Thursday, January 5, 2012 Basketball Daily Dose

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Oops I Did It Again - 01/05/2012
BY Aaron Bruski

  • Nene still feeling sharp pain in his heel   
  • Steph Curry goes down with ankle injury again   
  • Andrew Bogut, Dunleavy likely out again   
  • Wade and James questionable for Thursday   
  • X-rays negative on Marshon Brooks' ankle   
  • Iman Shumpert returns, scores 18 for Knicks   
  • Ray Allen to miss Wednesday's game w/ flu   
  • As many of you know I am an unabashed Warriors fan, and though I don’t own Stephen Curry anywhere after ankle concerns scared me off, I'm probably as heated as his owners about the way Golden State has handled his injury.


    Here is a guy that is 23 years old with his entire career ahead of him, and the geniuses that took over for the old geniuses have deemed it fit to push him early in the season with everything to lose and nothing to gain. 


    Unless you were away from technology last night, by now you know that Curry did it again.  In the third quarter of last night’s game he rolled his chronically injured right ankle – get this – trying to push off on it.  Curry said it was the worst pain he has felt this season dealing with it.  He said:


    “This is the worst it’s been (pain). I’m sure it has to do with the fact that it’s the third time. It’s hard to say exactly how it will react. I did put weight on it and tried to tape it back up and lace it back up but it started to stiffen up. We’ll have to see how it reacts tomorrow. But it’s just déjà vu again for me.”


    Curry added that he would test it on Thursday and he wouldn’t rule himself out for Friday’s game against the Lakers.  And once again Mr. Hand Down Man Down, Joe Lacob, and Peter Guber will ponder ruining their short-term outlook, their long-term outlook, and potentially this young player’s career so they can sell some tickets.  That’s really the only reason you push a guy that Neil Patrick Harris could diagnose as tore up.


    And Friday it could easily be déjà vu all over again.  Excuse me while I go look at lottery odds. 


    For a full analysis of how this injury could impact Dorell Wright’s value check out the final page.  And to follow me on Twitter for real-time news, information, and analysis click right here.




    Zach Randolph (knee) will be out for up to 8 weeks with a knee injury, which was quite the blow after reports emerged that he was “legitimately” day-to-day.  I guess I’m “legitimately” the best smelling person on this planet.  Heck, while we’re at it, all of you are “legitimately” going to receive a visit by Sloan from Entourage and she will explain to you where the No. 7 went in the Seven Budweisers of Christmas.  But I digress….


    Randolph is out and nobody in particular is in, though Marreese Speights caused a stir by getting traded to the Grizzlies for Xavier Henry, and anybody remembering Henry’s contract negotiations with the Grizzlies can imagine owner Michael Heisley saying ‘don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.’


    The real winner in this situation is Rudy Gay (19 points, eight boards, three steals, one block, one three), who was woefully underdrafted as I mentioned yesterday after producing at a Round 1 level last season when healthy.  Marc Gasol is also a winner and with mid-Round 2 value right now he’s looking like a solid bet to stay in the top-40 this year.  Dante Cunningham (two points, 1-of-7 FGs) started last night in Z-Bo’s place but played just 18 minutes, and Speights is probably a better pickup but we need to see that he’s in shape before fully endorsing anything.  Speights has a nice touch around the rim but those in the know say Doug Collins was not a fan.  And that’s putting it n! icely.  A 24-28 minute upside is reasonable, leaving Speights as a speculative add in 14 -16 team leagues for now. 


    Owners should, however, watch to see if the Grizzlies decide to play small.  Tony Allen posted his second straight nice outing with an 8-for-8 shooting effort for 20 points, four rebounds, two steals, and a block.  Allen, Sam Young, and O.J. Mayo are each candidates to step up into the void if that happens.  None of them are must-adds right now, but one of them could be shortly so stay tuned. 




    DeMar DeRozan hit five 3-point shots last night, equaling his entire total for last year and he now has 10 triples on the season.  Like Derrick Rose, once the range is found and the green light is given, the threes are going to start falling.  Barring an unlikely face-plant, DeRozan will nicely exceed his draft day ADP, so congratulations if you had the foresight (I’m looking at you Pork Chop) to draft him. 


    Dwight Howard didn’t appreciate my Andrew Bynum talk and posted a 28-point, 20-rebound, three-block line against JaVale McGee, and hit just 6-of-14 shots from the foul line … McGee was Superman’d and left with six points and four boards but did have five blocks ... McGee gets a pass for obvious reasons in the midst of a hot streak.


    Ryan Anderson bounced back from an off-night and scored 23 points with 15 rebounds and three treys.  Anderson had never really taken charge of the PF position in Orlando in the past, and his late ADP in drafts might have been as much about owners forgetting how bad Big Baby is than it was about Anderson himself. 


    Ricky Rubio continued to highlight the differences between NBA and overseas ball with 12 points, 10 assists, two steals, and two threes in 32 minutes off the bench.  Not only did he through enough salt in his own game this past year to plummet on draft boards, but he’s backed it up by emerging as a must-start player as long as he’s getting these minutes.  There will be nights that Lukewarm Luke Ridnour will run the show extensively, but on the whole Rubio should only see more time as we go.  Congrats if you drafted him, because he’s another guy in a timeshare with question marks that many (including this guy) passed up. 


    Eric Gordon (knee) returned to action and picked up right where he left off with 22 points, six boards, three steals, two blocks, and a three in a full 39 minutes.  He will be wearing injury-prone label for a while, but he’s going to be a monster when healthy.  On the good news front Jarrett Jack wasn’t slowed at all with 19 points, five rebounds, and 11 assists.  Carl Landry resurfaced with 21 points, eight boards, and nothing else – which is how he rolls.  Jason Smith (16 minutes, nine points, one three, two boards, one block) backed off after a strong Tuesday, but regardless it’s increasingly clear ! that this frontcourt is going to be a mess.  Chris Kaman (10 points, eight boards, 24 minutes) and Emeka Okafor (five points, seven boards, two blocks, 27 minutes) are capping their already modest upside and 1-2 guys are going to disappear nightly it seems.  All of the aforementioned but Smith are worth owning, but will likely give you heartburn with sit-start decisions.  Al-Farouq Aminu (zero points) did nothing with his start for injured Trevor Ariza (groin), who should be back sooner than later. 


    Marcin Gortat finally had a big night, setting season-highs in points (22) and boards (10) with a block on 10-of-15 shooting.  Robin Lopez looks healthy but I still don’t see Gortat giving way to him much, if at all.  Channing Frye (seven points, 3-of-4 FGs, one three, 10 boards, one block, 25 minutes) still hasn’t succumbed to rookie Markieff Morris (four points, five boards, 17 minutes).  While I feel comfortable saying Frye has better times ahead after a slow start, he’s knee-deep in a position battle with the rook.  The good news for Frye’s owners is that he will be given incumbent/veteran a! dvantages by Alvin Gentry.  Just hang onto Frye for now, and those adding or looking at Morris may want to slow their roll.  He may end up harming Frye more than he helps himself in fantasy leagues. 


    For updated projections, exclusive articles, daily pickups, subscriber-only chats, and more click here for the NBA Season Pass.




    LeBron James came down on Paul George’s foot but walked it off and stayed in the game.  And yes, the universe did stop for a second.  He is listed as questionable for Thursday’s game against the Hawks until he and the Heat can get a read on his swelling.  James went off with a 33-8-13 line including two steals with Dwyane Wade (foot) out.  Wade is also questionable for Thursday’s game, but said he felt good after the game.  There will be a million updates between now and game-time, so just get your backups ready in daily leagues if they don’t go. 


    Marshon Brooks’ (ankle) owners feared the worst after he landed on Avery Bradley’s foot, as he had to be helped from the locker room and didn’t return to the game.  Luckily, X-rays returned negative and the Nets said he is OK.  It sounds like he could miss a game or two if we’re guessing, and going for him he has both youth and the fact that the Nets need him like a fat kid needs low-fat cake. Add in Damion James’ seemingly minor foot injury (X-rays negative, day-to-day), and Anthony Morrow has a window to totally redeem himself.  If these guys miss time, Jordan Farmar will be forced to play despite landing in Avery Johnson’s doghouse.  Farmar had 11 points and six assists, and a whole slew of minutes open up if Deron Williams misses more time with his rib injury.  All of this will shake out today, but the bottom line is that owners should hang onto Brooks and watch for signs of life out of Morrow, Farmar, or Sundiata Gaines.  None of the three are worth anything but a spot-start right now, though. 


    Derrick Rose joined the dinged up list on Wednesday after falling on his right elbow after a hard foul by Damien Wilkins.  He played through it and said it started to progressively hurt while on the bench, but X-rays came back negative and we’re not overly concerned.  Rose said it was “Something he could play through,” and we tentatively expect him to play Friday against the Magic. 


    Nene missed his second game last night with a bruised left foot injury and said, "This pain is totally different than normal pain, like a normal knee injury.  I twisted both ankles in my last game here, but this pain is so sharp, so deep.” 


    How quaint. 


    Beat writer Aaron Lopez passed along coach George Karl’s statement that Nene was close to playing last night and thinks he will return for Friday or Saturday’s game.  All of this sounds minor on the surface, and I am not, repeat am not, sounding the alarm here – but with a few more negative reports we could be looking at the injury risk that Nene has recently avoided. 


    Kosta Koufos started in his place last night and put up 10 points and 11 boards against an awful Kings defense.  If Nene does go down for any length of time then he’ll be a must-add player in 12-team leagues for squads needing big man help.  Just look at him for spot-help for now. 


    Rodney Stuckey left last night’s game after aggravating a previously unreported groin injury and did not return, leaving Brandan Knight with a small, but nice opening to take increase his role, though Will Bynum will probably enter the rotation temporarily.  Ben Gordon’s owners shouldn’t be thrilled by this development, as once Knight proves himself ready Lawrence Frank could easily shift Gordon and Stuckey’s minutes into a tighter bucket. 


    Iman Shumpert (knee) returned to action and wasted no time with a 18-point, five-rebound, three-assist, two-steal, and one-block effort.  He hit four threes and aside from some minor cramping emerged unscathed.   Shumpert has a very good chance to start over Landry Fields and/or take the lion’s share of minutes, and is looking like a pretty good stash if you have a thinner wire or roster space.  Expecting him to be consistent off the bench right away is asking too much, though, which keeps him from being a must-add player just yet. 


    Michael Beasley might “need some rest” according to Wolves AP writer Jon Krawczynski, after Beasley said he couldn’t feel the ball due to his stitched up (shooting) finger injury.  After a 5-of-16 shooting night the numbers agree.  I can’t imagine Beasley would be thrilled to take a day off and open the door for rookie Derrick Williams (16 minutes, six points), but so far it looks like Rick Adelman doesn’t trust Williams defensively so there’s clear separation there.  That said, an absence by Beasley would be a great way to get his rookie some minutes and Williams should be watched closely if that is the case. 




    James Anderson started for the first time in Manu Ginobili’s (hand) place last night, and both he and Gary Neal didn’t do much to justify their pickups.  Anderson scored just five points on 2-of-6 shooting with two boards, two assists, and one three, while Neal had seven points on 3-of-9 shooting (including a three) with three rebounds and nothing else.  Even more worrisome for owners grabbing them was the insertion of T.J. Ford and Danny Green into the mix throughout last game, particularly late.  Ford finished with nine points and eight ! assists, and Green had eight points, two boards, two assists, two blocks, and a three.  It smells like a Gregg Popovich special, but owners adding either Anderson or Neal should give it at least a game or two to see how things play out.  If Ford emerges as the go-to guy again on Thursday against the Mavs, he’ll have some deep league appeal, as well. 




    Lamar Odom scored 15 points with five boards, two steals, and a three in 23 minutes, and as we’ve been preaching all along, just hang tight until he decides it’s a good time to get into shape.  The minutes and numbers are coming, though I prefer to think about the scowl Kobe would have given him had he pulled this crap in L.A. 




    Samuel Dalembert (12 minutes, four points, five boards, no blocks) is getting buried on the bench in Houston, and after a couple of years of listening to the seemingly rational Kevin McHale on NBATV, it appears he’s got some sort of bone to pick with Dally.  It’s interesting to see these coaches (Scott Brooks comes to mind) view players that played their positions in the same paradigm that they saw the game.  I’m guessing, but McHale probably wants Dalembert to learn something specific, because we doubt he’s that out of shape, and Dally just hasn’t learned it yet.  There is no good excuse for McHale to be playing Dalembert less than 20-30 mpg, so unless we hear an explanatory report owners should simply hold for now.  Sammy D has an excellent chance to be a! productive fantasy center once he and McHale get on the same page. 




    Kings fans are calling for Paul Westphal’s head, though I’m not sure what firing him would do.  There probably aren’t more than 8-10 coaches in the NBA right now that could handle that bunch.  I wrote extensively about them yesterday, and nothing happened that might address the cause of the cold, though the symptoms shifted around a bit.  Everybody loves to criticize DeMarcus Cousins, and I do it all the time, but it’s only fair to give him his props when he does it right.  Last night he kept his mouth shut and played hard, and surprise, he hit 9-of-12 shots for a season-high 26 points.  They’ll continue to be inconsistent, until they move their lineup around to balance the scorers with the ball-movement guys.




    Corey Maggette left Wednesday’s game with a hamstring injury, and beat writer Rick Bonnell suspects that he could be “out a while.”  Shocking, I know.  He couldn’t put any weight on his leg and this is Corey Maggette we’re talking about here. 


    Derrick Brown could start in his place, but that would leave the Bobcats even more anemic than they already are offensively.  Maybe it’s finally time for B.J. Mullens to join the starting lineup.  This would leave some outside shooting on the floor to keep teams from keying on D.J. Augustin (14 points, 4-of-14 FGs, six boards, 10 assists), Gerald Henderson (24 points, 10-of-13 FGs, one three, four boards, four steals), and Boris ‘Big Mac’ Diaw (below) too much.  Each of the three should see a nice boost in scoring and touches for however long Maggette is out.  Kemba Walker played just 16 minutes last night and scored seven points with five assists, a steal, and a three, but if he was a stash to watch in 12-team leagues yesterday he’s that much better today with the Bobcats desperate for scoring. 


    Mullens almost made yesterday’s Dose with yet another career-high in scoring on Tuesday, and he set a career-mark again with 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting with five rebounds but no blocks.  If you’re in a 14-16 team league and thin at center, Mullen is going to slowly improve all year. 


    D.J. White will continue to start and try to build on his slowly growing deep league value, as he posted 10 points, nine boards, and a steal last night.  White is averaging 10.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 0.7 steals, 0.8 blocks, 61.2% FG shooting and a low-volume 66.7% mark from the line with just 0.3 turnovers per game in 28 minutes.  It’s reasonable to think he could bump those numbers up with more playing time due to Maggette’s absence, but he will take a hit when Tyrus Thomas returns as soon as Friday. 


    Thomas will be integrated into the rotation slowly, but as always his 1.5 steals and 2.5 blocks per 36 minutes are dangling about gaining attention like a beaded Mardi Gras bosom.  Will she stay for another drink or move to the next balcony?  How long can the metaphor go?  Only owners know, because they’re the ones looking at a decision to pull the trigger on Tyrus, who needs about 2-3 weeks of time to ripen on the vine.  If you’re not ready to give him that, then don’t bother with the pickup.   A quick search of my 12-team leagues didn’t show him available, so if you’re reading this it may be too late anyway.  For my money I’d have taken the risk had he been available in many cases, and if I needed power forward beads for a Mardi Gras bosom he would have been an auto-add. 


    As for Diaw, he took control of the Bobcats’ squad on Wednesday against the Knicks, scoring 17 points on an intrepid 12-of-15 shooting (three treys) with three rebounds, six assists, and a steal to go with a win in New York.  I wrote about dumping him after a big line but with Maggette out the price just raised considerably.  I still believe Diaw is a long-term decreasing asset with various risks, including conditioning, effectiveness, and late-season youth movement concerns.  But with Maggette’s history and injury risk, Diaw could quarterback this thing for a while.  His value may not be higher than it is right now, though, so owners should definitely go fishing. 


    And why not since we’ve touched on everything but M.J.’s moustache and the dancing hamsters from the Kia ad, the statute of limitations on Bismack Biyombo has all but run out.  Owners drafting him in a 12-team format had to know his progress wouldn’t show in the first two weeks, but the minutes just aren’t there as the Cats are bringing him along very slowly.  I’d cap the experiment at one more week, which conveniently al

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