If you're into stats, 2013 was a really cool year. There are so many things you can find out about your players these days without even really watching them. NBA.com has evolved into almost a one-stop shop for all sorts of splits as well as shot charts for every player. Heck, they even have shot charts in the D-League. Their new Sports Vu camera stuff is simply amazing and has been the cherry on top for their site. They keep track of how long players hold the ball and can track percentages on catch-and-shoot, pull-ups and on drives with this new technology.
Of course, NBA.com isn't the only place to go. Personally, I'll go on Basketball-reference.com, Synergy and NBAwowy.com probably about 50 times per day. I used all of those sites quite a bit to cover the player news and to write this Daily Dose, so I hope you like it.
If you're into stats at all, I'm always on Twitter putting out a lot of NBA info @MikeSGallagher.
We had 10 teams in action on Wednesday and had some interesting developments to start off 2014. Let's get to it:
THE PATH OF THE WRIGHTEOUS IS BESET ON ALL SIDES
Brandan Wright continues to get more looks on offense. He's really grown into a guy that can run pick-and-rolls while his jumper has improved, as well. Of course, he doesn't really have much range as a shooter with only 11 percent of his shots coming from outside of the paint before last night, but his improved jumper was a storyline from the Mavs in the offseason. Wright was actually fantastic in jumpers last year, making 50.7 percent of his 148 attempts, so he has the upside to be really one of the most efficient big men in scoring. He really could come on strong as a two blocks-per-game guy and shouldn't be too bad in free throw shooting -- currently at 68.4 percent on the season. Wright should be owned in all standard leagues. Consequently, Samuel Dalembert (two points, seven boards and one steal) and DeJuan Blair (four points, five boards and two steals) are on their way down.
Monta Ellis has been the butt of a lot of jokes in his NBA career. Whether it's crashing a moped to cause him to miss time with an ankle injury or shooting a miserable 37.5 percent from the line in the Eastern Conference Playoffs, we're used to always seeing #Monte show up on Twitter for the wrong reasons.
Not this year, though. Ellis has really transformed into a team-first player and has developed in so many areas. The Mavericks run as many pick-and-rolls as anyone and Monta has been the biggest part of that. Plus, he's been playing great defense all season, which might have been a big reason why coach Rick Carlisle said Ellis had his best game of the year on Wednesday after getting a win over John Wall and the Wizards. His stat line wasn't great with 23 points, five boards, one assist, one steal, two blocks and one turnover on 7-of-18 from the field and 9-of-10 from the line, though.
Another aspect of Monta's game which hasn't been discussed much is his steals. Only Mike Conley had more steals than Monta last year and he upped his December average to 2.0 per game with the Mavericks. That could be on the rise even more with Brandan Wright behind him, which would allow him to take more chances in passing lanes and to reach more against ball handlers. He's already holding third-round value in standard leagues and hasn't missed a game since the 2011-12 season, so his owners should be very happy about taking the plunge.
This is just a hunch, but I have a feeling Dirk is going to sit out for one of his four games next week. The Mavericks have two back-to-back sets on Tuesday (Lakers) and Wednesday (at Spurs), then on Friday (at Pelicans) and Saturday (Pelicans). There was some talk way back in October of the Mavericks resting Dirk and even keeping his minutes around 30 per game this year, but that hasn't happened with his season average of 33 per game. Now that they have Brandan Wright back and he's showing some more improvement as a power forward, Dirk's minutes might be starting to make their way back down.
On Wednesday, he had a very minor ankle sprain and later added it was the "probably the 200th time" he sprained his ankle in his career. Dirk failed to score in the first quarter for the third consecutive game, finishing with nine points, five boards, four assists and one steal on 3-of-14 shooting vs. the Wiz. He should be fine, but it might serve as a wake-up call for the Mavs about how old Dirk is. He's holding first-round value right now, so it's not a bad idea to see if you can get top-15 value back in exchange for the 35-year-old former MVP.
Jose Calderon (11 points, six boards, three assists and three 3-pointers) is stuck in a slump over his last three, making 34.5 percent from the field. He is third in the NBA in assist:turnover ratio among players getting 20-plus minutes and is locked in to his role as the starter. He's fine.
I'm probably not alone in saying Wall Ball was one of the most fun games to play before and after little league games or at recess, but it's really a treat to watch with the Wizards this year. But I digress. There are just a few players to have their fingerprints all over an offense like the way John Wall does. His Wednesday line wasn't as loud as the headphones in his commercial, but 22 points, seven boards, five assists, one steal and one 3-pointer in 42 minutes isn't too shabby.
Their offense is built on him driving and creating for others. He ranks third in assists per game, but some other advanced stats help show how much he has to do with running the team. He's just 0.7 passes per game behind Chris Paul and leads the NBA in touches per game despite the Wizards only running 22nd-fastest pace in the NBA.
Amazingly, the Wizards have three players in the top 10 for catch-and-shoot 3-pointers with Bradley Beal, Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster. Speaking of Beal, he is shooting lights out since returning from the injury to his fibula, making 52 percent of his 29 attempts from long range in his last seven. His minutes have been held steady around 30 per game in that span with all seven falling between the 26-30 minute range. This is a 32 percent decrease in playing time compared to his whopping 40.3 minutes per game back in November. One would think this is a preventative measure because the team wants to make sure their potential super star's body can take the rigors of the NBA. If you saw Beal get carried off the court last week in what was just a knee bruise, it makes it even more clear about how the team feels about his durability right now.
All that said, Beal is an amazing player. There are not many shooting guards who can shoot the ball efficiently while adding so much production in so many areas. He was one of the hottest players to draft with all the ADP hype -- which might have partially been our fault -- so his owner probably wouldn't be looking to sell too low.
Trevor Booker was a rebounding machine on Wednesday with 19 in 30 minutes, adding 10 points, one steal and one block. He's known for his hustle under the boards and has been able to put up some decent numbers when given time. Nene played just 24 minutes with four points, three boards, two steals and one block before fouling out, but he looks healthy. Booker's hard work has been a double-edged sword and it makes him a little injury prone. On top of that, he's only in a timeshare, so fantasy owners in 12-team leagues probably will want to see this again before making an add.
Marcin Gortat had another solid line of 12 points, five boards, two assists, two steals and one turnover in 27 minutes. In his last five, he's averaged 11.4 points, 6.6 boards and 2.0 blocks on 60.5 percent from the field and 83.3 percent from the line. He is really coming on strong and is a very nice No. 2 center in fantasy leagues.
Martell Webster's value has really taken a major dip lately. His shots haven't been falling and he's not doing much else. In his last six games, Webster didn't get a single steal or block. He should snap out of this funk soon, but it's probably fine to cut him for a hot free agent in standards. Trevor Ariza shot 3-of-14 from the field for eight points with four boards, two assists, two steals, one block and one 3-pointer. He has tons of bad shooting games in his career and this was just another one. Don't worry.
Don't look now, but the Raptors are quickly one of the hottest teams in the NBA. They've won six of their last seven with wins at OKC, at Dallas and vs. Indiana while the only loss came at San Antonio. They're also 9-3 since the Rudy Gay trade.
Jonas Valanciunas is really starting to get it going. Perhaps no player had more hype coming into the season after an eye-catching Las Vegas Summer League and now he's really starting to put it together. JV had 13 points, nine boards, two assists, one steal and one block in 31 minutes on Wednesday. This has been on par with the averages over his previous seven: 13.4 points, 10.6 boards, 1.4 blocks and 0.6 steals on 55.2 percent from the field and 74.1 percent from the line.
Over that seven-game stretch, he's taken 64.2 percent of his shots from within five feet, but he's still not clicking from beyond that range. Valanciunas made just 26 percent of his jump shots in this stretch, which is down from the 38 percent he shot on those after the All-Star break last year. Basically, we still haven't seen the best JV can be yet.
DeMar DeRozan is back in one of his slumps again after shooting 9-of-24 from the field for 26 points, nine boards, three assists, three steals and three turnovers. He does this all the time and anyone that has seen him play over the past two seasons can tell you why. DeRozan is the grand mid-range jumper shooter of them all (a good Rose Bowl game on Wednesday, by the way). He attempted 24 shots on Wednesday and only four of them were from within eight feet.
He came in with a seven-game slump even before Wednesday's dud. Outside the restricted area, DeRozan shot just 33.7 percent on his two-point shots, so that's going to explain his low shooting with only 15.7 percent of his other twos coming in the restricted area. Before that stretch, he was taking 20.7 percent of his shots in the restricted area to help buoy his shooting percent to 43.4 percent.
DeRozan is shooting 55.1 percent on drives and needs to do more of that. That's a huge notch above his 32 percent on pull-up jumpers and 39 percent on catch-and-shoot shots. Shooting aside, his assists and rebounds are up without Rudy Gay around and he'll have a higher upside, so this is probably the time to buy low on him. The Raptors have to get him to attack the basket more.
Terrence Ross matched his career high with three steals and put up a well-rounded line of 18 points, four boards, two assists, three steals and two 3-pointers on 6-of-12 from the field and 4-of-4 from the line vs. the Pacers. His free throw shooting is above 80 percent this season following this game and he has coincidentally shot exactly 50 percent from the field in each of his last four.
He's become much more of complete shooter from beyond the arc after shooting a sterling 46.3 percent from deep in December. Ross shot just 43.6 percent overall last month and it has a lot to do with his inability to finish around the basket this season. After shooting an impressive 70.3 percent in the restricted area last season, he's down to just 54 percent in that zone this year. Outside of that, he's really better in every other area as a scorer. The former slam-dunk champ should be able to develop into a more consistent scorer and shooting a lot closer to 50 percent lately is a nice step. He's worth owning in standard leagues.
Amir Johnson cooled off again with six points, five boards, one assist and two steals. He committed just one foul and that's been a very nice addition to his game as of late with just 2.8 per game over his last five. While he hasn't been scoring in that span at just 7.4 points per outing, AJ added 6.4 boards and 2.0 blocks on 46.4 percent from the field and 78.6 percent from the line. He's getting plenty of minutes and is a sneaky buy-low target for Roto. He shot 81.1 percent from the charity stripe in December and has basically knocked Tyler Hansbrough (five points and six boards in 16 minutes) from being relevant.
Danny Granger turned his in his second double-digit scoring game in a row on Wednesday with 11 points, two boards, three assists, one steal and one 3-pointer in 23 minutes. He had 12 points, four boards, two steals and no triples in 19 minutes vs. the Cavs on Tuesday, as well.
He's playing fewer minutes in the second half right now and he's not really doing much down the stretch. Yes, that could be due to him not being completely healthy, but it's a little strange since most big-name bench guys -- like Jamal Crawford or Reggie Jackson before the injuries to their teams' first units -- get most of their playing time after the break.
On the bright side, it was his best game of the season and his three assists matched his entire total before Wednesday. Granger has almost no offense outside of getting it off the ball. Including last night, he only attempted five of his 45 shots in isolation or in pick-and-roll as a ball handler or roll man this season (per Synergy). He can't get his own shot yet and the Pacers aren't going to ask him to do that anytime soon. He's not worth owning in standard leagues.
There is very little reason to worry about Lance Stephenson. Sure, it's always a bit worrisome for a guy to come out of the blue to have a sudden drop off with a new player coming off injury, but Stephenson is a talented guy and he's put in the work. He is often the last guy to leave the gym at practice and has put in huge efforts to improve his 3-point shot. Plus, he's fourth among shooting guards in assists per game this season and the three above him all get serious burn as point guards -- Monta Ellis, Goran Dragic and Jordan Crawford. Sure, he had a quiet couple games with eight points, six boards, four assists and nothing else on Wednesday; and six points, four boards, eight assists and no other stats on Tuesday, but there's no way his owners should be panicking. A savvy non-Stephenson owner might want to send out a feeler and try to buy low.
George Hill lost a lot of momentum on Wednesday with six points, one board, two assists and two 3-pointers in 31 minutes of action. He has really just become a shooting guard and over his previous 10, Hill had just 2.7 assists per game. On the other hand, he's really improved his shot and is knocking down 1.5 triples per game this season to go with 11.3 points and 1.0 steals. Hill should serve as a decent low-end fantasy guard thanks to his 83.3 percent from the line this year. It was abundantly clear he was expected to take a dip in dimes in the preseason, so hopefully that deficiency isn't hurting your fantasy team.
One of the more precipitous drops of December came to Roy Hibbert's block total. After blocking a Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo-like 3.4 blocks per game in November, Hibbert dropped to just 1.6 per game in December. The strange part of all of that is his minutes and fouls were up, it's not really something a stat can directly explain. Perhaps teams are getting coached up to watch for Hibbert on the weak side. Anyway, Roy fouled out in 21 minutes vs. the Raptors on Wednesday with 16 points, three boards and one block. He was a second-half stud last year and all his hard work in the offseason serves as enough support to the idea of Hibbert finishing strong in the 2014 part of this season.
David West (nine points, seven boards, two assists and one steal) is taking 2.6 less shots per game compared to last season and his offensive boards have almost been cut in half, so his owners shouldn't be expecting him to have a sudden jolt in value. Still, he's putting up seventh-round value in standard leagues, so that's not really enough to cut him or anything.
Paul George had his second off game in a row with 12 points, eight boards, three assists, one steal, one block, no treys and six turnovers.You should totally panic. Ah, man. Sarcasm HTML tags haven't been invented yet.
ALF GETS CANCELED
Al-Farouq Aminu can be cut in almost all leagues right now. Let's see why.
Tyreke Evans really picked up some steam with Eric Gordon out of the lineup. In the three games sans Gordon, Evans averaged 17.3 points, 5.3 boards, 5.3 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.7 blocks and 1.0 triples. He attempted a whopping 62 percent of his shots from within the restricted area over that time and it takes about five minutes of watching Evans to realize his goal is to get as many layups as he can. One other interesting thing about Evans without Gordon was he only logged 26 percent of his playing time at small forward in those three games. That's down from above 90 percent while EJ is active.
Well, Gordon was back and it didn't affect Evans much on Wednesday with 16 points, seven boards, three assists, one 3-pointer and one turnover in 28 minutes. He actually shoots five percent better when Gordon is in the lineup, so one could argue the impression Evans made on coach Monty Williams while Gordon was out could have a lasting impact. He's playing a lot better and is earning playing time.
Consequently, that means Al-Farouq Aminu is the big loser here. If the Pelicans are going to be sliding 'Reke to the three, then that really leaves no space for ALF. Ryan Anderson (25 points, five boards and two 3-pointers) is a wonderful complement to Anthony Davis to stretch the court, so it's no surprise to see him log 40 minutes. What's more, the chemistry of 'Brow and Anderson is going to keep Jason Smith from minutes once he gets back from his knee injury.
Anthony Davis maintained his league lead in blocks with his four on Wednesday, adding 13 points, six boards and one steal. He did shoot 3-of-6 from the line and this was one of his worst games of the season. If we drafted today, he'd certainly be off the board in the top five picks.
IT'S RICKY TO ROCK A DIME, TO ROCK A DIME THAT'S RIGHT ON TIME
ALF and RUN DMC references? What year is this? Anyway, Ricky Rubio put up an eight-category line on Wednesday with 14 points, eight boards, nine dimes, three steals, two blocks and one 3-pointer on 4-of-6 from the field and 5-of-6 from the line. He got to the rim for three shots, which is really an area he'll have to improve. He has the second lowest field goal percentage in the restricted area this season, and that percentage has dropped in each of his three seasons.
He really has nothing as a go-to way to score, so really the best solution is to stop shooting. For most players, that might send fantasy owners running for the hills, but Rubio is going to dominate in steals and dimes while adding some rebounds along the way. Plus, he's shooting 41 percent on 3-pointers above the break, so those shots are actually bringing his shooting percentage up. The buy-low window looks like it's closed.
It's hard to imagine how bad the Wolves would be without Kevin Love (21 points, six boards, three assists, one steal, one block and one 3-pointer). They are dead last in the NBA on shooting percentage for mid-range and corner treys, but they are second in the NBA in scoring per game on the season. Love's December was absurd in fantasy with averages of 30.0 points, 13.7 boards, 4.2 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.3 blocks, 3.2 triples and 2.0 triples on 50.0 percent shooting and 85.1 percent from the line. He really didn't hurt his owners anywhere while being elite in four categories.
Do you know who has taken the most shots in the restricted area this year? Andre Drummond might be the obvious choice, but he ranks second behind Nikola Pekovic (22 points, seven boards and one steal). He's taken a stunning 275 shots from that range and that's really the only reason why he's shooting 52.3 percent from the field on the year. Actually, he really should be a little higher because his shooting percentage of 60.0 from close range ranks 54th among players with at least 100 attempts. Still, Pek was a 20.7-point, 9.8-board guy in December and is on cruise control. He's not blocking shots and is really just a three-category player right now.
J.J. Barea might as well be called the garbage man. He continues to shine when the minutes don't count and finished with 17 points, five assists and three 3-pointers in 18 minutes. The most valuable part of Barea as a fantasy asset really just lies in being Ricky Rubio's handcuff. When Rubio is not on the court, Barea basically handles all the point guard minutes.
THE SHAW THAT BROKE THE MANIMAL'S BACK
Kenneth Faried's playing time has been floundering for a while and that continued on Wednesday, playing 22 minutes for 12 points with six boards, one assist, one steal and one block on 6-of-9 from the field and 0-of-3 from the charity stripe.
Sure, he's one of the most fun players to watch in the NBA, but his defense is pathetic. When he's involved in a pick-and-roll, Faried allowed his opponents to score 56 percent of the time and his man shoots 54 percent in postups. As much as we all would love for the Manimal to get more minutes, he's just not there on defense yet. Coach Brian Shaw probably won't play him more than 24 minutes per game and his deficiencies at the line pretty much knock him out of the convo as a standard-league guy.
Darrell Arthur is playing some better ball lately, averaging 10.5 points, 4.5 boards, 1.0 steals, 0.5 blocks and 0.5 triples in 23.5 minutes since returning from a quad injury on Monday. He still has a long way to go to be worth a look in deeper leagues.
Randy Foye got back in coach Shaw's good graces on Wednesday, playing 37 minutes for 14 points, four boards, six assists and four turnovers on 6-of-17 shooting. He played 34 minutes on Monday after his playing just 11.8 minutes per game in his previous four. Nothing is really clear on how Shaw wants to give minutes to his wings, so Foye's not really worth a pickup right now. He could get hot and that would certainly change his outlook. If your league is very competitive and the wire is bone dry, it's not a bad idea to make a proactive add because of the Andre Miller situation (below).
Jordan Hamilton was demoted in a bad way on Wednesday. After getting a couple starts at shooting guard, he probably would have been a DNP-CD in a close game. However, he checked in at the 4:15 mark in the third quarter of an 84-72 game. He has a knack for taking bad shots and that was really his calling card at Las Vegas Summer League. You can cut him everywhere.
Apparently, the Pepsi Center is Nate Robinson's kryptonite. He's shot just 37 percent from the field there and put up a goose egg on Wednesday. This was his second game in a row and third time in his last three without a point, so that's your cue to drop him almost everywhere.
Andre Miller logged a DNP-CD against the Sixers. He was not happy about it at all and he looked like he had to be restrained on the bench. It's fair to guess he'll be asking for a trade soon, so that might actually help guys like Nate Robinson and Randy Foye.
J.J. Hickson kept doing his thing with 19 points, 11 boards, one steal and two blocks in 32 minutes. Ty Lawson was also solid with 15 points, six boards, 11 assists, one steal, one block and one 3-pointer in 41 minutes.
THAT'S ALL SHE WROTEN
Tony Wroten played 20 minutes against the Nuggets, but only six of those were next to Michael-Carter Williams. The Wroten-to-SG experiment was a disaster the first time around, but it's improved since MCW returned back on Dec. 20. They've played 35 minutes together before Wednesday and the Sixers have actually had better defense based on field goal percentage with the two on the court compared to their total as a team in that span. As for offense, it's been about the same.
Still, Wroten missed all three attempts from the line vs. Denver and he's now down to just 57.9 percent from the line to go with 42.3 percent from the field. He can fill it up, but not enough to offset those two weaknesses.
Spencer Hawes filled up the stat sheet against the Nuggets with 13 points, eight boards, four assists, two steals, one block and two 3-pointers. His numbers in December weren't quite as spectacular as November's, but his owners will certainly take 13.3 points, 7.5 boards, 3.4 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.6 triples on 46.2 percent from the field and 76.9 percent from the line. He's a No. 1 center in fantasy.
Arnett Moultrie is getting closer to a return and he'll be worth monitoring. Coach Brett Brown was fond of Moultrie's motor and they need another rim protector. They are 27th in defensive rating on the season and Spencer Hawes is allowing his man to take more shots at the rim than any other player. To be clear, Moultrie probably won't be taking more than a couple minutes from Hawes. Brandon Davies (two points in eight minutes) and Lavoy Allen (13 points, five boards and three assists in 16 minutes) would be the losers should Moultrie actually build some momentum. Again, we're talking very, very deep leagues right now.
After Evan Turner did not record a single block in over 2,100 possessions to start this season, he now has blocks in back-to-back games. His 2014 kicked off on the right foot with 23 points, five boards, six assists, two steals and one 3-pointer on 8-of-17 shooting. ET's December was pretty weak though, averaging 16.5 points, 6.1 boards, 4.3 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.1 triples on 40.2 percent from the field. Except for steals and dimes, his numbers are down in every other category. I'd think about selling high once he gets a few good games together.
James Anderson had decent line as far as James Anderson lines go with 12 points, four boards, one block, one steal and two 3-pointers in 25 minutes. He's only a deep-league guy for now based on his numbers trending down.
CLIFFORD THE BIG WELL-READ COACH
Yep, I went there. Coach Steve Clifford is the man and he has to be in the mix for Coach of the Year after Terry Stotts and Frank Vogel. One year after the Bobcats were dead last in the NBA for defensive rating, they're sitting pretty at a ranking of fourth in the NBA since the return of Al Jefferson on Nov. 22 -- and Jefferson isn't exactly a defensive stalwart. The Bobcats were gashed badly by front courts last season and now they're actually considered a sub-par matchup for big men based on opponent efficiency ratings. This doesn't have major fantasy implications, but it's just something to think about for FanDuel folks and fellow streamers in daily leagues.
Anthony Tolliver was really the story of the game for the Bobcats, scoring 11 points with three boards, one assist and three 3-pointers in 37 minutes. He is really just keeping the seat warm for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who is out of a hard cast, so it's hard to pick him up in the leagues in which he's still available.
Kemba Walker (14 points, seven boards, three assists, two steals and one 3-pointer) really turned it on in December, averaging 21.5 pints, 4.4 boards, 5.4 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.6 blocks and 1.9 triples on 45.9 percent from the field and 81.6 percent from the line. He was getting to the cup a lot more and it has really helped transform him into an efficient point guard. If you want to chalk that up to Al Jefferson, that works too. I definitely would not look to sell high. Clifford, y'all.
Al Jefferson had another double-double with 14 points, 12 boards, four assists and one steal in 30 minutes. He's in a groove, but he's still a little oaf-like out there. If you wanted to sell high, I'd be OK with it at a top-20 price tag.
BARNES AND NOT NOBLE
Matt Barnes is the only player to have multiple ejections this year, so I thought 'Barnes and Not Noble' would be a funny heading despite it not really being a big story. No good? Oh well. He did have 10 shots for the third time in his last four games and is starting to get more shots in the Clippers offense. Although, J.J. Redick should be back soon and squash some value on the wings.
Speaking of wings, Jared Dudley exploded for 20 points, five assists and six triples in 33 minutes. Dudley really hasn't done anything to solidify his case for minutes once J.J. Redick comes back. The Clippers were using a lot of the Redick-Crawford-Paul-Griffin-Jordan lineup and it was working for them, so they will likely go back to that lineup as their most commonly used one. If you're going to add Dudley, it should only be as a short-term pickup.
Blake Griffin is ballin' right now. On Wednesday he put up 31 points, 12 boards, two assists and one 3-pointer on 14-of-20 from the field and 2-of-4 from the line during the win over the Bobbies. He is coming off what might have been the best month of his career, posting December averages of 21.9 points, 9.9 boards, 3.1 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.6 steals and 0.2 triples on 49.0 percent from the field and 76.7 percent from the line. That percentage from the charity stripe was a career best for a month and getting to the line 8.1 times per game would have helped most fantasy teams. We've been waiting for a while for Blake to put it together and it looks like it's happening in his age-24 season.
Anyone who has played point guard at a competitive level has to appreciate Chris Paul (17 points, four rebounds, 14 assists, one steal and one 3-pointer) and should forgive him for seeing his commercials 30 times a day. We throw around the word "prototype" a lot when it comes to assessing guys, but it's really hard to describe CP3 any other way. In December, he tied for the league lead in assists per game (Stephen Curry) while he ranked just 54th in turnovers per game. Add that to ranking 25th in points per game while leading the NBA in total steals and it's almost shocking his team only went 9-7 in the month. Regardless, he's still the top point guard to own in fantasy.
MARSHALL'S DISCOUNT GUARDS
The Lakers are going to have Kendall Marshall take over at point guard likely for the next three weeks. Jordan Farmar is expected to miss at least four weeks with tearing in his hamstring. Plus, the Lakers aren't expected to have Steve Nash (back) or Steve Blake (elbow) return any time soon.
Mike D'Antoni said he didn't know much about Marshall earlier this month, but he's going to learn very quickly. He has a little bit of Ricky Rubio to his game, meaning he really can't score. Marshall had success from beyond the arc this year in the D-League and also made 4-of-7 so far with the Lakers.
His sudden improvement shouldn't be quite enough to convince you yet. Marshall shot 31.3 percent in the D-League last season, 37.1 percent with the Suns in 2012-13 and was even worse in his three starts with Phoenix at just 29.5 percent. He doesn't have a mid-range jumper and lacks the size to be able to finish around the hoop, so his prospective fantasy owners should not be expecting much on offense.
On the other hand, there should be plenty of steals, assists and triples for Marshall. In Tuesday's game, he and Farmar were the only two guys to run the point. He should be picked up in all standard leagues.
The Cavs announced Kyrie Irving is only day-to-day with a knee contusion and he could be ready to go for Thursday's game. This is terrific news, but it is a little weird. The Cavs said they weren't worried about Kyrie before the report came out. They really had no other play, right? They put their franchise point guard back in the game after he suffered a non-contact injury and after he said he felt a pop in his knee. Plus, it's a little strange for a knee contusion to occur without contact, but it wouldn't be the first time that's happened. Well, hopefully this is a moot point and Kyrie plays on Thursday. If you added Jarrett Jack based on yesterday's developments, you can probably cut him.
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