If you missed the Lakers/Celtics game on Sunday, then you need to take a look at this. The Lakers wore old-school shorts in the first half because they thought it would help in their salute to Jerry West, who they announced as an honorary team captain before the game. The shorts didn't exactly set a good tone for the game – the Lakers were outscored by nine in the first quarter of the 19-point loss. Derek Fisher probably won't make the NBA re-think its choice to go baggy. And nobody appears impressed with Trevor Ariza's look in this photo. Kobe's quote after the game was pure gold. "I don't know what it feels like to wear a thong, but I imagine it feels something like what we had on in the first half. I felt violated. I felt naked," said Bryant. Don't count on seeing the short shorts again any time soon. Oh yeah, and have a safe and happy New Year, and I'll type to you again in 2008.
WEEKEND UPDATE: Need-to-know info from the past few days
The news is only getting worse in regards to the deep bone bruise in Tracy McGrady's left knee. "They told me three weeks," T-Mac said on Sunday, after initially speculating that he'd need about a week off, and despite the fact that he's still listed as day-to-day by the Rockets. "I don't have a timetable … I'm just doing therapy every day. I lost the strength in my leg," added McGrady. He also said that he'd see how he felt towards the end of this week, but he already considers himself doubtful, at best, heading into this coming weekend. Fantasy owners should go on the assumption that he'll be out all of this week – he certainly isn't going to rush a return given his extensive history of nagging injuries. Bonzi Wells has started the past two games in McGrady's stead, averaging 11.5 points (on just 25 percent shooting), 7 boards, 3.5 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block in 32 minutes per game. Luther Head has also seen his role increase thanks to a gimpy T-Mac – in the past five games, Head has averaged 13.2 points, 3 treys, and 3.4 assists in 28 minutes per game. Both make good short-term plays, Wells for defensive stats and Head for an offensive boost.
The Jazz hoped to address some of their outside shooting woes when they traded Gordan Giricek and a future first-round pick to the 76ers in exchange for Kyle Korver. Korver gives the Jazz a perimeter threat that they have lacked in recent seasons – since the 2004-05 season, Korver has averaged 2.2 threes per game; during that time, the Jazz haven't had a perimeter player average more than 1.1 per game (Mehmet Okur averaged 1.6 per game last season). Despite currently being fifth in the league in team scoring (104.6), the Jazz are dead last in threes per game (3.7). How exactly Korver fits into the rotation has yet to be seen, however – there aren't a lot of extra minutes for the taking. He'll get all of Giricek's minutes (13 per game) in addition to dipping into what C.J. Miles (12 per game) and Ronnie Price (seven per game) have been seeing. How Ronnie Brewer is affected is of most interest to fantasy owners – Brewer is sure to be on the court when defense is needed, but he is likely to lose time to Korver when extra offense is called for, and should see his minutes dip slightly overall. Giricek's fantasy impact will remain unchanged – his value to Philly was as an expiring contract, and he won't be taking playing time away from youngsters like Willie Green, Louis Williams, or Rodney Carney.
Injury updates: Ron Artest has missed the past two games and is expected to be out at least another two weeks, as he's set to have a bone chip removed from his right elbow. Francisco Garcia will fill in for Artest and has averaged 18.5 points, 1.1 threes, and 1.4 steals in his eight starts on the season … Kevin Martin did some light drills late last week and is hoping to come back on the early side of the four-to-six week timetable from his December 4 groin injury, but still sees the value in "being cautious right now" … Manu Ginobili said that he "could have" played on Sunday, but deferred to Spurs coach Gregg Popovich for the decision. Manu does plan to be back in the lineup on Thursday, but Popovich said he won't make a decision until he sees how Ginobili does in Wednesday's practice … Andrei Kirilenko participated in Utah's shootaround on Monday and is planning on playing on Monday night. He said his strained right bicep tendon is "a little weak" but "feels okay" … Jamal Crawford said that his bruised right hand is getting better, and "hopefully" will be back in the lineup on Wednesday … Jamaal Tinsley has been shut down for at least a week, according to The Indianapolis Star, because of pain in his left hamstring. Andre Owens will start at PG while Tinsley sits … Rajon Rondo sat out on Sunday with a tight right hamstring, but the injury is not considered serious … Antonio Daniels said his knee "feels good" and he's likely to be back in the lineup for the Wizards on Wednesday … Mike Bibby is set to participate in his first practice in two months on Monday, and remains on track to return to the lineup on January 16.
Lineup changes/position battles: Ben Gordon is reprising his role as sixth man for the "new" Bulls, with good results after two games: Gordon averaged 28 points on 54 percent shooting and 2.5 threes in 33 minutes per game, both wins. Chris Duhon replaced Gordon in the starting five … David Lee has been in the Knicks' starting lineup for the past two games, because "he deserves more minutes out on the floor" and "not so much what Eddy Curry or Zach Randolph hasn't done," according to Knicks' coach Isaiah Thomas. After coming off of the bench for the first time in two seasons, Curry said "It definitely bugs me. I think I'm a starter in this league. But I guess not on this team." Stay tuned … Charlotte shook up their starting lineup in their most recent game, inserting Jeff McInnis at PG and bumping Nazr Mohammed to the bench. In giving reasons for the moves, Bobcats coach Sam Vincent called Raymond Felton "a combo guard who can play the point" and said that Emeka Okafor is not as comfortable playing defense outside of the post, so Gerald Wallace moves back to PF. Mohammed's value takes a hit, at least as long as the moves stick. "Until we find something that is wonderful, we have to keep tinkering to get there," said Vincent.
BARGAIN BIN: Top players available in 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues
Sean Williams (FC – New Jersey)
Williams continues to grow into his role as the Nets' starting PF. He's averaged 8.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 3 blocks in 28 minutes over the past six games, and his minutes would have been higher had he not also averaged 3.8 fouls per game. Get him on your bench if you've got the space, and take a flyer on him regardless if you need a boost in blocked shots.
Louis Williams (G – Philadelphia)
Williams is another young player who is worth grabbing on speculation at this point. The Kyle Korver trade should open up more playing time for Williams, who has posted per-30 minute averages of 14.1 points, 1.1 threes, 4.7 assists, and 1.2 steals thus far on the season. At the least, get this kid on your Watch List and pay close attention to NBA Rumors – if Andre Miller is dealt before the trade deadline this season, as it is widely speculated, then Williams would likely step in as the starter.
MARKET MOVERS: Charting player values
Hedo Turkoglu (GF – Orlando) – Turkoglu is simply on fire and contributing in every positive statistical category – over the past 11 games, the eighth-year pro has averaged 22.5 points on 49 percent shooting, 2.8 threes, 6.1 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.2 steals, and 0.6 blocks, while making 88 percent of 64 free throws. He's ranked 13th overall in per-game rank over the past month.
Jose Calderon (PG – Toronto) – While T.J. Ford's future remains in limbo, Calderon continues to deliver. Over the past eight games, the free-agent-to-be has averaged 14 points on 52 percent shooting, 1 three, 4.5 boards, 9.3 assists, and just 1.4 turnovers in 35 minutes per game.
David West (PF – New Orleans) – December has been a boon for West and his fantasy owners, particularly in terms of defensive stats. Over the past 11 games, he's averaged 19.6 points on 49 percent shooting, 10.6 boards, and 2 blocks per game.
Jason Richardson (GF – Charlotte) – While the Bobcats continue to flounder as a team, Richardson's shot has been falling with regularity. Over the past six games, he's averaged 26.2 points on 50 percent shooting and 4 threes, while the team has lost four of six.
Mo Williams (PG – Milwaukee) – Williams' numbers have been steadily climbing as the season has progressed, and over the past seven games he's averaged 19.9 points on 46 percent shooting, 1.9 threes, 4.6 boards, 8 assists, and 1.7 steals.
Shane Battier (F – Houston) – Battier is in the midst of one of his underrated stat-stuffing streaks – he's averaged 11.6 points, 2.7 threes, 5.3 boards, 1.1 steals, and 1.6 blocks over the past seven games.
Jameer Nelson (PG – Orlando) – In nine games before suffering a back injury on December 28, Nelson averaged 8.8 points on 42 percent shooting, 0.3 threes, and 0.7 steals in 30 minutes per game. Nelson had been playing poorly enough that Magic coach Stan Van Gundy intimated before his injury that he could be replaced in the starting lineup.
Rashard Lewis (F – Orlando) – Lewis has been regressing in terms of fantasy impact to the point where threes are the only thing in his line that really stands out. Over the past ten games, he's averaged 16.3 points on 40 percent shooting, 2.6 threes, 5.8 boards, and 1.1 steals in 39 minutes per game.
Jason Terry (G – Dallas) – A return to the bench has not been kind to Terry's numbers – in his past six games, all as a reserve, he's averaged 10 points on 32 percent shooting in 27 minutes per game.
Andres Nocioni (F – Chicago) – The roller coaster ride that is Nocioni's productivity is in a sizeable dip right now – he's averaged just 6.5 points on 23 percent shooting in 20 minutes over the past seven games.
Yahoo! Friends and Family League Update
The top four – the Fantasy Basketball Caf's two reps, Team Pianowski, and myself – remained unchanged for another week. My inclusion in the top group is likely to change in the coming weeks, as I'm now without the services of Kevin Martin, Tracy McGrady, and Ron Artest. This week's transactions included Anthony Parker, Earl Barron, Luis Scola, DeShawn Stevenson, Bonzi Wells, and Mike Conley, among others.