Same Old Story
Kendall Marshall (zero points, three assists, 20 minutes) flamed out after a mildly interesting Tuesday, and I don’t think he can get his shot together to be an asset this season. Goran Dragic continued to trudge along, scoring 13 points with six assists in 32 minutes. Michael Beasley played just 20 minutes, scoring 11 points on 5-of-12 shooting with five rebounds and no steals or blocks. In other words, he showed why I have no real interest in him. Jared Dudley bounced back from a disaster on Tuesday, scoring 14 points with six rebounds, three assists, and one three in 28 minutes. I put Shannon Brown (six points, 16 minutes) in the same category as Beasley for fantasy purposes as well as the damage they do to the Suns’ offense when they’re making mistakes.
But, How Am I Going To Know It’s The Right Moment?
Eric Gordon didn’t have the game I thought he might after all his rest, hitting just 3-of-14 shots for nine points with no rebounds, two assists, and one steal in 32 minutes. Just try to find your sell-high moment like the slow clap guy from Not Another Teen Movie. In bad news for me, I gave up on Al-Farouq Aminu in a few places and he got back on track, scoring 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting with 11 rebounds and a steal in 30 minutes. I have a feeling he’ll be mostly productive this season but that owners will have a hard time timing when to use him.
Blazers Punch In, Punch Out, Lose
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 27 points with 10 boards in his return to his Dallas hometown, Damian Lillard hit just 6-of-17 shots for 19 points and a full stat line, and Nicolas Batum battled through his shooting wrist injury to score nine points on 3-of-8 shooting with six rebounds, six assists, one steal, and one three in 41 minutes. My guess is that he’s targeting the All Star break as a time he can get some rest. Wesley Matthews scored 21 points with five treys, J.J. Hickson double-doubled with 14 and 10, and the Blazers are who we thought they were before the game started.
Extra Mayo or Other Mayonnaise Pun
Dirk Nowitzki scored 16 points on 7-of-19 shooting with eight rebounds in last night’s win over the Blazers. Shawn Marion added 13 points and 10 boards, and O.J. Mayo got hot hitting 11-of-14 shots for 28 points, four rebounds, five assists, one steal, and three treys. Some of the team-affiliated local talk has been calling for more touches for Mayo, and it’s possible you see the team start to make a more concerted effort to get him the ball now that Dirk has settled in. Vince Carter played through an illness and scored 17 points with three rebounds, three assists, and three treys. He missed Monday’s game and has scored between 17 and 22 points in his last three games. Give him a look, but he’s been up and down in general over the past month.
Tim Duncan (knee, ankle) and Manu Ginobili (hamstring) were both early scratches from last night’s game, and they’re both still day-to-day without any indication of when they’re coming back. That left the usual suspects in place to do their damage. Tony Parker scored 31 points with a full line, Danny Green went nuts with eight 3-pointers on 9-of-14 shooting overall for a career-high 28 points, and Kawhi Leonard went for an ultra-efficient 19 and 10 with two steals, two threes, 7-of-13 FGs, 3-of-3 FTs, and a block. That’s the type of upside I was touting a few weeks back when everybody was hopping off the bandwagon. This trio is going to carry a lot of weight while Ginobili and Duncan profile to be the rest guys at this early junction.
Making Up for AK
Andrei Kirilenko did not play due to his quad injury and it’s unclear when he’ll be coming back, so for last night the Wolves had a nice-sized hole in their rotation against the Spurs. Derrick Williams was able to step into some of that value with 15 points on 5-of-12 shooting, 12 rebounds, and two threes, but he had no other stats to illustrate the holes in his fantasy game. Along with his inconsistency, I’m not buying.
Dante Cunningham came in relatively hot and had a pedestrian four-point, six-rebound night with a steal and block, J.J. Barea hung onto his low-end value with 15 points on 6-of-15 shooting and three treys, and Nikola Pekovic went off for 21 and 10 with a 11-of-12 mark from the foul line. Rick Adelman went away from Alexey Shved, who finished with seven points on 3-of-9 shooting (including a three) with four rebounds, two assists, and one block in 18 minutes, but he had been pretty productive coming in and he’s more of a long-term guy playing in an older, injury prone group anyway.
Sammy D Does It Again
X-rays taken on Larry Sanders’ back after Tuesday’s fall returned negative and though he missed last night’s game, he is with the team and could play on Friday. Ersan Ilyasova bounced back from a dud on Tuesday to score 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting with four rebounds and two threes in 30 minutes on Wednesday. He’s not going to blow you away every night, but the consistency of minutes and confidence he’s showing is key to his value right now. Brandon Jennings is in a funk right now and hit just 5-of-16 shots last night, scoring 17 points with five rebounds, four assists, and four steals. He’s shooting 34.9 percent over his last five games and that’s a by-the-book buy low moment.
Perhaps the biggest question, however, is what was Samuel Dalembert going to do after his enormous outing on Tuesday. The answer was pretty good, actually, as he scored 10 points with 11 rebounds, four steals, and four blocks in 26 minutes. The steals and blocks are what caught my eye, but he’s going to have to take minutes from somebody other than Sanders. He’s also going to have to keep his nose clean and not do stupid stuff, which has been a real problem for him. So his long-term value is better today than it was yesterday, but I still have concerns about his ability to keep sustainable production going. He’s worth an add, but I’m not dropping anybody of consistent value to keep him with guys like John Henson, Drew Gooden, and Ekpe Udoh around to give Jim Boylan options.
Jazz Frontcourt Gets Loose
Gordon Hayward (shoulder) did not play and while he didn’t sound sure, he commented that he thinks he’s closer to the end of his injury than the beginning of it. Players can be overoptimistic in their comments, so just keep an open mind here about his timetable. I’m holding him through the trade deadline to see if things shake up in his favor. Earl Watson (leg) did not play, which opened the door for Alec Burks to play 29 minutes, but he didn’t make a huge impact with just eight points, three rebounds, three assists, and two threes.
It’s possible that we’re seeing a shift toward Burks in a 20+ minute role with time at both guard slots, especially if Hayward remains out, but he needs to show more in standard formats before owners should get all hot and bothered. Paul Millsap (19 points, six rebounds, five assists, four blocks, two steals), Al Jefferson (19 and 11 on 8-of-12 FGs), and Derrick Favors (nine points, 11 boards, three steals, three blocks, 22 minutes) all got into the mix. Enes Kanter even gets his name called with 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting with nine rebounds and five blocks in just 17 minutes.
Thursday Night Lights
LAL @ BOS: Dwight Howard (shoulder, back) is more drama than anything else these days, and not in the sense you’re probably thinking of initially when I say that. The whispers have been that he bailed on Orlando, but back surgery was good enough to get him out of that rumor and his play upon returning certainly looks like a guy with a bad back. Now his shoulder injury is getting cat-calls from everybody including Kobe Bryant, and Howard has gone public with talk about numbness in his legs and the outside appearance is that he’s not willing to play hurt. On top of that, is he just folding under the pressure in Los Angeles, and is he unwilling to play an intense brand of basketball? Is he trying to distance himself from this year’s disaster? Preserving his career by not risking further injury? So many questions, and I know what my gut tells me but I can’t say with any certainty what the answers are. Howard is questionable for tonight, and in general.
Pau Gasol (torn plantar fascia) is going to be out six weeks to three months, and that’s cuttin’ territory unless you have bench spaces available for guys that may not pan out. Metta World Peace and Earl Clark should already have been owned in most leagues, and I’d be hard-pressed not to add Antawn Jamison now that Mike D’Antoni is officially free to implement his small lineup. MWP will return tonight after serving his one-game suspension on Tuesday. The Lakers are down personnel, but the Celtics could easily struggle on the tail-end of a back-to-back.
CHI @ DEN: Joakim Noah (plantar fasciitis) was set to practice yesterday but there was no immediate post-practice report. I’ve beaten the horse to death, but he’s a risk to get overused so owners should be hoping he takes it easy. Marco Belinelli (ankle) is a game-time decision after scoring a season-high 24 points on Monday. I’m not really concerned about him and an absence won’t necessarily translate into transferable fantasy value. Carlos Boozer said his hammy didn’t bother him after Monday’s ho-hum return. He’s expected to play tonight and should be in most lineups. The Nuggets come into the game healthy and they need to continue to build continuity on both ends of the floor.