March 05, 2012
Brook Lopez is back. Back on the inactive list, that is. BroLo left Sunday's game after rolling his right ankle, will be fitted with a walking boot "as a precaution," and is expected to be sidelined for three weeks. He is expected to be re-evaluated on March 23. That date is just days before the start of the default h2h playoffs, so there is a bit of hope for relevance the rest of the way, but the fact that he'll be sidelined through the NBA's trade deadline certainly removes much of the urgency from the Nets' perspective. Roto owners can stay put in the event that they can get around 15 games of stats down the stretch. There isn't a lot of downside to waiting for that re-evaluation if you are a shoo-in for the h2h playoffs, but this is a judgement call that will depend on other factors (the available free agents being the most notable). Generally speaking, there are more reasons to drop Lopez for a free agent than there are to hang on to him. While this current injury is not related to the fracture that kept him out for the first few months of the season, the fact that it was his right foot in both cases casts even more of a cloud over the remainder of his season. The Lopez injury brings MarShon Brooks back into the Nets' offensive spotlight - he's averaged just 6.7 points on 47-percent shooting and 0.3 threes in 30 minutes over the past three games, but went for 16.5 points, 1.8 threes, 4.3 boards, 3.3 assists, and 1.2 steals in the six games prior. And yes, there's a good chance that Deron Williams continues his offensive rampage - he's averaged 27.9 points, 90-percent foul shooting, 3.3 threes, and 7.8 assists over his past 10 games.
• Landry Fields averages over the past seven games include 8 points on 41-percent shooting, 4.9 boards, and 1.1 steals in 27 minutes, but what is more notable is that he has been an aggregate minus-47 while the team went 3-4 in those games. Fields has totaled just 18 minutes over the past two games (2.5 points, 20% FG), with Iman Shumpert seeing a lot of his time (26 minutes, 13 points, 58% FG, 2.5 steals). With Mike D'Antoni also needing to find playing time for Steve Novak, J.R. Smith, and Baron Davis, it's difficult to see any kind of consistent role for Fields moving forward, putting his fantasy relevance in even more question (145 in per-game on the season, 236 over the past month, 49% owned). And Shumpert's strong play as a reserve means he does have relevance - in 13 games off the bench, Shump has averaged 12.4 points on 43-percent shooting, 85-percent foul shooting, 0.8 threes, 3.2 boards, 2.8 assists, and 2.2 steals in 28 minutes. And the Novak three-point barrage continues - he hit four more on Sunday and has averaged 12.8 points on 50-percent shooting and 3.5 threes in 23 minutes over his past 13 games (23 minutes), including 15 points and 4.5 threes over the past four games (21 minutes).
• Deep-league owners will want to note that Alonzo Gee has officially replaced Omri Casspi as the Cavs' starting small forward. Much as he did in Sacramento, Casspi has done little with the opportunity presented to him in Cleveland (7.5 points, 42% FG, 3.5 reb in 22 minutes). Gee played 33 minutes on Saturday and has produced some useful numbers when seeing at least 30 minutes this season, including 12.9 points, 1.5 threes, 3.9 boards, 1.1 steals, and 0.4 blocks.
• Ramon Sessions still could end up somewhere else at the trade deadline, but the Lakers appear to be out of the running after balking at the Cavs wishes to have a first-round pick involved in the trade. The Lakers' next target appears to be either Raymond Felton or Kirk Hinrich, both of whom have expiring contracts that come in under the value of the Lamar Odom trade exception. Sessions is the best option for the Lakers and a move to Los Angeles would most certainly be ideal in terms of added fantasy potential - he's still worth the stash in most deep/competitive leagues in advance of the deadline, but some shine is definitely off the potential here. Felton has been promoted back to the Blazers' starting five as of Monday, possibly for showcasing purposes.
• As the Wizards turn: Randy Wittman apparently felt that JaVale McGee got the message after one game as a reserve. McGee was back in the starting five on Saturday and posted nine points, 12 boards, four blocks, and a plus-5 in 25 minutes of a 101-98 win over the Cavs. Saturday also marked Andray Blatche's return to the active roster, with mixed results (21 minutes, 1 point, 0-3 FG, 9 boards, 5 assists, 1 block). McGee, Trevor Booker, and Blatche should settle in two a fairly even minutes split before long. Nick Young missed the game because of a knee injury - he's expected to be active on Monday but his benching is more likely to stick in any case. Jordan Crawford went off on Saturday (34 minutes, 31 points, 13-22 FG, 5 threes) but I'm not looking at it as anything other than an extension of the window to sell high, given his typical positive/negative tradeoff (scoring and threes for a major FG% hit).
• Status updates: Danilo Gallinari (ankle) and Nene Hilario (calf) will be game-time decisions on Monday .. Zach Randolph was a full participant in Monday's practice, meaning he could return sometime this week .. Joe Johnson (knee) is likely out for the majority of the current week .. Bismack Biyombo (shoulder) looks likely to play on Tuesday .. The Cavs will update Anderson Varejao's status sometime this week. He could be back at practice within two weeks .. Spencer Hawes could return to the 76ers' active roster on March 14 if he has no further setbacks. Doug Collins says that his eventually getting back to around 22 minutes per game would be "huge" .. Nobody seems to know if/when Emeka Okafor might be able to return from his knee injury .. Wilson Chandler's talks with the Nuggets appear to not be accomplishing much.
• Scanning the Buzz Index leaders: Metta World Peace has averaged 16 points on 52-percent shooting, 2 threes, 5.5 boards, 3 assists, and 2.5 steals in 35 minutes over the past two games, so deep-leaguers won't be blamed for an add here. Everyone else should keep his per-game averages in 195 games as a Laker in mind: 8.9 points, 40% FG, 67% FT, 1.1 threes, 3.6 boards, 2.5 assists, 1.3 steals, and 0.4 blocks in 30 minutes .. Sunday marked the fifth time in six games that James Johnson reached double-figures in scoring, and the defensive stats remain as solid as usual. Averages over the past six games include 12.8 points on 47-percent shooting, 7 boards, 1.5 steals, and 1.2 blocks in 32 minutes .. I don't have any grand expectations for Lamar Odom, but he did show signs on Friday (18 minutes, 9 points, 1 three, 5 boards, 3 assists, 3 blocks). Now is the time to take a chance on Odom in any case, as the Mavs play five games over the next six days and have some favorable matchups (Mon @OKC, Tues NYK, Thu @PHO, Fri @SAC, Sat @GSW). We'll find out pretty quickly if Odom is actually ready to contribute or not .. Dorell Wright ranked sixth on the Warriors while averaging 22 minutes over the past four games (5.5 points, 23% FG, 1 three), while Brandon Rush ranked third over the same stretch (32 minutes, 7.5 points, 39% FG, 6.5 boards) .. Josh Howard will retain his starting gig once Raja Bell is able to return from his groin injury, and it will be Gordon Hayward that will head back to the bench. Howard has averaged 13.3 points on 48-percent shooting, 7 boards, and 1.2 steals in 30 minutes over the past six games.