LAKERS Position: Power forward
We know that Earl Clark
is locked and loaded. He has started 18 of the last 19 games and is averaging 33.2 minutes per game during that span. That’s because he has defensive versatility and an unselfish streak, something desperately missing from the Lakers.
In eight February games Clark is averaging 12.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.6 steals, 1.0 blocks and 0.6 3-pointers. That’s an eye-opening line for fantasy players and it’s here to stay.
The more difficult situation is on the bench, where Antawn Jamison
has established himself as the sixth man following Pau Gasol
’s torn plantar fascia. The only problem is that he’s not a player that can do things away from the ball and he’ll be playing fourth fiddle a lot of the time behind Kobe Bryant
, Dwight Howard
and Steve Nash
Jamison’s numbers in the five games since Gasol went down: 11.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 1.0 3-pointers and 1.0 blocks in 25.2 minutes. It’s a reasonable expectation going forward, meaning most owners can do better on their waiver wire. SPURS Position: Center Tiago Splitter
has provided something we rarely find among Spurs’ players: Consistency.
Splitter, perhaps the NBA’s most improved player, has not missed a single game this season. He’s started each of the last 30 contests and has played at least 28 minutes in 14 of the last 17 games. And with Tim Duncan
(knee, ankle, rest) sidelined for eight of the last 10, Splitter has really come on. During that span, he’s averaging 13.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 0.7 blocks. When Duncan rests in April, Splitter is going to be an asset for owners in fantasy playoff leagues. TRAILBLAZERS Position: Shooting guard Wesley Matthews
’ ankle injury has the look of a serious injury. Unfortunately for owners, there’s no real handcuff to pick up.
The Blazers have five very good players and absolutely nothing behind them. Luke Babbitt
is a gunning 3-point specialist that can’t stay on the floor thanks to his other deficiencies. Rookie Will Barton
is shooting 37.1 percent from the field and 15.4 percent from 3-point range. Victor Claver
, who projects to start while Matthews is out, has flubbed this chance before.
In seven starts this season, Claver has managed just 2.9 points and lasted 18.9 minutes before getting yanked. WARRIORS Position: Center Andrew Bogut
believes he’s ready to have the shackles taken off. He says that his minutes restriction will be gone and he’ll be playing on both sides of back-to-backs after the break.
We’ll see what the Warriors’ training staff has to say about that, but it’s at least a great sign that Bogut’s surgically-repaired ankle is feeling good. He’s far from 100 percent as he appears to be laboring on the court, but he’s talented enough to overcome that. Despite getting just 25.4 minutes in his first six games back, he’s averaging 9.0 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks. Barring a setback, the numbers and playing time can only go up.