As predictable as some aspects of this season have been, other story lines have blatantly defied logic. One such instance is the recent resurgence of Mike Dunleavy, who has played an average of just 49 games the past three seasons (and would figure to be breaking down late in this condensed season), yet has just completed his most productive five-game stretch since April 2008, averaging 20.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 5.2 apg and 2.4 3s over the last eight days, including a monstrous 24 points in just 19 minutes of a blowout win over his former team (the Warriors) on Friday.
The caveats with Dunleavy are that he’s no guarantee to stay healthy, does very little in the way of defensive stats (0.4 spg, 0.2 bpg in his last five) and is producing despite coming off the bench as part of a crowded wing rotation. With that said, sometimes you’ve gotta ignore those pesky little facts and simply focus on the numbers. And with that sentiment in mind, I wouldn’t hesitate to start Dunleavy (four games this week) in hopes that the unexpected resurgence has a little bit more fuel left.
Speaking of resurgences, is Dorell Wright all the way back? One of fantasy basketball’s biggest disappointments for the first two and a half months of the season, Wright has posted 16.0 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 1.4 spg, 1.0 bpg and 3.0 treys in his last five games. On the one hand, I’m inclined to think it’s not sustainable, as Wright has shot a scalding 15-of-31 on 3s during this run. Furthermore, he has still gotten just 10.4 FG attempts per game in his last five (as opposed to 14.0 FG attempts per game last year), so it’s not like his role has suddenly changed significantly. However, trade of Monta Ellis appears to have opened things up somewhat for Wright, and though he can’t stay this hot from outside, his recent spike in defensive stats is another positive indicator that he’s ready to keep contributing down the stretch.
Follow me on Twitter: @MattStroup
Meanwhile, just in case you weren’t already, it’s time to take Alonzo Gee seriously. Over his last seven games, Gee has posted 16.0 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.7 apg, 2.6 spg, 0.6 bpg and 1.1 3s, making him the No. 26 overall player on Basketball Monster’s 9-category leaderboard during that streak. Let those numbers – and Gee’s average of 33 minutes per game in his last seven – be a reminder that Cleveland’s starting SF is a must-own (and in many formats, must-start) player for the stretch run.
I’m not yet ready – nor am I likely to become ready – to buy in on Jason Thompson. Sacramento’s starting PF is certainly playing well at the moment (18.3 ppg, 13.3 rpg, 1.0 spg in his last three games), but don’t be fooled by those stats. Thompson is capable of nice short-term runs like this, but is averaging a mediocre 9.5 ppg, 8.0 rpg and 0.6 bpg in 29 games as a starter, and is too foul-prone and inconsistent to bring you anything other than frustration in the long run.
These are not the most fun times for MarShon Brooks. The man with a capital “S” in the middle of his first name has been flat-out diSappointing lately, posting just 7.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg and 3.0 apg in his last four, and 10.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg and 2.9 apg through 10 games in March. The problem, as I see it, is twofold: 1) The Nets are suddenly quite crowded at SG/SF with Gerald Wallace, Gerald Green and Anthony Morrow, and 2) Avery Johnson tends to pull Brooks from the game pretty quickly when he makes mistakes. I still like Brooks’ potential, and do think he has a chance to break out of this, but I wouldn’t hesitate to drop him if there are productive free agents available.
And since we mentioned Gerald Green, his recent production is worth noting: 18.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.2 spg and 1.6 treys in his last five games. It’s a pretty inspired run for a guy who last played in the NBA in 2008-09, but – and I hate to be a buzzkill, but you knew there was a “but” here – he’s been hitting seemingly every jumper he takes lately, and I don’t see him staying this hot for the long run. Green is certainly useful in deeper formats while he’s getting this kind of run (26 minutes per game in his last five), but his recent pace (57.4 percent shooting during his hot streak) really isn’t close to sustainable.
And while we’re on the topic of Geralds (and in a record third straight paragraph about Nets), I was hoping to see more of the old Gerald Wallace in New Jersey, but… The Wallace I watched on Saturday looked way too much like the Wallace we saw in Portland this year: occasionally spectacular (three blocks, including one monstrous rejection off the backboard), but overall too passive on offense (11 points, three rebounds, three assists on 3-of-9 shooting). Obviously it’s just one game, and hopefully Wallace will wake up more as he gets acclimated, but I’m not convinced that the move to New Jersey will definitely mean a notable increase in value.
Other Random Thoughts: Nicolas Batum is struggling lately (9.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 0.6 spg, 0.6 bpg, 1.0 3s in his last seven games), but the minutes are there (32 per game during that stretch), and he’s way too dynamic and versatile to continue struggling like this … Marcin Gortat is suddenly having major problems from the line: 38.5 percent – 10-of-26 – in his last five games. Confidence from the free throw line is a delicate thing, but I’m guessing it won’t remain a long-term issue for Gortat … Don’t beat yourself up too much if you ran into Channing Frye in a head-to-head league last week. He shot an obscene 18-of-34 from downtown, averaging 18.0 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 2.2 bpg and 3.6 treys in five games.