Adam Levitan

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013


KNICKS
Position: Center
Over the last four games, the Knicks have gone 4-0. Some have gone as far to suggest that this is due to the surprisingly spectacular play of Kenyon Martin, adding that Martin should stick in the starting five even when Tyson Chandler (neck, knee) returns. Get real.

Martin has been great, averaging 12.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.0 blocks and 1.0 steals in 28.6 minutes a night as the starter over the last six games. But he’s undersized to play center at 6-foot-9 and is 35 years old. There’s just no long-term sustainability here. The Knicks have won four straight because Carmelo Anthony is back and they got to play the reeling Jazz, woeful Magic and injury-ravaged Raptors (twice).

Chandler is questionable for Tuesday. Coach Mike Woodson has already made it clear that Chandler will be the starting center immediately upon his return, which will leave Martin without much of a role. Anthony plays 37 minutes at the four and Chandler will quickly ramp back up to his 33 minutes.

MAGIC
Position: Shooting guard
The season-ending hamstring injury to Arron Afflalo has opened up some of those annual late-season fantasy floodgates.

Owners dumping season-long studs like Kevin Garnett, Marc Gasol and Nikola Vucevic are going to be scraping. And a guy like E’Twaun Moore can help fill the void.

Moore has started at point guard, shooting guard and small forward this season. It’s that versatility that allows his minute count to stay high, even when his oft-wayward jumper isn’t going. In 18 starts this year, Moore has averaged a hefty 34.8 minutes per game. That’s led to 11.7 points, 5.3 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1.6 treys. Owners that can stomach the poor shooting (39.4 percent as a starter) need to pounce.

Beno Udrih is not in line to start games, but he’ll still have plenty of value. He’s playing just 22.0 minutes a night overall as a member of the Magic, but that’s translated to 4.9 assists per game. Over the last two games, with Afflalo mostly sidelined, Udrih has been at 36.6 minutes. As I discussed way back when the J.J. Redick trade first happened, coach Jacque Vaughn and Udrih go back a ways.

PISTONS
Position: Power forward
There had been some idle chatter that Andre Drummond (back) would play and start in Tuesday’s game against the Wolves. He’s been practicing in full, taking contact and feeling no pain at all. But coach Lawrence Frank killed that buzz following Tuesday’s shootaround.

“I know he’s anxious to get back out there, but there’s no reason to rush,” Frank said. “To me, you want to try and get as many practices as you can and make that determination.”

Given that the Pistons don’t play again until Friday, it looks like a good spot to get Drummond back in practices and then into a game. I normally wouldn’t be counting on a rookie that has never started an NBA game and has been out nearly two months, but this is a special case. The organization wants Drummond on the court so they can see how he meshes with impending unrestricted free agent Jose Calderon. The Pistons’ fan base is in a frenzy, clinging to the hope that Drummond represents.

I’d expect 10-15 minutes for a couple games initially, and then 24-28 as the starting power forward as soon as next week. In case you forgot, here are Drummond’s per-36 minute numbers on the season: 13.3 points, 13.7 rebounds, 3.1 blocks and 1.7 steals.

RAPTORS
Position: Power forward/center
Amir Johnson has been the best Raptor all season and one of fantasy’s unheralded heroes. So why the heck did he play 17 minutes on Friday and 18 minutes on Sunday – both in a reserve role? A few reasons:

1. Matchups: The Knicks are starting Kenyon Martin at center and Carmelo Anthony at power forward. The Raptors were forced to go small in the home, at-home set.
2. Ankles: Per the Toronto Sun, Johnson’s ankles are “wobbly.” It doesn’t sound like anything serious, it’s just an accumulation of a guy going extremely hard as an undersized power forward for five months.
3. Jonas: Valanciunas still has a ton of holes in his raw game, but has really settled in lately. Over the last five games, the clear-cut starting center is averaging 13.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and 0.6 blocks while shooting 77.1 percent from the field. It’s led to a steady 28.4 minutes per night. The Raptors are going to give Valanciunas tons of leash as a future building block.

As long as Johnson’s ankles hold up, he’s going to be just fine. So will (My name is) Jonas. Stay the course with both.



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Adam Levitan is in his sixth season covering football and basketball for Rotoworld. He won the Fantasy Sports Writers Association award for Best Series in 2011 and 2009, and ESPN's overall fantasy football title in 2000. Find him on Twitter.
Email :Adam Levitan



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