Smoove on the Move
Trade rumors have picked up for Josh Smith (20 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, three steals, three blocks, one three), who reportedly stands a better chance of being dealt than not. It stands to reason that he will be encouraged to produce, but I’d be prepping my sell-high offers in tandem. If this trade rumor has legs, then Smith would be hard-pressed to land in a situation as wide open as Atlanta’s.
Kyle Korver (17 points, six rebounds, three assists, five threes) has been getting it done all year and he’s going to be a must-start player as long as he is healthy. Devin Harris scored just eight points but managed five assists, two steals, one block, and one trey in 32 minutes. In such a shallow situation, I’m more apt to take a chance on an add of the injury-prone and inconsistent Harris. Al Horford (hamstring) played, as expected, and went off for 22 and 10 with six assists and three blocks.
Disappearing Magic Act
Arron Afflalo (calf, Achilles) was doubtful and did not play, but it was Glen Davis’ broken foot that made big news last night. Unfortunately nobody new stepped up in his absence during his last long-term absence, while Afflalo, J.J. Redick (29 points, four threes, 9-of-14 FGs, 7-of-7 FTs), Jameer Nelson (21 points, nine assists) and Nikola Vucevic (12 points, 11 rebounds, no blocks) all more or less guaranteed to post startable numbers every night.
The same was true last night, as E’Twaun Moore (nine points, zero assists), Maurice Harkless (six points), Hedo Turkoglu (two points, 16 minutes), Gustavo Ayon (zero points, 12 minutes), and Andrew Nicholson (four points, eight minutes) all stunk up the fantasy joint. If I had to scrape the bottom of this barrel I’d be looking at Moore because of Afflalo’s situation, and eventually they’ll need to throw Nicholson into the mix. Al Harrington (out indefinitely) and his trick knee might be a better bet than all of them, and that’s not saying much.
Jason Kidd spurned a ‘probable’ designation and did not play because of his back injury, which wasn’t surprising given the previous day’s reports. He will “probably” be back on Friday, which sounds a lot more likely than the last report if you’re tracking the situation closely. Raymond Felton (15 points, nine assists, three treys) is back on track and should be in most lineups. Tyson Chandler had a massive night with 21 points on 10-of-11 shooting with seven rebounds and five assists but no steals or blocks. If my sell discussion from yesterday carried any weight with you, then this would be one of those moments to try to get an even-money deal for a guy that has a checkered injury history and plenty of need for rest down the stretch.
Today in Coaching, Management, and Ownership Disasters
Tyreke Evans scored 19 points with 11 rebounds, two assists, three steals and a 3-pointer in 41 minutes, and don’t think for a second his teammates aren’t fed up with the ball-hogging. DeMarcus Cousins (13 points, 4-of-12 FGs, six rebounds, four assists, one steal, one block) had everybody in his sights when he teed off on ownership, management, coaching, and teammates in a few succinct statements after the game, and while he has plenty of responsibility in that equation it’s about time somebody on the team said something about the ownership and the poor job by Keith Smart and Geoff Petrie.
Isaiah Thomas has struggled with his shot relatively speaking lately, and hit just 2-of-10 shots for eight points with three rebounds and three steals in 24 minutes. As usual, the game got out of hand when Aaron Brooks was inserted into the lineup, and if you want to point to on-court issues that ruined the team’s season that acquisition would be near the top of the list. The good news for Kings fans and Thomas owners is that he appears to have a nightly role locked up. Whether or not Smart will ever figure out that his point guard needs to facilitate whatever semblance of an offense they can scrape together is doubtful. Inconsistency will be the watchword of every night for the entire team until this happens. Marcus Thornton logged 27 minutes and scored just seven points with one trey and three steals, and he’s in a funk because everybody runs around like it’s the Benny Hill show.
Thomas Robinson scored 11 points with four rebounds and a steal in 21 minutes, and if you’ve watched any Kings game this season you know how bad he has been. He’s plenty athletic and seems to be improving, but I’m not even sure we can say that with any certainty.
Shuffling the Deck
Avery Bradley played 29 minutes against the lowly Kings last night, scoring 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting (1-of-5 3PTs) with five rebounds, two assists, two steals, and one block. He’s going to have the green light from deep and he looks well positioned for low end value right now. Courtney Lee (nine points, three assists, one three, 26 minutes) isn’t breaking down anybody’s door but he’ll be worth watching as the new look Celtics figure themselves out. Jason Terry (12 points, two threes, four assists) played just 22 minutes, but as you can see there is enough meat to the bone in standard formats to consider an add. Unless he is truly washed up, he should be somebody the Celtics look to for this type of production nightly.
Jared Sullinger left last night’s game in the first quarter due to back spasms. He was supposed to return but didn’t because the Kings are dreadfully coached and were not a threat. That left Brandon Bass free to play 38 minutes off the bench on his way to 12 points, four boards, and three steals. Jeff Green has been on the radar with theories of increased minutes and touches, but managed just 12 points on 6-of-11 shooting with one rebound in 21 minutes. Neither Bass nor Green qualifies as anything better than speculative adds in 14-team standard formats. Leandro Barbosa was the odd man out of the guard situation, playing 15 minutes with seven points and two assists. That action can be watched from the wire.
Chris Paul (knee cap) did not play last night and the same thing from yesterday’s Dose applies here. Consider him questionable for the rest of the now seven-game road trip and hope for the best. Eric Bledsoe (10 points, 10 assists, 3-of-14 FGs, six steals, one block) is the man until further notice. Matt Barnes (six minutes) was ejected for a cheap shot forearm shiver to Greg Stiemsma’s neck area, and while nobody seems to be talking suspension I wouldn’t arbitrarily rule it out, especially if the league wants to get snippy about contact to the head area. With the rotation eventually crowding, I wouldn’t blame owners for moving along (hopefully you sold high weeks ago).
Chauncey Billups (foot) is participating in contact portions of practice, and his eventual return will steal about 15-20 minutes from the rotation in most scenarios. DeAndre Jordan (16 points, 12 rebounds, two blocks, 4-of-10 FTs) might be ready to pick it up, though it’s far from a foregone conclusion. If you lost Ed Davis or otherwise need a big man, he’s worth a look.
The Wolves got some firepower back last night in the form of Nikola Pekovic (17 points, 12 boards) and Alexey Shved (12 points, 5-of-13 FGs, two rebounds, three assists, one three, 21 minutes). Pek should be in all lineups and as I mentioned yesterday, I’m evaluating Shved as I was prior to his ankle injury and giving him another game or two to get his feet underneath him. His shooting is an issue and the hope there is that the time off to rest after a heavy workload will help, and the impact of Ricky Rubio will led to better looks. He still plays behind injury prone veterans Luke Ridnour (eight points, two assists, 24 minutes) and J.J. Barea (14 points, four assists, one steal, one block, one three, 24 minutes), and the Wolves have plenty of reasons to give him run down the stretch.
Rubio scored nine points on 4-of-9 shooting with three rebounds, four assists, and two steals as he slowly gets pointed in the right direction. You can count me out of the Derrick Williams (five points, 13 minutes, foul trouble) fan club, as inconsistent players with holes in their fantasy games just don’t do it for me.
The Butler is Doing It
Carlos Boozer (hamstring) did not play and anytime a Bulls player takes a day off I consider it a good thing for their overall fantasy value. Regular readers know what I think about Tom Thibodeau grinding his guys into the ground. Boozer had the hamstring tighten up during Tuesday’s practice and he could be back as soon as Friday, so Taj Gibson (14 points, nine boards, one steal, two blocks) is only on the watch list for Friday if Boozer can’t go. If you want to tack on a week of upside in a speculative short-term add, feel free.
Jimmy Butler (18 points, six rebounds, two steals, one three, 27 minutes) didn’t go away last night even with Luol Deng back, though Boozer’s absence cleared out a solid 30 minutes from the rotation. He has a shot to stick here after turning the corner in Thibodeau’s eyes so I think he should be owned in standard formats more times than not. Nate Robinson went nuts with 24 points, four assists, three steals, and two threes while shooting 9-of-11 from the field. This is what owners were hoping for all year long and while he’s hot he’s worth owning. Just realize that Derrick Rose will eventually return.
Rose (knee surgery) is participating in full contact practices, and it sounds like he’s capable of doing everything he needs to on a basketball floor. Nothing has changed with his post All-Star break timeframe, but it looks like he’ll hit the ground running at that time. It’s hard to imagine him being able to handle full contact right now and not have things put together in three weeks or so. And if anybody profiles in the NBA similarly to Adrian Peterson in the NFL, it is Rose, though I’d recommend against anybody comparing ACL tears in general. Everybody’s knee injury is different.
Tickets to the Show
Larry Sanders did not play last night due to the flu and if you can convince somebody that Samuel Dalembert (14 points, 13 rebounds, four blocks) is getting his groove on, now is the time to get tickets to The Show. I’m still waiting for the rest of the NBA to figure out that this is the Defensive Player of the Year. Brandon Jennings (15 points, eight assists) was ejected at the end of the game for jawing with Nate Robinson, but it was a garden variety ejection and no suspension will be coming. And no, I’m not buying that Dalembert has suddenly figured out how not to do crazy things on the court.