Kobe Bryant hit 18-of-31 shots for a season-high 48 points with a full line last night. Nothing has or will change on my stance with him, as I lead the ‘sell-high’ charge knowing full well he is destroying the stat sheet right now. Adrian Wojnarowski wrote a lengthy piece about Kobe’s wrist, saying he’s one hit away from serious injury. It’s basically a game of chicken right now for owners, with Kobe producing borderline Round 1 value in 8-cat leagues and fourth round value in 9-cat leagues. My guess is that with his name value and the big lines that owners can pull a safer, less exciting asset in a trade. Any player within two rounds of the aforementioned valuations that has an up arrow is perfect in my books.
IN SPEIGHT OF MARREESE
Marreese Speights stepped into the starting PF spot for the Grizzlies, and cooled off some of the hype following his 17 and seven outing on Monday with just 10 points and one rebound last night. He played 20 minutes and that’s a number that will slowly rise over the next week. Speights is a wild card between the ears but has talent, and needs to get into shape. Last night’s result fits right in with that assessment, and Speights needs at least a week from owners before cutting the cord.
Dwyane Wade’s foot went from minor nuisance to holy #$% real quick when the words ‘plantar fasciitis’ hit the wire, but he ended up playing and scoring a season-high 34 points with a full stat line. He limped around throughout the game and this is an injury owners will obviously want to keep an eye on. LeBron James said his ankle was at “80 percent” heading into last night, but you wouldn’t know it by his 26 points, 11 boards, and seven assists. Neither guy should leave your lineup unless they’re declared ‘chained to a hospital bed.’
BREATHE DEEPLY AND/OR CARRY A FLASK
Derrick Rose put a scare into owners after suffering what appeared to be an ankle injury, and then was reported to be turf toe. Regardless he finished out the game and looked good doing it with 31 points on 11-of-22 shooting with 11 assists, four threes, a steal, and two blocks. He added that he would play Wednesday against the Wizards, but given the opponent there is some risk of a lesser workload. Either way, disaster averted.
WE HAVE A PLAN
The Warriors have “a plan” for Stephen Curry’s ankle, after doctors determined that nothing was structurally wrong with it. I wonder if step one is collect underpants.
Andray Blatche (shoulder) was a scratch and then he wasn’t, and eventually came off the bench while Trevor Booker started at PF and Chris Singleton started at SF. The move reeks of Flip Saunders’ final stand, and while it produced a win, Saunders will need to win at a 7-of-10 clip for the next two weeks to keep his job – if he hasn’t lost it already. All of this means that I wouldn’t put much stock in the lineup and rotations right now. Blatche will need to truly piss off management to lose his starting job, which is unlikely, and at the small forward position Jan Vesely and Singleton will likely share minutes with Rashard Lewis finding his way out as the season goes. The only player here that I consider owning long-term is Blatche.
BRAND NEW DAY
Elton Brand broke out with a season-high 21 points on 10-of-14 shooting with 10 boards and three blocks against the awful interior defense of the Kings, so let’s not go crazy here. But as I’ve mentioned in multiple spaces here, my concern isn’t so much for Brand as it is for Spencer Hawes, who left Tuesday’s game after playing just 10 minutes due to his potentially chronic back issue. Hawes had just three assists to show for his time on the floor, and backup Nikola Vucevic wasn’t much more productive with five points on 2-of-3 shooting with four rebounds and a steal in just under 20 minutes.
My concern for Hawes lies not just in his past inconsistency, but the fact that Philly beat writers and even Doug Collins entered the season viewing Hawes as a stop-gap solution, and a guy they just hoped would be serviceable. That Hawes has gone nuts while Brand face-planted is much too convenient for me, and it begs the question of whether or not owners should have been aggressively selling high from the jump. Whether it’s the possibility of a Brand bounceback, or the chance that Vucevic challenges for the starting job like many predicted, selling Hawes after his next big line makes a ton of sense.
T.J. Ford was carried off the court with a hamstring injury, which usually indicates a 2-3 week timetable for return at best. In the meantime Gary Neal was moved to backup PG duties and it set him back as he scored just 10 points with two assists. Better days are ahead for Neal, but the friction of the move and the Spurs’ overall struggles got the best of him tonight. He’s still a must-own player and I like him even more with Ford out, despite tonight’s struggles.
Rookie Kawhi Leonard was Gregg Popovich’s most recent experiment at shooting guard in the wake of Manu Ginobili’s hand injury, but this time it panned out on the stat sheet as Leonard scored 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting with three rebounds, two assists, four steals, and a block. While clearly this is a mini-breakout, and Neal could be moved back to the bench to better fit a backup PG role, I’m not optimistic that Pop sticks with this lineup. In this lineup, the only one who can be counted on from 3-point distance would be Richard Jefferson, and that subsequent lack of range usually gets schemed out by opposing coaches. My best guess is that we see a platoon at the position going forward, so I’m not running to grab Kawhi just yet.
THE CHANDLER PARSONS PROJECT
The Chandler Parsons project was cute a few days ago, and now you just saw her at the club wearing something that forgot to stay classy. With 20 points on 9-of-16 shooting, two threes, and seven boards it’s hard to imagine Kevin McHale sitting him with Chase Budinger doing a whole lot of nothing. I know that nothing is guaranteed for Parsons as a rookie, but this is the type of player I consider a must-add even though he’s not a definitive ‘must-own’ guy in 12-team leagues. If I lose a low-end talent like Marvin Williams I won’t lose sleep if Parsons doesn’t pan out. It's all about the upside.
DON’T YOU….FORGET ABOUT ME
James Johnson was touted as a possible starter in the local papers earlier in the day, and then followed up with one of his ‘bad’ nights, scoring four points with four boards, one assist, and one steal in 28 minutes. The minutes were a good sign, but the low per-minute totals have been a problem with him at times. Hit or miss, the magic 8-ball says feel free to drop Johnson for a hot free agent but don’t forget about him, either.
Ty Lawson (ankle): Did not practice Tuesday but says he’ll play Wednesday. We’ll see.
Paul Pierce (heel): Says he’s fully healthy, owners should be holding him for now.
Nene (heel): Getting pain-killing injections, this next week will be telling.
Rodney Stuckey (groin): He keeps missing games, giving Brandon Knight a large window.
Kyle Lowry (foot): Returned Tuesday and didn’t miss a beat, with no reports of a setback.
George Hill (back): Questionable for Wednesday. If he can’t go Collison and George get a bump.
Danny Granger (ankle): Listed as day-to-day, I’m about zero percent shocked it wasn’t food poisoning.
Beno Udrih (shoulder): Brandon Jennings went off tonight, and the situations are indeed related.
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (knee): His return means only bad things for the Bucks frontcourt.
Tyler Hansbrough (eye): Not a concern. He goes back to being a fringe fantasy play.
Jerryd Bayless (ankle): Can now put weight on it. He’ll start at 20 mpg and then it’s up for grabs.
Mike Dunleavy (groin): Could miss a month. Carlos Delfino shouldn’t be on the wire in 12-team leagues.
Tony Parker (leg): Started Tuesday and looked great with 22 points and eight assists.
Mario Chalmers (shoulder): Played Tuesday and got the better of Norris Cole.
MarShon Brooks (ankle): He said it was “fine.” Don’t be fooled into thinking this kid will sit.
Chuck Hayes (shoulder): He’s on point for the 3-4 week timeline. Add him in about 14 days.
Damion James (foot): James will not challenge MarShon Brooks’ minutes when he returns. At all.
Mehmet Okur (back): A game-time decision for Wednesday, and only ownable for the center-desperate.
Richard Hamilton (groin): Did not play Tuesday, and while he’ll hold value I am not waiting on it.
Andris Biedrins (ankle): Missed another game Tuesday. Kwame Brown is on the radar if healthy.
Kwame Brown (shoulder): If both Brown and Biedrins are out, Ekpe Udoh is the next man up.
Tyreke Evans (ankle): Played Tuesday and was neither good nor bad – summing up his season.
Marcus Thornton (thigh): Missed Tuesday’s game and Jimmer is still being frozen out.
Andrew Bogut (personal): Picked up where he left off on Tuesday. Drew Gooden can be cut.
Tyrus Thomas (ankle): Back on the injured list, but owners have to wait a week to see how it goes.