Matt Stroup

Roundball Stew

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Stew: Good Daye to You, Sir

Thursday, March 03, 2011


We shall review the surging values of Wes Johnson and Marcus Thornton, plus ponder a buy-low opportunity on Kirk Hinrich in due course. But first, we begin this week's Stew, as is our custom, with a little bit of…

TRENDSPOTTING

Three on the Rise:

Rodney Stuckey: He's still not hitting many threes, but you otherwise have to like the way Stuckey has looked in his last six games: 20.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 5.5 apg, 1.7 spg (and 0.5 threes). His elevated value is largely contingent on Tracy McGrady remaining off John Kuester's friends list, but for the moment it looks like a frustrating season for Stuckey could have quite an encouraging finish.

James Johnson: I mentioned him here last week, but am throwing the name up there once more because I'm still seeing some room on the bandwagon given that Johnson is owned in just 7 percent of Yahoo leagues. Since arriving in Toronto, the No. 16 overall pick in 2009 has posted 9.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.3 spg and 1.8 bpg. And on Tuesday night, though Jay Triano maddeningly kept his minutes in check (in part because Sonny Weems randomly got hot off the bench), Johnson still responded with a 13-5-3 line, including a steal, two blocks and a three. Add him.

Austin Daye: Nothing is guaranteed here, but the preseason sleeper has finally been getting some consistent run lately from the aforementioned Kuester (35 minutes per game in his last three), and has responded by averaging 15.3 ppg and 2.0 threes during that stretch (including a 22-4-3 line on Wednesday). I wouldn't expect consistency, but the potential in scoring, threes and blocks makes Daye worth a flier.

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Three on the Plummet:

Darren Collison: Since dropping 22 points on Feb. 12, Collison has averaged a rather mundane 10.3 ppg, 4.8 apg and 1.1 spg, shooting 1-for-10 on threes and 35.8 percent overall in his last eight games. He should bounce back to some extent, but is still looking like anything but a dynamic option for the remainder of the season.

Boris Diaw: In three games since the Bobcats traded Gerald Wallace, the all-too-often disinterested Bobcats PF has posted 5.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg and 3.0 apg. If he's on your roster, chances are you ask yourself at least every other day why he's there. Simply put, his random good games don't outweigh the bad ones. Cut him loose and let someone else deal with the frustration.

Lou Williams: After averaging 17.6 ppg for an 18-game stretch between Jan. 5 and Feb. 9, Williams has dropped to 8.8 ppg on 29.0 percent shooting in his last four games. I do think he'll eventually heat up again, so even if you drop him, try not to forget he exists.

THREE RANDOM BUT HOPEFULLY USEFUL OBSERVATIONS

1. Wes Johnson, a man of fluctuating values. He has had flashes of promising play before only to detonate a stink bomb the minute he lands on my roster, but Johnson is once again looking like the versatile, multi-faceted threat that made the Wolves take him No. 4 in the Draft (17.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.5 spg, 1.5 bpg and 2.5 threes in his last four games). Kurt Rambis could still ruin him in an instant – and I'm definitely worried about the impact that Martell Webster's return might eventually have – but in the meantime, Johnson needs to be on a roster in most leagues.

2. Kirk Hinrich is looking like a very good buy-low. Perhaps he's still hindered by his lingering calf injury, but Hinrich's statistical production on Wednesday (three points, two rebounds, two assists in 31 minutes) was also hindered by the fact that he was busy harassing Derrick Rose into a 5-for-21 shooting game. Hinrich's stats with the Hawks have been ugly so far (6.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.0 apg, 0.7 spg and 1.3 threes in three games), but the points, rebounds and assists should all be on the rise soon.

3. Maybe Marcus Thornton doesn't play great defense, but Monty Williams is looking downright foolish for burying him on the bench. Thornton was playing with the relaxed air of an absurdly confident man on Wednesday night, looking somewhere in the neighborhood of unguardable en route to 26 points (giving him an average of 21.0 ppg, 1.8 spg and 2.0 threes in four games for the Kings). I still worry about Tyreke Evans coming back and at least partially ruining Thornton's fun, but overall I'm kicking myself for not sprinting to grab him in all my leagues after he was dealt.

10 QUICK-HITTING STATEMENTS OF FACT AND/OR OPINION

1) Did Jonny Flynn seize my attention with that 10-point, 14-assist game against the Pistons on Wednesday? Absolutely. Am I running to add him? Not yet. I still think Luke Ridnour will continue to hold more value going forward, and need to see another big game or two from Flynn before I'm convinced.

2) Similarly, I'm waiting to see at least one more big game from DeAndre Jordan (eight points, 16 rebounds, three blocks Wednesday) before I'm ready to buy in again.

3) To deeper league owners who missed out on the George Hill sweepstakes (or simply owners in need of points and threes), Gary Neal has posted 15.0 ppg and 2.0 threes in an average of 27 minutes over his last six games.

4) I don't trust him to sustain long-term value, but Alonzo Gee has still landed on my watch list after dropping 18 points with seven rebounds and two threes in 37 minutes on Wednesday.

5) Samuel Dalembert is doing a lovely job with scoring (12.4 ppg in his last 12) and rebounding (9.3), but the lack of blocks is officially getting annoying (just 0.6 in his last 12 games).

6) After looking lost at times from the FT line last month (including a 4-for-13 game on Feb. 2), Blake Griffin has hit 30-for-36 (83.3 percent) in his last four games.

7) Ekpe Udoh only had six points and two rebounds in his first career start on Wednesday, but the 30 minutes and three blocks both make him worth watching closely.

8) I definitely noticed Anthony Randolph's 19 and 10 on Wednesday, and do think he's worth adding. I also think you should be ready to drop him if his minutes plummet the second Darko Milicic returns.

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9) Deeper league notice: Jarrett Jack has posted 12.4 ppg on 55.6 percent shooting in his last 10 games.

10) Perhaps it's just the aftereffects of the dubious buffalo chicken wrap I consumed for lunch, but I found myself wearing a somewhat unhappy grimace while preparing to write the name Samardo Samuels. Don't get me wrong – he's definitely worth a look after dropping 23 and 10 on the Spurs in his first career start, but based on what I've seen, I don't expect many 20-point games (or much excitement) along the way.


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