Boxscore Breakdown Day 41: Top Notch, Johnson

David_Lee_Amir_Johnson

First off, I hope you all got the subtle reference to the great TV show, Son Of The Beach. If not, refresh your memory below.

On a day when Kobe Bryant made his long awaited return from his torn Achilles tendon, who would’ve thought that Masai Ujuri and the Toronto Raptors could upstage them by trading the once thought untradeable Rudy Gay contract (which has now been traded twice!)

A few fantasy thoughts on the trade: 

Winners:
Terrence Ross – will most likely pick up the minutes left by Rudy Gay. He has more upside than Landry Fields and John Salmons and is a must pick up in all leagues, just until we see what shakes down with Toronto.

Isaiah Thomas – is now the clear, unquestioned starting point guard in Sacramento. This, however could be bad, as now instead of being the focal point of the second unit, he moves into the starting lineup playing with blackholes such as DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay and Ben McLemore. It may be an opportunity to trade him, if people expect him to have an increase in production

No Change:
Rudy Gay – should be able to put up the same numbers and some abysmal FG%

John Salmons, Quincy Acy, Aaron Gray – no change and no real value anyway

Losers:
Greivis Vasquez – was already in a time share in Sacramento, but now goes from being a starter to the backup. It’s not time to cut him yet, because even though Kyle Lowry has been playing out of his mind, a lot of people think this opens the door for the Raptors to move Lowry, putting Vasquez back into the starting role.

Kyle Lowry – may see a decrease in assist numbers with Vasquez in town, but don’t expect too much of a dip, even if traded.

Amir Johnson – had just put himself back into fantasy relevance, but the arrival of Patrick Patterson, may put him back into a time share, as Tyler Hansborough is still around, albeit injured.

SUNDAY 8TH DECEMBER 2013

THE BEST PLAYER EVER, TONIGHT

Amir Johnson, PF/C, Toronto Raptors:
32 points (14/17 FG, 4/4 FT), 0 threes, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 3 turnovers

Amir has been absolutely on fire of late and smashed his career high in points against the weak Lakers frontcourt. Unfortunately, the arrival of Patrick Patterson may dampen. Patterson isn’t a star by any means, but he will still get minutes and could reduce Amir’s minutes under 30 per game. We’ll have to wait and see but for now just ride the streak.

Honourable Mentions: Kevin Durant, Paul George

WAIVER WIRE LINE OF THE NIGHT

Amir Johnson, PF/C, Toronto Raptors:
32 points (14/17 FG, 4/4 FT), 0 threes, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 3 turnovers

THE STINKER

Victor Oladipo, PG/SG, Orlando Magic:
8 points (2/11 FG, 4/6 FT), 0 threes, 3 rebounds, 0 assists, 1 steal, 0 blocks, 2 turnovers

I was THIS close to giving this to Kobe Bryant, but lucky for him and his eight turnovers, VO was worse. This is just a typical rookie blip, but he wasted a great opportunity to really turn it on against the fast-paced Rockets.

BOSTON CELTICS @ NEW YORK KNICKS

Jordan Crawford again? Really? With the news on Rajon Rondo’s return looking grimmer by the day, Crawford’s stock keeps rising. He hit six threes in his 23 points with seven assists and the best coaching job of the year has been Brad Stevens turning him into a legitimate NBA point guard. Avery Bradley grabbed his first career double double of 13 points and 10 rebounds. Brandon Bass and Jared Sullinger have cemented their position in the Celtics frontcourt and are playing very well. Bass had 16 points and eight rebounds, with three steals and Sullinger had 21 points with two threes.

This was disgraceful for the Knicks. To lose by 40 points to the Celtics is inexcusable. Based off of that, there isn’t much to talk about fantasy wise from this insipid team. The starting backcourt of Iman Shumpert and Raymond Felton both went scoreless. Tim Hardaway Jr. got his first NBA start, played 24 minutes and scored eight points with three steals. Keep him on the wire now until we see where this leads. Andrea Bargnani was horrible with only two points and three rebounds and we should probably just erase this game from our minds.

MIAMI HEAT @ DETROIT PISTONS

As expected, Dwyane Wade sat out, pushing Ray Allen into the starting SG spot. Allen responded by scoring 18 points with two threes, in a good result for people who played him needing threes. LeBron James had his usual stellar line, but did have six turnovers. Mario Chalmers did what we expect of him, getting four assists and three steals.

Andre Drummond had another monster with 19 points, 14 rebounds, two steals and two blocks. Even taking into account his horrific free throw shooting, he is the 21st ranked player on the season and is looking like he may be named to his first All-Star game this season. Greg Monroe and Josh Smith both struggled slightly, whereas Brandon Jennings had another decent game with six assists, two steals and 19 points. Jonas Jerebko played 20 minutes and was able to score 12 points with two threes and two steals. I’ve always liked Jerebko, but he’s obviously stuck for minutes behind Monroe, Smith and Drummond. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope put up all zeros, missing all four of his field goal attempts and putting up nothing else.

ORLANDO MAGIC @ HOUSTON ROCKETS

Nikola Vucevic was unable to play with his injured ankle, but hopes to back soon. If you have a weekly lineup, he is considered a game time call for Monday’s game, so should be ok for the remaining games of the week. Without Vucevic, Glen Davis scored 18 points with six rebounds and two steals and looks a good player without Vucevic and in particular, Tobias HarrisJameer Nelson hit four threes and had three steals and has been playing really very well since returning from injury.

Dwight Howard had 20 points and 22 rebounds and importantly was able to three blocks and two steals, things that had been lacking from his game of late. Terrence Jones had another massive game of 16 points, two threes, 13 rebounds, two steals and five blocks. He is developing before our very eyes. James Harden got close to a triple double with 27 points, three threes, eight rebounds and 10 assists.

INDIANA PACERS @ OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER

The Pacers got pounded, but Paul George was still able to shine. He had 32 points, four threes and three steals and is a genuine top 10 NBA player now. Roy Hibbert struggled again, not getting a block, but did have 12 points and nine rebounds. George Hill struggled, but salvaged some value with three steals, while Lance Stephenson had a quiet night with eight points, three rebounds and three assists.

Kevin Durant outduelled Paul George, finishing with 36 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. He and Russell Westbrook, who had 26 points, seven rebounds and 13 assists, both shot over 60% from the floor. Reggie Jackson continues his solid form off the pine, scoring 15 points with three assists in 26 minutes. Serge Ibaka was only able to grab a Bargnani-esque three rebounds to pair with his one block and 13 points.

TORONTO RAPTORS @ LOS ANGELES LAKERS

Without Rudy Gay, the Raptors looked a whole lot better, pumping the ball into Amir Johnson and letting DeMar DeRozan be the gunner. DeRozan had 26 points with five rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocks in a fantastic performance. I can see his value going up without Gay around. Kyle Lowry had 23 points with eight assists and three steals. His value will be slightly reduced by Greivis Vasquez but he is still the unquestioned starter. Terrence Ross had 11 points and two threes off the bench and will be someone to grab now that he should be able to get 30 minutes a game on the wing. Jonas Valanciuas was disappointing with only five points and six rebounds, but the Raptors obviously were looking down low, so expect his value to turn around soon.

Let’s start with the big one. Kobe Bryant returned and looked rusty as was expected. He scored nine points with eight rebounds and four assists in 27 minutes, shooting a brutal percentage and having eight turnovers. It goes without saying that things will change and he’ll get better. Jodie Meeks was still able to get 35 minutes off the bench and shouldn’t be dropped just yet. Robert Sacre got another start but played only 9 minutes. Nick Young and Xavier Henry both scored well off the bench, but don’t expect these opportunities to keep going as Kobe gets more comfortable.

GAMES ON SUNDAY 8TH DECEMBER

Each day after looking back on the games of the day, I will spend a little time looking forward, prognosticating if you will, what to look for in the coming day’s games.

MATCHUPS TO EXPLOIT

Chris Paul, PG, Los Angeles Clippers @ Philadelphia 76ers
Against the Philadelphia Traffic Cones, Paul will have a field day and is a great pick for your daily leagues as he is always going to started in season long leagues.

Jamal Crawford, PG/SG, Los Angeles Clippers @ Philadelphia 76ers
Crawford gets the Phialdelphia bump, and without J.J. Redick, he is already seeing a bump in value. Enjoy it!

Wilson Chandler, SG/SF, Denver Nuggets @ Washington Wizards
With Martell Webster hurting, Chandler has a great opportunity to break out of his funk.

Zach Randolph, PF, Memphis Grizzlies vs Orlando Magic
Nik Vucevic is a game time call and Glen Davis isn’t known for his defense, so Z-Bo, playing without Marc Gasol and Ed Davis, is primed for a 20 & 10 game.

DeAndre Jordan, C, Los Angeles Clippers @ Philadelphia 76ers
Sixers bump in effect again and Jordan’s foot injury isn’t thought to keep him out of the lineup.

PLAYERS TO PICK UP FOR SPOT START DUTY

This section highlight guys who are available in less than 50% of ESPN leagues and are a decent option if you are looking to stream a guy in for a day to give you the boost to put you over the edge in your matchup.

If you need points: Tony Wroten, PG, Philadelphia 76ers vs Los Angeles Clippers

With MCW laid up in hospital with his knee infection, Wroten has been going off and I expect him to do so again.

If you need threes: Jared Dudley, SG/SF, Los Angeles Clippers @ Philadelphia 76ers

Dudley has struggled this season, but if there’s ever a chance to get on track it’s against Philadelphia. They allow an additional 48% above average of three pointers to opposition small forwards also.

If you need rebounds: Robin Lopez, C, Portland Trail Blazers @ Utah Jazz

He’s averaging 9.4 rebounds over the last month and the fact he’s owned in less than 50% of leagues is astonishing. Grab him and keep him.

If you need assists: Mo Williams, PG/SG, Portland Trail Blazers @ Utah Jazz

The Jazz obviously aren’t the greatest team and Williams has averaged 4.4 assists so far this season, so is a decent chance for five or more.

If you need steals: Glen Davis, PF, Orlando Magic @ Memphis Grizzlies

Davis has had five steals over his last five games and can give you two steals here as well as decent points and rebounds numbers.

If you need blocks: Samuel Dalembert, C, Dallas Mavericks @ Sacramento Kings

Sammy D is struggling, but he can still offer a block or two, if that’s what you’re after.

As always, leave me any suggestions or comments below or on Twitter, @redrock_bball

Josh Lloyd

Written by

Josh is the founder of RedRockbasketball.com and loves playing and writing about fantasy sports. He also writes for RotoWire.com as a fantasy analyst. He lives in Melbourne, Australia and once dunked a basketball wearing jeans.

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