Al Jefferson’s season got off to an extremely slow start thanks to an ankle injury, but he’s rounded into form since. He averaged 17.7 ppg, 11.5 rpg, 1.1 spg and 1.3 bpg during December, and the main reason he’s barely been a top-50 fantasy player this year is the sudden drop in FT%. After shooting 76.1, 77.4 and 77.0 percent from the charity stripe over the past three years, he’s down to 65.6 this season. But assuming that regresses to the mean, there’s a lot to like here with the big man moving forward. Jefferson’s Usage Rate (24.2) on his new team is his highest mark since 2008/09, and his 5.4 Turnover Ratio ranks fifth-best in the entire league (and no one ahead of him touches the ball nearly as much. Although it’s probably worth noting LaMarcus Aldridge has a higher Usage Rate and just a 6.0 Turnover Ratio, which is equally as impressive). Jefferson was a questionable offseason signing for a Bobcats team that should be tanking, but his poor defense doesn’t matter to fantasy owners, and he’s getting more shot attempts from both the field and the line in Charlotte than he did in Utah last year, so fantasy owners shouldn’t be complaining. Expect better numbers the further he’s removed from the early season injury and hopefully the FT struggles are just a random sample of bad luck. Jefferson could easily be a top-15 type fantasy asset over the rest of 2014.
This clip of the Rockets mascot scaring the team’s players is moderately funny, but it’s mostly worth watching to see just how bad Dwight Howard is at acting.
Injury Issues: Since inserted into the starting lineup four games ago, Kendall Marshall has averaged 13.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 11.5 assists and 1.8 3pt. It’s obviously a small sample, and Marshall had never shown signs of anything like this before in his career, but the Lakers are so ravaged by injuries, he’s likely going to continue to see a lot of run for the foreseeable future (he’s seen 37:36 mpg over this four-game span). It sure doesn’t hurt running a Mike D’Antoni offense that ranks third in PACE. Marshall should obviously not be on any waiver wires in fantasy leagues at this point…With Eric Bledsoe out indefinitely with a torn meniscus, Gerald Green is a must-own. Over his last four games since replacing Bledsoe in the starting lineup, Green has averaged 15.5 points, 2.5 steals and 2.5 3pt. He’s not a huge help in boards or assists, but he’s gotten 2.9 3pt over 16 starts this season and is currently playing by far the best basketball of his career. Moreover, Goran Dragic, already a terrific fantasy asset, has benefitted as well from Bledsoe’s absence, averaging 23.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 6.0 apg, 1.3 spg and 1.8 3 pt on 48.6 percent shooting since the injury. After averaging 12.5 FGA in November and 13.3 in December, Dragic has gotten 18.0 since Bledsoe went down, so he’s going to be a much bigger part of the offense moving forward, which is music to his fantasy owners’ ears.
Ryan Anderson will be sidelined indefinitely after suffering a herniated disk, which is a killer to his owners since he was the No. 17 ranked fantasy player at the time of his injury, and there are no obvious replacements to pick up. While the Chris Paul injury is also devastating, hopefully his owners were able to grab Darren Collison, who should provide plenty of value while now starting, when he’s averaged 16.3 ppg, 5.3 apg, 2.3 spg and 1.3 3pt while shooting 56.1 percent from the floor and 93.3 percent from the line. Sticking with the Clippers, J.J. Redick also must be owned right now, as his return is imminent and don’t forget he was a top-50 fantasy player before going down. Redick actually was averaging the same amount of points per touch (0.45) as Kevin Durant this season, which is pretty remarkable.
Here’s a miracle pass at the end of a college game that was crazy regardless of the fact it was (questionably) ruled no good.
Quick Hits: Over the past 10 contests, Kyle Lowry has averaged 18.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 9.1 assists, 1.8 steals and 2.7 3pt, as few players in the league are hotter. Trade rumors have swirled around Lowry, but his fantasy owners have to hope he stays put, as he’s been a monster since Rudy Gay was traded. Speaking of which, after Gay shot an ugly 38.8 percent from the field with Toronto this season (never shooting better than 50.0 percent over 18 games), he’s currently sporting a 50.8 FG% since joining the Kings. Gay is somehow averaging more ppg (20.5) with Sacramento than he did with Toronto (19.4) despite taking 3.6 fewer shots per game while playing alongside two teammates who rank inside the top-20 in Usage Rate, and it’s all thanks to the big improvement in efficiency…Marco Bellinelli is shooting a ridiculous 50.4 percent from downtown this season, which easily leads the NBA. And it’s come with him attempting 3.4 threes per game too. He shot 35.7 percent from behind the arc last year and had reached 40.0 percent just once during his previous six seasons in the league…It’s been a rough start to the year for Pau Gasol, but he’s shown signs of life since returning from an illness five games ago, averaging 21.8 points, 11.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.8 blocks. He’ll remain the focal points of the Lakers’ offense as long as Kobe Bryant (knee) is sidelined. Any buy-low window has likely passed.
Headlines of the Week: Man Emerges From Bunker 14 Years After Y2K Scare…Dawn Of A New Age: The First Person To Reach 150 Is Already Alive And Soon We’ll Live To Be A Thousand, Claims Scientist...North Korea’s Kim Jong Un Reportedly ‘Very Drunk’ When Ordering Executions...Okla. Man Proposes To Girlfriend During Arrest...Man, Shot In Head, Notices Five Years Later...Waitress Finds $1,000, Gives It Back To Wrong Man...Doctors Perform Emergency C-Section, Find No Baby...440 LB Virgin Sends Lover to ER During His First Time...Drug Warriors Kidnap And Sexually Assault a Woman After Getting Permission From a Dog...Beerless Man Stabbed With Ceramic Squirrel...Chinese Donkey Meat Recalled at Wal-Mart After It Is Found To Contain Fox.
Quick Hits Part Deux: Since Russell Westbrook went down with another knee injury seven games ago, Kevin Durant has averaged 35.0 points, 9.1 rebounds and 5.4 assists. He’s actually shot a similar amount of field goals and free throws before the Westbrook injury during this span, but it’s pretty clear the loss of the point guard, who led the NBA in Usage Rate when he went down, is going to be a nice boost for Durant, who was already the league’s most valuable fantasy player…Andre Iguodala is currently somehow shooting 47.6 percent from three-point land and 58.9 percent from the free-throw line, which is quite the anomaly. His scoring is way down this season (10.1 ppg), but he’s been a big reason why the Warriors recently went on a 10-game winning streak after he returned from a hamstring injury and has provided a couple of highlights as well…Iman Shumpert has averaged 15.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 3.4 3pt over five games this month, and the latest outing saw him get 42:54 of run while a healthy J.R. Smith (who’s somehow shot better than 50.0 percent just once over his past 41 games) never left the bench. Shumpert should be one of the hottest pickups right now in fantasy leagues…Andre Drummond remains plenty valuable and an absolute beast on the glass, but his free throw shooting has become more of a problem as the year has progressed. After averaging 2.3 FTA in November, he got 4.6 in December and 6.7 so far this month. An increase in volume is a problem for someone with a career 37.3 FT%.
Police Blotter: Man Arrested For DWI After Showing Up Drunk To Motor Vehicle Test...Drunk Santa And Helper In Hospital Facing Drink Driving Charges After Falling Out Of Horse-Drawn Sleigh...North Carolina Mom Files Lawsuit After Son Is Sent Home From Hospital Dead in a Taxi...Armed Robbery Thief Leaves Wallet At Scene...Police Send Christmas Cards Urging Suspects To Give Themselves Up...Cops Nab Paedophile After Tip-Off From Thief...Out of Prison For Just a Month, Woman Arrested For Her 397th Time...Man Armed With Machete And Wearing Spiderman Mask Robs Gas Station.
Quick Hits Part Tres: Over his past eight games, David Lee has shot a ridiculous 68.1 percent (77-for-113) from the floor, and before that stretch, he double-doubled in the previous 10 contests. Lee leads the NBA in points in the paint, and over the last month, he’s been the No. 18 ranked fantasy player (fun fact: Lee has made one three pointer during his entire career. I mean, even Dwight Howard has made that many over the past month alone)…Greg Monroe hasn’t blocked a shot since the middle of December and is shooting just 46.8 percent from the floor over the past two weeks, when he’s ranked as the No. 195 fantasy player. Monroe remains a fantasy asset, but his lack of growth has been disappointing. He’s averaging just 1.9 apg after getting 3.5 last year. Of course, adding Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings (who’s somehow shot 25.7 percent (19-for-74) from the field over the past five games) to the roster probably hasn’t helped… Say My Name: Giannis Antetokounmpo…Carlos Boozer has been the No. 198 ranked fantasy player over the past month and is currently missing games thanks to a sore knee. The injury isn’t considered serious, but Boozer’s 14.7 ppg is his lowest mark since his rookie season, and he’s blocked one shot over the past nine games. Taj Gibson continues to be the big beneficiary during Boozer’s absence…After a miserable first month of the season in which Kemba Walker shot 36.5 percent from the field, his FG% has bounced back since then. Walker has 266 more touches than any other player in the NBA (Chris Paul is second). Meanwhile, the league-leaders in points-per-touch are Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant at 0.45 (minimum 20 games played)...Dwight Howard has missed more free throws this season (154) than the Knicks (149) and Mavericks (143) have as a team.