We’ve got a lot of ground to cover after a 10-game night, so I’m going to jump right into it. Be sure to follow me on Twitter for real-time news and info, and also check out my live chat later tonight during the games.
Drummond Up Interest
Kyle Singler started for Rodney Stuckey (flu) last night, and generally looked good with 16 points, four boards, a block, and a three. He has operated as the team’s sixth man, but with Corey Maggette (calf) returning tonight they’re heading into a timeshare in that department. Stay away for now. Brandon Knight has been as hit-or-miss as anybody in the league, and he was ‘on’ last night with 15 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, and a three. He is on the wrong side of 12-team value in 9-cat leagues, but in both 8- and 9-cat formats he should stay on the right side of that line before long.
Greg Monroe went for 19 and 18 with six assists and one block, in what the natives are now calling a ‘Wednesday.’ Andre Drummond played just 11 minutes and looked fine, but Lawrence Frank wanted to get a win and he’s not ready to trust the rookie yet. He’s a stash with a lot of upside and a relatively easy rotation to crack, even if Jason Maxiell (eight points, 12 rebounds, three blocks) is playing well and in a contract year.
Jrue Holiday got his turnovers under control with just one giveaway last night, but his 4-of-13 mark from the field kept last night from being a celebratory moment. He had 12 points, six rebounds, seven assists, and three steals, and was the only Sixer other than Lavoy Allen (14 points, six boards) to not get murdered in the box score. A blowout loss to the Pistons is a game I’m going to ignore for all intents and purposes.
Mo Better Blues
Rumors of Paul Millsap’s demise were certainly exaggerated, and the second-to-third round producer went to work on the Celtics to the tune of 20 points, 12 boards, four assists, a steal, and two blocks. Derrick Favors made things easier for owners holding their lottery ticket tightly, scoring 14 points on 2-of-5 shooting (10-of-14 FTs) with nine rebounds and a steal in 26 minutes off the bench. Mo Williams played 38 minutes and basically cost the Jazz the game with some questionable shots late, but he didn’t emerge with any new injury reports and the 14 points, five assists, and two threes were a welcome sight even if he hit just 6-of-19 shots.
I had Gordon Hayward ranked very high in the Bruski 150 and his ADP was probably about four rounds lower, so owners using that as their guide are probably breathing a sigh of relief now that he’s consistently putting up late mid-round value. He scored 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting (including two threes) with six rebounds, three assists, and one block in 31 minutes. The key here is going to be his comfort level and not experiencing any major setbacks in his development, as he profiles to be a better second half play, especially if the Jazz trade away some of their depth.
Rajon Rondo left last night’s game with a sprained ankle, but did manage to get the 10 assists he needed to keep his double-digit assists streak intact. It’s hard to say how the Cs will play this, but if they are at all record-oriented they may opt to keep him going so he doesn’t lose his rhythm. Jason Terry strikes me as a guy that might have trouble fitting in if he’s not getting his touches or respect in the locker room. Three points on free throws with a bottom-barrel stat line in 22 minutes is a red flag for chemistry issues, as it’s doubtful Terry is disappearing due to lack of skill, especially on a night in which Rondo played just 25 minutes. I’m not saying that it’s that, just putting out an educated guess.
Jeff Green brought the pain to Al Jefferson last night on this dunk, and it was the type of moment that can get a young, talented, and inconsistent player back on track. He scored 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting (6-of-7 FTs) with four rebounds and two assists, but did not have a steal or block in his 27 minutes. He’s in very speculative add territory for 12-team leagues, as we can’t just forget his body of work this year. Leandro Barbosa (16 points) is worth a look as a short-term pickup if Rondo misses time with three games to go this week. Brandon Bass scored eight points with three boards and two blocks in his 32 minutes, and it’s doubtful his finger impacted him much, if at all. Just another underwhelming night at the office.
The Big East Crossover
Ben Gordon (personal) did not play last night and Gerald Henderson (ankle) still has a ways to go, and nobody is taking more advantage of the opening than Kemba Walker, who scored 22 points on 9-of-19 shooting with four rebounds, five assists, four steals, a block, and a three. He also crossed over Alexey Shved something nasty for the game-winner a la the Big East tourney when he was with UCONN. He’s a top-20 play right now and he’s creaming last year's 36.6 and 78.9 percent marks from the field and the line with averages of 43.4 and 86.5 this season, respectively. One other key to his success has been his decrease in 3-point shooting (3.4 to 2.4 3PA/gm), probably because he’s only hitting 17.6 percent of shots from deep this season. Decreases in distance shooting are almost always going to help a player’s field goal percentage, but it’s my guess he’ll start taking more when he starts making more. I also find it unlikely that he keeps up 7-8 point increases all year, and the counting stats will take a hit when the aforementioned shooting guards return. It’s a sell-high moment for sure, just get the deal you want.
I’m pretty sure I’m going to ban Byron Mullens drop questions for the rest of the year, at least until he drops into late round value territory. He put up 12 points, 15 rebounds, a steal, and four blocks and continues to get positive reviews for his improvement and toughness. Ramon Sessions (18 points, six boards, four assists) will continue to provide solid value until the backcourt gets crowded again. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist cooled off with two points on 1-of-4 shooting with two rebounds, two assists, and no steals or blocks in 17 minutes, and with the Bobcats on the verge of a road win it’s clear Mike Dunlap will pull him if he's not producing in close games. Owners should expect this going forward and plan ahead for the slowly ascending roller coaster ride, and I still like him to be owned in all 12-team formats.
Brandon Roy (knee) and J.J. Barea (ankle) did not play last night, and while both were hopeful to play last night, and hopeful to play on Friday as well – I only believe Barea at this time. Nikola Pekovic (ankle) also did not play, which wasn’t all that surprising even if Bam Bam says he doesn’t use crutches. Predictably, the last men standing in Minny were free to do their thing, so Luke Ridnour (16 points, five boards, 10 assists, two steals, one three) and Alexey Shved (13 points, two rebounds, two assists, one three, 23 minutes) were productive. Shved owners likely wanted to see more out of their new toy and the five turnovers and late-game defensive failure didn’t help, but owning him right now is a vote for attrition and not necessarily game-to-game performance. We know he’s a good player, but his value will be tied to whether or not the lot of injury-prone guards and wings will cooperate.
Andrei Kirilenko has taken over the role of team leader and went supersonic last night, scoring 26 points on 9-of-12 shooting (including three treys) with 12 rebounds, two assists, a steal, and two blocks. Yes, this is a great sell-high moment for an injury-prone player operating in a best-case scenario right now. Malcolm Lee even got into the act in his start at shooting guard, scoring 10 points with four rebounds, three assists and one steal in 35 minutes before leaving the game with cramps. He missed all five of his 3-point shots and his line would’ve looked a lot better had that not happened. Give him a look if the same roster gets trotted out on Friday. Dante Cunningham posted another useful line off the bench with eight points, seven boards, one steal, and three blocks in 28 minutes, and has been a nice mid-to-late round value over the past week. The guy that’s theoretically supposed to have all the value in Kevin Love’s injury wake, Derrick Williams, finally had something resembling a decent night with 10 points, nine boards, and a block, but he hit just 3-of-12 shots and 4-of-7 freebies. Yawn.
Love is going to have X-rays on his broken right (shooting) hand on Tuesday, and those will be sent to New York for a specialist to review. If all goes well, he starts rehabbing it, and if even more goes well he can hit his goal of returning by early December.