Matt Stroup

Roundball Stew

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Hello Harkless

Friday, February 22, 2013

Now that the madness from the Trade Deadline has subsided – J.J. Redick! Jordan Crawford! Ronnie Brewer! Jeremy Tyler?!?!?! – I can now focus on my clearest takeaway from the deals that were made this week:

I think the Kings are going to end up looking very stupid for dealing away Thomas Robinson.

Even before the trade, I found it strange that a team going nowhere would only give 16 minutes a game to the No. 5 pick in the draft, burying him behind a player (Jason Thompson) who has already shown very limited upside (10.9 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 0.8 bpg this season; 10.5 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 0.7 bpg in his career). But given the shenanigans the Kings have pulled with Isaiah Thomas’ minutes for much of the season, I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Wasting no more time on Sacramento’s bad decisions, let’s talk about Robinson’s fantasy potential. Since Jan. 1, he has played 20 or more minutes in a game nine times. And in those nine games, he has posted 9.8 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 0.7 spg and 0.4 bpg. Those may not be numbers that immediately make you jump out of your chair, but keep in mind that we’re talking about games with a minimum of 20 minutes. Give Robinson a starting job without much competition – which it sounds like he will have – and there’s potential for 15 and nine, or more.

With that said, there are two things that could hold back Robinson’s value: 1) Houston’s schedule (just one four-game week the rest of the way), and some uncertainty around Robinson’s defensive stats. The schedule, of course, can’t be fixed, but there is some hope that Robinson can contribute on D. Robinson has played 25 or more minutes seven times this year, averaging 0.6 spg and 1.0 bpg in those games.

Bottom line: I trust Houston’s ability to evaluate talent. I don’t trust Sacramento’s player development decisions. And with that in mind, I’m expecting some exciting production from Robinson ahead.

Follow me on Twitter: @MattStroup

In other Thursday-related matters…

Consider hiring the law firm of Harkless, Nicholson and Udrih. The trade deadline was pretty wretchedly boring, but there were a few significant developments in Orlando. In order of importance:

1) J.J. Redick getting dealt should open up even more opportunities for Moe Harkless. The 19-year-old has been pretty inconsistent as a scorer, but he’s coming off a career-high 20-point game (with eight boards, a steal, a block and a trey), and is averaging 34 minutes per game this month while posting 10.6 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.6 spg and 1.0 bpg. Those numbers aren’t yet anything earth-shaking, but there’s the potential for a pretty intriguing stretch run here. Beginning next week, Orlando has four four-game weeks in the next six.

2) In dealing away Gustavo Ayon, Orlando has made things a little bit easier for Andrew Nicholson. Yes, Orlando did trade for Hakim Warrick, and there is the fact that Al Harrington could return soon, but it still seems likely that the going-nowhere Magic will give Nicholson (13.6 ppg, 7.6 rpg in his last five games) the majority of the PF minutes the rest of the way. The main question in my mind is whether or not Nicholson can make an impact on D. In his last five games, he has posted 0.4 spg and 0.6 bpg.

3) And don’t forget about Beno Udrih. Even if Jameer Nelson’s current knee injury (a strained patella tendon) doesn’t cost him a lot of time, he remains a prime candidate for an eventual shutdown, which makes Udrih an important player to keep in mind. He hasn’t started a single game while backing up Brandon Jennings the last year and a half, but Udrih started 64 games for Sacramento in 2010-11, averaging 14.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 5.3 apg, 1.3 spg and 0.9 3s in those games.

Meanwhile, I know you're frustrated, but it's still not time to trade Tim Duncan. His nine and five from 18 minutes Thursday has to have a lot of owners panicked (not to mention Gregg Popovich's statement in a TV interview that Duncan's minutes will stay in the mid-20's going forward), but dealing now would be selling way too low. Last week I advised waiting until Duncan posts some good lines before trading him, and that advice still holds. Try to stay patient a bit longer.

Meanwhile, what’s going on with Kyle Korver? In the first 10 games after Lou Williams’ season-ending knee injury, Korver posted a quietly outstanding 16.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.2 spg, 0.7 bpg and 3.8 treys, shooting 52.4 percent from the field. But just as Larry Drew did with the aforementioned Williams, the Hawks coach is messing with Korver’s value just when it was peaking. Relegated to a bench role the past three games, Korver has seen his numbers dip to 9.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.7 apg, 1.3 spg and 2.3 3s during that stretch. The good news is that he’s still not completely worthless in a bench role, and it’s possible that he’ll get back into the starting lineup, but it’s beginning to look like Korver’s best run of the season is behind him.

And now, an edition of Players Who Are Owned in Too Many Leagues:

Luis Scola (82 percent owned in Yahoo leagues): Given Phoenix’s schedule (just two four-game weeks left), and his reduced playing time in February (25 minutes per game), I don’t think he’s a must-own player in shallow leagues.

Andrew Bynum (77 percent): Personally, I would have dropped him a long time ago, but if you’ve waited this long, I can understand feeling stubborn about waiting it out. With that said, it’s getting to the point where it’s hard to picture him having any sort of significant impact this year. So if there are productive free agents on your wire, and your team is scrapping for all the production it can get, it’s hard to justify waiting on Bynum at this point.

Brandon Knight (75 percent): In eight games since Jose Calderon arrived in Detroit, Knight is averaging just 11.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.9 apg, 1.0 spg and 1.3 3s on 38.3 percent shooting. He did have 21 points in Detroit’s last game on Wednesday, but I’m not optimistic on his outlook the rest of the way.

J.J. Redick (73 percent): Probably goes without saying, but I’d be dropping him unless you’re in a deeper league. With Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis each averaging 37 minutes per game, Redick looks slated for 20-25 minutes off the bench.

Michael Beasley (61 percent): 11.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 0.2 spg, 0.2 bpg in February. Occasionally breaks out a big game, but the inconsistency will crush your soul. In February, his scoring totals look like this: 4, 24, 6, 11, 25, 4, 18, 8, 3. Pass.

Jared Dudley (59 percent): In his last 15 games, he has averaged 10.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.3 apg, 0.8 spg and 1.3 3s. He occasionally puts together a nice line, but overall I don’t think he’s worth the roster space.

Matt Stroup covers basketball, baseball and football for You can find him on Twitter here .
Email :Matt Stroup

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