Adam Levitan

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011




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

Now completely healthy again as of Monday, the Bulls continue to trot out one of the most stable rotations in the game. The big four of Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer will all play 32-plus minutes nightly. Ronnie Brewer and Keith Bogans will cancel each other out and Taj Gibson projects as the primary big man off the bench going forward.

With a 50-19 record, this team is humming along.

CLEVELAND
PG Ramon Sessions
SG Anthony Parker
SF Alonzo Gee
PF Samardo Samuels
C J.J. Hickson

Ramon Sessions' declining play combined with his recently revealed sports hernia injury makes the point guard situation less cloudy than it seems. Baron Davis will be the starter once his back heals up and he gets his legs under him. Within a week, look for 31-33 minutes for Davis and 24-27 for Sessions.

J.J. Hickson has settled in reasonably well to the center spot, showing significant improvement as a rebounded. Although he does not play huge minutes, Hickson is proving to be productive in the 29-31 minute range. In the 12 games since the All-Star break before Monday, Hickson was averaging 14.3 points, 9.4 rebounds and 0.9 blocks. It is a sustainable pace.

Samardo Samuels is losing some juice. After playing 30 or more minutes in his first five starts, he has played fewer than 30 minutes in four of his last five starts. Considering his meager block/steal upside and horrid free-throw shooting, owners in medium sized leagues can likely move on.

DETROIT
PG Tracy McGrady
SG Richard Hamilton
SF Tayshaun Prince
PF Greg Monroe
C Ben Wallace

Coach John Kuester has made it very clear that he does not believe in defined roles or preparation. If you are active for a game, Kuester expects you to be ready to do whatever he asks. He does not care what the players or the media think. So we should all just stop complaining about him and accept it.

Lately, Kuester has decided that he prefers Rodney Stuckey in a bench role. Fine. Over the last three games, Stuckey is averaging 12.3 points, 8.0 assists and 1.6 steals while playing 30.3 minutes a night. Even when Stuckey was starting, he was only playing 31.5 minutes per night. In other words, we can comfortably use the combo guard right now for low-end value.

One player that has stayed above the fray is Greg Monroe. He has started 33 straight games and is averaging 14.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 0.8 blocks over the last nine games while playing 32.3 minutes per night. Not even Kuester can stunt this kid's growth.

I would not mess with the Richard Hamilton/Tracy McGrady/Ben Gordon mess unless I really had to. All are on a short leash and subject to random minutes swings based on effectiveness. I would rather roll the dice with Tayshaun Prince, who has logged 32 minutes or more in six of his last seven games.

INDIANA
PG Darren Collison
SG Paul George
SF Danny Granger
PF Tyler Hansbrough
C Roy Hibbert

Tyler Hansbrough is proving to be a much better NBA scorer than anyone outside of Larry Bird could have imagined. Since being promoted to the starting lineup eight games ago, he has scored 20 or more points five times. It's not a fluke -- this kid knows how to score on the NBA level and is a plus contributor in steals and free-throw percentage. Ride him.

Roy Hibbert is really frustrating to own due to some wild inconsistency. But the point is that the Pacers are intent on developing Hibbert and want to feature him on offense. Owners are best served to close their eyes and check out the stats on a week-to-week basis. Over his last 13 games, Hibbert is averaging 10.6 blocks, 6.9 rebounds and 1.9 blocks. It is nothing great, but it is certainly usable in most formats.

With the Pacers hanging on to the No. 8 seed in the East, Danny Granger is showing some fight. We know the field-goal percentage is going to be tough to swallow, but he is playing hard again and getting to the line. It's obvious Granger has no plans to shut anything down.

MILWAUKEE
PG Brandon Jennings
SG John Salmons
SF Carlos Delfino
PF Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
C Andrew Bogut

A rotation that was once one of the most volatile in the league has finally gained some stability. Corey Maggette has completely fallen out of the mix, locking Carlos Delfino and John Salmons into major minutes. Both starting wingmen are turning into high-end plays as the Bucks push for a playoff berth.

Ersan Ilyasova (concussion) is back doing some light on-court work, but is still not going full throttle. Considering he has been out over a month, the ship may have sailed on him returning to a major role. Over the last nine games, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is averaging 10.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 0.7 blocks per game. The defensive stopped has established himself as the starting power forward and deep leaguers could do worse at the bottom of their roster.

No, I do not believe that Michael Redd can really have a positive impact on the Bucks. It's a great story and all, but 31-year-olds with no knees left just do not get the job done. Remember that Redd averaged just 11.9 points on 35.2 percent shooting in 18 games before ripping up his knee again during the 1009-10 season. If I owned Salmons or Delfino, I would not feel threatened.

NEW JERSEY
PG Jordan Farmar
SG Anthony Morrow
SF Stephen Graham
PF Kris Humphries
C Brook Lopez

The point guard situation here is getting messy. Deron Williams (wrist) says he is not shutting it down and hopes to play Friday, but common sense says he will hang it up. He is a must hold until his reevaluation. Meanwhile, starting-caliber backup Jordan Farmar lost minutes Monday night to journeyman Sundiata Gaines.

I would not expect the Gaines experiment to stick. Consider Monday's performance a "hot hand" case, something that he is unlikely to duplicate. Meanwhile, Farmar came into Monday averaging 15.0 points, 8.8 assists, 1.6 treys and 1.3 steals as a starter this season. He is a legit NBA starter and is a good bet for 31-34 minutes nightly. Farmar is a hold through the rest of the season.

Coach Avery Johnson is intent on bringing Sasha Vujacic off the bench now, even when Damion James is hurt. Monday night's 14 points in 16 minutes was extremely fluky. Anthony Morrow is the one locked in to 33-35 minutes and is useful as a 3-point specialist.


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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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