Now that we’re all caught up on who isn’t healthy…I’ll devote the second half of the Dose to a borderline stream-of-consciousness run through some stats, resources, and whatever else calls me.
The Sixers beat the Hawks on Friday behind Evan Turner's 24 & 11 and Spencer Hawes' 19 & 12. If you drafted Turner in a nine-cat roto league and you played him in every game this season, you got a 13th-round value. He contributes just enough points (13.7), rebounds (6.5) and assists (4.2) to catch your eye, but that value slowly erodes beneath sub-par steals (0.9), blocks (0.2), FG percentage (42.6), FT percentage (74.2) and turnovers (2.4). His value has jumped a few rounds in recent weeks due to improved shooting, and he knocked down 9-of-15 FGs with three 3-pointers on Friday, so at least he's closing the season emphatically. Spencer Hawes has gone a step beyond improving his play—he finished March with season-high averages in every category but FT percentage and steals. The result is top-10 value in nine-cat leagues in the past month. He's owed a guaranteed $6.6 million in the final year of his contract next season, and the motivation of a contract year is worth remembering.
While we’re discussing strong finishes…Jeff Green, in 11 starts this season, is averaging 22.5 points on 56.3 percent shooting, 1.8 threes, 5.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.1 steals, 1.6 blocks and only 2.0 turnovers in 38 minutes. If those numbers were extrapolated for a full season (just humor me), Green would be:
Doc Rivers has already conceded that Green has "earned" the right to start when Kevin Garnett (ankle) returns, possibly on Sunday.
The Celtics actually lost to the Cavs on Friday, thanks largely to Tristan Thompson’s career-high 29 points on Friday, a nice bounce-back effort after he averaged 6.5 points in his previous two games. He did this against a Boston team with Brandon Bass at center and Jeff Green at PF, so we should view this game with a small asterisk. That said, he's coming off a solid month of March (12.1 points on 50 percent FGs, 9.4 rebounds, 0.9 blocks) and should continue to average 30 minutes until the bitter end of the season. The way competent players are dropping these days, that's nothing to sneeze at.
Three plays from Michael Beasley: 1) Two minutes remain in Friday’s game and the Warriors are winning on the road in Phoenix, 104-98, when Beasley wildly spins around Klay Thompson into a void in the middle of the defense, scoring on an easy finger-roll at the rim. 104-100. 2) After a missed jumper by Stephen Curry with 1:45 left, the Suns set up a play to isolate Beasley at the top of the key against Klay Thompson (Golden State has their usual three-guard set on the court in the 4Q). Beasley drives right, ignores a cutting P.J. Tucker and pulls up for a contested jumper, which he makes. 104-102. 3) Jarrett Jack misses a long jumper and the Suns gather the rebound with 1:00 remaining. Goran Dragic brings the ball up and again passes, fatally, to Beasley in an isolation on the right wing vs. Thompson. Beasley quickly aborts a drive to his right, panics in the face of a double-team and throws the ball away on a pass to Tucker, but the Warriors can't control the ball and it pops back into Beasley's hands. This time he makes an ill-advised baseline drive and throws a horrible pass directly to Carl Landry. Jarrett Jack drains a 3-pointer a few seconds later, and the Suns suffer yet another loss.
Beasley grabbed six rebounds and finished the game with 25 points on 12-of-17 shooting in 32 minutes, one of his best scoring games of the season. He didn't have a single FT attempt, however, and he had one assist vs. six turnovers, both exaggerated examples of career-long flaws in his game. He was nowhere near providing fantasy value in any sane format this year, and I implore you to avoid him next year, even if your imagination gets excited by some offseason trade rumors.
I finally swallowed my disbelief and picked up Damien Wilkins in two leagues, so Friday's line was a welcome sight: 16 points on 5-of-8 FGs and 4-of-4 FTs, two 3-pointers, four rebounds, five assists, one steal and one block. If you checked out this week's Season Pass chat, available to subscribers, you already heard me say...
Q: Who should i start tonight? Damien Wilkins v. CHA or Alan Anderson v. WAS
A: I could hem and haw here and suggest that it depends partly on what categories you need...but instead I'll just say that you should deploy Damien Wilkins. He's playing heavy minutes, at 37 per game in the past two, he's shooting very well from the field and decent at the FT line, he gives you a handful of boards/dimes, and he is likely to give at least one steal. The clincher, of course, is Charlotte's truly horrific league-worst defense. They give up 109.6 points per 100 possessions, easily the lowest mark of any team, while the Wizards have quietly posted the league's seventh-most efficient D with 100.2 points allowed per 100.
Those defensive ranks at the end aren't pertinent for Wilkins going forward (other than April 12th when Philly plays the Wizards), but they are indicative of the kind of quick research owners can do to get a competitive advantage every day. You can also find defensive/offensive ratings for the past three games, the past month, or any other split you desire. The site HoopStats.com allows you to see which teams cede the most points/rebounds/assists to backcourts (PG/SG) and frontcourts (SF/PF/C). I won't vouch for the information but it seems straight...the Rockets lead the NBA in points allowed to opposing backcourts (43.5), the Lakers give up the third-most, and although the Pacers are 13th in that category, they are the stingiest team vs. opposing frontcourts. I use it occasionally for a quick snapshot: the Wizards are good against frontcourts (4th) and weak against backcourts (22nd). The Blazers are strong against guards (12th) but lousy against forwards and centers (26th). And so forth.
And if you simply want to follow the White Rabbit, you can quickly learn which player leads the D-League in double-doubles this season (our old friend Samardo Samuels!), which NBA sophomores lead their class in efficiency, or even how many turnovers per offensive play a given team forced during their road games in the 2004-05 season, not to mention the Wizards' winning percentage when they were known as the Chicago Zephyrs (it wasn't pretty).
You may also learn that Roy Hibbert is shooting 52.7 percent at the rim this season, the lowest percentage of any NBA center and half a mile behind second-worst Andrew Bogut (58.8 percent). On the plus side, Hibbert looked much better in March and there are plenty of optimists who think his offensive game may be 'back' for good (for more read this, then this and this).
Q stands for Chris Quinn, a recent call-up for the Cavs who has eight points in five appearances.
U stands for Ekpe Udoh and Beno Udrih, and nothing more.
Y stands for Nick Young, Sam Young and Thaddeus Young, who are biological brothers and co-own a chain of barbershops for dogs across the south.
Z stands for Cavaliers center Tyler Zeller, whose brother Luke was released by the Suns in February. Ever since, Tyler has dedicated his offensive rebounds to his dearly missed bro.
Follow me on Twitter @Knaus_RW