Aaron Bruski

The Daily Dose

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James Harden Explosion

Thursday, February 21, 2013

We had 11 games last night and a trade deadline to get ready for, so I’m jumping right into this.  Follow me on Twitter for all of the breaking news, and go to our NBA home page and follow the whole crew.  I’ll be publishing the trade deadline preview in a few hours here, and after it’s all done I’ll eventually get some sleep.  It’s time to dig deep and get ready for the day that fantasy fortunes can change. 




Brandon Knight left last night’s game after hyper-extending his right knee.  He returned for a moment and then left, and he’ll likely get an MRI to determine the extent of the injury.  He was joking around after the game, so if I’m ‘guessing’ then I’ll call this a day-to-day type thing rather than a week-to-week issue.  Rodney Stuckey scored 12 points with seven rebounds, three assists, and a steal, and could be worth a speculative look with the hopes that Knight’s injury is more serious than it seems.  Will Bynum will be worth a look in deeper formats if that is the case, and he put up eight points and seven assists in 27 minutes last night.  Charlie Villanueva scored seven points with nine rebounds, two blocks, and a three, and is also worth an add in deeper leagues right now. 




Gerald Henderson (13 points, seven rebounds, five assists, one three) seems like a good candidate to be traded, and that makes him a sell-high candidate right now since he probably won’t land in as good of a spot as he is in right now.  Ramon Sessions scored 18 points with six rebounds, eight assists, two steals and two threes, and I think he’s worth a hard look in standard formats, especially with Henderson possibly on the way out.  I’d have a hard time letting him pass by me unless I am stacked.  Michael Kidd-Gilchrist finally got back on track with 11 points, six boards, three assists, and three blocks, and I think he should be owned in all 12-team leagues and possibly some 10-teamers with the hopes he gets loose down the stretch. 




The Grizzlies won the Rudy Gay Bowl, despite a real slow night from Marc Gasol (five points, three boards, four assists, four blocks).  Tony Allen scored 12 points with eight rebounds, three steals, and one block in 35 minutes, and he’s worth a look for the hopes the Grizz don’t add another wing.  He and his teammates have a friendly schedule the rest of the way. 




The Toronto wing attack is going to be interesting to watch, as it doesn’t exactly lend itself to balanced production when they dominate the shot attempts.  DeMar DeRozan hit just 1-of-9 shots for seven points, three boards, and five assists, and Rudy Gay hit just 5-of-15 shots for 13 points, nine rebounds, three assists, and five turnovers against his old squad.  Amir Johnson did get going with 16 points, five rebounds, a steal, and two blocks, while Jonas Valanciunas (six points, six boards, no steals or blocks, 18 minutes) struggled. 


Andrea Bargnani made his last, best offer to the rest of the league with zero points on 0-for-4 shooting, two boards, one steal, and one block in 22 minutes.  In fairness, the wings have dominated the touches so much that it’s been hard for anybody else to get a rhythm.  Alan Anderson has also been firing away, and he got hot last night with 19 points on 6-of-7 shooting, four treys, and two boards in 19 foul-plagued minutes.  I can’t bring myself to trust Anderson in standard formats and expect inconsistency.  As for JV, owners will want to treat him as a stash until he can get his act together, and if Bargnani doesn’t get traded then he’ll be droppable depending on one’s options. 




J.R. Smith got ejected after Lance Stephenson got in his head, and finished with just five points on 1-of-7 shooting.  Those two have some history so it wasn’t too surprising to see, though that’s not necessarily paying the bills for his owners.  Carmelo Anthony hit just 7-of-21 shots for 15 points, six boards, and one assist, and now would be the time to make your best play for him, as his schedule is great down the stretch and he will definitely turn things around. 




Lance Stephenson scored 14 points with five boards, three assists, and two steals in last night’s blowout win over the Knicks, and as mentioned he got into J.R. Smith’s head which led to his ejection.  Especially with Danny Granger (knee) eventually returning, there’s not a whole lot to see here in standard formats.  David West returned from his eye injury and stepped right into an 18-point, nine-rebound night that included a full stat line.  Paul George was his typical productive self with 27 points, eight rebounds, a steal and two blocks in the win. 




Nick Young was somehow dropped in one of my deeper big money leagues and I had to decide if I wanted to put in a big bid when I didn’t really need his stat-sets.  I let somebody else bid heavy for him and I’m feeling good temporarily, as Young hit 1-of-7 shots for six points, five rebounds, and three assists.  I doubt he will continue to struggle like this, and unless the Sixers add somebody in what seems like an unlikely transaction then this is a buy low moment, and he’s certainly worth picking up if somebody in your league is impatient.  Spencer Hawes scored nine points with eight rebounds and a block, and though his name has been popping up I think owners can wait-and-see how things go since the Sixers seem ready to stand pat.  Andrew Bynum’s return isn’t something to worry about at this point, either. 




Nikola Pekovic is a dark horse to get traded and had a monster night with 27 points, 18 rebounds, a steal and two blocks.  The word on the street is that the Wolves aren’t sure about his long-term status with the team, and if they wander into a big deal he could be a pretty enticing piece.  I’d say the chances of a trade are less than 20 percent, so owners should weight that accordingly, but a careful sell-high offer could end up looking genius if Pek lands in a less friendly system than the one he is in. 


Andrei Kirilenko (quad) returned and wasted no time putting up 15 points, five rebounds, five assists, two steals, and three blocks.  The Wolves have an awesome schedule down the stretch, which owners will want to make sure they account for when making a deal of any type.  Derrick Williams stayed hot with 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting, eight rebounds, a steal, and two threes.  This is his ceiling for the most part, and he’s doing his part to market himself for a potential trade out of Minny.  I’ve been pretty harsh on Williams and I’m not running to the streets to sing his praises just yet – I think his margin for error is too slim with his peripherals – but there’s enough to hold onto here to justify an add in standards.  Just realize a trade elsewhere will be an unknown quantity. 




Thabo Sefolosha did not care that James Harden was running all over the Thunder last night, as he posted a career-high 28 points on 11-of-16 shooting with five rebounds, three assists, two blocks, and six threes.  He has been a solid mid-to-late round value this year and should be owned in most formats.  Kevin Durant triple-doubled with 16 points, 12 boards, 11 assists, two steals and one block, and Russell Westbrook added 28 points, 10 boards, and eight assists in an up-and-down game against the Rockets.  Unfortunately for owners, the Thunder don’t have the greatest schedule down the stretch but owners will more than likely just choose to live with it.  Kendrick Perkins (knee) did not play last night and hopes to play on Friday.




James Harden should not have been traded out of OKC, and that point became evident when he touched up his former team for a career-high 46 points on 14-of-19 shooting (11-of-12 FTs) with eight boards, six assists, one steal, one block, and seven 3-pointers.  It’s the best fantasy line of the year and we’re guessing if you had the choice between keeping him and amnestying Kendrick Perkins you’d know what to do.  Jeremy Lin (hand) was overshadowed by Harden’s big night, but 29 points, six rebounds, eight assists, two steals, and three treys are nothing to shake a stick at. 


Carlos Delfino (nine points, 3-of-12 FGs, six rebounds, five assists, four steals, three treys) played 42 minutes last night, and with both power forwards leaving in exchange for Thomas Robinson he could be looking at a consistent workload if he can stay healthy.  Chandler Parsons put a scare into owners after being carried off the floor due to an ankle injury, and in Paul Pierce fashion he returned to finish with 17 points, six rebounds, four assists, two steals, and two threes.  His ankle could swell up overnight but the performance underscores what a year this guy is having. 


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Aaron Bruski has covered hoops for Rotoworld since 2008 and has competed in national fantasy sports competitions for nearly two decades. In 2015 he was named FSWA Basketball Writer of the Year. You can also find his work over at ProBasketballTalk, where he received critical acclaim for his in-depth reporting of the Kings' relocation saga. Hit him on Twitter at Aaronbruski.
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