BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
Evan Turner kept his foot on the gas with 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting (including a three) with five rebounds, four assists, three steals, and two blocks against the Pacers. Better late than never, kid. Jrue Holiday picked it up with 17 points, four boards, and four assists, and while he’s not going to go away if higher upside guys like Klay Thompson were available I would have made the switch. Spencer Hawes (Achilles) returned to 20 minutes with six points, two boards, three assists, and five fouls, which to me is actually a good sign but I’m not running to pick him up.
CHASE THAT PREDICTION
Beat writer Mike Wells predicted that George Hill would start early in the season, and he really, really, really wants you to hear about Hill’s 17 points, seven rebounds, four assists, three treys, and two steals. Wells, however, seems to know what most of us know, namely that a change at point guard this late would require a face-plant, and he called for Hill to stay on the bench no matter how hot he gets. I’m with him, though I take the cheerleading with a grain of salt. I said that Darren Collison (four points, two assists) would need to face-plant to lose his job, and he’s actually doing it. One more solid out of Hill will make him the player to own between the two, but neither are particularly good options in the timeshare. If you own Collison, don’t pass on a productive player let alone a hot free agent, but Indy may be shaky due to trade rumors.
ALL RIGHT MEOW
The Bobkittens were more of the same. Gerald Henderson (10-4-3) was a low-end guy, D.J. Augustin (nine points, three assists) struggled, Kemba Walker (6-4-8, 3-of-13 FGs) is waiting, Bismack Biyombo is blocking (4), Corey Maggette (10 points, two threes, 22 mins, back) is hurting, Tyrus Thomas (7-3-2-1-1, 19 mins) is sucking, and nobody else is getting enough minutes to matter. Hopefully the deadline will bring some resolution there.
I AM ALL IN
Tyreke Evans left last night’s game with an ankle injury in the last few minutes, and initially it didn’t look good, but he stayed on the bench until the very end when he went into the locker room. X-rays were negative and he is listed as day-to-day, and if you were thinking about dropping Isaiah Thomas, you were doing it at your own risk in my book, already. Evans’ potential injury and low-percentage chance of a trade are nice ways to calm that urge, as were his 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting with three rebounds, four assists, one block, and one three in 37 minutes. All I can say is that this kid is the truth. His maturity and skill levels are amazing. If you just watch him on defense he is technically sound, quick, and powerful. He’s not going to be a pushover on the block by any means, and has the leaping ability to block shots. His decision-making and shooting ability are both above-average, already. Keith Smart is going to catch hell in a bottle if he doesn’t unleash the kid fully, because everybody in Sac knows he is the future and that the team looks better. So again, if he gets toyed with, you’re dropping him at your own risk and you can send me the hate mail if he doesn’t pan out. I’m sold.
Jason Thompson also sent a message to Smart after grabbing nine minutes in about the time it takes fry an egg on Tuesday, posting 21 points and 15 boards with four assists, one steal, and one block while hitting 10-of-12 field goals. He’s not going to be this good every night but he’s back on the radar as a low-end fantasy play. Like Thomas, the Kings are better when he is starting and playing heavy minutes.
I’M SCOTT SKILES?
I’m not going to sit here and give Scott Skiles credit for making fantasy stars out of his players, but hot damn the Bucks are turning into quite the fantasy crowd. Drew Gooden went nuts with 15 points, 10 rebounds, 13 assists, a steal, two blocks, and a three, and is vying for waiver wire pickup of the year with outings like this. Ersanity returned as Ersan Ilyasova scored 22 points with eight rebounds and two blocks and I hope you didn’t do anything crazy like drop him after Monday’s slow night. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (knee) played and scored 12 points with 13 rebounds and two steals, and is on the trade block along with Shaun Livingston. It’s very possible he was auditioned, and there are too many variables right now to get excited about his body of work.
Carlos Delfino turned things around with 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting with seven rebounds, three assists, a steal, and a three, but he’s going to lose some touches with Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings around. The good news is that both guys will create open looks for Delfino so the net impact will be the same, and perhaps it will lead to better shooting overall. Delfino is still a guy to own in hopes the law of large numbers kicks in.
FOUR QUARTERS OF FURY
1ST QUARTER: Shawn Marion (knee) sat out practice and is questionable for tonight’s game. Lamar Odom will start if he can’t go. Monta Ellis and Ekpe Udoh were not active last night and, ironically, might see their first action on Friday against the Warriors. Chris Wilcox will miss the rest of the year with a heart condition, leaving KG, Brandon Bass, and Greg Stiemsma as the team’s only bigs. Stiemsma might be worth a look if you need blocks, but we’re expecting the Celtics to try to sign a big (J.J. Hickson?). Bass scored a season-high 22 points with nine rebounds, a steal, and a block and should be owned in all 12-team formats. Jose Calderon (ankle), a trade candidate, still has no timetable for a return and Jerryd Bayless (16 points, 10 assists) should be owned in all formats. Kevin Martin (shoulder), also a trade candidate, missed last night’s game and I’ve been urging owners to hang on. Only if you’re fighting for your playoff life should you make the drop. Courtney Lee dislocated a finger but it doesn’t sound like a big deal, and is somebody to watch closely today if Martin gets dealt. Marcus Camby got a flagrant-1 foul and may be suspended for a game, which he probably wouldn’t mind at this point.
2ND QUARTER: Luol Deng (wrist) returned and played 37 minutes on his way to 11 points, five rebounds, and three assists, and the only takeaway is that Thibs may or may not be threatening him with a machete to get on the court. John Lucas went nuts for 24 points in 27 minutes, but you’re not grabbing him as long as C.J. Watson’s ankle tweak isn’t a big deal. Watson (11-4-4) is still the go-to guy whenever Derrick Rose (groin), currently day-to-day, is out. Rodney Stuckey looked like Michael Jordan last night on his way to 35 points, five rebounds, six assists, and four threes. The Kings wing defenders were awful, and I’m wondering if Tyreke Evans trade rumors got to him last night. Brandon Knight scored 10 points with five rebounds, 11 assists, and two steals last night, silencing some concerns about the rookie wall. Greg Monroe had his way, too, with 32 and 11, and you know the opposition is bad when Tayshaun Prince wakes up to score 28 points with a jam-packed stat line. Make him do it again. James Johnson got out of a funk with 16 points, four rebounds, two assists, and four blocks in 28 minutes, highlighting why I beg you guys to hang tight. Andrea Bargnani hit just 4-of-13 shots for 10 points, three boards, a steal, a block, and no threes in 33 minutes, but that’s normal for a guy coming off major injury.
3RD QUARTER: Devin Harris played just 17 minutes last night with seven points and two assists, and while he was in foul trouble it was just fishy. Yes, the Jazz might have been auditioning Jamaal Tinsley (11 points, eight assists) for a trade, but my gut kept asking me if he had been pulled off the court in advance of the deadline. Regardless, don’t move the needle, here, it’s just too weird. Jared Dudley is carrying some of my teams and the best part is that he was a wire pickup in deeper formats. He had 21 points, four threes, and a nice line. Channing Frye is also amazingly still on all of my squads, and he posted 26 points, nine boards, a steal, and four blocks. Patience, it’s what’s for dinner. Randy Foye played just 19 minutes last night and owners should simply hold through the deadline. He has been a mess but if the Clippers don’t add anybody he has a nice schedule. Kirk Hinrich did not back up his nice night on Tuesday, scoring four points with five boards and two assists. He may start the rest of the way or be traded, and is simply a guy to watch right now. Manu Ginobili played through his hip injury and scored 14 points with four treys, three rebounds, and three assists in 23 minutes off the bench, which is great, until you realize that Pop is going to play it safe all year long in a string of back-to-back games down the stretch. The mantra has been to sell-high, though I’m guessing it’s a tough sell.
4TH QUARTER: Goran Dragic played through a sprained ankle and looked fine with 14 points and 10 assists. Chandler Parsons backed up his big line from Tuesday with eight points, six rebounds, seven assists, two steals, and a block, and deserves to be owned in all 12-team formats while he’s hot. Chase Budinger is making noise still, scoring 10 points with nine boards and a full line last night, but is a weak add right now without clarity at the deadline. Jarrett Jack is back and scored 30 points with six assists and an otherwise full line against the Lakers, while Greivis Vasquez scored 15 points and six assists and held the ball on the final play of regulation (an effective pass to Chris Kaman on the pick-and-roll that Kaman couldn’t convert). It’s been admittedly hard to hold Vasquez as a stash, but nights like these show why you do it where you can. Unfortunately, Jack’s knee seems healthier and there haven’t been many teams lining up to take his $5.4 million deal next season in a trade. Kaman went for 21 and 12 with six turnovers and a 9-of-20 mark from the field, as he continues to chuck it up in advance of the deadline. Yes, he’s still a sell-high guy if you can. Gustavo Ayon continued to shrink with four points, two rebounds, four assists, and a block in 31 minutes. Maybe when Kaman goes he won’t be so darn invisible.