It's baa-aack. Love it or hate it, the Eddy Curry Line is here to stay. No, it's not a personal attack on Eddy Curry – I've never had a bad thing to say about him as a person, but I've certainly been berating his fantasy "contributions" for a number of years. You have probably picked up on it if you've read more than a few of my columns, but I tend to have a nine-category mindset, and I don't often make concessions for players who require that you punt one or more statistical categories. So just enjoy the Curry Line for what it is – a celebration of a level of statistical ineptitude that few men can lay claim to. Oh yeah, and the Big Picture will also take a weekly look at the major injuries around the league and will examine the most added and dropped players over the past few days. It's good to be back …
Raymond Felton (G – Charlotte) Felton injured his left knee on Tuesday when Steve Nash intentionally tripped him after being beaten on a spin move. Felton did not play Wednesday and, according to The Charlotte Observer, may miss Friday's game against the Pacers, but should be back in the lineup on Sunday, much earlier than initially feared.
Devin Harris (PG – Dallas)
Harris has missed the past two games with a bruised left thigh but, according to The Dallas Morning News, will return to the lineup on Thursday when the Mavs take on the Warriors.
Nene Hilario (FC – Denver)
Nene returned to Denver on Thursday to be examined by team doctors and late reports are that he will undergo surgery on a torn ligament in his left thumb, a procedure that will sideline him for up to six weeks. Some combination of Kenyon Martin, Eduardo Najera, and Steven Hunter will see expanded minutes while Nene is sidelined.
Kelenna Azubuike (GF – Golden State)
Azubuike has what is being called a chronically sore left ankle, thanks to a bone bruise that he suffered during summer league play. Azubuike said that while he is experiencing some pain and stiffness, he does not plan on missing any time, but instead will step up the treatments on the injury.
Cuttino Mobley (SG – LA Clippers)
Mobley left Wednesday's matchup with the Pacers early because of a strained right adductor muscle, and Clippers trainer Jasen Powell said he will miss "a couple games or a week" as he recovers from the injury.
Lamar Odom (F – LA Lakers)
Odom is slated to return to the Lakers' lineup on Friday, and he'll be immediately re-inserted as a starter according to the Daily News. "It took me some time to come back from this injury, but I feel like I'm ready," said Odom.
Dwyane Wade (G – Miami)
It appears very unlikely that Wade will return to the lineup on Friday, a best-case scenario from earlier in the week. Wade said that, after three days of practices (Monday through Wednesday), his left shoulder is fine but his left knee isn't quite back to where he wants it to be. There's a chance that Wade won't play on Sunday, either – when asked when he'll be ready, Wade responded, "I'll just know when I know."
Randy Foye (G – Minnesota)
Foye has been resting his left knee and is now pain-free, but is at least another two weeks from returning. "Next week I'm going to start doing some running," said Foye. "We'll do a little jogging and see how it takes a pounding." According to the Star Tribune, Foye will gradually increase the workload on the knee and be re-tested in two weeks to see if the stress reaction in his knee cap has gone away.
Rashad McCants (G – Minnesota)
McCants left Tuesday's game early after suffering a sprained right ankle. Wolves coach Randy Wittman said that, while McCants will travel with the team, he's unsure if he'll be able to play on the team's upcoming two-game road trip (Friday and Saturday).
Amare Stoudemire (C – Phoenix)
Amare missed his third straight game on Wednesday as he continued to exercise caution after experiencing some swelling and stiffness in his surgically-repaired right knee. Amare sat out the Suns' most recent game after Suns coach Mike D'Antoni told him, "If you feel great, play. If you don't, don't rush it." Stoudemire hopes he feels good enough to return to the lineup on Friday, but said that he doesn't want to "overdo it and jump out there a little too soon."
Gilbert Arenas (PG – Washington)
Arenas had his knee drained for the second time in three weeks on Wednesday. Via his blog, Arenas said that there will be a 15-day period before the knee will be at 100 percent, and that he's not experiencing pain, only stiffness. He also urged his fantasy owners to "not give up" on him yet, and he's aware that his three-point percentage (6 percent) is quite the eye-sore.
Buzz Index – adds
DeSagana Diop (FC – Dallas) 26,805 adds
Diop has started the season in fine fashion, averaging 7.5 points on 62 percent shooting, 9.3 boards, and 3.5 blocks in 34 minutes per game.
Upshot: Diop will continue to get plenty of run while Erick Dampier is out, but Damp was recently cleared to participate in his first full contact practice and should have things back to a platoon situation within a matter of a few weeks. Enjoy the run, even if it's short-lived.
Daniel Gibson (G – Cleveland) 26,692 adds
Gibson has been making people pay for leaving him open – he's averaged 16 points on 61 percent shooting and 3.8 threes on 63 percent shooting over the past four games.
Upshot: You can't argue with those kinds of results. Although it's somewhat unlikely that Gibson will continue to shoot 60 percent from the field and from beyond the arc, he's looking like he'll be a nice source of threes moving forward. Just don't expect too much elsewhere in his line.
Francisco Garcia (GF – Sacramento) 23,449 adds
Garcia's role has expanded with Ron Artest and Mike Bibby unavailable – in four games, including two starts, Garcia has averaged 14.8 points on 50 percent shooting, 1.3 threes, 4.3 boards, 3.8 assists, 1.5 steals, and 0.8 blocks in 33 minutes.
Upshot: Garcia seems to be a likely candidate to return to the bench once Artest returns from suspension (Nov 14), but he'll continue to see decent run at the one-through-three even as a reserve. Either way, keep him in your lineup for at least the next week.
Antoine Wright (GF – New Jersey) 20,338 adds
Wright has stepped up his production in a big way so far this season – through four games, he's averaged 13.5 points on 51 percent shooting, 1.8 threes, 1 steal, and 1 block in 28 minutes per game.
Upshot: He's actually averaged the fourth-most minutes on the team as well, behind only the big three, as the Nets have been able to use a small lineup for much of the start of the season. Wright worked incessantly on improving his offensive game this offseason, and it's paying off, at least in the early-going. It's debatable as to whether or not he can sustain this momentum, but he's worth a roster spot until we find out one way or the other.
John Salmons (GF – GF – Sacramento)
Salmons has emerged as the Kings' second-leading scorer (21.5 points per game) while Ron Artest and Mike Bibby have been sidelined. He's also averaged 5.3 boards, 5.3 assists, and 1.5 steals in 39 minutes per game.
Upshot: He's been starting at SF while Artest has been serving his suspension, so obviously that will change. My money is on Salmons replacing Garcia as the team's PG once Artest is back, but both players will continue to be key rotation players for at least the next two months as Bibby recovers from his thumb injury.
Buzz Index – drops
Luis Scola (F – Houston) 13,289 drops
Scola hasn't exactly lived up to the preseason hype – he's at the end of the rotation through five games, averaging 3.4 points on 36 percent shooting and 4.6 boards in 18 minutes per game, with Chuck Hayes getting the starts at PF.
Lowdown: It appears that some people (myself included) over-estimated Scola's readiness to jump right in to the NBA game, despite his extensive international experience. With that said, Hayes' game is fairly one-dimensional (8.2 boards in 26 minutes per game, but just 3.6 points), so Scola is at worst a legit Watch List candidate as the season progresses.
Larry Hughes (G – Cleveland) 13,192 drops
Hughes started the season in poor fashion – averaging 7.3 points on 27 percent shooting in three games – before suffering a left knee bruise that has kept him out of the lineup for the past two games.
Lowdown: Hopefully this injury will allow fantasy owners to purge him from their lineups. At his best, Hughes is a fantasy asset, but his best came in one, and only one, season ('04-'05). With Daniel Gibson's emergence and Sasha Pavlovic's return to the team, there's no reason to count on Hughes for fantasy production in standard nine-category fantasy leagues.
Al Thornton (F – LA Clippers) 12,498 drops
Thornton hasn't seen as much playing time as was anticipated (19 minutes per game) and hasn't done as much with it as was hoped (7.3 points on 32 percent shooting).
Lowdown: It will be difficult for Thornton or Ruben Patterson to make much of an impact as long as Tim Thomas is playing 30-plus minutes and producing. There are better options out there at this point.
Walter Herrmann (F – Charlotte) 12,392 drops
Herrmann has been non-existent in four games this season, averaging 2 points on 15 percent shooting in 11 minutes per game.
Lowdown: Alrighty then. Herrmann appears to be the ninth man in the Bobcats' rotation at this point. Sadly, his impact may remain close to nil until an injury creates an opportunity, but we've seen what he can do when given the opportunity.
Quentin Richardson (GF – New York) 11,885 drops
Despite playing 29 minutes per game, Q-Rich has averaged just 4.3 points on 31 percent shooting and 2.7 boards in the Knicks' first three games.
Lowdown: He's seen his minutes decrease in three straight games while Renaldo Balkman's have increased. At this point, defensive-minded players like Balkman or David Lee seem like a much better fit for the starting lineup than the Richardson. It's not looking good for Q-Rich.
Eddy Curry Line Update
The Eddy Curry Line was originally established to put a spotlight on how truly anemic Curry's overall fantasy line is. The standard: a player must average more turnovers than assists, steals, and blocks combined – in order to qualify, a player must have appeared in at least half of his team's games and averaged at least 25 minutes of playing time.
EDDY CURRY LINE – BEST AND WORST (as of 11/8)
TOP 5 (Worst)
BOTTOM 5 (Best)
GP = games played
MPG = minutes played per game
POS = positive stats accumulated to-date (assists + steals + blocks)
NEG = turnovers to-date
RATIO = amount of positive stats per turnover