Adam Levitan

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Boosting Beaubois?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011




LOS ANGELES LAKERS
PG Derek Fisher
SG Kobe Bryant
SF Ron Artest
PF Pau Gasol
C Andrew Bynum

The Lakers were playing terrible basketball heading into the break, but a significant change in the rotation is unlikely. Ron Artest won't draw any real interest on the trade market, the Carmelo Anthony for Andrew Bynum rumors were never valid and the Lakers insist on bringing Lamar Odom off the bench.

So what we have is the same old story. One change down the stretch could stem from the fact that the Lakers are 9.5 games up on the Suns in the Pacific Division. Rest for Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol is a concern. That could potentially help Lamar Odom, but damage here has been done. In Odom's last eight games, he is averaging 11.7 points and 6.6 boards in just 29.2 minutes a night. For the fourth straight time in this column, we are selling high.

MEMPHIS
PG Mike Conley
SG Sam Young
SF Rudy Gay
PF Zach Randolph
C Marc Gasol

As we all know by now, Rudy Gay partially dislocated his shoulder in the Grizzlies' final game before the break and will be out at least four weeks. Even if Gay does get back at that four week mark, the Grizzlies will only have 12 games left in the season. If the Grizz slip out of the playoff race, Gay may not even come back at all. Whether you can hang on solely depends on your format.

Coach Lionel Hollins has not said who will start in place of Gay, but I expect it to be Tony Allen. O.J. Mayo was coming off the bench for a reason and the Grizz went 8-2 during his 10-game suspension. Allen has proven to be a force -- and not just on the defensive end. In eight starts this season, he is averaging 13.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.1 steals, 1.1 blocks and 0.4 treys.

So look for about 33-36 minutes out of Allen and 27-29 for Mayo. Allen has room to improve on those previously stated numbers and is a must-own in all formats. Mayo gets a little boost as well.

Sam Young had locked himself into a starting role even before Gay went down. Over the last eight games, Young was averaging 14.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 36.7 minutes a night. There's not much room for more playing time, but there is room for more shot attempts. Over that stretch, Young was putting up 12.1 field goals a night. With Gay's 16.1 attempts per night now out of the lineup, look for Young to take as many as 15 shots. Consider him a must-start in most formats.

MINNESOTA
PG Luke Ridnour
SG Martell Webster
SF Corey Brewer
PF Kevin Love
C Darko Milicic

As predicted here, Jonny Flynn is nowhere close to stealing Luke Ridnour's job. Flynn was just average as a rookie and his hip labrum repair has proven to be a major setback. Ridnour is a better in both real life and fantasy, locking him into 32-34 minutes nightly even when Flynn gets back from his little rest.

Meanwhile, Martell Webster quietly appears to have passed Wes Johnson on the depth chart. He projects as a sixth man once Michael Beasley (ankle) gets healthy, but note that Corey Brewer is likely to be dealt. In that case, Webster would start as a fantasy asset in 3-pointers. He is averaging 2.1 3-pointers per 36 minutes in his career. Just keep an eye on Webster's back -- it has been bothering him all year.

If/when the proposed trade between the Knicks and the Nuggets goes down, the Wolves will acquire Anthony Randolph. Randolph's tantalizing talent is intriguing, but we have to realize he has essentially been cut by two separate teams already. Expecting more than 20-25 minutes in an already-crowded rotation is a stretch, but deep leaguers can take a speculative look.

NEW ORLEANS
PG Chris Paul
SG Willie Green
SF Trevor Ariza
PF David West
C Jason Smith

Marco Belinelli has officially been replaced by Willie Green. It's an embarrassing turn of events for Belinelli, whose long-term outlook in the league needs to be assessed. Given every opportunity to succeed next to Chris Paul, the Italian averaged just 10.0 points and shot 40.8 percent in 51 starts this year.

As for Green, here are his numbers in seven starts this year: 14.4 points, 2.6 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 1.0 treys, 0.4 steals on 51.9 percent shooting. It's an empty statline and considering Green is a career 42.5 percent shooter, the points do not project to sustain. He's a weak option.

Note that Emeka Okafor (oblique) is questionable Wednesday, 3 1/2 weeks after his 1-3 week timetable. He should be at full strength soon and ready for his usual 31-33 minutes shortly.

OKLAHOMA CITY
PG Russell Westbrook
SG Thabo Sefolosha
SF Kevin Durant
PF Jeff Green
C Nenad Krstic

That brief crisis over Serge Ibaka's minutes is a distant memory. He has been hovering around 26 minutes per night all season and that's exactly where he will be the rest of the way. If you can't use his February numbers of 8.1 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.7 blocks, you're in the wrong league. Forget that he's not starting, the roles here are as stable as it gets in the NBA.


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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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