A lot of news going down yesterday, although it wasn’t necessarily trade related. In a surprise move, we had Mike D’Antoni resigning as head coach of the Knicks after coaching them to a disappointing 18-24 record this season. According to reports, he asked management to trade Carmelo before this season’s trade deadline and when they said they would not, he offered his resignation. The players were so saddened with the news last night that they destroyed the Blazers by a score 121-79. Good old Mike Woodson has been named interim head coach by the team. Normally you’d think that be a downgrade for fantasy purposes, but the truth is that D’Antoni’s Knicks were in the bottom half of the league in terms of offense and pace, so it’s not like they were the D’Antoni teams that we were used to.
We also had Dwight Howard possibly telling the Magic that he would not opt out of his player option for 2012-13 and would stay with the team for next season, which would mean that the team would not be trading him. Except that he then reportedly changed his mind later in the day. Then he changed his mind again in an interview with RealGM, saying he was staying with the team. It’s impossible to tell exactly what’s going on in Howard’s head at this point, but I think this flowchart explains it pretty well.
Ok, enough of that. On to actually games yesterday.
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Line of the Night: Channing Frye (2.88 WARP) has gone from being dropped in a lot of leagues after a truly horrible start to the season to lines like this: 26 points, 5 threes, 9 rebounds and 4 blocks as the Suns took down the Jazz 120-111. Over his past month, Frye has played like a top-25 fantasy player (averaging 0.78 WARP), after playing so badly in December and January that he temporarily lost his starting job to Markieff Morris.
So the award for the world’s slowest starter goes to Frye… well unless Dorell Wright continues to turn things around.
Honorable Mentions: LeBron James (2.55) scored 35 points, with 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals as the Heat took down got taken down by the Derrick Rose-less Bulls. Dwyane Wade (1.81) added 36 points and 7 rebounds, which means that LeBron and Wade accounted for 70% of their team’s 102 points. Chris Bosh (-1.08) was the third leading scorer with 12, but took the long and hard way there by shooting 3-15 from the floor.
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The Magic have more important issues at hand (like the future of the franchise), but all a single player can do is focus on the task at hand. And for Jameer Nelson (2.54), that task is to score 25 points, hitting 5 threes, and adding 5 rebounds and 7 assists in a 122-111 loss to the Spurs. Dwight Howard (0.70) did his usual thing in the game, going for 22 and 12 and then destroying his overall fantasy value by shooting 4-10 from the line. J.J. Redick (-0.70) got another start for the ailing Jason Richardson and bombed (in an American Idol audition show sort of way) missing all his three point attempts and finishing with 6 points, 2 boards and an assist.
The Spurs were led by Tony Parker’s (1.85) 31 points and 12 assists. With Manu Ginobili (0.70) still getting limited minutes (he saw 23 in the game) and feeling tightness in his hip flexor muscle during Monday’s game, Kawhi Leonard (1.23) continues to see a lot of run off the Spurs’ bench. Leonard played 31 minutes against the Magic and finished with 12 points, 6 boards, 2 threes and a couple steals. We’re not in the waiver wire section yet, but with Manu’s minutes likely to be limited in the near future, Leonard is worth a look, especially in deeper leagues.
The Detroit Pistons, an offensive juggernaut? The Pistons took down the Kings 124-112, led by Rodney Stuckey’s (2.44) 35 points, 4 threes, 5 rebounds and 6 assists. Greg Monroe (1.45) added 32 and 11 on 15-20 shooting. And Tayshaun Prince (2.20) scored 28 points, adding 5 rebounds and 7 assists. It’s sort of the bizzaro Big 3. For Price, it’s his best fantasy performance all season, so I wouldn’t necessarily run out and grab him if he’s available in your league. According to his game log, he has about 1 of these types of performance every month.
The Kings got a surprise best fantasy performance, but more on that below.
Evan Turner (2.12) is not just breaking out over the second half of the season, I think he’s just blown up the building. Turner continues to roll like he was a second overall pick in the draft with 21 points (on 9-11 from the field). He must have overheard me bashing his lack peripheral numbers on the podcast (which I’m sure he listens to) as Turner also filled up the box score with 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks.
Kris Humphries (2.03) continues to do his best impression of Brook Lopez if Lopez could actually rebound. Against the Raptors, Humphries scored 16 points, adding 21 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 blocks. Who needs Dwight Howard when you have Humphries, right? Right? The Raptors got 16 and 10 out of Jerryd Bayless (1.02), who again got the start at PG with Calderon out. Keep riding him until Jose returns, at least.
Drew Gooden (1.70) recorded his second career triple-double with 15 points, 10 boards and 13 assists against the Cavs, giving him the third highest assist total on the night behind Nash and Rondo. The Bucks played a little shorthanded in this one with Ellis and Udoh not yet with the team, so going forward don’t expect the ball in Gooden’s hands quite as much.
And Andrew Bynum (1.93) paced the Lakers in a 107-101 overtime win against the Hornets. He finished with 25 points, 18 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks in 46 minutes. Kobe Bryant (1.66) scored 33 and played 49 minutes. The Hornets were led by Jarrett Jack’s (2.25) 30 points and 6 assists, but it might be time to drop Gustavo Ayon if you haven’t done already. He had 4 points and 2 rebounds in 32 minutes and has not been doing much of anything on the court lately.
Waiver Wire Line of the Night: George Hill (1.76) is back for the Pacers and doing off the bench what Darren Collison can’t do in the starting lineup. Hill scored 17 points, with 3 threes, 7 rebounds and 4 assists in 29 minutes off the bench against the Sixers. Collison meanwhile had 4 points and 2 assists in 21 minutes. Which one of these guys would you rather own? Hill may or may not take over for Collison in the starting lineup (the team likes him leading the second unit), but his minutes have been trending up and he’s been a 0.5 WARP player over his last 5 games, which would make him a 50ish fantasy player overall if he can keep it up.
Pick Up Lines: So how did the post-trade Warriors look last night? Nate Robinson (1.76) got the start at PG and exploded for 20 points, 5 rebounds, 11 assists and 4 steals in 37 minutes on the court. With news that Stephen Curry might more or less shut it down for the year, Robinson becomes an immediate must add in all leagues. His scoring/assist/steal/three numbers led themselves nicely to most fantasy leagues.
Klay Thompson (0.89) got the start at SG and also played well, scoring 26 points and hitting 3 threes in 41 minutes. He’s been playing well enough that the team might just forget that Stephen Jackson exists, but for now pick him up and hope that Jackson doesn’t mess too much with his minutes going forward. Unlike Robinson, Thompson is pretty much a scorer/three-point guy only, which is fine in a points-based league, but it means he’s a little less valuable in category-based leagues than someone like Robinson provided they both stick in the starting lineup.
As far as the rest of the Warriors’ rotation goes, when the choice is between you and nothing and nothing wins, you have a problem. And that’s the situation that Andris Biedrins (-0.69) finds himself in. With Udoh traded to the Bucks, Biedrins retook the starting center position because, well, he’s the team’s only real center. Against the Celtics, Biedrins played only 18 minutes and finished with 0 points and 3 rebounds. Sadly, he isn’t worth owning in all but the deepest leagues based on even his brightest outlook.
The Warriors’ bench last night consisted pretty much of two guys: Brandon Rush (-0.22) and Dominic McGuire (0.69). Neither of them did anything that worthy (McGuire’s 3 steals was the one bright spot) despite the fact that they both saw 28+ minutes. Rush potentially has some low end value, but I’d only look to him if Robinson, Thompson and Jackson are all gone from your league’s wire.
If you read GMTR, you need no introduction to Alonzo Gee (1.62), who scored another 19 points, adding 5 rebounds and 4 steals against the Bucks. Expect to hear from him a lot in this space over the last month of the season as he’s still available in 75% of Yahoo leagues. Considering he’s been playing like a top 75 player over the past couple of weeks, his ownership levels should actually be more like 100%.
The departure of D’Antoni might just be what J.R. Smith (1.27) needs to get back on track. Smith got 23 minutes off the bench and was not afraid to start launching – hitting 7-14 from three. Smith finished with 23 points in the game and is at least worth putting on your watch list.
If we know one thing about the Knicks, it’s that they’d be no where without Steve Novak (1.58). I’m joking, of course, but Novak is capable of some great lines in limited minutes as long as that three is falling. Against the Blazers, Novak scored 20 points, going 6-10 from three, in only 20 minutes. He makes a great three point specialist for teams that need that, but the minutes aren’t there for him to be anything more than that.
If you asked me to name the streakiest player in the league, I’d probably go with Jason Thompson (1.54). After scoring 10 points total in his last three games, Thompson exploded for 21 points on 10-12 from the field, with 15 rebounds and 4 assists in 40 minutes. Coach Keith Smart seems to go with the matchups and the hot hand at PF, so Thompson’s minutes bounce all over the place from game to game. As a result, he’s way too inconsistent to be worth picking up just for the occasional game like this.
With Deron Williams still out of the lineup for the Nets, Jordan Farmar (-0.75) got the start again at PG and crapped all over it, scoring 10 points on 3-9 shooting with 3 assists in 27 minutes. On the other hand, Gerald Green (1.44) saw 25 minutes off the bench, and hit 9 of 11 shots to finish with 26 points and 3 steals. Ride him as long as Williams is out, but once Deron gets back, he’s going to get squeezed for minutes.
And with Rose out for the Bulls with a groin injury, C.J. Watson (-0.06) got the start at PG, but John Lucas (0.82) had the much better game, scoring 24 points in 27 minutes off the bench. Both of these guys only have value as long as Rose is out, although his injury does not appear to be serious.
Biggest Loser: Chris Bosh (-1.08). As mentioned above, Bosh finished with 12 points on 3-15 shooting against the Bulls, turning the ball over 4 times. Bosh has seen his FG% continue to decline as the year rolls on and he’s now shooting 44% from the floor over the last month and 38% over the last week.
Darren Collison (-1.10) isn’t doing much to warrant keeping his starting job over George Hill. Against the Sixers, Collison finished with 4 points, 0 rebounds and 2 assists while shooting 2-7 from the field.
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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