Matt Stroup

Roundball Stew

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The Dragic Dilemma?

Friday, March 07, 2014


As you may or may not have noticed, the Stew took a little hiatus while yours truly spent the month of February in Sochi for the XXII Olympic Winter Games. Now that I’m back from the Black Sea coast (and home on the East Coast), it’s time to answer some of your Twitter questions. Here we go:

‏@BrownBurr: bledsoe is about to return. How much would you give up for him? Top 50? Also time to sell high on dragic? Thanks!

I can see Eric Bledsoe pushing for top-50 numbers, but I’ll definitely take the under on his pre-injury stats (18.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 5.8 apg, 1.5 spg, 1.2 3s). My reasoning there: A) He hasn’t played in over two months and is slated to come off the bench at first, and B) He has to fit into an equation that currently includes a scalding hot Gerald Green (23.3 ppg in his last 12 games; 30.3 ppg in his last three). Again, I still think Bledsoe will be good, but I’d peg his post-injury stats closer to the 15 ppg range than the 18 he was at before. (Obviously there’s no science at all behind that estimate, just my best guess.)

As for Goran Dragic, he has sustained a downright beastly level of play with Bledsoe out (22.3 ppg, 6.5 apg, 1.3 spg and 2.0 3s in 30 games), but I actually wouldn’t downgrade him all that much with Bledsoe coming back. In his last 15 games before Bledsoe’s knee injury, Dragic posted 19.2 ppg, 5.1 apg, 1.7 spg and 1.2 3s playing alongside Bledsoe. That doesn’t quite match the production sans Bledsoe, but it’s close enough to make concern unnecessary.

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $100,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Friday night's games. It's $25 to join and first prize is $15,000. Starts at 7pm ET on Friday. Here's the FanDuel link.

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‏@Whynatte1: Can Vince Carter keep the Vinsanity going through the playoffs?

Short answer: Not at this level. Carter is currently in the midst of his longest hot streak of the season (averaging 18.5 ppg, 3.5 treys in his last six games), stats that we can’t expect a 37-year-old to sustain while essentially playing half the game (he’s averaging just 26 minutes in his last six games, and 24 minutes on the season).

With that said, Carter has been pretty solid for a while now (12.9 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.9 apg, 0.8 spg, 1.8 3s dating back to mid-December, a stretch of 39 games), so I wouldn’t worry about him losing value entirely. I would, however, worry about running into a poorly-timed fantasy playoff dud (or three) from a player who has only reached the 30-minute mark five times in 61 games this year.

‏@PhogForce5: analyze Derrick Favors and advice on what to do with him with regards to dynasty leaguers.

Favors has been trending downward lately (9.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg and 2.1 bpg in his last 10 games), but that shouldn’t take away from what was a strong first half of the year (13.8 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 1.1 spg, 1.3 bpg in his first 38 games). Still just 22 years old, Favors remains a big-time prospect in dynasty/keeper leagues, and a player I’ll be drafting aggressively next year.

‏@MaxYedid: what do you think of Hensons value for the rest of the year? Thought he would get hot after sanders got hurt

Even more than the aforementioned Favors, John Henson is a complete mess right now (last five games: 6.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 0.4 bpg). And given that he has made just 5-of-20 free throw attempts over an eight-game stretch, it should go without saying that he’s not even worth starting in deeper leagues right now. With that said, I still like him as a bench stash, because with the league’s worst team having every reason to prioritize minutes for younger players, much crazier things have happened than Henson waking up and posting numbers similar to what he did in December (15.2 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 2.0 apg, 0.8 spg, 2.3 bpg).

‏@imjoshman: keep Wes Johnson and Kendall Marshall or pick up sessions r Evans or adrein.

I can understand being a little bit concerned after Thursday’s 48-point loss, but I’d hang onto both of the Lakers here – and I’ll explain why in just a second. As for the players you were looking at on waivers, Sessions has posted some solid lines since joining the Bucks, but just 17 minutes on Wednesday is a red flag for inconsistency in Larry Drew’s unpredictable rotation. (The same goes for Adrien.) As for Evans, he’s an interesting flier in deeper leagues or daily formats, but is too one-dimensional to be helpful long-term.

Meanwhile, Marshall has been atrocious lately (a ghastly 2.6 ppg in his last eight games), but it’s easy to envision him posting some big lines if/when Jordan Farmar runs into his next injury. Johnson has also been struggling (a total of just nine points in his last two games), but he’s not a player I would consider cutting given his recent run (12.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.3 spg, 1.4 bpg and 1.5 3s in his last 15 games). As annoying as his bad games can be, there aren’t many players with that kind of potential in 3s, steals and blocks.

‏@myroeveryday: danny green or wes johnson?

Speaking of 3s/steals/blocks… Green and Johnson are both inconsistent scorers who can put up some dynamic stats when they’re on, but because of playing time I’ll take Johnson (34 minutes per game in his last 15) over Green (23 minutes per game over his last five). With that said, Green is still useful right now after posting 11.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.2 apg, 0.7 spg, 1.2 bpg and 2.1 3s in his last 14 games. And in both cases, you have to be patient enough to live with some ugly box scores to reap the benefits.

‏@stevenpaice: would you have Middleton or Antetokounmpo for the remainder of the season? And Dunleavy or Green?

Personally I’d put Mike Dunleavy slightly ahead of Green because he’s more consistent/less maddening while playing 35 minutes per night over the last month-plus. As for Khris Middleton vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo, as much as I like Antetokounmpo as a prospect, I would definitely take Middleton here. He’s a solid source of points and 3s without the same inconsistency headaches you’ll get from Antetokounmpo.

‏@PeteKotsonis: What should I expect from Hibbert the rest of the way? Blocks only?

Roy Hibbert started off strong this year (12.6 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.8 bpg in his first 30 games), but as I’m sure most of you have noticed, his offensive game has been absent for a while now. Since posting back-to-back games of 20 and 26 points on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, Hibbert has averaged just 8.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg and 2.0 bpg in his last 16 games. And going back to Jan. 1, Hibbert has averaged 10.3 ppg, 6.6 rpg and 2.1 bpg. So the short answer is yes, it’s safe to adjust expectations and treat Hibbert as primarily a blocks specialist at this point, if you haven’t done so already.

‏@jvchua: Who is the better pickup for playoffs, Matt Barnes, Courtney Lee, Terrence Ross or James Anderson?

I’ll rule out Barnes right away because he’s got a long track record of getting hot like this for brief stretches, but ultimately not sustaining it. Plus he’s benefitting from Jamal Crawford’s absence, so I really just see him as a short-term option right now.

The other players all have their flaws as well. Anderson and Ross are both streaky/inconsistent scorers, while Lee has been pretty consistent since joining Memphis, but has started to struggle now that Tony Allen is back (just 6.5 ppg for Lee in his last two games). Bottom line: I wouldn’t expect any of these guys to be big difference-makers in the fantasy playoffs, but personally I’d take a shot on Ross and hope that one of his hot streaks coincides with a great playoff schedule for the Raptors.



Matt Stroup covers basketball, baseball and football for Rotoworld.com. You can find him on Twitter here .
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