STUCK ON YOU
Brandon Knight (ankle) is off crutches and was spotted doing rehab drills, which is a good sign that the ankle isn’t too swollen to start moving on the stretching and strengthening part of the process. It’s also a decent sign that he wants to return before the end of the year, but we’re still in dark waters and owners that can’t afford a stash need to move on. He was playing well before the injury, but has a year’s worth of inconsistency under his belt, which should be the tiebreaker for owners trying to plan for the playoffs.
Knight’s absence has opened the door for Rodney Stuckey, and as I intimated yesterday the Pistons are now forced to go back to sets that Stuckey likes, whereas up to this point he has been forced into an ancillary role on offense. Stuckey scored 22 points on 8-of-18 shooting with three rebounds, five assists and a steal in 38 minutes, and because of that strategic shift Jose Calderon was limited to just six points and six assists in 29 minutes. The Pistons kept things close tonight against a struggling Warriors squad, and after Stuckey proved competent I’d guess they try it again when the Pistons play in Portland on Saturday. He’s worth strong consideration as a pickup in all formats and is as close to must-add status as one can get with an unfavorable schedule being a sticking point.
Jason Maxiell (ankle) returned to action and took advantage of the Warriors’ weak interior to the tune of eight points, 14 rebounds, three assists and no steals or blocks in 32 minutes, which steals any momentum away from Jonas Jerebko (11 points, four rebounds, one three, 24 minutes), who is only worth consideration in much deeper formats. Will Bynum scored 16 points on 8-of-13 shooting with four assists in 28 minutes off the bench, and he’s worth a look in deeper formats but consistency is going to be the question. Kyle Singler scored 17 points and the Warriors’ defense should be noted on the Pistons’ side of the box, so a guy like Singler definitely needs to follow this up before we pay him any attention.
Andre Drummond (back) said that “your guess is as good as mine” when asked about when he would return, and I finally dropped him in the last league I was stashing him. Just be ready to move if or when the ‘he’s coming back’ report hits the wire.
I HAVE A SOFT SPOT
The Warriors haven’t been playing good basketball lately but they have a soft spot in their schedule and that will likely float them into the playoffs. They didn’t exactly put away a bad Pistons team at home last night, but they still got big-time fantasy performances out of Stephen Curry (31 points, eight assists, five treys) and David Lee (20 points, 15 boards, five assists). Andrew Bogut locked in his fantasy credentials as a guy to be owned across all formats with seven points, 10 boards, four assists, two steals and three blocks, and Jarrett Jack bounced back from a down week or so with 19 points, two threes and five assists.
RETURN TO THE SCENE OF THE CRIME
It wasn’t a pretty scene for the Knicks last night. Carmelo Anthony played through his knee injury as many of us intimated he probably shouldn’t have done, but it was his big return game to Denver and he eventually tapped out of the game when things got out of hand. He’s going back to New York to get his knee drained now, which has been an option on the table over the past few days, and that puts him out for tonight and questionable for the future. A draining doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll miss time, but it would be stupid for the Knicks to push Anthony (or let him push himself) into action with the playoffs around the corner.
If the Anthony news wasn’t bad enough, hearts were in throats when Tyson Chandler went down in a heap with a left knee injury. There was speculation that he hyper-extended the knee and though the final report has him probable for tonight’s game, it’s a knee he has had problems with dating back to last year -- followed by a bone bruise to start the year that caused him to miss time. If there was any truth to the hyper-extension reports, I’ll be watching to see if it enters bone bruise territory, which is common with hyper-extensions. It isn’t so much the contact with the player as a contusion implies, but the internal bone-on-bone action which sometimes causes cartilage regeneration problems. I’m not saying this is what it is, just something I’ll be keeping an eye on. Again, a probable status is great news after watching him get helped off the court.
Iman Shumpert made his presence known for the first time this year with 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting and four threes to go with one steal and one assist in 33 minutes. With Jason Kidd petering out in a nine-minute effort and potential downtime for Anthony, he’s a guy to watch very closely right now and if you want to take a flier on him be my guest. Yes, his game log is atrocious but it makes sense that a young guy like Shumpert starts to carry some load, again, if Melo is out. The Knicks have a great schedule to supplement everybody’s value. On that same level but with a lot more risk, Kenyon Martin put up two steals and four blocks over 21 minutes in his return to Denver, and it wouldn’t be a return to Denver without mentioning J.R. Smith’s 15 points, three treys, five boards, eight assists and one steal. Chris Copeland went quiet with seven points, six assists and one block in 20 minutes and he can be left on the wire in most formats even with Amare Stoudemire out and Chandler hurting.
YOU CAN HAVE THEM
As many of us expected the Nuggets played with the type of pride befitting a team that had Carmelo Anthony’s nose turned up at it. There were no real surprises in the balanced effort, with Wilson Chandler’s 24 points on 9-of-12 shooting, four rebounds, three steals and one block getting the most fantasy attention in the blowout win. Kosta Koufos played just 18 minutes with six points, 10 boards and no steals or blocks, but I wouldn’t make this game the referendum on his value. Andre Iguodala scored 14 points with a full stat line and Ty Lawson did the same with 13 points in the win.
ONE AND DONE DAVIS
The Grizzlies went into L.A. and ripped off a win against the Clippers, stifling them with their trademark defense in a 96-85 win. Mike Conley turned up the heat with 17 points, 11 assists, two threes, one steal and one block, Zach Randolph scored 13 points with eight rebounds and a steal, and Marc Gasol scored 21 points on 10-of-14 shooting with four rebounds, two assists and five steals. There was a Tayshaun Prince sighting as he scored 18 points on 9-of-15 shooting with six rebounds and a steal, but he needs to do it again before anybody in normal formats pays him much attention.
Ed Davis was the fantasy story on their side of the box score, as he played just 14 minutes with two points, one rebound and a block. I took a flier on Davis in one spot after he played solid minutes on Tuesday, but it’s clear he carried over no momentum from that night and Lionel Hollins still views him as a situational player. Jerryd Bayless scored seven points with three assists in 17 minutes, and besides the Grizzlies’ trio of four-game weeks in front of us there’s not much to like.
CLIPPED BY EDDIE WINSLOW
The Clippers faltered down the stretch and outside of Chris Paul (24 points, nine assists) and Blake Griffin (22 points, 8-of-15 FGs, six rebounds, five assists, one block) everybody else went cold. Matt Barnes hit just 5-of-15 shots but still put up 14 points, seven boards, three assists, a steal, a block, and two threes, and with both Caron Butler (elbow) and Eric Bledsoe (calf) out there’s a lot to like about his short-term potential. He’s well worth owning in standard formats. Jamal Crawford returned from his ankle injury but hit just 1-of-10 shots for two points and not much else in a healthy 33 minutes, but he should get on track sooner or later.
NEWS AND NOTES
Joe Johnson (heel) expects to return to action on Sunday and the rest couldn’t have come at a better time.
THURSDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
DAL @ SA: I’m willing to give Darren Collison the benefit of the doubt when he says he was seeing “two Monta (Ellises)” in Monday’s game that saw him cede time to starter Mike James. I might have a bit shorter rope with him if the trend continues, but for now I’m evaluating him as I was before that game. He’s a low-end asset worth owning for the chance he can retake the starter’s minutes, but as of right now we have him questionable for tonight until we get an update.
Apparently Shawn Marion (calf) isn’t as close to returning as some made it seem, as he was all-but ruled out for tonight and Rick Carlisle called him doubtful for Friday, too. Vince Carter should be owned in all formats right now, but let’s make the fringe guys like Jae Crowder do it again after they all got hot on Tuesday.
We’re still waiting on updates for Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard after they were rested on Tuesday, and given the hullabaloo about resting guys during TNT matchups you’d have to think they’ll go tonight, but this is Pop we’re talking about here.
NY @ POR: LaMarcus Aldridge has been hit with minor dings all season, and now he’s getting them in threes. He’s apparently dealing with an ankle injury, a bruised right hand, and he missed yesterday’s practice with a migraine headache. Coach Terry Stotts said he expects Aldridge to play tonight, so owners can be cautiously optimistic here.
Stotts also said he wants Nicolas Batum to be more aggressive shooting the ball, which I thought was interesting since Batum said there’s not much more he can do besides rebounding and passing. Maybe there’s a disconnect between the two, or maybe it’s just coach saying that if you’re going to hurt your wrist you might as well go down shooting. This didn’t qualify as needle moving news, but rather some color to add to the situation. I think it’s fair to put Batum on the list of shutdown candidates if the Blazers fall out of playoff contention.
Victor Claver (ankle) and Sasha Pavlovic (leg) both missed practice and that leaves more than enough bench minutes for Eric Maynor, who along with his teammates enjoys a five-game week next week. It might be a good time to pick him up before he gets national exposure tonight if you’re thinking about doing it.
Programming Note: I will be chatting tonight at 9 p.m. ET. See you there.