It was another massive night in the association, with monster lines and a monster game late in the Bruski Bowl, where the Kings and Warriors decided to play a game without defense. Let’s get right to it.
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The Washington Shuffle
The Wizards trudged into Orlando last night after losing an overtime game to the Hawks the night before, and without Bradley Beal (back) they lost their fifth game in a row while Randy Wittman continued to play musical chairs with his lineups. Earl Barron (two points, five boards, one steal, 1-of-6 FGs, 20 minutes) started over Chris Singleton (16 minutes), while Wittman rode Emeka Okafor (27 minutes, eight points, 12 rebounds, one block) and Nene (25 minutes, 20 points, 8-of-10 FGs, two rebounds, one block) in the frontcourt.
Kevin Seraphin continued to annoy owners with just 23 minutes of action, scoring six points on 3-of-9 shooting with two rebounds, two assists, and two blocks. I spent a lot of time talking about Seraphin yesterday, but the idea is still essentially the same. He’s getting toyed with now, but projects to be a much better second-half of the year player as the injury prone frontcourt wears down and Wittman is either fired or relents. Feel free to drop Seraphin if you’re fed up, but his upside and chance of bouncing back makes him a pretty good stash, nonetheless. As for Nene, he reported that he’s still feeling pain in his foot and that’s enough for me to stay away. Okafor and Barron aren’t worth the time outside of very deep leagues.
I took a flier on Cartier Martin (11 points, three treys, five rebounds) in a deeper 12-team big money league, and he has more or less held onto his late-round value over the past week. Truthfully, I wasn’t expecting much as it was a throwaway add with the hopes of catching lightning in a bottle, but on a bad team with plenty of injuries he has an outside shot at holding some value. Jordan Crawford (19 points, four rebounds, six assists, two steals, three treys, seven turnovers) isn’t very efficient, but he’s a must-start player until further notice. Beal sounds like he could return soon, so owners should be holding in most circumstances.
Big Baby Goes Down
Glen Davis (12 points, nine boards, two blocks) went down at the end of last night’s game with a serious looking left shoulder injury, and he will get an MRI today to determine his fate. A separated shoulder could cost him weeks, while a torn labrum could end his season. If Baby misses time, it will be a boon to the value of J.J. Redick (17 points, four threes, three assists, 26 minutes), Jameer Nelson (eight points, five assists, three steals, 31 minutes), and Arron Afflalo (15 points, three boards, three assists, two steals). Davis is averaging 14.8 field goal attempts per game, and those three guys will be the first to pick those up.
The question for owners looking for beneficiaries is going to be which fringe player picks up the slack, with candidates in Moe Harkless (nine points, seven rebounds, two steals, 18 minutes), E’Twaun Moore (15 points, 6-of-10 FGs, three treys, two assists, two steals), or Andrew Nicholson (zero points, six minutes). Moore was productive earlier in the season when Nelson was out, and even held some very low-end value at times when Nelson was in. Harkless has shown flashes but has been very inconsistent, and Nicholson has been productive recently but is shaky himself as evidenced by last night’s outing. The Magic could very well start Josh McRoberts in Baby’s place, but he is usually an empty calorie guy despite having a somewhat versatile fantasy game. Gustavo Ayon (three points, eight boards, three assists, one steal, 16 minutes) has been an interesting name in the past, but has been invisible all season.
Add in the nearing return of Hedo Turkoglu, who profiles as the most likely to do damage in fantasy leagues but also has plenty of injury risk, and Al Harrington’s return further down the line and it’s a muddy situation to say the least. Owners may want to just keep their finger near the add button on Friday when the Magic head into Toronto.
Monroe’s Monster Night
It was Greg Monroe night in Toronto despite the Pistons’ loss, as he scored a career-high 35 points on 14-of-22 shooting (7-of-8 FTs) with 10 rebounds, two assists, and two steals. He’s going to disappear every once in a while but these types of nights will even things out for the mid-round value. He’ll need to start bringing it every night to meet his lofty ADP. Brandon Knight hit just 1-of-10 shots for two points, four rebounds, and six assists, and I’m simply not as high as others about a guy with ninth and 15th round value in 8- and 9-cat leagues, respectively. Owners definitely have to punt in his deficient areas to get their money’s worth. Rodney Stuckey (back spasms) played and resumed his resurgence with a serviceable 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting, four assists and one three in 29 minutes off the bench. He has crept back into the top-100 over the past two weeks.
Sifting for Gold
As predicted yesterday, the two beneficiaries of Andrea Bargnani’s absence had another see-saw moment, as Amir Johnson’s ankle injury appeared to put Ed Davis (11 points, nine boards, two blocks, 28 minutes) in the driver seat. Johnson eventually returned to the game to keep the situation muddled, and finished with five points, nine rebounds, two steals, and one block in 21 minutes. Dwane Casey said that Johnson probably shouldn’t have returned and he was seen limping in the locker room afterwards, so don’t be surprised if the ankle swells up overnight and he is questionable for Friday’s game. I’d view both players as low-end guys better suited for 14-team leagues until one can emerge as a clear winner in the position battle.
Jonas Valanciunas scored 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting with five rebounds, one assist, and one block in his 27 minutes, and is still just a stash for the hopes that he can take the next step. Those close to the team are still happy with the player, but he needs to show owners something in the next two weeks before the inscription on this season’s tombstone gets carved out.
Jose Calderon hit a wall offensively with just seven points on 2-of-8 shooting (including two threes), but he handed out 17 assists to keep the theoretic talk of him stealing Kyle Lowry’s job on the back burner. It seems unlikely that this will happen, but it will be contingent upon Lowry’s attitude, health, shot selection, and willingness to play defense – and not just his offensive ability.
Alan Anderson paid off owners that added him after he burst onto the scene this week, scoring 16 points on 4-of-11 shooting with three rebounds, two steals, and three treys in 26 minutes. He didn’t see much time during the first half, which was somewhat strange given his recent strong play, but he played the game’s final 18 minutes and continued to draw positive marks from opposing beat writers. I think he’s a must-own player in 12-team formats even with the wing corps in Toronto getting healthier.
The Jeffersonian Institute
The Jazz got throttled last night by the Pacers in a 20-point loss, and while I’m not optimistic they’ll figure it out they need to find some stability outside of dumping the ball into Al Jefferson so much. Jefferson hit just 1-of-8 shots for four points, six boards, and one block in 22 minutes before the game was over, and if the Jazz are going to be one-dimensional they’re going to take losses like this when he’s off his game.
Owners can probably throw the box score out in terms of long-term analysis, but Gordon Hayward owners (including yours truly) are smarting after this one. In his return to Indiana, he played just 13 minutes in front of friends and family and posted an ugly five turnovers to go with eight points, two boards, one assist, and one steal. I’m not going to sit here and tell folks to hold him indiscriminately, but he’s a guy that the Jazz have to get going if they have any designs on the playoffs this season. I’m also seeing more talk in Jazz land about his lack of minutes, with equal parts complaining about both the coach and the player, but as I’ve said a million times he profiles as a better second half play for a somewhat injury-prone team that might trade away players at the deadline.
Derrick Favors made noise with 16 points, nine rebounds, one steal, and three blocks in 28 minutes off the bench, which is a bit misleading because of the garbage time, but Ty Corbin was forced to say after the game that he’d be sticking with Favors off the bench. Also in the broken record category, he is a nice low-end play right now that doubles as a walking lottery ticket. His foot issues appear to be behind him for the most part, too.
Paul George kept his foot on the gas with 20 points on 9-of-13 shooting with 11 rebounds, one steal, four blocks, and two threes. Those struggles seem like eons ago. Roy Hibbert didn’t truly take advantage, but owners will take a 12-point, four-rebound, four-assist effort with a steal and two blocks with open arms nowadays as long as he hits 50 percent of his shots like he did last night. George Hill cruised with 20 points, five boards, and five assists while hitting 8-of-13 shots with two threes in the win.
Because of the blowout win, we saw an appearance from none other than Gerald Green, who scored 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting with four threes and one assist over 23 minutes in a mostly hollow line. Maybe this will be the game that gets his confidence back, but his body of work has been atrocious and the Pacers offense has major consistency issues. I’m holding off until he can back it up at least once, and probably twice or three times.
The Brooklyn Debts
The Nets lost but Deron Williams got back on track in Round 3 of the battle of New York, scoring 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting with five rebounds, 10 assists, and two threes. It’s progress, but I don’t think any of us are truly comfortable with him right now. Joe Johnson cooled off with 17 points on 5-of-14 shooting, two rebounds, three assists, and a steal, but hitting three treys he operated within his sweet spot as a 3-point reliant fantasy producer. As usual, I’m all about selling him somewhat high.
Brook Lopez appears to be getting back on track after his foot injury with 16 points, 10 boards, one steal, and one block, and owners might want to consider long-term plans to move him after a solid stretch. It’s just hard to trust that foot. Kris Humphries (zero points, nine rebounds, 18 minutes) showed his true colors yet again, and Andray Blatche can be thrown back to the scrap heap after a seven-point, two-rebound effort in 16 minutes even if he did tally a steal and block. Gerald Wallace scuffled with six points, five boards, and one three in 38 minutes. His consistency has been a problem this season and it’s not just because he plays with ball-dominant players on a somewhat deep team. Crash is still well worth owning, but he’s not going to be the fantasy force that some owners probably thought they were buying into on draft day.
Carmelo Anthony (ankle) returned and wasted no time getting the Knicks back on track, scoring 31 points on 12-of-22 shooting with four threes, three boards, two steals, and one block. J.R. Smith has smoothed out some small speed bumps and had another nice night with 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting, one three, five boards, three assists, and one block. Raymond Felton struggled and it’s probably fairly safe to assume the bone bruises on his hands are at least part of it. He hit just 4-of-15 shots and has been ice cold in that department for a while now, finishing with eight points, five rebounds, four assists, and a steal. Owners shouldn’t be looking to sell-low here, and if anything it’s a buy-low moment as he’ll eventually get those hands healed up and start hitting at a more palatable clip.
Tyson Chandler’s comeback in fantasy leagues has been complete for a bit, but he added another 16 points, 12 rebounds, one steal, and three blocks to his resume last night. Jason Kidd hit just 2-of-9 shots (all threes) but continued to put up versatile numbers with seven points, eight rebounds, five assists, and three steals as the dream season continues. It’s certainly a sell-high moment with Iman Shumpert eventually set to return and give the old man a bit of a break.