NBA Basketball Column: The Daily Dose
Dose: Trip Around The NBA
Games Played for Week
4 Games – Brooklyn, Charlotte, Denver, Detroit, Golden State, Houston, Indiana, L.A. Clippers, L.A. Lakers, Memphis, Miami, Minnesota, New York, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Phoenix, Portland, Utah.
3 Games – Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Sacramento, San Antonio, Toronto, Washington.
The Super Bowl was fun to watch and I actually made some great guesses in a prop-bet pool, which made Mrs. Dr. A happy. That’s not easy to do, so it was a win-win evening, even though I was pulling for Mr. Kaepernick to get it done. Here’s what’s going on around the league. Oh, and Ryan’s chatting live today at 12:30.
Atlanta – Al Horford and Kyle Korver are studs, and Josh Smith hasn’t been traded. Jeff Teague is dealing with a hip injury and Devin Harris has a bum ankle, but I assume both will be ready for Tuesday. The Hawks play three this week.
Boston – Jeff Green is hot, the Celtics guards are a bit of a mess and they play three times this week. I think Green should be owned in all leagues going forward, while Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are also strong plays now that Rajon Rondo’s season is sadly over. There are trade rumors that KG could be going to the Clippers, but I’ll believe it when I see it.
Brooklyn – Gerald Wallace is horrible right now, but I still think he’s going to turn it around at some point. Deron Williams tweaked an ankle on Friday, but sounds like he’ll be ready to go Tuesday against the Lakers. With four games, Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson are must-starts.
Charlotte – I think Byron Mullens is good to go tonight against the Heat and the Bobcats play four times this week. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is dealing with a concussion, but traveled with the team for Monday’s game against the Heat. He’s not playing well enough to be an auto-start in any format. Kemba Walker and Ramon Sessions look like safe plays this week.
Chicago – Joakim Noah is out indefinitely with plantar fasciitis and Carlos Boozer is hoping to return from a hamstring injury on Monday at Indiana. With Noah iffy for the week, Taj Gibson looks like a must-start player. Kirk Hinrich (elbow) isn’t expected to play this week, so Nate Robinson looks like a no-brainer this week, if you can handle his three-game schedule. Jimmy Butler is also a great player to add this week, as he’s seeing time at both wing positions, and playing well. Start Boozer at your own risk.
Cleveland – Marreese Speights is averaging 15.4 points and 6.8 boards with the Cavs and looks like a great add right now, although the Cavs only play three times this week. Dion Waiters is also an interesting fantasy play, while Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson look like nice fantasy starters. Tyler Zeller is fading with the emergence of Speights, and can be benched until we see where this train is heading.
Dallas – Dirk Nowitzki is dealing with a groin injury but practiced on Sunday and is hoping to play on Monday at Oklahoma City. I don’t trust Elton Brand enough to start him right now, but Vince Carter looks like a solid three-game play, along with Shawn Marion, Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo. Chris Kaman should be benched until further notice.
Denver – Andre Iguodala somehow had 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting Friday and is hot. With four games, Iguodala, Ty Lawson, Kenneth Faried and Danilo Gallinari are all must-starts this week. JaVale McGee should be on benches with his shin injury that kept him out of Friday’s game.
Detroit – Will Bynum had 18 points and 10 dimes on Sunday, but will take a hit once Jose Calderon is ready to go. Hopefully Calderon will play on Monday, and I’m going to start him in a couple leagues, now that his work visa issues are nearly cleared up. Andre Drummond’s playing time is still inconsistent and his free throw shooting is dreadful. I’d bench him this week, as Larry Frank just doesn’t appear to be ready to #FreeDrummond just yet. Greg Monroe, Kyle Singler and Brandon Knight all look like safe options with four games.
Golden State – Klay Thompson and David Lee are on fire, Andrew Bogut is playing well in limited minutes and Stephen Curry played through his ankle injury on Saturday, going off for 29 points, eight dimes and six 3-pointers. Thompson, Lee and Curry all look like solid starts this week, while Harrison Barnes is coming on. He had 21 points and eight boards in 32 minutes on Saturday, and will share time with Carl Landry. Bogut is tricky, as the human headache has a pair of back-to-back games on the horizon, meaning his four-game week could be a two-gamer. I’d bench him if I actually owned him in any of my 11 leagues.
Houston – Carlos Delfino is dealing with an elbow injury on his shooting arm, so he should be benched (or cut) until he’s healthy again. That’s good news for Chandler Parsons, who is a must-start player right now, along with James Harden, Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik. Patrick Patterson blew up for 24 points and four rebounds on 10-of-12 shooting on Saturday, but is too inconsistent to be starting, despite the four-game week.
Indiana – George Hill is dealing with a shoulder contusion and is iffy for Monday’s game against the Bulls. I’d bench him if I owned him. Paul George, David West, and Roy Hibbert look like must-starts with four games this week, while D.J. Augustin will have a nice week if Hill is out. Watch for news updates on Hill this afternoon.
LA Clippers – Matt Barnes is slumping and I have cut him in most of my leagues. Chris Paul’s status remains a mystery as he’s now missed seven straight games and 10 of his last 12 with a supposedly “minor” knee injury. Eric Bledsoe looks like a must-start player, but would be dealt a serious blow if Paul returns to action this week. DeAndre Jordan has been playing better lately, and looks like a decent start at center, along with Blake Griffin.
LA Lakers – Dwight Howard is hoping to play on Tuesday, but I think it will only take one shot to his bad right arm/shoulder to send him crashing to the ground again. The guy simply doesn’t have the pain tolerance needed to play through this injury. Bench him. Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace, Steve Nash, Earl Clark and Antawn Jamison are all benefitting from life without Dwight, and the Lakers play four times this week. World Peace, ironically, sort of threw a punch on Sunday and could be suspended for a game. Watch for news this afternoon.
Memphis – Zach Randolph has been struggling as he deals with a sore back, but still looks like a safe four-game play this week, along with Marc Gasol and Mike Conley. Jerryd Bayless has been starting and hot, but Tayshaun Prince may be ready to join the starting unit soon. The bottom line is that I don’t trust Bayless enough to start him, and the same goes for Prince. Tony Allen is worth a watchful eye with the new lineup in Memphis, but is another guy I don’t have enough confidence in to start.
Miami – LeBron, D-Wade and Bosh have a four-game week, which is all you need to know.
Milwaukee – The Bucks play three times this week, but Monta Ellis, Brandon Jennings, Ersan Ilyasova and Larry Sanders still look like solid starts in almost any league. Weigh your options carefully. Larry bounced back from a funk on Saturday with 17 points, 13 boards and six blocks. Hey Now! If you picked up Sammy Dalembert in a panic, drop him.
Minnesota – Alexey Shved is heating up in a big way over the last two games, but I still don’t trust him enough to start him in most leagues. He is, however, a nice guy to stash right now until we see if he can keep it going. Derrick Williams has been hit-or-miss lately, along with Dante Cunningham, and the only sure things in Minnesota are Nikola Pekovic and Andrei Kirilenko. Ricky Rubio looks like a decent four-game play this week, as his minutes-restriction has finally been lifted.
New Orleans – Robin Lopez is hot after going for 16 points on Saturday, but he had just two rebounds in 25 minutes. He’s averaging 15 points and 1.5 blocks over his last four games though, and looks like an interesting three-game play if you’re thin at center. Al-Farouq Aminu has cooled off and I’d recommend dropping him for one of these guys. Greivis Vasquez can’t shoot the ball right now, but is still a double-double machine, while Anthony Davis keeps plugging along in limited minutes. Eric Gordon was out on Saturday due to a sore knee and back, and as expected, is a big headache to own. He doesn’t play in back-to-backs and the Hornets have one coming this Sunday and Monday. Start him at your own risk.
New York – With four games, Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith and Tyson Chandler all look like must-starts. I’m not touching Jason Kidd these days, although Raymond Felton is dealing with a finger injury. I think he’s going to play through it, and somehow, Amare Stoudemire is hot. I don’t know how long it will last, but Stoudemire is worth starting right now. If you’re holding Iman Shumpert, I’d dump him for one of these guys.
Oklahoma City – Four games this week means Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka should be ready to lead teams to another fantasy win. Durant is dealing with a rib injury, but I’d be shocked if he doesn’t play on Monday. Watch for updates.
Orlando – Jameer Nelson is dealing with an arm injury and Arron Afflalo has missed four straight games with a bad calf, leaving both of them iffy for Monday against the Sixers. With four games this week Nikola Vucevic and J.J. Redick are must-starts, while Andrew Nicholson is worth keeping an eye on. Al Harrington should be back sometime this week, and is also worth a watchful eye for the team that just lost Glen Davis. Moe Harkless is playing well and will become a must-own player if he backs up Saturday’s 19-point, 14-rebound performance this week. If Nelson is out, E’Twaun Moore could be a sneaky play this week, so watch for news on Nelson and Afflalo this afternoon.
Phoenix – Michael Beasley is hot, Jared Dudley is playing well and Goran Dragic (banged up or not), Marcin Gortat and Luis Scola are all auto-starts with four games this week. While I don’t trust Shannon Brown right now, I am intrigued enough with Beasley to start him in some important leagues. He's scored between 24 and 27 points in three of his last five games, with plenty of boards and steals to boot.
Portland – Wesley Matthews is iffy for tonight against the Wolves, but even if he’s out I don’t trust Victor Claver and Luke Babbitt enough to fill in for him. J.J. Hickson, Nicolas Batum (wrist), LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard are must-starts with four games, but I’m benching Matthews for now.
Sacramento – DeMarcus Cousins is a must-start with three games, but Tyreke Evans, Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Thornton should probably be benched for safer options. And if you’re still holding Jason Thompson, make a move.
San Antonio – Tim Duncan’s MRI on his knee came back relatively clean, but you can bet Gregg Popovich has had nightmares about seeing Duncan’s leg getting rolled on by a huge man. I see no reason for Popovich to play Duncan much until the playoffs get here and I’d be trying to move him if I owned him. Duncan is day-to-day and should be benched, especially with just three games. Keep an eye on Boris Diaw this week.
Toronto – The Raps have three games and Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry and Amir Johnson are all decent plays. Andrea Bargnani is due back soon and Jonas Valanciunas has been quiet in his return from injury, but it will be interesting to see what the Raptors’ rotation looks like 10 days from now.
Utah – With four games Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap are must-starts. Gordon Hayward’s shoulder injury remains a mystery, so keep him benched until you see him playing. Derrick Favors, Marvin Williams and Jamaal Tinsley are all risky starts, while Randy Foye has quietly hit double digits in scoring in eight straight games and had 23 points and six 3-pointers on Saturday. He looks like a decent starting option to me.
Washington – With three games there aren’t really any must-starts for the Wiz. Emeka Okafor and John Wall are close, while Bradley Beal remains iffy with his wrist injury. Despite my incredible lack of patience, I’m still holding Beal in a daily league, but we just don’t know when he’s going to play again.
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