Adam Levitan

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Tuesday, March 08, 2011




CHICAGO
PG Derrick Rose
SG Keith Bogans
SF Luol Deng
PF Carlos Boozer
C Joakim Noah

The Bulls wisely decided against a major trade that would have brought in an upgrade at shooting guard -- they are good enough to win it all as constructed. Therefore, this rotation is locked in.

The "Big Four" are all going to play 35+ minutes nightly and the shooting guard spot will be a three-headed monster/fantasy wasteland. Note that Joakim Noah is still working his way back into form. In eight games since returning from that broken thumb: 9.1 points, 11.5 rebounds, 1.1 blocks. Those numbers are sure to rise.

DETROIT
PG Rodney Stuckey
SG Ben Gordon
SF Tayshaun Prince
PF Chris Wilcox
C Greg Monroe

The failed mutiny on coach John Kuester has proven to be huge for Rodney Stuckey and Greg Monroe. Now that Tracy McGrady has been banished to the doghouse with no sign of return, Stuckey is playing at a level we have not seen out of him. Over his last five games, Stuckey is averaging 20.8 points, 6.8 assists, 5.4 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game. Now looking like the Pistons' point guard of the future, he's locked into 36-38 minutes nightly while McGrady is probably done in Detroit -- this season and beyond.

Ben Wallace (personal) is coming back and will likely start over Chris Wilcox, but Greg Monroe's minutes won't be affected. The rookie wisely stayed above the fray in the anti-Kuester campaign and is proving to be a fantasy monster. Over the last 10 games, Monroe is averaging 9.0 rebounds, 1.1 blocks and 1.1 steals. The 13.6 points on 59.2 percent shooting are just a bonus.

The Pistons' treatment of Austin Daye is frustrating, but somewhat understandable. Tayshaun Prince has played well enough and has done enough in his career to be locked into the starting gig and 30-plus minutes anytime he is healthy. Owners can simply move on from Daye and add Prince as a low-end option.

INDIANA
PG Darren Collison
SG Brandon Rush
SF Danny Granger
PF Josh McRoberts
C Roy Hibbert

A few weeks back when I was recommending not to add Paul George, I noted that I didn't think the rookie would start even if Mike Dunleavy got hurt. A week later, Dunleavy did get hurt. Voo Doo powers.

Anyway, Brandon Rush has started seven games but has not attempted more than nine shots in any of those games. The offense now runs through Roy Hibbert, not the wings like it did under Jim O'Brien. So we can comfortably ignore the timeshare that is George/Rush.

The Tyler Hansbrough vs. Josh McRoberts battle is more interesting. Hansbrough's per-36 minute numbers are pretty striking: 17.3 points, 9.1 rebounds. The problem, however, is twofold. Hansbrough only plays 24-26 minutes per game as a reserve and he does not block, steal, pass or shoot a good percentage. Leave both him and McBob alone.

Perhaps it was not Jim O'Brien that was holding Darren Collison back after all. Maybe he just is not that good. Over his last 10 games, Collison is averaging just 10.5 points and 4.4 assists while shooting 36.4 percent from the field. His playing time is getting slashed because he is not performing. I'd expect a small uptick over the final month, but nothing great.

MIAMI
PG Mario Chalmers
SG Dwyane Wade
SF LeBron James
PF Chris Bosh
C Erick Dampier

Much like an unaware fantasy owner, the Heat are finding out that the acquisition of Mike Bibby is not all that exciting. As one of the worst defenders in the league, coaches have a hard time using him. And he can no longer beat anyone off the dribble. Bibby may eventually start over Mario Chalmers and push for 25 minutes, but they will be empty. Move on.

MILWAUKEE
PG Brandon Jennings
SG John Salmons
SF Carlos Delfino
PF Jon Brockman
C Larry Sanders

Injuries to both Andrew Bogut (ribcage) and Ersan Ilysaova (concussion) have turned this front line into a mess. While Bogut will play Tuesday, Ilyasova's head injury is showing signs of being serious. Enter Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.

Mbah a Moute is expected to start the Bucks' next game at power forward and could very well hold the job the rest of the year. As a starter this year, the defensive specialist is averaging just 6.2 points, 5.7 assists and 1.0 steals. But over the last five games, Mbah a Moute is at 10.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.8 steals. For extreme deep leaguers in search of guys that will play 30-plus minutes, Mbah a Moute is worth an add.

Larry Sanders had just four blocks in the three games Andrew Bogut has missed. Dump him.

Meanwhile, the wing situation is gaining more clarity. Corey Maggette was playing way behind Carlos Delfino and Chris Douglas-Roberts even before his latest knee tweak. Lock in Delfino and John Salmons to 30-plus minutes the rest of the way.

NEW JERSEY
PG Deron Williams
SG Sasha Vujacic
SF Damion James
PF Kris Humphries
C Brook Lopez

Coach Avery Johnson tried Sasha Vujacic as his starting shooting guard for a couple games. Predictably, it was a failed experiment. Despite Saturday's 26-point outburst when Anthony Morrow (concussion) was out, Vujacic is just not a a legit NBA starter. When Morrow is healthy, he will start and play about 31-33 minutes. Use his 13.6 points and 2.2 3-pointers made per game from February as an expectation.

The Deron Williams' wrist situation is concerning, but he feels an obligation to play out the season. After all, the Nets gave up their franchise for him. So we can consider this wife pregnancy situation a good thing. Williams will fulfill his family obligations while resting his wrists. Then, he will come back strong. It's a win-win. In the meantime, Jordan Farmar projects to play 35 minutes as a top-end fantasy player.

With Derrick Favors gone, Kris Humphries, is a beast. In 32 starts this year, Hump is averaging 9.6 points, 11.1 rebounds and 1.2 blocks on 50.6 percent shooting. Look for his points to rise with Williams at the controls.


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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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