Bradley Beal is not expected to play on Saturday as he rests his injured wrist, per doctor's orders. A few more DNPs may be coming, but Beal was playing very well before getting hurt and he's an exciting backcourt partner for John Wall, which makes him an intriguing player to own in the second half of the season. Wall, meanwhile, hurt his shoulder during Friday's game and was in pain afterward, though he said, "I think everything is fine." The results from further testing should be available on Saturday -- if he is forced to miss any time, Jordan Crawford instantly becomes a nice pickup, and even Garrett Temple would be worth keeping an eye on. Washington has lost three straight games after going 7-3 in their previous 10 games, and they face the unforgiving Spurs on Saturday.
Let's go back to John Wall for a moment. He's averaging 26 minutes per game since his return from a stress reaction in his knee on January 12th, posting 14.1 points on 43.4 percent shooting (a career-high), with 2.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.9 blocks and 3.0 turnovers. He desperately needs to improve his jumper and his range (0-of-7 from downtown this season), and with the Wizards' current construction I'm not banking on substantial statistical improvement this season (i.e. I cap him at mid-round ROS value). However, the following information should be taken to heart by owners in keeper leagues, and remembered by everyone else on draft day next year:
According to basketball-reference.com, since steals were recorded as a statistic only 14 players have finished a season averaging at least 16.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 4.5 rebounds and 1.4 steals. Jason Kidd did it four times to lead all active players, Wall has done in twice (in his first two seasons), Russell Westbrook has done it twice, and Chris Paul, Andre Miller and LeBron James have each done it once. Magic Johnson (10 times) and Gary Payton (five times) are the all-time leaders, and MJ did it once. My point is that despite Wall's glaring flaws, I'm not losing sight of his truly ridiculous upside.
Kevin Seraphin had eight points and two boards in 20 minutes on Friday, as the Wizards fell to the regrouping Grizzlies, 76-85. He has scored double-digit points twice in the past eight games and simply isn't getting enough playing time to make in impact in fantasy leagues. I've been anticipating a slow increase in Seraphin's role, leading to a starting job in the season's final month, but for now Randy Wittman seems comfortable leaning on Nene and Emeka Okafor (who needs to be in all fantasy lineups. He's still only 30 years old and is having one of the better stretches of his career).
As for the Grizzlies, it was reported on Saturday that Zach Randolph's back may be bothering him, though he dismissed concerns by saying, "I'm a tough dude, I'll be fine." Memphis went 10-7 in January, with Rudy Gay shooting very poorly and the team shadowed by trade talk, and they'll welcome a light schedule in February to regroup. The loss of Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington and a first-round pick to Cleveland (for Jon Leuer) was lamentable...I haven't looked into it deeply enough, but presumably that cap-clearing move allowed the salaries to match in the three-team Rudy Gay deal? Otherwise, I don't understand why Memphis would have given up a capable reserve big man and a perimeter specialist (on a team in need of perimeter shooting) if they weren't going to keep Gay. The deal was a homerun for Cleveland, which gained another valuable pick while adding two capable rotation players to their watered-down reserve stock. Speights should hold late-round fantasy value in 25-30 minutes the rest of the season.
On the plus side, I think Tayshaun Prince will actually be a nice fit for Memphis. He could be the Grizzlies' second-leading scorer behind Z-Bo. It will be interesting to see how his post-heavy game (he's among the league's most efficient scorers in in the post) fits alongside Randolph and Gasol, but he can always shift more toward his above-average cuts, hand-offs and isolations. He gives the Grizzlies an upgrade defensively, also, though ironically Prince can be exploited in the post defensively, where the virtues of his length and craftiness are overshadowed by his lack of strength.
During Monday’s chat I promised that I’d include some information about remaining games and weekly schedules in this column, but I spoke too soon. Check for that next week, and in the meantime you can always scour the Season Pass for our schedule grid, Dr. A’s schedule breakdown, the Pickup of the Day, and tons more. Feel free to send me questions on Twitter @Knaus_RW. I prefer answering emails, however, as I can give more in-depth replies, so if you prefer that method you can pick my brain at KnausRotoworld@gmail.com.