The Bucks are 3-0 in games where Stephen Jackson hasn't played a minute, including back-to-back wins over the Pistons (103-82) and Lakers (100-89) over the past two games. S-Jax served a one-game suspension against the Lakers and then was a DNP-CD against the Pistons. When asked if Jackson would be back in the rotation for the Bucks' next game, Scott Skiles offered the following:
"We're game by game with basically everything we're doing now. Different guys are finishing the game certain nights, so we'll see. We're playing pretty well right now so I'm going to make the best decisions I can to stick with what's working."
"I ain't surprised. They know how I feel. It ain't no secret. Everybody knows the situation. I'm going to cheer the team on and do what I've got to do. My situation is going to get better soon. But until then I'm going to support these guys and continue to collect my check."
Jackson has also been linked to the Dwight Howard trade saga, but what is worth noting in the context of recent rumors that Howard wants to play with Jackson is that they share the same agent. The Bucks would love to unload Jackson, but what is less realistic is that another team will want to bring him on board and pay him $10 million next season at age 34. Skiles and the Bucks clearly don't have grand plans for Jackson moving forward, have liked what they've seen from Shaun Livingston since he took over at shooting guard, and don't want to throw a monkey wrench in Brandon Jennings' breakout offensive showing. Skiles did say after Monday's game that Jackson would "have an opportunity" to work himself back into the rotation at some point, but he finished 95th in per-game rank last season with 36 minutes per game and is currently 135th in per-game rank while averaging 32 minutes per game, so it's unlikely that he'll deliver production worth waiting for in standard leagues.
• Andray Blatche's strained left calf will keep him out of the lineup for anywhere between three and five weeks. The Wizards should have a more refined timetable for him once swelling and inflammation settle down, but he's out for a while in any case. Jan Vesely has started the past three games at power forward, but it's not his natural position and his production has been spotty (23 minutes, 31% FG, 4.7 boards, 1.7 steals). Trevor Booker was quite effective on Monday (26 minutes, 14 points, 7-9 FG, 9 boards, 3 steals, 2 blocks) and is the preferred add here - he's averaged 59-percent shooting, 6.8 boards, 1.4 steals, and 1.3 blocks in the nine games where he's seen at least 20 minutes of playing time. It would not be surprising to see Booker move ahead of Vesely in the starting five and maintain the spot even after Blatche returns.
• The Pistons are 1-9 in ten games since Ben Wallace was added to the starting five. That's not the say they were winning much with him off the bench, but any positives Wallace still brings to the table on defense are more than offset by his massive drag on offense. Lawrence Frank may have finally acknowledged this fact on Monday, as Wallace didn't leave the bench after playing eight minutes to start the game, while Austin Daye sat for only two minutes after subbing in late in the first quarter (37 minutes, 10 points, 4-14 FG, 5 boards, 2 steals, 2 blocks). The other option here is that Frank was just taking the opportunity to rest the veteran Wallace, with the Pistons in the midst of five games in six days, but you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who thinks playing Wallace ahead of Daye and Jonas Jerebko makes sense for a 4-18 team. I'm not rushing to the wire to snatch up Daye wherever possible, but he certainly needs to be rostered in deep leagues and should be on everyone's Watch List until we see what becomes of his recent run of playing time.
• The Magic are a mess right now, and Hedo Turkoglu has been a big part of it. Since returning from time off to battle back spasms, Turk has averaged 6.8 points on 25-percent shooting, 1.7 threes, 2.8 boards, 4 assists, and 3.3 turnovers in 29 minutes, with the Magic averaging 77 points in seven games (1-6). Stan Van Gundy said after Monday's loss that Turkoglu "is pretty tired right now" - there isn't exactly relief on the horizon, given the compact schedule, but keep in mind that the Magic have also been down Jameer Nelson (out for the rest of the week) and Jason Richardson (day-to-day). Turkoglu isn't this bad, but he wasn't as good as the early numbers we saw, either. Chances are that his back is still giving him issues and that he'll need a bit more time to get right before we see his numbers come back a bit closer to "normal."
• Manu Ginobili has been cleared for some basketball activity, including shooting jumpers, and he remains on track to return within two to three weeks. Gregg Popovich said that he should be able to participate in one-on-one drills within a week or so.
• The Nets have yet to offer an official timetable for MarShon Brooks, but Deron Williams said Tuesday that it seems like Brooks and Brook Lopez will "hopefully" be returning around the same time. Lopez started some light running Monday and does appear to be on track for a mid-to-late February return, despite Avery Johnson's recent "not close" comments. The upshot here is that Brooks may not be as far away as early indications, but his Achilles and foot problems likely mean that the Nets will double down on the promise of fewer minutes in any case, so a drop is likely to still be warranted in most cases.
• Status updates: Al Jefferson (ankle) is currently expected to be a game-time decision for Wednesday, but Tyron Corbin said resting him a few games is also an option at this point. Jazz trainers and doctors will make the ultimate decision .. Rajon Rondo (wrist) is out Tuesday and appears to be targeting Friday for his return .. Nicolas Batum is set for a Tuesday MRI after injuring his knee late in Monday's loss to the Jazz .. Ty Lawson (ankle) says he'll play Tuesday .. For the Knicks: Carmelo Anthony will be a game-time decision Tuesday, Baron Davis is likely still a week away .. Ben Gordon (shoulder) remains out indefinitely .. Gerald Henderson (back) is expected to play on Tuesday .. Richard Hamilton has now been ruled out indefinitely in an attempt to get his groin and thigh issues right. Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver are going to play a lot while Rip and Luol Deng are sidelined .. Chuck Hayes (shoulder) expects to play Tuesday.
• Scanning the Buzz Index leaders: .. There's no reason to not take a chance on Vince Carter while he's got it working. He's gone for 21 points in back-to-back starts and totaled seven threes, seven assists, and four steals in the two games. The starting assignment is likely to stick as long as he's healthy, no matter who is playing point guard .. Matt Bonner is having one of those runs. His five threes made on Monday (24 minutes) pushed his averages over the past six games to 12 points on 51-percent shooting and 3.3 threes in 24 minutes. The problem here is that the rest of his line is completely vacant (2.5 boards, 0.7 assists, 0.2 steals, 0.2 blocks) .. Mike Dunleavy has emerged with regular playing time on the wing for the Bucks, and that should continue for at least as long as S-Jax is out of the franchise's good graces. His efficient, low-usage game is a good complement to Brandon Jennings, and he's averaged 14.8 points on 55-percent shooting and 1.4 threes in 25 minutes over the past five games .. Just when you think Kawhi Leonard is falling out of Gregg Popovich's good graces, he posts 12 points, 10 boards, two steals, and a block in 32 minutes while playing stifling defense on Rudy Gay. Monday's playing time came at the expense of Gary Neal (15 minutes) and James Anderson (2 minutes).