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Court Report: The return of “Iso Melo”

Matt Buser
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Carmelo Anthony, Mike Woodson (Getty)

Tuesday's 121-79 thrashing of the Trail Blazers didn't give us too much insight into Mike Woodson's version of the Knicks, given that they were up 26 at halftime and their five starters averaged just 24 minutes. Jeremy Lin's post-D'Antoni demise has been widely forecasted over the past 48 hours, as he's already seen his numbers dip over the past nine games (33 minutes, 14.4 points, 38% FG, 0.7 threes, 7.3 assists, 4.2 turnovers, 2.3 steals) as the Knicks dealt with lots of good teams and lots of road games. Woodson gave Lin an emphatic vote of confidence as his starting point guard on Friday, and switching to Baron Davis certainly doesn't make sense right now, if only from a public relations standpoint. But we do know from the Hawks' "Iso Joe" days that the offense is now back in the hands of Carmelo Anthony and, to a lesser extent, Amar'e Stoudemire. For this reason, Melo and Amar'e's fantasy owners can breathe a big sigh of relief as we set our sights on the stretch run. Tyson Chandler's fantasy impact, - driven by a high shooting percentage, boards and blocks - won't change much, but from there everything is up in the air. The extent of the reduction of Lin's role has yet to be seen, but it's pretty easy to see him headed to fringes of standard-league relevance in any case. As for the mash-up of notables that make up the rest of the Knicks' rotation (Landry Fields, Steve Novak, Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith), Woodson's deliberate, half-court heavy approach on offense isn't going to do any of them favors, so blanket downgrades are in order.

• The Nuggets' motivation for trading away Nene Hilario and his massive contract also included freeing up long-term room under the cap to finally bring in Wilson Chandler. The team is expected to waive Ronny Turiaf and then sign Chandler to a deal, possibly on Sunday or Monday. Chandler's presence would most directly affect Arron Afflalo, Corey Brewer, and Rudy Fernandez at shooting guard and small forward, and George Karl can also employ one of Chandler or Danilo Gallinari at power forward in a smaller look, which means a bit less time for Al Harrington or Kenneth Faried. Keep in mind that Chandler would arrive at around 25 minutes per game by poaching some from each player and not simply supplanting any one of them. Why the relatively low expectation for minutes? Karl certainly is fond of Chandler, but he'd be joining a deep team two-thirds of the way into the season, so there's only so big of a slot for him to fill. Chandler's per-25 minute averages over his career include 10.8 points, 0.8 threes, 4.1 boards, 0.6 steals, and 0.7 blocks.

• Thursday's non-trade of D.J. Augustin left the fantasy-unfriendly platoon at point guard in place for the Bobcats. Over the past seven games, DJA (70% owned) has averaged 27 minutes, 9.9 points on 40-percent shooting, 1.4 threes, 6.1 assists, 1.9 turnovers, and 0.7 steals; during those same games, Kemba Walker (64% owned) averaged 23 minutes, 9.7 points, 0.4 threes, 5 assists, 2.3 turnovers, 0.9 steals, and 0.6 blocks. Both players have remained on the fantasy fringe in terms of per-game rank, with Kemba holding a slight advantage (Augustin 141, Walker 118). One real positive for each player in default h2h leagues is an excellent schedule - they are one of six teams with a league-high 13 games during the playoff weeks (4-4-5). But in general, inconsistency and fairly weak numbers overall have to be among your expectations for the remainder of the season, at least while the Bobcats have everyone healthy.

Luke Ridnour was one of Thursday's biggest non-trade winners. He remains the undisputed starting point guard for the Timberwolves and has averaged 14 points on 47-percent shooting, 88-percent foul shooting, 1 three, 10.7 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1 block in 38 minutes in the three games since Ricky Rubio was lost for the season. Ridnour is currently owned in 65 percent of leagues but will post numbers that warrant universal ownership the rest of the way.

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Greg Stiemsma (Getty)

• Managers in the deepest of leagues should at least consider adding Greg Stiemsma, who is now in line for steady minutes over the remainder of the season with neither Jermaine O'Neal (wrist) nor Chris Wilcox (heart) expected to return to the team. Stiemsma is limited categorically, but he's also managed 4.6 boards, 1.2 steals, and 2 blocks in 20 minutes over the past five games, and his potential for defensive stats (per-36s include 9.3 boards, 1.4 steals, 3.7 blocks) doesn't present itself on a near-universal basis (1% owned) very often. Boston is also among the six teams with the maximum 13 games during the default h2h playoff weeks (4-4-5).

• Steve Nash and Grant Hill were held out of Thursday's game because it was the second of three straight for the Suns [schedule]. There doesn't appear to be too much danger of more DNP-CDs for the Suns' veterans the rest of the way, as the team has no more back-t0-back-to-backs and only plays as many as four games in five days once more (Apr 3 - Apr 7).

Status updates: Derrick Rose is officially a game-time decision for Friday but does not appear likely to play .. Kevin Love (thumb) is expected to play on Friday .. Zach Randolph (knee) will return to the Grizzlies' active roster on Friday, but Lionel Hollins isn't looking to give him much playing time right off the bat .. Rudy Gay (concussion) is also expected to play on Friday .. Nets on Friday: Deron Williams (calf), Jordan Farmar (groin), and Gerald Wallace (trade) are all inactive .. Stephen Curry is out for at least Friday and Saturday, and the team continues to work on a plan of action for the remainder of the season .. Bucks on Friday: Monta Ellis will start at shooting guard, Carlos Delfino moves to small forward; Ersan Ilyasova is doubtful because of a bronchial condition .. Jason Richardson (ankle) will play on Friday .. Vinny Del Negro said Thursday that Nick Young will start at shooting guard for the Clippers as soon as he's ready .. Eric Gordon is "working out hard" but Will Demps said the team is trying to slow his push to return to basketball activities. His chances to impact fantasy leagues in April remains a long shot ..

Scanning the Buzz Index leaders: Chandler Parsons' arrow is pointing up once again, as he's excelled while Kyle Lowry has been sidelined. In four games, he's averaged 13.5 points, 64% FG, 1 three, 5.3 boards, 5.5 assists in 31 minutes. Lowry still has one to three weeks remaining on his timetable .. I'll continue to sing Alonzo Gee's praises until his ownership level climbs to a more rational level (27% owned). In seven games since taking over as the Cavs' starting small forward, Gee has averaged 14.7 points on 49-percent shooting, 1.1 threes, 5.6 boards, 2.6 steals, and 0.4 blocks in 33 minutes. Oh yeah, and the Cavs are among the six teams with a league-best 13 games during the default h2h playoffs (4-4-5) .. Mike Dunleavy's numbers have been phenomenal during the Bucks' four-game win streak (35 minutes, 20 points, 56% FG, 91% FT, 2 threes, 4 boards, 5.5 assists), but the team replaced an inactive player with Monta Ellis, greatly reducing his available minutes. Scott Skiles prefers Carlos Delfino as the starter, but we'll have to see how Dunleavy's playing time is handled on Friday before we rush to judgement for his outlook the rest of the way .. Jameer Nelson has to be enthused by the prospects of playing out the string with his buddy Dwight Howard, and he somehow managed to averaged 25 points, 4.5 threes, and 5.5 assists over the past two games. Nelson has now been more up than down lately, so buy in at this point if he remains available in your league (59% owned). Nelson's averages over his past 19 games include 12.4 points, 44% FG, 1.8 threes, 3.5 boards, 5.8 assists, and 1.9 turnovers.

Week 20 Schedule Grid (Mar 19 - Mar 25)

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Week 20 Schedule Grid

Ease rankings courtesy of Basketball Monster. Click here for full-season h2h schedule grid based on default settings. Hat tip to kiwishaq on the busersports forums.

Games remaining, through end of NBA season (April 26):
24 - CLE, GSW
23 - CHA, IND, MEM, SAS
22 - BOS, LAC, MIA, MIL, WAS
21 - ATL, DEN, DET, LAL NOR, NYK, OKC, PHI, PHO, POR, SAC, TOR, UTA
20 - DAL, HOU, MIN, NJN, ORL
19 - CHI

Games remaining, through end of default h2h playoffs season (Week 23, Apr 9 - Apr 15):
17 - BOS, CLE, GSW, IND, MEM
16 - CHA, LAC, LAL, MIL, POR, SAC, TOR, UTA, WAS
15 - ATL, DAL, DEN, DET, MUA, MIN, NJN, NOR, NYK, OKC, PHO, SAS
14 - HOU, ORL, PHI
13 - CHI

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