Gimme A Break
Raymond Felton (pinkie) is on schedule to return on January 26, while Iman Shumpert (two points, four rebounds, two assists, one steal, 20 minutes) is getting his feet wet. Jason Kidd played 35 minutes and scored 11 points with two threes, three rebounds, one assist, and six steals, and J.R. Smith tweaked a knee and revealed he has been dealing with an Achilles’ issue all year. Neither ailment is believed to be serious, and I’m not selling Smith short at this point, but Felton’s return and Shumpert’s improving health couldn’t be come at a better time. I expect Kidd to see his workload decreased and if Smith needs any rest he could be spelled, too. Amare Stoudemire (15 points, six rebounds) has shown enough to stay on rosters, but he’s operating in the late round territory that we all thought he’d be in.
Hurt Knee For CP3?
Chris Paul (knee) returned to play in what is now a rivalry with the Warriors, and ended up limping badly toward the end of the game and that makes him questionable for tonight. Eric Bledsoe had nice late round value coming off the bench anyway, so adding him if he was dropped seems like a low-risk move. Jamal Crawford 24 points with six threes and Blake Griffin scored 26 points with 13 rebounds, eight assists, three steals, and two blocks in a monster outing. But without a 100 percent Paul and with nobody else really stepping up, the Clippers lost their third of four games against the Dubs.
Andrew Bogut (ankle) was running sprints at full speed prior to Monday’s game, and owners in deep leagues will want to consider an add. My gut tells me that he’s going to be a 20-25 minute guy for a long time, and there is plenty of risk, but he should be relatively productive if he can stay on the court. On the court the Warriors took care of business, and while their intermediaries will crow a bit more than they should given Chris Paul’s knee injury, it was a solid win that they needed badly to keep the ship moving in the right direction.
Stephen Curry was cold-blooded while scoring 28 points on 9-of-14 shooting (including six threes) with three rebounds and six assists. His ankle is not 100 percent and I personally would like them to sit him for a week, but he’s clearly healthy enough to be a bad man and owners aren’t going to argue. David Lee had an inefficient game with 12 points on 5-of-16 shooting, 11 rebounds, six assists, and five turnovers, and Jarrett Jack kept his foot on the gas with 18 points, six boards, and 10 assists.
Old Man Game
Tim Duncan returned from his rest and wasted no time getting back to work with 24 points, 17 rebounds, five assists, two steals, and one block. I think I’m changing my mind about selling him, even with the threat of DNPs and the like looming. I’ve been advocating a 1-2 round discount, but the numbers he’s putting up are hard to come by and he looks great. Tiago Splitter (10 points, 12 rebounds, two steals, one block) has morphed into Mr. Consistent, while Kawhi Leonard took down a few ‘for sale’ signs with 16 points, two threes, seven boards, and two steals in 35 minutes. In a bit of random news, he had his knee cut wide open because of a protruding nail in the Sixers’ hardwood on the sidelines.
It’s Not So Sunny in Philadelphia
Jason Richardson (knee) did not play last night and I’m fully ready to move on where I have him. Yes, with some rest he could return and put up his early season numbers, but it’s not guaranteed and even if he does he could run into the same issues. Dorell Wright didn’t gain any traction with just three points, four rebounds, and three assists over 16 minutes in his start, as Nick Young (12 points, not much else) logged 31 minutes ahead of Wright. This is a textbook situation to avoid right now. Evan Turner scored 18 points with 12 rebounds, seven assists, and one triple, and maybe this will get him going again. Spencer Hawes (16 points, six boards, four assists, one steal, three blocks) got 35 minutes of playing time, and is well worth an add if you need a big man.
Andrew Bynum (knees) says he is still on target to return during the All Star break, he should be owned in any format that doesn’t penalize you for holding injured players.
The Definition of Insanity
The Lakers are high comedy right now, and the most recent twist is Mike D’Antoni putting Pau Gasol in a bench role “permanently.” Of course the Lakers lost and Bill Simmons put D’Antoni on blast during the game, as did a handful of normally loyal L.A. beat writers. Simmons said he’s handling Gasol like a JV basketball coach and, like the situation with Keith Smart, anybody with a passing interest in the game knows that D’Antoni is blowing it here. Gasol scored 15 points with 12 rebounds and two blocks in 26 minutes off the bench, and I’m not so focused on the fact that he’s coming off the bench, but that the Lakers are ditching Pau as a center so Dwight Howard (eight points, nine rebounds, two blocks) can be the focus of a game plan down low. Gasol floats around the perimeter so Howard can have space to operate, and defenses are more than happy to let that be the case. D’Antoni is going to go down with the ship when it comes to his system, and everybody with a grudge against the Lakers is going to have an easy target.
Earl Clark scored 12 points with eight rebounds and two blocks in 35 minutes, and while he makes for an okay pickup it should be noted that D’Antoni could change his mind about that slot even if he has called the Gasol decision “permanent.”
Rose Colored Glasses
Luol Deng (hamstring) did not play last night, which is the best possible thing from an owner’s point of view. Derrick Rose (knee surgery) is looking at a full contact practice on Tuesday, and he should be owned in all leagues. Kirk Hinrich must have realized that his time on the court will be limited, so he promptly put up 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting with three treys, seven boards, and eight assists. He is woefully inconsistent and is a volatile short-term play at best. Joakim Noah took responsibility for his fourth quarter benching from the weekend, calling it his fault for things he shouldn’t have said, and went out and blocked six shots to go with six points, 13 boards, three assists, and two steals in 35 minutes. Jimmy Butler scored 10 points with eight rebounds, four assists, and a steal in his spot-start for Deng, and he’s worth a look as a spot-starter if Deng can’t go on Wednesday.
Hide The Tape
Bradley Beal had been rolling along but it looks like the dreaded shooting wrist injury is on the radar, as Beal hit just 1-of-7 shots for two points, five rebounds, and one assist. As I’ve brought up a few times, these injuries can vary and be hard to detect, and owners should simply be cognizant of the risk a shooting wrist can present and try to make the right decisions as they go along.
Jordan Crawford was the man of the night hitting the game-winner with time expiring, and finished with 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting, three treys, one rebound, and one assist in 22 minutes. It’s unclear how much his ankle injury is holding him back in relation to the growing log-jam, and those owners that sold high a few weeks back are laughing all the way to the bank. John Wall played 26 minutes on his way to six points on 2-of-8 shooting, three rebounds, two assists, and one steal. Don’t worry, he’ll be much better going forward. Martell Webster scored a season-high 24 points with four rebounds and six assists, but is much too inconsistent for use in most formats. The same can be said for Kevin Seraphin, who scored six points with three rebounds, and I wouldn’t blame anybody for dropping him. Emeka Okafor went for 13 and 13 which is part of why Seraphin struggled, and as usual I’ll say that he profiles to be a better second-half play but I’ll also take my lumps for giving him love when to-date he hasn’t panned out. Nene scored 24 points with nine rebounds, five assists, and four steals. He’s running well right now and owners just need to ride him until the wheels fall off, literally.
Nicolas Batum secured his first career triple-double last night with 12 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists, three steals, and two blocks. Yowza. LaMarcus Aldridge went for 17 and 12 but hit just 6-of-15 FGs, Damian Lillard scored 18 points with three rebounds, five assists, and two threes but no steals or blocks, J.J. Hickson scored 16 points with six rebounds, and Wesley Matthews scored 17 points with three treys as the Blazers bonanza rolls on.
News and Notes
Dwyane Wade did not practice yesterday due to a sore toe and we’ll let you know if there is anything to worry about. For now, pencil him into lineups.
Tuesday Night Lights
BOS @ CLE: Anderson Varejao developed a blood clot in his lung and is now out for the year, which is a total downer any way you slice it. Improving his inside game every year, Varejao is now a legitimate force on the inside and would have been one of the most talked about players at the trade deadline. This makes Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller must-own players in 12-team formats, and owners in 10-team leagues should give Zeller a hard look. Thompson should be owned in all formats.
ORL @ DET: Brandon Knight’s ankle issue makes him questionable but these are two teams with very few fantasy questions. Glen Davis’ return is playing out and for Detroit we’re all waiting for Andre Drummond to be let loose. It wouldn’t hurt for Rodney Stuckey to show up, and Knight’s ankle issue could expedite that.
PHI @ MIL: Will Ersanity live on? Everybody is gun-shy but this weekend’s Ersan shows why many of us have been banging our heads against the wall. His inconsistency is a byproduct of the Brandon Jennings/Monta Ellis show, and also his own mental insecurities exasperated by Scott Skiles’ heavy-handed approach. With a new coach in hand, he needs to make this weekend’s effort the rule and not the exception quick before owners give up.
OKC @ LAC: I detailed the Clippers above and the Thunder are perhaps the league’s most consistent fantasy squad. Russell Westbrook played through an ankle injury the last time out and we have yet to hear anything that would jeopardize his status.