Kobe Bryant could qualify at point guard
Kobe Bryant is going to play plenty of point guard over the next few weeks with Steve Nash, Jordan Farmar and Steve Blake all hurting for the Lakers. Nash and Farmar appear to be on the road to recovery, but I’m not sure we’ll see either of them until the new year. And that means that good ol’ Kobe is going to be running the point for the Lakers. Some leagues require five starts before giving a player eligibility, while others require 10. And I’m pretty sure there isn’t an “eligibility guru” overseeing the whole thing, so some players will get the extra position when it’s due, while others won’t. But Kobe’s high profile should mean that he’ll gain eligibility as soon as he meets the requirements in all leagues, and if he doesn’t, I will bug people until it happens. And in case you were wondering if he can actually play point guard, Bryant is averaging 12.5 points and 10.5 assists over his last two games, and looks great for someone who had Achilles surgery eight months ago.
Mike Shanahan and J.R. Smith have a lot in common
Mike Shanahan is apparently trying to get himself fired as quickly as possible. It’s going to happen at some point, but after the whole RGIII debacle and then going for the two-point conversion instead of overtime in Atlanta on Sunday, he may not make it to the end of the season. The basketball version of Shanahan has become J.R. Smith, who looks like he’s trying to get coach Mike Woodson fired. Smith’s fairy tale story from last season, when he played like a good solider (and shot just 42 percent) before being named the league’s Sixth Man of the Year, is a distant memory for the Knicks and their fans. Since then, he disappeared in the playoffs, failed to mention he’d need knee surgery until after he signed a three-year, $18 million extension in New York, and hasn’t done anything of note that didn’t involve cars, social media or ‘pipe.’
Smith’s latest antics include a standoff/confrontation with Woodson that resulted in him taking just one shot in Friday’s game (which he missed), backed up with a 1-of-8 performance on Saturday, despite the fact Woodson decided it was a good idea to put him in the starting lineup that night. Smith is shooting a disastrous 33 percent on the season and has hit just nine of his last 36 shots, which is good for 25 percent. If you want to drop him, it makes sense, as he hasn’t done anything fantasy relevant all season long, and could end up in the doghouse for an extended period of time if something doesn’t change soon. If there was a worse signing by the Knicks in recent memory, I’d like to hear about it. Oh wait, Isiah Thomas loved him some Eddy Curry, didn’t he? For more light reading about Smith’s antics, check this out.
Josh Smith can still play basketball
After a slow start to the season, Josh Smith blew up for a season-high 31 points on Sunday, to go along with seven rebounds, four assists, a steal, a block and no 3-pointers. He hit 13-of-17 shots and attempted just two 3-pointers, which could be becoming a trend. He’s attempting a ridiculous 4.2 3-pointers per game on the season, but has tried just three of them over his last two games. Part of the reason that he’s shooting just 40 percent on the season (which includes last night’s near perfection) is that he is throwing up so many bad shots from downtown. Maybe Mo Cheeks finally got through to him and convinced him that taking four or five 3-pointers a night is a bad business model. And if Cheeks has persuaded him to stop chucking, now is probably a good time to target Smith in a trade, as he could start putting up fun stat lines on a nightly basis going forward. On a side note, I’m really looking forward to the new Stephen Malkmus record, out Jan. 7, that includes a song titled J Smoov.
For the entire injury report, click here.
Michael Carter-Williams has missed six straight games due to a knee infection and unless we get good news, he should be benched in weekly leagues. The Sixers are at Brooklyn tonight and there’s still a chance MCW could play in that one, but I’m not holding my breath. Nor am I starting him in any of the leagues I own him in, which is, unfortunately, a lot. Tony Wroten remains a must-start player any time MCW is out, and could end up playing heavy minutes at shooting guard once Carter-Williams is back. Wroten is as must-own as they come right now.
Glen Davis dislocated his left shoulder on Sunday night, but played through it and said “I’ll be all right.” I’ll be surprised if he sits out tonight against the Bulls.
Brook Lopez skipped Sunday’s practice with his bum ankle, leaving him quite iffy for tonight’s game. He is now expected to play, which will hurt the chances of Andray Blatche staying as hot as he has been. Joe Johnson also missed practice with an illness and is questionable as well.
Rajon Rondo (knee surgery) has returned to practice for the Celtics, but it doesn’t sound like we’ll see him in uniform until 2014.
Kirk Hinrich missed Saturday’s game with a back injury, leaving him iffy for Monday night.
Dirk Nowitzki was out on Saturday with an illness and the Mavs are also off until Wednesday, which is good news for his probability in that one.
Andre Iguodala says he’ll be back “really soon,” but still doesn’t have a target date. Bench him until we have one, and keep playing Harrison Barnes until Iguodala is back from his hamstring injury.
Kevin Martin (knee), James Harden (ankle), Jeremy Lin (back), Terrence Jones (flu), Mike Conley (thigh), Danny Granger (calf) and Tyreke Evans (ankle) are all on the injury report, so be sure to check it out and watch for news throughout the day before setting your lineup.