Adam Levitan

The Daily Dose

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Frye Defrosted

Friday, February 10, 2012

Early on in Thursday night’s loss to the Rockets, Channing Frye took a power dribble and dunked ferociously on Samuel Dalembert. Even Sammy D looked confused.

After all, players like Frye don’t come along very often. He’s 6’11 and made 2.0 3-pointers per game last season while also grabbing 6.7 rebounds and blocking 1.0 shots. Along with Kevin Love and Ryan Anderson, it’s the kind of unique athletic and shooting ability that fantasy dreams are made of.

That ugly shooting slump Frye was in early on this season appears to finally be coming to an end. He got a pep talk from college coach Lute Olson two weeks ago and coach Alvin Gentry continued to instill confidence with the green light. Frye is only 28 and is a career 44.6 percent shooter. That sub-37 percent number just wasn’t going to last.

After going off for 21 points, 10 rebounds, four 3-pointers, two blocks and two steals Thursday night, Frye’s recent numbers are impressive. Over the last three games, he’s shooting 48.8 percent and 9-of-23 (39.1 percent) from 3-point range. We have to live with the valleys for the peaks of unique talents.

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Prior to Wednesday’s win over the Timberwolves, Zach Randolph (knee) was on the court getting shots up. He reportedly had a spring in his step and a smile on his face as he came off the court. For a guy just five weeks removed from an MCL tear, it’s a great sign.

Beat writer Ronald Tillery is suggesting that Randolph may be ahead of his original timetable. The Grizzlies initially said Z-Bo would miss up to eight weeks after he went down in early January. For now, a return just after the Feb. 23 All-Star break makes a lot of sense. It would be hard for me to leave a lock 20/10 guy on waivers any longer.

Yes, the NBA has a new concussion policy. In order to get back on the court, players must be asymptomatic and be cleared by both the team doctor and an independent doctor representing the league. Just like in the NFL, there’s no more “rub some dirt on it” and get back in there.

So, Kyrie Irving is likely going to need some time here despite a “day to day” listing. The good news is that Tuesday’s shot was the rookie’s first concussion of his life and therefore complications should be limited.

Here are Ramon Sessions’ numbers in 86 career starts: 14.7 points, 7.4 assists, 4.0 rebounds, 1.2 steals. He’s a must-start anytime Kyrie sits. And for sneakier owners, Daniel Gibson is trending up as well. Anthony Parker (back) is out Friday and Boobie is playing ahead of Alonzo Gee. In 69 career starts, Gibson is averaging 11.8 points and 2.2 3-pointers made per game.

Just when the Bobcats’ rotation was gaining some serious clarity, the reinforcements are coming. D.J. Augustin (toe) is out of his walking boot and targeting next week for a return with a customized shoe. Corey Maggette (hamstring) practiced in full on Thursday and could be back as soon as this week. Gerald Henderson (hamstring) should be back sometime around the All-Star break.

The fallout here is going to be a minutes squeeze across the board. Tyrus Thomas is shooting 35.2 percent in his 17 starts and deserves to be benched. Reggie Williams could kick to small forward and Kemba Walker back to shooting guard, but both will see a minute reduction. Selling on all three now makes some sense.

There was no real news regarding Jeremy Lin Thursday, other than the fact that he was named Commander of the Universe.

But we can count coach Mike D’Antoni as a believer. “It doesn’t get better than this,” D’Antoni said of Lin. “I think it’s real. ... I think he can get better.”

Better??? Over the last three games, Lin is averaging 25.3 points and 8.3 assists while shooting 58.0 percent from the field. The Knicks are 3-0 in those games and 8-15 in all others. Then again, Lin has just two career NBA starts and 41 career appearances. He played his college ball in the Ivy League and is only 23 years old. Meshing with the impending returns of Amare Stoudemire (personal) and Carmelo Anthony (groin) is the next step. I’m not selling.

Kyle Lowry’s elbow was not an issue. … Kevin McHale continues to wreak havoc on the Rockets’ rotation. He finished the game out with the second unit for the second straight game and won. Minutes have to be earned in-game right now. Remember, McHale is the same guy that once butted heads with Kevin Love over playing time and a former sixth man in his playing days. No one is safe. … I’ll say it for the 65th time this year: Andrew Bynum is the Matthew Stafford of this NBA season. Monster. … When healthy, I believe Steph Curry is the No. 3 fantasy player behind only Kevin Durant and LeBron James. His game was built for roto. … The Nuggets started Rudy Fernandez and Kenneth Faried, but that may change once Corey Brewer (personal) and Timofey Mozgov (ankle) return. … Daequan Cook is shooting the lights out, but Thabo Sefolosha (foot) is a strong bet to get his starting job back as soon as Friday. ... Serge Ibaka is the best pure shot-blocker in the game and has a soft jumper to go with it. Really impressive. ... I talked about John Salmons in Rotations here. It's hard watching him play.

Jason Kidd (calf) practiced Thursday, but remains highly questionable for Friday. … Mario Chalmers (hand) is day to day. … Jerryd Bayless (ankle) is a game-time call for Friday. His status in the starting five already appeared tenuous. … Jeff Teague was spotted with a brace on his right (shooting) wrist Thursday. It’s something to monitor.

Andrea Bargnani (calf) is not expected back until after the All-Star break. … Brook Lopez’s (foot) status will be updated Friday. He’s seven weeks into a 6-8 week timetable. … Marcus Camby’s 17 minutes on Wednesday were likely a result of illness. … Jason Smith (concussion) will be reevaluated on Friday. … Spencer Hawes (Achilles) didn’t practice Thursday. All these aggravations are really bad signs.

Kevin Love is off suspension and will be in the starting lineup Friday. … Amare Stoudemire (personal) remains on track to return for Tuesday’s game. … Wilson Chandler will have a major role with the Nugget as soon as the Chinese season ends. The problem is that might not be until March.

The NBA announced the All-Star reserves for the Feb. 26 All-Star Game in Orlando Thursday night. The list included five well-deserving first-timers: Andre Iguodala, LaMarcus Aldridge, Marc Gasol, Roy Hibbert and Luol Deng. It also included questionable selections in Paul Pierce, Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash.

There are a lot of candidates for snubs, but for me Kyle Lowry, Paul Millsap and James Harden top the list. Speaking of lists, I named my fantasy All-Star starters for each conference in this space last week. I’ll hand out some midseason fantasy awards when we actually get to the All-Star break.

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.
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