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December 5, 2012
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Randolph the Red Hot Reindeer

Aaron Bruski
Senior Writer,

It’s good to be back, folks.  I’ve been on assignment for ProBasketballTalk reporting on the Kings relocation saga.  There is nothing more depressing than watching that great fanbase get railroaded by their broke owners, and if you want to see what a pen crossed with a blowtorch looks like – go ahead and click the link.  With plenty of action yesterday and a big night ahead of us, let’s do this thing. 


And to follow me on Twitter for real-time news and information, bang it right here. 


Let’s Get A Shved of Ourselves


The Wolves dusted the middling Sixers last night in a 17-point game that wasn’t as close as the score suggested.  Entering this week I took a big gamble on Alexey Shved in a deeper 12-team big money league, using just over $200 of a $1,000 FAAB budget to secure the rookie for one of my more troubled fantasy units.  The thinking was along the lines of what I’ve been saying here for weeks, which was that Shved has plenty of talent, the Wolves love him, and he profiles to be the last guy standing in a backcourt of injury risks. 


Needless to say I’m thrilled with the early returns as he posted 17 points with four treys, three rebounds, four assists, and a block in 29 minutes off the bench.  He’s shooting 54 percent from distance over his last three games, and while those numbers will come back to earth and Ricky Rubio’s return will hurt – I’m tethered to his upside and I’m not letting go. 


J.J. Barea (foot) is still not 100 percent but he double-doubled with 11 points, 10 assists, one steal, and one three.  He’s capable of doing this on any given night even in a limited role, but his field goal shooting and Rubio’s return leave him a step or two behind Shved in the fantasy pecking order.  Luke Ridnour scored 10 points with four assists in 21 minutes, as his back ailment and the lopsided score made this a good spot for him to get some early rest.  Feel free to drop him for an above average free agent, but owners shouldn’t rule him out for late-round value when Rubio returns if they decide to use him in a starting shooting guard role. 


Nikola Pekovic (six points, five boards) and an under the weather Kevin Love (six points, 2-of-10 FGs, 10 boards, five assists, one three) were casualties of the blowout and both played less than 27 minutes.  Josh Howard double-doubled for the first time in three years, scoring 16 points with 10 boards, a steal, and four turnovers in the win.  Give him a look as long as Andrei Kirilenko (back) is out. 


I Used To Be In a Barbershop Quartet


The Sixers sure seem a lot worse than their 10-8 record right now, as they’re searching for leadership, consistency, and depth on seemingly a nightly basis.  Jrue Holiday (13 points, five boards, nine assists) is doing his part to lead the team, and only had three turnovers last night, and teammates Evan Turner (19 points, 8-of-20 FGs), Thaddeus Young (13 points, two boards), and Jason Richardson (14 points, seven boards, four assists, two steals, one block) have been consistent fantasy options, Young's slow night notwithstanding. 


Beyond that barber shop quartet, however, it has been slim pickings for the team in both fantasy and reality.  Lavoy Allen (six points, five boards, two steals, one block) has been a deep league option lately but he’s not busting down anybody’s doors, while Spencer Hawes (six points, four rebounds, one three, 22 minutes) has simply been a bust and looks either injured or timid, or both.  Nick Young (toe) did not play and is officially day-to-day, and Dorell Wright (12 minutes, six points, two treys, three boards) has completely fallen off after a promising start to the year. 


Bangin The Drum


The Wizards shocked the Heat last night to grab their second win of the year, and probably bought Randy Wittman at least a week without any major revolt in the process.  Heading into the game Wittman went with yet another starting lineup combination, moving Chris Singleton into Kevin Seraphin’s starting slot. 


My drum-banging for Seraphin from a few weeks back has been a mixed bag so far, as he has struggled with his shooting and like his teammates his role has been a question mark from night-to-night.  Still, he has returned late round value over the past two weeks and last night he played a critical role down the stretch, finishing with 16 points, 10 boards, two assists, and a block in 31 minutes.  The Wizards certainly rely on Seraphin for offense, albeit in sporadic fashion, so I still like his outlook and if he can get his shooting back on track he’ll have mid-round upside.   


Trevor Ariza suffered a calf injury during the third quarter last night and is being called day-to-day, but he left the arena in a walking boot and there is talk that the injury could be more serious than not.  Jordan Crawford stepped into the void and scored 22 points on 7-of-16 shooting with three treys, three boards, six assists, and a steal in 31 minutes.  Both he and Bradley Beal (10 points, two boards, three assists, one block, 17 minutes) will have an opening to improve their consistency.  Crawford has some breakout potential even if his peripherals leave a lot to be desired.  Beal has plenty of upside, too, but owners should continue to treat him as a stash due to his still shaky role. 


Chris Singleton went for nine and nine with a block, and may have been called on for 35 minutes tonight to combat the Heat’s athleticism.  He’s a deep league special at best, as is Martell Webster (13 points, two threes, 5-of-5 FTs, 32 minutes).  Nene (seven points, five boards, three assists, one steal) played just 17 minutes, and he’s just a deep league asset until he can prove healthy enough to get consistent burn.   


Return of the King


Mario Chalmers left last night’s upset loss to the Wizards with a left ring finger injury and did not return.  X-rays taken were negative, and with Norris Cole (groin/hamstring) a scratch it’s shaping up to be the LeBron James show at point guard.  The King wasted no time in posting one of the season’s best fantasy lines in a triple-double effort, scoring 26 points with 13 rebounds, 11 assists, three steals, and two blocks in a whopping 43 minutes.  Kevin Durant is running away in the battle of the consensus top-two fantasy picks so far, but look for James to do some serious damage if he’s going to be the team’s only point guard in the short-term. 


Shane Battier (knee) went through a limited shootaround but did not play last night, so Mike Miller (11 points, three treys, four boards, 29 minutes) could be worth a look for his long distance shooting.  Dwyane Wade scored 24 points with two rebounds, three assists, and two steals, and is slowly dusting himself off after a slow start with an average of third round value on the year.  Ray Allen (11 points, three treys) is sitting on mid-round value so far this season, and Chris Bosh continued to blast away at his ADP with 20 points, 12 boards, and four assists in the loss. 


Pau-er Outage


The story in L.A. right now, other than the losing and Dwight Howard’s free throws, is the sudden and sharp decline by Pau Gasol.  He has essentially been ruled out through Friday due to his knee tendinitis and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him miss more time after that.   The coincidental timing of his demotion, knee issues, and trade talk was a bit too convenient on first glance, but the knee issues indeed appear to be holding him back.  I can’t speak for the rest of the situation, as reading between the lines it looks like the Lakers are setting him up for a trade.  And while it feels like that is a foregone conclusion right now, even if they don’t trade Gasol it looks like Mike D’Antoni and management are dead set on playing a stretch four as much as they can.   


My last recommendation on the big man was to wait until a big game if owners wanted to move him, but with the story shifting further out of favor it isn’t a bad play to look for trade partners that believe they’re buying low.  Don’t fire sale the guy, but any early round value in return is worth a look.  Otherwise, just get him on your bench and decide what you want to do when he gets healthy.  A trade to the right location could return him to elite status pretty quick, assuming the knee issues aren’t going to linger all year. 


Kobe Bryant continued to dominate touches and hit just 14-of-31 shots, but managed a 9-of-12 mark from the line to finish with 39 points, six rebounds, two assists, two threes, and two steals in the loss to Houston.  As long as he feels like he has to carry a massive load every night, he’s going to be a top-five play and that’s that.  Just don’t be surprised if Steve Nash's (leg) eventual return causes him to tone it down a bit. 


Dwight Howard’s foul shooting (8-of-16) is becoming a bigger distraction every night, but fantasy owners have known what this is all about for years.  He scored 16 points with 12 boards, a steal, and four blocks.  Antawn Jamison moved into Gasol’s starting slot and scored 15 points with nine rebounds, two assists, one steal, three blocks, and three treys in 36 minutes.  He’s a perfect fit for D’Antoni’s offense and has his confidence back, and has a great shot at must-start status with or without Pau in the lineup.  Metta World Peace (nine points, four rebounds, one three, one steal) has cooled off a bit, but I fully expect him to be startable for the foreseeable future, as well. 


A Hard Day’s Night


James Harden was swarmed by World Peace and hit just 3-of-19 shots in the unlikely win over the Lakers, but still managed 15 points, 10 boards, six assists, and a steal.  Because of how much the Rockets rely on him, he’ll be prone to bad nights like this every once in a while.  Owners should simply dust themselves off and keep on trucking.  Jeremy Lin dealt with foul trouble and had just four points on 2-of-8 shooting, two rebounds, and three assists in 20 minutes.  He’s done this every once in a while but he has always bounced back so owners shouldn’t panic. 


The Rockets’ bench came through in a big way last night, as Toney Douglas (22 points, four rebounds, three assists, three treys, two steals, 28 minutes) picked up the slack for Lin, Carlos Delfino scored 15 points with three treys, and Greg Smith came out of nowhere to post 21 points on 7-of-8 shooting with nine rebounds and two blocks in 24 minutes.  Patrick Patterson struggled with just six points, two boards, three assists, and two blocks in 28 minutes, opening the door for Smith, but Patterson is still the player to own going forward and his recent strong play shouldn’t be ignored.  Delfino is worth a look for his typical streaky mix of 3-point shooting and steals, while Douglas should simply be watched in his sporadic backup role. 


You Want the Good News or the Bad News?


Deron Williams was a case of good news/bad news last night, as he had his best night of the year but was seen flexing his right (shooting) wrist for much of the night.  He and Russell Westbrook battled and while the Nets took the loss, Williams finished with 33 points on 10-of-20 shooting, five treys, four boards, seven assists, one steal, one block, and an 8-of-10 mark from the charity stripe.  I’m not going to say this is the same situation as when he hurt his wrist with the Jazz and then struggled with the injury after his trade to the Nets, but it’s worth pointing out that overly optimistic reports buried owners that didn’t heed thy warnings to move him while the going was good.  This year’s version isn’t as obvious as that one was, but I’d be hard pressed to pass up an offer to move him in a close to even-value trade. 


I still don’t understand everybody’s insistence that Joe Johnson is going to bounce back from his season-long slump.  He hit just 8-of-21 shots in an inefficient but fairly productive night including 17 points, three rebounds, three assists, and one three.  If not for his 1.7 triples per game, his fantasy value would really be in the toilet. 


Brook Lopez (foot) did not play and is a question mark in the short-term, though his long-term outlook isn’t quite as bad as it appeared 24 hours ago after MRI and X-ray results came back negative.  Still, his situation should be approached with caution as the Nets have a history of underreporting injuries.  Reggie Evans also missed last night’s game due to the flu, so Andray Blatche and Kris Humphries had the frontcourt to themselves last night in their loss to the Thunder.  Blatche drew the overrated defense of Kendrick Perkins and marched onward to a 19-point, 11-rebound, and three-steal night.  He should be in all lineups until Lopez returns.  Humphries secured just his fifth double-double of the year, going for 12 and 12 with a steal and he should also be in lineups for however long Lopez is out. 


We’re Not Crying Over Spilled Ink


For as much ink as we have spilled on Scott Brooks over the past few years, this year’s version of the Thunder has been a pleasure for fantasy owners.  Serge Ibaka is playing substantial minutes and had another great night, scoring 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting with six rebounds and three blocks.  Kevin Durant is running away with fantasy MVP right now and posted another sick line of 32 points on 9-of-16 shooting without missing a three (2) or free throw (12) to go with five rebounds, six assists, one steal, and one block.  Russell Westbrook scored 25 points with nine assists and three steals, and Thabo Sefolosha continued to surprise with 14 points, five boards, two threes, and a block.  Kevin Martin had a slow night with seven points on 2-of-4 shooting in 27 minutes, but with his teammates going nuts it was relatively explainable and he’s a near lock to bounce back.   


Battle of the Bruski 150


The Suns and Grizzlies overtime game was a battle of the Bruski 150, as highly ranked Goran Dragic lined up across from Mike Conley.  Dragic was the better play last night with 19 points on 8-of-15 shooting, two rebounds, seven assists, and two steals in the Suns’ loss.  He played a solid 44 minutes with Sebastian Telfair out, and while he hasn’t met my lofty No. 11 ranking we still haven’t seen Alvin Gentry fully let him loose.  On a team that has looked lucky to hold a 7-12 record, he should be playing more than 32 mpg.  


Marcin Gortat is another guy whose minutes have been messed with, but he showed up with 11 points, seven rebounds, four assists, one steal, and one block in 35 minutes.  I don’t think he’s in the clear with Gentry, but the limited depth and Jermaine O’Neal’s injury risk should keep his floor high enough to keep him among the league’s best fantasy centers.  Shannon Brown (10 points, four turnovers, two steals, one block) and Jared Dudley (13 points, three treys, two boards, three assists) continue to split shooting guard minutes, but neither of them make a great case to be owned right now in 12-team formats. 


Michael Beasley (six points, two rebounds, 30 minutes) is dead to me.  He is among the lazier players I’ve seen on the court this season and his peripherals are so bad that even deep league owners can probably do better.  Luis Scola had his best game in recent memory with 16 points, eight boards, two assists, and three steals in 38 minutes off the bench. 


Jermaine O’Neal is a perfect pickup for deep league owners right now, as he is the team’s go-to option whenever he is on the floor and he can likely be had on the cheap.  He put up 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting with two rebounds, one steal, and two blocks in 18 minutes.  He is returning solid late round value on a per-game basis in just 19 mpg, as his low-minute role is buoyed by his overall usage rate.  As long as owners enter the arrangement knowing that it could end at any time, he can be a surprising difference maker in those formats while he’s healthy. 


Randolph the Red Hot Reindeer


Speaking of the Bruski 150, I had Zach Randolph as an approximate top-50 play but during the early preseason mock draft season I was landing him virtually every time out in the fourth and fifth rounds of drafts.  After running his numbers I had him as a top 20-30 value if he could stay healthy, but the ease with which he as falling to me and the fact I was drafting him everywhere actually started to freak me out.  So I ended up moving him from about 35-40 to 50 to accommodate for age and injury risk, and it’ll be a regret at the end of this season barring a freak injury. 


Z-Bo has been dominant all year and last night he went supernova with one of the best nights of his career, setting season-highs in points (38) and rebounds (22) while hitting 15-of-22 shots from the field.  To top it off he set a career-high with three blocks.  He’s a top-36 value right now and there is no slowdown in sight. 


Mike Conley struggled hitting just 2-of-9 shots for 11 points, five rebounds, two steals, one three, and just one assist, but with top 10-15 value this season nobody is complaining.  Tony Allen (groin) was a game-time decision last night but did not play, opening the window for Quincy Pondexter to score a season-high 16 points with two threes in 37 minutes off the bench.  Pondexter and Wayne Ellington (seven points, 24 minutes) trade off decent nights whenever Allen is struggling or out. 


Boy George II Man


I’ve charted my fair share of Pacers games this season for a number of reasons.  Early on it was to see what was eating Gerald Green, but that grew into pure curiosity as a team with so much promise literally couldn’t get into an offensive set early on.  They worked the more embarrassing kinks out, and Frank Vogel has slowly promoted a better tempo and ball movement.  Still, they remain an enigmatic team boasting just two reliable scorer/playmakers in George Hill (eight points, five assists) and David West (10 points, nine rebounds, five assists). 


The latter has been rock solid scoring and performing his low-post role, and Hill shook off a slow start to begin putting up big numbers nearly every night.  Still, though, teams have barely doubled up West and Hill has not able to turn his own production into consistent good looks for his teammates.  The guy that has been hurt the most by this has been Paul George, who has morphed into more of a 3-point shooter than normal.  While shooting the long-ball well at 36.6 percent, the lower percentage shot has killed his field goal percentage as well as his consistency in one swoop, especially on nights that West and Hill weren’t getting others better looks. 


So when George went scoreless on Saturday, one almost had to know that Frank Vogel would make it a point to get his poor man’s Kevin Durant into the mix.  With an assist from Hill’s 3-of-16 and West’s 3-of-12 shooting nights, George was able to move into a starring role with 34 points on 14-of-25 shooting, nine rebounds, two assists, three steals, and two blocks.  George took just three 3-point shots (hitting one), which is about two attempts lower than his 5.2 per game average.  While the extra 0.5 3PM/gm over last season’s 1.4 mark are nice, a four-point move back toward his 44 percent career field goal mark would have him operating at peak efficiency.  


To get there he needs to get the looks he got tonight, and that will come when he operates more often inside the arc.  And as it works with many players, the more they see the ball go in the hoop the better they will defend and take care of the ball.  George is returning early mid-round value even after his disappointing start, but his steals are down and his turnovers are up.  Tonight’s recipe is what owners will want to key on when trying to decide if he is going to break out or not. 


Roy Hibbert double-doubled with 10 points on 5-of-11 shooting, 11 rebounds, two steals, and two blocks, and while he has looked about as bad offensively as could have been expected he will not shoot worse than 40 percent all season.  He is a nice buy low candidate with the regression to the mean set to occur at any time.   


Bulls on Vacay


The Bulls played without Richard Hamilton (foot) in last night’s home loss to the Pacers, starting Marco Belinelli with typical mediocre results.  Bello hit just 2-of-7 shots (no threes) for five points with six assists, one steal, and two blocks in 24 minutes.  Nate Robinson has seen a steady take out of me all season long, providing late-round value on average with the hope that one of the injury prone players in front of him taps out.  He scored 19 points on 5-of-13 shooting (2-of-7 3PTS, 7-of-7 FTs) with two rebounds and one assist in 25 minutes off the bench.  Tom Thibodeau loves to find reasons not to expand his role, but if Belinelli can’t bring more punch to the lineup then he’s going to have to unleash Lil’ Him.  Unless I’m stacked in a 12-team league, I’m finding ways to roster Robinson with Hamilton looking at an absence of 1-2 weeks or more. 


Jimmy Butler played 30 minutes and had a career-high nine rebounds to go with four points and a steal.  He has shown flashes of solid play in the past but it’s unclear if he can make an impact in the box score, so just watch him for now in most formats.  Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, and Carlos Boozer all posted relatively normal lines in the loss. 


Rosy Outlooks


A report surfaced early yesterday saying that Derrick Rose (knee surgery) could return to practice in a few weeks, and the bottom line is that nobody really knows his timetable at this point except for the head honchos in Chicago.  I’ve been monitoring these sparse reports for about a week now and added Rose in a 12-team, 16-player big money league two Sundays ago.  In that type of format, we’re looking for game-breakers and the juice is certainly worth the squeeze even if he rots on my bench all season.  In a more standard 10-12 team format, I wouldn’t call him a must-add player just yet but I’m pretty sure I would make the move.  There is simply too much upside with reports like this floating around, even if they could be overoptimistic. 


Wednesday Night Lights


NY @ CHA:  Raymond Felton (left hand) looks like a go for tonight’s game, which steals the thunder away from owners like myself that took a flier on Pablo Prigioni (and started him) in the Knicks’ four-game week.  Jason Kidd (back) is being called probable to play, but he might not start and it’s possible he’s limited, so maybe there is some hope for Prigioni to give me some low-end stats and assists – which was the primary reason I rolled the dice with him.  On a side note, he missed practice yesterday for personal reasons but is expected to play tonight.  I gave my mea culpa for ignoring Kidd last week, though his back ailment is illustrating half of the reason why I wasn’t breaking my neck to add him.  Still, he was a strong play before going down and is worth a hard look if he was dropped. 


Gerald Henderson (foot) experienced no setbacks after Monday’s 14-minute outing.  There were conflicting reports about a minute limit that night, but it’s still a wait-and-see moment in most formats.  I have him held in a deeper 12-team league and I’d probably take a flier on him in a standard 12-team league unless I’m stacked.  Yes, there is a logjam in the backcourt but his production before injury was intriguing.  Ben Gordon is hot right now, so we’ll be watching to see if the streaky shooter can keep things up and if Ramon Sessions can regain his early season form. 

POR @ IND:  Terry Stotts confirmed what we thought on Monday night about J.J. Hickson, saying he went away from the big man because Meyers Leonard and Joel Freeman were playing well.  Hickson missed out on an ugly blockout that resulted in LaMarcus Aldridge getting a facial, which was probably a better explanation.  He’s going to have moments like these throughout the year, but will be a good bet for late-round value any night he suits up until further notice. 

GSW @ DET:  Klay Thompson struggled on Monday while David Lee and Stephen Curry are beasting.  Rookie Harrison Barnes has been slipping and this will likely be a pivotal game for his ownership status.  Jarrett Jack is back on the right side of the ledger, so another good game will likely cause a free agent frenzy.  The matchup Thompson has against Kyle Singler isn’t the greatest, so don’t be surprised if he bounces back to a nice, but low-end performance.  Brandon Knight will have a nice matchup against Curry, but Rodney Stuckey could see more touches at point guard if Knight falters for the second straight night.  Greg Monroe, as long as he doesn’t overdo it, will probably light up the Warriors’ weak interior defense.  After all, they passed up on him for Ekpe Udoh in the draft. 

MIN @ BOS:  Rajon Rondo returns from his Mexico vacation and two-game suspension.  With Leandro Barbosa questionable it could lead to a perfect storm for Rondo to provide the proper apology to teammates and fans. 

LAL @ NO:  I love the mindless comments that Ryan Anderson should be traded to the Lakers because he plays well with Dwight Howard.  The more I look at Magic film of the two playing together, the more it becomes evident that the duo could have used name tags to identify each other on the court.  The only real question mark for the Hornets, err Pelicans, is whether or not Austin Rivers can ever get on track.  Robin Lopez will have his hands full with Howard, but is a decent start nonetheless.  Al-Farouq Aminu has slowed down a bit, but owners could do worse than him even on a busy night. 

CHI @ CLE:  Dion Waiters (ankle) didn’t practice yesterday and is a game-time decision tonight.  The Cavs desperately need healthy bodies, but I wouldn’t arbitrarily expect them to be gung ho with the rookie.  If they push him too hard, the next few weeks could get very ugly for the Cavs.  I rolled the dice with him in a few competitive weekly leagues, so my fingers will be crossed. 

DEN @ ATL:  DeShawn Stevenson left yesterday’s practice after taking a shot to the head, and Kyle Korver (back) is questionable to play.  Devin Harris is worth a look if you’re desperate for a spot-play as potentially the last man standing on the wings.  Josh Smith has regained his form, but he needs another 5-10 big nights to satisfy the appetites of starving owners.  The same thing can be said for owners of Ty Lawson, who doesn’t profile all that great against Jeff Teague, assuming Teague comes to play on that end.  It doesn’t happen all the time, but Teague’s focus is the pimple on Kate Upton’s buttocks as he’s cruising so far this year.  JaVale McGee had a solid outing last time out, and another one might start the hype train moving again. 

MIL @ SA:  Danny Green (hamstring) is questionable tonight and with Kawhi Leonard (quad) and Stephen Jackson (finger) out there could be some interesting beneficiaries, though it’s anybody’s guess who will pan out.  Gary Neal (Achilles) is expected to play and has seen at least 32 minutes in his last three games, so give him a look but keep expectations in check.  Milwaukee is everything we expected this season, and everything we hoped it wouldn’t be.  I was talking with an NBA exec the other day and we determined that Larry Sanders is a better physical specimen right now than Dwight Howard.  That’s why he’s blocking everything in sight.  He’s a must-start player until Scott Skiles sends him to the D-League (kidding).  I am in the first of my last two weeks holding out hope for Ersan Ilyasova in a standard-sized 12-team format.  You know the story already.  Stash him at your own risk.  Mike Dunleavy could use a nice night to stave off drop questions, but he’s a mid-round value so drop him at your own risk. 

ORL @ UTA:  Derrick Favors was optimistic about the plantar fasciitis in his right foot earlier in the week, but a doubtful designation for tonight is a reminder that players aren’t always the best source of injury information.  Marvin Williams (doubtful) is still experiencing concussion symptoms, too, and that would seemingly put him out indefinitely.  Gordon Hayward isn’t necessarily tied to those guys, but their absences aren’t going to hurt.  I added Enes Kanter in a few places and he’s a dark horse to benefit from Favors’ absence.  Check out Randy Foye right now while guys are out and he is hot.  Orlando’s fantasy guys are pretty well understood, with Jameer Nelson, Arron Afflalo, J.J. Redick, Glen Davis and Nikola Vucevic all deserving of a spot in your lineup. 

TOR @ SAC:  Keith Smart has consistently said that he expects Tyreke Evans (knee) to play, but he is an admitted fibber so owners should watch the situation closely.  Evans was dealing with tightness as recently as Monday.  The sky is falling in Sacramento.  Anybody not named Tyreke, DeMarcus, Marcus, or Jason is probably not worth starting in standard formats on a busy night. If you’re looking for a flier in deep leagues give Mickael Pietrus a look if Linas Kleiza (hip) can’t go.  Terrence Ross is an interesting stash right now, especially with the wings depleted, but realize that it might not be his time just yet.  There is talk that Andrea Bargnani should come off the bench by beat writers, but Bryan Colangelo will have to eat some crow in order for that to happen.  We love Jonas and the Kings profile as a team he can do well against, which applies to every Raptor across the board. 

DAL @ LAC:  Dirk Nowitzki (knee) is traveling with the team on their road trip but still isn’t close to a return.  It’s good news nonetheless and owners may want to check a frustrated owner’s temperature on a reasonable buy low offer.  Chances are if they made it this far they’ll want to see the situation through, but it never hurts to try, right?  I don’t really care if Darren Collison starts or comes off the bench, as his play will dictate how much run he gets and his fantasy value will mirror how he plays.  That and Derek Fisher is awful.  O.J. Mayo is banged up but is a must-start player.  We’ll also be watching to see how Jamal Crawford does tonight with Chauncey Billups back.  If I had to judge after the last game, Doc might have the upper hand right now in our bet but it’s still early. 

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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