November 19, 2009
• Okay, so it was just one game. Good luck convincing Elton Brand's fantasy owners to limit their exuberance after his 19 points, 11 boards, 3 steals, and 6 blocks in 42 minutes (!) against the Bobcats on Wednesday night. When you also consider that there was talk of his being moved to the bench – for Rodney Carney(notes), of all people – in the days leading up to the game, then it's pretty easy to see what the fuss is all about. Perhaps it's just coincidence, but Brand finally got the Marreese Speights(notes) treatment (getting run at center in a small lineup), and he delivered his first substantial line of the season.
So now we need to qualify things. It's unrealistic to expect Brand to see 42 minutes per game, even while Speights is sidelined, and a single game against a small Bobcats lineup isn't a true litmus test in terms of expectations going forward. Brand's fantasy owners should keep their fingers crossed and an eye on the schedule – upcoming matchups include the Grizzlies, Cavs, Wizards, Celtics, Hawks and Spurs and will be a much truer test of Brand's game (not to mention Eddie Jordan's rotation). Jordan had this to say after Wednesday's win:
People have been pushing us around. Elton and I had a couple conversations and at first I said, 'Just play hard and execute and sort of be the physical fulcrum for us, the guy that gets it done physically for us.' When you're a pro like him, there's a lot of things you can call upon to motivate you. You can summon up other experiences to get you going. Hopefully this is one of them. He's a pro, man. He's got a lot of confidence and a lot of pride.
• The Knicks could make an offer to Allen Iverson(notes) as soon as Thursday evening, after he clears waivers at 6pm ET. It would be an ideal fit for both parties, and the speculation alone should prompt fantasy owners to grab him off the wire. The Knicks could immediately start him at point guard and would likely allow him to exert as much influence on the offense as he would see fit. Counting stats would be a-plenty and the Knicks would be free to keep their narrow focus on the coming offseason. It's not an ideal situation for other members of the Knicks from a fantasy perspective – his signing would obviously be a death knell for Chris Duhon's(notes) fantasy impact, and AI's would be taking offensive touches away from David Lee(notes), Al Harrington(notes), Wilson Chandler(notes), and Nate Robinson(notes). We should know more about the situation by late Thursday or early Friday (reuniting with Larry Brown in Charlotte seems unlikely), and the Knicks' next game is Saturday (@NJN).
• LeBron James(notes) aggravated a left wrist injury while throwing down a dunk on Wednesday night. While he was removed from the 108-91 loss early, he didn't need X-rays and the injury is not considered serious.
• Marcus Camby(notes) is day-to-day after injuring his lower back while chasing a loose ball into the seats on Tuesday. Other Clips updates if you follow the link: Eric Gordon(notes) (groin) will return early next week if all goes well; Blake Griffin(notes) (knee) could return in mid-December, but we won't know for sure before he has a scheduled MRI in late November.
• It's been tough carrying Rasheed Wallace(notes) on a fantasy roster this season. His season averages include low numbers like 21 minutes, 9.6 points, 3.4 boards and 1.5 steals-plus-blocks per game. If you've been waiting for an excuse to move on, Doc Rivers asking him to shoot fewer threes could be the push you need. Sheed's fantasy impact has been buoyed by 1.8 threes per game – thanks to a career-high 5.8 attempts – but overall he's done little to positively affect fantasy rosters. He's expendable at this point – particularly with the fact that Glen Davis'(notes) injury barely registered as a blip in regards to his impact – but keep in mind that an injury to either Kevin Garnett(notes) or Kendrick Perkins(notes) would likely bring him back to the forefront.
• James Harden(notes) hit six threes as part of his 24-point outburst on Wednesday. While I do think Harden has a great future in this league, this doesn't do much to change my conservative outlook for him in the current season. Keep in mind that his production came in a blowout loss where none of the starters from either team saw the court in the fourth quarter.
• Eddy Curry(notes) is back and "will make a difference" for the Knicks, according to Mike D'Antoni. He saw 12 minutes of action on Wednesday night, scoring 10 points and grabbing four boards. He also got an early start on his return to Curry Line form, notching three turnovers and zero assists, steals, or blocks. For complete Curry Line standings, visit busersports.com.
• Fantasy owners in h2h leagues will want to consider the schedule before rushing to the wire to grab one or more of Darren Collison(notes), Devin Brown(notes), Bobby Brown(notes), and Marcus Thornton(notes) after Thursday's matchup with the Suns. The Hornets have just two games in both Week 5 and 6, and play just six times over the next 18 days.
• Spurs updates: Manu Ginobili(notes) is out and Tony Parker(notes) is doubtful for the Spurs' matchup with the Jazz on Thursday. Ginobili, already dealing with a sore hamstring, suffered a strained left groin on Wednesday and will undergo further tests to determine the extent of the injury. George Hill(notes) will continue to see steady minutes for as long as these two players are limited.
• Pau Gasol(notes) is expected to make his season debut on Thursday, although it's not a definite. Gasol is expected to immediately rejoin the starting lineup upon his return, pushing Lamar Odom(notes) back to the bench, but he'll be eased back into starters' minutes as he regains his conditioning.
• Jameer Nelson(notes) will miss the next four to six weeks after undergoing successful left knee surgery on Wednesday. Jason Williams(notes) will start at point guard for the Magic in the interim and warrants a roster addition in most formats. Williams had a tough matchup (Russell Westbrook(notes)) in his first start on Wednesday, and came away with four points on 1-of-4 shooting and five assists in 29 minutes.
“My legs aren't where I would want them to be. Fatigue, I can fight through,” Harris said, claiming the groin “feels fine. No pain. There's some tightness and soreness. That’s normal because I haven't been able to do anything the last two weeks. Things I can overcome just getting out on the floor.”
Plan on Chris Douglas-Roberts'(notes) offensive output being the most affected by Harris' return. He's averaged 29 points and 22.5 shot attempts in 44 minutes over the past two games, but averaged just 7.0 points and 6.5 shot attempts in 30 minutes in the first two games of the season, alongside Harris.
• Troy Murphy(notes) rejoined the Pacers in practice on Monday and, while he's yet to return to the court, it's a good sign that he's not far from doing so. Dahntay Jones(notes) has played fantastic basketball in his absence, averaging 19 points on 50-percent shooting, 7.5 free throw attempts (76% shooting), 5.3 boards, 3.0 assists, 2.8 turnovers, 1.2 steals, and 1.5 blocks over the past six games. Brandon Rush(notes) seems to be the most likely candidate to go to the bench when Murph is ready to rejoin the starting lineup.
• Bucks updates: Andrew Bogut(notes) did not practice on Thursday after injuring his leg during Wednesday's game. His status for Friday is not yet known. Michael Redd(notes) has yet to participate in contract drills and is not likely to see the court in either of the Bucks' weekend games (Fri CHA, Sat @MEM). Luke Ridnour(notes) should see continue to see steady run at least until Redd is back and back up to speed.
Note: for a detailed rundown of a number of current NBA injury situations, check out Wednesday's NBA Injury Report from RotoExperts.com.