Wednesday, January 11, 2012 Basketball Daily Dose

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Nate Robinson to the Rescue - 01/11/2012
BY Aaron Bruski

Sponsored By TicketCity
  • Spencer Hawes (back) game-time decision Weds.   
  • Dorell Wright finally breaks out w/ six treys   
  • Dwyane Wade plays well despite foot injury   
  • Anthony Randolph could start for Wolves   
  • Nate Robinson leads Warriors over Heat   
  • Warriors to meet Stephen Curry in Charlotte   
  • Rookie Parsons scores 20 for Rockets   
  • The only way to keep your edge in both fantasy and in life is to admit when you are wrong.  With regard to Nate Robinson, I was clearly wrong. 


    I went back and watched every possession of his on offense and on defense and the takeaway is that he wants it.  A lot of the same blemishes are there – he’s overaggressive and he gambles on both ends of the floor.  He’s small.  But even if we are taking a snapshot in just one game, the shot selection issues that have plagued him were a non-issue in last night’s stirring win over the Heat.  The defensive effort and most importantly, the focus, were both there.  Robinson was a willing distributor and leader on the floor, despite being with the team for less than a week.  Defensively he ran around the floor at a break-neck speed, ultimately securing the game’s signature moment with a steal on a corner-post entry pass, followed by a 60-foot around the back pass to a streaking Dorell Wright to put the Warriors up for good. 


    Best of all, he might have won over Warriors fans, coaches, and management in just his third night.  And while I’ve been critical of Mark Jackson from the jump, he may convert me if he can convert Nate into this type of player every night. 


    Robinson’s offense was somewhat overstated by a 14-of-14 mark from the foul line, but you can’t shake a stick at 24 points, four rebounds, five assists, and four steals.  Fantasy owners should know he earned a big spot in the rotation last night, and though the returns aren’t likely to be this rich going forward – he’s worth a short-term add in 12-team leagues for the time that Stephen Curry (ankle) is out.  And who knows, if he’s the spark plug the Warriors need to get running again he might carry over some value when Curry returns, too. 






    While I got it wrong on Nate-Rob, I was pleased to see that I didn’t completely swing and miss on Dorell Wright, if only for just one night.  He broke out with 20 points, 10 boards, a steal, a block, and a season-high six threes.  The percentages were all but guaranteed to revert back to career norms, and the good news is that the Warriors’ offense may have found an unlikely boost in Robinson.  I previously outlined what Wright needed to do to approach last year’s value, and the Warriors’ running game is going to be a big determinant of his success.  Feel free to sell-high if you want out of the Wright business, but I’ll be holding on knowing his trade value still isn’t that high – and games like this make me believe he still h! as an outside shot at that mid-round ADP. 


    Another guy I’ve taken it in the shorts on is Channing Frye.  Like Wright, I didn’t go into drafts targeting either player, but both consistently fell to me multiple rounds after last year’s valuations.  In many cases, they fell to me multiple rounds below the projected drop-offs I gave both of them.  The last couple of weeks made me feel like I was late to the party, though draftniks had Markieff Morris pegged as a JAG (just a guy) and nobody predicted that Wright would go in the tank. 


    Needless to say Frye’s 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting with three treys last night warmed the heart.  I think the message is that regardless of whether or not guys are going to hold their value, you can almost always expect a regression to the mean with their shooting.  In the case of both Frye and Wright, the expected improvement is also going to make their job security a lot better.  Now it’s on them to keep it up with the backups hot on their tails, but it seems every year we have to remind ourselves not to overrate the season’s first two weeks.  In a lockout-inspired season, it’s true now more than ever. 




    Last night Rick Adelman started quite the interesting second half lineup, including Ricky Rubio, Luke Ridnour, Anthony Randolph, Anthony Tolliver, and Kevin Love.  Of course, the Bulls jumped out to a big lead and Adelman responded in kind, but this was really about figuring out life post-Michael Beasley foot injury.  Beasley is out indefinitely and talk started emerging about him becoming a sixth man, but the reality is that he just isn’t a part of the W! olves’ plans going forward.  He sticks out like a sore thumb in Adelman’s passing offense, and with players like Rubio, Love, and the glut of athletic tweeners the Wolves have it doesn’t make sense for guys to stand around and watch Beasley jack up shots.  Beasley isn’t going to be shooed away or anything, but last night may have been a preview of things to come.


    Ridnour scored a season-high 22 points with a handful of other goodies last night, and should see plenty of minutes in the first half of the season.  If you need PG assistance, there is no excuse for passing on him right now.  On the other side Rubio got owners’ rocks off for 13 points, four boards, 12 assists, and four steals.  He’s a must-start player now, so a starting job would just be icing on the cake.  And speaking of icing, the fact that J.J. Barea (hamstring, ankle) can’t stay on the court is a nice short-term boost for both. 


    The news of the night for Minny, though, was Anthony Randolph.  He has been a fantasy curse the past couple of years, but one has to wonder what he’ll do under an established coach in Adelman.  After burning through Nellie, Mike D’Antoni, and Kurt Rambis, Randolph is on his last legs reputation-wise and with years of experience now, the potential (read: potential) for a step forward exists.  He scored 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting with a steal and a block last night, and with Adelman talking about lineup changes I like him as a speculative add in 12-team formats if you have dead weight. 


    And if I’m intrigued enough to burn some dead weight on Randolph, it goes without saying that I like Derrick Williams as a must-add player in 12-team leagues.  There will be a donut-hole like time this season when Beasley returns and Williams’ value will wane, but it seems like a minor nuisance with Williams’ arrow set to point up all year long. 




    John Wall hit just 3-of-12 shots and continued his slump last night, but is a prime buy-low candidate.  There is no conceivable circumstance other than injury in which he won’t improve his value.  Everything that could go wrong is going wrong in Washington right now.  Something will give.




    Jimmer Fredette got the start at shooting guard for Marcus Thornton (thigh bruise) on Tuesday, but vanished to hit just 2-of-7 shots for seven points, two rebounds, and three assists.  Thornton is day-to-day making the window short here, but I’m barely evaluating Jimmer until the Kings offense opens up a role for him, anyway.  There is a very real concern that he’s being frozen out by his teammates, even if it’s not being done emphatically.  My gut tells me he needs to be on the ball for the majority of his minutes for him to hold value this year.  There’s no add here in 12-team leagues. 


    J.J. Hickson struggled in his start with just three points and six rebounds, and as I’ve written a bunch here, until the Kings install an up-tempo offense run through a triumvirate of Jimmer, Tyreke Evans, and Isaiah Thomas you can expect up-and-down performances all year from the whole team.  They have no identity and no ball movement.  It’s science. 




    I’m not buying Evan Turner’s 16-10-8 line last night against the Kings, who are awful on defense.  Turner is going to be inconsistent as long as Lou Williams is the first banana off the bench, and then there’s that little Jodie Meeks problem, too. 




    Delonte West got busy with six points, 10 assists, and five steals in a start for Jason Kidd, and though Kidd is a safety net that West will never be, it’s interesting to see a playmaker at the one for the Mavs.  There’s nothing really to see here, though, as West’s value will go back in the tank when Kidd returns. 




    Kobe Bryant hit 18-of-31 shots for a season-high 48 points with a full line last night.  Nothing has or will change on my stance with him, as I lead the ‘sell-high’ charge knowing full well he is destroying the stat sheet right now.  Adrian Wojnarowski wrote a lengthy piece about Kobe’s wrist, saying he’s one hit away from serious injury.  It’s basically a game of chicken right now for owners, with Kobe producing borderline Round 1 value in 8-cat leagues and fourth round value in 9-cat leagues.  My guess is that with his name value and the big lines that owners can pull a safer, less exciting asset in a trade.  Any player within two rounds of the aforementioned valuations that has an up arrow is perfect in my books. 




    Marreese Speights stepped into the starting PF spot for the Grizzlies, and cooled off some of the hype following his 17 and seven outing on Monday with just 10 points and one rebound last night.  He played 20 minutes and that’s a number that will slowly rise over the next week.  Speights is a wild card between the ears but has talent, and needs to get into shape.  Last night’s result fits right in with that assessment, and Speights needs at least a week from owners before cutting the cord. 




    Dwyane Wade’s foot went from minor nuisance to holy #$% real quick when the words ‘plantar fasciitis’ hit the wire, but he ended up playing and scoring a season-high 34 points with a full stat line.  He limped around throughout the game and this is an injury owners will obviously want to keep an eye on.  LeBron James said his ankle was at “80 percent” heading into last night, but you wouldn’t know it by his 26 points, 11 boards, and seven assists.  Neither guy should leave your lineup unless they’re declared ‘chained to a hospital bed.’ 




    Derrick Rose put a scare into owners after suffering what appeared to be an ankle injury, and then was reported to be turf toe.  Regardless he finished out the game and looked good doing it with 31 points on 11-of-22 shooting with 11 assists, four threes, a steal, and two blocks.  He added that he would play Wednesday against the Wizards, so there is some risk of a lesser workload.  Either way, disaster averted. 




    The Warriors have “a plan” for Stephen Curry’s ankle, after doctors determined that nothing was structurally wrong with it.  I wonder if step one is collect underpants. 




    Andray Blatche (shoulder) was a scratch and then he wasn’t, and eventually came off the bench while Trevor Booker started at PF and Chris Singleton started at SF.  The move reeks of Flip Saunders’ final stand, and while it produced a win, Saunders will need to win at a 7-of-10 clip for the next two weeks to keep his job – if he hasn’t lost it already.  All of this means that I wouldn’t put much stock in the lineup and rotations right now.  Blatche will need to truly piss off management to lose his starting job, which is unlikely, and at the small forward position Jan Vesely and Singleton will l! ikely share minutes with Rashard Lewis finding his way out as the season goes.  The only player here that I consider owning long-term is Blatche. 




    Elton Brand broke out with a season-high 21 points on 10-of-14 shooting with 10 boards and three blocks against the awful interior defense of the Kings, so let’s not go crazy here.  But as I’ve mentioned in multiple spaces here, my concern isn’t so much for Brand as it is for Spencer Hawes, who left Tuesday’s game after playing just 10 minutes due to his potentially chronic back issue.  Hawes had just three assists to show for his time on the floor, and backup Nikola Vucevic wasn’t much more productive with five points on 2-of-3 shooting with four rebounds and a steal in just under 20 minutes. 


    My concern for Hawes lies not just in his past inconsistency, but the fact that Philly beat writers and even Doug Collins entered the season viewing Hawes as a stop-gap solution, and a guy they just hoped would be serviceable.  That Hawes has gone nuts while Brand face-planted is much too convenient for me, and it begs the question of whether or not owners should have been aggressively selling high from the jump.  Whether it’s the possibility of a Brand bounceback, or the chance that Vucevic challenges for the starting job like many predicted, selling Hawes after his next big line makes a ton of sense. 




    T.J. Ford was carried off the court with a hamstring injury, which usually indicates a 2-3 week timetable for return at best.  In the meantime Gary Neal was moved to backup PG duties and it set him back as he scored just 10 points with two assists.  Better days are ahead for Neal, but the friction of the move and the Spurs’ overall struggles got the best of him tonight.  He’s still a must-own player and I like him even more with Ford out, despite tonight’s struggles. 


    Rookie Kawhi Leonard was Gregg Popovich’s most recent experiment at shooting guard in the wake of Manu Ginobili’s hand injury, but this time it panned out on the stat sheet as Leonard scored 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting with three rebounds, two assists, four steals, and a block.  While clearly this is a mini-breakout, and Neal could be moved back to the bench to better fit a backup PG role, I’m not optimistic that Pop sticks with this lineup.  In this lineup, the only one who can be counted on from 3-point distance would be Richard Jefferson, and that subsequent lack of range usually gets schemed out by opposing coaches.  My best guess is that we see a platoon at the position going forw! ard, so I’m not running to grab Kawhi just yet. 




    The Chandler Parsons project was cute a few days ago, and now you just saw her at the club wearing something that forgot to stay classy.  With 20 points on 9-of-16 shooting, two threes, and seven boards it’s hard to imagine Kevin McHale sitting him with Chase Budinger doing a whole lot of nothing.  I know that nothing is guaranteed for Parsons as a rookie, but this is the type of player I consider a must-add even though he’s not a definitive ‘must-own’ guy in 12-team leagues.  If I lose a low-end talent like Marvin Williams I won’t lose sleep if Parsons doesn’t pan out.  It's all about the upside. 




    James Johnson was touted as a possible starter in the local papers earlier in the day, and then followed up with one of his ‘bad’ nights, scoring four points with four boards, one assist, and one steal in 28 minutes.  The minutes were a good sign, but the low per-minute totals have been a problem with him at times.  Hit or miss, the magic 8-ball says feel free to drop Johnson for a hot free agent but don’t forget about him, either. 




    Ty Lawson (ankle): Did not practice Tuesday but says he’ll play Wednesday.  We’ll see.

    Paul Pierce (heel): Says he’s fully healthy, owners should be holding him for now.

    Nene (heel): Getting pain-killing injections, this next week will be telling. 

    Rodney Stuckey (groin): He keeps missing games, giving Brandon Knight a large window.

    Kyle Lowry (foot): Returned Tuesday and didn’t miss a beat, with no reports of a setback.

    George Hill (back): Questionable for Wednesday.  If he can’t go Collison and George get a bump.

    Danny Granger (ankle): Listed as day-to-day, I’m about zero percent shocked it wasn’t food poisoning.

    Beno Udrih (shoulder): Brandon Jennings went off tonight, and the situations are indeed related.

    Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (knee): His return means only bad things for the Bucks frontcourt.

    Tyler Hansbrough (eye): Not a concern.  He goes back to being a fringe fantasy play.

    Jerryd Bayless (ankle): Can now put weight on it.  He’ll start at 20 mpg and then it’s up for grabs.

    Mike Dunleavy (groin): Could miss a month.  Carlos Delfino shouldn’t be on the wire in 12-team leagues.

    Tony Parker (leg): Started Tuesday and looked great with 22 points and eight assists.

    Mario Chalmers (shoulder): Played Tuesday and got the better of Norris Cole.

    MarShon Brooks (ankle): He said it was “fine.”  Don’t be fooled into thinking this kid will sit. 

    Chuck Hayes (shoulder): He’s on point for the 3-4 week timeline.  Add him in about 14 days.

    Damion James (foot): James will not challenge MarShon Brooks’ minutes when he returns.  At all.

    Mehmet Okur (back): A game-time decision for Wednesday, and only ownable for the center-desperate.

    Richard Hamilton (groin): Did not play Tuesday, and while he’ll hold value I am not waiting on it.

    Andris Biedrins (ankle): Missed another game Tuesday.  Kwame Brown is on the radar if healthy.

    Kwame Brown (shoulder): If both Brown and Biedrins are out, Ekpe Udoh is the next man up. 

    Tyreke Evans (ankle): Played Tuesday and was neither good nor bad – summing up his season. 

    Marcus Thornton (thigh): Missed Tuesday’s game and Jimmer is still being frozen out. 

    Andrew Bogut (personal): Picked up where he left off on Tuesday.  Drew Gooden can be cut.

    Tyrus Thomas (ankle): Back on the injured list, but owners have to wait a week to see how it goes.

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