If you had Samuel Dalembert hitting 17-of-21 shots for a career-high 35 points with 12 rebounds, you are probably Samuel Dalembert. I went back and watched every bucket just to see what type of vintage Dally performance we would be talking about, and the best I can say is that he made a lot of wide open shots and feasted on some awful JaVale McGee defense and the poor Nuggets defense in general. One of his misses was an offensive tip attempt, too, and one has to think he earned a chance at a greater role going forward, but the question is whether or not he will do anything with it. The Sacramento reporters covering him lamented the fact that Dalembert fancied himself god’s gift to offensive basketball, which led to cringe-inducing fallaway jumpers and the like. It’s the reason he has flamed out in both Houston and Milwaukee, and here’s guessing that one game doesn’t change that body of work. So is he worth an add? Only if the wire is bare and you have dead weight.
Larry Sanders took a hard fall in a play that had the makings of one of the great dunk/challenges in recent memory, as Kenneth Faried came into the paint with nobody around and rose up early and high when he saw Sanders in the lane. Sanders’ effort wasn’t what one would have expected, perhaps because of how early Faried took off in the air, but regardless the result was Sanders getting knocked on his butt and out of the game. It was later in the fourth quarter so it’s possible they kept him out for precautionary purposes, but any report to indicate the injury will cost him further games will help Dalembert’s cause, obviously.
With the Dalembert experience trolling around Denver’s paint, Ersan Ilyasova (six points, four rebounds, two assists) was limited to just 24 minutes. Factor in Monta Ellis (6-of-21 FGs) and Brandon Jennings (5-of-15 FGs) trying to outshoot one another and he had no chance. Ilyasova was hot coming in so owners shouldn’t be heading for the exits, but it’s understandable that everybody is gun shy with the inconsistent fantasy asset.
Same Story, Good Enough For Win in Denver
The Nuggets had enough guys play well to take the win at home against the Bucks, but some familiar fantasy headaches popped up. Ty Lawson (22 points, seven assists) and Andre Iguodala (eight points, five boards, five assists, four steals, two blocks) couldn’t get it going offensively on the same night, though Iggy’s owners won’t care with that defensive effort. Kosta Koufos (six points, eight boards, no blocks) played just 17 minutes, which is disconcerting because JaVale McGee (eight points, five boards, four blocks, 18 minutes) didn’t look good despite the block total. It’s safe to move on from Koufos and McGee is the same untapped upside guy that looks like a bust. Corey Brewer scored 20 points and is worth a look while he’s hot despite his inconsistent bench roll.
News and Notes
Keith Smart said that he has decided he’s going with Isaiah Thomas and Jimmer Fredette as his two point guards, leaving Aaron Brooks out of the rotation. It’s shocking that it took a professional basketball coach this long to make this happen, and it’s unclear if Smart even knows the reasons for why he did it. This does, however, look and smell like a chance for Thomas to play 30+ mpg going forward. And even if Smart would rather have offense-killers Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins, John Salmons, and even Chuck Hayes run the point rather than his only traditional point guard, Thomas will be able to hold value at that rate.
Joakim Noah (plantar fasciitis) is targeting a Thursday return, and to sum up my feeling on the matter my concern is that he’ll try to play through something he should be resting and get knocked out for more time. That actually happened with this injury in 2009-10, and Tom Thibodeau runs his players into the ground, but I need to couch all of this by saying it’s not guaranteed that this happens. This is just my fear.
Wednesday Night Lights
BOS @ TOR: Andrea Bargnani (elbow) is expected to return and come off the bench, and it’s logical that the Raptors would want to give him plenty of touches to enhance his trade value. Whether or not Rudy Gay and Co. see things that way is another story, but regardless the time is now to stash Bargnani with hopes that he gets traded to a favorable situation. Is he a must-add player? Not if you’re stacked and not if you’re in a shallow league. He has mid-round upside in the most optimistic of scenarios. Landry Fields (back) is out as his role in Toronto has been threatened overnight. As for Boston, it’s just another night trying to figure out who separates from the pack in the wake of the Rajon Rondo injury.
NYK @ WAS: Bradley Beal (shooting wrist) did some light shooting and is questionable for tonight. If he is indeed good to go then he’s worth a look if he has been dropped. I just foresee some rough patches until the Wizards officially go young or somebody in the backcourt gets hurt. Several Knicks players have been lackluster lately, including Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, and J.R. Smith. This is a decent place for one or more of them to get on track.
CHA @ CLE: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (concussion) seemed doubtful for tonight 24 hours ago, and his absence has opened things up for the five-guard rotation. Byron Mullens played heavy minutes in his return on Monday and is a viable option in fantasy lineups. I’ll be watching Marreese Speights closely tonight. I added him in a big money league for about $140 of $1,000 FAAB dollars with plenty of budget remaining, and the hope is that he severely outplays Tyler Zeller and forces the rookie into a secondary role. There is also some hope that he has matured after a few pit stops and drill sergeant Byron Scott can keep him in line on the court.
IND @ PHI: The news on Thaddeus Young (hamstring) came back pretty bad but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. He will miss a minimum of three weeks and that means he should be held in any format that doesn’t strictly penalize owners for holding injured players. Spencer Hawes jumps into must-own stats, and LaVoy Allen and Dorell Wright each get a bump. There was also an update on Andrew Bynum (knees), and while it seems like reading the tea leaves with everything Bynum says could be a mistake, it sure didn’t sound like he’s sure about his return. You’ve come too far to not hang on just a little bit longer, but if reports start to head south then dropping him has to be on the table.
LAC @ ORL: Blake Griffin (hamstring) will be a game-time decision and while his absence on Monday was precautionary, the fact the Clips are playing the Magic could mean an extra game’s worth of rest. ESPN LA speculates that Chris Paul (knee cap) could return as soon as Friday or Sunday, and officially he is day-to-day after working with the team for their last two practices. Chauncey Billups could play anytime this week, and his return will eat away at the wing positions more than anything else. We will be waiting for a boatload of updates on the Magic guys, including J.J. Redick, Jameer Nelson, Arron Afflalo, and DeQuan Jones.
MEM @ ATL: Devin Harris (ankle) did not travel to Indy for last night’s game and is questionable for tonight’s home game against the Grizzlies. I’m pretty much done with entertaining any value for him until he proves it with some consistent results. The fact he can’t stay on the court following Lou Williams’ season-ender is telling.
HOU @ MIA: Other than Carlos Delfino, there are no injury question marks for either team and most fantasy pieces are well-labeled at this time.
BKY @ DET: Andre Drummond (back) is “good to go” for tonight and we’ll get another look at the Jose Calderon show tonight. Brandon Knight struggled in Calderon’s debut and is likely a bit shell-shocked knowing that the organization has brought in somebody to ease the load on him, so early struggles aren’t too surprising. He’ll probably level out toward the type of numbers we saw last year when he was deployed in a shooting guard role. And to the reader that spent way too much of their day telling me that fantasy analysts don’t understand basketball and that there was no way that Calderon would run the point, you’re officially famous, Mr. Laukonis.
GSW @ OKC: As mentioned, Andrew Bogut (ankle) won’t play tonight but other than that both teams are at full strength. I wish I could say the Warriors would bounce back, but after beating the Thunder at Oracle and getting their panties in a bunch last night I’m guessing they get worked tonight.
PHO @ NO: Eric Gordon (back, knee) will play tonight and with a bunch of rest look for him to put up a nice night against the defenseless Suns. For my money, if I owned Gordon I’d have my sell-high offers ready to go so they land on owners’ plates in the middle of his good game.
POR @ DAL: Nicolas Batum’s wrist MRI came back clean, and for now it looks like he’ll play through the pain. For the millionth time, beware of shooting wrist injuries, but in the case of Batum you need to be very picky if you look to move him. On the good news/bad news front, the Blazers will literally implode without Batum which is why he’s playing through the pain. Chris Kaman (concussion) did some light shooting but still hasn’t practiced, so his return is at least a few days out. Vince Carter (flu) did not practice and is questionable, and if he doesn’t go look for the starters to absorb most of his value.
MIL @ UTA: Gordon Hayward’s shoulder injury doesn’t sound great, and owners can certainly consider a drop but I’ll personally be waiting until news worsens significantly and/or until the trading deadline. It doesn’t hurt that the Jazz’s point guards are banged up. Keep an eye out for Larry Sanders news, as we’ll all be patiently waiting to learn the big man’s status.
SA @ MIN: Andrei Kirilenko (quad) is questionable for tonight and could be a game-time call. I like Dante Cunningham over Derrick Williams as beneficiaries. Nikola Pekovic said that his groin was limiting him, but he has been playing great so he should remain in all lineups. Tim Duncan is traveling with the Spurs on their nine-game road trip and is questionable for tonight, but it doesn’t sound like he’ll play. The good news is that the injury doesn’t appear to be too serious, and the bad news is that it gives Gregg Popovich plenty of ammo to give him prescribed rest. Manu Ginobili is also doubtful with his hamstring injury, and this all profiles well for guys like Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, and Tiago Splitter.