NBA Basketball Column: The Daily Dose
The Knight's Watch
One day removed from Wednesday’s blockbuster Rudy Gay trade, we’re starting to get some context and a better idea of what the fallout will be:
It would be unwise to assume that Jose Calderon was acquired as a simple expiring contract. The Pistons have tried Brandon Knight at point guard for the last two seasons and have a 42-70 record to show for it. Micro-managing coach Lawrence Frank is sure to fall in love with Calderon, who leads all point guards in assist-to-turnover ratio.
The beat writers covering the Pistons are expecting a starting lineup of Calderon, Knight, Kyle Singler, Jason Maxiell and Greg Monroe. Rodney Stuckey – who has been feuding with Frank of late – stays in a bench role. We can safely expect Calderon (who is expected to make his debut Friday) and Knight to hover around 29-33 minutes per game.
We know Rudy Gay is going to get a bump in value by escaping all the mouths that needed to get fed in Memphis. But what about the rest of the Raptors?
* Kyle Lowry has had a rough season, dealing with nagging injuries and a benching. That’s about to change. By shipping Calderon out of town, the Raptors have decided to make Lowry part of their core. And he’s sure to gain a ton of confidence from that.
"Now it is my team. The burden of it being my team it definitely is the thing I always wanted,” Lowry said. “I have no problem with this being my team and having that pressure of being a point guard and everyone looking at me to make the team go."
Now that Lowry can play free and not look over his shoulder, he’s going to explode. Top-25 value the rest of the way is a good bet.
* The Raptors are unlikely to be done wheeling and dealing. GM Bryan Colangelo wasn’t afraid to send another shot across the bow of Andrea Bargnani – who is nearing a return from his shooting elbow injury.
“Andrea is a player that has definitely garnered interest. Unfortunately when he gets hurt that takes him off the market,” Colangelo said.
Expect a showcase period ahead of the Feb. 21 deadline. Bargnani will have value no matter where he lands thanks to his 3-point ability and career 0.9 blocks per game.
As we saw Thursday night, the Grizz are going to need some offense with Gay gone. But don’t expect them to stick with the Mike Conley/Jerryd Bayless backcourt.
“We wouldn’t have done this deal without getting Tayshaun,” GM Chris Wallace said.
Bayless may see some more minutes, but look for Prince to get locked in at the starting small forward spot and Tony Allen to stick at shooting guard. I’m not in a hurry to add either one.
NEWS OF THE DAY #1
Glen Davis’ breakout season was stunted by a left shoulder sprain that cost him 11 games. Now it’s been decimated.
Davis will be out 8-12 weeks after breaking his left foot on Wednesday. He’s safe to drop across the board. And making matters worse for owners, there’s no real add here. Rookie Andrew Nicholson may get back in the starting lineup, but he averaged just 9.9 points and 4.0 boards in that role the first time Davis was out.
NEWS OF THE DAY #2
The Sixers continue to bungle the Andrew Bynum saga. After hinting that he could return to practice Friday, they have now announced that he’ll head to New York to get a lubricating injection in each of his knees. They insist this was scheduled and not a setback.
Bynum is now tentatively scheduled to practice with the team next week for the first time all season. A return shortly after the All-Star break remains possible. But don’t count coach Doug Collins as an optimist.
"The one thing we have to understand is that he is not all of a sudden jumping into five-on-five scrimmages,” Collins said. "He has not done anything laterally or impact-wise, so he is going to have to do that," Collins said. "At some point in time hopefully he will be able to play one-on-one in the post and build from that."
NEWS OF THE DAY #3
In the first four games under interim coach Lindsay Hunter, Michael Beasley was playing 21.8 minutes per game. At that point, Hunter said Beasley had “definitely” earned more minutes. And then on Wednesday, he went off for 27 points, six rebounds and five steals in 34 minutes. So what now?
"He's been really working hard to get to this point, and I really see promise in his future," Hunter said.
Hunter is letting Beasley be what he is – a ball hog that just scores – as long as he gives maximum effort on defense. It’s something that could work, making Beasley worth a speculative add in most formats.
GRIZZLIES at THUNDER RANDOM THOUGHTS
* Mike Conley’s return from a jammed ankle went well as he played 38 minutes without issue.
* I wouldn’t be running out to add Jerryd Bayless despite another impressive. See above for more on Tayshaun Prince’s arrival.
* Russell Westbrook was on his way to an even bigger game until he got into a spat with teammate Thabo Sefolosha and had to go to the locker room to cool off for a few minutes. Weird.
MAVERICKS at WARRIORS RANDOM THOUGHTS
* Stephen Curry (ankle) wasn’t ruled out until late, but he never had a realistic shot to play. After spraining his right ankle twice in two weeks, he’s wisely exercising caution. That said, Curry and the Warriors did say he could have played if this were a playoff game. The biggest concern remains chronic aggravations – not this specific sprain.
* Dirk Nowitzki was a surprise scratch about an hour before tip-off due to a strained adductor in his leg. It is not related to his preseason knee injury.
* Andrew Bogut was on a minutes cap of 25 minutes and looked winded while out there. Still, he gave owners eight points, five rebounds and three blocks. More is coming.
* Elton Brand started at center again, but hasn’t topped 18 minutes in any of his last three games. Move along.
INJURY FAST BREAK
Dwight Howard (shoulder) is listed as day-to-day after aggravating his labrum issue once again. More drama. Pau Gasol is a strong hold as we await a prognosis. … Nicolas Batum owners can breathe easy. The MRI on his shooting wrist came back clean and he’s probable for Friday. …. Jared Sullinger (back) is considered day-to-day going forward. … Marcin Gortat felt sick and left practice early Thursday. … JaVale McGee (shin) remains questionable for Friday. … Danny Granger took part in a live halfcourt scrimmage Thursday. He’s on track to return soon after the All-Star break. … Tim Duncan (knee) got back in practice Saturday. … Gordon Hayward (shoulder) is doubtful for Friday. Good news for Randy Foye and Marvin Williams. … Jason Kidd’s back is feeling better, but don’t expect him to play more than 20 minutes a night going forward. … Bradley Beal (wrist) expected to miss a few games. … Jason Richardson’s (knee) status for Friday is unclear. Nick Young speculators should be watching closely.
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