Court Report: Channing Frye's time to shine

Phil Londen

All the news that is fit to print from a Tuesday night around the NBA.

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Besides the historic shooting night for the Suns, the big storyline from the Phoenix’s victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday was the loss of Robin Lopez(notes) due to a strained MCL and PCL. Channing Frye(notes) started in Lopez’s place against the Nuggets on Monday night and Phoenix is also expected to sign Earl Barron(notes) to a non-guaranteed contract. Given Phoenix’s complete lack of depth in the middle with Lopez down, Barron could make an interesting deep league speculative pickup.

Lamar Odom(notes) also ended up beat up after Sunday’s game and had an MRI on Monday on his ailing right foot, which came back negative. Odom will be available for the Lakers’ next game against the Bucks on Tuesday. The sore foot is likely a result of not having any time off to relax this summer as he represented the United States in Turkey. Also, Theo Ratliff(notes) will have arthroscopic surgery on his sore left knee. Andrew Bynum(notes) can’t come back soon enough to bolster the thin Lakers front line.

Frye, however, looks like an automatic start going forward after his brutal start to the season. On Monday night, Frye compiled 15 points, two threes, seven rebounds, one steal and one block. He finally appears to have his confidence back. Speaking of the return of confidence, Hedo Turkoglu(notes) is finally starting to look like the player the Suns traded for this off-season. While his stat line isn’t fully there yet, it is clear from watching him over the past two games that he finally feels at home in Alvin Gentry’s, and more importantly, Steve Nash’s(notes) offensive system. Hedo is a great buy low right now if you can nab him soon, as my gut says he will have a big game against his former team, Orlando, this Thursday.

A couple of other Suns role players are separating themselves from the glut of wings: Hakim Warrick(notes) (21 points, 7-9 FG, 7-8 FT, 3 rebounds, 3 turnovers) and Josh Childress(notes) (10 points, 4-5 FG, 8 rebounds, 1 block, 3 turnovers). Warrick is a decent post-player and an aggressive roll man to compliment Nash. In fact, Hakim is the Suns’ only legitimate finisher in the pick-and-roll this season. However, he provides little else for fantasy purposes other than points, field goal percentage and low turnovers. Childress continues to win steady playing time by playing extremely hard on both sides of the floor and by making smart basketball decisions.

Carmelo Anthony(notes) pulled down 22 boards to go along with his 20 points against the Phoenix Suns’ frontline. The downside was that he also turned the ball over seven times trying to bully his way in the paint. Interestingly, J.R. Smith(notes) ended up with a DNP-CD while Arron Afflalo(notes) played 41 minutes, accumulating 15 points, one three, seven rebounds and three turnovers in the process.

Darko Milicic(notes) posted his best line of the season against the Bobcats on Monday night (13 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 blocks). Give Milicic another night or two before rushing out and snapping him up off the waiver wire. We’ve seen flashes from Manna-from-Heaven-Milicic before only to be disappointed.

Michael Beasley(notes) continued his phenomenal play Monday night, notching 28 points, three threes, five rebounds, two assists, two blocks and two turnovers. Beasley is making a strong case for most improved player of the season as well as one of the best value picks of the fantasy season (ADP of 107th). Beasley is averaging 32.5 points over his last four games.

Tyrus Thomas(notes) returned to action after missing the Bobcats’ previous game for personal reasons. The Bobcats were lucky enough to have both Thomas (20 points, 8-11 FG, 10 rebounds, 2 steals, 4 blocks, 7 turnovers) and Stephen Jackson(notes) (26 points, 9-16 FG, 5-6 3PT, 3-3 FT, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal) show up and shoot efficiently. The result was another precious W for Charlotte.

Nazr Mohammed(notes) also cooled off, proving that his 22 point, 20 rebound performance on Saturday was a fluke. Ignore Nazr for fantasy purposes.

Orlando’s victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday was all about the defense. The result was a bunch of ugly shooting nights from the Grizzlies in general and Zach Randolph(notes) (9 points, 4-15 FG) and Rudy Gay(notes) (9 points, 4-17 FG) specifically. Chalk this one up to great defense and continue starting both players without hesitation.

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Deep leaguers take note. Marcin Gortat(notes) got 22 minutes of run off the bench, many of which were alongside Dwight Howard(notes) in a twin towers lineup. Gortat ended up with eight points, four rebounds and two blocks. With the defensive success the Magic experienced against the Grizz, expect to see Stan Van Gundy’s experiment resumed in successive games.

Mickael Pietrus(notes) also cooled off considerably in this one, but added enough defensive production to salvage his overall stat line (6 points, 1 three, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block, 2 turnovers). Pietrus was one of three Magic players to receive more than 20 minutes off the bench with the aforementioned Gortat and Brandon Bass(notes) being the other two.

The last team to pickup a loss, the New Orleans Hornets, finally fell on Monday night at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks and, more pointedly, their guards. It happens every single year. Both Jason Terry(notes) and Jason Kidd(notes) get criminally underrated. Terry put up 26 points, three threes, two rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block on Monday night, including a clutch bucket down the stretch that eventually sealed the victory. The Jet is quietly posting second round value so far this season. Kidd had one of his better offensive nights of the season (16 points), while still stuffing the stat sheet (3 threes, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal, 3 turnovers).

Another Mavericks guard, Rodrigue Beaubois(notes), is finally out of his walking boot, which was a result of the broken foot he suffered during the off-season. He is still some time away from having fantasy value so he should only be considered in the absolute deepest of deep leagues.

Marcus Thornton(notes) registered another DNP-CD as a result of a bone bruise, while Peja Stojakovic(notes) played well again in 20 minutes off the bench (17 points, 4 threes). Trevor Ariza(notes) also had a decent game for the Hornets (13 points, 2 threes, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals), but continues to disappoint relative to his draft position.

Jeff Green(notes) aggravated his sore ankle during Sunday’s loss to the Spurs, allowing Serge Ibaka(notes) his fourth start of the season on Monday night against Utah. Ibaka’s dream season continued (22 points, 9-13 FG, 4-4 FT, 11 rebounds, 1 steal, 4 blocks) and he is making a strong case for sticking with the starting unit beyond Green’s absence. Most important evidence of this is the fact that the Thunder beat the surging Utah Jazz with Ibaka in the starting five.

For Utah, Deron Williams(notes) (31 points, 4 threes, 5 rebounds, 11 assists, 1 steal, 4 turnovers) and Paul Millsp (20 points, 1 three, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, 2 turnovers) continued putting up big numbers. C.J. Miles(notes) had another good scoring night with 16 points but he did it much more efficiently from the field (7-14 FG) than his previous outings, despite missing all four of his three point attempts.

However, the most exciting game of the night on Monday was the Pistons visiting the Golden State Warriors. This game came down to the very last shot and was filled with some great individual performances. Dorell Wright(notes) tallied 16 points, one three, seven rebounds and six assists. Most importantly was Wright’s steal late in the game that proved to be the turning point for the Dubs. Monta Ellis(notes) (27 points, 2 threes, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal) appeared to roll his ankle in the closing minutes but played the game out and should not miss any time.

The Pistons kept the game respectable with a balanced scoring attack that featured six players scoring between 11 and 18 points (Richard Hamilton(notes), Rodney Stuckey(notes), Tayshaun Prince(notes), Austin Daye(notes), Charlie Villanueva(notes), Ben Gordon(notes)). Detroit’s rotation has been very unpredictable, with Villanueva and Gordon having the most fantasy value so far this season.

The Los Angeles Clippers have to be the most exciting 1-10 team in the history of the NBA. Los Angeles fell to the New Jersey Nets on Monday night, making it six losses in a row. However, Eric Gordon(notes) (30 points, 2 threes, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers) continued to put on a show in a game that saw Blake Griffin(notes) play pretty, well, normally. Eric Bledsoe(notes) continued to impress (15 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals) while Al-Farouq Aminu(notes) took advantage of a starting spot (14 points, 2 threes, 5 rebounds).

L.A.’s other team got decimated by New Jersey’s frontcourt of Kris Humprhies (13 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks), Brook Lopez(notes) (24 points, 3 rebounds, 3 blocks) and Travis Outlaw(notes) (23 points, 4 threes, 5 rebounds). The other key for New Jersey was Jordan Farmar(notes) (15 points, 12 assists) who filled in for Devin Harris(notes) after he was ejected for an aggressive grade two flagrant foul on Blake Griffin in the second quarter.

Brandon Roy’s(notes) knee situation remains murky and likely will not come to a resolution for at least a week or more. Of note is that Nate McMillan has acknowledged that Wesley Matthews(notes) might get the starting nod due to his defense. For Roy owners, you have no choice but to hold him and keep putting him in lineups in head-to-head leagues and keep him planted on the bench in rotisserie leagues. He is too valuable to drop outright.

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