Nine games tonight, but there were two bigger stories off the court. Firstly Bradley Beal has been diagnosed with a stress reaction in his lower leg, which is similar to the injury he suffered late last season. He is out indefinitely and was reported by ESPN’s Bill Simmons that the Wizards are preparing to be without him for a while.
Secondly, we had our first trade since the season started, with Sacramento sending Luc Richard Mbah a Moute to Minnesota for former number 2 pick Derrick Williams. It’s hard to know exactly what happens fantasy wise until we see some games, particularly for the Kings, but I don’t think either guy is a must add.
On a brighter note, especially for Trevor Ariza owners, he will be back in the starting lineup for Tuesday’s game. Initially this would’ve cut Martell Webster’s minutes, but with Beal now out, Webtser will probably hold his value, playing more 2 than 3.
MONDAY 25TH NOVEMBER 2013
THE BEST PLAYER EVER, TONIGHT
George Hill, PG, Indiana Pacers:
26 points (9/13 FG, 5/6 FT), 3 threes, 3 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 steals, 1 block, 2 turnover
As a George Hill owner, I definitely didn’t think he would be winning a line of the night award given his putrid start to the year, but here we are. He has actually been quite good of late and hopefully you didn’t panic early on and held on.
Honourable Mentions: LeBron James, Nicolas Batum
WAIVER WIRE LINE OF THE NIGHT
Channing Frye, PF/C, Phoenix Suns (4.2% owned):
16 points (6/12 FG, 0/0 FT), 4 threes, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 0 blocks, 1 turnover
Frye was one of the original big guys who could hit threes and we were robbed of having him in the NBA after his heart problem. He is back and getting acclimated and this was his best performance of the year. He has started alongside Miles Plumlee nearly all year, and with Markieff Morris’ downslide recently (barring today) he is getting a good chunk of the frontcourt minutes. Should you pick him up? Probably not in 10 team leagues, but definitely in 12 teamers. Depending on your team build, he is rosterable in 10 teams as well, just not as a blanket statement across the board.
Eric Gordon, SG, New Orleans Pelicans:
4 points (2/9 FG, 0/0 FT), 0 threes, 0 rebounds, 2 assists, 0 steals, 0 blocks, 4 turnovers
The only good to come out of this line was the fact that his 19 minutes weren’t due to an injury, rather that the Pelicans were getting hammered. His last three games have oscillated between pedestrian and woeful, but his early season form is enough to encourage you he can bounce back.
MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES @ INDIANA PACERS
Only eight players got into the game for the Wolves, which is usually good for fantasy owners. Unfortunately, there weren’t any spectacular performances. Ricky Rubio shot poorly again, but his nine rebounds, seven assists and five steals are nothing to be sneezed at. Kevin Martin and Kevin Love both shot poorly, but scored well with their customary contributions in the other categories. Corey Brewer followed up his 22 point outing with a nine point dud. He should still be on a roster in almost all leagues. Nikola Pekovic had the emptiest double double with 18 points, 11 rebounds and diddly squat else.
With George Hill getting the line of the night, let’s not ignore the performance of the Paul variety of Indiana George. Paul George had 26 points of his own, with four threes and four steals and he is continuing his early season form. Roy Hibbert dropped his bundle in this game with a block and five rebounds and only four shots on a terrible shooting night. Don’t be worried, he’ll be back to his best. With Hibbert struggling, Ian Mahinmi (I wish that was as fun to write as it is to say) had two blocks, but he is only a deep league play, but could very well be a must add should anything nefarious happen to Hibbert. Still no sign of Danny Granger, but even when he does return, his fantasy relevance will be the same then as it is now. Zero.
BOSTON CELTICS @ CHARLOTTE BOBCATS
With Kelly Olynyk out, we can safely (I hope) assume that Brad Stevens will start Jared Sullinger and Brandon Bass every night. Sully was quiet in this one and Bass scored well at an efficient rate but not much else and they are only barely hanging onto standard league value. I’d be looking elsewhere. I’ve said it before this season, but I’m amazed at Jordan Crawford’s game. He did it scoring in this one, with 21 points at 45% hitting four threes and adding five assists. He is must own and the fact he is still available in 32% of leagues is an indictment on fantasy players. Hopefully this doesn’t mean you. Rajon Rondo was seen practising today fuelling rumours that a return is imminent, but I wouldn’t be banking on him returning until mid-late December at the earliest. Crawford will hold value I thin when Rondo returns, but it will obviously decrease. Zombie Gerald Wallace returned from the dead to have 17 points, but he can remain on the waiver wire. Vitor Faverani seems done a fantasy player for now, but monitor the situation.
Kemba Walker has shaken off the poor form following his shoulder injury to play some really good basketball of late. He is a top 50 player in the last week, a big improvement from his 100 rank for the previous two weeks. He was the game top scorer with 28 and added six rebounds and five assists. Josh McRoberts had another good game, and he too is a top 50 player the last week and I’m betting he is available in your league. If you don’t need points but crave threes, boards and dimes, McBob is your man. (I can’t believe I wrote that sentence in 2013). Al Jefferson hasn’t gotten it going in Charlotte yet, but he will, just be patient. That nice little run Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had is officially done, playing only 16 minutes in this game and he can be turfed in all leagues.
MILWAUKEE BUCKS @ DETROIT PISTONS
My God, the Bucks! I dread writing about this team because it is absolutely the biggest mess in the NBA. They’re more of a mess than a shirtless Lamar Odom rapping. Brandon Knight and Khris Middleton were inserted in the starting five at the expense of Caron Butler and Luke Ridnour. Middleton played only 20 minutes but managed to almost top score with 14 and two threes, whilst Knight was awful with eight points and four assists with six turnovers. O.J. Mayo went missing with only five points whilst Ersan Ilyasova played 16 minutes and appeared lost. You have to hold Ersan, but apart from him the only guy worth owning is John Henson, who for some reason can’t get a start despite his consistent form. Henson had 15 points, seven rebounds, two steals and two blocks and I do not for the life of me know why he isn’t getting 30 minutes a game. Larry Drew, you’re fired!
Brandon Jennings feasted against the remnants of his former team, hitting four threes on his way to 15 points whilst dishing 13 assists. Rodney Stuckey had another good game with 17 points and he must be owned until he burns out. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had a nice game as the starting SG, getting 14 points with three assists and two steals.
PHOENIX SUNS @ MIAMI HEAT
Still no Eric Bledsoe, although he could be back for Wednesday’s game. Goran Dragic got close to the triple double with 14 points, eight rebounds and nine assists and he is loving having the playmaking role to himself. He will still be god when Bledsoe comes back, don’t get me wrong, but the uptick here is real and noticeable. Also loving the Bledsoe absence is Gerald Green. He hit two more threes, leaving his season average at 2.6 threes per game. He is must own for now, but wait and see what happens for a game or two when Bledsoe returns. Marcus and Markieff Morris both played decent games off the bench, with Marcus being in better form of the two. Neither is a must own now, but are in line for these sorts of nights going forward.
The heat did this easily, crushing Phoenix by 15 points. Mario Chalmers sat out with a hip flexor strain and is in doubt for Wednesday’s game. LeBron James scored a ludicrous 35 points on just 14 shots and a perfect 11-of-11 from the line. Dwyane Wade dished 12 assists with Chalmers out. The biggest beneficizary was Ray Allen. He had 17 points with a troika of treys. Norris Cole started and may as well have been invisible, so no need to rush out to start him on Wednesday. Chris Bosh was poor in this game, with seven points and four rebounds, but that is but a blip on the radar. Chris Andersen surprised with almost 20 minutes, finishing with 11 points, seven rebounds and a block. Don’t expect that to be a regular occurrence.
HOUSTON ROCKETS @ MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES
No Harden, no problem. Jeremy Lin started again with James Harden out and had a nice line. Patrick Beverley had his typical multi cat line, with nine points, a three, three rebounds, 2 assists, a steal and a block. You love the production across all categories, but you ant the assist and point numbers to be higher. I’ll say it one more time, Terrence Jones is must own. Go and grab him now. Omri Casspi managed 16 points and two threes off the bench, but he has limited value.
In the first game without Marc Gasol, Kosta Koufos had the Grizzlies best line. He had eight points, 13 rebounds and two blocks and he will get the lion’s share of minutes for the duration of Gasol’s injury. Ed Davis only played 16 minutes, but was really productive six points, four boards and two blocks in his limited minutes. Keep him on your deep league watch lists. Tayshaun Prince had 16 points, picking up some of the offensive slack as did Tony Allen who had 15 points of his own with six steals and two blocks. He is always a source of defensive stats, but isn’t consistent enough to be owned in 10 team leagues. Mike Conley is the Grizzlies number 1 option on offense and even though he shot terribly, he still finished with 10 points and 10 assists and I can see his value increasing without Gasol.
DENVER NUGGETS @ DALLAS MAVERICKS
After a terrible start, the Nuggets are looking a lot better, knocking off the favoured Mavs at home. J.J. Hickson is now officially, if he wasn’t before, the Nuggets go-to centre over Timofey Mozgov. He bounced back from a poor showing to have 22 points, eight rebounds, three steals and a block. Make sure yours isn’t one of the 20% of leagues in which he is unowned. Nate Robinson hit three threes on his way to 17 points, but I still don’t think he should be owned in most leagues. Kenneth Faried had another double double in only 25 minutes and his low minutes are quite frustrating. Ty Lawson also double doubled, and Jordan Hamilton had a nice game, outperforming Wilson Chandler. This is the second game in the last three in which he has played quite well, and Chandler has been declining and it has seemed to be since the two switched starting/bench positions. Chandler is still the one to own, but it’s actually getting closer. it bears mentioning over the next week.
Samuel Dalembert was benched due to over sleeping and played only 17 minutes, but did contribute two blocks. Hopefully he returns to getting 25 minutes in his next game. DeJuan Blair got the start but only played 18 minutes, but had 10 points and eight rebounds with a steal. Shawn Marion had another exemplary game, double doubling whilst adding four assists. He is top 45 this season unbelievably, and his ownership actually dropped from 100% this week, so if someone in your league had a brain fart, please make them pay by getting him on your team. Monta Ellis v2.0 had another efficient night, but tweaked his ankle late. Monta, along with having it all, waved off the ankle injury as ‘no biggie’, but check his status closer to game time on Wednesday.
NEW ORLEANS PELICANS @ SAN ANTONIO SPURS
In what is becoming a recurring theme, the game involving the Spurs was a blow out, making reading fantasy relevance almost impossible. New Orleans can be summed up as such. Anthony Davis is a beast. Ryan Anderson can shoot. Jrue Holiday is a triple double threat. Tyreke Evans is getting better. This game was so much of a thrashing that Austin Rivers played 15 minutes and scored 10 points. That is the ultimate sign of a blowout.
The Spurs being so good is killing their players’ value. You just have to persist and hope the minutes increase soon. Manu Ginobili is proving those who thought he was done at the start of the year (me included) were wrong. He scored 16 points with four threes, five rebounds and six assists in 19 minutes. Danny Green had one of his many off nights, so he is due to hit six threes in the next game, which makes it hard to drop him, but I’d understand if you did. Kawhi Leonard has had a disappointing year in the eyes of many, but he is still the 35th ranked player on the year. He only played 20 minutes, but managed to grab 11 rebounds and two steals. Similar to Austin Rivers, when Patty Mills plays minutes, the game was clearly over early.
CHICAGO BULLS @ UTAH JAZZ
The Bulls appear to be reeling from losing Derrick Rose and lost the previously insipid Utah Jazz. Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng shouldered the load offensively scoring 26 and 24 points respectively. Boozer grabbed 16 boards while Deng had 10. These two will be the biggest gainers from the Rose injury. Kirk Hinrich and Mike Dunleavy who both played big minutes in place of Rose and Jimmy Butler and hit 1-of-12 shots between them. Hinrich will still have end of the roster 10 team value, but Dunleavy is probably droppable now. Tony Snell started, played 25 minutes and scored nine points. Put him on the watchlist for now.
Enes Kanter sat out with his twisted ankle, meaning Marvin Williams got another start and played 43 minutes. He had 17 points and nine rebounds with three threes and is worth an add until he drops off. Gordon Hayward shot poorly again, but had 15 points, six rebounds and 12 assists. Trey Burke played well in his second start, hitting some big shots down the stretch. He had two threes, 14 points, six rebounds and four assists. Make sure he is not available in your leagues. Alec Burks can be dropped in all formats now. Rudy Gobert grabbed nine rebounds in 19 minutes and is only of interest while Kanter is out.
NEW YORK KNICKS @ PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS
I feel sorry for anyone who owns J.R. Smith. He shot 2-of-8 and continues to throw up ill advised shots every game. He is bad now, he may even start getting dropped and if you can afford it, he may be worth grabbing and stashing until he turns it around. Carmelo Anthony had his customary 34 points on 25 shots, grabbing 15 boards and is single handedly carrying this team, but they still can’t win. Beno Udrih had a nice game in his spot start and with no real clue when Raymond Felton will return, you could do worse than pick up Udrih until that happens. Kenyon Martin and Amar’e Stoudemire split minutes at PF down the middle and both were productive, but both are not worth having in 10-12 team leagues. They both scored 10 points. Iman Shumpert was dreadful with no points and a steal in 23 minutes. That’s hard to take and he is only useful for steals and assists.
The red-hot Blazers keep on keeping on. Led by Nicolas Batum and Damian Lillard with 23 points apiece, the Blazers extended their winning streak. This is one of the clearest rotations in the NBA, and there is no real value outside the starting five, with the possible exception of Mo Williams. LaMarcus Aldridge continued on his form from winning Western Conference player of the week with 18 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks. I would be targeting all Blazers in trades as the rotation is as set as any in the league and as we all know, minutes are the most important stat in fantasy basketball
Who did you think was the best player tonight? Do you agree with George Hill? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @redrock_bball