Adam Levitan

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012




MAGIC
Position: Shooting guard
Seemingly every week in this space, I’ve begged for coach Stan Van Gundy to give J.J. Redick a bigger opportunity. It took a facial fracture to Hedo Turkoglu, but it’s finally happening.

With Turkoglu done for the regular season, Van Gundy has wisely turned to a smaller lineup that features Redick at shooting guard and Jason Richardson at small forward. It doesn’t matter if Dwight Howard (back, immaturity) plays or not, Redick is a must-own because of his talent level.

In 14 starts this year, Redick has averaged 14.6 points and 2.5 3-pointers while playing 33.6 minutes. He is also shooting 94.1 percent from the free-throw line and gets there a reasonable 2.4 times per game. Those are bare minimum numbers the rest of the way.

PACERS
Position: Point guard
For now, Darren Collison’s groin injury does not sound overly serious. It’s not like Derrick Rose’s bleeding groin, it’s just simple soreness that dated back to last Friday.

So what we have here is one of the league’s premier handcuff situations instead of a long-term add. George Hill has starting-caliber NBA talent that he puts on display whenever given the opportunity. In 56 career starts, he’s averaged 14.8 points, 3.6 assists, 3.2 rebounds, 1.0 treys and 0.8 steals.

However, this doesn’t mean that we have a changing of the guard. Collison has started 56 games this season, guiding the Pacers to a 34-22 record in that span. He’s not losing his job.  

PISTONS
Position: Shooting guard
It’s pretty rare that a team as bad as the Pistons (21-36) has a stable rotation. But they do.

Brandon Knight has started 51 straight games at point guard. Tayshaun Prince has started 55 games at small forward. Greg Monroe has been the man in the middle for all 57. Jason Maxiell has started 34 straight.

The only question here is the health of Rodney Stuckey and Ben Gordon. When both are healthy, Stuckey starts and plays roughly 29-32 minutes. When Stuckey is out, Gordon starts and plays 32.8 minutes. As a sub, Gordon sees just 22.7 minutes. It’s really that simple. Coach Lawrence Frank is a fantasy owner’s dream.

RAPTORS
Position: Power forward
Andrea Bargnani has sustained three separate left calf injuries this season. With nine games left in the year and the Raptors in tank mode, I’d be surprised to see him again before the 2012-13 campaign.  

Seemingly, that opens up minutes for roto-friendly defensive stopper James Johnson. But coach Dwane Casey apparently has other ideas, as Johnson remains in the doghouse. Until that changes, he’s not a real fantasy option.

Instead, Casey has chosen to roll with former undrafted free agent Alan Anderson, who had been out of the league since 2006-07, as his starting small forward. And wildly inconsistent Amir Johnson is getting the nod at power forward.

Amir Johnson has started 36 games this season, but has managed just 8.1 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.1 blocks. Anderson has seen 26.4 minutes in his four starts, but is getting just 9.5 points and 2.3 rebounds. It is what it is. Until Ed Davis or James Johnson earn their way into the starting five, I’m ignoring this frontcourt.

SIXERS
Position: Shooting guard
The Sixers are in a free-fall of epic proportions. Since starting the year as the league’s darlings at 20-9, they’ve gone 9-18. Stunningly, they’re in desperation mode as they try to hold off the Bucks for the final playoff spot in the East.

So it’s not a surprise that a frustrated Doug Collins has started to hint at lineup changes once again.

"If we can't get this going with this group, we're going to have to change,” he said. “My tendency was to try to keep it the same the whole season but we've got to start finding some rhythm. I don't know what I'm going to do, but I hope I don't have to do that.”

The only logical change to the starting lineup will be putting Evan Turner back on the bench. The Sixers are 7-11 with him as their starting shooting guard. They are 22-16 in all other contests. Over the last 10 games, Turner is a -90 in plus/minus. That’s by far the worst on the team, and it’s not a coincidence. Turner “is a point guard” as Collins said last month, and that just doesn’t fit on this team. Jrue Holiday and Andre Iguodala also have similar skill sets. Turner owners need to be watching this situation closely.

WIZARDS
Position: Power forward/center
The Wizards were leading the Bobcats by 20 points at halftime and 27 points after three quarters on Monday. It was a rare chance for coach Randy Wittman to get his overworked starters some rest, so don’t read too much into James Singleton’s 37 minutes.

Trevor Booker (foot) has had a setback and Nene Hilario (foot) isn’t going to rush it. The pecking order here is still impressive Kevin Seraphin, raw rookie Jan Vesely and then the newly-signed Singleton.  

* The Hawks are not listed as they are the only Eastern Conference team without any true question marks in their rotation.



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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.
Email :Adam Levitan



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