|POSITION HOT SEAT
|BOSTON CELTICS (C) RED HOT
1st Chair: Mark Blount
2nd Chair: Kendrick Perkins
Skinny: Blount was replaced in the starting lineup by Perkins and did not enter the game Friday for the Celtics. After the game, Doc Rivers stated that he'd like his center to out-rebound his point guard – so far this season, Delonte West has out-rebounded Blount 4.0-3.6. Rivers said his gut told him to keep Blount out the entire game and he liked the way the game went, and added that he would continue to play who played on Friday night, although that didn't necessarily mean Blount won't be back on the court – "[Blount] might, and he might not." The two have had problems throughout the season – after a November 11 loss to the Spurs, Blount complained about his lack of touches on offense. Rivers responded by saying that he'd like his team to start worrying more about playing defense, never a Blount strong suit. Perkins played 25 minutes in the Celtics' 90-89 win over the Bobcats, scoring 7 points and grabbing 6 boards. Rivers may just be trying to motivate Blount, but it also appears that Perkins has the chance to make the move stick.
|NEW YORK KNICKS (PF) RED HOT
1st Chair: Antonio Davis, Malik Rose
2nd Chair: Channing Frye
Skinny: Davis has been starting at center for the Knicks while Eddy Curry remains sidelined with a calf injury, leaving the power forward position open. Rose had started three consecutive games before Frye got the nod on Saturday. Both played well in their roles – Frye scored 21 and grabbed 11 rebounds and Rose had season-highs of 13 points and 9 boards in the dramatic 105-102 win over the Sixers. Davis has averaged just 4.3 points and 5.4 rebounds despite starting every game, while Frye is the team's second-leading scorer despite just over 24 minutes of action. Frye has played well enough to be in the lineup – all that remains to be seen is if Larry Brown will give the rookie the starts over the veterans, especially once Curry is able to play again.
|HOUSTON ROCKETS (PG) WARM
1st Chair: Rafer Alston
2nd Chair: Luther Head
Skinny: Head has been starting in place of the injured Alston, and despite the Rockets' continued slide, Van Gundy has called Head the team's best guard and complimented his tenacity, saying it was something the Rockets needed as a team. Alston continues to be sidelined with a hairline fracture in his right leg – it remains to be seen how his role will change, if at all, once he is ready to return to the court. Much could hinge on how well Head continues to play -- in eight games before the injury, Alston averaged just 7.1 points on 32 percent shooting.
I know, I know – Mike Sweetney
tanked in his two games since I touted him as a strong play going forward in The Skinny
last week. Five fouls in 11 minutes on Friday versus the Spurs guaranteed he'd make no contributions in that game, and on Saturday the Bulls took a page from the Suns' playbook and went with a small lineup for much of the game to beat the hapless Rockets. I still think Sweetney makes his mark – I just didn't plan on him making it that questionable that quick. Now that we have that out of the way, let's move on to this week's fearless prognostications.
WEEKEND UPDATE: Need-to-know info from the past few days
played in his first game of the season Saturday for Philadelphia. The Sixers' center missed the first 13 games of the season with a quadriceps injury, and no doubt his return couldn't come soon enough for fantasy owners. He started and played 30 minutes in the 105-102 loss to the Knicks, scored 5 points, grabbed 9 boards, and blocked 2 shots. He made only 2-of-9 field goal attempts and was admittedly rusty, but said he felt good overall after the game. Those of you who have had Steven Hunter
on your rosters while he filled in for Dalembert can feel free to cut him loose – his marginal fantasy value now becomes nil. Now all that remains to be seen is if Maurice Cheeks gives Dalembert the minutes that fantasy owners pined for while he toiled under former Philly coach Jim O'Brien – this is, once again, supposed to be the year Dalembert fulfills his 12/10/2 potential.
The Dallas Mavericks
lost two players over the weekend, although one was by choice. Small forward Josh Howard
sprained his ankle when he landed on teammate Devin Harris
' foot late in Saturday's game – he had to be helped off the court and his status is uncertain outside of the fact that he will not join the team on their upcoming road trip. Dallas also waived injured guard Doug Christie
, more than likely paving the way for his retirement. These two developments leave the Mavericks painfully thin at the wings, as Jerry Stackhouse
is still not ready to return from a knee injury. Look for Marquis Daniels
' role to increase and Devin Harris and Keith Van Horn
to see more minutes during whatever time Howard misses. Daniels could be ready to shine – much like Dalembert, fantasy owners have been waiting for Daniels to finally see big minutes, as well. He started the season on the bench thanks to the Doug Christie experiment, and since replacing him as the starter, he has averaged 11.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 1.8 steals in five games.
is expected to return to the lineup when the Jazz face the Pacers on Tuesday. There was speculation that Kirilenko might return over the weekend, but the Jazz opted for the safer route. Not playing on Saturday will end up giving him a full four more days rest – fantasy owners can appreciate the extra care the Jazz have taken in getting their defensive stalwart back on the court. The Jazz went 4-2 before his injury and 2-6 since, so their fortunes are tied to their star forward much in the same way his fantasy owners' standing in blocks is. Any fantasy relevance that Matt Harpring
and Devin Brown
had over the past few weeks will be limited once Kirilenko is back to full strength. Hopefully the time off will have helped him with whatever was wrong with his shot, as well – he was averaging only 35 percent from the field and 56 percent from the line before going down with the ankle sprain.
BARGAIN BIN: Top players available in 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues
- Nick Collison (PF, Seattle)
Collison continues to start for the Sonics, and in Saturday's game he even got the start at center. In his eight starts this season, he has averaged 11.4 points, 7.5 rebounds, with fantastic percentages (62 percent field goals, 83 percent free throws). He can be foul-prone, but if he continues to start and particularly if he gains center-eligibility, there are far worse players to plug into your lineup.
MARKET MOVERS: Charting player valuesGerald Wallace
(GF, Charlotte) – Wallace has not missed a beat since returning from a wrist injury, averaging 22.3 points, 2.0 threes, 9.3 boards, 2.3 steals, and 3.3 blocks in three games.
(FC, Detroit) – Wallace averaged 19.6 points, 3.0 threes, 6.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 2.0 blocks, and 1.0 steal in the Pistons' three games this past week.
(SG, Sacramento) – In the Kings' three games last week, Wells averaged 19.6 points, 10.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 3.7 steals and played 42 minutes per game.
(GF, Phoenix) – Diaw averaged 13.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 7.5 assists, and 2.5 steals during the Suns' past two games while starting at center in both contests.
(PF, New Orleans/Oklahoma City) – West averaged 24.3 points on 59 percent shooting and 8.8 rebounds as the Hornets have won three of their past four games.
(C, New York) – Frye makes the list for the second consecutive week – his strong play of late earned him his first start of the season on Saturday, and he responded with 21 points and 11 boards in 39 minutes versus the Sixers.
(GF, Houston) – Despite a move to the bench, Anderson played more than 33 minutes per game during the past week, and averaged 17.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 3.8 assists in four games.
(G, Houston) – Head has averaged 14.2 points, 3.2 threes, 5.0 rebounds, and 3.8 assists since taking over at point guard for the injured Rafer Alston
five games ago.
(GF, Toronto) – Rose has averaged 8.0 points in his past four games while shooting just 26 percent from the field – he has made 34 percent of his field goals so far this season.
(F, Cleveland) – Marshall has been on a terrible run lately – during the past five games he has shot just 23 percent from the field and averaged only 4.8 points.
(PG, Milwaukee) – Ford averaged only 3.0 assists during the Bucks' past four games as well as 8.0 points on 37 percent shooting as the team lost three of four.
(PG, Golden State) – Davis has struggled to find his shot recently, shooting just 30 percent from the field and 53 percent from the line during the Warriors' past four games – he averaged 10.8 points in those games.
Number of the Week
1 – The number of games in which Blazers center Joel Przybilla has grabbed 10 or more rebounds in his 11 starts this season (he had 12 boards on Friday against the Magic). In 50 starts last season, Przybilla had 10 or more rebounds 27 times.
Yahoo! Friends and Family League Update
A quiet week for the league – there wasn't much of a shakeup in the standings and the lone transaction was by Yahoo! Sports' Matt Romig, who dropped Kurt Thomas for Luther Head.