I spent most of the Thanksgiving holiday hanging out with my family in Indy, trying to get over the illness my five year old gave me, and driving a car across the country. And while I was doing those things, the NBA rolled on as usual on Saturday and Sunday. Here’s what we missed.
Games Played for Week 5
4 Games – Nets, Cavaliers, Pistons, Grizzlies, Knicks, Thunder, Suns, Blazers, Spurs, Bucks & Jazz
3 Games – Celtics, Bobcats, Bulls, Mavericks, Nuggets, Rockets, Pacers, Clippers, Lakers, Timberwolves, Hornets, Magic, Sixers, Kings, Raptors & Wizards
2 Games – Hawks, Warriors & Heat (another tough break for LeBron’s owners)
News of the Weird – Big Man Blues (as well as some guard news thrown in)
Big men seemed to make up a majority of the news from the weekend, starting with Philly’s Andrew Bynum, who will have an MRI on Dec. 10 and has no return date in mind. I heard reports over the summer that Bynum wasn’t taking care of his body and wasn’t in great shape, but I really didn’t see it translating into a lost season. We dropped him in our rankings out of the first round, but if we had it to do over again, we would have called him undraftable. If I owned Bynum, sadly, I would be dropping him for a hot free agent unless your league is so deep the waiver wire is empty.
Thaddeus Young blew up for a season-high 29 points and a career-high 15 rebounds on Saturday, meaning he should be owned in all leagues. Spencer Hawes is struggling with a knee injury, Lavoy Allen is now starting at center for Philly and had 11 points, six rebounds and two blocks on Sunday, and Kwame Brown is on the bench. I’m surprised that Young has become one of the better power forward options around, but it also makes sense given all the problems the Sixers are having with their front line. Allen is worth a watchful eye in deep leagues. In other Sixers news, Jrue Holiday backed up his season-low six points on Saturday with a career-high 33 points on Sunday, which helped me take out Rick Kamla 6-2 in League Freak. Evan Turner looks like a must-own player after posting 26 points, five boards, four assists and two steals, along with 16 points, nine boards, three assists and three 3-pointers in each of his last two games.
Pau Gasol is not only struggling to find his way in Mike D’Antoni’s offense, but is dealing with knee tendinitis that could linger all year. Gasol is going to have a hard time rebounding and scoring at his usual pace with Dwight Howard in town and while the entire Rotoworld staff may not be in agreement with me, I say it’s time to trade Gasol and get back what you can. Antawn Jamison is finally getting going for the Lakers under D’Antoni, and had 19 points, 15 rebounds, a steal and a 3-pointer on Saturday, which is another reason I am not a huge fan of Gasol right now. Jamison (and Metta World Peace) should be grabbed in most leagues. The Lakers play three times this week.
Andrew Bogut is targeting a Dec. 1 return from his latest ankle problem, but don’t be surprised if we’re establishing a new target date to return from a new injury for him sometime after that. Bogut will likely continue to see limited minutes until further notice and I’m still not convinced his ankle will be at full strength this season. He’s a fantasy luxury item on your bench, as long as you can afford to hold him.
LaMarcus Aldridge was out on Sunday with a sore back and Meyers Leonard started in his place for Portland, but struggled. L.A. is hopeful to play on Monday night, so watch the Rotoworld News Page before setting your lineup. As usual, Leonard is worth keeping an eye on, but won’t be worth owning as long as Aldridge and J.J. Hickson are healthy.
Anthony Davis could miss two more weeks with a stress reaction in his foot/ankle, meaning he should be benched until further notice. As long as he’s out, Ryan Anderson should continue to go off for the Hornets, while Robin Lopez (14 points, five rebounds, two steals, four blocks on Sunday) is worth a look in all leagues for the Hornets.
Byron Mullens went off for 27 points, eight rebounds, a steal, two blocks and five 3-pointers for the Bobcats on Saturday and is now a must-start player. The Cats play three times this week.
Kevin Seraphin is starting for the Wizards and had six points and five rebounds on 3-of-10 shooting on Saturday, letting his owners down. If he’s been anything thus far, it’s inconsistent, but I still think he’s a nice player to own going forward. Just weigh options carefully before locking him into a weekly lineup. Nene had 19 points, five boards, three assists and two steals on Saturday in 29 minutes. So much for the 20-minute time limit. I grabbed in one league and it looks like he’s worth owning in all leagues, although I don’t trust his feet at all. In other Wizards news, point guard A.J. Price had just two points in 20 minutes on Saturday, and is in a three-way timeshare with Shaun Livingston and Jordan Crawford. I’m going to bail out on AJP in the leagues where I still own him, and Crawford is the guard to own for the Wizards right now. John Wall should eventually be back from his knee problem, but no one has a clue as to when it will happen. Just keep him stashed and hope for the best.
Chris Kaman was benched on Saturday and hit just 2-of-12 shots for four points and three rebounds. He’s had some big games, but this latest move by Rick Carlisle means he’s not an automatic starter in weekly leagues. But I also don’t believe he’ll be out of the starting lineup much longer, if at all, as this might have been a Dwight Howard matchup move. Derrick Favors was 0-for-6 for two points and four rebounds for the Jazz on Saturday, but is still a player I am hanging onto in all leagues. He’ll bounce back.
Jonas Valanciunas had a career-high 22 points to go along with seven rebounds and three blocks in 39 minutes on Sunday and is officially a must-own fantasy center for the Raptors. The minutes are there and he’s starting to produce. Guard Jose Calderon, whose fantasy value appeared ready to dry up, played 41 minutes and had nine assists on Sunday, so keep him on your roster until further notice. Andrea Bargnani hit just 2-of-19 shots on Sunday, allowing Ed Davis to play well and finish with 15 points and 14 rebounds. Bargs will bounce back in the next one and I don’t trust Davis. Just keep an eye on him.
Zaza Pachulia started for the Hawks on Saturday and had 19 points and 12 rebounds. It doesn’t appear that he’ll become a full-time starter, but anytime you hear of him cracking the lineup, he might be a decent plug-and-play in deeper leagues. Samuel Dalembert was benched for Joel Przybilla (0 points, 2 rebounds) and didn’t even play for the Bucks on Saturday. Additionally, rookie John Henson, coming off a monster 17 & 18 night, played just one minute in that one. It’s official. Scott Skiles is the most annoying fantasy coach in history (which I’m sure makes him happy) and it is impossible to try to analyze the Bucks and figure out what he will do next. This means Larry Sanders, Dalembert, Henson, Ersan Ilyasova, Mike Dunleavy and Tobias Harris are all fantasy poison, with only Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings falling into the ‘reliable’ category. Speaking of Jennings, he suffered a sprained ankle on Saturday and is iffy for Monday night. Keep an eye on the Rotoworld News Page for updates today.