2012 Fantasy Basketball: Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka, Ryan Anderson and More
Day 123 provides us with plenty of examples of why you should not run your H2H fantasy league to the very end of the season. The Sixers, Spurs and Bucks basically sat their entire starting lineups last night. Stars who are even remotely hurt will sit out the final games – Danny Granger, Chris Paul and Andre Iguodala all sat with injuries. And stars that do play will often get the early curtain call, like Steve Nash and Kyrie Irving did last night. It all makes for a mess in the final days of the season.
Line of the Night: Except we can always count on the Thunder. OKC played their final game of the regular season last night and were led by Russell Westbrook (3.43), who scored 30 points, adding 6 rebounds, 9 assists, 3 steals and 4 blocks in a loss to the Nuggets. Westbrook finishes the year ranked at #22 on the GMTR player rater, which is about 15 spots lower than what we had him projected at going into the year. The drop can solely be attributed to his assist numbers, which dropped from 8.2 per game last season to 5.5 this season. While I appreciate the 24 ppg this year, just remember that you’re a PG Westbrook.
Honorable Mentions: Kevin Durant (1.79) locked up his fantasy MVP case with a strong game to finish out the year. He had 32 points, with 5 threes, 5 rebounds and 4 assists while playing a team high 40 minutes. Serge Ibaka (0.98) blocked another 4 shots on the night to finish the season averaging 3.7 blocks per game (and 4.7 over the past month). Defensive Fantasy Player of the Year! If such a thing existed.
J.J. Redick (2.26) took advantage of the Charlotte Bobcats to score 31 points, hitting 6-10 from three. Ryan Anderson (1.84) chipped in 24 points and 13 rebounds in his bid to take home the league’s most improved player award. The Magic had an unfortunate injury in this game however thanks to the giant feet of Byron Mullens, but more on that below.
John Wall (2.16) dropped 21 points, with 7 rebounds, 13 assists and 7 steals in his “remember what I can do” game for draft day next season. His 6 turnovers are what prevent him from actually taking home a fantasy line of the night. Wall was second in the league (behind Deron Williams) with 3.9 turnovers a game this season, which isn’t great, but Kevin Durant, Steve Nash and Rajon Rondo are 3, 4 and 5 on the list, which is not bad company to be in.
J.R. Smith (2.10) ended the season on fire, with a two week WARP value of 1.16, or top 15 player material. His 21 points, 3 threes, 5 assists and 4 steals also gives him 12 steals over his last three games.
Brandon Jennings (1.82) continues to play like a top 15 fantasy player with 19 points, 3 threes, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 blocks in a loss to the Sixers’ B-team. The entire Bucks’ starting lineup with the exception of Jennings sat in this one, but that did not appear to affect Jennings one bit.
Ty Lawson (1.59) helped the Nuggets move up to the seventh seed in the West with a 25 point, 3 three, 5 rebound, 2 steal performance in a win over the Thunder. The GMTR keeper list is going to be published shortly, and I think Lawson fairs pretty well on it.
CP3 sat out against the Knicks to rest up his groin strain, but Blake Griffin (1.35) carried a lot of the load with 29 points, 10 boards and 6 assists. Of course, he also shot 7-14 from the line, so the dude needs to spend a little less time making KIA commercials and a little more time at the free throw line this summer. The Clippers also got a huge game from…
Waiver Wire Line of the Night: With Chris Paul sitting out of the Clippers final game against the Knicks, Randy Foye (2.10) got the opportunity to H.A.M. with 28 points – shooting 4-12 from three – with 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals while playing 43 minutes. The Clippers are done for the season and do not play today, so my expert advice would be to not pick him up for today’s set of games.
Pick Up Lines: Some players who do play again today include Jodie Meeks (1.90), who scored 27 points and hit 3 threes for a Sixers team that sat Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand, Thaddeus Young and Louis Williams. Consider Meeks a good bet to put up similar numbers tonight as those guys will likely all sit again.
His teammate Evan Turner (1.43) scored a career high 29 points, adding 13 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 blocks while playing a team high 41 minutes. Turner, like Meeks, should get plenty of run tonight in the Sixers game against Detroit.
With the entire Bucks’ starting rotation sitting with the exception of Brandon Jennings (and Ekpe Udoh only getting 14 minutes due to knee soreness), Larry Sanders (1.39) saw 32 minutes off the bench to finish with 12 points, 4 steals and 5 blocks. This came after he was suspended for two games after an on the court altercation with the Pacers last week. Scott Skiles didn’t know after the game who on his team would be available tonight against the Celtics, but I’d guess that Sanders will be in for some extended run again tonight.
The Bucks’ forward Tobias Harris (1.09) – got a rare start and did his best Ersan Ilyasova impersonation with 15 points and 13 rebounds while playing a season high 37 minutes. He’s another Bucks’ player who is likely to see a lot of minutes in tonight’s game.
Patty Mills (1.18) dropped 27 points and 5 assists in a start for the Spurs, who (surprise, surprise) rested Parker, Duncan and Ginobili. All are expected to miss tonight’s season finale against the Warriors, meaning that Mills makes a strong start again tonight. Tiago Splitter (1.18) scored 26 points in only 20 minutes off the bench, although it’d be difficult for him to maintain that type of per game production two games in a row.
Derrick Brown (0.90) finished with 16 points, 5 boards and a couple steals in another start for the Bobcats. He could have some deep league value again tonight as the Bobcats play the Knicks. Bismack Biyombo (0.49) has now blocked at least 2 shots in his last 8 games and is a guy to play if your team needs some blocks on this last night of play.
With Kyrie Irving unlikely to play in the Cavs final game tonight, it means that Donald Sloan (-0.17) – with 8 points and 7 assists yesterday – is back in play again. In fact, the Cavs entire B team, including guys like D.J. Kennedy and our old friend Luke Walton will probably get some good run tonight against the Bulls.
Biggest Loser: I sat Glen Davis (-0.71) last night in my roto league because I am trying to break a tie in the FT% category and Davis has shot 68% from the line this season. Well, Davis of course went 2-2 from the line last night against the Bobcats, but that’s the only good news he had in this game. Davis sprained his ankle after stepping on the foot of Byron Mullens and had to leave the game after 9 minutes, finishing with 2 points, 1 rebound and 0 assists.
Andre Miller (-0.33) got 21 minutes off the bench for the Nuggets and finished with 5 points and 6 assists on 2-7 shooting from the field.