Kevin Martin hit 10-of-21 shots (including six threes) for 29 points and it’s safe to project that his foot is healthy for fantasy purposes after two solid nights. Kyle Lowry hit just 5-of-12 shots for 15 points, but had seven assists, two steals, and a three and this could be the best buy-low moment he has all year. As far as I know, he has court on Thursday and could easily have been stressing out. Luis Scola scored four points with three rebounds in 25 minutes, and I don’t think he’s worth the risk on a buy low offer in 8- and 9-cat leagues. Yes, he can only go up, but can he stay above the Mason/Dixon line in 12-team formats? In 8-cat leagues it’s possible, but it’s possible the failed trade and the coaching change (among other possibilities) have sapped his confidence. The Chandler Parsons project has disappeared but has the type of fantasy friendly game that props his value up. He scored just three points with one rebound and two assists in 16 minutes, while Courtney Lee (32 minutes, 15 points, 7-of-12 FGs) soaked up his minutes and not Chase Budinger (nine minutes, zero points). This kills any momentum for Budinger with owners and makes Parsons droppable, but if you find he had a minor injury it might put this outing into proper perspective and give owners looking long-term a reason to hold. Either way, I’m not going to kill anyone for dropping Parsons with his upside seemingly held-in-check.
DON’T LET THE SUN GO DOWN ON ME
Steve Nash (thigh) returned from a one-game absence and put up 30 and 10 and set the franchise career assists record, but the real fantasy story was Channing Frye, who scored 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting with seven boards, a steal, and two blocks. I called him a reverse psychology stash yesterday in the event he stopped sucking, and in this lockout inspired season it wouldn’t be shocking if it took a guy like Frye two months to get his flow back. For what it’s worth, I held him in my 12-team big money league in which we start 12 guys with four reserves. Jared Dudley started again and scored 15 points with a reasonably full stat line. I recently added him with a big FAAB play in that same league and feel like I’ve got a reasonable starter. Grant Hill left Wednesday’s game with a knee injury, which if serious could open up minutes and opportunities for Dudley and Frye, as well as Markieff Morris (five points, one three, one block, just 10 minutes) and Josh Childress (eight points, 4-of-4 FGs, four boards, 21 minutes).
Forgetting that DaJuan Summers started at shooting guard and played 15 forgettable minutes, even if he hit 2-of-5 shots (including a three) for five points, let’s get to the good stuff. Greivis Vasquez has always had the talent to step in and produce right away for the Hornets, who lack talent, but he needed to learn the system and we may find out one day that Monty Williams played the situation too tightly. Either way, Vasquez’s 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting with three treys and 12 assists in a career night were a big-time explosion – big enough to possibly force Monty’s hand. Marco Belinelli has no business playing big minutes in the NBA, and Vasquez is essentially a shooting guard masquerading as a point. Yes, there are risks – Monty is a ‘yanker,’ as in he yanks guys around, and Vasquez hasn’t been reliable to date. Everything else is in place, though, so if you have a guy that you can afford to cut now is the time to take a flier.
CASEY AT THE BAT
Ed Davis started over Amir Johnson last night and scored 10 points with 12 boards and two blocks, and appears to be the favored fantasy play for now. Just don’t expect consistency from Dwane Casey until Casey proves he can be consistent. For now he’s tinkering. Jerryd Bayless was moved out of the starting lineup (no real surprise) and scored 14 points with two threes and not much else. I had him stashed in two 12-team leagues and added him in three more since he got healthy enough to play. I’m not dropping him and might not all year if all goes as planned.
JUST A PEK
I took a chance on Nikola Pekovic in a 12-team league two days ago, because he is noticeably quicker and that is keeping him from fouling out. Ricky Rubio has also done a good job of setting him up in the pick-and-roll, and even though Darko Milicic (illness) returned I can’t see him staying healthy and/or consistently effective. Pekovic had 13 points and 12 boards last night and he might end up being the most consistent near-double double guy in the league when it’s all said and done.
FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS
Josh Howard was ineffective last night with four points and three rebounds in 22 minutes, while C.J. Miles (16 points, three boards, two threes, 22 minutes) and Gordon Hayward (12 points, 5-of-11 FGs, three rebounds, three assists, one steal, and one block) were productive. One of the three will be left in the cold each night, and all of them are worth a look in fantasy leagues. I’d rank them Hayward, Howard, and Miles as long as Howard is healthy, and if Raja Bell (adductor) returns to the starting lineup then I don’t like Hayward as much. Hayward has some shakes to his game, but not enough to get his own shot when defenses sag off of Bell knowing they can chase him off the 3-point line.
J.J. Redick should be owned in all 8- and 9-cat, 12-team leagues after providing late-round value all year, because Jason Richardson’s knee and athleticism have me wondering if he’s falling off a cliff. Once again, excellent signing Otis. Redick scored a season-high 21 points on 5-of-7 shooting (including three treys) and won’t be available for long.
NEAL BEFORE POP
I’m not buying Gary Neal’s 15-point outing and if you want an update on Kahwi Leonard he’s still on that deep-roster, 12-team big money squad. Leonard (eight minutes) will be the first to go during our weekly FAAB, however, after failing to break Gregg Popovich’s tendency to play matchups and mess with rookies. I don’t mind stashing him due to his overall value proposition within Pop’s scheme (and the fantasy realm), but it’s impossible to ignore that Manu Ginobili (hand) will be back soon and things are going to get crowded. Leonard hasn’t been helped by the fact that Richard Jefferson’s veteran presence has been more necessary with Ginobili out, and that Jefferson has answered the call by hitting his jumper and playing focused, albeit flawed defense. Leonard’s strengths are obvious, but his flaws are accentuated playing somewhat out of position at shooting guard. Elsewhere along the Riverwalk, Tim Duncan (25 points, seven rebounds) has a very good chance of being rested on Thursday, so owners have been warned.
The Bobcats are awful and lost by 44 points to the Blazers last night, and this symbolic loss is just one more reminder to the organization that it’s time to play the young guys. Kemba Walker hit just 1-of-11 shots for four points and three assists, and owners would have to be crazy to drop or move him, regardless of what is happening with D.J. Augustin. Kemba will be on the court this year. Tyrus Thomas had a typical Tyrus line with seven points, five boards, two steals, and two blocks, and is young enough to qualify for the youth movement. Bismack Biyombo is also a Bobkitten, and I have him stashed in a few places.