The John Wall Dance
Wizards owner Ted Leonsis wrote on his blog that Saturday could mark the first time that his entire team will “dress,” which is obviously big news for John Wall (knee) owners. I wouldn’t say at this point that he’s a guarantee to play, but that doesn’t really matter if you’ve waited this long. Expect him to be eased in and be ready to adjust your evaluations of Bradley Beal, Jordan Crawford, and Martell Webster, who will all see a decrease in minutes and touches when Wall is back up to speed. I’d also expect a slight uptick in the efficiency of the Wizards’ bigs, who will get easier looks with an elite-potential threat added to the lineup. Here’s looking at you Mr. 8-of-20 Kevin Seraphin.
Don’t Sleep on Shooting Wrists
LaMarcus Aldridge’s right (shooting) wrist injury popped back up on the radar again as he missed practice yesterday to get an X-ray. The X-ray returned negative and he is probable to play in Thursday’s game. I’ve been an advocate of taking wrist injuries seriously, as we’ve seen them knock out guys every year and they almost always start out with little fanfare (see Williams, Deron). That said, it’s hard to judge what the future will bring in each case and owners have to figure out the risk/reward of possibly moving a player dealing with one.
With Aldridge bouncing back from his minor ailments this year and playing well as of late, I’d be pretty happy getting an early round player on the upswing in any deal. With his probable status for Thursday, it’s possible you can secure a top-30 player in return, too. Aldridge has plenty of name value as an early pick in drafts, but he’s still just a top 20-30 value on the year and selling in that general range isn’t going to break the bank if owners can secure a safer asset. In the good news/bad news department, the Blazers really need him to play since Meyers Leonard is both injured and still a project, but also have plenty of reason to play it safe in a season where a playoff berth would be an upset.
News and Notes
Iman Shumpert (knee) has been cleared for practice and while he’ll need some time to ramp up whenever he gets back on the court, he’s a bit of a sleeper to take over some point guard duties toward the end of Raymond Felton’s absence. Jason Kidd has been getting ridden pretty hard so far this season, and if Shumpert’s return is going well then the Knicks would be well served getting Kidd some rest.
Tyreke Evans reported no soreness in his knee after Monday’s game and also said that he has no minute limit, but owners should know better than to bank on anything coming out of Sacramento these days. Consider waiting until he puts up a good line before deploying him if you have options.
Rudy Gay has emerged as the flavor of the day in the trade rumor mill (with a dash of Zach Randolph). Keep an eye out for our trade deadline coverage this season, which we continue to expand as we seek to be the Internet’s one-stop shop making sense of it all.
Derrick Rose’s status was detailed well in this article from NBA.com, but the timeline still sits at or near the All Star break for his return. With everything seemingly going so well, I can’t imagine letting him float on the wire in leagues that don’t penalize you for carrying injured players.
Wednesday Night Lights
UTA @ CHA: Alec Burks could play some point guard going forward with Mo Williams out for a while, and while he should be monitored in deep leagues for now the bigger fantasy impact of Williams’ absence could lie with Gordon Hayward. Hayward has slowly gotten more touches as the facilitator that many (including yours truly) envisioned him to be this season. I’ve come across a great Jazz resource lately (@AllThatAmar) and he put together quite the analysis on Hayward and how he has fared through the years. It’s doubtful that Hayward is available in too many leagues after his outburst from Monday night, and he’s certainly shown that he can disappear after those outings, but maybe just maybe the Jazz are going to figure out that more is better with Hayward.
Marvin Williams (knee) will be out “at least” three games, and while it’s Randy Foye that has stolen Hayward’s minutes, it’s not going to hurt Hayward to have extra space available on the wings. As for Mo, he suffered a complete tear of the thumb ligament he injured in 2008 and it looks like the earliest he will return is March. Unless you have plenty of bench space in a weekly league, playoff league, or league with games played limits, a drop is certainly on the table for discussion.
As for the Bobcats, Hakim Warrick (illness) is expected to play and we’ll see tonight what kind of staying power Tyrus Thomas has. The only thing Thomas has going in my mind is his overall conditioning, which is said to be better than the prior season by local reports. With Byron Mullens eventually returning, I don’t like any of them besides Mullens over the long-term. And though Mullens has some mid-round upside if he’s playing well, I can’t bring myself to call him a must-own player in standard formats with the threat of possible timeshare looming.
PHI @ TOR: Andrew Bynum (knees) has gotten to treadmill work and anticipates on-court work soon, and apparently his right knee is no longer an issue. The left knee, however, still has some ambiguity to it and in reality his entire situation is up for grabs. Still, it’s the best update we’ve gotten on Bynum to date and owners will probably want to hang on to see how the next few weeks go.
Terrence Ross (ankle) did not practice yesterday making him questionable for tonight, and that gives a slight bump to Alan Anderson who has been playing well lately. Anderson should be owned in most formats after posting mid-round value over the past two weeks. Just keep in mind that things could get crowded as folks get healthier. Andrea Bargnani still can’t lift his arm. I put in a $1 bid for him on Sunday in a deeper 12-team league and I’m kind of glad I didn’t land him. The reason I didn’t get him was that I bid on Jonas Valanciunas ahead of him, who is 2.5 weeks into his 4-6 week timetable for return. It has been quiet in Toronto on this front, and this type of move isn’t for 12-team standard leagues just yet. With Bargnani probably out of the picture, it’s possible JV will get a bit more love in the offense and the like with the team likely transitioning to a developmental stage (if embattled GM Jerry Colangelo allows that).
ATL @ CLE: C.J. Miles (back) is expected to play, and I wouldn’t be nearly as bullish as our last blurb about playing 30 minutes. If he’s scoring and not killing the Cavs on defense, then he’ll stay in the game and vice-versa. Similarly, Dion Waiters is on his own schedule with Byron Scott, too. If he’s taking the right shots and playing defense he’ll get big minutes, and if not he’ll hover in the 27-minute range. We’ll be watching to see who, if anybody, Larry Drew dings after his mild threats from last night.
PHO @ BOS: The Suns will come in tired after last night’s loss and get a Celtics team with all sorts of attention on them right now. Rajon Rondo will return from his suspension and Avery Bradley is getting integrated into the starting unit. Jason Terry has probably run out of leash with many of you (myself included), and another bad night will likely do him in.
MIL @ CHI: Kirk Hinrich cut his elbow in Monday’s game and did not practice yesterday, and if it’s not one thing it’s another for him. If he can’t go then Nate Robinson will look to capitalize on the opportunity. Robinson was a nice mathematical asset when he was posting low-end value in his bench role, with theoretic upside in the event that Hinrich got hurt. But he has been inconsistent when given the opportunities, making him somebody to spot-start in a pinch in standard leagues but to otherwise watch from the wire. The Jim Boylan show gets a second look, which we’ll all surely be watching closely.
LAL @ SA: I’ll personally be watching to see how Kawhi Leonard does and surely many of you will be, too. He’s been a borderline 12-team guy since returning but his numbers are all at the lower range of what they could possibly be so I can’t see dropping him right now. I know many of you (and many of us) are more impatient than that in 8- and 9-cat formats.
MIN @ OKC: The Thunder are rolling right along and we’ll watch to see if Russell Westbrook’s shooting improvement can continue. The Wolves will come in off the back-to-back and it may be asking too much for them to play well against the Thunder again at the Peake.
HOU @ NO: Eric Gordon has been playing well, Al-Farouq Aminu has been getting added in fantasy leagues, and Anthony Davis is due for an eruption. Going against Omer Asik isn’t usually a good formula for that, but the Rockets like to get up and down the court and the box scores can be generous.
ORL @ DEN: The Magic’s key fantasy guys are all quality fantasy starters right now, while Denver is still looking to find consistency out of their main fantasy guys. Ty Lawson had a big night against the defenseless Lakers the last time out, and the Magic aren’t exactly stoppers so hopefully his suffering owners can get a repeat.
DAL @ LAC: Jamal Crawford (foot) did not practice on Monday and there was no update on his status yesterday, making him pretty questionable for tonight’s game. Reports have varied about Chauncey Billups’ status with a foot injury, ranging from somewhat serious to not serious at all, and the most recent one has him possibly returning toward the end of January. The Mavs are an up-and-down team at best but Dirk Nowitzki is back and looking good on the offensive end, while Elton Brand has made some slight noise and Chris Kaman is coming off a serviceable outing. Darren Collison needs to keep the pedal to the metal with Rick Carlisle seemingly willing to look at anybody to spell him with. Vince Carter has slowed down and needs to have a big night to retain interest in the standard market.
MEM @ GSW: Jarrett Jack (elbow) went through a full practice yesterday and should be used as you normally would tonight. The Warriors have a lot to prove after their shellacking at the hands of the Clippers over the weekend. Their schedule was weak to start the year and they caught some good teams sleeping, but now their overrated defense will be challenged and the schedule is stiffening. I love my Warriors but I’m refusing to drool all over Mark Jackson and the new deep-pocketed ownership, which puts me in the minority of media guys these days.
The real evaluation comes over the next 10-12 games, and anybody telling you otherwise isn’t paying close enough attention. If the Warriors do struggle, it could mean more minutes for Carl Landry, Draymond Green, and Harrison Barnes, as they have better athleticism than David Lee, Klay Thompson, and Jarrett Jack, and in general there could be a softening of the pinball numbers the big names have been putting up. Still, the whole lot of them should be deployed how they normally would be outside of daily salary cap leagues. The Grizzlies boast a great defense, so tonight’s contest will be a good measuring stick.