NBA Basketball Column: The Daily Dose
Is Ersan Ilyasova Back?
Ersan Ilyasova came off the bench for 18 points, six boards, a steal and a block in 22 minutes as the Bucks held on to beat the Bulls. I actually had him in two weekly lineups with four games and he should be picked up if he was dropped in your league. He simply has to get going, and it may have started to happen last night. John Henson had 11 points and two boards in the start for EI, but is going to be very inconsistent until further notice. Brandon Jennings struggled through his sprained ankle, and while it was admirable that he played after being carried off the court on Sunday, owners have to hope he didn’t put Wednesday’s game against the Knicks in jeopardy. Samuel Dalembert was back in the starting lineup after being benched for tardiness in his last game, but managed just two points, four boards and two blocks in the win, while Larry Sanders didn't do much again for the Bucks.
Another day, another lineup for the Wizards
A.J. Price, Bradley Beal, Trevor Ariza, Kevin Seraphin and Emeka Okafor comprised the Wizards starting lineup last night as Randy Wittman continues to tinker with a terrible team. Shaun Livingston was out with a sore shoulder, so Price had a decent line, but I’ve cut him where I can. A timeshare with Livingston and Jordan Crawford isn’t going to be an enjoyable ride. Seraphin came through with 18 points, seven boards, four steals and two blocks and I’m a fan of owning him across the board, and he can even be safely started for now. Crawford had 19 points off the bench and actually hit 9-of-16 shots on the night. His field goal percentage is a fantasy disaster waiting to happen, but he was solid last night. Martell Webster had 16 points in 25 minutes and continues to split time with a struggling Trevor Ariza. I’d rather own Ariza, but am not brave enough to put him into any lineups right now. Nene sat out with conditioning and foot issues after playing more than his allotted minutes in the last one, and he should be considered day-to-day until further notice. The plan is for him to play Wednesday against the Blazers.
Tiago Splitter went off for 15 points, 12 boards, seven assists, two steals and two blocks off the bench, while Gary Neal started at SG and had 13 points and five 3-pointers. Boris Diaw scored a season-high 16 points in the win over the Wizards, but as I’ve said many times, the only Spurs I trust enough to start regularly are Tim Duncan and Tony Parker.
Kyle Singler had the best game of his career with 16 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and two steals in Detroit’s win over Portland, and is worth a look in all leagues now that he’s starting. Andre Drummond played just 10 minutes again last night, and along with guys like Kevin Seraphin, Nene, John Henson, Nate Robinson, Kawhi Leonard, Larry Sanders, Singler and others, is a nice luxury to own on your bench, but not necessarily a guy you have to carry if there are more consistent players sitting on the wire. I was also going to throw Toronto's Jonas Valanciunas on that list, but I think we may have crossed into “must-own” territory on him. Rodney Stuckey played through his sprained ankle and had 11 points, and is another guy worth stashing in most leagues, if he can stay healthy. Keep an eye on Charlie Villanueva, who had 10 points in 15 minutes last night. He’s replaced Jonas Jerebko in the rotation, but is only worth a look in very deep leagues for now. Brandon Knight scored a season-high 26, as he continues to show improvement.
Brook Lopez went off for 22 points, 11 boards and five blocks in a much-ballyhooed win over the Knicks as his dream season continues. Deron Williams played through a sprained wrist and had one of his best games of the season with 16 points, six boards, three steals and 14 dimes in 43 minutes as the Nets knocked off the Knicks in overtime. Reggie Evans had 14 rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench and Gerald Wallace had a season-high 16 points and full stat line in 42 minutes. Kris Humphries played just 19 minutes as a result, and there are just too many mouths to feed in Brooklyn. Joe Johnson hit 3-of-12 shots for eight points, and is another example of a guy who is up and down like he’s on a pogo stick.
Kirk Hinrich scored a season-high 17 points to go along with six assists in 38 minutes against the Bucks, while Richard Hamilton also had a season high with 30 points and two threes in 36 minutes. Hamilton is worth grabbing for as long as he’s healthy. Nate Robinson struggled in just 10 minutes, and while the upside is there, he’s not going to be startable as long as Hinrich has the starting job and is playing well.
Jeremy Pargo played more like Jeremy Pargo for the second straight game, finishing with just nine points and three assists on 4-of-12 shooting in 31 minutes. He’s still worth owning until Kyrie Irving is back, but it’s clear that his first-start bonanza will likely end up being the highlight of his season. Anderson Varejao had 15 points, 22 boards, two steals and a block against the Grizzlies last night, and continues to singlehandedly win boards for his owners every week.
Derrick Favors had 19 points, seven boards and two blocks off the bench in a win over the Nuggets, while Paul Millsap had a disastrous five points and five boards in 24 minutes. Ty Corbin stuck with the hot hand of Favors, but both players should be owned and started in most formats, despite the timeshare. Mo Williams is targeting a return on Wednesday from his sprained foot, but I’m going to consider him a game-time decision for that one. Jamaal Tinsley started in his place and went off for a season-high 15 points, six assists, two steals and two blocks, and congratulations are in order if you had the foresight to pick-and-play him last night. It will be a short-lived victory if Williams is able to play on Wednesday. Gordon Hayward was awful, hitting just 1-of-8 shots for four points in 28 minutes off the bench. I picked up Marvin Williams for four games this week, and almost trust him more than I do Hayward right now. I’m in the minority, but I just don’t see Hayward being consistent enough this season to be in many starting lineups. Al Jefferson had a season-high 28 points on 10-of-15 shooting, but added just five boards and no blocks. Just consider it a strange night for the big man.
Tyson Chandler scored a career-high 28 points on 12-of-13 shooting with 10 boards and two steals in the loss to the Nets. Raymond Felton was awful, hitting just 3-of-19 shots against Deron Williams, but he’ll bounce back in the next one, while Carmelo Anthony stayed hot with 35 points, three 3-pointers and 13 boards in the loss. Jason Kidd sat out Monday’s loss to Brooklyn with a sore back and didn’t even make the trip. The Knicks didn’t want him sitting on the bus to the arena and back last night, leaving him questionable for Wednesday at Milwaukee.
Caron Butler caught fire for a season-high 33 points, six rebounds and a franchise record nine 3-pointers in a loss to the Hornets. I’m not racing to pick him up, but he looked about eight years younger than he normally does last night. DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin both disappeared in the loss to the Hornets, but should bounce back on Wednesday against the Wolves. Griffin had a career-low four points before fouling out. Yuck.
Jason Smith had 17 points off the bench in a tough win over the Clippers, along with four boards and a block in 29 minutes. Just keep an eye on him. Al-Farouq Aminu bounced back with 10 points, eight boards and four steals in 35 minutes after mysteriously playing just 15 minutes on Sunday, and remains a solid SF option in fantasy. Robin Lopez had just four points, two rebounds and a block as he got lost in a twister induced by Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Ryan Hollins. RoLo is hit or miss, but still worth hanging onto, especially with Anthony Davis out for a couple weeks with his ankle injury. Greivis Vasquez went off for 25 points, five 3-pointers, six boards and 10 assists in the win, but also had eight turnovers. He’s turned out to be a true fantasy steal and remains unchallenged for the point guard job in New Orleans. Eric Gordon’s pain in his knee is subsiding, but I’m still not stashing him anywhere, as it sounds like he has a mid-January target date.
Nicolas Batum is still struggling to get over the flu and has looked like a shell of his former self over the last few games. I’m thinking this is simply a slump and you should be making low-ball offers for him until it ends. LaMarcus Aldridge thought about skipping this one with back pain, but powered through it for one of his best games of the season – 32 points, 10 boards, three steals and three blocks in 41 minutes. L.A. can thank Damian Lillard, as the double teams he’s drawing from the outside are going to help Aldridge until further notice. Now let’s just hope his back and wrist hold up. Lillard hit just 4-of-18 shots, but still filled the stat sheet and was due for an off night. Wesley Matthews played well again, but suffered a thumb injury in the loss. Keep an eye out for news on him.
Jerryd Bayless started in place of Mike Conley, who was out with the flu, and had nine points and six dimes on 3-of-11 shooting. Zach Randolph finally missed a double-double for the first time this season with ‘just’ 19 points and eight boards. I was asked on Twitter this morning if Conley should be dropped for Ricky Rubio. What?!
Jeff Taylor had 10 points, four steals and another 3-pointer in Monday’s blowout loss, and has now scored in double figures in five straight games, racking up 11 steals and eight 3-pointers over that stretch. Taking a flier on Taylor makes sense right now. Kemba Walker finally fell to earth, failing to score in the blowout, but owners should just pretend like this one never happened as the Cats lost by 45 to the Thunder. He’s having a great season. Bismack Biyombo sat out with a leg contusion, while Byron Mullens and the rest of the Cats struggled last night.
Hasheem Thabeet had a career-high 13 points with 10 boards and a block, but let’s keep in mind the Thunder won this game in the first quarter and finished with a 45-point lead. Kevin Martin owners are probably panicking as he was quiet again with 12 points in 20 minutes, but he will bounce back and be fine. And as I retweeted yesterday, Russell Westbrook (12 points and 11 assists) is averaging a career high in assists (8.6) and a career low in turnovers (2.9).
Andre Iguodala was ejected for arguing last night, finishing with 10 points, three boards, four assists and two steals in 25 minutes. A suspension doesn’t sound likely, so hopefully he bounces back on Thursday at Golden State. Ty Lawson had 16 points, nine dimes and a full stat line, as the buy-low window continues to close on him.
Steve Nash had an MRI on his sore leg canceled Monday and remains without a timetable, while Steve Blake has already been ruled out for Tuesday against the Pacers with his abdominal strain. Just hang onto Nash until we find out exactly when he’s going to be back for the Lakers.
Marcus Thornton suffered a right quad strain on Monday, leaving him iffy for tonight when the Kings play the Timberwolves.
Andrew Bogut didn’t practice on Monday and there’s still no timetable for his return. I’m fine with owners holding him as they await his ankle to gain strength and for him to return to action, but I’m also glad I’m not one of them.
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