Thanksgiving Eve is always a big NBA day, with no games being played on actual Thanksgiving and we are all thankful we had 13 games to watch today. A ot of guy who were game time decisions such as James Harden, Eric Bledsoe, Tobias Harris and Spencer Hawes all sat out and to make matters worse, Chris Paul left the Clippers game with a pulled hamstring, although he says he’ll be back for Friday’s game against the Kings.
With so many games to get to, I’ll highlight the most important take aways from each teams games without wasting hours of your life pouring through all the details.
WEDNESDAY 27TH NOVEMBER 2013
THE BEST PLAYER EVER, TONIGHT
Channing Frye, PF/C, Phoenix Suns:
25 points (10/12 FG, 2/2 FT), 3 threes, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 0 turnovers
Channing Frye is pretty close to being officially labelled as back. He started off understandably rusty, but has been on fire his last handful of games, with this being the icing on the cake. I mentioned him as the Waiver Wire Line of The Night as few days back and he’s still only sitting at 9% ownership in ESPN leagues. He is obviously the Suns PF of choice. He’s a top 60 player this season and top 10 the last two weeks and obviously that is not sustainable, but he should hold top 100 value for the rest of the year and should be owned, hopefully by you, in your league.
Honourable Mentions: Nikola Vucevic, Luol Deng
WAIVER WIRE LINE OF THE NIGHT
Channing Frye, PF/C, Phoenix Suns (9% owned):
25 points (10/12 FG, 2/2 FT), 3 threes, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 0 turnovers
Russell Westbrook, PG, Oklahoma City Thunder:
6 points (2/16 FG, 2/4 FT), 0 threes, 3 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals, 0 blocks, 2 turnovers
Westbrook went all Gordon Hayward, hitting a putrid 12.5% from the field in this crushing performance for fantasy owners. This comes on the back of him resting for the Thunder’s last game. Don’t be disheartened, because even though he hasn’t looked the Westbrook of past years, he’s still an elite player and will give you great value based on where you most likely drafted him.
INDIANA PACERS @ CHARLOTTE BOBCATS
As is usual in blowout games, a lot of garbage time minutes are played, making fantasy analysis get quite skewed. For example, C.J. Watson hit six threes and grabbed six boards in 30 minutes. He is a decent grab if George Hill is injured, but otherwise, this is a big outlier. A guy I’d be trying to move from the Pacers is Lance Stephenson. It’s not that I think Danny Granger will have a huge impact, I just think his two triple doubles give off the impression he is a dominant fantasy player, when in reality he is outside the top 100, in larger part due to his poor FT% and dearth of steals. He is in a prototypical sell high window. George Hill shot poorly, but added in other areas and has really picked up his game lately.
It speaks volumes about your team when the best fantasy performance comes from a guy scoring five points, with seven boards, a steal and a block. So is the case for the Bobcats, with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist leading the way fantasy wise. After MKG’s solid start, he has tailed right off and can comfortably be dropped in most leagues. Kemba Walker rivalled Westbrook for terrible shooting hitting 3-of-17 shots, but did convert all seven of his free throws. After a string of solid games, Josh McRoberts fell right off, playing only 17 minutes, but still remained in the starting lineup. At some stage he will need to be dropped, but if you did grab him for his great peripheral stats, I’d stick it out a couple more games. Al Jefferson had three blocks with nine boards and 16 points, but the line was soured by poor foul shooting.
PHILADELPHIA 76ERS @ ORLANDO MAGIC
While Spencer Hawes sat out again with a sore knee, Thaddeus Young did make a return, after missing the last three games for personal reasons. He came off the bench and top scored with 26 points and eight rebounds. He is a guy to target in trades, although you may not get great value after this explosion, but his season to date has not been what his owners would’ve been expecting. Just be prepared to have you FT% take a decent hit. Michael Carter-Williams was amazing again. He’s top 20 for the year and he can’t possibly finish there, can he? He hit three threes and had 4 steals with 24 points. Backcourt mate, Evan Turner, almost triple doubled with 17 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, continuing his fantastic form. Daniel Orton and Lavoy Allen started, but that small run will surely end when Hawes is back and Young returns to the starting five.
Tobias Harris has been ruled out indefinitely with more ankle pain. Now indefinitely could be one more week, we just don’t know. I’d hold him for at most two more weeks if you don’t have IR or available bench spots. Jameer Nelson sprained his foot during this game and wasn’t able to return to the floor. There is no information yet as to any timetable, but he is someone who I would be comfortable dropping in most leagues. E’Twaun Moore will get the biggest bump in minutes and also expect Victor Oladipo to increase his usage and his turnovers. He had eight turnovers in this, but got five back through steals. Nikola Vucevic went off for 21 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks and amazingly has been the best player involved in the Dwight Howard/Andre Iguodala/Andrew Bynum trade. If you are looking for points and boards and nothing else, Glen Davis is your man, but as that accounts for only two categories, his value is limited in my opinion.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS @ BROOKLYN NETS
Jordan Hill struggled shooting, netting only two points, but at least grabbed 12 boards to somewhat salvage his night. Keep him on your team despite this blip. Jordan Farmar blew up for the second consecutive game, hitting five threes for 15 points with two steals and two blocks. Steve Blake is still the better PG to have, despite this mini explosion. Blake had 10 assists of his own. Nick ‘Swaggy P’ Young had a scoring outburst with 26 points, four threes and a one in each other category. He is also top 3 in the league in awesome nicknames (alongside the Armadillo Cowboy and the Polish Hammer). Wes Johnson was quiet and he is going to be up and down, but there is some upside there.
Brooklyn lost again, still missing their injured foursome. Andray Blatche again dominated with 14 points, eight rebounds, two steals and two blocks and absolutely must be owned, at least for now. Mirza Teletovic hit four threes for 17 points with a steal and a block, but he can stay on the wire for now. Joe Johnson continued his nice run and is a definite sell high candidate. Kevin Garnett is droppable in all leagues pretty much, but I’d try to see if you can trade him for anything based on name value alone.
MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES @ BOSTON CELTICS
Ed Davis continues to be productive off the bench. He was a more than solid fantasy option last year in Toronto before the trade and now is getting more minutes with Marc Gasol out. He had 11 points, seven rebounds and three blocks in 24 minutes and is ranked 76th in the last seven days. Gasol’s direct replacement, Kosta Koufos, is playing well himself, with 13 rebounds and three blocks of his own. He is a must own, more so than Davis at least. Zach Randolph shot poorly and finished with a sub-standard line of 13 pints and seven rebounds and is actually outside the top 100 players on the season. I didn’t like him this preseason and he is performing below average so far.
Jeff Green had 26 much appreciated points, adding seven rebounds and a steal. If he goes on a hot run, I’d try to move him off my team (hopefully people in my league don’t read this so they can take him off my hands). The frontcourt melange has taken more shape, with Brandon Bass and Jared Sullinger the two guys to watch. Bass had four blocks, a career high, with 13 rebounds. Sully hit two threes with 23 points and 12 rebounds and he is a must own player. In disappointing news, Courtney Lee left the game with a knee injury, from which the MRI came back negative. Jordan Crawford had another seven assists, but only five points. When Rajon Rondo comes back, which could be in a few weeks, Crawford will take a hit, but he will still be valuable as we don’t know exactly what Rondo will be able to do, especially initially.
CHICAGO BULLS @ DETROIT PISTONS
Luol Deng is thriving without Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler and had another fantastic game. He had 27 points, six rebounds and five assists, with two steals. Kirk Hinrich bounced back from a dud and a busted nose in his first start post-Rose with a nice game of 13 points and seven assists, but consider carefully what else is available before you add him to your team. Taj Gibson and Carlos Boozer split time, with Gibson playing the better, scoring 23 points and eight rebounds in his best offensive performance of the season. An interesting player here is Tony Snell. The rookie is starting in place of Butler, allowing Mike Dunleavy to come off the bench and he played well here, with 13 points, two threes and two steals. Dunleavy only got 18 minutes off the bench and can be dropped in most leagues.
Rodney Stuckey continued his hot streak of scoring, with 25 but not much else apart from great percentages. Greg Monroe was poor with only five points and three boards, while Josh Smith missed all four free throws, but did add a double double. of 13 points and 11 rebounds. Andre Drummond did what he does most every night, with 10 points, 11 rebounds and no made free throws. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope started again, played 18 minutes and went scoreless and inconsistency is a big part of most rookie seasons and with Stuckey playing out of his mind, KCP is going to struggle to be of much value, but he is worth keep an eye on.
MIAMI HEAT @ CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
LeBron James returned to Cleveland amidst the ‘Come Home LeBron’ campaign and proceeded to tear the Cavs a new one. He had 28 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and three steals. There’s not much more to say. Mario Chalmers returned from injury and may as well not have, with three points and two assists. After his hot start, he has been poor recently and can be dropped in a lot of leagues. Another guy really struggling is Chris Bosh, although he can’t really be dropped. I’d actually be looking to grab him off an impatient owner as he is bound to bounce back from the poor recent run.
From a fantasy perspective, the worst five Cavs in this game where the five starters. That is not an ideal scenario. Kyrie Irving has not had a good season so far and is really struggling with his shot. Amidst trade rumours, Dion Waiters hit four threes for a team leading 24 points with six rebounds. He also only hit 6-of-11 from the line and has been very streaky. Alonzo Gee started and played only 13 minutes, with Earl Clark having a much better night. Clark had three threes and two steals with 13 points but there’s nothing to really suggest he will be worth owning.
ATLANTA HAWKS @ HOUSTON ROCKETS
Kyle Korver and Lou Williams both sat out this game and the Hawks got pounded. Cartier Martin started in place of Korver and hit four threes and will only have value if he can start. Jeff Teague got Beverley’d, missing all five of his field goal attempts and had six assists. This is a more a function of the opponent than the player himself. Al Horford and Paul Millsap both had solid games thankfully for fantasy owners.
No James Harden again, so it’s time for an encore showing of the Aaron Brooks show. He hit four threes in his 21 points with two steals and was helped by Jeremy Lin playing only four minutes due to a knee injury. No timetable has been released for Lin yet. Also taking advantage of the blowout and the backcourt injuries was Francisco Garcia. He hit three threes for 21 points. Neither Brooks or Garcia are worth owning. One guy who is, however, is Terrence Jones. If he isn’t make it your mission to get him on your team asap. Patrick Beverley has been dominant defensively, but unfortunately, that doesn’t translate into fantasy production and owners must be getting frustrated and are quite rightly beginning to drop him. Omer Asik had a nice night in 20 minutes with 10 points and nine rebounds with a block. He has recovered from his sulking stretch, but still not enough to be owned in 10 or 12 team leagues.
DENVER NUGGETS @ MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES
I don’t know how the Nuggets are doing it, but they pulled off another win. It was an extremely well rounded performance, with contributions all across the board, which means there’s no stand out fantasy take aways. Wilson Chandler bounced back with a nice line of 14 points, two steals and a block. His backup Jordan Hamilton had 11 points, two threes, three rebounds and three steals in just 18 minutes. This is his third good game in the last four, and I’d be adding him in 14 team or deeper leagues. J.J. Hickson played only 19 minutes, and struggled to produce, but I still think he’s a great add. Nate Robinson had 15 points and has quietly been a top 50 player in the last week. I don’t think it will sustain, but he seems to be a much better SG option than Randy Foye at this stage.
In direct opposition to the Cavs performance from earlier in the night, the Wolves five starters are also their best five fantasy options. There’s nothing of interest on their bench at all. Kevin Love had 19 points, 15 rebounds and three threes and one crazy full court outlet pass. Ricky Rubio added 17 points to his 11 assists with two steals and finally hit 50% of his shots. Corey Brewer is still available in some leagues, just check to see if he is in yours and if so, grab him. Nikola Pekovic had a 20/10 game and Kevin Martin scored 29 points continuing his bounce back season.
SAN ANTONIO SPURS @ OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
A lot of people have been disappointed in Kawhi Leonard, but he is still having a decent season. He added four steals to his 14 points and 10 rebounds and I’d be seeing if I could pry him from a disheartened owner. Tiago Splitter was able to play through his sore ankle and gave us a pretty standard Splitter line of six points and nine rebounds. Danny Green had another dud of four points. He is only averaging 8.2 points on the season but is at least giving a block and a steal with almost two threes. The problem with Green is it’s all feast or famine. He’s due for a big game in the next one or two, so I’d still hold him.
With Westbrook struggling, Reggie Jackson was too much to handle for the Spurs, with 23 points on 71% shooting. Serge Ibaka was a beast with five blocks, 11 rebounds and 17 points and so far this season, has been a better fantasy player than Westbrook. Jeremy Lamb played 20 minutes, hit two threes and scored 12 points and continues to be a guy to monitor going forward. Kevin Durant had 6 turnovers, which really hurt his value as did his low FG%, but still had 24 points and 13 rebounds.
WASHINGTON WIZARDS @ MILWAUKEE BUCKS
John Wall’s run of 30 point games ended,but his fantasy awesomeness didn’t. He had five steals, six assists and 19 points and is on a tear. Also on a tear is Martell Webster. His ownership rose handsomely overnight, but he still could be around and needs to be grabbed. He had 18 points, four threes, five rebounds and seven assists. Nene dropped back to Earth with only nine points and eight rebounds, but his form so far this year means he needs to be owned. Marcin Gortat is experiencing the stereotypical change of scenery boost. 25 points, eight rebounds and two blocks was a fantastic game for his owners.
We all know the Bucks are a mess, but their PG position is biggest mess of them all and all these guys can be avoided. Brandon Knight started and played 30 minutes for seven points and five assists. Khris Middleton started at SF, and had a nice game, with 13 points and seven rebounds. I can’t recommend anyone to own on this team, however, beside Ersan Ilyasova. He has 12 points, six rebounds and four assists and importantly played 39 minutes. If he’s somehow available, he needs to be added pronto. I don’t know what Larry Drew’s issue is with John Henson but it is very frustrating. He played only 15 minutes for five points and five rebounds and this minute restriction is really making me think he should dropped in almost all leagues.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS @ DALLAS MAVERICKS
The Warriors have fallen in a hole of late, but are still churning out the fantasy stats. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and David Lee all scored over 20 points, with Lee and Thompson each grabbing double digit rebounds. Andrew Bogut returned from his suspension and also had double digit rebounds, but was blockless. Jermaine O’Neal still played 17 minutes in his bench role and was decent as well and he is a guy to have on your watchlist. Harrison Barnes was dreadful shooting from the floor, but as you can see by his minutes, he needs to owned still. Draymond Green had his second consecutive night of three blocks, but I don’t think this means anything going forward.
Samuel Dalembert returned to the starting lineup after his banishment for sleeping in. He had three blocks and six rebounds in 27 minutes and he is a great player in punt points teams. Bad Monta Ellis returned, hitting only two shot out of his 16 he took, finishing with four points. He did give us 10 assists, but just chalk this up to a bad night. Jae Crowder had a nice little line off the bench, which he has done a few times this year. He is very inconsistent and can’t be recommended to be owned. In just 20 minutes, DeJuan Blair had 11 points and nine rebounds with two steals, retaining some 12 team value. Vince Carter had his second consecutive dud after starting the season off well and isn’t really worth holding onto whilst he plays like this.
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS @ PHOENIX SUNS
Well it was fun while it lasted. The Blazers winning streak came to an end at the hands of the Suns. Once again, the only value to be had here is with the starters. Robin Lopez is probably the only one available in your league and I think he should be owned in all leagues. he had 10 points and 10 rebounds and gives you a good FT% for a big man. LaMarcus Aldridge scored well for 24 points, but the four rebounds is disappointing for a power forward.
Still no Eric Bledsoe, so that means another chance for a Goran Dragic explosion. And explode he did. He had 31 points, four threes, five rebounds and 10 assists and is dominating with Bledsoe out. Gerald Green got another start and hit two more threes but was quiet otherwise. If you have him, don’t drop him yet, just wait until you see what happens when Bledsoe returns. The Morris twins are clearly the Suns best scoring options off the bench and continue to put up similar lines to each other. Neither is must own, but both are decent spot starts, especially if you need points. Miles Plumlee is settling into what we can expect from him on a nightly basis. He should get a low end double double most night, with a block a night, which is a great for a waiver wire guy.
NEW YORK KNICKS @ LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
Raymond Felton returned from his injury and had one of his best games for the year with 12 points and seven assists. He is probably available in a few leagues, and is worth consideration for most teams. J.R. Smith’s nightmare season continues, with only seven points and five rebounds. After scoring 18.1 points a game last year, he is at 11.8 this year, a massive drop off and something that is concerning for his owners. Andrea Bargnani had another great game of 20 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks, but his relevance will return to close to zero when Tyson Chandler returns in a few weeks. Iman Shumpert is really struggling, After going scoreless in the last game, he managed only two points with two assists and can be safely dropped. Carmelo Anthony shot poorly as he is wont to do, scoring 27 points and grabbing nine rebounds. His rebounding has been great this year however.
Hopefully we can believe Chris Paul when he says his sore hamstring is no big deal and he’ll be in the lineup on Friday. He had 15 points, five rebounds, seven assists and two steals in just 26 minutes. There’s no need to rush to grab Darren Collison, as Paul will miss no to minimal time. After his breakout, Jared Dudley stunk it up again. Both Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan grabbed 13 rebounds with a block each.
And that’s it! Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers, whereas here in Australia it’s just a normal work day for us. Boo hoo. Even though there are no games tomorrow, I will be putting up an article, a new feature that will preview the games of the coming day and which matchups to avoid and exploit. Hit me up on Twitter @redrock_bball, email firstname.lastname@example.org and in the comments below.