NBA Skinny: The Aaron Brooks dilemma

Matt Buser
Yahoo! Sports

The NBA Skinny will take a look around the league and highlight news and information, coach-speak and major storylines, good or bad stats, and anything else relevant to fantasy basketball each and every Monday over the course of the season.

Rick Adelman said Monday that it's "really important" to get Aaron Brooks(notes) going, given his recent ups and downs, but he appears to be a remote consideration for a return to the starting lineup at this point. You have to think that it's going to take a combination of poor play from Kyle Lowry(notes) and substantially better play from Brooks himself. The problem with that scenario is that Lowry has settled in with steady-but-unspectacular production, while Brooks has been slumping. Lowry has averaged 13.3 points on 44-percent shooting, 1.6 threes, 5.7 assists, and 1.7 turnovers in 30 minutes over the past seven games; during the same stretch, Brooks has averaged 9.9 points on 28-percent shooting, 1 three, 2.6 assists, 1.9 turnovers, and 1 steal in 23 minutes. I'll stop short of saying that Brooks is a definite drop in standard leagues, but I won't fault teams that need some help right now making a move for more production off the wire. And if you are in first place and feeling frisky, you could try offering your worst player for Brooks and stash him to see how this situation plays out. The wild card here is that the Rockets are just 6-11 in January and are close to being completely removed from playoff consideration, so the team hasn't exactly been "successful" with the current setup.

Andrew Bogut(notes) is slated to undergo an MRI on his right knee after colliding with Randy Foye(notes) late in Monday's game. X-rays were negative and Bogut himself doesn't think it was more than a bruise, but nothing will be known for certain until we see the results of the MRI. I've been saying that Bogut is a "buy" thanks to down offensive numbers while Brandon Jennings(notes) was sidelined, but this obviously puts a hold on that. If he's in the clear here, it may still be worth seeing how little it might take to acquire Bogut's services, assuming you can account for his anemic foul shooting.

Emeka Okafor(notes) is expected to miss between one and three weeks after an MRI revealed a left oblique strain. The timetable is vague due to the nature of the injury - rest is the first course of action, and when he ends up returning will be determined by how quickly and completely the muscle heals. Fantasy owners will have no choice but to sit tight in the interim. The Hornets will divvy up Okafor's minutes between Jason Smith(notes), David Andersen(notes), and Aaron Gray(notes), and could also go with a small lineup when they can - that last option could mean a bit more playing time for Marcus Thornton(notes).

The Jazz have a number of injuries: Deron Williams(notes) (wrist) still could not shoot a basketball as of Tuesday but is receiving treatment "around the clock" in an effort to have him ready for Wednesday's game. Paul Millsap(notes) has been instrumental while the team was won two of their past three games, but he's dealing with a dislocated left pinkie and a sore right thumb. And Andrei Kirilenko(notes) was in a walking boot Tuesday after spraining his left ankle late in Monday's game. Williams and AK have to be considered questionable at this point, while the mangled Millsap figures to play through the pain yet again.

From the "news you already knew" department comes word from Vinny Del Negro that the Clippers would trade Chris Kaman(notes) if the move is something that would help improve the team. Del Negro identified Blake Griffin(notes) and Eric Gordon(notes) as the "cornerstones" of the team, and nobody would fault him if he went ahead and gave DeAndre Jordan(notes) a mention there, as well. The Clippers are 14-7 over their past 21 games, with Jordan averaging 8.7 points on 70-percent shooting, 9.1 boards, and 2.3 blocks during that stretch. Fantasy owners that have been reaping the benefits of rostering Jordan over the past few months - and have the luxury of ignoring his 46-percent foul shooting - should take this admission on Del Negro's part as a vote of confidence for Jordan over the remainder of the season. Even if Kaman does return this season, it's doubtful that he would be a consideration for the starting roster at any point. Kaman is now approaching three months of inactivity, remains without a timetable regarding his ankle injury and, given the team's current trajectory, simply removing his $12.7 million dollar salary from the books for next season would qualify as helping this team. For what it's worth, I still see this trade as a good idea for both involved teams.

Brandon Bass'(notes) immediate availability is very much in question after he sprained his left ankle during Monday's game - while initial X-rays in Memphis were negative, his ankle was swollen grotesquely and we won't know the extent until he's re-evaluated back in Orlando. Any absence on Bass' part would mean more minutes for Ryan Anderson(notes), and Earl Clark(notes) would likely be called into action for the already thin Magic frontcourt. Anderson hasn't been in the starting lineup since November 10, but his recent success has pushed his per-36s on the season to 19.9 points, 3.8 threes, 9.2 boards, 0.7 steals, and 1.3 blocks.

The Cavs' backcourt is a mess right now, with Mo Williams(notes), Daniel Gibson(notes), and Ramon Sessions(notes) all dealing with injuries. Sessions is playing with a hernia related to a genetic condition that affects less than 10 percent of the population. He says that he's already dealt with the worst of the pain - it limited him to 11 minutes on January 22 - and that he should be able to play though the injury, but this does take a bit of the shine off his potential to be a difference-maker down the stretch. In his past eight games, all starts, Sessions has averaged 13 points on 40-percent shooting and 6.4 assists in 30 minutes. Sessions has been starting in Williams' place, and Mo recently started working out on a treadmill and doing some shooting. He could possibly return to the team within a week or two, and fantasy owners that are still holding at this point should sit tight until then. I don't have tremendous faith in his ability to play out the string, but the team clearly needs him and will give him as many minutes as he can handle if/when he's active. Gibson missed Monday's game with a quad injury and is questionable for Wednesday, but the injury is not expected to be a long-term consideration.

The biggest differences that we should notice between Jim O'Brien and Frank Vogel from a personality standpoint are that O'Brien was critical and authoritarian while Vogel tends to be positive and collaborative. As for what happens on the court, Vogel said he wants to re-establish Roy Hibbert(notes) in the post on both ends of the court, establish a consistent rotation at power forward between Josh McRoberts(notes) and Tyler Hansbrough(notes), and get the dynamic Paul George(notes) more consistently involved in games. Plan on McRoberts settling back into the starting five, as Vogel said that he likes Hansbrough's offensive game as a complement to Jeff Foster(notes) and the rest of the team's second unit. For a further breakdown of the Pacers' Monday matchup and their prospects moving forward, check out the Monday Live Blog replay.

Tom Thibodeau confirmed Tuesday that Joakim Noah(notes) is on schedule to return to the Bulls' active roster "right after the All-Star break." Noah's return will push Kurt Thomas(notes) back to the bench, but his effective play on both ends of the court means that he'll likely remain in the rotation as Noah's primary backup at center and will further squeeze Taj Gibson's(notes) role.

Other status updates: Andrew Bynum(notes) will be out on Tuesday because of a bone bruise in his left knee. An MRI revealed no structural damage and he's day-to-day ... Both Nicolas Batum(notes) (knee) and Wesley Matthews(notes) (ankle) will be in the lineup for the Blazers on Tuesday ... Al Harrington(notes) is likely to be out of the lineup on Wednesday as he continues to deal with plantar fasciitis ... Rodney Stuckey(notes) (shoulder) will miss his third straight game Wednesday and remains unsure as to when he'll be able to return.

It's been a while since I posted Eddy Curry(notes) Line standings, and you have my sincere apologies for leaving you hanging for so long. Current top 15 among qualifiers (at least 25 games and 10 minutes per game): 1. James Jones(notes) (5.50:1), 2. Chris Paul(notes) (5.31:1), 3. Ronny Turiaf(notes) (4.93:1), 4. Jamario Moon(notes) (4.80:1), 5. Jason Kidd(notes) (4.71:1), 6. Derek Fisher(notes) (4.62:1), 7. Jose Calderon(notes) (4.51:1), 8. Joel Anthony(notes) (4.48:1), 9. Andre Iguodala(notes) (4.42:1), 10. Keyon Dooling(notes) (4.33:1), 11. Matt Bonner(notes) (4.23:1), 12. Thabo Sefolosha(notes) (4.22:1), 13. Pooh Jeter(notes) (4.18:1), 14. Larry Sanders(notes) (4.07:1), 15. D.J. Augustin(notes) (4.04:1).

Bottom 15 among qualifiers: 1. Josh Powell(notes) (0.56:1), 2. Corey Maggette(notes) (0.82:1), 3. Nikola Pekovic(notes) (0.98:1), 4. Robin Lopez(notes) (1.00:1), 5. Linas Kleiza(notes) (1.02:1), 6. J.J. Hickson(notes) (1.02:1), 7. Marreese Speights(notes) (1.13:1), 8. Hakim Warrick(notes) (1.14:1), 9. Al-Farouq Aminu(notes) (1.19:1), 10. Kwame Brown(notes) (1.19:1), 11. Carl Landry(notes) (1.19:1), 12. Ryan Hollins(notes) (1.26:1), 13. Jordan Hill(notes) (1.27:1), 14. Bill Walker(notes) (1.27:1), 15. DeMarcus Cousins(notes) (1.27:1).

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