Last night was one of those nights where the stat-tracker looked like a slot machine with so many games on and so many big lines. Let’s dig right in after a busy 13-game Wednesday night.
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Michael Kidd-Gilchrist missed another game due to a concussion and owners simply have to wait and see how it goes. I think there’s enough upside to hold on here even if he was struggling a bit before going down. The Bobcats will need to develop him. Byron Mullens had another solid night in his second game back from a severe ankle injury, scoring 15 points on 4-of-7 shooting with three treys, seven rebounds, and a block in just 17 minutes. The Bobcats need him and owners need to have him in most lineups.
The Early Returns
Dion Waiters hit 9-of-14 shots for 19 points with five assists and a steal, though he didn’t hit a three in the Cavs’ blowout win over the Bobcats. Wayne Ellington saw extra minutes and scored 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting with a nice line, but owners should make him do it again before blinking in most formats. Marreese Speights scored 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting with 10 boards and a block in 19 minutes, and he likely would have played more if the game wasn’t a blowout. I added him in some big money leagues and I like the early returns. Tyler Zeller scored eight points on 4-of-6 shooting with six rebounds, three assists, and one block in his 22 minutes, and I have him ranked a good amount below Speights. He’s 14-team material at best.
As usual, none of the question marks in Boston were able to step up in last night’s win against the Raptors, but owners of Kevin Garnett (27 points, 10 boards) and Paul Pierce (12 points, 2-of-11 FGs, 11 boards, six assists) have to be thrilled. Both had small issues with last night’s lines, but they’re going to carry so much load that owners should only fear that they break.
Courtney Lee scored 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting (no threes) with two rebounds, three assists, and no steals or blocks, Avery Bradley scored 11 points with a three, two assists, and a block, Brandon Bass scored 10 points with three boards and a block, Jason Terry barfed up two points in 26 minutes, and Jeff Green scored eight points with six boards, three assists, and a steal in his 27 minutes. Ugly. Leandro Barbosa scored 14 points with a relatively full stat line, but he’s probably the weakest positioned guard on this list. I’m holding Bass for a little while longer, if I owned Green I’d probably view him as a long-term stash, and the guard group doesn’t interest me much unless I’m banking on their threes.
Today in Toronto
It may be a last-chance to show he can make things work, but Bryan Colangelo’s influence in making Rudy Gay the focal point in Toronto is impressive. Gay has come in and averaged 21 shots per game in his three contests for the Raps, and last night he scored 25 points on 8-of-24 shooting with 12 rebounds, three assists, and four steals in 41 minutes. He doesn’t strike me as a guy whose efficiency is going to rise, but even the TV guys are ultra-committed to making the Gay trade look like a success. Whether or not everybody cools it and the touch distribution starts to equalize is a fair question. For now, though, the trade looks like a solid bump to his value.
The other big story was Andrea Bargnani’s return from an elbow injury that has kept him out since Dec. 10, and he did fairly well with 13 points, three rebounds, two assists, and two steals on 5-of-10 shooting in 24 minutes. I think the Raptors will start to shift some of Rudy’s ridiculous workload onto Bargs once they’re done convincing everybody that trading for Gay was the right move. I think he should be owned in 12-team leagues for the hopes a trade out of Toronto can help him tap back into mid-round upside. Just be cognizant of his inherent risks.
Jonas Valanciunas played just two minutes and will continue to be held back until the deadline. I’ve stashed him in some competitive leagues in which I need big men, but there isn’t a guarantee that he will pan out so owners need to stash at their own risk. Kyle Lowry got back on track with 17 points, seven boards, eight assists, four steals, and three treys. One has to think he’ll get tired of watching Gay chuck up so many shots and tonight might be the first indicator that he’s seeking to achieve balance on his own.
Roy Hibbert feasted on the Sixers’ banged up frontcourt, scoring 18 points on 8-of-20 shooting with 14 rebounds, two steals, and five blocks. I can’t think of a better sell-high moment. After a slow start to the season, the Pacers are 31-19 and challenging for the East’s best record, and though Paul George (4-of-13 FGs, 15 points, full line) struggled with his shot he’s the reason for the surge.
Jason Richardson (knee) could be on his tenth medical opinion by the time I publish this, and the bottom line is that he looks like he’s toast for this year. That makes Nick Young (nine points, 4-of-13 FGs, six boards, three assists, no steals or blocks) a must-own player in my book, even if he stunk like his teammates in their 88-69 loss to the Pacers.
Evan Turner enthusiasts have gotten a cold shower in the past few weeks, and all I know is that it’s going to take a prolonged period of consistency before I get off his back for losing his head. He hit 1-of-10 shots for two points, nine boards, and four assists, and he has scored eight or less in four straight and hit 10-of-36 shots over that time. With holes in his fantasy game, he just can’t have that. And yes, the one place I own him I’m holding.
Lavoy Allen scored 12 points with six rebounds, a steal, and a block in 35 minutes, which may be a typical line and that could give him some low-end value so give him a look if you need a big. Dorell Wright played 30 minutes and scored nine points on 4-of-8 shooting with eight rebounds, three assists, one steal, and two blocks. I’m concerned what Young will do to stagnate the offense and the lack of playmakers in general, which will hold Wright back a bit, but I like his chance of having a 25-30 minute role while everybody is out. I’m considering in add in non-shallow formats.
Everybody (Eventually) Loves Raymond
Raymond Felton hasn’t been great since returning from his pinkie injury, but got back on track last night against the Wiz with 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting, three treys, three boards, four assists, and two steals. Yes, there is risk, but the buy low window in the event he returns to form appears to be 1-2 games wide. J.R. Smith (illness) played and he hit 6-of-14 shots for 13 points and not much else, but at least he was on the court.
Bradley Beal missed another game as the shooting wrist struck again, and I’d be willing to stash him for dead weight when it gets announced that he will return and that is about it. John Wall is back as he posted 21 points, five rebounds, nine assists, and a block. Martell Webster scored 19 points with five treys and after his recent production you have to give him a short-term, spot-start look but Beal’s return will probably knock him off the standard league list. Trevor Ariza finally made noise with 20 points, five treys, four rebounds, three assists, and a steal on 7-of-11 shooting in 33 minutes, and he has the same issue with Beal coming back that Webster does.
Taking the Night Off
Chris Paul (knee) and Blake Griffin (hamstring) were scratches and that makes a whole lot of sense when the opposition is a banged up Magic squad. Chauncey Billups (foot) is nearing a return but it’s anybody’s guess when that will be. Jamal Crawford joined the party with a shoulder issue, but it could very well have been a simple maintenance day off. This left Eric Bledsoe free to go nuts with a season-high 27 points, six rebounds, three assists, six steals, three blocks, and two threes on 9-of-21 shooting. Filthy. DeAndre Jordan also took advantage with 13 points and 14 rebounds, as did Lamar Odom (eight points, five boards, four assists, six steals, one three) and Ryan Hollins (13 points, eight boards, two blocks). Owners can safely ignore the Clippers box score for evaluation purposes.
J.J. Redick (shoulder) and Arron Afflalo (calf) were ruled out early yesterday for last night’s game, and the lack of reporting on Afflalo’s injury is a bit unsettling but we still haven’t heard that it’s serious, either. As for Redick, he is day-to-day and an MRI ruled out any structural damage. Jameer Nelson (arm) got back into action and picked up where he left off with 18 points on 6-of-16 shooting, five rebounds, four assists, and three treys.
E’Twaun Moore slid one spot over and hit just 3-of-16 shots for seven points, three boards, five assists, a steal, and a three, but his 35 percent shooting over his last five games is cutting into his value. I wouldn’t break my neck to hold him with his role in question once Redick and Afflalo return. Moe Harkless showed some of what has held him back in general this season, hitting just 2-of-11 shots for six points, nine boards, one steal, and two blocks. The non-scoring numbers are acceptable, but he’s not making the impact he’ll need to make in order to hold his playing time when the Magic get the aforementioned guys back. He has long-term upside, but things might get rough in the short-term.