MAVERICKS Position: Point guard
Coach Rick Carlisle
finally appears to have found a mix that works at the point. With Mike James
starting each of the last eight games, the Mavs have gone 6-2. James is playing 27.5 minutes a night during that span.
Meanwhile, Darren Collison
has settled in comfortably with the second unit. He’s still getting 25.1 minutes a night over these last eight games. With Roddy Beaubois
sidelined by a fractured finger, there’s enough room for both point guards to have deep-league value here. NUGGETS Position: Power forward Kenneth Faried
has gone AWOL of late, strangely averaging just 22.7 minutes a night over the last nine games. He’s played 20 minutes or less in three of the last four games. I wouldn’t sweat it.
Coach George Karl
is simply riding the hot hand of Wilson Chandler
and going small when he can. Faried has also found himself in early foul trouble of late. With matchups against bigger front lines of the Kings, Hornets, Spurs and Nets coming up in the next 10 days, Karl will need Faried’s presence. He’ll settle back into that 27-30 minute role shortly. ROCKETS Position: Power forward
Players from overseas often come to the NBA with a reputation for being softer and not as intense as their American counterparts. That’s not the case with Donatas Motiejunas
Since the Thomas Robinson
trade, Motiejunas has started nine straight games. His play has been inconsistent and uneven, but his energy has been there. And that’s enough for coach Kevin McHale
“If D-Mo makes mistakes, he makes up for it by just hustling and working hard. … That’s what we have to get everybody doing,” McHale said.
During the aforementioned nine-game run, Motiejunas is averaging 22.1 minutes per night. Thomas Robinson
is getting just 12.8 minutes per game as a Rocket. Neither are real fantasy options. They’re merely clogging things up for Carlos Delfino
, who has been reduced to a bench role and 23.5 minutes. It’s enough for him to make 2.4 3-pointers a night, but that’s the only place he’ll be helping owners. SPURS Position: Power forward, point guard
Now that we’re in crunch time, preparing for missed games is crucial. So here are some numbers on Tim Duncan
I posted in this space six weeks ago:
2011/12 games missed in April: 5 of 16; Minutes played in April: 26.4
2010/11 games missed in April: 1 of 7; Minutes played in April: 27.9
2009/10 games missed in April: 1 of 8; Minutes played in April: 28.2
As you can see, Duncan’s April minutes have been steadily dropping over the last three years. I’d also be absolutely stunned if he doesn’t sit out at least two of the Spurs’ nine April games this year. They have back-to-backs on April 3/4 and 14/15.
Let’s do the same exercise with Tony Parker
, who should be back from his ankle sprain sometime in the end of March.
2011/12 games missed in April: 3 of 16; Minutes played in April: 25.1
2010/11 games missed in April: 1 of 7; Minutes played in April: 31.1
2009/10 games missed in April: 2 of 8; Minutes played in April: 25.0
As we’ve seen over the last couple weeks, Parker has no handcuff. Owners are just going to have to bite the bullet and accept limited production.