NBA Basketball Column: The Daily Dose
Dose: Welcome back, Dwight
Games Played for Week 12
4 Games – Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, L.A. Clippers, Memphis, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Sacramento, Toronto, Washington.
3 Games – Brooklyn, Cleveland, Golden State, Indiana, L.A. Lakers, Miami, Milwaukee, Minnesota, New Orleans, Portland, San Antonio.
2 Games – Detroit, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Utah.
1 Game – New York
Let’s see if we can go team-by-team today and fit it all into the email version of the column. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here, and be sure to check out Waiver Wired, Saturday's Dose, the Injury Report, and chat live with Ryan Knaus on Monday at 12:30 before setting lineups.
Atlanta – Devin Harris had a big weekend while Lou Williams has been sent back to the bench. Harris is worth a look in many leagues, but I still don’t trust the guy. Williams is in a funk and could break out at any time, but owners will need to weigh options carefully when thinking about starting Harris or Lou-Will for four games in Week 12.
Brooklyn – Kris Humphries had 10 points and nine boards in 17 minutes on Sunday, which is better, but I’d still rather own Andray Blatche right now. Gerald Wallace was out on Sunday with a rib injury and could miss more time after a scary fall on Friday. His absence contributed to Humps’ strong showing last night. Deron Williams had another big game on Sunday and the Nets are 7-1 under P.J. Carlesimo. Williams and Joe Johnson have been hot during the streak and should be in all starting lineups for three games, while Brook Lopez is also a solid play.
Boston – Jared Sullinger is a hot pickup right now, double-doubling in two straight games and playing well in three straight. With four games this week, Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are all must-starts, while Sullinger, Jason Terry and Courtney Lee are all worth a look. Brandon Bass has been struggling with Sullinger coming on, and should only be deployed in deep leagues.
Charlotte – Ben Gordon stayed hot on Saturday with 21 points and should be picked up in all leagues. With four games, Gordon, Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist should be in most lineups, while Gerald Henderson (who was back in the starting lineup on Saturday with 12 points) and Ramon Sessions are also worth a look. Hakim Warrick had 13 points and seven boards on Saturday, but isn’t trustworthy enough to be a must-start player, while the same goes for Bismack Biyombo.
Chicago – Derrick Rose is “getting closer,” but I still don’t expect to see him until after the All-Star break. With four games, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah are all must-starts, while Kirk Hinrich (iffy with elbow) and Nate Robinson are worth a look in most leagues. As long as Noah and Boozer are healthy, I’d leave Taj Gibson on the bench, while Richard Hamilton isn’t trustworthy despite starting.
Cleveland – C.J. Miles was terrible on Sunday, but at least played through his back spasms. Kyrie Irving is a must-start, even with three games, while Tristan Thompson, Tyler Zeller Alonzo Gee and Dion Waiters are all worth a look this week. Gee bounced back with 14 points on Sunday, while Waiters is alternating good games with bad ones right now.
Denver – The Nuggets go four times this week, making Ty Lawson, Andre Iguodala, Danilo Gallinari and Kenneth Faried must-start options, while Andre Miller and Kosta Koufos are playing well enough to also be starting in most leagues. Koufos had a career-high 21 on Friday with six boards and a block. JaVale McGee is also a possibility, but only if you’re desperate for blocks. Wilson Chandler returned to action on Sunday and had 14 points, and his availability should really hurt Corey Brewer going forward, although Chandler's still not an auto-pickup in most leagues.
Detroit – The Pistons play just two games this week and none of them look like must-starts. Brandon Knight, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond should have a couple solid games, but I’d try to avoid Tayshaun Prince and Rodney Stuckey this week.
Golden State – Stephen Curry appeared to avoid a disaster on Sunday when he tweaked his right knee, but was able to finish the game and racked up another fat stat line. Keep him in your lineup for three games. Rookie Harrison Barnes had a career-high 21 points and full stat line, and should be a hot pickup right now, while red-hot David Lee is a must-start, and Klay Thompson remains a solid three-game option. With just three games, a struggling Jarrett Jack should be benched for now.
Houston – James Harden is a must-start with four games, while Jeremy Lin’s inconsistency still isn’t enough to put him on fantasy benches this week. Carlos Delfino should have at least two big lines this week, and while he could also disappear in the other two, still looks like a solid four-game roll of the dice. Omer Asik finally broke out of his funk on Saturday with 16 & 10 and can be started, while Chandler Parsons also looks like a solid play. Patrick Patterson has been in too much of a funk to be a fantasy lock, despite four games.
Indiana – Lance Stephenson suffered a foot injury on Sunday, which allowed Gerald Green to get loose for 15 points and a full stat line. Green’s still too shaky to be on most fantasy teams, but is worth keeping an eye on. Paul George and David West are strong three-game plays, while George Hill and Roy Hibbert are also options, despite struggling recently. At least Hibbert played through a sore back and had six blocks on Sunday while dealing with foul trouble. Danny Granger is expected to return from his knee injury late this month or some time in February. He’s getting close enough to be stashed in many leagues.
Clippers – Chris Paul banged his knee on Saturday but should be good to go for four games, and remains a must-start player, along with Blake Griffin. Matt Barnes also looks like a must-start with four games, while Jamal Crawford and DeAndre Jordan can also be used, depending on your other options.
Lakers – Dwight Howard returned in a big way on Sunday with 22 & 14 as the Lakers finally won a game, and should be back in all starting lineups. Antawn Jamison had 16 points, four boards, two steals and four 3-pointers on Sunday against his former team, the Cavaliers. I’d be very hesitant to play him this week, as Pau Gasol should be back from a concussion sooner than later. In a weekly league, I’d keep Gasol benched unless we get good news on Monday. And when he gets back, Earl Clark should be rendered useless. Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Metta World Peace are also great three-game options this week. And while it’s not fantasy relevant, this video interview with MWP after Sunday’s game is a must-see in my book.
Memphis – With four games, Mike Conley, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol are all must-starts, while Tony Allen is also worth a deep-league look. Rudy Gay will miss Monday's game in order to attend his grandmother's funeral, but should be back on Wednesday against the Spurs, turning his four-game week into a three-gamer. He still looks like a must-start option in most leagues. Darrell Arthur has been playing well, but I don’t trust him enough to tell you to start him.
Miami – The Heat have just three games this week (bummer for LeBron James’ owners), but James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are all must-starts, as usual. Mario Chalmers had 34 points and 10 3-pointers on Saturday, but is still a shaky three-game start this week. I’d also leave Ray Allen on benches if owners have other options.
Milwaukee – The Bucks go three times, but Brandon Jennings is playing well enough to be a must-start, along with Monta Ellis. John Henson blew up for 19 points, six boards and two blocks on Sunday, but hadn’t been doing much prior to this one. If you own him, just hold onto him for now. Ersan Ilyasova continues to struggle despite starting, but is getting consistent minutes and should be owned in all leagues. Start him at your own risk. Larry Sanders remains a must-start option with his shot blocking, while Mike Dunleavy is worth a shot despite being hit or miss on most nights.
Minnesota – The Wolves play three games this week and Ricky Rubio should be on benches until further notice. He’s been awful since returning from his back injury. Alexey Shved had just two points and missed all seven of his shots Sunday, but should bounce back in his next one. Dante Cunningham and Derrick Williams are worth a look in all leagues right now, but I’d bench both of them in weeklies. J.J. Barea bounced back on Sunday with 15 points and six dimes after missing a game with a back injury, and is still worth a close look (to own) in most leagues. In my mind, Andrei Kirilenko is the only must-start player in Minnesota right now. Luke Ridnour is worth a look with Rubio struggling, but I’d be hesitant to start him.
New Orleans – With three games, Greivis Vasquez, Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon, Anthony Davis, Al-Farouq Aminu and Robin Lopez are all possibilities to start in fantasy. Aminu’s not scoring much, but is racking up production in other areas, including rebounds, steals and blocks, making him a solid pickup right now. Jason Smith is playing well and worth a look, but I wouldn’t touch him in a three-game week.
New York – With just one game this week, no Knicks, including Carmelo Anthony, are worth starting in weekly leagues. And if you can move Amare Stoudemire based on his name being so much bigger than his game, do it. Also keep an eye on Chris Copeland, as it appears he is in the running to keep starting at small forward for the Knicks. He had 22 points and four 3-pointers on Sunday. Look for Iman Shumpert to debut on Thursday, but don’t expect any miracles.
Oklahoma City – Serge Ibaka was out with a chest injury on Sunday, leaving him iffy for Tuesday. With four games, I’m still rolling him out there in hopes that he’ll be ready for that one. Thabo Sefolosha was also out Sunday and remains day-to-day with a sore neck. I’d bench him for now, while Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are must-starts, and inconsistent Kevin Martin is worth a look with four games.
Orlando – Glen Davis practiced on Sunday and could be on the verge of returning from his shoulder injury. Pick him up if he’s available. Jameer Nelson is on fire, while Arron Afflalo, Nikola Vucevic and J.J. Redick all look like must-start players this week. Hedo Turkoglu is still struggling/hurting and should not be starting for fantasy owners, and might be better served on your waiver wire.
Philadelphia – The Sixers play just two games this week so I’ve got Jrue Holiday on the bench in weekly leagues. J.J. Redick is a great replacement option if you own Jrue. Thaddeus Young, Evan Turner, Jason Richardson, Dorell Wright and Spencer Hawes are all bench players this week due to the schedule. Richardson started on Saturday and had 16 points, so maybe he’s ready to go on a run.
Phoenix – The Suns have two games this week, meaning owners of Goran Dragic, Luis Scola and Marcin Gortat might have to look elsewhere this week. Jared Dudley sat out Saturday with a sore right wrist, and because it’s his shooting hand, he should not be in any lineups right now.
Portland – The Blazers go three times this week, meaning Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge and J.J. Hickson are all worth a close look as starters. Lillard had a career-best 37 on Friday, Aldridge scored 33 on a sprained ankle on Sunday, and Batum’s dream season continued with 21 points and a full stat line Sunday.
Sacramento – DeMarcus Cousins avoided another suspension over the weekend and is a must-start with four games, while Isaiah Thomas is suddenly playing very well for the Kings, going for a career-high 34 points, five dimes and six 3-pointers on Saturday. Put him in your lineup and hope for the best, but expect inconsistency from Jason Thompson, Tyreke Evans, John Salmons, Francisco Garcia and Marcus Thornton this week. Start any of them at your own risk, and take a look at Saturday’s box score before using them. Things are still a cluster in Sacramento. Evans will start on Monday, sending Garcia to the bench, and another reason to start IT2 is that Aaron Brooks is doubtful for Monday due to an illness.
San Antonio – Manu Ginobili is dealing with a strained hamstring and it sounds like he could miss some time, especially given his age and the fact that he plays for Gregg Popovich. Kawhi Leonard, Stephen Jackson and Gary Neal could step up in his absence, but I don’t trust any of them – especially with three games. Tim Duncan and Tony Parker are must-starts, and Tiago Splitter has been playing well enough to be used in most leagues if you need a center.
Toronto – Kyle Lowry’s not getting minutes or doing much of anything outside of pouting and should be benched in all leagues right now, despite the four-game week. He’ll get it going eventually, but is just a mess right now. Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, Ed Davis and Amir Johnson are all must-start options this week, and all put up big numbers on Saturday. Amir's ankles are both dinged up and he could struggle with the injuries this week, but is tough to bench after 44 minutes, 22 points, 14 boards and a full stat line on Saturday. Calderon also dinged up his calf on Saturday, but played through it and is hopeful to continue playing through the injury. Landry Fields disappeared in that one, but I still think he’s worth a pickup right now.
Utah – The Jazz play just two games, meaning most of them should be on fantasy benches. Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap are possibilities depending on your options, but I’d bench Jamaal Tinsley, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Randy Foye. Foye is an interesting pickup right now, while Marvin Williams is hoping to play through a knee injury on Monday. Alec Burks is getting minutes right now and should also be on your radar.
Washington – John Wall is back and looks like a safe start with four games, while Nene, Bradley Beal (must-start) and Emeka Okafor are also worth a look to start in all leagues. Jordan Crawford has been out with an ankle injury and missed the whole week. And with Beal playing well and the return of Wall, I’d leave him on the bench for now. A.J. Price is still starting at PG and playing well, but I don’t trust him at all with Wall’s return.
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