Adam Levitan

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Miles To Go?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011




LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
PG Mo Williams
SG Randy Foye
SF Ryan Gomes
PF Blake Griffin
C DeAndre Jordan

The split between DeAndre Jordan and Chris Kaman has gone about as I predicted in this space five weeks ago. Jordan has held the starting job tightly and is playing about 28 minutes per night. Kaman has settled in nicely with the second unit and is playing around 26 minutes. There is no reason to change as the Clippers are building toward the future and therefore must give Jordan his time. Both centers are viable fantasy plays with capped upside.

It is hard to get a read on Eric Gordon's possible return from his wrist aggravation. He is working out and seems intent on making a return, but the concern is that the damage is to Gordon's shooting hand. And when he broke his fall a couple weeks ago, he used that hand to cushion himself. Hold Randy Foye until we actually see Gordon make it through a game and not appear limited. After all, the Clippers have nothing to play for.

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

Andrew Bynum is playing at a scary-good level and he's being rewarded with extra minutes. Over his last 10 games heading into Monday, Bynum averaged 12.1 points, 12.4 rebounds and 2.5 blocks while shooting 66.7 percent from the field. He also played 35 minutes or more in the final three games of that span. We are finally seeing just how dominant a healthy Bynum can be.

Kobe Bryant remarkably did not miss any games with his ankle sprain. But note that Shannon Brown would have started and been a strong spot start. Kobe is a good bet to rest at some point before the playoffs, even if it is a short stint at the end of the season.

MEMPHIS
PG Mike Conley
SG Tony Allen
SF Sam Young
PF Zach Randolph
C Marc Gasol

The news on Rudy Gay is not good. He was still feeling pain in his left shoulder last week and is expected to need 1-2 more weeks of rehab. The Grizz are still hanging on to the No. 8 seed, so Gay won't give up. But expecting more than 6-8 games of solid production is wishful thinking. In the meantime, Tony Allen, Sam Young and Shane Battier will continue to chop up minutes. Out of the three, I'd most like to own Allen for the defensive stats.

The severity of Marc Gasol's ankle injury is unknown. If he misses time, Darrell Arthur will make for a decent add. Arthur has played 30 minutes or more six times this season. In those games, he is averaging 17.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks.

MINNESOTA
PG Luke Ridnour
SG Wes Johnson
SF Michael Beasley
PF Kevin Love
C Darko Milicic

A case of food poisoning limited Wes Johnson severely last week, but he can not use that as an excuse. Even after he said he felt better, he still averaged just 4.0 points on 26.3 percent shooting over four games, all starts. Now reverting back to that early-season form that cost him his starting job, Johnson is once again in danger of being benched.

Martell Webster's back is finally healthy and he is proving to be the more productive player. Most importantly, coach Kurt Rambis seems intent on giving him a chance. I'd expect a changing of the guard soon, opening up Webster as a possible late-season deep league sleeper.

Darko Milicic will keep starting, but is getting painful to watch. Early in the season he scored easily and made good decisions in the post. Now he is showing a woeful basketball IQ, a propensity for in-game injuries and is in constant foul trouble. He is still going to block two shots a night, but expecting more than 20-23 minutes is unrealistic.

NEW ORLEANS
PG Chris Paul
SG Marco Belinelli
SF Trevor Ariza
PF David West
C Emeka Okafor

Marco Belinelli got his starting job back from Willie Green, lost it for a game last week for disciplinary reasons, and then regained it again. Now this starting five should be set for the rest of the season.

Belinelli is a decent 3-point specialist, but do not overreact to his impressive March numbers. In 55 starts heading into Monday, Belinelli was averaging 10.4 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists. That is the kind of line to expect when the dust settles for those needing his 1.5 treys per game.

We all know that Trevor Ariza can not shoot. But it will not affect his minutes because he is a glue guy. He is a safe play for owners chasing steals and ignoring field-goal percentage.


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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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