Adam Levitan

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Miles To Go?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011




OKLAHOMA CITY
PG Russell Westbrook
SG Thabo Sefolosha
SF Kevin Durant
PF Serge Ibaka
C Kendrick Perkins

The Thunder wasted no time no time getting Kendrick Perkins into the mix. In his first game active with the team Monday, he started and played 20 minutes. Once that knee gets fully up to speed, 27-29 minutes nightly is a lock. Anyone who needs nine points, nine rebounds and a block or so per game should make the add.

I can safely say that I was dead wrong about James Harden. He seems to finally have turned the corner in terms of using his underrated size and athleticism to get his own shot. In 54 games before the All-Star break, Harden was scoring 10.3 points per night in 25.7 minutes. In 11 games since the All-Star break (before Monday), Harden is averaging 17.6 points per night in 30.3 minutes. His ascension has been an underrated part of the Jeff Green trade and he is now safe to use in almost all formats.

Serge Ibaka is averaging 4.1 blocks per game in eight March contests. Absurd.

PHOENIX
PG Aaron Brooks
SG Vince Carter
SF Grant Hill
PF Hakim Warrick
C Robin Lopez

Channing Frye wants to get back early from his shoulder dislocation, but these are really tough injuries. They can pop back out so easily and any fall will be a big issue. Additionally, the damage is to Frye's shooting shoulder. Look for Hakim Warrick to keep getting around 30 minutes for the next two weeks.

Meanwhile, the news is better on Steve Nash. Although his pubic issue has kept him out of two straight games, he should be fine going forward. Maybe not 40 minutes worth of fine, but 32-34 is very realistic. Nash is on the record saying the instability is not severe.

Vince Carter's playing time is directly related to how he is shooting. With Jared Dudley, Aaron Brooks and Mickael Pietrus more than ready to step in, Carter simply is not guaranteed minutes. And in his declining state, he will play 25 minutes just as much as he will play 39. Carter is a high-risk play nightly.

PORTLAND
PG Andre Miller
SG Wesley Matthews
SF Nicolas Batum
PF LaMarcus Aldridge
C Marcus Camby

Nicolas Batum (ankle) and Marcus Camby (knee) are both nursing minor injuries, but expect to play Tuesday. So it appears the Blazers are locked into this starting five even though coach Nate McMillan has hinted that Gerald Wallace will eventually start over Camby.

That move to put Wallace in the starting five could eventually come, but it really won’t matter too much. There are just too many mouths to feed here. Wallace is averaging 32.0 minutes a night over his last seven games and it is not going to get much better than that.

Brandon Roy is finally playing in back-to-back games, but is still on a minutes limit. That does not figure to be lifted anytime soon, especially with Wallace around now. With just 25 minutes a night, Roy is not worth the headache.

I have been getting a ton of questions about Marcus Camby lately. The answer is pretty simple -- he is not healthy and the Blazers are getting comfortable with LaMarcus Aldridge at the five and Wallace at the four. I would not be afraid to move on from Camby and his 20 minutes unless I really needed blocks and boards.

SACRAMENTO
PG Beno Udrih
SG Marcus Thornton
SF Francisco Garcia
PF DeMarcus Cousins
C Samuel Dalembert

Tyreke Evans is expected to be medically cleared Tuesday and return to game action in 7-10 days. At that point, he will likely start over Marcus Thornton. Still, there is enough room for all three to get their minutes. Thornton has proven he can play next to Udrih and Evans can obviously play next to anyone with his versatile skill set. At this point, all three are strong holds.

Francisco Garcia may not look like much, but his game is really fantasy-friendly. Over his last five games before Monday, Garcia averaged 12.8 points, 1.8 treys and 1.4 steals while shooting 92.9 percent from the free-throw line. So even though his minutes will be spotty, Garcia is a nice guy for the bottom of rosters.

SAN ANTONIO
PG Tony Parker
SG Manu Ginobili
SF Richard Jefferson
PF Tim Duncan
C Antonio McDyess

Coach Gregg Popovich is getting set for the playoffs. Therefore, veteran Antonio McDyess is in the starting five and youngster DeJaun Blair is out. The rotations are still tight, however, McDyess will play about 20 mintues most nights and Blair will play about 20. Although Blair's per-minute numbers are impressive, he is only an extreme low-end option now.

Follow Adam Levitan on Twitter for instant news and reaction to changes in NBA depth charts throughout the week.


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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