NBA Blogcast: Monday Production Notes
Blogcast notes by Eric Caturia (@ETCat30), James Anderson (@RealJRAnderson), and Kyle McKeown @RotoWireKyleNBA.
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Monday Podcast: http://www.rotowire.com/podcast/NBA_Podcast_11_11_12.mp3
Before we get too deep into all the specifics of the games, we’re going to go through . . .
OMB Don’t Panic: And Beware the Rankings
- Russell Westbrook’s average-rank on Yahoo so far this season is 112. I think a lot of people will see that and panic. We just want to caution any new fantasy basketball players that they should not panic. There are several top players who have terrible per game ranks according to the Yahoo player ranker. They won’t stay there. In most cases, you should trust the preseason ranks and hold onto these. players. Looking at just the top-25 guys, the guys I’m about to list all have terrible per game ranks.
- Deron Williams 154, Josh Smith 286, Dwight Howard 238, Ty Lawson 171.
- James, Eric, are either of you worried about any of these guys?
- E - I’m definitely concerned with Howard, mostly due to the fact that he’s not nearly the rebounder with the Lakers (9.3 boards) that he was with Orlando (14-plus per game in each of the last three seasons). Yes, the sample size is small -- six games -- but he has failed to surpass 10 rebounds in four of those contests.
- Now, to bring this conversation full circle, there are also several players who have very high player ranks, who aren’t necessarily as valuable as they appear. Of the following players, who is genuine, and who is fool’s gold?
- J.R. Smith 2, Jeff Teague 8, Chris Bosh 10, Joakim Noah 13, Anderson Varejao 14, O.J. Mayo 17, Jamal Crawford 20, Jason Kidd 22, Andrei Kirilenko 24?
- In general, what can we take from the rankings on Yahoo?
Top News of the Day
- Chase Budinger will undergo surgery to repair a lateral meniscus tear, and he’s expected to miss several weeks. However, we won’t know a firm timetable until after the surgery.
- Brandon Roy has a sore knee. The Timberwolves don’t expect him to miss an extended period of time, but coupling this with his questionable production and you’ve got a player I’m not anxious to roster in anything but the deepest of leagues.
- With Budinger and Roy sidelined, who can we expect to step up for the Timberwolves?
- Who benefits most from taking on Budinger’s 23.5 and Roy’s 24.4 minutes per game? AK47 is at 33.0, Derrick Williams at 23.8.
- Alexey Shved played 21 minutes Friday and 26 minutes Saturday. He averaged 9.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 6.5 assists in those games. Would you consider playing him in a weekly league this week? The Timberwolves have three games.
- Kyle Lowry is going to continue to sit out until he’s 100 percent. I feel like we’ve been down this road with Lowry in the past. He also admitted that the ankle issue is a recurrence of an issue he had in the Summer. I don’t want to panic anyone, but are we going to see the Stephen Curry curse travel to Canada this season?
- Tyler Zeller remains out with concussion symptoms. It’s silly to guess at his return, because we won’t know if he’s coming back until after all the symptoms cease. If you have him in a deep league, keep him benched this week.
- Alan Anderson took over the starting small forward spot from Landry Fields this weekend, but he also suffered a sprained left foot Saturday. If any of you Michigan State fans were getting excited, I’d hold off on adding the Spartan until we see if he’s healthy enough to play this week. Even if healthy, Anderson is only a very deep league option right now.
- Landry Fields will see a specialist this week to examine the extent of his wrist injury. He did not play Saturday, and based on his injury and production, it’s hard to say when he’ll be relevant in most fantasy leagues again this season.
- Linas Kleiza missed two games to attend to a family matter, but he returned to the Raptors on Saturday and played 12 minutes. If Anderson and Fields are sidelined, Kleiza could get the look as the starting small forward, giving him some modest value in deep leagues.
- Hasheem Thabeet sat out Friday and Sunday’s games. He has a sprained left ankle. Daniel Orton was activated, but he only played two minutes Sunday.
- As you said earlier, Ibaka, Perkins, and Collison will likely split Thabeet’s 12 min evenly.
- Dwyane Wade sat out Friday’s game with an illness, but he played Sunday and appears ready to go for the week ahead. He played 33 minutes Sunday.
- LeBron James has been experiencing some stiffness in his knee, but he’s not expected to miss anytime. The stiffness started after he banged knees with Josh Smith on Friday.
- Jameer Nelson has missed five straight games with a groin strain. Orlando has three games this week. I’m not taking the risk by starting Nelson this week, and I think that makes E’Twaun Moore relevant for at least another week in standard leagues.
- DeQuan Jones has missed the last three games for the Magic. He was interesting for about one night as a spot starter, but he’s really not rosterable in anything but the absolute deepest of leagues. The Magic have three games this week.
- Wesley Matthews suffered a minor lower back injury Saturday, but he doesn’t expect to miss any time. As of Saturday night, Matthews said he was going to practice Sunday. Keep him active.
- If he were to be limited at all, Sasha Pavlovic is the likely beneficiary, with Will Barton taking on any remaining minutes. It’s difficult to see any more going to Nicolas Batum as he is already averaging 39.5 minutes per game.
- Kirk Hinrich is day-to-day with a hip strain. He underwent an MRI on Sunday. The Bulls have three games this week, and with him questionable for Monday, we’re going to consider Hinrich a three-game player for this week.
- Anthony Davis returned from missing two games due to a concussion, posting a nice double-double (23 points and 11 rebounds), while tallying five blocks, two steals, and two assists in 37 minutes in a victory over Charlotte. There’s little to worry about here.
- Wilson Chandler has sat out the last three games to rest his surgically repaired hip. The Nuggets are just being cautious with him, but until Chandler is healthy enough to be playing every night, I’m not going to roster him in anything but the deepest of leagues.
- MarShon Brooks has missed the last two games with a sprained ankle. He’s probably questionable for Tuesday’s game. Gerald Wallace has also missed the last several games with a sprained ankle, and we’re looking at Thursday being a more likely return date for Brooks and Wallace than Tuesday.
- Mo Williams missed Saturday’s game with a groin injury. Jamaal Tinsley started in his place and had 14 assists and zero points. There is no timetable for Williams’ return and he should be considered day-to-day.
- DeJuan Blair sat out Saturday’s game with a knee contusion. He had been inserted into the starting lineup at center in place of Boris Diaw on Friday, but even then he played less minutes than Diaw. It doesn’t seem to be a significant injury, but Blair’s playing time is too erratic to rely on right now.
- Tony Parker sat out Saturday’s game with the flu, but he should be ready to return to the lineup by Tuesday. The Spurs only have three games this week. If you were planning on using Parker, it’s probably safe to play him, but if you have a comparable healthy player with three or four games on your bench, I’d probably start the other guy.
- Royce White is still dealing with migraine headaches and has yet to play in a game. He’s owned in two percent of Yahoo! leagues (I’m calling you out Josh). Is that too high right now?
- Brendan Haywood was away from the Bobcats on Friday to deal with a personal matter, but he returned Saturday and reclaimed his spot as the starting center. He’s averaging 8.2 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks in 28 mpg right now. I know you wrote about Haywood in your Category Strategy article Sunday James. Can he be of use in fantasy right now?
- Jermaine O’Neal has returned to the Suns, but he stayed in Phoenix on Saturday instead of traveling with the team to their game in Utah. He’s a bit player on this team, but their lack of depth in the frontcourt could create situations later this season that make him valuable on a given night. Other than that, O’Neal won’t be rosterable in most leagues this season.
Game Notes and Other Rigamarole
- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist tossed up his first career double-double Saturday with 25 points (8-12 FG, 9-10 FT) and 12 rebounds in 41 minutes in Charlotte’s victory over Dallas.
- E - It’s safe to say this likely wouldn’t have gone down if Shawn Marion had been healthy. However, it’s great to see MKG be able to exploit matchups a little more than a month past his 19th birthday. We expected his defense to be there immediately -- he’s averaging 2.2 blocks and 1.6 steals in 30 minutes over five games -- but believed it would take some time for his offense to catch up.
- DeMarcus Cousins suspended two games for an altercation with announcer Sean Elliot after Friday’s game against the Spurs.
Planning for the Week Ahead
- Jared Sullinger started in Friday’s game but played limited minutes, and then Brandon Bass got the start on Saturday, with Sullinger playing just seven minutes off the bench. It appears Sullinger might be losing his spot in the rotation, and certainly in the starting lineup. Does this change how we view Bass?
- Bass should see the same minutes he was seeing before the switch, 28 minutes per game. Sullinger can be dropped in most leagues at this point.
- Meanwhile, there was also a shakeup in the starting lineup at shooting guard, with Jason Terry replacing Courtney Lee as a starter on Saturday. Lee still played more minutes than Terry, though he failed to score in 28 minutes, while Terry dropped 15 points in 22 minutes as a starter. Does anyone benefit from a fantasy perspective from this change?
- This weakens Boston’s bench, so I’m not sure how long they stay with Terry in the starting lineup, but it doesn’t really change either of these guys’ value.
- After two more 20-point outings this weekend, O.J. Mayo has now scored 20-plus points in five consecutive contests. During that span, he’s averaging 25.8 points and 4.6 treys in 36 minutes per game.
- Darren Collison scored just four points (1-8 FG, 2-2 FT) with eight assists Friday against the Knicks, but bounced back Saturday as he posted 14 points and six assists.
- E - He continues to average 33.6 minutes per game, which is a career-best. Throughout his career, we’ve seen him be quite effective when he’s allotted big minutes, like in his rookie season with the Hornets - 37 starts, 19.1 points and 8.8 assists in 40.3 minutes.
- Vince Carter had a season-best 19 points on 5-of-8 from 3-point range against Charlotte on Sat. He added five rebounds, three steals, two assists, and one block in a season-high 30 minutes.
- E - Throughout five November tilts, he’s averaging 15.4 points, 2.8 three-pointers, 1.6 steals, and 1.2 blocks in 25.2 minutes.
- Jae Crowder continues to start in place of Shawn Marion (MCL) but has managed just 6.3 points (on 47 percent shooting), 2.7 boards, one assist, and one trey in 24.3 minutes.
- E - The last few notes tell us that coach Rick Carlisle trusts his veteran more than the rookie to start the season, a fact that will likely hold for some time. Remember that Marion will be evaluated this week to determine whether he can return, which if delayed should favor Carter’s fantasy prospects over Crowder’s.
- Dorell Wright had 15 points in each of the Sixers’ games over the weekend. He also had a total of six threes and five steals in the two games. Could his solid play have any effect on Jason Richardson’s status as a starter when he returns from his ankle injury?
- Over his last five games, Serge Ibaka has been a monster, averaging 18.2 points, 6.4 boards, and 3.8 swats in 33.2 minutes, while shooting 63.2 percent from the field and 94.7 percent from the foul line.
- E - Ibaka has not yet pulled down double-digit rebounds, but he has at least two blocks in every game this season. Furthermore, during the aforementioned stretch, he’s scored at least 14 points in each outing, which is well above his career-high scoring average of 9.9 from the 2010-11 season. For fantasy purposes, are we cool with him exchanging rebounds and some blocks for points and slightly more turnovers?
- Parsons is in the top-20 in the NBA in minutes per game (37.7 mpg) and yet he’s still unowned in a lot of leagues.
- Shannon Brown is owned in 15 percent of Yahoo! leagues, he had 22 points Friday and four points Saturday, living up to his reputation as a streaky shooter off the bench.
- Nicolas Batum drilled 5-of-7 three-pointers on his way to a career-high 33 points (11-18 FG, 6-6 FT) in 39 minutes as Portland lost to San Antonio on Saturday. He contributed across the board, notching seven rebounds, four assists, two steals and one block.
- Batum is earning his contract, averaging 2.7 three-pointers and 2.7 steals in 39.5 minutes per game so far this season.
- J.J. Hickson again posted a double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds Saturday. Of utmost importance is the fact he received the majority of minutes at center (34), which surpasses his playing time from the past two contests (25 and 23 min). Meyers Leonard recently ate into those minutes (23 and 24, respectively), but gathered just 13 on Saturday.
- A Blazers beat writer has proposed moving Hickson to the bench to provide a punch to the NBA’s most futile bench (12.9 points per game). Really. That’s how much they’re producing at the moment. The primary reason is due to the fact that coach Terry Stotts prefers to keep two starters in the game at all time, which alleviates pressure on the reserves but ensures that the starters will handle a large minutes load this season. Obviously, this is great for fantasy purposes until said load begins to place wear and tear on the starters. I don’t want to say that fantasy owners should sell high on Blazers starters later in the season, but the lack of depth may haunt Stotts’ strategy eventually.
- Nate Robinson had 18 points Saturday. If Kirk Hinrich’s hip injury becomes a bigger issue, Robinson could be a guy to consider picking up. Daily league players could particularly capitalize on Robinson’s value if Hinrich sits Monday.
- Taj Gibson is averaging 2.2 blocks in just 21 mpg right now. I know he’s a guy you wrote about this weekend James. Is this trend going to continue?
- Carmelo Anthony recorded 31 points (10-22 FG, 2-5 3Pt, 9-14 FT), seven rebounds, two blocks, and one assist in 34 minutes as the Knicks beat the Mavericks on Friday.
- J.R. Smith racked up 22 points (8-16 FG, 3-3 3Pt, 3-3 FT), four steals, one rebound, and one block in 33 reserve minutes Friday as the Knicks outlasted the Mavericks.
- E - We were somewhat dubious of his minutes load in the preseason, but that was likely due to concerns with his Achilles issue, which appears to have been a non-issue in the end.
- Ronnie Brewer posted 13 points (4-10 FG, 2-4 3Pt, 3-5 FT), eight boards, two assists, two steals and one block in 37 minutes during the Knicks’ victory Friday over the Mavericks.
- E - Brewer has drained seven treys in four games to date, which is far above his career mark of 25.7 percent, as well as last season’s 19-of-69 (27.5 percent) from 3-point land.
- Jonas Valanciunas is averaging 20 minutes per game and he is owned in just under 30 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Is there light at the end of the tunnel here? In Saturday’s game he had eight points and eight rebounds, he was efficient, but his playing time limited his production, and it wasn’t foul trouble-related.
- Jose Calderon had his first great game as the starting point guard, scoring 14 points, with four three-pointers and 11 assists. He is owned in 60 percent of leagues, should that number be higher?
- Randy Foye is available in the majority of leagues, and is among the league leaders in three-pointers made, so he is definitely of use in roto leagues. He only played 15 minutes in Saturday’s game, which Mo Williams missed, so it’s a little concerning that they don’t view Foye as a replacement option at the point.
- Andre Drummond was allowed to play a little bit extra Friday and also played next to Greg Monroe for the first time this season. He put up 22 points and eight rebounds Friday and followed that up with seven and seven Saturday. The Pistons continue to limit his minutes, but whenever Drummond gets cut loose, he should be a pretty surefire double-double. Make sure you’re tracking him from game-to-game, and as soon as he starts cracking the 26 minute threshold, I would consider adding him in 12 team leagues.
- Rodney Stuckey is averaging 7.9 points (24% shooting), 2.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 0.7 three-pointers (28% shooting), and 0.3 steals in 32 mpg. Are we still being patient with him, or are we dropping him in 12-team leagues?
- The Hawks appear content to play the matchup game with their starting lineup, but the one role player they’ve left in the starting lineup each game is Kyle Korver. He’s played 30 minutes in each of their last three games. Korver is taking about six three-point attempts per game right now and only hitting around 30 percent of them. If he continues to get the minutes and starts hitting his threes at his career 41-percent clip, Korver get could be a legit option in deep leagues based solely on his contributions from three-point land.
- Already got them covered in injuries.
- Kris Humphries didn’t play 25 minutes in any of the Nets first four games, and then he finally saw big time run on Sunday, hauling in 21 boards, compared to Brook Lopez’s three rebounds. Hump was dropped in some leagues after his slow start. Is this a sign of things to come?
- Kevin Seraphin, a guy we had been pretty high on heading into the weekend, played 13 minutes on Friday and 15 minutes on Saturday, which is not a good sign going forward.
- Trevor Ariza had seven steals while averaging 29 minutes in two games this weekend. He is owned in about 50 percent of leagues, and is worth a pickup if you need help with steals, now that he seems to have a firm playing time advantage over Martell Webster.
- The Spurs seem to be settling into their deeper rotation, and the only player we saw get over thirty minutes in each of their games Friday and Saturday was Tim Duncan. I don’t like what this means for Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard’s value from week-to-week this season.
- Somehow Wayne Ellington had 25 points and seven three-pointers Sunday, we’re not reading much into this, right?
- What a well-rounded stat line from Kemba Walker on Saturday against Dallas - 26 points (10-22 FG, 0-2 3Pt, 6-8 FT), eight steals, seven assists, and six rebounds in a season-high 41 minutes.
- On Friday, Ben Gordon poured in 34 points (14-21 FG, 3-6 3Pt, 3-4 FT) in 35 minutes during Friday’s defeat at New Orleans.
- E - Through five games, Walker is averaging 10 more minutes per contest than Gordon (34.2 versus 24.2). This has resulted in some obvious production; Walker has a more well-rounded stat line (18.8 points, 5.8 assists, 3.8 rebounds, 2.8 steals, 85.2 FT%), while Gordon is thriving in the usual place (1.8 treys per).
- Bismack Biyombo started in place of Brendan Haywood and showed his vast potential to contribute great defensive stats. He put up 13 rebounds, three blocks, and six points. But when Haywood returned Saturday, Biyombo moved back to the bench and played just 10 minutes. I feel like there’s a lesson that can be learned about fantasy here, and it starts with the typical line we spit about minutes being the most important? It ends with making sure that you look into why a player was given extra minutes before you overreact and pick him up based on one night’s production.
- Festus Ezeli played 20 minutes Friday but only 10 minutes Saturday, and it appears Carl Landry is going to see the only consistent extended minutes in the frontcourt while Andrew Bogut is sidelined. Andris Biedrins played a surprising 19 minutes Saturday, but that was in a double-overtime game, so I’m not reading into that just yet.
- Phil Jackson is the overwhelming favorite to become the Lakers’ new head coach. At this point it seems like the two sides are talking about money and other things like Phil possibly being able to skip some small road trips throughout the season. We know how players like Kobe, Pau and Metta will respond to Jackson and the triangle, but how does this help or hurt Dwight Howard and Steve Nash?
- Nash should be fine, he’s incredibly smart and should have no trouble picking up the triangle offense. He won’t have the ball in his hands as much as when he was in Phoenix, but he should be the beneficiary of some open threes. He is a nice buy-low candidate right now with him on the shelf for another week or so. Howard should have no problem figuring out the triangle. The center position is by far the easiest position to learn in the triangle. It’s a lot of moving from one side of the paint to the other. There’s a chance that Jackson could really bring out the absolute best in Howard. There are no start players who you would point to and say, “they didn’t play their best under Phil Jackson.” Dwight doesn’t have the reputation for being someone who is constantly working on his game, constantly driven by wanting to win a championship, Jackson could change that, and I think he will see it as his number one challenge if he becomes the Lakers new coach.
- Alonzo Gee has posted double-digit points in four of his last six games; in six November tilts, he’s averaging 12 points, four rebounds, 2.6 assists, two steals, and 0.8 three-pointers in 30.2 minutes.
- Daniel Gibson has picked up his game of late, recording 10-plus points in three consecutive contests; he’s recorded 15.7 points, 3.3 three-pointers, and 1.3 steals in 24.3 minutes per game (off the bench, of course).
- Ryan Anderson harkened back to last year with Orlando, notching a season-high 25 points (10-16 FG, 5-10 3Pt) in 28 minutes in Friday’s win over Charlotte. He also grabbed seven boards and dished out two assists.
- J. J. Redick was moved into the starting lineup Sunday as the Magic desperately try to reclaim the wizardry that allowed them to start the season 2-0. They’ve since lost four straight and have rotated in DeQuan Jones, Josh McRoberts, and now Redick into the starting lineup. Who’s next? Do we like any of their wing players to step up and claim extra value right now?
- It seems like we’re talking about this guy every week, but JaVale McGee is owned in 75 percent of Yahoo! leagues, but he continues to see limited minutes off the bench. He had 12 boards in 21 minutes Saturday. What are you doing with McGee if he’s on your team, or if you see someone drop him in a league?
- Some people were talking about Tobias Harris having a breakout season this year. Scott Skiles appears to have other plans, he played Harris 15 minutes on Friday and 10 minutes on Saturday.
- This is really frustrating, as someone who drafted Harris this season, I’ve seen him produce when he’s been given opportunities. We knew Skiles was going to have a tough time managing this rotation coming into the season, but what’s the point of starting a guy if you’re only going to play him 10 minutes?
- DeAndre Jordan scored at least 20 points in back-to-back games and then went out Sunday and had just eight points and five rebounds in 24 minutes Sunday. He’s still a volatile and inconsistent player, but it’s great to see him capitalizing on his potential and developing more of the offensive side of his game.
James - I grabbed Alonzo Gee in a Roto league for steals. I also have claims in on Dorrell Wright, Chris Kaman and Metta World Peace in a points league.
Kyle - I paid $27 for Larry Sanders in a 12-team, 18-player roster league. E’Twaun Moore, Carl Landry, A.J. Price, and Jae Crowder were also added by teams in that league.
- What are your thoughts on A.J. Price’s value? Rotisserie league(11 teams, 19 players each). I have Billups and Rubio on my bench, waiting for them to come back from injury. What do you guys think?
I think that wraps us up here. If you would like to get in touch with us, you can e-mail us at NBApodcast@rotowire.com.