For the rest of the season, on heavy schedule nights I’ll be posting a daily roundup highlighting some interesting angles I find in the box scores. I won’t find something from every game like previous roundups because it’s just too time-consuming to produce consistently. On lighter schedule nights I’ll focus on features (like earlier this week on Barbosa, Bogut) and a short roundup looking at each individual game.
Deron Williams returned for the second time this season in a victory over Memphis with titillating results. He had 11 points and 15 assists in just 29 minutes, making all of his owners weep with joy for a few hours.
Williams was 4-of-9 from the floor, made 1-of-2 3-pointers and 2-of-3 free throws. He collected a steal and committed four turnovers. In short…he’s back and both the Jazz and Williams’ fantasy owners are better off.
(side note: I’ve noticed a lot of analysts saying it’s time to trade Ronnie Brewer now that Williams is back because his shots will decrease and he won’t score as much. Lunacy! Brewer had a run of solid games leading up to Williams’ return, but he was still averaging only 12.6 points per game on 44 percent shooting … well below last season’s percentage.
Williams’ return will only help Brewer, who is not great at creating his own shot off the dribble and is much more effective playing with a great passer that puts him in position to use his athleticism to get to the basket. No knock on Ronnie Price, but Williams is more adept.
As a result, Brewer made 8-of-13 shots on Wednesday and got to the line six times, making five.)
Chris Kaman played just one quarter against the Nuggets before leaving the game do to a sore arch that has bothered him for weeks. This is yet another kick in the balls for any owner that pinned their pivot fantasies on the Hulk Hogan lookalike, who is managing 14.4 points, 10.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks while shooting .570 from the floor.
Gratuitous gut-wrenching quote:
“I ice it every time. There’s nothing else that I can do. I got to stay on top of it. But it’s progressively not getting better. I’ve been playing a lot of minutes. We’ve talked about limiting my minutes. . . . Right now it’s pretty sore.”
Player for Sale:
We are starting to see signs that if you can swing a reasonable deal for Al Horford, it may pay off. After battling an ankle injury and the general ball-hogging of Joe Johnson and Mike Bibby for most of the first month, Horford had 21 points, nine rebounds and three blocks against Milwaukee.
He has collected 33 points, 18 rebounds, four blocks and made 14-of-22 shots in his last two games. Based on his slow start, there are some owners who may think these two games are reason to “sell high.” Take advantage of their ignorance.
Another subpar line of nine points, one steal, two turnovers and zero assists may have some owners itching to get rid of Leandro Barbosa. If you can acquire him for mid-tier guard like Raja Bell, Mickael Pietrus or Raymond Felton or Larry Hughes, do it in a heartbeat.
As I noted in the feature earlier this week, with his family issues resolved Barbosa may be ready to at least regain last season’s form. It’s hardly the bounceback we hoped for but it makes him more valuable than those mentioned above.
Certain players performing well beyond their value right now are ripe for selling high after big games on Wednesday.
John Salmons torched the Nets for 38 points on 11-of-19 shooting (12-of-16 from the line), making 4-of-5 3-pointers and grabbing seven rebounds. Wake up, because the peak is just about here.
Kevin Martin and Francisco Garcia are on the verge of returning and we learned last season that Salmons is not the same player when he becomes part of the offense. He’s a chucker, and mostly excels when the team allows him to shoot at his discretion.
Salmons is averaging 19.6 points and better than a steal and a 3-pointer per game. He has been among the top 60 most valuable players in a nine-cat format thusfar and if you can find an owner who foolishly believes he will stay that valuable, you could swing a deal that would benefit your squad in the long run.
Another big name that has about peaked in value at this point in Tim Duncan. Yes, he will continue to help you in rebounds, blocks and FG% for the remainder of the season. But his current line of 21.8 points and 10.1 rebounds will not hold up.
With the injuries to Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, Duncan was posting those numbers in 36 minutes per game – more than he has averaged in the last four seasons. In Ginobili’s second game back on Wednesday night, he played only 29 minutes in a game that was pretty close all the way through.
Duncan is as consistent as they come but his playing time will only fluctuate as the team gets healthy and the emergence of George Hill and Roger Mason as solid options make the team even deeper – further affecting his peak value. If you can swap him for an under-performing second-rounder (Elton Brand, anyone?), it might be a wise move.
Smoke and Mirrors:
Amir Johnson was highly coveted by many a drafter entering this season and I had him ranked in the top 150 in both my head-to-head and roto formats. He was averaging 4.5 points and 4.0 rebounds before posting 12 points, a career-high 13 rebounds and three blocks in 32 minutes against the Knicks.
Don’t be fooled.
The Knicks are the fourth-easiest team to have a great fantasy game against, according to Basketball Monster, and the easiest team to rebound against. Plus, the impending return of Antonio McDyess will mean a hit to the minutes of the Detroit youngsters.
Johnson is averaging 7.6 fouls per 36 minutes and that is not going to keep him on the floor long enough to keep him as a valuable asset, unless you have a lot of room on your bench.
One Man’s Trash…..
If he’s still fluttering about on your waiver wire, it’s probably time to pick up Russell Westbrook, who had 13 points, five assists, five steals and four rebounds in a blowout loss to Cleveland.
Westbrook made just 4-of-14 shots and is shooting just 33 percent from the floor this season. But he has played 27 minutes or more in eight of the last nine games, averaging 13.4 points, 4.8 assists and 2.3 steals per game during that span. He’s only owned in about 17 percent of both Yahoo! and ESPN leagues.
Fuck You Coach Karl*
Although he has been playing horrifically, J.R. Smith surprisingly saw no action on Wednesday as the Nuggets played just eight players. It was the first time he has not played since January 6 and there is no word of any injury as the cause. If he’s permanently in George Karl’s doghouse, Linus Kleiza is now a valuable commodity.
The safe bet is that Karl was trying to send a message in order for Smith to pull his head out of his ass.
* Name of coach will change for each roundup