From James Anderson’s 36-point outburst to Tony Wroten’s 18-10-11 triple-double, Wednesday night was an all-out jamboree of unexpected box score action. And it has no doubt set off a wild flurry of transactions in a lot of fantasy leagues.
In the midst of all the thoughtful (and hasty) roster decisions going on right now, the management here at Roundball Stew would like to take a moment to remind you about Terrence Jones.
Warning signs of Jones’ potential first surfaced last April, when the No. 18 overall pick got some meaningful minutes, and posted more than a few dynamic lines. In chart form:
For the month, he averaged 8.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.1 steals, 1.9 blocks and 0.4 3s in eight games, enough to make Jones a name to file away heading into this season.
Now, he’s reminding us why. Getting big minutes for the first time this year, and starting for the first time in his brief NBA career on Wednesday, Jones has posted 8.5 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 3.5 bpg and 1.0 3s in his last two games (in an average of 35 minutes per night).
That’s obviously enough to warrant adding him in a lot of formats, but I do feel obligated to pass along a couple caveats:
1) Kevin McHale has said he’s “50-50” on his big lineup featuring Dwight Howard and Omer Asik (less minutes for Asik being one key factor in Jones playing more, and the phrase “50-50” suggesting that McHale could easily change his mind and go back to the big lineup).
2) The Rockets are 1-1 since Jones became a big part of the rotation, and lost to Philly on Wednesday – a game that probably didn’t please the aforementioned McHale.
Nevertheless, when you add up all the variables and caveats and cups of coffee I had while writing this, there’s more than enough reason to add Jones for a 3-5 game, no-risk money-back trial.
He’ll get his first chance to build on his momentum Thursday night when the Rockets take on the Knicks. And if he messes it up, I’m going to have to once again launch an investigation into the possibility of a Roundball Stew cover jinx.
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Some other basketball-related thoughts…
On Jordan Hill: As you’ve probably noticed, Hill has posted 19.5 ppg, 13.0 rpg, 1.5 spg and 2.0 bpg in his last two games (both starts). And I would have featured him first in this column, but given that he’s already owned in 29 percent of Yahoo leagues (as opposed to 9 percent for Terrence Jones), it looks like more people are aware of Hill’s presence already. In terms of opportunity, there’s a lot to like here, as his only real competition for minutes comes from a player (Chris Kaman) who probably could tear a hamstring while making an omelet. Meanwhile, in terms of scoring and rebounding, this is the most productive two-game stretch of Hill’s NBA career. That stat says a lot about Hill’s track record of inconsistency, but nevertheless, he’s clearly playing well enough right now to be added in most leagues.
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On Khris Middleton: I have a long-standing policy to never trust someone who spells the name Chris with a “K”. I’ve made an exception for Kris Kristofferson thanks to his performance in Blade, and after Wednesday evening, we may have to add Khris Middleton to the list. He posted a 19-8-4 line (with three steals and a trey) in 43 minutes Wednesday, getting extensive run due to the fact that Ersan Ilyasova (ankle), Zaza Pachulia (foot), Brandon Knight (hamstring) and Gary Neal (foot) did not play, while Caron Butler sustained a late shoulder injury. Bottom line: Middleton shouldn’t have much value when Milwaukee is at full strength, but Milwaukee may not be at full strength for a while.
On James Anderson: Unless you’re a unique combo of patient, stubborn and lazy (in other words, unless you’re my Cousin Eli), you probably didn’t have Anderson in your lineup last night. In his last four games before Wednesday, Anderson had scored a total of 36 points – the exact same amount he scored Wednesday night. I can understand adding him to see if this is the start of something good – he is, after all, averaging 34 minutes per game – but I wouldn’t hesitate to drop him if he goes back to being bad in his next game. Anderson has hit double figures in just three of nine games this year.
On Iman Shumpert: Just as I was getting ready to cut him in one of my main leagues on Wednesday, rumors surfaced of a possible trade to Denver. Then Shumpert went out and posted his most intriguing line of the year: five points, six rebounds, nine assists, four steals and a block against the Hawks in Atlanta (where Shumpert played college hoops). Shumpert has taken more than eight shots in a game just once all season, but could do much more if he wasn’t playing alongside Carmelo Anthony. In a perfect world, I’d patiently wait it out to see if these rumors have any legs. In the real world, if Shumpert has a bad game Thursday night, I will drop him to waivers immediately.
On Derrick Rose: This is not what you expected. This is not what I expected. It’s maddening. Frustrating. Disconcerting. But if you trade Rose out of frustration now, you’d be selling low, and selling low on a potential top-10/top-15 player is only going to diminish the value of your team. Try to focus on something else that’s happening on your roster, and if Rose is still struggling 10-15 games from now, worry about it then. My guess is he won’t be.
On Tim Duncan: Speaking of impatience, I can’t walk into a building that has wireless Internet these days without trying to grab the nearest computer and trade away Duncan. And that's exactly why I need to wait – because if I’m this annoyed with Duncan right now, everyone else in my leagues will be too. I’m all for trading him as soon as he strings together some nice games, because this start has been a legitimate cause for concern. Last year, Duncan missed just one out of the Spurs’ first 42 games – essentially half a season. This year, he has missed two out of nine games. Last year, he had just one single-digit scoring effort during November and December (32 games); this year, he already has three single-digit scoring outings in his first seven games. So yes, I’m worried that we could be looking a sudden and significant dropoff. But the wise move is to stay patient on Duncan for now, bluff as best you can that you’re not worried whatsoever, and then look to trade him as soon as you get a good chance.
On Anderson Varejao: If your league tends to place a premium on players who score a lot – and undervalues players who don’t – it's not a bad time to try trading for Varejao. Thanks to very few turnovers (1.2 per game) and a nice smattering of steals (1.6), blocks (0.8) and assists (2.6), he's the No. 65 player on Basketball Monster’s 9-category leaderboard, despite posting just 9.3 ppg and 6.7 rpg. And there’s room for improvement in both points and rebounds, even if he’s coming off the bench behind Andrew Bynum for now.
Other Random Thoughts: Timofey Mozgov has played two games since JaVale McGee was declared out indefinitely. One game was bad (10 points, five rebounds, five fouls in 19 minutes); the other was good (23 points, nine rebounds, four blocks on Wednesday night). This may be pulling an index card straight from the Obvious Files, but I’d expect a whole lot more inconsistency going forward. … Ricky Rubio’s last three games: 11.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 13.3 apg, 3.3 spg, 1.3 3s on 12-of-22 shooting. He’s a monster. … I’m not saying you have to sell high – and I do think he’ll maintain good value – but Wednesday’s 36-8-6 line certainly feels like a good time to test Arron Afflalo’s trade value. … No matter what else happens, I’m declaring this Steph Curry layup to be my favorite play of the week.