While Tuesday was chalk full of big lines, last night was a handful of steps down from that but like the flu I’m rocking it still had plenty of punch. If anything, we got the best dunk/block highlight combo from any one night in recent memory.
So in honor of my absurdly clogged sinuses we’re going to cut to the chase, but before we do regular readers are going to a big kick out of this. It looks like I'm a Pizza Guy too.
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DOWN IN DETROIT
It’s pretty amazing to see how far Joe Dumars has fallen in Detroit, and this most recent roster including sticky-fingered Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings was an intriguing, but fairly predictable disaster. The same old problems lingered last night in their 21-point loss to the Raptors, with Brandon Jennings hitting just 6-of-19 shots for 22 points, three treys and nine assists, Josh Smith hitting 5-of-12 shots for 13 points and a full line, and Greg Monroe hitting 5-of-12 shots as well for 11 and 11 with just one assist.
Those aren’t horrible fantasy lines but the offense has no identity and fantasy owners can expect the same up and down performances for the rest of the year.
Rodney Stuckey returned from his shoulder injury to score 14 points on 4-of-13 shooting with two assists and a block in 20 minutes. It’s a pretty good return game for a very consistent late-round value when he was healthy, so owners needing a steady contributor in 12-team leagues should give him a look. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope made some noise with 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting, one three and four steals, but I need to see him do much, much more on a unit like this to give him much consideration outside of 16-team formats.
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BIG MAN BOUNCE BACK
After face-planting the night before in Indiana, the Toronto bigs appeared to be in for another tough night against Andre Drummond and Co. but they all did well en route to a blowout win. Jonas Valanciunas went for 16 and 11 with two blocks on 7-of-9 shooting, Amir Johnson hit just 4-of-13 shots but managed 10 points, 11 boards, one steal and four blocks, and Patrick Patterson predictably stood down with just eight points, three rebounds and four blocks in 18 minutes. This is the proper pecking order for the foreseeable future in Toronto.
Kyle Lowry had a big night with 21 points, five boards, nine assists, one steal and four treys, with the corresponding sound you hear being the giggles of general manager Masai Ujiri, who is getting to sell Lowry high after setting him free via the Gay trade. DeMar DeRozan hit just 3-of-15 shots on the night but backed that crooked shooting number up with 19 points, 13-of-16 freebies, six rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks. Not bad. Terrence Ross hit five treys for 17 points and three boards and as has been said a bunch here owners just need to ride the waves for the must-own player in standard 12-team formats.
Like many teams, the Mavs simply crumbled against the Spurs even without Manu Ginobili (hamstring), with only Monta Ellis truly showing up in the box with 21 points, three rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block. Jose Calderon hit just 2-of-11 shots for five points, two assists and a three, Dirk Nowitzki hit just 3-of-14 shots for eight points, five boards, one steal and one block, and Vince Carter picked up Shawn Marion’s (shoulder) slack (somewhat) with 14 points, two triples, three assists and a steal.
DeJuan Blair returned to San Antonio and got a mixed welcome from the crowd, and posted a barely respectable six points, six rebounds, two steals and one block in his 23 minutes. Brandan Wright has struggled to get acclimated and he went without a block yet again, finishing with nine points, two rebounds and one steal in 20 minutes. He’s morphed into a low-to-mid level stash with the hopes that Rick Carlisle can find an arrangement that Wright gets comfortable in.
Samuel Dalembert was the lowest man on this three-person Totem pole with three points and five boards in 11 minutes, but he could be thrust into the starting lineup at any time. All in all, this is a three-man timeshare to be avoided in 12-team leagues until owners some clarity can be established.
NEXT MAN UP
Tony Parker took over the third quarter and finished with 25 points on 10-of-15 shooting and seven assists in the Spurs’ win over the Mavs, and with quiet but strong performances down the line they made it look easy. Manu Ginobili’s (hamstring) absence brought Danny Green into the starting lineup and he was (shocker) frustrating with seven points, nine rebounds and one three but no steals or blocks, but as we discuss every single time the numbers still come in at a late-round value so impatient owners would essentially be dropping a guy that is productive and also has upside if he can ever bust a little bit loose.
Marco Belinelli got a lot of attention after the Ginobili news and his problem is the opposite of Green’s, and that is that he averages just 0.7 combined steals and blocks per game on the year. Never mind that he’s shooting an unsustainable 51.4 percent from the field on the season, but even when he’s doing that and putting up something like last night’s 17 points, two threes and three assists he’s still returning just late round value and working hard to do it. I’d still prefer to take Green’s ugly stat lines since a small drop of mojo in his morning coffee can return him to mid-round value, whereas I’m not even sure that Bello could get there in a best-case scenario because of the aforementioned deficiencies.
Boris Diaw posted an understated yet effective line of six points, five boards, six assists, one steal and one block in his 29 minutes. As a late-round value over the last two weeks and with Tiago Splitter out for a handful of weeks, I can’t see passing him up if I need a big man. Kawhi Leonard put up 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting (including a three) with eight rebounds and a steal in 26 minutes, and that’s actually not too bad in a game that was over at the end of three quarters.
It’s unclear when Ginobili is coming back but there haven’t been any indications that the injury is overly serious.
THE LONG ROAD BACK
Don’t look now but Danny Granger is producing like the Granger of old. Well, not really, but he did start for Lance Stephenson (knee) in last night’s loss to the Hawks and put up 14 points on 4-of-10 shooting with five rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block in 32 minutes. Granger has 14-team value on a per-game basis this season in 24 minutes per game, a pretty good target for considering his value when Stephenson returns, but that valuation includes plenty of rust games so if we’re going strictly on performance he’s well worth a look in 12-team formats. Just factor in his injury risk when making your drop decisions, but on the whole this looks like a situation where being extra cautious the way Indy was could end up paying (mild) dividends.
Paul George predictably bounced back from a slow set of outings with 28 points, 12 boards, three assists, two steals and three treys, while Roy Hibbert was dominated by (double-take) Pero Antic and finished with two points on 1-of-8 shooting, four rebounds and one block. Owners just need to dust themselves off and move on.
David West briefly left the game due to a shooting hand injury, and those are always worth watching, but he still managed a solid eight points, 11 boards, three assists, one steal and one block. George Hill’s confidence is still on the side of a milk carton, but he sort of bounced back from a really bad game on Tuesday to score 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting with two threes, three assists and one steal. If there is any silver lining to him running away from the ball it’s that he has just one turnover in four games, and in general he’s worth holding as a low-end value with job security in 12-team formats.
The Hawks somehow beat the Pacers with Paul Millsap (four points, six boards, five assists, one steal, one block) hitting just 1-of-10 shots, and they can thank Kyle Korver and Pero Antic for picking up the slack. Antic contained Roy Hibbert and also added 16 points, three triples, four rebounds and a block in his 27 minutes, and he’s a must-own player in standard 12-team formats with mid-to-late round value over the last 1-2 weeks. Korver ran around the pattern and hit 6-of-8 shots (including a streak-extending three treys) for 17 points to go with two rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Jeff Teague is wasting his season away with a wide-open opportunity but no peripheral stats to speak of. He hit just 5-of-14 shots (5-of-6 FTs) to score 15 points with five rebounds and six assists – a fairly normal sight – but he had no threes, one steal and zero blocks. He’s upped his shooting to 42 percent on the season, but with just 0.7 triples per game and 1.5 combined steals and blocks he’s only a top 55-105 value in 8- and 9-cat leagues, respectively.
DeMarre Carroll scored 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting with one three, four rebounds, four assists and three steals to bolster his must-own status in standard formats, and Lou Williams’ recent free-fall continued as he scored just six points on 2-of-6 shooting with one trey, two boards, four assists and one steal in 21 minutes. This actually isn’t the worst line for the minutes, but with just borderline 12-team value over the last month and plenty of dips below that line he’s not a must-own player in those formats. Whether it’s his knee or not he has to continuously improve for owners to justifiably stay on that ride, though the fit is right in Atlanta where there is no real depth.
Shelvin Mack did well to score five points with three rebounds, three assists and a triple in his 13 minutes, but the deep league pickup probably hit a lot of wires after that low-minute total. He’s worth a look in 14-team leagues but 16 teams and beyond is probably where you want to make that add. Mike Scott scored 15 points with four rebounds and one three in his 17 minutes, and with Pero Antic taking beneficiary status from the Al Horford injury it’s going to make life difficult on him. It’s interesting that he’s taking threes now, and while that will help offset his total lack of defensive stats he still needs to do more. Take a look at him in 14-16 team leagues and that’s about it for now.