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January 9, 2013
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Jim Dandy to the Rescue

Aaron Bruski
Senior Writer, Rotoworld.com

 

Monday night was a newsy sort of night and since then it feels like things have stepped up a notch.  There were only five games last night, but the coaching change in Milwaukee along with some of the off-the-court drama, trade rumors, and for me the relocation rumors surrounding the Kings have kept things interesting to say the least.  Add in a big Wednesday night and we have a lot to get to, so let’s get to gabbing. 

 

For real-time news and information as we bear down on the NBA trade deadline and in general, click here to follow me on Twitter. 

 

Cleaning the Glass

 

The Heat could sure use a guy like Reggie Evans nowadays, and Chris Andersen rumors are probably appealing to the average Heat fan right now.  To that end, let’s not have a Black Friday race to the death to run and pick the Birdman up if he is signed.  The Heat got murdered on the glass with a 19-rebound deficit, as Chris Bosh (14 points, five boards) continues to struggle there and LeBron James (22 points, 10 boards, four assists, seven turnovers) can only be in two or three places on the court at one time. 

 

Dwyane Wade came out firing and finished with 30 points on 9-of-16 shooting, four treys, five boards, three assists, and a block.  He has played at a second round value over the past week, so he’s taking baby steps toward his ADP but still has a ways to go to make up for his off-time and early struggles.  Ray Allen was shut out for just the second time in his career, missing on five field goal attempts in 16 minutes.  He had been playing well so chalk it up to old age and live to fight another day.  As for James’ sore ankle, knee, and shoulder, I’m not worried about them at all and neither should you. 

 

Paul Ball

 

Paul George had owners a bit panicked after a slow start to the season, but he has really come on as of late and he starred in Indiana’s win over the Heat.  He scored 29 points on 12-of-27 shooting (including four threes) with 11 rebounds and two assists in a herculean effort.  He had to with George Hill (zero points, four assists, 23 minutes) leaving last night’s game halfway due to dehydration, which isn’t a big deal for Hill and after his groin issue now is probably the best time to make a run at him.  David West added 14 and 11 with two steals and a rare 3-pointer, and Roy Hibbert helped the Pacers secure a 55-36 rebounding advantage with 14 boards of his own. 

 

Hibbert still hit just 3-of-12 shots for six points and did not have a block, and talk about his right wrist injury isn’t getting a lot of play but regardless he’s one struggling big man right now.  Lance Stephenson scored 13 points with three treys, four rebounds, two assists, and two steals, and was also credited with some good defense on Dwyane Wade in the second half.  His bump in production was likely a function of Hill’s absence so owners should continue treating him like the deep league asset he is and nothing more.  Owners should not be running to the wire to grab D.J. Augustin (four points, eight assists, 24 minutes) unless we get an unlikely report that Hill will miss more time. 

 

Nets Win Despite Blatche Incident

 

Andray Blatche was questioned by police in an alleged sexual assault that took place in the hotel suite where he was staying on Monday night, which pretty much dominated the media coverage of the game.  To that end, preliminary reports have found that he was not a part of the incident, but the incident isn’t going to do anything for his reputation as a bad apple off the court, especially with the date rape drug being found in his suite.  As for the game itself, both he and the Nets were unfazed as they steamrolled the Sixers in their house, and Blatche himself scored 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting with seven rebounds and two assists in 22 minutes off the bench. 

 

Reggie Evans was equally as effective with a career-high 23 rebounds in his 27 minutes of action, while Kris Humphries (two points, three rebounds) returned to action from his abdominal injury to play 10 minutes off the bench.  Even if we take a small sample size of four games in which Evans has averaged 12.3 rebounds per contest, he’s still on the wrong side of 20-team value.  If you’re considering him, it’s because you’re amazingly desperate for rebounds and willing to pay the price.  In general, the PF slot in Brooklyn is a situation to avoid in most formats. 

 

Over the same one-week span Deron Williams (22 points, five assists, 7-of-11 FGs) has been a top 5-6 play with much of the credit going to his 48.1 percent field goal shooting.  Maybe this will mark a turning point in his season, but with the various dings and scratches he has I’d personally be testing the market to see what I can get in return.  It hasn’t hurt that the Nets have played a very weak schedule since Avery Johnson was fired, either. 

 

Deep-Sixed

 

You can blame Andrew Bynum’s absence on the state of affairs in Philly, but they still have a talented group that hasn’t been playing up to par as a team this season.  Jrue Holiday was productive with 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting (3-of-3 from deep) and eight assists, but outside of Spencer Hawes (14 points, 6-of-9 FGs, two threes, four assists, two blocks) his teammates failed to show up. 

 

It’s hard to get down on any one of the offending parties since it was a collective and connected effort, but it will be hard for Jason Richardson (six points, 3-of-9 FGs, no threes) owners to swallow his 19-minute performance.  Maybe he’s not fully healthy, but I sense that there is more of a team-wide struggle that Richardson is not able to overcome on his own at this stage in his career.  He looked great when things were going well earlier in the year, and so there is a context for owners to hold with, but I wouldn’t pass up an above average free agent to do it in standard 12-team formats. 

 

Who is Robert Sacre for $500, Alex? 

 

There are plenty of reasons to make fun of the Lakers if you’re not a Lakers fan right now, but in a game that Robert Sacre started at center I’m not going to go in hard on them for their loss to the Rockets.  Dwight Howard (shoulder) apparently didn’t suffer a tear of his labrum, but a separation of the labrum from the bone, and that makes him more ‘day-to-day’ than out indefinitely.  Pau Gasol (concussion) will be evaluated on Thursday and is questionable for Friday’s game. 

 

Steve Nash dealt with his back issue mid-game but still finished with 16 points, five rebounds, and 10 assists, marking the 10,000th assist in his future Hall of Fame career.  Darius Morris (12 points, two assists) started at shooting guard and is not a fantasy asset, while Sacre scored 10 points with four rebounds and three blocks.  Unless you’re in a massive format, gambling on Sacre in another spot-start is risky business.  Metta World Peace bounced back from some slow outings to post 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting with four threes, six boards, and four steals, and if he somehow was dropped go run and pick him up.  Jodie Meeks logged 32 minutes off the bench and put up a relatively slow 12 points with three treys in 32 minutes, and he’s still a guy owners will want to view skeptically unless they’re hunting threes.  Antawn Jamison didn’t live up to any of the hype, scoring seven points with not much else in 24 minutes.  He could still have a good night tonight with Howard and Gasol out, but I wouldn’t pass up on a hot free agent to see if it happens as he’s a short-term play at best right now. 

 

The Lakers aren’t a sure bet to make the playoffs this year, which would make them one of the most disappointing teams of all-time.  With Kobe Bryant being closer to average than elite on defense, Nash being a league-worst defender, Pau being forced to cover power forwards and also lacking on that end, World Peace being closer to average these days, and Howard being a defensive liability for the first time in his career – they will need to figure out something schematically to change their fortunes.  And Mike D’Antoni is not the guy to do it. 

 

Thanks for the Complement

 

The Rockets, on the other hand, are playing like a well-oiled machine with parts that complement one another even if they’re understated next to other Western Conference playoff hopefuls.  James Harden (31 points, six rebounds, nine assists) and Jeremy Lin (19 points, six rebounds, five assists, four steals, seven turnovers) continue to play well off of one another, even if the results aren’t always perfect for Lin.  Harden tweaked an ankle and it wasn’t concerning enough for us to put him on the injury report, but keep your ear to the ground in advance of tonight’s game. 

 

Omer Asik had a down night with two points, five boards, and two blocks in 22 minutes, as Kevin McHale went away from the big man last night.  If you’re not punting in his deficient areas you’re doing it wrong, but this is a buy low window if you’re doing it right.  Chandler Parsons got back on track despite the flu with 20 points, five rebounds, three assists, one steal, and one block in 43 minutes of action, and even with the rough five-game stretch he shouldn’t have hit the wire in any formats.  He’s a stud this season. 

 

Carlos Delfino hit five treys for 19 points with six rebounds, three assists, and two steals in 23 minutes off the bench.  He is a late-round value on the year in 8- and 9-cat formats and an early round value during his two-week hot streak, making him a must-own player that owners should expect late-round production from.  Anything else should be considered a bonus, and likewise if he dips down feel free to drop him.  Patrick Patterson (nine points, four rebounds, one blocks) played just 19 minutes as the Rockets went small, but had been playing well since returning from injury and is worth owning in 12-team formats. 

 

Sunny Side Up

 

The Suns aren’t clicking in real life but they clicked in the box score last night despite the loss to the Bucks.  Goran Dragic scored 21 points on 8-of-15 shooting with four assists and two steals, Marcin Gortat went for 16 and 14 with three assists and a block, Jared Dudley scored 18 points with five rebounds, eight assists, two steals, and two 3-pointers, and Luis Scola double-doubled with 12 points and 10 boards.  Each of these guys should be owned in all formats right now.  Shannon Brown scored eight points on 2-of-8 shooting with four rebounds and one assist, and he’s likely the guy that Dudley is talking about when he discussed the team’s general ball-hogging out of certain players.  Brown is waiver wire fodder until he can pull it back together for a decent stretch. 

 

Jim Dandy to the Rescue

 

New interim coach Jim Boylan made a lot of fantasy friends early on Tuesday when he announced that Ersan Ilyasova would be starting and that he was going to play the young guys.  He talked openly about getting E.I. going and in general it sounds like he’s going to stop the rotation roulette.  The Bucks responded with a win over the Suns and turned in a normal looking box score for once.  Ilyasova played 26 minutes and finished with 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting, two threes, six rebounds, four assists, and two steals, Larry Sanders continued to be a beast with 10 points, eight rebounds, three steals, and six blocks in 26 minutes, and John Henson even got some late run to post 12 points, 11 boards, and a block in 19 minutes. 

 

Ekpe Udoh logged 22 minutes and had two points on 0-for-5 shooting with six rebounds, two assists, and one block, and he’d be the first guy we’d peg to lose minutes out of this group after the first night of the Boylan era.  Samuel Dalembert did not play which isn’t surprising, even though that could obviously change.  Mike Dunleavy still got his customary 25 minutes and scored nine points on 4-of-9 shooting with three rebounds, two assists, and a block (though he didn’t hit a three), and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (11 points, four rebounds, 25 minutes) was the only other old vet besides Beno Udrih (18 minutes, 10 points) to see the court. 

 

Monta Ellis looked like a fish out of water in an offense that suddenly found ball movement, hitting just 5-of-19 shots (including a three) with three rebounds, three assists, and five turnovers, and he could very well be pressing now that the Bucks are officially in limbo as a franchise.  Brandon Jennings, on the other hand, was electric with 29 points on 9-of-15 shooting (5-of-7 3PTs, 6-of-6 FTs) with three rebounds, nine assists, one steal, and one block.  This is Jennings’ team and it wouldn’t be surprising to see some sniping about touches if one or both players decide it’s time to create their own trade market.   

 

As for Ilyasova, I can’t imagine leaving him on the wire with these developments, and owners shouldn’t be panicking about my current Defensive Player of the Year vote in Sanders (like I have a vote).  Dunleavy is still worth a look but could get phased out if younger guys play well, and Henson is worth a hard look given his propensity to produce when given the minutes.  The Bucks might actually loosen up and play well here now that the drill sergeant is gone. 

 

One final personal note to those that have followed my every-week stays of execution for Ilyasova, I managed to keep him in every league I owned him in (which was a good amount).  It feels a little bit lucky to have Skiles exit stage right, but at the same time his talent as a player and fantasy asset should have spoken for itself so I don’t feel too bad. 

 

Charmin Alert

 

The Hawks lost to the Wolves in Minnesota and the team’s slow start prompted Larry Drew to call his team “soft” last night, which didn’t sit well with Josh Smith, who is the usual suspect whenever stuff like this happens in Atlanta.  He still put up a massive line with 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting, two threes, 13 rebounds, seven assists, one steal, and two blocks.  He’s en fuego right now.  Al Horford agreed with Drew’s assessment, making him the guy that’s likely frustrated with Smith, and posted a tidy 19 points on 9-of-16 shooting with 11 rebounds, four assists, two steals, and one block. 

 

Lou Williams continued to show why he should have never been dropped with 21 points, four rebounds, and eight assists, while Jeff Teague struggled to the tune of five points on 2-of-6 shooting with zero assists in 22 foul-plagued minutes.  Drew also talked about potential changes after the game, which he has threatened in the past and done nothing to back it up, and Doc thinks that Teague could have a bulls-eye on his back.  I don’t know how that will work since the Hawks are kiddie-pool shallow in their backcourt, and both of us are advising not to do anything drastic with Teague.  Moreover, this is Teague in a nutshell.  If he could bring a consistent effort and focus into every night he’d be an All Star with his physical tools, but lapses of all types are what have defined his career to date.  Chances are he’ll bounce back and do this again sometime down the road. 

 

Give That Man a Hand

 

Kevin Love (hand) will be out for “a number of weeks” and he’ll be meeting with a specialist today to determine if surgery will be needed.  This means a gaping 30-plus minute window will need to be filled throughout the rotation, with plenty of touches to go around to the remaining guys.  Dante Cunningham (six points, five rebounds, three steals, 26 minutes) is the current favorite to start and take the bulk of Love’s minutes, but Derrick Williams (21 minutes, 17 points, 7-of-13 FGs, three treys, one rebound, one assist, no steals or blocks) could conceivably compete in the position battle.  I just don’t see the allure of Williams from a fantasy or reality perspective, as he doesn’t do much besides score and he doesn’t really do that well, either.  That doesn’t mean that he can’t grow if given the minutes, but that the vast amount of data we have on him says he won’t. 

 

Ricky Rubio will play in his first back-to-back situation tonight after logging 19 minutes last night with four points on free throws with no field goal attempts, four steals, and eight assists.  He’s only going to get better as long as he doesn’t have a setback, so I can’t see leaving him on the wire if he is somehow available in your league.  Alexey Shved continued to impress with 15 points on 6-of-15 shooting (including two threes) with seven assists, two steals, and two blocks in 42 minutes.  He handled the ball in crunch time and it looks like his job will be safe barring an extreme slump.  If he could ever clean up his sub-40 percent field goal shooting he’d shoot up toward the middle rounds for value, whereas he is a late-round value or worse in 8- and 9-cat leagues, respectively.  It’s hard to say with certainty, but Rubio’s return could be good news for Shved’s efficiency and by the looks of things his minutes will be the last to go if things get tight at the guard slots. 

 

Andrei Kirilenko scored 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting (2-of-2 3PTs, 5-of-5 FTs) with six rebounds and five assists.  He didn’t have a steal or block but he’s going to be a beast as long as he is healthy with Love out so owners will give him a pass.  Ditto for Nikola Pekovic, who played through a hip injury and scored 25 points on 9-of-15 shooting with a career-high 18 rebounds and one block.  Both guys have the look of early-to-mid round plays early in Love’s absence. 

 

Raggedy Andy

 

No matter how you slice it, the news coming out in the last 24 hours regarding Anderson Varejao’s knee injury is a major bummer.  Byron Scott sounded somber when explaining his thoughts about Varejao’s timetable, calling into question his season by saying he’s “optimistic” that he will return this year.  Setting that aside for a second, this is an injury that started out as a day-to-day injury that by all reports wasn’t serious.  It has morphed into a potential serious injury all while Varejao has been the subject of considerable trade rumors.  Could the Cavs simply be holding him out to keep him healthy in advance of a potential trade?  That’s some conspiracy talk right there, but stranger things have happened in the association. 

 

Still, though, owners can’t afford to take that position in a potential buy low deal for Andy and they can’t do the same when evaluating Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller, who are the last men standing for the Cavs down low. 

 

Thompson has his issues with peripheral stats but has been a mid-round value over the past two weeks, averaging 13.7 points and 12.1 rebounds with a special bonus of 81.5 percent shooting from the foul line.  The foul shooting isn’t going to keep up, but when it all evens out he should be a solid late round value with nobody to contend with for however long Varejao stays out.  Zeller on the other hand has been a mess shooting the ball 38.8 percent from the field and has been light on the glass with just 6.4 boards per game during that same span.  He’s blocking 1.6 shots per game though and with value hovering in the 14-16 team range currently he has room to improve if he can start shooting the ball like an NBA center.  I like Thompson as a must-own player in 12-team formats with a strong add recommendation in 10-team formats, while Zeller is a must-own player in 14-16 team formats and worth a look in 12-team versions.    

 

The John Wall Dance

 

Wizards owner Ted Leonsis wrote on his blog that Saturday could mark the first time that his entire team will “dress,” which is obviously big news for John Wall (knee) owners.  I wouldn’t say at this point that he’s a guarantee to play, but that doesn’t really matter if you’ve waited this long.  Expect him to be eased in and be ready to adjust your evaluations of Bradley Beal, Jordan Crawford, and Martell Webster, who will all see a decrease in minutes and touches when Wall is back up to speed.  I’d also expect a slight uptick in the efficiency of the Wizards’ bigs, who will get easier looks with an elite-potential threat added to the lineup.  Here’s looking at you Mr. 8-of-20 Kevin Seraphin

 

Don’t Sleep on Shooting Wrists

 

LaMarcus Aldridge’s right (shooting) wrist injury popped back up on the radar again as he missed practice yesterday to get an X-ray.  The X-ray returned negative and he is probable to play in Thursday’s game.  I’ve been an advocate of taking wrist injuries seriously, as we’ve seen them knock out guys every year and they almost always start out with little fanfare (see Williams, Deron).  That said, it’s hard to judge what the future will bring in each case and owners have to figure out the risk/reward of possibly moving a player dealing with one. 

 

With Aldridge bouncing back from his minor ailments this year and playing well as of late, I’d be pretty happy getting an early round player on the upswing in any deal.  With his probable status for Thursday, it’s possible you can secure a top-30 player in return, too.  Aldridge has plenty of name value as an early pick in drafts, but he’s still just a top 20-30 value on the year and selling in that general range isn’t going to break the bank if owners can secure a safer asset.  In the good news/bad news department, the Blazers really need him to play since Meyers Leonard is both injured and still a project, but also have plenty of reason to play it safe in a season where a playoff berth would be an upset. 

 

News and Notes

 

Iman Shumpert (knee) has been cleared for practice and while he’ll need some time to ramp up whenever he gets back on the court, he’s a bit of a sleeper to take over some point guard duties toward the end of Raymond Felton’s absence.  Jason Kidd has been getting ridden pretty hard so far this season, and if Shumpert’s return is going well then the Knicks would be well served getting Kidd some rest. 

 

Tyreke Evans reported no soreness in his knee after Monday’s game and also said that he has no minute limit, but owners should know better than to bank on anything coming out of Sacramento these days.  Consider waiting until he puts up a good line before deploying him if you have options. 

 

Rudy Gay has emerged as the flavor of the day in the trade rumor mill (with a dash of Zach Randolph).  Keep an eye out for our trade deadline coverage this season, which we continue to expand as we seek to be the Internet’s one-stop shop making sense of it all. 

 

Derrick Rose’s status was detailed well in this article from NBA.com, but the timeline still sits at or near the All Star break for his return.  With everything seemingly going so well, I can’t imagine letting him float on the wire in leagues that don’t penalize you for carrying injured players. 

 

Wednesday Night Lights

 

UTA @ CHA:  Alec Burks could play some point guard going forward with Mo Williams out for a while, and while he should be monitored in deep leagues for now the bigger fantasy impact of Williams’ absence could lie with Gordon Hayward.  Hayward has slowly gotten more touches as the facilitator that many (including yours truly) envisioned him to be this season.  I’ve come across a great Jazz resource lately (@AllThatAmar) and he put together quite the analysis on Hayward and how he has fared through the years.  It’s doubtful that Hayward is available in too many leagues after his outburst from Monday night, and he’s certainly shown that he can disappear after those outings, but maybe just maybe the Jazz are going to figure out that more is better with Hayward. 

 

Marvin Williams (knee) will be out “at least” three games, and while it’s Randy Foye that has stolen Hayward’s minutes, it’s not going to hurt Hayward to have extra space available on the wings.  As for Mo, he suffered a complete tear of the thumb ligament he injured in 2008 and it looks like the earliest he will return is March.  Unless you have plenty of bench space in a weekly league, playoff league, or league with games played limits, a drop is certainly on the table for discussion. 

 

As for the Bobcats, Hakim Warrick (illness) is expected to play and we’ll see tonight what kind of staying power Tyrus Thomas has.  The only thing Thomas has going in my mind is his overall conditioning, which is said to be better than the prior season by local reports.  With Byron Mullens eventually returning, I don’t like any of them besides Mullens over the long-term.  And though Mullens has some mid-round upside if he’s playing well, I can’t bring myself to call him a must-own player in standard formats with the threat of possible timeshare looming. 


PHI @ TOR:  Andrew Bynum (knees) has gotten to treadmill work and anticipates on-court work soon, and apparently his right knee is no longer an issue.  The left knee, however, still has some ambiguity to it and in reality his entire situation is up for grabs.  Still, it’s the best update we’ve gotten on Bynum to date and owners will probably want to hang on to see how the next few weeks go. 

 

Terrence Ross (ankle) did not practice yesterday making him questionable for tonight, and that gives a slight bump to Alan Anderson who has been playing well lately.  Anderson should be owned in most formats after posting mid-round value over the past two weeks.  Just keep in mind that things could get crowded as folks get healthier.  Andrea Bargnani still can’t lift his arm.  I put in a $1 bid for him on Sunday in a deeper 12-team league and I’m kind of glad I didn’t land him.  The reason I didn’t get him was that I bid on Jonas Valanciunas ahead of him, who is 2.5 weeks into his 4-6 week timetable for return.  It has been quiet in Toronto on this front, and this type of move isn’t for 12-team standard leagues just yet.  With Bargnani probably out of the picture, it’s possible JV will get a bit more love in the offense and the like with the team likely transitioning to a developmental stage (if embattled GM Jerry Colangelo allows that). 


ATL @ CLE:  C.J. Miles (back) is expected to play, and I wouldn’t be nearly as bullish as our last blurb about playing 30 minutes.  If he’s scoring and not killing the Cavs on defense, then he’ll stay in the game and vice-versa.  Similarly, Dion Waiters is on his own schedule with Byron Scott, too.  If he’s taking the right shots and playing defense he’ll get big minutes, and if not he’ll hover in the 27-minute range.  We’ll be watching to see who, if anybody, Larry Drew dings after his mild threats from last night. 


PHO @ BOS:  The Suns will come in tired after last night’s loss and get a Celtics team with all sorts of attention on them right now.  Rajon Rondo will return from his suspension and Avery Bradley is getting integrated into the starting unit.  Jason Terry has probably run out of leash with many of you (myself included), and another bad night will likely do him in. 


MIL @ CHI:  Kirk Hinrich cut his elbow in Monday’s game and did not practice yesterday, and if it’s not one thing it’s another for him.  If he can’t go then Nate Robinson will look to capitalize on the opportunity.  Robinson was a nice mathematical asset when he was posting low-end value in his bench role, with theoretic upside in the event that Hinrich got hurt.  But he has been inconsistent when given the opportunities, making him somebody to spot-start in a pinch in standard leagues but to otherwise watch from the wire.  The Jim Boylan show gets a second look, which we’ll all surely be watching closely. 


LAL @ SA:  I’ll personally be watching to see how Kawhi Leonard does and surely many of you will be, too.  He’s been a borderline 12-team guy since returning but his numbers are all at the lower range of what they could possibly be so I can’t see dropping him right now.  I know many of you (and many of us) are more impatient than that in 8- and 9-cat formats. 


MIN @ OKC:  The Thunder are rolling right along and we’ll watch to see if Russell Westbrook’s shooting improvement can continue.  The Wolves will come in off the back-to-back and it may be asking too much for them to play well against the Thunder again at the Peake. 


HOU @ NO:  Eric Gordon has been playing well, Al-Farouq Aminu has been getting added in fantasy leagues, and Anthony Davis is due for an eruption.  Going against Omer Asik isn’t usually a good formula for that, but the Rockets like to get up and down the court and the box scores can be generous. 


ORL @ DEN:  The Magic’s key fantasy guys are all quality fantasy starters right now, while Denver is still looking to find consistency out of their main fantasy guys.  Ty Lawson had a big night against the defenseless Lakers the last time out, and the Magic aren’t exactly stoppers so hopefully his suffering owners can get a repeat. 


DAL @ LAC:  Jamal Crawford (foot) did not practice on Monday and there was no update on his status yesterday, making him pretty questionable for tonight’s game.  Reports have varied about Chauncey Billups’ status with a foot injury, ranging from somewhat serious to not serious at all, and the most recent one has him possibly returning toward the end of January.  The Mavs are an up-and-down team at best but Dirk Nowitzki is back and looking good on the offensive end, while Elton Brand has made some slight noise and Chris Kaman is coming off a serviceable outing.  Darren Collison needs to keep the pedal to the metal with Rick Carlisle seemingly willing to look at anybody to spell him with.  Vince Carter has slowed down and needs to have a big night to retain interest in the standard market. 


MEM @ GSW:  Jarrett Jack (elbow) went through a full practice yesterday and should be used as you normally would tonight.  The Warriors have a lot to prove after their shellacking at the hands of the Clippers over the weekend.  Their schedule was weak to start the year and they caught some good teams sleeping, but now their overrated defense will be challenged and the schedule is stiffening.  I love my Warriors but I’m refusing to drool all over Mark Jackson and the new deep-pocketed ownership, which puts me in the minority of media guys these days. 

 

The real evaluation comes over the next 10-12 games, and anybody telling you otherwise isn’t paying close enough attention.  If the Warriors do struggle, it could mean more minutes for Carl Landry, Draymond Green, and Harrison Barnes, as they have better athleticism than David Lee, Klay Thompson, and Jarrett Jack, and in general there could be a softening of the pinball numbers the big names have been putting up.  Still, the whole lot of them should be deployed how they normally would be outside of daily salary cap leagues.  The Grizzlies boast a great defense, so tonight’s contest will be a good measuring stick. 

Aaron Bruski has been covering fantasy hoops for Rotoworld for five years and is dialed into the fight to the keep the Kings in Sacramento. Hit him on Twitter at Aaronbruski.

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