NBA Basketball Column: The Daily Dose
Dose: Serge Ibaka Explosion
There were only two NBA games on Thursday, as usual, but there is still plenty of news as a result. Let’s get to it. And if you haven't signed up for the NBA Season Pass yet, what are you waiting for? The Live Chats and Pickup of the Day are enough reason alone, not to metion weekly rankings, exclusive columns and customized scoring.
Bulls Fall to Thunder
Kirk Hinrich had 12 points, five dimes and two 3-pointers on 5-of-12 shooting, while Richard Hamilton had 20 points and eight rebounds in a tough loss to the Thunder. We have been touting Rip as a decent pick up, but only if you need a scorer, who isn’t going to offer a lot more. Hinrich remains a serviceable point guard for as long as he’s healthy, and played well tonight. Luol Deng had a season-high 27 points to go along with three 3-pointers, but was also quietly effective across the board. Deng is going to be a fantasy steal as long as his wrist problem doesn’t raise its head this season. Nate Robinson played just 12 minutes for two points on 1-of-6 shooting, and will be too inconsistent to rely upon as long as Hinrich is healthy. If you want to cut Robinson to pick up a hot free agent, do it.
For the Thunder, Kevin Durant led the way with 24 points and nine rebounds, but Serge Ibaka is the talk of Rotoworld. He had a total of one 20-point game last season, but has now scored 14, 17 and 21 points in his last three games. He added nine boards, a steal and four blocks against the Bulls on Thursday, and is starting to live up to the hype. He played 37 minutes tonight, and if Scott Brooks will humor us with minutes going forward, Ibaka is going to be a fantasy beast. We told you to take Ibaka in Round 2 or 3, and he’s starting to live up to the hype. Russell Westbrook had 16 points and 12 dimes in 36 minutes, but hit just 7-of-22 shots and 1-of-7 3-pointers. Westbrook’s owners may be ready to move him, and we’re in support of picking him up on the cheap, as he is going to play every night and be better than this on most nights.
Clippers Bounce Blazers
DeAndre Jordan has now scored 20-plus points in two straight games, going off for 21 points, eight rebounds, a steal and a block on Thursday, and hitting 8-of-10 shots and 5-of-7 free throws, which is a key. Jordan was 0-for-6 from the line coming in, but bounced back tonight. Jordan doesn’t shoot enough free throws to kill your team, and his 5-of-7 tonight probably even helped you. If you drafted Jordan this year, ignore those bogus trade offers you’re getting for him.
Chris Paul had 21 points and a big line, and Jamal Crawford came through with 25 points and a 3-pointer off the bench, after taking it easy on Wednesday night, when he mysteriously chose not to shoot until the fourth quarter. Many folks are worried about Chauncey Billups hurting Crawford’s minutes and production when he returns, but I’m not one of them. Billups is simply trying to end his career on his own terms, is still a month away, and Crawford is the MAN.
Blake Griffin had just seven points on 3-of-9 shooting and hit 1-of-4 free throws, but still had 10 boards and three steals. He’s fine, and this was just an off night. Caron Butler was terrible with two points on 1-of-4 shooting in 21 minutes, and isn’t worth holding in most leagues. Eric Bledsoe played just 15 minutes off the bench, and finished with eight points and three dimes. He’s great, but won’t be worth owning unless Paul or Crawford gets hurt. Yes, Matt Barnes is playing well (5 points), but no, he’s not worth owning in most leagues.
For Portland, Nicolas Batum hit just 6-of-18 shots, but still filled the stat sheet with 23 points, nine boards, five assists, three steals, a block and three 3-pointers in the loss. Damian Lillard was Lillard-esque, while Wesley Matthews and LaMarcus Aldridge were solid performers for the Blazers. J.J. Hickson had just five points, five rebounds and a block in 23 minutes, while rookie C Meyers Leonard had eight points, six rebounds, a steal and a block in 24 minutes off the bench. I’m still thinking Hickson is the guy to own here, and it’s important to note that the Blazers were down by nearly 30 points at halftime. Don’t drop Hickson, but put Leonard on your radar.
News and Notes
Anthony Davis is expected to return on Friday from a concussion. Get him in your lineup.
Anderson Varejao is probable for Friday after missing Wednesday with a sore knee.
Gerald Wallace is not expected to play on Friday. Bench him, again.
Al Jefferson is questionable for Friday with a stomach virus. We’re guessing he plays.
Jameer Nelson is iffy for Friday with is groin/knee/hamstring injury. E’Twaun Moore is still worth holding, with or without Nelson.
Ricky Rubio is set to return sometime in December, but I still don’t think January is out of the question.
J.J. Barea is day-to-day with a sprained left foot, so make sure he’s not in your lineup.
Kyrie Irving is dealing with food poisoning, but it sounds like he’s fine.
Roy Hibbert has hit just 5-of-19 shots over his last two games, but has also blocked 15 shots in five games. Target him for a buy-low trade.
There’s still no timetable on Andrew Bynum’s return from a knee injury. Feel free to trade him, but don’t just give him away.
We’ll see you on the Rotoworld News Page on Friday for 13 games!
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