So this is it folks. It’s been a great year and though all of us are a bit weary in the legs, before you know it we’ll be longing for October. I’ve compiled a list of starts and sits, but you’ll want to be plugged into the Rotoworld NBA player news page for all the recent updates. I’ve also handed out some postseason awards, too.
I’ll be back later in the week with a year-in-review and we’ll have some postseason coverage to go through, too. You can click here to follow me on Twitter, where we’ll all watch the playoffs and have some fun. I’ve yet to finalize my picks for the playoffs, but on a recent radio spot I picked the Clippers over the (you guessed it) Pacers in the Finals. It’s probably the worst I’ve felt about Finals picks in years. And on that note, thank you for your eyeballs and your insights as we obsess over a bouncing ball that goes through a circular contraption.
BULLS AT BOBCATS
Start: Joakim Noah, Jimmy Butler, Mike Dunleavy, D.J. Augustin (if active), Taj Gibson, Kemba Walker, Al Jefferson
Sit: Carlos Boozer, Gerald Henderson
Notes: Consider Jimmer Fredette in a deep league if Augustin or others cannot go. The Bulls still have a shot at the No. 3 seed. The same goes for the Bobcats, who are chasing the No. 6 seed and a way to avoid Miami. The makes Kemba Walker’s upside much too high to pass up on, and Josh McRoberts is worth a look but not a must-start on a busy night.
PACERS AT MAGIC
Start: Evan Turner, Luis Scola, Arron Afflalo, Kyle O’Quinn, Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris
Sit: Paul George (out), Lance Stephenson (out), Roy Hibbert (missing), David West (out), C.J. Watson (out), Jameer Nelson (doubtful)
Notes: George Hill is worth a hard look even in limited minutes knowing that the only reason he’s on the court is to get him going again. Ian Mahinmi is also worth a look if you need big man stats, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Donald Sloan put up a low-end line. Arron Afflalo has talked about finishing strong, while Oladipo may be dealing with an undisclosed injury. Dewayne Dedmon profiles a lot like Mahinmi tonight. Maurice Harkless is a safer desperation play than Andrew Nicholson, but if Nicholson went for 18 and eight with not much else I wouldn’t be shocked.
MAVS AT GRIZZLIES
Start: Mike Conley, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, Jose Calderon, Monta Ellis, Dirk Nowitzki, Vince Carter
Sit: No standout sit-recommendations due to silly season.
Notes: This game is for the No. 7 and 8 seeds in the West, and surely both teams will have interest in winning but I can’t see them breaking their necks with older rosters that are also dealing with some nagging injuries. Conley isn’t close to 100 percent but he has a great matchup. Mike Miller is worth a look if you need some threes after a big Monday night. Shawn Marion is not an advisable play on a busy night but he’s in the ballpark. Samuel Dalembert has been playing well but depending on your format he may also disappoint on a night with so many options.
PISTONS AT THUNDER
Start: Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe, Kyle Singler, Russell Westbrook, Reggie Jackson, Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins (just seeing if you’re paying attention)
Sit: Brandon Jennings
Notes: Jennings could very well go off but it’s possible Peyton Siva gets a heavy look. I almost included Rodney Stuckey in the sit list but it’s possible he stays on the floor to keep the game competitive. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope could also get an extended look, as could Jonas Jerebko since he’s filling Josh Smith’s role. Thunder players are risky in case they jump out to a big lead, but you’re not benching any of these guys. Jackson would likely handle the ball in a blowout win.
LAKERS AT SPURS
Start: Jodie Meeks, Jordan Farmar, Nick Young, Wes Johnson, Jordan Hill
Sit: Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan, Danny Green
Notes: I was tempted to include Ryan Kelly in that start list, but he hasn’t been putting up must-start numbers with Nick Young trying to break records. Young is probably ruining his knee but trying to set himself up for a bigger payday. Start any Spurs at your own risk. If Kawhi Leonard didn’t profile better than the old guys I’d have him on the sit list, and he should probably be there anyway. Patty Mills and Cory Joseph are probably your best bets and Mills has a history of going big on nights like this.
RAPTORS AT KNICKS
Start: Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan (if active), Amir Johnson (if active), Jonas Valanciunas, J.R. Smith, Tim Hardaway, Jr.
Sit: Raymond Felton, Tyson Chandler, Amare Stoudemire
Notes: The Knicks have nothing to play for and may start their vacations early now that a national TV game is out of the way following last night. Tyson Chandler and Amare Stoudemire are too old for this sh*t. Shannon Brown and Toure Murry could mop up some minutes as truly desperate plays. The Raptors need to win this game to stay in the No. 3 seed and they’ll be coming strong, so Raymond Felton is going to have a hard time reproducing last night’s low-end line on a busy night. Greivis Vasquez will be a must-start player if Kyle Lowry or DeMar DeRozan gets rested. Tyler Hansbrough double-doubled the last time out and both Amir Johnson and Patrick Patterson have been dealing with injuries.
JAZZ AT WOLVES
Start: Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Alec Burks, Trey Burke, Kevin Love (if active), Ricky Rubio, Gorgui Dieng, Corey Brewer
Sit: Kevin Martin
Notes: Trey Burke was a tough call but I think he’ll get going against Ricky Rubio and a Wolves team that isn’t playing much defense. Martin’s foot makes him somebody to avoid. The good news is that Love and Co. seem like they’re enjoying putting up numbers.
HAWKS AT BUCKS
Start: Brandon Knight, Ramon Sessions, Zaza Pachulia, Jeff Adrien, Khris Middleton, John Henson, Mike Scott, Shelvin Mack
Sit: Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap (questionable), Kyle Korver (questionable), DeMarre Carroll (questionable)
Notes: It’s odd that the Bucks’ side is so stable compared to the Hawks’ side that is anything but that. Even if key guys are going to take the court, it’s hard to trot any of them out there knowing that they could play limited minutes in a meaningless game before the playoffs. Lou Williams put up a nice line on Monday but he’s not impervious to rest, and the center combo of Pero Antic (ankle) and Elton Brand (old) has plenty of risk, too. Mike Scott and Shelvin Mack aren’t high-end plays if everybody rests, but they have some upside and a fairly nice floor if the Hawks play things safe.
SIXERS AT HEAT
Start: Thaddeus Young (if active), Michael Carter-Williams, Henry Sims, Tony Wroten
Sit: LeBron James (out), Chris Bosh (out), Dwyane Wade (proverbially questionable), Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen, Chris Andersen
Notes: I could see the Sixers giving Young a break after a long year of carrying the load (and losing). Wroten is a risky start but I could see him taking over a game like this. MCW is just trying to blow the candle out on a ROY season. Chalmers hasn’t been ruled out but I could see him playing 20 minutes or so, while Norris Cole is a sneaky play if that happens. Michael Beasley is a logical desperation play and had a nice night on Monday. Toney Douglas actually outproduced Cole in that game and is right in the mix as a garbage pickup. Rashard Lewis and James Jones are worth a look for 3-pointers.
NETS AT CAVS
Start: Marcus Thornton, Mason Plumlee, Dion Waiters (if active), Matthew Dellavedova, Tristan Thompson
Sit: Joe Johnson (out), Deron Williams (out), Shaun Livingston (out), Paul Pierce, Spencer Hawes, Anderson Varejao
Notes: This is a tough game to predict without knowing the injury/active information, but the Nets can still fall to No. 6 in the East with a loss so they have to play but they may still opt for rest. That makes Deron Williams and Joe Johnson risky plays if they start, but their upside is hard to bench knowing there is seeding attached. Matthew Dellavedova is a reach here but something tells me Mike Brown is going to reward his favorite hard worker. Kyrie Irving has had some time to rest but the old biceps injury is a concern. He almost made the sit list, but if he’s active I don’t see how you can bench him. Tristan Thompson is well positioned for a double-double. With Tyler Zeller a logical choice to get minutes I could see Spencer Hawes and Anderson Varejao getting limited run, if they indeed suit up.
ROCKETS AT PELICANS
Start: Omer Asik, Francisco Garcia, Omri Casspi, Donatas Motiejunas, Jordan Hamilton, Tyreke Evans, Austin Rivers, Darius Miller, Anthony Morrow, Luke Babbitt, Jeff Withey
Sit: Patrick Beverley, Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsons, Dwight Howard, James Harden
Notes: The Rockets have nothing to play for, but that start list is still speculative until gameday actives are announced. Isaiah Canaan may also end up on that list when it’s all said and done. Tyreke Evans is going to back to his rookie year when he was also allowed to shoot at will for a terrible team. Anthony Morrow and Luke Babbitt space the floor perfectly for him and are decent bets to be at least low-end plays. Austin Rivers should get a ton of touches, too. Jeff Withey had four blocks on Monday. Darius Miller has been getting it done over the last week.
WIZARDS AT CELTICS
Start: John Wall, Trevor Ariza, Bradley Beal, Marcin Gortat, Nene, Rajon Rondo (if active), Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk, Brandon Bass, Jeff Green
Sit: Nobody stands out except for Rondo if there are any limitations reported prior to a start.
Notes: The Wizards have seeding to play for tonight and a bad team to beat up on. The Celtics’ rotation has cleared up and all of the aforementioned are recommended plays with the exception of Bass, who is more of a low-end guy.
CLIPPERS AT BLAZERS
Start: Chris Paul (if active), DeAndre Jordan (if active), Matt Barnes (if active), Darren Collison (if active), Jamal Crawford (if active), Damian Lillard (if active), Will Barton, Thomas Robinson, Dorell Wright
Sit: Blake Griffin (out), J.J. Redick (out), LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, Wesley Matthews
Notes: This game is a mess since the Blazers have nothing to play for and the Clippers have something to play for only if the Thunder will lose, and they’ll get an update on that at some point before or during the game. Darren Collison might be the safest start of those listed if Doc Rivers starts pulling key guys from the game. Since Mo Williams is out, Damian Lillard is a somewhat safer play and can produce in limited minutes. Robin Lopez might still play reasonable minutes with the Blazers still not at full strength down low. Thomas Robinson profiles well for this game assuming his knee can handle heavy work. Dorell Wright hasn’t exactly jumped on huge minutes or production when given the opportunity but this type of game has his name all over it, but Will Barton is probably the best garbage-time pickup of the bunch.
SUNS AT KINGS
Start: Gerald Green, Eric Bledsoe (if active), Markieff Morris, Marcus Morris, Isaiah Thomas, Rudy Gay (if active), Ray McCallum, Derrick Williams, Jason Thompson
Sit: Goran Dragic (out), DeMarcus Cousins (out)
Notes: The Kings fans will be out in full effect to celebrate keeping their team, so don’t expect a totally lifeless game. Ish Smith almost got preemptively put on the starting list because it’s possible that Eric Bledsoe is given some time off after a late-season push to return from injury. The Morris twins are great starts against a Kings defense that will struggle, and if Channing Frye is active then he could go on the start list too against some bigs that can’t defend the 3-point line. Isaiah Thomas and Ray Mac should both get plenty of touches and it’s actually an organized IT/Gay stay night and fans will have 6,000 of their faces printed on signs in the crowd. Both could be on their way out this offseason. I put Williams and Thompson on the start list because a) this is the type of game that Williams will go for a meaningless 20 and 10 in, and b) the Suns are going to be playing Alex Len for extended minutes.
WARRIORS AT NUGGETS
Start: Stephen Curry (if active), Klay Thompson (if active), Jordan Crawford, Draymond Green, Harrison Barnes, Aaron Brooks, Randy Foye, Timofey Mozgov (if active), Kenneth Faried, Quincy Miller
Sit: Andre Iguodala, David Lee, Wilson Chandler
Notes: The Warriors have nothing to play for and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Steph scratched, but if he starts his 15 minutes may be better than most guys’ 30 minutes. Klay Thompson doesn’t miss games and he could be put on the floor, if anything to get his rhythm back before the playoffs. Still, he’s a rest risk too. Jordan Crawford is custom-built for a night like this and I’m comfortable starting him even before potential news hits that he’s the guy. Steve Blake could have been on the start list but Mark Jackson has been skimpy with his minutes. Marreese Speights might end up on this list before it’s all said and done. The Nuggets are in a nice fantasy flow right now and this game has the potential to be among the highest scoring of the night. Evan Fournier didn’t produce much last night and on a busy night that makes it hard to put him on the start list, but there’s no reason he can’t go big. Consider taking a flier. Also watch out for a sudden Randy Foye absence. As of now I think he’ll go but he’s been grinding all year.