Monta Ellis has thrived in Dallas’ system this year, as he’s so far proven those who questioned the signing wrong. He’s actually committing a career-high 3.9 tpg, but that’s been accompanied by 23.6 ppg with crazy efficiency, something typically not a part of Ellis’ game. After shooting 43.3 percent and 41.6 percent from the floor during the past two seasons, he’s at 49.4 percent this year. Put differently, Ellis is averaging 4.4 more points per game this season despite attempting fewer shots. Getting to the free throw line has also been a big reason why, as Ellis is averaging a career-high 7.4 FTA this season. Few guards are attacking the rim as much as Ellis, as a whopping 46.0 percent of his shots have come within eight feet of the basket. Ellis has been the No. 16 ranked fantasy player in eight-category leagues, but he’s been plenty valuable in both. Since he’s taking so many shots from in close (and attempting 1.4 fewer 3pt per game compared to last year) while drawing so many fouls, it’s hard to call Ellis’ start a fluke, so he’s more of a “hold” than a “sell-high” in fantasy terms.
Tough loss for Andre Iguodala owners, as it sounds like he’s going to miss some time with a hamstring injury. Iguodala had been thriving with Golden State, averaging 6.3 apg and 1.8 3pt, which are both career highs. He’s also recording 1.9 spg while shooting a career-best 54.5 percent from the floor. The only real knock has been him continuing to struggle at the line, a career trend that’s pretty odd. Iguodala never shot worse than 72.1 percent from the charity stripe over the first six years of his career. Over the last four since then, he’s shot 69.3, 61.7, 57.4 and 61.0, respectively. Despite that, he currently ranks as the No. 33 fantasy player in 2013/14, so hopefully his time on the sideline isn’t lengthy. Iguodala’s Usage Rate (15.3) is actually his lowest since 2005/06, but he’s countered that by being super efficient, as his True Shooting Percentage (65.6) is easily a career best, as is his 33.9 Assist Ratio (in other words, more than a third of his possessions this season have ended in an assist, which is top-10 in the league). The biggest beneficiary of Iguodala’s injury is Harrison Barnes, who’s moved back into the starting lineup as a result. Over his last three games, Barnes has averaged 16.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists while knocking down multiple three-pointers in each of his past four contests. Barnes will be well worth using in fantasy leagues as long as Iguodala is out.
Rajon Rondo is dumbfounded while looking at this stat sheet.
Last week we highlighted Derrick Rose’s slow start to the season, but unfortunately, things got a whole lot worse since, as he underwent season-ending surgery on yet another knee injury that occurred without contact. The good news is that it wasn’t the same knee, and there was no ACL damage. Moreover, the medial area is supposedly the less severe of meniscus tears, and he’s having it repaired, not removed, so hopefully Rose can return in 2014 at 100 percent. But what a horrific series of events for the 25-year-old, who will now miss two (near) full seasons (and possibly three postseasons) during the prime of his career. In fantasy terms, Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer should see increased Usage Rates, while Kirk Hinrich’s value obviously changes the most. He was actually seeing decent minutes off the bench beforehand, but Hinrich is going to have to become much more of Chicago’s facilitator now starting. He’ll likely drain your FG%, but Hinrich will be of plenty use for those in need of help in assists, steals and threes.
Here’s Dwight Howard making most of his free throws (18-of-20) in warmups like everyone claims he does.
Quick Hits: It may take a bit of time before Tobias Harris starts seeing significant minutes, and there’s no guarantee he rejoins the starting lineup, especially with Glen Davis also back in action, but Harris has recovered from his ankle sprain and should be stashed in fantasy leagues right now. Don’t forget just how good he was last year after joining Orlando, as he got 19.8 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 2.4 apg, 0.8 spg and 1.4 bpg over the final month of the season…Don’t look now, but Eric Gordon appears to be back to his old self, shooting 38.8 percent from downtown while grabbing 2.0 spg. Thanks to a low turnover rate and solid FT shooting, Gordon is a top-50(ish) fantasy player despite lacking gaudy rebound/assist numbers. Let’s just hope he can stay healthy…Jeff Teague has really improved his level of play this season, handing out 8.8 apg while recording 1.5 spg. He commits a few too many turnovers and doesn’t hit enough triples to be a truly elite fantasy player, but the point guard is clearly developing as hoped. In fact, Teague has improved his PER every year he’s been in the league…Stay patient Enes Kanter owners. The big man’s move out of the starting lineup should be temporary…With Marc Gasol sidelined with a sprained MCL, Kosta Koufos becomes a must-add in all fantasy leagues.
Chris Webber’s keys to the Hawks vs. Heat game was quite possibly the best analysis of all-time.
Here’s Shaq slipping and falling during Inside the NBA with Chris Webber loving it.
Quick Hits Part Deux: Since joining the starting lineup three games ago, Victor Oladipo has averaged 14.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.3 steals, going 16-of-19 at the line over that span. The rookie’s turnovers remain a big problem (4.1 tpg, 20.1 TO Rate), but the 21-year-old should improve in that area. Oldadipo’s Usage Rate (25.9) ranks in the top-25 among all players, so he’s immediately become the focal point of Orlando’s offense, revealing a lot of upside moving forward…Teammate Aaron Afflalo has been one of this season’s biggest surprises, as he’s currently the No. 17 ranked fantasy player. He had a recent three-game stretch that you don’t see often, as Afflalo hit eight threes in one game before going 13-of-14 at the free throw line the next only to see him make another seven treys during the following contest….The Suns and Kings combined to score 83 points in the fourth quarter of their game last week…An astounding 42.3 percent of Ricky Rubio’s possessions this year have ended in an assist…Anthony Davis currently leads the NBA in PER (LeBron James is second), and surprisingly, DeMarcus Cousins ranks eighth. Of course, there’s that whole defense issue but still. Cousins also leads the league in Usage Rate (32.6).
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Quick Hits Part Tres: Since entering the starting lineup three games ago, Jared Sullinger has averaged 15.7 points and 10.3 rebounds. He’s not a huge shot blocker, but Sullinger should be Boston’s starting power forward for the foreseeable future and should rack up shot attempts playing on a team with such a depleted roster…Dion Waiters has lost his starting job and is shooting just 38.9 percent from the field this season, turning the ball over as many times as he’s recorded an assist. There’s plenty of time for improvement, but things are looking rough right now for last year’s No. 4 overall pick…Kemba Walker has been in a horrific shooting slump all season, as the third-year guard currently sports a 36.6 FG% (he’s making only 28.3 percent of his three-pointers). One year after ranking as the No. 32 fantasy player, Walker hasn’t been a top-100 fantasy player this season…Lance Stephenson is the only player in the NBA this season with multiple triple-doubles. He has twice as many as Danny Granger does during his entire career. Don’t expect the latter to take over Stephenson’s starting role when he eventually returns from injury…Chris Paul became the first player in NBA history to open the season with 12 straight double-doubles with points and assists. His streak ended at 13, although he’s since started a new one.