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NBA Blogcast: Wednesday Production Notes

Blogcast notes by Justin Mertes-Mistretta (@RotoWireJustin) 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

Tuesday Podcast: http://www.rotowire.com/podcast/NBA_Podcast_11_13_12.mp3

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

Top News of the Day

Injuries

  • Manu Ginobili was questionable for Tuesday’s game due to recurrent back spasms, but he was able to suit up and played 18 minutes.
    • Manu struggled with his shot, hitting on just one of his eight attempts. It’ll be interesting to see if it was just an off shooting night or if Popovich thinks it’s related to the back and decides to rest Manu for their next game Thursday against the Knicks.
  • Isaiah Thomas missed Tuesday’s game. He was away from the team due to a death in his family. Aaron Brooks started at point guard in his place. The Kings have two more games this week, Friday and Sunday. It’s unknown when Thomas will return to the team.
  • Ben Gordon sat out Tuesday’s game due to a family emergency.
  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist left in the fourth quarter against the Wizards to ice his sore back. After the game he said he was “fine.” It was another solid scoring night for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, as he put up 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting. Had 25 points Saturday. Shooting nearly 50 percent from the field this year. How much does his value rise if he can score anywhere close to this much?
  • Andrew Bogut’s ankle issues continue to be mired in mystery. A report came out Tuesday that Bogut may not be ready to return until January. No one on the Warriors has officially ruled out Bogut from returning next week, but it seems unlikely. Bogut wants to play uninhibited, without a minutes restriction, but the Warriors don’t want to cut him loose until they’re sure he’s going to come back and be healthy for the long haul. Coach Mark Jackson actually came out and said
  • Jameer Nelson missed his sixth straight game Tuesday with the groin injury that has sidelined him most of the young season. Nelson was apparently ready to play, but coach Jacque Vaughn held him out. It’s sounding like we could see Nelson return Friday. If you need a point guard, now would be the time to grab Nelson. He’s been dropped in lots of leagues, currently being owned in only 62% of Yahoo leagues. If healthy, I think Nelson could average a career-high in minutes this season.
  • Kyle Lowry and Landry Fields were sent to New York on Tuesday to have their injuries further examined. Until more news comes out about the results of their visit, it’ll be hard to make any recommendations here.
  • Kenneth Faried took a hard fall onto his back in Monday’s game, but coach George Karl said there’s no doubt in his mind that Faried will play. He stayed in the game Monday, so this is really just a heads up in case something else creeps up from this in the future.
  • Shawn Marion has been ruled out of Wednesday’s game, but coach Rick Carlisle said he’s getting closer to returning.
  • Steve Nash will miss at least one more game. The Lakers have two more games this week, Friday and Sunday. Nash will be re-evaluated this weekend, and it’s possible he could be cleared to play Sunday.
  • Darrell Arthur is working his way back from a non-displaced fracture he suffered back in September. He was cleared to participate in full-contact practice Tuesday, but the Grizzlies haven’t said when he’ll able to return to game action. Once healthy, Arthur could steal minutes from Marreese Speights.
  • Al Harrington had a checkup on his right knee Tuesday. The visit was positive, but he remains sidelined and has yet to be cleared to participate in on-court activities.
  • Nikola Pekovic received treatment on his sprained left ankle Tuesday. He’s questionable for Wednesday’s game and will be examined during the morning shootaround to determine his availability. Greg Stiemsa could start at center if Pekovic isn’t able to play.

Game Notes and Other Rigamarole

  • Hakim Warrick was traded to Charlotte in exchange for Matt Carroll on Tuesday. There’s not much in the way of fantasy implications here. Carroll appears to be an insurance policy with Eric Gordon sidelined indefinitely and Austin Rivers picking up scratches and bruises every other day.

Knicks vs Magic

  • Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points on 50 percent shooting (11-for-22). Coming into Tuesday’s game, he was leading the league in scoring with 27.3 ppg, which is up nearly five points from the 22.6 points he averaged last season. Is this directly correlated with Amar’e Stoudemire’s absence? Or is this something we can expect to continue when he returns.
    • Carmelo is getting to the free-throw line an extra 3.3 times per game so far this season. That’s getting him some extra points, and he’s also taking more three-pointers and shots from the field. Carmelo’s possessions would obviously be down if Amar’e were healthy, so it’s easy to draw that correlation. And that’s likely the primary reason his scoring is up.
  • J.R. Smith, who played 32 minutes off the bench, continued his hot three-point shooting, knocking down both of his attempts Tuesday. He is now 13-of-18 (over 72 percent) behind the arc this season. Coming into Tuesday’s game, he averaged 34 minutes per game. Smith is playing more than he ever has, so did we overreact over his bench role?
    • I think the thing to talk about with Smith is if he’ll continue to be as effective as he’s been so far this season. You pointed out that he’s shooting 72% from deep this season. That won’t last. So, that will shave a point or two off his scoring. I also think that his minutes will be reduced eventually. When Amar’e and Iman Shumpert are healthy, the Knicks will be squeezing minutes. I don’t think Smith has the equity to really get you anything huge back in a trade, but if someone wanted to trade me Klay Thompson for Smith, I’d probably make that trade in a heartbeat.
  • Tyson Chandler 12 points and 6 rebounds in a season-high 33 minutes. Coming into Tuesday’s game, Chandler was averaging just under 26 minutes per game, which is down more than seven minutes from last season. Is Tuesday a sign that he is returning to full health?
    • Chandler battled a bone bruise in his knee during training camp that may have played a factor in his decreased playing time. I don’t think the team would have played him if he wasn’t healthy, so I’m not going to play up the injury angle too much here. I simply think you saw the Knicks blowing teams out so convincingly in their first three games that is wasn’t necessary to play Chandler big minutes. If you own him and are worried about his production, I’d feel confident that Chandler’s minutes will come back into the 30 mpg range, and he’ll be a good source of efficient scoring, rebound, and decent blocks.
  • Glen Davis only took five shots. He hit all of them, but it’s a bit odd to see him be such a non-factor in the Magic’s offense.
    • The Knicks may have been focusing on Big Baby to keep him out of the game. I don’t want to read too much into it. If I’m a Davis owner, I take solace in the fact that he was efficient in his limited production and didn’t put my field goal percentage in traction this week by forcing up a bunch of shots.
  • Nikola Vucevic posted his second straight double-double (fourth in first seven games).
    • No blocks from the young center, but Vucevic had two steals to help make up for that. He’s a double-double threat every night right now and should be owned in pretty much all standard leagues. Vucevic is currently owned in only 54% of Yahoo leagues. He’s going to have the occasional odd game where he only plays 15 minutes due to Jacque Vaughn trying to scheme too much, but that’s just something his owners should live with this early in the season. Don’t overreact and drop him.
  • Maurice Harkless played 20 minutes off the bench, scoring 10 points to go with seven rebounds and four blocks.
    • If this young guy starts getting consistent minutes, he could be a factor in standard leagues. Make sure he’s on your watch lists.   

Wizards vs Bobcats

  • Trevor Ariza scored 19 points in 35 minutes.
    • Ariza was one of two players to play over 27 minutes for the Wizards Tuesday. He’s a terrible shooter, but Ariza has the ability to put up diverse stat lines that can be of use in deep head-to-head leagues. I personally don’t like rostering him in rotisserie leagues, because Ariza’s poor shooting can kill the field goal percentage category there for your team.
  • With Ben Gordon a late scratch due to a family emergency, Ramon Sessions stepped up, scoring 21 points off the bench in 30 minutes. Could he still a threat to Kemba Walker?
    • Sessions has been playing very well off the bench, being much more of an option in fantasy than I would have projected, but Kemba Walker would have to have an epic fall from grace to have the starting point guard gig taken from him. I was hesitant to take Kemba in drafts this year due to the presence of Sessions and Gordon, but he’s doing a good job playing within himself for the most part this season. He’s only taking about two three-point attempts per game, limiting the effect that might have on his FG% if he were out there chucking. And that eight steal game he had against Dallas has him averaging over two steals per game. That makes up for the three-pointers he isn’t hitting.

Raptors vs Pacers

  • Jose Calderon recorded a triple-double (13-10-10) in place of Kyle Lowry (ankle). While the rebounds were an outlier, Calderon has produced at a high level in the four games Lowry has missed, averaging 14.5 points and 11 assists during that span. He is also averaging 2.8 triples per game during that stretch, going 2-for-2 Tuesday.
    • Calderon is only owned in 66% of Yahoo leagues. Go make sure he isn’t sitting on your waiver wire. Kyle Lowry’s status going forward is tentative, and the more time he misses, the better Calderon will be to own.
  • Roy Hibbert just six points in 24 minutes. Heading into Tuesday’s game, his scoring is down four points per game from last season. Do you see a bounce back in store anytime soon?
    • Hibbert’s scoring is down, but he’s still getting the same amount of shots that he took last season. He’s only going to the line 1.6 times per game right now, compared to the 3.7 he went to the line last season. That tells me he’s settling for jumpers and not being aggressive enough in the post. I’m not a big Hibbert fan, but he’s definitely a buy-low candidate right now. While he is struggling with his scoring, he’s still blocking 2.6 shots per game, and that’s worth owning pretty much regardless of his other stats.

Cavs vs Nets

  • A Career-high 35 points (16-of-21) for Anderson Varejao on Tuesday. He also pulled down 18 rebounds (11 offensive). What is he eating for breakfast?
    • Tires. Good Year.
  • Dion Waiters scored 8 points on 3-of-16 shooting (1-of-5 from behind the arc) in 36 minutes.
  • Joe Johnson scored 25 points (9-of-16) and hit 3 triples in 39 minutes.
    • Johnson came into the night shooting 36% from the fields, so it’s good to see him put up an efficient line, but where people really are going to get value from Johnson this season is threes. He’s converting his threes at over a 40% clip this season.
  • Kris Humphries had 12 points and six rebounds in 27 minutes.
    • This is the obligatory update to the Kris Humphries saga. I think I have 10 bets with random people on what Humphries will do this season. I think he’ll average closer to 25 mpg and put up around eight and eight with half a block, while there other people on the podcast crew who think he’ll get over 30 minutes and be a double-double, plus a block again this season. If I check my score card here, the running tally shows five games in support of my argument and one game in support of the other guys’ arguments.

Trail Blazers vs Kings

  • LaMarcus Aldridge has a sore right wrist. They took precautionary X-rays on it before the game that came back negative. Aldridge is a righty, so if you see his field goal percentage dipping even more, this could be a reason why.
    • Aldridge was 5-of-14 from the field but went to the line 10 times. He’s averaging just 3.9 trips to the line per game, so this was great to see. Despite having the sore wrist, he still played 37 minutes.
  • Nicolas Batum contributes an all-around performance once again, recording 15 points, two threes, seven rebounds, five assists, and three steals.
  • Damian Lillard scored 22 points (7-of-10 from the field and 5-of-6 from deep) and 9 assists. Is he living up to your expectations so far?

    •  
  • J.J. Hickson scored 10 points and grabbed 13 boards in 34 minutes. He is averaging a double-double this season and has double-digit rebounds in all but one game this season.
    • If the last three games are any indication, it appears the Trail Blazers are going to let Hickson play through any issues. He’s played over 30 minutes in each of the last three games after being given more than 30 minutes only once through the team’s first five games. Hickson is owned in only 67% of Yahoo leagues and should be grabbed in all standard leagues.
  • Aaron Brooks left Tuesday’s game with a sore left ankle. Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton were the backcourt to open the second half, and Brooks never returned.
  • Thomas Robinson returned from his two-game suspension, playing 30 minutes and putting up 12 points and four rebounds.
  • DeMarcus Cousins will return in the Kings’ next game, Friday against the Hawks.  

Spurs vs Lakers

  • Tony Parker returned from a one-game absence due to the flu. He scored 19 points and dished out 7 assists in 34 minutes.
  • Danny Green 11 points (3-for-7 from deep). Before Tuesday night, he was shooting 53 percent from the field (48 percent from behind the arc) and getting 2.1 threes in 29 minutes per game. Is he worth a roster spot?
    • Green is a good streaming option when the Spurs have four games, but other than that, I’m only rostering him in deep leagues.
  • Tim Duncan finished with 18 points and 9 rebounds, which is exactly what he is averaging this season.
    • Duncan also had four blocks and is averaging 2.4 per game this season. If you weren’t afraid to invest in the old man, I tip my hat to you. I bought him on discount in auction leagues but was typically looking for guys who I thought had higher upside at the point where he was going in snake drafts this season.
  • Dwight Howard finished with 13 points and 15 rebounds, but turned the ball over six times.
    • What’s the first rule of turnovers, Justin?
  • Pau Gasol records double-double with 10 points and 10 boards, but shoots just 3-of-10 from the field.
    • I’m not making any decisions on the production of Lakers until after D’Antoni gets there and Steve Nash returns to the lineup. The only thought I really have on most of them is buy, buy, buy. If someone wants to give me Gasol on a discount based on his scoring and low percentage from the field, I will gladly buy him right now. When Nash and D’Antoni get in there, I want to have an investment in whatever they produce.

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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