Matt Stroup

Roundball Stew

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Return of the Dragic

Friday, January 25, 2013

With last week’s Roundball Stew mailbag resonating as an overwhelming success (which is to say, some of you told me that you liked it, and no one said that they hated it), I figured we might as well fire it up again. Let’s get right to the questions:

From @VanBerf: who stands to benefit with the coaching change in PHO?

First and foremost (and maybe obviously), the coaching change is good news for Goran Dragic, who had posted a bland 11.0 ppg and 4.0 apg in the final five games of the Alvin Gentry regime, but has now averaged 18.0 ppg and 9.5 apg in two games under Lindsey Hunter (including a 24-5-8 line against the Clippers Thursday night). I said in last week’s mailbag that I’ve been expecting much more from Dragic all along (he averaged 18.0 ppg and 8.4 apg as a starter last year), and now I think we’re finally going to see something closer to the 17 and eight he’s been capable of producing this whole time.

As for Marcin Gortat and Luis Scola, I don’t think we’ll see any dramatic changes for now – and that’s actually a good thing. Gortat has been quite good lately (12.6 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 1.8 bpg this month) after a frustrating start to the season, and Scola is at 14.8 ppg, 7.1 rpg and 4.0 apg in January after an annoying stint on the bench earlier this season.

On the flip side, Jared Dudley owners should be at least a little bit concerned. Dudley had been playing big minutes under Alvin Gentry (37 per game in his last 18 games for Gentry, with averages of 15.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 3.9 apg, 1.3 spg and 1.7 3s during that stretch), but has played just 22 and 25 minutes in two games with Hunter in charge (averaging 5.5 ppg). I’d probably give it a few more games before fully panicking on Dudley, but this is an unsettling trend.

Meanwhile, all the talk of Kendall Marshall playing more has clearly been overstated (two straight DNPs under Hunter). And though I know some are hoping for Michael Beasley renaissance, I’m just leaving him on my watch list for now. Beasley did have 19 points and six boards in 22 minutes in Hunter’s first game, but had just eight points and five boards in 23 minutes on Thursday. I expect more of that maddening inconsistency going forward.

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From @Cliff_III: will Rudy Gay bounce back to an all star caliber level?

Let’s take a quick look at Rudy’s numbers from last season to this season:

2011-12: 19.0 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 2.3 apg, 1.5 spg, 0.8 bpg, 45.5 FG%, 16.4 FGA
2012-13: 17.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.4 spg, 0.7 bpg, 41.1 FG%, 16.4 FGA

Aside from points and field goal percentage, Rudy’s numbers are almost identical to last year (including FG attempts), so the only significant difference is that he’s shooting worse (and therefore scoring less). That’s certainly something he’s capable of fixing, but even if it happens, it doesn’t look like Rudy is in line for a dramatic spike in value since the rest of his stats are right in line with his well-established career averages. In sum, there’s a little bit of buy-low potential here, but nothing to really get too thrilled about.

From @WonBlackGuy: What do you think Brad Beal's long term outlook is this season? I own him in a 8 cat league. Hold?

Bradley Beal was on a nice roll to start off January (19.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.4 apg, 1.2 spg, 0.6 bpg and 2.9 treys through his first nine games this month), but has struggled since injuring his wrist on a scary fall in Denver (9.0 ppg in his last three games).

In the long run, though, I still really like Beal, and – assuming the wrist injury isn’t actually anything serious – there’s plenty of time for him to get back to what he was doing before getting hurt. The Wizards have five four-game weeks in a six-week stretch from late February to early April, and it’s easy to envision Beal putting up some monster lines in meaningless games down the stretch.

From @bitachu: what kind of numbers should we expect out of Tiago for the second half of the season?

Tiago Splitter has been on a really nice roll lately, posting 13.5 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 1.0 spg and 0.8 bpg in his last 10 games. And with good percentages (63.5/79.4) and not many turnovers (0.6), he’s been the No. 22 player in Basketball Monster’s 9-category rankings during that 10-game stretch. It should be noted that he has gotten a boost from Tim Duncan’s recent absence (including a season-high 25 points on Wednesday), but Splitter still has solid standalone value when Duncan is healthy, and should get more chances to assert himself with Duncan likely to miss at least at least a handful of games the rest of the way.

From @paulsbien: Best thoughts on what to do with the Lakers? Is Earl Clark really worth a hold? Would a trade help Pau?

It’s hard to envision Clark maintaining long-term value with Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard healthy, though I can understand giving Clark at least a few more games after seeing him average 12.3 ppg, 10.3 rpg and 1.0 bpg in his last three (though Howard played limited minutes in all three of those games, which helps explain Clark’s productivity).

As for Pau, a trade would almost certainly help him (and would potentially open up long-term playing time for Clark), but unfortunately there’s no way of knowing if or when that will happen. Personally, I’d be inclined to try to stay patient with Pau in fantasy leagues. He’s been pretty solid since returning from his latest absence (16.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.3 apg, 1.3 bpg in his last four games), and yes, Howard was getting limited run for the last three of those, but I still think Pau can be a plus in fantasy leagues while getting somewhere around 25 to 30 minutes per game. And given that he’s one Howard injury or one trade away from seeing a major increase in value, patience in this situation could pay off big.

From @mattmatawaran: will Kobe remain a top 10 player second half of the season despite laker turmoil or is it time to sell high?

As bad as it is in the real-life basketball world, the Lakers being a total mess might actually be a good thing for Kobe in fantasy. He’s averaging 29.2 ppg (his highest average since 2006-07) and showing no signs of slowing down. I don’t see this in any way as a sell-high situation in fantasy leagues.

From @jwhalleygosaint: Can u discuss ownership. Too high/too low. Eg G Wallace v. Aminu. Can it also factor in std playoff sked. Tnx

I’m happy to do a quick breakdown of players I think are owned in too many leagues, with the caveat that ownership numbers can be heavily skewed by leagues where some or all of the owners stop paying attention after the draft. With that said…

Some players owned in too many leagues (ownership numbers are from Yahoo): JaVale McGee (67 percent), Jason Terry (57 percent), Kris Humphries (55 percent), Michael Beasley (54 percent), Robin Lopez (49 percent), Danny Green (46 percent), Harrison Barnes (46 percent), Carl Landry (44 percent), Brandon Bass (42 percent).

(Side note: Brandon Bass is an especially terrible waste of a roster spot.)

Some players not owned in enough leagues: Andre Drummond (38 percent), Tiago Splitter (36 percent), Al-Farouq Aminu (agree he’s getting to the point where he should be owned in more than 33 percent of leagues), Tyler Zeller (24 percent), Eric Bledsoe (23 percent), Devin Harris (22 percent), Byron Mullens (19 percent and potentially returning soon), Iman Shumpert (14 percent, though I’m not personally in a huge rush to add him).

From @TheUnassisted: Do you think Seraphin will ever get quality minutes that he deserves?

Seraphin was actually getting good minutes off the bench in late December/early January (14.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.4 bpg in 29 minutes per game during an 11-game stretch), but a recent resurgence from Nene has directly coincided with a Seraphin slump. With Nene attempting 14, 17 and 14 shots his last three games (his three highest totals of the season), and averaging 15.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.7 spg and 0.7 bpg during his hot streak, Seraphin has dropped to 4.7 ppg and 3.0 rpg in just 18 minutes per game in his last three. There’s certainly some potential for Seraphin to re-emerge given Nene’s injury issues, but for now I’d be leaving him on the waiver wire in standard leagues.

From @madeinbuddha: for guys at the bottom of %'s but in contention, would you a) sit guys out b) trade. Ie. jsmoove

I went into percentages in some detail in last week’s mailbag, but if you’re in contention without doing well in percentages, it would probably be wise to stick with what got you here. Once you start benching guys to put a band-aid on percentages, you’re going to start bleeding heavily in other categories (medical analogy!) With that said, if you can find a way to trade one player who’s killing one or both of your percentages and get comparable value back, I can understand making such a move.

From @VanBerf: when healthy, what to expect from Devin Harris?

“When healthy” is the operative phrase here, because I do not trust Harris to stay on the court for any prolonged stretch without breaking, spraining or stubbing something. With that said, Lou Williams’ season-ending injury makes Harris – who missed Monday and Wednesday with a sprained ankle – a player to seriously consider right now. Despite a few duds lately (including zero points in the Hawks’ horrendous 58-point effort last week), Harris is still averaging 13.3 ppg, 3.2 apg, 1.2 spg and 2.0 3s in his last six games.

From @MattStroup: What about those people who sent in questions about trades they’ve been offered?

For anyone who sent in a specific question about a trade, I’ll try to get back to you on Twitter, but I prefer to limit the mailbag to questions that are relevant to everyone who plays fantasy hoops and not just one person’s team.

From @MattStroup: Is the mailbag over now?

Yes. Have a glorious weekend and I’ll see you all next week.

Matt Stroup covers basketball, baseball and football for You can find him on Twitter here .
Email :Matt Stroup

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