NBA Basketball Column: The Daily Dose
Dose: Irving Back Tuesday?
It was another busy weekend for the Rotoworld hoops crew so be sure to check the Rotoworld News Page, the Injury Report, the Saturday Dose and Waiver Wired columns to make sure nothing slips through the cracks. Here are some headlines from the weekend, along with the schedule breakdown for weekly leagues.
4 Games: Hawks, Nets, Bobcats, Cavaliers, Mavericks, Nuggets, Pistons, Warriors, Rockets, Lakers, Hornets, Sixers, Spurs, Kings, Raptors, Wizards.
3 Games: Celtics, Bulls, Pacers, Clippers, Grizzlies, Heat, Timberwolves, Bucks, Knicks, Magic, Blazers, Jazz.
2 Games: Thunder, Suns.
Kyrie Irving and the Cavs are "hopeful" he can return from his broken finger on Tuesday and Jeremy Pargo’s run will quickly come to an end if it happens. Start him at your own risk in weekly leagues, but I probably would. Dion Waiters is questionable for Tuesday with his sprained ankle and he should be benched until we get a better sense of his chances of playing. He’s missed four straight.
Brook Lopez still isn’t cutting or running, but is said to be pain free. Maybe he’ll practice for the Nets on Monday and play on Tuesday, but I think that’s a long shot. I’m benching him in weekly leagues unless we get more news this afternoon. Kris Humphries was benched for Reggie Evans on Sunday and had just four points, seven rebounds and two blocks. It’s been a roller coaster ride for Humps thus far and things probably won’t get easier when Lopez is back. Keep riding Andray Blatche until further notice.
Brow on his way this week
Anthony Davis is expected back for the Hornets from his ankle injury this week, but we still don’t know if it will happen on Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday. He was running full-court drills on Saturday, so hopefully he’s back sooner than later. Al-Farouq Aminu has been benched by the Hornets for a lack of “passion,” clearing the way for Ryan Anderson to start at small forward once Davis is back. It would appear to be safe to drop Aminu.
Carmelo Anthony returned for the Knicks despite his stitched up finger on Sunday and had 34 points, so make sure he’s in your lineup. Jason Kidd was a pleasant surprise in that one with 17 points, four boards, seven assists, a steal and four 3-pointers. His back is fine and Raymond Felton (4-of-15, 10 points, six assists) is still bothered by a thumb injury. I’m starting Kidd where I own him. Amare Stoudemire (knee surgery) was said to look “tremendous” in a recent workout and he’s still targeting a date near Christmas for a return. It’s time to move on him. The Knicks are still undefeated at home.
Kyle Lowry went off for the Raptors on Wednesday, but sprained his right ankle on Friday and hasn’t looked right since. He had four points, six boards and nine assists on 2-of-6 shooting with five turnovers on Sunday, following his 10-point game on Friday. He is playing through it and should be fine, but I’m mildly concerned. Amir Johnson had 11 points, 12 boards, a steal and a block on Sunday, and could be about ready to replace Jonas Valanciunas in the starting lineup. JV managed zero fantasy points and five fouls in 19 minutes of that one. Linas Kleiza started in place of Mickael Pietrus on Sunday, as Pietrus was out with a knee injury. Kleiza had 17 points, but both of these guys appear to be more trouble than they’re worth unless you’re in a very deep league.
The Great Salt Lakers
Pau Gasol could return from his bum knees as early as Tuesday and it sounds like he’ll remain in the starting lineup for now. Antawn Jamison was terrible in Sunday's ugly loss to the Jazz and played just 16 minutes, causing me to go on a Twitter rant about how it killed me in my main league, where I immediately dropped him for Carlos Delfino out of a sad combination of spite and anger. I just didn’t want him on my team any longer, even though he could easily bounce back. Jordan Hill went off for a career-high 17 points, nine rebounds, a steal and four blocks in the loss, and it would not surprise me to see Mike D’Antoni roll with him as a starter at some point, even at Pau’s expense. Just keep an eye on Hill. Chris Duhon started at point guard again and had 12 points, five rebounds, 11 assists and four 3-pointers, and it doesn’t sound like Steve Nash will play during the Lakers’ upcoming four-game trip. If you are desperate at PG and want to roll with Duhon, go for it. Just keep in mind that this could easily end up being his best game of the season.
Black Hole Suns
Marcin Gortat was quiet again on Sunday and responded with a “no comment” when asked about how he felt about the Suns’ rotation. He’s clearly displeased with his team and coach Alvin Gentry, and should be automatically benched with just two games this week. Michael Beasley has been benched and I like the idea of picking up Markieff Morris across the board. Luis Scola had 18 points and 11 boards on Saturday, but just 11 points and two rebounds on Sunday when he played 16 minutes. Which is another reason I’m into Morris right now. Shannon Brown played 40 minutes with 19 points and two 3-pointers on Saturday, and is now in the Suns’ starting five, making him worth a look. Goran Dragic, who was very ill, was a very late scratch last night and didn’t play. With two games this week, most of your Suns should be on the bench in weekly leagues, and yes, it’s OK to drop Beasley if you want to. He had 21 points and a full stat line in his first game off the bench, but had three points in just 15 minutes on Sunday.
Milk Carton Boys
Byron Mullens played 19 uneventful minutes on Wednesday, hurt his ankle and played 14 minutes on Friday, and then came off the bench for 14 more minutes on Saturday. He is another player I’m mad at, and he’s going to be on my bench until he gets it turned around. There is some debate among the RW staff as to whether he was benched because of his ankle or his performance, so we’ll just have to see how this plays out. I’m planning on hanging onto Mullens for now. Ben Gordon also got just 15 minutes on Friday and 11 on Saturday, so it’s time to bench him until we find out what he did to his coach. I’m still not dropping Gordon until I see what happens over the next couple games, as he had hit 21 3-pointers in four games before the sudden benching by coach Mike Dunlap.
Kirk Hinrich suffered a left elbow injury over the weekend and is iffy for Tuesday against the Clippers. Start him at your own risk, and look for Nate Robinson to play well for the Bulls if he misses games. Marco Belinelli had 22 points and four 3-pointers on Saturday, while Richard Hamilton is expected to miss close to a month with his foot injury. Belinelli is hot, scoring 22, 16 and 23 points over his last three games with eight 3-pointers, and I like the idea of picking him up. Just don’t expect him to stay this hot forever.
Tyreke Evans sat out Saturday’s game with a bruised right knee, but it doesn’t sound too serious. Then again, he’s missed four out of his last five games and is questionable for Monday against Dallas. John Salmons has been playing well in his stead, but that will quickly end once Evans is back. Marcus Thornton has bottomed out for Keith Smart, playing just 17 minutes on Saturday and hitting 4-of-23 shots over his last three games. He’ll get it turned around, but when it will happen is a mystery. I’d be reluctant to drop Thornton in most situations.
Wesley Matthews is a game-time decision for the Blazers on Monday with a hip injury, while Nicolas Batum is not likely for that one due to his back injury. With just three games this week for the Blazers, both players are very risky in weekly leagues, and I’m benching Batum. Luke Babbitt had nine points in 27 minutes on Saturday, but is only worth a deep-league look if these two are going to continue to miss games.
A.J. Price suffered a broken right hand over the weekend, meaning that both Jordan Crawford and Bradley Beal should be picked up if available in your league. Beal had 17 points, six boards and six assists on Saturday, while Crawford’s simply been on a tear.
O.J. Mayo exploded for 40 points, eight rebounds, two steals and six 3-pointers on Saturday, and is shooting 52 percent from downtown for the Mavs. Yeah, he’ll slow down a bit once Dirk Nowitzki is back, but I still think he’ll hold solid fantasy value. If someone has been a “sell-high guy” all season, at some point they just become a stud. Chris Kaman had 20 points in 18 minutes on Saturday and his already injured ankle was “purple” after the game. He’ll be iffy for Monday against the Kings, so start him at your own risk.
James Harden scored 39 in the same game (30 by halftime) and rolled his ankle. He should be fine and he should be in all starting lineups until further notice. Jeremy Lin was quiet in that game, playing just 18 minutes, while Toney Douglas easily outplayed him. Don’t panic on Lin, and don’t reach for Douglas just yet. I still think Lin will be the guy going forward, but it’s definitely a situation worth keeping a close eye on.
Brandon Jennings had 26 points, six rebounds, seven assists, five steals and four 3-pointers on Sunday, which is easily the best he’s looked since turning an ankle in late November. He tweaked his ankle again during this game, but played through it as usual. The Bucks only have three games this week, but it would be tough to sit Jennings. Larry Sanders had six points, six rebounds and four more blocks, and the block master should be owned in all leagues for now. To give you an idea of just how hot Larry is, he was the picture we used for both Waiver Wired and the Saturday Dose.
Brandon Knight had a career-high 30 points with five 3-pointers on Saturday and is continuing to get better and learning how to play point guard. He’ll have his ups and downs, but is a must-own in my book. Kyle Singler had nine points in 35 minutes, and I haven’t bought into him. He’s just not that exciting of a fantasy player to own and I’m guessing his value is on the decline instead of the rise. Andre Drummond had nine points, three boards, a steal and two blocks in that game, and I’d rather sit on him.
Stephen Curry tweaked his left knee for the Warriors on Saturday, but played through it and looked good. He said later it was just some “MCL mumbo jumbo,” so he’s obviously not worried about it. And as long as it’s not his ankle, I’m not either.
Andre Iguodala had 15 points and a solid stat line for the Nuggets on Sunday after a couple disastrous lines, so hopefully he’s ready to fully break out of the funk. Corey Brewer had 15 points in 22 minutes on Sunday, and has now scored in double figures in six of his last seven games, and is averaging 18 points, nearly two steals and a 3-pointer over his last four, if you’re looking for a swingman to add.
J.J. Redick broke out of his funk for the Magic on Sunday with 20 points, nine assists and four 3-pointers, but had been struggling coming in. Andrew Nicholson got hot and hit 9-of-11 shots for a career-high 19 points, nine rebounds and four steals in 25 minutes, but I need to see him do it a couple more times before grabbing him in standard leagues.
Al Jefferson returned from his back spasms with 14 points, 11 boards and a block on Sunday, while Derrick Favors was a late scratch for the Jazz with his plantar fasciitis. It was believed he would play initially, which leads me to believe he should be back for their next game on Wednesday against the Spurs. Paul Millsap is enjoying life without Favors and had 24 points and nine boards in Sunday’s win over the Lakers.
Lastly, check out this news about the new NBC/Rotoworld & Yahoo! alliance.
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