NBA Basketball Column: The Daily Dose
Dose: Prep for Week 17
We interrupt this trade deadline frenzy with Tuesday’s Daily Dose. There are nine games on the schedule tonight, but I’m going to go team-by-team notes to cover all the injuries and rumors heading into Week 17. The deadline is Thursday night, so this is going to be a busy week for the Rotoworld crew.
Games Played for Week 17
4 Games Boston, Brooklyn, Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Golden State, Memphis, Miami, New Orleans, Orlando, Phoenix, San Antonio
3 Games Atlanta, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Indiana, L.A. Lakers, Milwaukee, Minnesota, New York, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Portland, Sacramento, Toronto, Washington
2 Games L.A. Clippers, Utah
If you’re in a league where games played per week matter, make sure you check out Waiver Wired if you missed it. And we’ve got a ton of trade deadline columns currently posted, like this one, so check them out as well. And follow me on Twitter by clicking here.
Atlanta – Josh Smith is rumored to be heading to about half the teams in the league, and while there’s still a chance he’s on the Hawks come Friday morning, the Bucks and Celtics seem like logical landing spots for him. Starting Smith for three games this week will be an interesting endeavor, as a trade could cause him to miss a game or two. They host the Heat on Wednesday, the Kings on Friday and visit the Bucks on Saturday, and as of now, I’m planning on starting him, out of necessity. Outside of the Smoove trade drama, the most interesting thing to watch for on Wednesday is whether Kyle Korver comes off the bench again, or moves back into the starting lineup.
Boston – The Celtics signed Terrence Williams to a 10-day contract, and while the kid appears to have all the skills in the world, he’s yet to breakout for any team he’s played for. Just watch for his name in blurbs once the Celtics get going this week. Kevin Garnett says he won’t accept a trade to any team, but the Clippers seem to think they could change his mind. Paul Pierce has been playing with a pinched nerve in his neck, but should be good to go for four games this week. I also like starting Jeff Green this week, but using any Celtic guard is akin to playing with fire.
Brooklyn – My wife informed me, after watching TMZ Monday that Kris Humphries was being traded to the Bobcats. That rumor has been out there for weeks and Harvey Levin doesn’t know squat about sports, so he probably just heard some chatter about it on the radio, as I seriously doubt he reads Rotoworld. In any case, Humps could be moved prior to the deadline and Charlotte does seem like a logical landing spot. Gerald Wallace has been coming on and I’m hoping he keeps it going this week, while owners of Deron Williams (ankle) are hoping he plays on Tuesday against the Bucks. My guess is he’ll play in that one.
Charlotte – Byron Mullens is hot and Ben Gordon is begging to be traded out of Charlotte. They play four times this week and Mullens, along with Kemba Walker, look like must-starts in fantasy. Just beware that a Humphries trade to Charlotte could be bad news for Mullens. Gerald Henderson also looks like a strong play.
Chicago – Kirk Hinrich will be back on Tuesday from his elbow injury, and while that’s not great news for Nate Robinson, Lil’ Him is still nearly a must-start player in my mind. With four games, you already know that Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah and Luol Deng are must-starts, while Hinrich, Richard Hamilton, Taj Gibson and Marco Belinelli are all worth a look in many leagues.
Cleveland – Kyrie Irving enjoyed his All-Star Weekend, winning the 3-point shootout, destroying Brandon Knight in the rookie-sophomore game, and playing well in the All-Star Game. The Cavs go three times this week, with Irving, Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters, Marreese Speights and Tyler Zeller all worth starting consideration.
Dallas – Chris Kaman is nearing a return but should be super rusty after a 20-plus day absence with a concussion, while O.J. Mayo is dealing with a sprained ankle suffered in Monday’s practice. Mayo should be good to go, along with the rest of the regulars in Dallas, but owners of Darren Collison have to be prepared for bad news in case the Mavs land another point guard at the deadline.
Denver – Danilo Gallinari (sinus infection) and Andre Iguodala (neck) are expected back on Tuesday after missing their last game. The Nuggets go three times this week, but Gallo, Iguodala and Ty Lawson are must-starts in most leagues, while Kenneth Faried is close to it.
Detroit – The Pistons are healthy outside of Andre Drummond, who is said to be doing well with his back injury, but is still several weeks away. With four games, Jose Calderon and Greg Monroe are must-starts, but the rest of that lineup, including Brandon Knight, Rodney Stuckey, Will Bynum, Kyle Singler and Charlie Villanueva, are a classic roll of the dice.
Golden State – The big news out of GSW is that Andrew Bogut expects to be cleared to play without restrictions after the break. This is a big deal and if it happens, and he can actually stay healthy, I’m prepared to eat my words. With four games I’m comfortable playing Bogut, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Jarrett Jack and David Lee in all leagues, while Harrison Barnes and Carl Landry are worth a deep-league look.
Houston – James Harden played in the ASG and his ankle should be OK, so I’d play him this week, even with just three games. Jeremy Lin is dealing with a hand injury, but I expect him to play, as well. Watch for updates.
Indiana – Danny Granger is iffy for Wednesday and I’d leave him benched until you not only see him make it through a game, but also put up some decent numbers. Paul George is a must-start, but the rest of the Pacers are up to your discretion with three games. Especially David West, who missed his last game with an eye injury.
L.A. Clippers – Chris Paul was the All-Star MVP and is good to go, except that the Clippers play just two games this week. Blake Griffin is the only other Clipper I’d consider starting if games played matter in your league. Everyone is healthy, except for Lamar Odom, who has an eye injury.
L.A. Lakers – Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Metta World Peace, Earl Clark and Antawn Jamison all look like solid three-game possibilities, while Pau Gasol continues to sit indefinitely with his foot injury. R.I.P. Dr. Jerry Buss.
Memphis – Mike Conley, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol are all strong four-game starts, while Tony Allen was hot before the break, and should be a nice pickup in most leagues. Tayshaun Prince is starting and might be good for four games, but isn’t a sure bet to be all that productive. Jerryd Bayless has cooled off during the Allen explosion.
Miami – With four games, owners of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are smiling today. Ray Allen is also worth a look, while Udonis Haslem is coming off a leg injury, making him too risky for my blood.
Milwaukee – The Bucks have just three games but I’d still plan on rolling with Brandon Jennings (serious trade candidate), Monta Ellis and Ersan Ilyasova in most leagues. Larry Sanders says he’s 70-30 towards playing through his back injury, but Samuel Dalembert will likely continue to see solid minutes. Start Larry at your own risk, as he’s a true game-time decision for Tuesday.
Minnesota – Kevin Love is hoping to return from his hand injury in mid-March, but is still iffy to play again this season. Ricky Rubio is hot, trade candidate Luke Ridnour is playing well, and Derrick Williams a shaky start with just three games, although he blew up just before the break. Andrei Kirilenko is dealing with a quad injury and has missed five straight games, so in my mind he’s not startable in weekly leagues unless we get a positive update prior to lineup deadlines. Nikola Pekovic is a must-start player in my book.
New Orleans – Eric Gordon remains day-to-day with his hand and knee, so I’d probably bench him if I were brave enough to own him. Greivis Vasquez, Ryan Anderson, Anthony Davis, Robin Lopez and Al-Farouq Aminu all look like solid options with four games.
New York – The Knicks have three games, but are preparing to go on a four-game per week sprint soon. Carmelo Anthony is a must-start player, while Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Amare Stoudemire and J.R. Smith all look like possible options this week. Melo is dealing with an arm injury, but made it through the ASG in one piece. Jason Kidd could be coming off the bench soon, and was already struggling.
Oklahoma City – The Thunder go three times, making Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka all must-starts, but weigh your options before throwing Kevin Martin, Thabo Sefolosha or Kendrick Perkins out there this week.
Orlando – With four games, Jameer Nelson, Nikola Vucevic, Arron Afflalo and J.J. Redick look like safe plays, while Andrew Nicholson, Moe Harkless and Gustavo Ayon are also worth a look.
Philadelphia – I am not convinced Andrew Bynum will play in a single game this season, while Jrue Holiday looks like the only must-start with three games this week. Spencer Hawes, Nick Young and Evan Turner look like decent options, but I’d sit Lavoy Allen for now. Thaddeus Young (hamstring) could return on Sunday.
Phoenix – The Suns go four times, but struggling studs Goran Dragic and Marcin Gortat are no longer must-plays given their troubles. Luis Scola, Michael Beasley, Jared Dudley, P.J. Tucker, Shannon Brown, Kendall Marshall and even Jermaine O’Neal (whose daughter will have heart surgery on March 5) all deserve consideration this week, but I only trust Scola and Beasley, and I don’t trust them that much.
Portland – Wesley Matthews is a game-time decision for Tuesday with an ankle injury, but is a warrior, and I’d be surprised to see him sit, although it’s quite possible. Damian Lillard (ankle), Nicolas Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge and J.J. Hickson (trade candidate) are all solid three-game starts, but check back for info on Lillard.
Sacramento – The Kings have three games, meaning Isaiah Thomas, Tyreke Evans, Jason Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins are all possibilities, but not must-starts. Marcus Thornton (hand injury), John Salmons and Francisco Garcia are all too shaky to play in my mind.
San Antonio – The Spurs play four times so I’m good with Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and Tiago Splitter, but have my doubts as to whether we’ll see Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili in all four games this week. Start them at your own risk. Stephen Jackson isn’t expected to play Wednesday for personal reasons.
Toronto – With three games I’m still starting Kyle Lowry and Rudy Gay, but DeMar DeRozan, Amir Johnson, Jonas Valanciunas, Alan Anderson and Andrea Bargnani (who may not be traded until this summer) are all pretty risky plays. Terrence Ross won the dunk contest, but is still not worth owning in most formats. Just keep Bargnani stashed for now.
Utah – The Jazz play just two games and I’m sitting Al Jefferson in weekly leagues. In fact, I don’t see anyone on this team I’d start in a weekly league. Gordon Hayward is still bothered by a shoulder injury, but is expected to play on Tuesday, although I expect him to be rusty and limited.
Washington – John Wall, Nene and Emeka Okafor are solid three-game options, while Bradley Beal might have a nice week. We just don’t know how much Martell Webster will limit him, but it looks like Beal will actually be the one limiting Webster going forward. The Wiz have a great playoff schedule and I just traded DeMar DeRozan for Beal, and feel good about it based on the playoff games I gained in the deal.
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