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NBA Blogcast: Thursday Production Notes

Blogcast notes by James Anderson @RealJRAnderson and Kyle McKeown @RotoWireKyleNBA.

If you’d like to listen to the actual podcast, you can use the RSS feed or just copy and paste the link below.
RSS feed: http://www.rotowire.com/podcast/roto_podcast.asp
Thursday Podcast:
http://www.rotowire.com/podcast/NBA_Podcast_11_07_12.mp3

Before we get too deep into all the specifics of the games, we’re going to go through the . . .

Top News of the Day

Injuries


  • Danny Granger will miss the next three months after receiving an injection for the patellar tendinosis that has kept him sidelined this season. Whose value has been increased with Granger out already this season, or who could you see getting more value following this announcement?
    • This moves Paul George firmly inside the top 40 fantasy players for the season, we’d always talked about how the Pacers should trade Granger to make way for George, now we’ll get to see what that would look like. Not super high on Green in standard leagues, Stephenson could have just as much value.
  • Anthony Davis sat out Wednesday’s game as he continues to work to return from the concussion he suffered last weekend. The Hornets’ next game is Friday against the Bobcats.
    • Slightly concerned, we’ve seen players in other sports be affected differently with concussions (Crosby, Best), hopefully Davis isn’t a special case.
  • Kyle Lowry sat out Wednesday’s game. He has a sprained right ankle that he suffered in Tuesday’s game. They called him doubtful Wednesday morning, and Lowry himself called it a minor twist. Realistically, we’d expect him to be back in short order. so the best bet is to just put him on your bench and wait until we hear that he’s ready to return.
    • Yeah, the Raptors only have one more game this week, on Saturday against the Sixers. With another two days off there’s a good chance he could be ready to play by then.
  • Austin Rivers missed Wednesday’s game with a sprained left index finger. I don’t think we know the extent of this injury, yet. It came out as a surprise note Wednesday morning.
    • The Hornets are really hurting, they scored a franchise-low 62 points Wednesday. Darius Miller doesn’t intrigue muc, wouldn’t expect Rivers to be out long.
  • Steve Nash is traveling with the Lakers and will have the non-displaced fracture in his fibula reassessed Saturday. The Lakers play the Warriors on Friday and the Kings on Sunday. We have to assume he’ll be out Friday, but does this news mean we might see him Sunday?
    • I think Nash wants to be a good teammate and travel with the team and the training staff. You wouldn’t expect the Lakers to need Nash to get past the Kings, but it seems like he’ll probably be close to a game-time decision for that one.
  • Anderson Varejao sat out Wednesday’s game with a bruised knee suffered in the Cavs’ last game. The Cavs also have Tyler Zeller sidelined. They started Tristan Thompson and Samardo Samuels in the frontcourt Wednesday. Do you think this is a serious injury? What fantasy impact does Varejao’s injury create?
    • I doubt it’s very serious, simply because we didn’t find out about it until right before tipoff. It boosts Thompson’s value if he misses significant time, but I wouldn’t want to roll the dice with the Samardo Samuels of the world.
  • Gerald Wallace sat out Wednesday’s game against the Heat with a sprained ankle. This was the second straight game he’s missed. The Nets have two more games this week, both against the Magic on Friday and Saturday. We don’t have any idea if Crash will be ready to go. You’ll have to keep tabs on that going into the weekend.
  • Greg Monroe had the first triple-double of the season, 21 points, 12 boards, 11 assists, the 11 dimes were a career high, Pistons still lost.
  • Andrew Bogut played his limited minutes and put up a rather empty stat line. It’s going to be hard to play this guy in weekly or rotisserie leagues as long as he’s playing under 20 mpg.


Special injury strategy segment: Hold or Fold

We received an e-mail from Jeff in OKC this morning, and he asked,
“When you’re holding two, three or four injured players on your roster, when does it come time to make the decision to drop a player?  I’m specifically thinking about guys like a Danny Granger, Andrew Bynum, John Wall, Amar’e Stoudemire or Kevin Love (season keepers/proven producers when healthy).  In some of those cases, I think the decision is easy that you have to hold (Love, Wall)  but what about when you’re holding multiple injured players and are in danger of losing ground to your league rivals?
  • I’ve got some ideas on this, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on this James?
    • Each case is different, depending on how deep your league’s bench is, if there are IR spots, how competitive you think you can be with these guys missing time... Granger and Stoudemire could be dropped in a case where keeping them on your team is going to put you at a potentially costly disadvantage. Bynum, Wall and Love need to be rostered in all leagues at this point, regardless of the situation. However, if you can trade Bynum for 75 cents on the dollar right now, you’d have to consider it.

Game Notes


  • Josh Smith returned to the lineup Wednesday after having missed Sunday’s game with a sprained ankle. Probably the most interesting thing here is that Smith started at small forward Wednesday, and the Hawks ran a big lineup of Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, Smith, Al Horford, and Zaza Pachulia. Do you think we’ll continue to see this big lineup? How does playing more at the three potentially affect Smith’s fantasy value.
    • It’s not a dramatically big lineup, I’d consider LeBron and J Smoove to be similar in size and LBJ played the three every year up until this season. Smith has played the three in the past, he might get some favorable matchups around the hoop to go with a few more three-point attempts, but I don’t see a difference in his value overall, because he could just as easily take a slight hit in rebounds and field-goal percentage.
  • Jarret Jack and David Lee missed Wednesday’s shootaround with illnesses, but they were both able to play against the Cavs.
    •  
  • John Henson was active for the first time Wednesday. He injured his knee during the preseason and was sidelined for about three weeks. There’s a lot of depth in the Bucks’ frontcourt, will he be able to get any minutes?
    • He will, but not enough initially to be of much note in fantasy.
  • Jordan Crawford played in Wednesday’s game. He was questionable with a sprained ankle.
    • Just 15 minutes, probably not at 100 percent
  • Wilson Chandler did not play Wednesday. We knew this coming in. The Nuggets are keeping him out of the second game of back-to-back sets until they feel he’s 100 percent recovered from his offseason hip surgery and fully conditioned.
  • Maurice (or Moe) Harkless played his first game of his NBA career Wednesday. The Magic cut him loose at the end of the first quarter, and he got some significant run off the bench. Harkless put up seven points, five rebounds, two assists, three steals, and two blocks. Damn if that doesn’t get me thinking of running out and grabbing him off the waiver wire.
    • Harkless played 22 minutes, which is really encouraging, but it was his first action. We’ll need to see a bigger sample size to recommend him in standard leagues. With Hedo Turkoglu out with a broken hand and Josh McRoberts playing like Josh McRoberts, there’s room for him to elbow in and get a big role. Just realize this kid is a rookie, and Jaque Vaughn has come out and said that he wants to ease the kid into action. Dynasty league players should roster this kid, and fantasy players in leagues with extremely deep rosters should grab him on a flier for the two games this weekend.
  • Elton Brand missed Wednesday’s game for the birth of his child.
  • Dion Waiters injured his thigh in the third quarter of Wednesday’s game. He played through the injury. It’s supposedly just a bruise. He iced it down and should be fine, but it’s also something we’ll monitor going forward.

Wednesday’s Games

Suns vs Bobcats


  • Michael Beasley had a great game Wednesday. He put up 21 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists, a steal, three blocks, and a three-pointer in 43 minutes.
    • It looks like Alvin Gentry has shortened up his rotation a little bit. Wesley Johnson didn’t get off the bench. Beasley was only averaging 29 mpg coming into Wednesday. . . . The rebounds may have came with Luis Scola playing a few less minutes and Jermaine O’Neal not being there to backup the center position. . . . Don’t read much into the assists. Beasley only average 1.4 apg over his career.  
  • Shannon Brown put up 24 points and made six three-pointers in 24 minutes.
    • If you have him in a deep league, you love this, but even though he’s come out and posted 18 points and 24 points in his last two games, the fact remains that Brown is only going to get between 20-25 mpg off the bench. Until he jumps into the starting lineup, it’ll be hard to own him in anything other than deep leagues.
  • Tyrus Thomas played 16 minutes. This is significant because he left the Bobcats’ last game with an illness.
    • Yeah, other than that, I don’t see him carving out too large of a role on this team. Tyrus Thomas seems destined to be an energy guy off the bench.
  • Gerald Henderson’s absence gave us our first look at who is going to get extra minutes over the next 2-4 weeks.
  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist played a season-high 29 minutes and put up nine points, eigth rebounds, three assists, three steals, and three blocks.  He has not taken a three-point attempt yet this season. I’d say we’re seeing what we expected from this kid. He’s getting good defensive stats, but his limitations on offense made his late-70s draft position objectively off base.
  • Byron Mullens came into Wednesday’s game shooting 14 percent from three-point land, and some of his owners were panicking a little bit. I was loving it. Even though he wasn’t hitting his shots, Mullens took an average of 7.0 three-point attempts through his first two games, and that volume shooting paid off Wednesday. He put up 24 points and eight rebounds while converting six of his 10 three-point attempts.
    • He really behaves like he’s a great shooter, and shooter’s gotta shoot.
  • Jeremy Taylor started at shooting guard in Henderson’s place, but Ramon Sessions and Kemba Walker played 35 minutes and 40 minutes respectively. It seems they were the primary beneficiaries of Henderson’s leftover minutes. Could this continue, or were we just seeing the Bobcats and Suns play a lot of small ball that allowed the Cats to play their guards an inordinate amount of minutes?
    • I don’t see Taylor having much value out of this situation, it also seems to have helped MKG, as far as minutes are concerned.

Wizards vs Celtics


  • Jared Sullinger started a second straight game at power forward.
    • Doc is trying to add some firepower with Bass off the bench. Sullinger hasn’t really established himself, he’s more of a placeholder until Bass enters the game.
  • The Wizards have finally started playing the guys we’ve been saying they should. I don’t want to be a complete ass, but there is some vindication here.
  • Bradley Beal was aggressive. He made mistakes, but he also made plays, got minutes, and showed up in the box score. Beal put up 16 points, four rebounds, three assists, a steal, a block, and three three-pointers in 38 minutes.
    • Beal shot poorly, finishing 6-15 from the field, but we expect inefficiency from rookies. What we’re taking out of this is the positive that he took 15 shots.
  • A.J. Price finished with 15 points, five rebounds, and seven assists in 37 minutes. Does this excite you at all?
    • No. Price struggled coming into this game, and Jordan Crawford only played 15 minutes. This kind of production should not be the norm for him. Let someone else take a flier on Price. I’d go see if Beal was dropped.
  • Or if Kevin Seraphin is still available. Seraphin had his second straight good game, even though they still brought him off the bench. He posted 16 points, nine rebounds, three assists, and a block in 36 minutes. Martell Webster had a good game off the bench as well, finishing with 16 points, six rebounds, and three three-pointers in 35 minutes. We’ve talked a lot about Seraphin. He’s still only owned in 29% of Yahoo leagues. Webster is only owned in 1% of Yahoo leagues. I think we both agree that Seraphin needs picked up asap, but is Webster someone you would take a flier on?
    • Not in standard leagues. I just think there are too many moving pieces with Beal, Crawford, Singleton... I’m not saying Webster doesn’t have the game to be ownable in most leagues, I’m just not betting on him to get the opportunities to make him worth the roster spot.

Pacers vs Hawks


  • There’s not a lot going on in this Hawks’/Pacers box score, so I’ll just fire off some thoughts. Feel free to chime in.
  • We fielded a trade question in yesterday’s podcast asking us about the value of David West and Jeff Teague. I talked about West getting limited minutes, and then the news that Danny Granger is going to miss three months comes out this morning, and West plays 36 minutes. I may have to eat crow here if West actually averages over 29 or 30 mpg this season. In my defense though, the guy only grabbed six rebounds, and I’m starting to think he has that number tattooed somewhere.
  • I also said that Jeff Teague’s lack of three-point attempts made him less valuable than a lot of other guards, and then he comes out and chucks three shots from beyond the arc, hitting one. This is a fickle game.

Nets vs Heat


  • This was a Miami Massacre. The Nets were slaughtered.  
  • I’m guessing a lot of people saw Kris Humphries go out and get a double-double, but that still came in only 24 minutes of action. We’re very concerned about his minutes, and getting a double-double in only 22-24 minutes every night isn’t going to happen.
    • At the same time, don’t cut bait with Hump just yet. Hopefully Avery Johnson sees this production and realizes that there’s no reason not to give him more minutes. It’s not like Andray Blatche and Reggie Evans are made men.

Nuggets vs Rockets


  • The nightly Kenneth Faried report. Faried played 35 minutes and put up 16 points, 16 rebounds, a steal, and a block. The trend I’m seeing here is that the Nuggets are shortening their bench when Wilson Chandler is out, and it’s getting Faried more minutes.
    • Faried has had three straight good games. Make sure he’s in your lineups, and especially make sure he’s in there when Chandler is sitting on the second night of back-to-backs.  
  • James Harden struggled with his shot Wednesday. But who was he playing against James?
    • Iggy, these guys played on the Olympic team together, A.I. knows what Harden wants to do and probably viewed this as a specific game in which he really wanted to shut down the guy on the other side. Harden isn’t going to lead our podcast every night he plays.

Magic vs Timberwolves


  • Josh McRoberts started at small forward, and this mystery will forever go unsolved. I’m not even sure Jacque Vaughn knows the answer.
  • The Magic were outmatched on the second game of a back-to-back set. We watched this game a little bit, and there isn’t much to take from the Magic side of this game other than the promising games we saw out of Harkless and Andrew Nicholson. This is a team in flux, and I’m sure we’ll see things continue to flux this weekend.
  • The Timberwolves had this game in hand most of the way, so we aren’t going to read too much into their stats either. Stats matter when teams are playing their regular rotations and fighting to win, not thrashing their opponent like Eddie Murphy thrashed Samuel L. Jackson in Coming to America.

Grizzlies vs Bucks


  • Larry Sanders continues to be the most-used big man in the Bucks’ frontcourt rotation. He played 26 minutes Wednesday, putting up 10 points, 11 boards, three assists, a steal, and three blocks. Is this legit? Will it last?
    • One of my friends asked me if he should start Larry Sanders over Nikola Pekovic in a weekly league next week, I said no, just because I want to see a little more out of Larry, but it’s very close, which sounds crazy, and that gives you an idea of where his stock is at right now.

Sixers vs Hornets


  • LaVoy Allen returned to the starting center spot with Kwame Brown sidelined indefinitely with a calf injury. He put up 12 points and four rebounds in 27 minutes, but he’s really only a deep league option and won’t maintain value whenever Andrew Bynum comes back.
  • Evan Turner had 14 points, eight rebounds, and three assists. This is two straight good games from Turner. I think expectations for him were too high this preseason. There are a lot of holes in his game for fantasy. Where he probably has the most value is in points leagues, but he’ll need to be consistent to be relevant there, too.
  • Spencer Hawes had 11 points, six rebounds, and three blocks in 23 minutes. This is a good game, but it’s a far cry from his potential.
  • The Hornets scored just 62 points. There’s not much to say when a team shoots 33 percent from the field.
    • Yeah. Congrats to Al-Farouq Aminu for grabbing 16 boards, but that’s also something Andrea Bargnani could probably do if he were playing in a game where the teams combined to shoot under 40 percent from the field.

Raptors vs Mavericks


  • With Kyle Lowry out of the picture, DeMar DeRozan came out looking to shock the world, apparently. He put up 24 points, six rebounds, and seven assists. Unfortunately, he needed a night like this to make up for eight-point/one-rebound stinker he put up Tuesday.
  • Landry Fields continues to be terrible, and I hope no one owns him in any leagues. He has the opportunity to be a contributor in Toronto, but he’s not capitalizing on it.
  • Amir Johnson got a lot of run with Jonas Valanciunas playing only 10 minutes due to foul trouble. Johnson put up 18 points and 11 rebounds. He’s averaging just seven and five on the season, so chalk this up to a good night.
  • Chris Kaman moved back into the starting lineup with Elton Brand away from the team. He put up 22 points and eight rebounds. When he’s healthy, Kaman has to be owned in pretty much all standard leagues.
  • Jae Crowder got his first start, playing in place of Shawn Marion. He put up eight points, four boards, and two three-pointers.
  • Bernard James, 28-year-old rookie center, put up six points and nine rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench. Not much to take from this other than to give the old rookie kudos.

Lakers vs Jazz


  • The Jazz looked like the better team as the Lakers still look out of sync, and Kobe was starting look like pissed off Kobe, circa the Smush Parker years. The Jazz are incredibly balanced and deep, nobody scored 20 points and they still beat the Lakers convincingly. Foye is just one in a long list of super-sub combo guards in the mold of Jason Terry, Jamal Crawford or Lou Williams, who can carry their teams on any given night, which Foye did against the Lakers, hitting five three-pointers.

Pistons vs Kings


  • Unless you were a fan of either of these teams, or maybe unless you were a Kings fan, this game was pretty hard on the eyes. Greg Monroe, we already touched on. Brandon Knight finally shot the ball well, 21 points on 6-of-10 shooting, five three-pointers. Isaiah Thomas had a nice night, but still played just 21 minutes, notched his sixth and seventh assists of the season. Rodney Stuckey played 34 minutes but only took six shots.

Cavs vs Warriors


  • David Lee and Carl Landry each had monster nights, but it should be noted that the Cavs started Tristan Thompson and Samardo Samuels in the frontcourt Wednesday, so the competition wasn’t stiff.
  • Even with Varejao sidelined, Thompson only put up 11 points, 10 boards, and an assist in 36 minutes. I’m starting to wonder if this kid is going to put it together this season.
  • Harrison Barnes played 30 minutes for the second-straight game, would you grab him in standard leagues if someone dropped him?
  • Dion Waiters came back down to earth. He was 5-of-15 from the field. . . .  It appears clear that he’s going to get his shots.

Spurs vs Clippers


  • The Spurs got waxed in this one, and Popovich made the decision to call off the dogs, so the minutes are pretty skewed here on that side, although Danny Green continues to be an assassin from deep. He was 3-of-5 from long range.
  • Lamar Odom is still owned in 8% of Yahoo leagues. That number should be lower. He’s become close to a non-factor for them, and Grant Hill still isn’t back.
  • Eric Bledsoe has had back-to-back games with 20-plus minutes and solid production in multiple categories. He had 15 points, five assists, a block, a steal, a three, and shot 50 percent from the field. Are you at the point where you’re keeping an eye on him, or even targeting him in deeper leagues?

Deep Injury Notes


  • Corey Maggette is expected to remain sidelined until the Pistons return home from their current West Coast road trip. The Pistons don’t return home until next Monday, so he’ll be out the rest of the week.
  • Tyler Zeller will be out indefinitely with a non-displaced fracture of his orbital cheekbone. He’ll also be put through the NBA’s concussion protocol. Zeller suffered this injury when he took an elbow from DeAndre Jordan on Tuesday.
  • Earl Watson has recovered from the knee surgery he underwent last season, but he’s still working to get his endurance up to NBA levels. Whenever he returns, he could further confuse the deep bench in Utah. Likely, though, he’ll be more of just an insurance policy.
  • John Salmons has been held out of game action after being away from the Kings for the birth of his child. The team wants him to go through a few practices before they get him any minutes in the rotation.
  • Greg Smith missed the Rockets’ last couple games with a left foot injury. He was available Wednesday, but he did not play. In the limited minutes he played before sustaining the injury, Smith played well. With Patrick Patterson healthy, though, Smith is unlikely to get significant minutes.
  • Rodrigue Beaubois sat out his third straight game with an ankle injury Wednesday. He was a game-time decision, so it appears he’s nearing a return.

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.

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