This just in: the Knicks are pretty bad and their fantasy fortunes, outside of Carmelo Anthony aren’t much better. And the Chicago Bulls are so beat up, they are rivalling them. It’s ugly in the Windy City and just as bad if you own any Bulls on your teams.
TUESDAY 10TH DECEMBER 2013
THE BEST PLAYER EVER, TONIGHT
John Henson, PF/C, Milwaukee Bucks:
25 points (11/17 FG, 3/4 FT), 0 threes, 14 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, 6 blocks, 3 turnovers
Henson has been on fire and he is this season’s Larry Sanders, while this season’s Larry Sanders languishes in injury purgatory. What happens when Sanders returns from his nightclub induced thumb injury? I wouldn’t have a clue yet, but don’t be surprised if Henson keeps playing over 30 minutes because at the moment, he is far and away the Bucks best player.
Honourable Mentions: Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love
WAIVER WIRE LINE OF THE NIGHT
Danny Green, SG/SF, San Antonio Spurs (49.9% owned):
14 points (5/7 FG, 2/2 FT), 2 threes, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 0 turnovers
Contrary to what a lot of people think, Green is ranked 76th for the season in fantasy. Granted his scoring has been brutal, but he has been contributing in other categories and tonight was able to hit some threes to go along with it. He’s not necessarily a must own, but he should be owned in over 50% of leagues.
Joe Johnson, SG, Brooklyn Nets:
7 points (3/9 FG, 0/0 FT), 1 threes, 3 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 steals, 0 blocks, 3 turnovers
With Paul Pierce and Deron Williams back for the Nets, the run of Joe Johnson being good came to an abrupt stop. He won’t always be this bad, but he’ll return himself to top 120 value and borderline droppable, although I’m sure he’ll retain 100% ownership in leagues due to his name value.
NEW YORK KNICKS @ CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
Well, at least Carmelo Anthony played well right? Melo had 29 points, three threes and eight rebounds and he was supported by Amar’e Stoudemire with 15 points and two blocks and Pablo Prigoni had nine assists and two threes. That sentence would read great if this was 2009 and Amar’e could walk and Prigoni was at least able to be categorised as early 30’s. But the fact that they were the best performers is an indictment on the Knicks. Raymond Felton and Iman Shumpert were both woeful as well, as was Metta World Peace and Andrea Bargnani. Bargnani has been woeful the last two games and with Tyson Chandler on the way back soonish, Bargs’ value will keep taking a hit. If you can get a trade to get rid of him, I’d pull the trigger now.
Hallelujah! Kyrie Irving did something great! He destroyed the Knicks with 37 points, four threes and 11 assists and shot well from the floor and the line. This is what you spent a top 10 pick on, it’s just a shame he has been M.I.A. for most of the year. Fingers crossed this is the spark he needed. Dion Waiters played only 14 minutes for six points and shouldn’t be dropped in 10 or 12 team leagues. Andrew Bynum played 24 minutes but only scored three points with eight rebounds and he is going to be up and down as the season progresses. Anderson Varejao will also be up and down and he was partially up in this game, with nine points, seven rebounds and five assists. C.J. Miles and Alonzo Gee started at the 2 and 3 and both were okay. Miles had 10 points, with two threes and two steals and Gee had three steals and six rebounds.
MIAMI HEAT @ INDIANA PACERS
Dwyane Wade returned to the lineup, but it wasn’t enough for the Heat to get over the top of the Pacers. Wade had 17 points, six rebounds and six assists, tying for the team lead in scoring. LeBron James also had 17 points, with 14 rebounds and six assists, but he surprisingly shot poorly. Mario Chalmers was able to have a pretty standard line for him with nine points, a three and two steals and he is basically a source of threes and steals.
Roy Hibbert top scored for the game with 24 points, but only had five rebounds and a block and has cooled off considerably from his hot start. George Hill had a nice line with only five points, but eight rebounds and six assists. Danny Granger is rumoured to be returning soon as he was considering returning in this game, so expect to see him at some stage this week, next week at the latest. Even with Granger returning, Lance Stephenson should retain his value. He had 12 points, six rebounds and five assists against the Heat, but it’s interesting to know that he is ranked 141st for the season, in spite of the fact he has had two triple doubles.
SAN ANTONIO SPURS @ TORONTO RAPTORS
Manu Ginobili continued his resurgent season, hitting four threes (and making them look easy) in his 16 points and nine assists. He’s still available in a lot of leagues and is worth owning in most formats. The two Aussie bench warmers, Aron Baynes and Patty Mills, combined for 25 points and really helped get the Spurs back into this game when they were down early. Baynes had 14 points and six rebounds, but he got the extra minutes with Tiago Splitter sitting due to his calf injury. Kawhi Leonard had a nice game despite scoring only eight points. He added seven rebounds, four assists and a steal and is playing well, but not spectacularly. Jeff Ayres started for Splitter but played on nine minutes and is a fantasy afterthought. Tony Parker had 15 and 6 and Tim Duncan had 14 and 7, but shot only 2-of-5 from the stripe.
Terrence Ross got the start in Rudy Gay’s vacated SF spot and played 38 minutes and he is a must own guy for now. He scored 14 points with four threes and four rebounds and looks to be the guy the Raptors will play there moving forward. Amir Johnson played well for the third straight game, getting 19 points and nine rebounds and Kyle Lowry kept up his good form with an 11/7/7 line with three threes. Jonas Valanciunas scored 14 points but only grabbed four rebounds and has been a disappointment so far this season.
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER @ ATLANTA HAWKS
Even though he shot sub 30%, Russell Westbrook had a great night, coming one rebound short of a triple double. He had 14 points, nine rebounds and 11 assists with four steals. Kevin Durant was brilliant as usual, with 30 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and two blocks. Thabo Sefolosha sat out with a sprained knee and rookie Andre Roberson started at SG, but it was Reggie Jackson playing the bulk of the backcourt minutes with Westbrook. He continued his good form with 13 points and four rebounds. Serge Ibaka had 19 points and 10 rebounds with two blocks to continue his great season.
Paul Millsap had a huge night with 23 points and 12 rebounds, hitting two more threes and is putting together a very productive season. Shelvin Mack had another nice game behind Jeff Teague with 17 points and six assists. Teague also had 17 points and six assists, but added three steals. Kyle Korver was able to hit another three in his nine points and supplemented that with six rebounds. Al Horford shot poorly, finishing with seven points and 10 rebounds.
MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES @ DETROIT PISTONS
Kevin Love was awesome yet again with 26 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists and is rewarding owners who took a risk on him based on last year’s woes. Ricky Rubio got his offensive game going with 15 points, adding in nine assists and two steals. Nikola Pekovic had 18 points and five rebounds but nothing else, which is quite usual for him. He is a low end fantasy player despite the impressive looking numbers at times. Dante Cunningham played 25 minutes off the bench and had six points and eight rebounds and is definitely a value pick up if anything is to happen to Love or Pek.
Andre Drummond was a little quiet with eight rebounds and eight points and two blocks, but it’s nothing to worry about. Brandon Jennings top scored with 20 points and had seven assists. His assist are up this season, but he is still overvalued as his field goal shooting and turnovers can be killers. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored a career high 16 points, with two threes and a massive chase down block. Chauncey Billups returned from his layoff and played 17 minutes and shouldn’t be owned in most leagues. Josh Smith had himself a nice well rounded line of 17 points, one three, four rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block and sot 50% from the field. Rodney Stuckey sat out again with his knee tendonitis.
BOSTON CELTICS @ BROOKLYN NETS
The Celtics starting five all produced, scoring over 13 points each, but their bench offered nothing. Avery Bradley scored 22 with three threes and two steals, while Jordan Crawford had 15 points and four assists. Jeff Green is turning it around now after starting off so poorly. He had 19 points with four threes and six boards against the Nets.
The big news here is that Deron Williams returned to the lineup and scored 25 points; a season high. He added seven assists and if you drafted him, you must be wrapt that he is back and hopefully he can keep producing like this. Paul Pierce also returned, but wasn’t quite as successful with four points, seven rebounds and three assists. He was dropped in a few leagues, so he’s worth picking up and seeing how he goes in the next few weeks. Brook Lopez scored 24 points, but totalled a putrid three rebounds. Andray Blatche only played 20 minutes but got close to a double double, finishing with 11 points and nine rebounds with a steal and a block.
MILWAUKEE BUCKS @ CHICAGO BULLS
Oh my! Looking at this box score, I’m still waiting for the fourth quarter to be played. It was that ugly. Brandon Knight scored 19 points and grabbed a fantastic 10 rebounds from the PG position, but he, along with Henson, were the only guys to do anything. Ersan Ilyasova played off the bench again for 10 points but not much else, save two steals. He has been disappointing to say the least.
The Bulls trotted out the starting lineup of Kirk Hinrich, Mike Dunleavy, Tony Snell, Carlos Boozer and Nazr Mohammed. That about sums up this game. Boozer had 21 points and 12 rebounds with four steals and Taj Gibson had 10 points and nine rebounds off the bench, but it’s hard to get much out of the other performances due to the injuries to Luol Deng and Joakim Noah. Noah should be back for tomorrows game, but Deng’s status is unknown. Dunleavy has played well in three of the last four games, and is ranked 61st over the last seven days, so is worth a short term add, especially whilst Deng and Jimmy Butler remain out.
PHOENIX SUNS @ LOS ANGELES LAKERS
Marcus Morris had a massive game abusing the weak Lakers frontcourt, posting 22 points, two threes and four rebounds. Markieff Morris had 15 points and seven rebounds and got the majority of the minutes over Channing Frye and Miles Plumlee. Plumlee has cooled off considerable and is borderline droppable now. Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe were able to exploit the Lakers backcourt as well. Dragic had 31 points and five assists and Bledsoe had 18 points, nine assists and three steals coming back to Staples Center.
Kobe Bryant scored 20 points in his second game back and was able to get up and throw down a dunk. Fantasy wise, he was much better than his season debut, but only added two rebounds and three assists. It goes without saying that he will continue to improve. Steve Blake had 10 assists and two steals and I think he can keep up his value, even with Kobe back. Jodie Meeks replaced Wes Johnson in the starting lineup and scored 13 points. His value will be interesting to watch over the next few weeks as will the value of Nick Young and Xavier Henry. Jordan Hill played only 19 minutes off the bench, but had 13 points and seven rebounds and could be in line for an uptick in minutes.
GAMES ON WEDNESDAY 11TH 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
Ricky Rubio, PG, Minnesota Timberwolves vs Philadelphia 76ers
MCW is likely out again and even if he does start, the Sixers will give you a huge fantasy boost. Rubio could be in line for a triple double here.
Kevin Martin, SG, Minnesota Timberwolves vs Philadelphia 76ers
The Sixers bump in full effect again, Martin has already been a surprise this season and will put in a big number of points and threes here.
Al-Farouq Aminu, SF, New Orleans Pelicans vs Detroit Pistons
Aminu has benefitted, particularly in rebounds, with Anthony Davis out. The Pistons allow a lot to the opposition small forwards, so expect another double digit rebound performance.
Serge Ibaka, PF/C, Oklahoma City Thunder @ Memphis Grizzlies
Memphis is the second best fantasy teams for power forwards to play and Ibaka is already having a top 20 season, so should be in line for another double double and two to three blocks.
Boris Diaw, PF/C, San Antonio Spurs @ Milwaukee Bucks
With Splitter likely out again, Diaw should see 30 minutes and as well as John Henson has been playing, the Bucks are still woefully undermanned in the paint.
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 @ Minnesota Timberwolves
MCW is doubtful to play, but even if he does play, Brett Brown wants to try more Wroten/MCW backcourts, so 15 points isn’t out of the question.
If you need threes: Danny Green, SG/SF, San Antonio Spurs @ Milwaukee Bucks
Green hit two threes in tonight’s game and should be able to hit some more against the injury riddled Bucks. The Bucks allow an additional 11% above average of three pointers to opposition shooting guards also.
If you need rebounds: Al Farouq-Aminu, SF, New Orleans Pelicans vs Detroit Pistons
Averaging 15.5 rebounds over the past seven days and should be able to grab double digits here with no Anthony Davis or Tyreke Evans.
If you need assists: Tony Wroten, PG, Philadelphia 76ers @ Minnesota Timberwolves
As above, Wroten should blow up especially if MCW is out again.
If you need steals: Al-Farouq Aminu, SF, New Orleans Pelicans vs Detroit Pistons
Defense is Aminu’s game and Detroit gives opposition small forward a 21% bump in steal numbers. Look for two or more here.
If you need blocks: Jason Smith, PF/C, New Orleans Pelicans vs Detroit Pistons
Smith is very underrated and with Davis out, someone has to block some shots and Smith is your man.
As always, leave me any suggestions or comments below or on Twitter, @redrock_bball