Just days after the successful return of Deron Williams, the not-nearly-as-good and way-more-French Tony Parker had 15 points and seven assists in 16 1/2 minutes off the bench in his first game back from a sprained ankle.
Now that the Spurs are back at full strength – both Ginobili and Parker should be in everyone’s lineup from here on out. And yet I wouldn’t drop George Hill or Roger Mason just yet as one of them (or perhaps both) will still retain some value for the rest of the season.
The key is that the Spurs were not nearly as bad as expected with Parker and Ginobili sidelined. Since San Antonio is not behind the playoff pack (seventh in the Western Conference), it will continue to spread minutes around since it’s big three don’t need to play 40 minutes to climb back into contention. This bodes well for the bench players who have emerged over the first month.
Steve Nash sat out of Friday’s lopsided loss at Miami with a right thigh contusion. It’s not considered a serious injury, but there is no telling how long he’ll be out.
Nash is averaging just 14.3 points and 8.0 assists this season, hinting at a statistical decline without Mike D’Antoni at the helm. As long as he’s out, the struggling Leandro Barbosa has increased value and he responded with 20 points Friday.
Player for Sale:
Not sure if two games can really indicate a resurgence, but we may have seen the lowest possible value for LaMarcus Aldridge and he could be a steal right now. It’s not so much his averages (15.2 points, 6.9 rebounds) but his percentages (.445 FG%, .643 FT%) that have been so disappointing.
But Aldridge has made 15-of-23 shots in his last two games and blocked four shots. He’s going to be solid for the rest of the season although I still don’t think he’ll greatly exceed last season’s numbers.
If you need a guard for your bench who may continually increase in value as the season moves along, take a look at Boston’s Tony Allen. He has been logging the most minutes off the Celtics’ bench of late and is averaging 16.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.1 blocks per 36 minutes while shooting 49 percent from the floor and 78 percent from the line.
Boston still relies far too much on its Big Three + Rajon Rondo to make Allen worth of a spot in your starting lineup, except in deeper leagues. But he could be a huge addition to have down the stretch when the Celtics start to limit their starters’ minutes.
Smoke and Mirrors:
I don’t mean to keep picking on the Pistons in this section, but don’t go hurting yourself to grab Rodney Stuckey after Friday’s 12-point, 5-assist, 4-steal performance. Allen Iverson was relegated to the bench for missing practice and played only 27 minutes, giving Stuckey more burn.
Don’t get me wrong, I still like Stuckey to stick on your bench until he gets more consistent time. But don’t go dropping any players with value to grab based on this one game where the rotation was altered for disciplinary reasons.