I am sticking with the general format that's developed for the Saturday Dose -- a few injury updates, news and notes from Friday's games, and a discursion into some topic of my choosing -- so let's jump right in.
Ricky Rubio is expected to make his season debut on Saturday. He shouldn't be on any waiver wires, of course, but I also don't think he should be in any active lineups -- let's see how rusty he is, and to what extent the Wolves monitor his playing time, before throwing him into the fray.
Carmelo Anthony (ankle) is questionable to play on Saturday, but all signs point to the Knicks resting him for at least one game.
Kevin Love bruised his thumb during Friday's game. X-rays were negative, but he may have a precautionary MRI and he didn't sound totally confident that he'll be able to play on Saturday. His owners should feel lucky if he avoided any ligament damage, even if he is forced to miss a game or two with the painful injury.
LeBron James (shoulder) didn't practice on Friday but fully expects to play vs. the Wizards on Saturday, and Dwyane Wade (neck) also appears good to go after briefly leaving Wednesday's game.
Jrue Holiday (foot) went through shooting drills on Saturday and is a game-time decision for Sunday.
In high-profile knee injury news...Dirk Nowitzki (knee) could begin practicing as soon as next week, John Wall has been cleared to "test" his knee on Monday but isn't yet practicing, and Pau Gasol (knees) appears doubtful for Sunday and iffy for Tuesday.
Anderson Varejao exited Friday's game with a left leg injury, but X-rays were negative and he soon returned -- check our player news pages for an update, but he should be safe to keep active this weekend.
For updates on every injured player, check out Rotoworld's very own NBA Injury Report.
Game News and Notes
Andre Iguodala vigorously shook off his December slump vs. the Grizzlies, piling up 20 points on 8-of-11 FGs, four rebounds, seven assists, five steals and two blocks in 38 minutes. Playing time has never been an issue and it was only a matter of time before Iguodala broke out, so there's not much more to say here. It's been suggested that his struggles stem from playing SG rather than SF, but I'd need to watch a lot more video on the Nuggets before ascribing to that theory.
Evan Turner continued his phenomenal recent play with 22 points, two 3-pointers, 10 rebounds, five assists and one steal vs. the Pacers. He coughed up five TOs but that's of little concern to his owners on a night like this. Jason Richardson started at SG but hit a low point, scoring three points with two rebounds in a season-low 20 minutes. He was marginalized by a strong bench effort from Dorell Wright, who had nine points, nine boards, four assists and one steal in 30 minutes off the bench -- keep reading for more perspective on Dorell's potential this season. I'm not reading a ton into these development considering the absence of Jrue Holiday (sprained foot), which prioritized play-making for Doug Collins -- J-Rich, for instance, is a barely adequate defender who nevertheless thrives as an off-ball shooter with Holiday at PG, and his value is gutted when Philly doesn't have a reliable distributor on the court.
In the 76ers frontcourt, Kwame Brown started but was utterly forgettable with five points and one rebound in 21 minutes, Lavoy Allen had six points, two rebounds and three fouls in 13 minutes off the bench, and Spencer Hawes got hot to score 18 points on 8-of-15 shooting, with three rebounds in 24 minutes. Allen was a low-end option while starting at center, but he should only be owned in deep leagues. Hawes is the only one of Philly's centers with fantasy upside, but even with Andrew Bynum out he's failed to earn a starting job, and there's no reason to expect a sustained surge in the near future.
Thaddeus Young is having a career season with 15.1 points on 53.3 percent FGs, 7.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.6 steals, 1.0 blocks and just 1.3 turnovers in 36 minutes per game. I just wanted to point that out again.
Paul George has been boom-or-bust for most of the season, but his high points are more than worth waiting for -- Friday's game was a perfect example, as he racked up 28 points on 9-of-17 shooting, with five 3-pointers, six rebounds, two assists, one steal, three blocks and just one turnover in 39 minutes. Nasty.
Gerald Green started at SG in place of Lance Stephenson (ankle) but he turned in probably his bleakest performance in a season full of gloom -- seven points, two rebounds, two assists and four fouls in 32 minutes. He recently admitted he's in a slump and said that when he gets hot he tends to stay hot for a long time, which I feel is worth remembering, but apparently the opposite is true -- when he's cold, he stays cold.
Jarrett Jack's multi-cat contributions continued on Friday with 12 points, two 3s, seven boards, six dimes, two steals and one turnover in 36 minutes off the bench. I was anticipating this sort of production the moment Brandon Rush (knee surgery) went down, and have viewed him as a very high-upside guy to own in light of Steph Curry's injury history, so it's nice to see him breaking out in December (even if he's torching me in multiple leagues this week...I should have stuck with him longer, I guess). The Warriors lost on Friday but they're still a surprising 15-8, and I see no reason why Jack's role would diminish at any point his season, barring Andrew Bogut's unlikely return as a go-to offensive option, and a consequential team-wide shift in playing time.