2012 Fantasy Basketball: Ben Gordon, Rodney Stuckey, Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka and More

| by Give Me The Rock

Line of the Night/ Waiver Wire Line of the Night: If you were somehow still holding onto Ben Gordon (3.76) through all his badness this season, he finally rewarded your faith last night with a completely insane game: 9-9 from three on his way to 45 points, adding 8 assists and a couple steals. To put this game in perspective, before last night’s game Gordon had 11 threes total since the beginning of February. 11 threes in 19 games!

Gordon can thank Rodney Stuckey for the opportunity in his acceptance speech. Stuckey missed the game with a sprained left toe, so Gordon got the start and played a season-high 41 minutes. Stuckey is day-to-day with the injury and Gordon is worth a fantasy play if Stuckey misses additional time, just don’t expect any more games like this from Gordon.

Honorable Mentions: It’s actually been a while since I’ve written about Kevin Durant (2.40) in this space. But in last night against the Clippers, Durant led the Thunder to a win with 32 points (going 11-11 from the line) and adding 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. Serge Ibaka (1.54) chipped in 15 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks. Remember when we were all like, “what’s up with Ibaka?” Yeah, that moment has passed, the only thing up with Ibaka is his hand as he blocks another shot.

The Clippers were pretty much shut down by the Thunder in this game. Chris Paul (1.43) had and off shooting night, going 3-12 from the floor, but still managed 13 points, 10 assists and 5 steals, good for the 15th best line of yesterday.

Joe Johnson (2.10) played 45 minutes in an overtime win over the Cavs, scoring 22 points and filling up the rest of the box score with 3 threes, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. Right behind him in the fantasy ratings is Josh Smith (2.10), who went for 32 points, 17 rebounds and 3 blocks. The only thing slowing him down was a 10-29 shooting night.

The Cavs were paced by Kyrie Irving’s (1.98) 29 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists in what would have been his first career triple-double. Antawn Jamison (1.23) had 23 points and 12 boards in the game and continues to play like he’s some sort of professional veteran who doesn’t complain about his situation. I know, it’s weird. After a huge game on Monday, Tristan Thompson’s (-0.54) follow-up didn’t go quite as well. He did manage 13 points, 5 boards and a couple of blocks, but also turned the ball over 5 times.


One man who did triple-double last night was Jarrett Jack (2.02), who finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists in a loss to the Warriors. Jack has been playing great lately after it briefly looked like he might split time with Greivis Vasquez. For those of you expecting the return of good Dorell Wright (0.11), he played all of 17 minutes and finished with 8 points and 4 rebounds, cementing his status as the most frustrating fantasy player to own this season.

Elton Brand (1.90) came alive last night for the Sixers, finishing with 12 points, 12 rebounds and a season-high 5 blocks against the Knicks. Amare Stoudemire (0.42) had 21 and 9 for New York. Unfortunately, they were about the only two people who were alive in this game as the Knicks won 82-79. Jeremy Lin (0.49) did score 18 points, but shot 4-17 from the floor to get there. And we’ll get to a certain SF’s performance in this game a bit later.

Ramon Sessions (1.62) is still coming off the bench at PG for the Lakers (really, Mike Brown, really?) behind Steve Blake, but is making that decision look more and more ridiculous by scoring 17 points and adding 5 rebounds, 9 assists and 3 threes in 29 minutes against the Mavs. Meanwhile, Blake (-0.18) played 17 minutes in the start and had 3 points and 2 assists. Expect Sessions to enter the starting lineup as soon as Mike Brown recovers from the stroke that is affecting his critical decision making skills.

The rest of the Lakers are loving what Sessions is doing for them too. Kobe Bryant (1.40) scored 30, while Pau Gasol (1.17) finished with 27 and 9. Dirk Nowitzki (1.59) led the Mavs in the loss with 26 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals.

JaVale McGee (0.83) saw his Nuggets debut last night and it went about as well as could be expected. He came off the bench for 24 minutes and finished with 15 points, 7 boards and 3 blocks and put back an Afflalo missed free throw with seconds left in the game to help Denver win. Expect him to become the team’s starting center over Timofey Mozgov shortly. And in his second game back, Wilson Chandler (0.40) got the start at SF and didn’t miss a beat, double-doubling with 10 points and 11 boards in 33 minutes. I think he’s good to go – time to get him in your starting lineups.

Finally, just have to mention Dwight Howard (1.54), who scored 28 points with 16 rebounds and 3 blocks against the Suns. Ryan Anderson (1.29) went 7-12 from three in the game and finished with 29 points, which would have been more spectacular on a day that Gordon didn’t overshadow him with 9 threes.

Blazers Buzz Kill: Everyone expected J.J. Hickson would be claimed off waivers by the Warriors, which really would have been the perfect fantasy situation for him since Andris Biedrins is just waiting to hand off the starting center job to anyone with a pulse. Instead the Blazers jumped in and claimed Hickson yesterday. He still could have some good fantasy value in Portland considering the team is currently has the world’s worst center rotation in Joel Przybilla, Kurt Thomas and Hasheem Thabeet, so I’d still consider Hickson a speculative add at this point, although we’ll have to wait and see just how many minutes the team gives him.

Pick Up Lines: Somebody’s got to get minutes off the bench for the Warriors and post-trade deadline that’s been Brandon Rush (1.53). Against the Hornets, Rush scored 16 points, hitting 4-7 from three and adding 2 blocks in 30 minutes. Rush is a little too inconsistent to really recommend in anything smaller than a 14-team league, although he does block a good amount of shots from the guard position if you’re into that and will occasionally go off from three.

Thanks to a Pekovic ankle injury and Darko being Darko, the Wolves decided to roll with Kevin Love at center against the Spurs. The trickledown effect meant that Derrick Williams started at PF and Anthony Tolliver (1.44) saw the most minutes off the Minnesota bench (31) than he’s had in months. Unlike Williams (who had 9 points on 4-12 shooting) Tolliver made the most of his opportunity, scoring 16 points and adding 5 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks in the game. Tolliver makes a decent add – probably in all leagues – as long as Pekovic is out with that ankle injury (which should be a few games if the team plays it safe with him). If you’ve never had the pleasure of owning Tolliver, he’s like a Channing Frye lite, capable of doing a little bit of everything from hitting threes to blocking some shots.

Meanwhile, Darko got a DNP in the game.

Klay Thompson (1.36) is still technically only owned in 46% of Yahoo leagues. To which I say to the remaining 54%: Shame on you. Thompson went off against the Hornets, scoring a career-high 27 points, hitting 4 threes and adding 5 rebounds and 5 assists. He obviously should be picked up in all leagues.

After two straight games of getting shut out in the points column, Wayne Ellington (1.27) came off the bench to score 15 points (on 7-11 from the field) with 3 steals in 23 minutes. One look at Ellington’s game log shows that his minutes bounce all over the place from game to game and as a result he’s not a fantasy player worth owning.

The Spurs are working Manu Ginobili back into the rotation about as slowly as Mitt Romney is crawling towards the Republican nomination. That means good things for Kawhi Leonard (1.21), who remains the Spurs starter at SF for the time being. Against the Wolves, Leonard played 38 minutes and scored 16 points with 9 rebounds. The expectation is that eventually Manu will be inserted back into the starting lineup, but for now the way things are going I’d ride Leonard for as long as possible, which could be the rest of the season.

In case you are wondering what Roger Mason (0.99) is up to besides not being on the Spurs anymore – he’s now the Wizards primary guard off the bench now that Nick Young was shipped out of town. Mason only saw 23 minutes off the bench against the Nets, but was still able to go 4-9 from three and finish with 16 points. He’s only getting about 20 minutes a game as a reserve, which is not enough to be worth picking up in small to medium sized leagues. But if you’re in a really deep league and need some scoring and threes, Mason could be your man. He’s hit 12 threes in his last 4 games.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Metta World Peace is currently slumping and has hip bursitis (whatever that is), so Matt Barnes (0.94) is starting to see more minutes off the bench. Against the Mavs, Barnes saw 32 minutes and finished with 11 points and 9 boards. He is playing pretty well lately (0.72 WARP over the last week – good for #47 overall on our player rater over that span). Long term his value is tied to whatever World Peace is doing, but I’d pick him up for now and ride the hot streak.

With Caron Butler getting some time off to rest his old man legs, Randy Foye (0.92) picked up the offensive slack for the Clippers by going 5-10 from three and finishing with 23 points. Foye has now put up three pretty good games in a row, although I’d expect it to all fall apart for him in the Clips next game. Nick Young (0.29) actually got the start in place of Butler and was meh, scoring 12 points in 3-11 shooting, although the 3 shots he hit were all threes.

It happened a little later than I was expecting, but J.J. Barea (0.88) finally exploded for the Wolves in the wake of the Rubio injury. Barea saw 30 minutes off the bench against the Spurs and had his first double-double of the season with 18 points and 11 assists. He’s likely going to be a little inconsistent for 12-team leagues (or maybe not, watch the situation), but I’d grab him immediately in any league bigger than that.

Biggest Loser: Luke Ridnour (-1.10) was the anti-Barea yesterday, scoring a total of 4 points with only 1 assists on 1-7 shooting. Ridnour only played 26 minutes, his lowest minutes in the month of March, and the emergence of J.J. Barea probably means that he’s going to enter into more of a timeshare situation at the point. I’d watch this situation closely if you own Ridnour.

Not to freak out Carmelo Anthony (-0.90) owners, but he’s now failed to top 20 points for 5 straight games, including last night’s 10 points on 5-15 from the field. But hey, the Knicks are winning, so all is good, right?


Daily rankings and stats come from the GMTR H2H Player Rater (beta version). They are based on the stat Wins Above Replacement Player (WARP) an estimate of the number of wins a player produces per week in H2H leagues over a replacement (waiver wire) player.

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