes, making both well worth owning in fantasy. Remember that just one year ago, Kaman averaged 18.5 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks.

Although Jordan took some of the blame for the recent losing streak, most of it is being blamed on Eric Gordon's (wrist) absence. Since Randy Foye took over as a starter, the Clips are 4-11. As soon as Gordon is ready, he'll get back in the starting lineup and relegate Foye to waiver wire fodder. But with Gordon likely out another week, owners may as well ride out Foye. He is averaging an obscene 36.3 minutes per game as a starter.

Editor's Note: For weekly projections, daily pickup advice, exclusive columns and much more, check out Rotoworld's Season Pass!

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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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