Matt Stroup

Roundball Stew

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Stew: Baron Landscape

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Given the events of this week (something about Carmelo Anthony, Deron Williams, Devin Harris, Baron Davis, Kendrick Perkins and, of course, Shelden Williams! among the thousands of names getting traded), this will be a post-trade deadline-minded edition of the Stew (assuming yours truly can piece together his mind after the madness of Thursday afternoon). Let us begin…

TRENDSPOTTING

Three on the Rise:

Kirk Hinrich, Hawks: His numbers as a starter this season aren't all that spicy (11.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 5.3 apg, 1.3 spg and 0.7 threes in 28 games), but many of those starts occurred playing alongside John Wall. And when Wall was out for 12 games in November and December, Hinrich averaged 13.0 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 6.8 apg, 1.6 spg and 0.5 threes. Reaching those numbers with Atlanta may not be realistic, but something close (and an increase from the 0.5 threes) is reasonable to expect, which makes The Maneuver (a.k.a. The Hinrich Maneuver, a.k.a. Captain Kirk, a.k.a. Kirk Diggler) essentially a must-add.

Chase Budinger, Rockets: With Shane Battier headed to Memphis, Budinger is the presumed starting small forward in Houston, and when getting 25-plus minutes this season (which has happened 11 times), he has averaged 14.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.2 apg, 0.8 spg and 1.6 threes (including a 30-point game on Wednesday night). As for those who inquire about Terrence Williams emerging, he has played in exactly three games in the last six weeks, so I'll believe him becoming a regular part of the rotation when I see it.

James Johnson, Raptors: Johnson surprisingly started at SF in his first game in Toronto, finishing with nine points, five rebounds and three blocks in 26 minutes. Though that's not a wildly exciting line, I personally think Johnson is far closer to a must-add than people may realize. When playing 25-plus minutes last season as a rookie (which happened seven times), Johnson averaged 11.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.0 apg, 0.9 spg, 1.7 bpg and 0.9 threes. The combination of threes and defensive stats is downright appealing, and he's likely available in a ton of leagues. Make the move.

And one more notable name who didn't get traded but also sees his value rise…

Kris Humphries: Lost somewhat in the surprise of Wednesday's Deron Williams trade is that the departure of Derrick Favors to Utah leaves Humphries with very little competition for minutes at PF. Yes, I realize that the Nets are bringing in Brandan Wright, but this is a Brandan who puts the "br" in "brittle," having appeared in no more than 39 games since being drafted in 2007. With few obstacles to 30-plus minutes, Humphries should be able to land in the 10.0 ppg, 10.0 rpg and 1.0 bpg range going forward.

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Three on the Plummet:

Baron Davis, Cavs: What has happened to Baron in the last 10 or so days pretty much epitomizes plummeting. After posting 17.1 ppg, 7.6 apg, 1.9 spg and 1.6 threes in his previous 21 games, he went for an ugly 4.0 ppg and 5.0 apg on a gimpy knee in two games before sitting out Wednesday. Making matters considerably worse, he was then dealt to Cleveland, where he'll have even less incentive to gut it out for a 10-47 team.

On a positive note (because we try to be optimistic whenever possible here in Stew Country), Vinny Del Negro told the L.A. Times prior to Wednesday's trade, "Let me see if he can get some rest and see if he responds a little bit better and get him out there for Friday." Based on that quote it's possible that Davis isn't that far from returning, but it's also possible he gets into a Mo Williams state of mind and decides he can't motivate to suit up with any regularity in Cleveland. It's a messy situation, and unfortunately, the most logical move for the moment is to wait and hope it somehow gets better.

Jeff Green: Pretty miserable turn of events for Green, who goes from useful starter in Oklahoma City to likely backup for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in Boston. It's possible that the Celtics will go small and shift Garnett to center, but more likely that Green will come off the bench with Shaquille O'Neal reportedly due back soon (and with the Celtics in pursuit of Troy Murphy). It's probably worth waiting to confirm that the Celtics are bringing Green off the bench before making any major decisions, but his value appears to have taken a measurable hit and he could be on the verge of droppable quite soon.

O.J. Mayo: He was so, so close to getting out of Memphis and into a perfect situation to start at shooting guard in Indianapolis. But the trade didn't materialize, and now he's awkwardly stuck in Memphis and still a fringe option at best in standard-sized leagues.

THREE RANDOM BUT HOPEFULLY USEFUL OBSERVATIONS

1. I wish Sacramento looked like a better fit for Marcus Thornton. Don't get me wrong – pretty much anywhere is better for Thornton than New Orleans at this point, but I'm still not certain that Paul Westphal is going to immediately give him the 25-30 minutes he needs. Jermaine Taylor (13.7 ppg in his last three) is still in the mix at SG with Tyreke Evans sidelined, and Taylor's presence plus Westphal's unpredictability leave Thornton as an intriguing flier, but not a must-add.

2. Chuck Hayes is not done yet. Even though Rick Adelman cut his minutes for three consecutive games before and after the All-Star break, Hayes has still averaged 9.8 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 2.7 apg, 1.6 spg and 0.7 bpg in February, and bounced back with a 12-17-4 line on Wednesday. Furthermore, and more importantly, the trade deadline passed without the Rockets adding a big man, giving Hayes a clear path to start at center going forward.

3. I'm still keeping a close watch on Shawne Williams. He was the first Knicks big man off the bench on Wednesday, finishing with eight points, six rebounds, a steal, two blocks and a three in 25 minutes. Those aren't brain-combusting numbers, but he's one Ronny Turiaf injury away from a likely starting role, which is kind of like saying "If the sandwich shop has turkey available today, I will purchase a turkey sub." Not the most profound analogy, but you get the point: Turiaf is fragile, and unless you're playing in a very shallow league, Williams is worth a close look. In his nine games playing 25-plus minutes this season, he has averaged 10.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.0 spg, 1.3 bpg and 2.1 threes.

10 QUICK-HITTING STATEMENTS OF FACT AND/OR OPINION (PERTAINING TO PLAYERS WHO WEREN'T TRADED)

Because they have feelings too…

1) Mike Dunleavy's broken thumb should theoretically be good news for Paul George, but the man with two first names only got 22 minutes on Wednesday and isn't a must-add until that number goes up.

2) Maybe I'm delusional, but I still think Leandro Barbosa (6-for-8, 13 points on Wednesday) is going to be useful sooner rather than later.

3) Vince Carter is averaging a miserable 8.7 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 0.9 apg and 0.3 threes in seven games since his 33-point outburst on Feb. 4.

4) It was a glorious run for DeJuan Blair (13.4 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 1.3 spg, 1.0 bpg for a nine-game stretch leading up to the break), but he has proven himself unreliable once again with 5.0 ppg and 3.0 rpg in his last two games.

5) John Salmons was big for the Bucks down the stretch last season (19.8 ppg from March 1 on), and appears to be prepping himself for another strong finish with 22.0 ppg in his last four.

6) Speaking of Bucks preparing for a strong finish, Carlos Delfino – now locked into the starting five – has posted 17.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.8 spg and 2.8 threes in his last five games.

7) He hasn't been blocking a ton of shots lately (0.8 in his last eight games), but it's nice to see Samuel Dalembert playing aggressively, averaging 13.5 ppg and 9.3 rpg during that same stretch.

8) Blake Griffin's two-block game on Wednesday was his first since Dec. 6 (leaving him at 0.4 bpg this month).

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9) Deeper league memorandum: Wayne Ellington has averaged 11.9 ppg and 1.6 threes this month.

10) Even with Gerald Wallace dealt to Portland, I'm not convinced Boris Diaw suddenly becomes reliable. In fact, I'll go on record saying that he's still likely to be the same indifferent, lackadaisical, only occasionally dynamic irritant who does just enough to hang on your roster but not enough to make you happy he's there.

Case in point: When Wallace missed nine of 11 games between Dec. 15 & Jan. 10, Diaw averaged a very Diaw-esque 10.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg and 3.9 apg. Add him if you must, but know that he'll find a way to make you angry before it's all over.


Matt Stroup covers basketball, baseball and football for Rotoworld.com. You can find him on Twitter here .
Email :Matt Stroup



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