Devin Harris (Rocky Widner - Getty)
• Hornets power forward Jason Smith was among Wednesday night's most notable performers, given that he's currently starting, posted a thoroughly useful line (29 minutes, 17 points, 5 boards, 1 steal, 3 blocks), and is only rostered in five percent of leagues. Smith was a successful college player and has always shown flashes of fantasy potential - his career per-36s include 7.6 boards and 1.4 blocks - but a torn ACL cost him his entire 2008-09 season and he's averaged only 14 minutes during his 221 career games. Perhaps Monty Williams' unhappiness with Carl Landry's play is what was needed for Smith to get the first extended run of his career - he's seen more than 25 minutes in four of his past eight games, averaging 15.5 points on 50-percent shooting, 7.3 boards, 0.8 steals, and 2.3 blocks in 28 minutes. Smith is a jumpshooter, so he's not likely to top his career mark of 45-percent from the field over time, but the Hornets need production anywhere they can get it and he's worth a look in deeper leagues. Just keep in mind that his role isn't exactly secure - Landry (21 minutes on Thursday) could still work his way back into Williams' good graces, and Gustavo Ayon (two minutes) remains an intriguing two-way player.
• Chandler Parsons' 25 minutes played on Thursday didn't include any from the middle of the third quarter through overtime, with Courtney Lee and Chase Budinger getting the run at small forward in his stead. Lee has returned after missing eight games because of a calf injury and could serve to limit Parsons' numbers more often than not, much as he did with Budinger in the early-going. Lee has averaged 22 minutes in his seven games and Kevin McHale has often been utilizing him alongside starters Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin. Parsons averages in nine starts as of Friday include 9.4 points on 44-percent shooting, 0.5 threes, 6.8 boards, 2.3 assists, 1.8 steals, and 0.8 blocks in 29 minutes. He's been a spark for the Rockets since entering the lineup (they are 7-2 in his nine starts), but his overall fantasy impact could be headed for a slight dip now that Lee is active. Budinger is going to have trouble finding anything but scraps of playing time behind a healthy Parsons and Lee.
• Could Mike Brown be drawing up more three-point attempts for Pau Gasol moving forward? Gasol attempted four threes Thursday, two of which came in the first quarter and before the Heat had jumped out to a comfortable lead. Gasol has now attempted seven threes over the past five games and 10 on the season, which is just one less than he attempted in his first 255 games in a Lakers uniform. The Lakers have been terrible from long range and could use some new wrinkles to help spark their mostly lethargic offense - moving Gasol out to the three-point line on occasion could help create driving lanes for Kobe Bryant or ease defensive pressure on Andrew Bynum in the post. Gasol has never been a volume shooter from three, but he's always been a consistent jumpshooter out to long-two range. It's a bit early to call this a trend but is definitely worth monitoring.
• Status updates: Rajon Rondo (wrist) will be a game-time decision .. Derrick Rose (toe) is officially a game-time decision but looks unlikely to play .. Nene Hilario (heel) will be held out of Friday's game as a precautionary measure. The Nuggets are in the midst of four games in five days .. Rodney Stuckey has aggravated his groin injury and will not play on Friday .. Stephen Curry (ankle) is hopeful he can play on Friday but will be a game-time decision .. Chris Paul (hamstring) has yet to be officially ruled out for Friday but Vinny Del Negro said he didn't think CP3 would be be a go .. For the Magic: Hedo Turkoglu (back spasms) is out, Jason Richardson (knee) is a game-time decision .. Spencer Hawes (Achilles) is out Friday .. For the Blazers: both Marcus Camby (ankle) and Nicolas Batum (eye) are expected to play .. For the Raptors: both Andrea Bargnani (calf) and Jerryd Bayless (ankle) are game-time decisions.
• Scanning the Buzz Index leaders: My advice to Nate Robinson owners, assuming you aren't also rostering Stephen Curry: offer him to the team that is rostering Curry in trade, and really talk up that handcuff angle. Get something useful and let your opponent use two roster spots on 1.5 players .. Bismack Biyombo has officially been named as Byron Mullens' backup at center. Give him a look if you are in a deep league or are hurting for big-man numbers .. The shine is off Norris Cole's early performances now that Mario Chalmers is asserting himself and Mike Miller is back in the rotation. Cole has averaged 19 minutes, 6.4 points on 32-percent shooting, 1.6 assists, and 0.4 steals over the past five games, and that's with Dwyane Wade missing games .. Toney Douglas' fall from starting point guard to rotation afterthought is nearly complete. He's averaged 6.3 points on 30-percent shooting in just 16 minutes since being demoted to the bench, and Baron Davis' return is right around the corner .. I've been divesting myself of all shares of Ramon Sessions, including deep leagues. Kyrie Irving is looking better by the game, while Sessions has been bad enough (8 points, 30% FG, 0.2 threes, 0.5 steals over the past 11 games) to make up for some good (88% FT, 4.6 assists).
- Sports & Recreation
- Sports & Recreation/Basketball
- Devin Harris