Thursday, December 29, 2011 Basketball Daily Dose

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Enter the Panic Room - 12/29/2011
BY Aaron Bruski

  • Jrue Holiday leaves with right knee injury   
  • Stephen Curry (ankle) out for Warriors   
  • Conley's night ends early with ankle sprain   
  • Jordan Crawford will stick as starter for now   
  • Eric Gordon (knee) will not play on Wednesday   
  • Jeremy Pargo looks good subbing for Conley   
  • DeJuan Blair scores 20 points in blowout win   
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    Mike Conley got injured on Wednesday and Jeremy Pargo filled in, finishing with 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting with seven assists and two steals.  It sounds like Conley should miss a couple of practices and also a game or two, so Pargo is worth an add for owners needing help in the short-term. 


    Jrue Holiday left last night’s game late and it sounds like he banged his knee, but that it’s not serious.  Lou Williams would be the add if he misses any time, but Doug Collins said he was okay so owners can breathe a sigh of relief. 


    Dwyane Wade left Wednesday’s game in the first half with a left foot injury and didn’t start the second half, but returned and hit the game-winning shot on a play in which he traveled.  I don’t want to hate on Wade here, either, as that travel call doesn’t get made for at least 30 different players in the league.  But it was a travel.  Wade’s owners will deal with plenty of Ben Roethlisberger-like injury situations like this all year long. 


    Stephen Curry (ankle) is day-to-day and owners should be rooting for him to take as much time off as he needs to get healthy.  Ishmael Smith started for Curry last night and scored 11 points with six boards, four assists, two steals, and a three, but we’re guessing Curry plays in the Warriors’ next game Saturday.  Only add Smith if you hear about a ‘thumbs down’ for Curry.  Monta Ellis stepped in and predictably scored 22 points with eight assists, and will carry the load anytime Curry is out. 


    Eric Gordon was a surprise scratch due to a swollen knee, begging the question of whether or not owners gave him enough credit for being injury prone. 


    Mario Chalmers had 15 points, four assists, and a three, and waiver wire darling Norris Cole had five points on 2-of-8 shooting with one assist in 16 minutes.  Obviously folks wanted a repeat of his 20-4-4 line from Tuesday, but it was widely reported that he hadn’t earned the starting job yet so hopefully owners kept that in mind when adding him.  He should be given at least a week to see if Chalmers can hold him off, and frankly I’m not surprised Erik Spoelstra went back to him last night.  Had he not done that, he could have shattered Chalmers’ confidence one week into the season.




    I told you that Greg Monroe wasn’t a great bet to bounce back against Anderson Varejao in this space yesterday, and he didn’t let me down.  If anything, Monroe’s 10 points and seven boards showed me that the ‘floor’ isn’t so bad.  I’ll be floating buy low offers out to his owners as soon as I’m done writing this column, and after that I’ll be writing sternly worded letters to Golden State management for passing on the well-rounded big man for the likes of Ekpe Udoh.   




    I only ask because I hear he can’t play offense anymore, either.  While the offense has disappeared, so has any semblance of stability in Alvin Gentry's rotation.  Unless you're in a really shallow league I’m advising folks to hold Channing Frye and Marcin Gortat until it’s clear that they’ve been shelved, particularly Gortat.  It would still be quite an upset for both of them to lose their jobs.  Nobody in Phoenix played particularly well last night, including Steve Nash, so it’s pretty obvious something is very wrong there.  Hopefully it’s just conditioning, as the team is exactly the same as last year’s version. 




    Brandon Knight scored 23 points with six assists and had three treys against the Cavs and he probably wasn’t available before this column was published, but if he is stop reading and pick him up.  Knight could have gone as high as No. 3 in this year’s draft to Utah, and if he had we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now.  He fell to No. 8 and lost some of his fantasy luster, but Knight probably guaranteed his late-round value with tonight’s performance.  I doubt Detroit brings him along slowly knowing that he’s ready to play. 


    Gerald Henderson hit 10-of-19 shots and a three for 21 points, four rebounds, four assists, two steals, and two blocks and as I alluded to in yesterday’s Dose, he and Corey Maggette matched up with Dwyane Wade and LeBron James about as well as anybody.  Hopefully you took Charlotte and the points. 


    Marvin Williams scored 17 points on 4-of-8 shooting with eight rebounds, two steals, a block, and two threes on Wednesday, and posted a nearly identical line on Tuesday.  I had mentioned in this space that if he did it again that he would deserve a long look, and I’ll stop short of calling him a must add player but I have to say I’m pretty impressed.  If not for Williams’ inconsistent history I’d be more bullish.


    Ben Gordon hit 9-of-19 shots with four treys for 25 points and four assists, and we’re about to find out if the coaching change will bring Gordon back to the land of the relevant.  We’re not asking for every-night production, but if he’s going to be an impact player this season he needs to disappear no more than once per week and not every other game.  He’s worth an add for sure, but I’m going to stop short of calling him a must-add because we simply don’t know if he can get his confidence back. 


    Spencer Hawes showed Wednesday that his big night Monday would have some carryover, scoring nine points with 11 rebounds, two steals, and two blocks in 26 minutes.  He should be added not necessarily because it’s a lock he will keep it up, because it’s not, but because these big lines will make him a marketable player for your squad.  His success is partly due to Elton Brand’s struggles.  Brand had four points, nine boards, and lasted just 21 minutes amidst rumors that he’s not in basketball shape.  Brand comes with no guarantees this year, either, but it’s almost certain that he picks up his current pace at the expense of Hawes.  There’s also promising rookie Nikola ! Vucevic ready to threaten Hawes’ minutes, too.  If you grab him look to move him asap. 


    Brandon Rush scored 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting with six rebounds, two assists, two steals, two blocks, and two 3-pointers last night, and his presence is one of the reasons that Dorell Wright’s minutes are down.  Steph Curry’s absence should be noted here, but Rush has played a solid 27 minutes per game.  While he averaged just 8.5 points and 3.0 boards in his first two games, he averaged a solid 1.5 threes, 1.0 steals, and 2.0 blocks.  If your format doesn’t reward such things you can disregard this, but adding Rush in advance of his next big game isn’t the worst idea.  It’s a bit early to call him a must-add player by any means, though. 


    James Johnson has long been a favorite of mine due to his versatility and defensive ability (I’m a snooty basket-nerd I guess), and he continued to impress in a bench role with six points, eight rebounds, two assists, six steals, yes six steals, and two blocks.  Unless you’re in a points format that doesn’t reward versatility, Johnson is a must-grab for the chance you’re getting a ‘special’ fantasy player. 




    D.J. Augustin hit 7-of-11 shots and three treys for 20 points, five boards, and six assists while playing through his sprained ankle.  Kemba Walker had 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting with three assists and a steal in 20 minutes, and I tend to think he should still be owned at least until we hear that Augustin is fully healthy.  If you want to ditch him after that, be my guest.  Augustin, like Nick Young, is going to be very motivated to play through ailments so he doesn’t get ‘Pipped,’ which is a great way to get hurt. 


    Jordan Crawford looked like a breakout candidate by mid-day Wednesday after Flip Saunders said he was being given the starting SG job for the “next 10 days or so.” Fast forward to after Crawford’s one-point, 0-for-6 outing and that’s the only saving grace owners have.  Backup Nick Young added to the frustration by hitting 6-of-12 shots for 21 points and four assists.  The position battle is on.  We don’t expect Saunders to go back on his word, though it’s possible, and at this rate they’ll trade big lines indefinitely.  That means they’ll both have low-end value, but owners are banking on an injury, trade, or face-plant by the ‘other guy’ for anything more. 


    Derrick Favors dealt with foul trouble yet again, and finished with just two points though he did have 10 boards in 17 minutes.  Paul Millsap proved his ability to produce off the bench once again, scoring 13 points with eight boards in 22 minutes before things got silly. 


    This should, in theory, cause Ty Corbin to consider swapping things around, and as I wrote yesterday it’s time for Corbin and Jazz management to either defecate or get off the chamber pot.  Go with the old guys or go with the new guys, but make a move and follow through.  Raja Bell, Millsap, Devin Harris, and C.J. Miles are not thrilled to be taking a back seat to guys that are going to struggle, but once they can plan on what their identity is I expect a more cohesive and successful unit. 


    Favors should be owned in all formats as long as he is holding that starting job.  The kid needs experience, and if anything reserve him while he figures out how to stay on the court, but drop him at your own risk.  Owners may want to float out a buy low offer on Millsap, too.  The Jazz may come to the conclusion that they have to feature Millsap for the sake of having any growth on the court.  After all, losing begets losing. 


    Al Jefferson hit 8-of-14 shots last night after a 2-for-16 mark on Tuesday, and his knee did not appear to be a problem at all.  He finished with 19 points, five boards, a steal, and a block in 30 minutes.  The boards speak to the presence of Millsap and Favors, perhaps, but Jefferson’s owners can exhale.


    Jose Calderon came back to Earth after a 15-point, 11-assist game on Monday, scoring seven points with six assists and two steals.  I made Jerryd Bayless a late-round target because I liked his chances to have low-end value regardless, and take the starting role at some point during the year.  Bayless scored 13 points in 18 minutes, and owners have to treat him like a roster stash and be patient.  

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