On The Wall – The Jesus and Mary Chain
John Wall started for the Wizards and had 14 points, five assists and two blocks in 21 minutes. It’s been baby steps with Wall thus far and he’s still on a minutes count, but the reality is that if he doesn’t suffer a setback, he is setting up for a big second half of the season. Jordan Crawford made an appearance last night with 19 points and three 3-pointers off the bench. He hadn’t done much since returning from a sprained ankle, but might be ready to start playing well again. However, he’ll have to do so behind Wall and a hot Bradley Beal, so I’m not expecting to see consistent big lines from Crawford.
Brand New Love – Sebadoh
Elton Brand started at center over Chris Kaman for the Mavericks and had eight points, 13 boards and two blocks in 25 minutes. Brand should be picked up if he’s still available in your league.
Jimmy, Jimmy – Ric Ocasek
Luol Deng was out again on Friday with his hamstring injury and once again, Jimmy Butler went off for 16 points and a career-high 12 rebounds. Butler had a great summer league and I was hoping for more out of him this season, but he just hasn’t gotten much of a shot with Deng healthy for most of the season. But in his last four starts with Deng sidelined, Butler is averaging 15.5 points and 9.3 boards, and has likely earned more playing time once Deng is back, which could happen today. Just keep an eye on Butler. And I don’t know how it happened, but Kirk Hinrich caught fire for six 3-pointers, 25 points and four assists. He’s up and down like a yo-yo right now, but might be worth grabbing, as he apparently is feeling healthy. And even with Hinrich playing like it was 2007, Nate Robinson added 22 points in 21 minutes.
Repulsion – Quasi
Greivis Vasquez was benched for the fourth quarter last night, finishing with just two points, six assists and two turnovers in 24 minutes. Coach Monty Williams said “He’ll be OK” after the game, but this benching is a little concerning to me. He should bounce back on Sunday against Memphis, but if he doesn’t, the red flag will officially be flying.
Texas Never Whispers - Pavement
Kawhi Leonard had 10 points, eight boards, two assists, four steals and two 3-pointers in 28 minutes after missing Wednesday’s game with a knee injury. He’s still not putting up monster lines, but if he can start doing this on a consistent basis, he’ll be a must-own player. DeJuan Blair came out of nowhere for a season-high 22 points and four rebounds with Tim Duncan out again, but has been far too unreliable to use, even on nights when Duncan will sit. Manu Ginobili played just eight minutes and he should be benched until he starts getting more run from the coaching staff.
Two Points (guards) For Honesty - Guster
Raymond Felton is expected to start for the Knicks on Saturday, while Jason Kidd, who will move to the bench in order for Iman Shumpert to start, might sit out with a sore back. Kidd could use a day off given all the minutes he’s played this season, so I’m planning as if he won’t play today.
Wished I Was A Giant – Guided By Voices
Andrea Bargnani (elbow) is a couple weeks away from returning for the Raptors, while teammate Jonas Valanciunas (finger) could return as soon as next Saturday. We’re eventually going to have a real logjam involving those two and current starters Amir Johnson and Ed Davis, so owners of all four should plan accordingly, and stock up on aspirin.
First Breath After Coma – Explosions In The Sky
Patrick Patterson had 18 points, 13 boards, a block and a 3-pointer on Friday night. He’s been struggling to produce, but finally looked good last night. It’s time to put him on your radar.
Off He Goes – Pearl Jam
Spencer Hawes has been working with the first unit for the Sixers and could see a bump in value if he ends up winning the job. If you need a center in a deep league, keep a close eye on Hawes. Just remember that Andrew Bynum is supposedly going to be ready to play around the All-Star break.
Sleep Sunshine – The Whigs
Marreese Speights debuted for the Cavaliers and had 10 points and six boards off the bench. It looks like he’s going to get some run off the bench and is worth a deep-league look for his new team, but Tyler Zeller and Tristan Thompson are locked into the starting five the rest of the way.