THE TURN STANDS FOR TURNOVER
The Philly and Minny matchup looked to be an upset in the Sixers’ favor before youth and inexperience set in, as Evan Turner (13 points, 6-of-16 FGs, eight boards, four assists) coughed up the ball nine times and Wolves came howling back for the win. Tony Wroten had a rare solid shooting night, hitting 8-of-13 field goals for 20 points, three rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block in another start for Michael Carter-Williams (knee). MCW is day-to-day right now so that ride will be ending soon and Wroten doesn’t have the peripherals to be a standard league asset beyond that.
James Anderson showed why it was so hard to quit him with 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting, two triples, eight rebounds and two assists in 31 minutes off the bench, though for the record I did quit him in a deeper 12-team league and until he shows consistency he’s more of a 14-team guy at best. Just be ready to move if the Sixers sustain serious injuries to any of their core guys.
Hollis Thompson was on the other side of that tug-of-war with just five points on 2-of-2 shooting, two rebounds and a steal in 19 minutes. While he’s the preferred defensive option for Brett Brown he’s also bound to be inconsistent, so the needle needs to slide back over to caution versus the hopeful expectations folks might have had when he broke into the starting lineup.
Spencer Hawes bounced back from a bad outing to post 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting with four threes, six rebounds, three assists and three blocks as his dream season continues. Thaddeus Young added 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting with four boards, two steals and a block, and he has been a top 50-60 play over the past two weeks.
RUN RICKY RUN
It barely deserves mentioning anymore that a game against the Sixers is likely to break the box, so owners can mostly disregard the results of any one contest against them. Still, it’s fun to think what-if when looking at Ricky Rubio’s 21 points (9-of-10 FTs), five rebounds, seven assists, three steals and two threes last night. Kevin Martin (five points, 1-of-9 FGs) went cold and his knee is on the radar, though there hasn’t been any news to suggest that owners should be overly concerned at this point. Kevin Love*, who has still yet to generate a suitable nickname, scored 26 points with 15 rebounds, five assists, two steals and a three, and Corey Brewer’s struggles continued as he hit just 4-of-13 shots for 10 points, two threes, three rebounds and that’s it. Brewer has been a 16-team value over the past two weeks with just 0.8 steals, 1.6 threes and 40 percent shooting in his last five games.
*Update: Reader @Nimlicious has put McLovin on the table. I think that name would have been solid if it wasn't so played out. I think we owe it to fantasy's top-7 play to either decide McLovin works or think of something that it so good it sticks. Send your nickname idea to me on Twiter at this link.
**Update II: 'The Love Machine' (he's just a love machine) has taken over the lead, courtesy of @Wneil12.
The Thunder took their act to Memphis last night and whooped up on a short-handed squad, and Russell Westbrook got on track hitting 7-of-12 shots for 27 points with six rebounds, nine assists, two steals, two threes and a blistering 11-of-11 makes from the stripe. Kevin Durant was allowed to ease off the accelerator with just 18 points and a reasonable line in the blowout win, while Serge Ibaka posted a solid 12 points on 6-of-14 shooting with seven rebounds, three assists and two blocks.
Jeremy Lamb hit 7-of-9 shots and three treys for 18 points in 28 minutes. He’s a 14-16 team play with upside that is capped by Thabo Sefolosha’s eventual return and the fact he has to wait in line behind Reggie Jackson. Jackson scored a quiet 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting with three rebounds, two assists and one three in 23 minutes, and though his shooting (49% FGs, 95% FTs) is out of control he averages just a combined 1.7 steals, blocks and threes per game in 25 minutes on the year. He needs to improve in those areas if he’s truly going to make an impact this season.
Steven Adams left last night’s game due to an ankle injury (video link) and did not return, and to me it looked like the minor variety but either way there’s not a lot of impact unless you’re in a wack fantasy league (least stats wins) dominating with Scott Brooks' bosom buddies. If you're new around here and nobody has showed you the bathroom, this is of course my weekly update on Kendrick Perkins and Derek Fisher. These two iron clad war horses combined for four points on 1-of-3 shooting with two rebounds, three assists and two steals in 26 minutes last night. And they were also masters of karate and friendship for everyone.
THE PALE AVENGER
Despite being overwhelmed as a team the Grizzlies’ fantasy assets survived, with Mike Conley scoring 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting to go with two triples and nine assists, and Zach Randolph going for 17 and eight with two steals on an inefficient shooting night (5-of-12 FGs, 7-of-12 FTs). Kosta Koufos also struggled from the field, hitting just 3-of-10 shots for 12 points, seven boards and one block, while the Pale Avenger Jon Leuer continued to be relevant with 17 points on 5-of-14 shooting, two threes, six rebounds, two steals, two blocks and a perfect five freebies in 32 minutes.
Leuer looks like a decent bet to be a mid-to-late round value until Ed Davis (ankle) returns, so if you have a roster spot to burn don’t hesitate to make a short-term pickup. Jerryd Bayless stepped in for Tony Allen (hip) and hit 5-of-10 shots for 11 points and nothing else, and he can be left on the wire until he shows us a lot more.
*Update: Ed Davis is targeting a return on Friday. Owners may want to hang on to Leuer for a game to see how things go, but if that return gets confirmed then Leuer will be favored to dip below late-round value.
I’M MIKE D AND I GET RESPECT
There isn’t much to say about the Bulls other than that they’ll be a wreck until they get Jimmy Butler and Luol Deng back, as their offense is seven points per 100 possessions worse than the league’s worst offense when Deng is out. The Bulls are relying on Carlos Boozer (12 points, 12 rebounds, two steals) and Mike Dunleavy (20 points, 7-of-24 FGs, yes 7-of-24 FGs, three treys, eight boards, three assists, three steals, one block) to do all of the heavy lifting on offense with predictable results.
Kirk Hinrich had one of the worst possessions I’ve seen in a while late in last night’s game, which the Bulls nearly won in a fourth quarter comeback, and he finished with 11 points on 3-of-11 shooting, four rebounds, three assists and four steals in 40 minutes. It speaks volumes about Marquis Teague (seven points, 2-of-7 FGs, 20 minutes) that he can’t make any headway in such a thin unit.
Joakim Noah returned to action and did well to post 12 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and three blocks, and Taj Gibson scored 12 points on 2-of-6 shooting with seven rebounds and two blocks. Inefficiency is going to be an issue for everybody (hello Tony Snell 1-for-7 shooting night) until Deng and Butler return. I saw our blurb mentioned that owners may want to consider cutting Gibson if he has a couple of stinkers, and I’ll go against that by saying owners should hang onto him all year. He could end up being a solid middle-of-the-lineup fantasy starter when the Bulls start playing for next season.
THOU SHALL NOT COVET THY NEIGHBOR’S WIFE
I was watching other games but Twitter was alive and well making fun of the Knicks last night as they seemingly twist the knife into Mike Woodson’s back by a quarter-inch per contest. They squandered their 14-point lead heading into the fourth quarter in impressive fashion, all while playing against the backdrop of rumors about the Knicks being interested in somehow convincing Tom Thibodeau to clean up the mess next season.
Carmelo Anthony hit just 9-of-21 shots as he went into one-man mode, a hybrid of his own pressing and Woodson’s lack of offensive scheme, and finished with 30 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, three steals, one block, a three and 11-of-12 makes from the foul line. The Knicks aren’t going to win under this arrangement, but fantasy owners are as Anthony is ripping fantasy leagues for first round value over the past two weeks.
Iman Shumpert left last night’s game with a bruised left knee and did not return after playing 13 minutes, and he’s as interesting of a character as any in New York right now. The injury was to the same knee he had surgery on, and hopefully for Shump things are just so bad internally with him that the team had a quick hook.
Andrea Bargnani continued to struggle with just eight points on 4-of-10 shooting, three rebounds, one steal and one block in 27 minutes. Joakim Noah could be in a wheelchair and bust Bargnani up and down the court all night. I said yesterday to hold onto him and his mid-round value after a pair of bad games, and unless he makes it five in a row I think you have to hold at least until Tyson Chandler gets back and that’s not anytime soon.
Amare Stoudemire is making a small amount of noise and he put up 14 points, nine rebounds, two steals and a block in 30 minutes. We could be seeing STAT’s last stand of sorts, and I wouldn’t put it beyond him to have a useful stretch over the next two weeks, but whether or not anybody wants to wade into those waters is unlikely. J.R. Smith scored seven points on 2-of-8 shooting and you won’t hear me complain if you drop him and move on. Pablo Prigioni started at point guard and hit just 2-of-9 shots (including two threes) for six points, two assists and four steals in 31 minutes. What a mess.
TAKE WHAT THE DEFENSE GIVES YOU
The Jazz might as well have had the Kings hold their hands on their way to the basket last night, as plain old dumb struck the Kings and allowed one of the league’s struggling teams to shoot 54 percent on the night. As such, the box score for the Jazz looked great. Gordon Hayward hit 7-of-15 shots for 17 points, four rebounds, four assists and a three, and Trey Burke hit 4-of-8 shots (including a three) for 11 points, nine assists and a steal.
Derrick Favors (back) returned and put up 17 and seven with three blocks, and Marvin Williams (Achilles) returned to force Enes Kanter (eight points, three boards, one steal, 17 minutes) to the bench. Williams scored eight points on 3-of-8 shooting with two threes, four rebounds, five assists and two steals, and he’s clearly Ty Corbin’s preferred option over Kanter right now. Give Williams a hard look in any standard league but realize he’s brittle these days, and as for Kanter I’m simply waiting for somebody in the Utah media to report that he’s 25 pounds over last year’s weight.
It’s hard to tell just by looking at him, but his foot-speed and power just isn’t there this season and he’s looking like an early-season bust. The whole idea of playing two husky big men together in Kanter and Favors is that they have to be versatile enough to cover at least a little bit of space, and Kanter isn’t even providing the power to help offset that losing equation. With activity numbers much lower than last year’s rates, all signs point to a guy that is out of shape, and I’m switching sides on the hold equation at least a little bit, recommending that folks at least consider dropping Big Turkey.
I prefer to hold when there is an upside element involved, and again I’m going to focus on the activity numbers to make a call. He was at roughly 2.0 combined steals and blocks per-36 minutes last year, and he is at 1.26 in that department this year. If he trends upward I’ll probably stay the course, if he doesn’t or it doesn’t happen fast enough I’m moving along.
Alec Burks was able to tee-off in such favorable circumstances, scoring 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting with three treys, three boards, two assists and a block in 25 minutes. He has played at a top-100 level over the past two weeks but his season-long value is still in the tank at the top 180-200 range. The recent surge makes him worth a look, but discounting the early season returns especially as the team is getting healthy seems overoptimistic.
Jeremy Evans (nine points, six boards, three assists, one block, 20 minutes) is a much better play with late-round value on the year in just 21.7 minutes per game. He might have a hard time getting that much run as guys like Brandon Rush (20 minutes) and the aforementioned returnees chip away at the available minutes, but in a 14-team league I have no problem hanging onto Evans to see if he can keep it up.
Richard Jefferson scored 20 points on 7-of-9 shooting (including three 3-pointers) with one rebound, three assists and one steal in just 21 minutes, and owners simply need to disregard this line in their evaluation of Arcade Fire. He’s struggling to stay in the top-200 on the season in his 28 minutes per game.