NBA Skinny: Rose-Colored Deal

1st Chair: Marko Jaric
2nd Chair: Marcus Banks
Skinny: Minnesota coach Dwane Casey has openly questioned Jaric's "hustle, his passion, his scrap" recently, and has pointed out that there are players in the wings that are "dying for playing time." In particular, he said that Jaric needed to pick up his game if Banks "continues to play well." Troy Hudson's injury has opened a door for Banks – over the past four games he's averaged 28.5 minutes to Jaric's 17.5. If the current trend continues, Banks could be looking at the starter's role sooner than later.
1st Chair: Kenny Thomas
2nd Chair: Shareef Abdur-Rahim
Skinny: Abdur-Rahim has been starting at center with Brad Miller sidelined with a thumb injury. He's been reasonably productive, but the question remains as to who will start at power forward once Miller returns to the lineup. Thomas' fantasy value holds in the balance – as a reserve this season, Thomas has averaged 5.9 points and 3.8 rebounds compared to 12.7 points and 9.8 rebounds as a starter. Abdur-Rahim is still not 100 percent back from his injury – he's still about 15 pounds underweight according to The Sacramento Bee, thanks to his all-liquid diet – but he's averaged more than 30 minutes over the past three games and is scheduled to have the wires removed from his jaw this week.
1st Chair: Andrew Bogut
2nd Chair: Joe Smith
Skinny: Smith may be a little ways away from challenging Bogut for major playing time, but he is a coach Terry Stotts favorite and will be a major part of the rotation if and when his knee can handle the work. "How the rotation works itself out, I don't know," said Stotts. Bogut owners should definitely take note – Smith's impact may be nominal at first, but he could eventually start eating into Bogut's minutes and his production as a result. Smith played just over 11 minutes, scored three points, and grabbed five boards in his first game back on Saturday.

With just over three weeks left until the trading deadline, we still should see some more deals coming down the pike before it is all said and done. Steve Francis, Earl Watson, Reggie Evans, Voshon Lenard, and J.R. Smith are among players who could be dealt, some of whose fantasy fortunes could take a major upturn in value with a change of scenery – make sure to be aware of who is on your league's free agent list, as a trade could instantly make some of them valuable commodities. And one more thing, although slightly off-topic, congratulations to the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers!

WEEKEND UPDATE: Need-to-know info from the past few days

  • Carlos Boozer is owned in 77 percent of Yahoo! leagues, and now might be a good time to snatch him up in the remaining 23 percent. Boozer plans on taking part in Jazz practices on Wednesday and Thursday of this week, and if all goes well, he may his first game action of the season during the weekend's games according to The Salt Lake Tribune. While his toughness may have been questioned over the past year, his ability to score inside and rebound cannot be – Boozer averaged 17.8 points on 52 percent shooting and 9.0 rebounds before missing the season's last 31 games with a foot injury, and has missed all of Utah's 48 games to date with a hamstring injury that he been re-aggravated on three occasions. If you have a bench spot and Boozer is available in your league, you'd be wise to snatch him up. He will be eased back into the rotation when he is able to return, but the Jazz are more than ready for him to get back onto the court and contribute.
  • Jalen Rose was dealt to the Knicks for Antonio Davis and a first-round pick on Saturday. The trade won't send any shock-waves through the fantasy world, but the deal should guarantee Rose a steady gig for the rest of the season and adequate numbers for his fantasy owners. Knicks coach Larry Brown said that Rose is the type of player that the young Knicks need "in the backcourt, or a perimeter player that knows how to play. He can share the ball and thinks the game. He's at a time in his career where he has been a small forward. I think it's a no-brainer in terms of the contribution he can make to our club." If Brown employs him in somewhat of a point-forward role – he had 11 assists in his first game as a Knick – Rose should be a pretty safe bet for 15 points, 3-plus rebounds, and 4-plus assists from here on out. His short-term value could also be amplified depending on Stephon Marbury's status.
  • Speaking of Marbury, the New York Post is reporting that Larry Brown would like to shut him and his injured shoulder down through the All-Star break. The Knicks have six games remaining before the February 16-21 break. Brown said that while it is his preference to have Marbury sit out, giving him a full three weeks to recover, he will ultimately leave the decision to Marbury himself. The injury has been limiting to his game, as Brown pointed out. "He's not aggressive at all. You can really tell the difference because he was playing at such a high level before that." In five games that he's played with the injury, he's averaged 12.8 points on 44 percent shooting and 6.2 assists. Rose started his first game as a Knick, along with Jamal Crawford and Quentin Richardson, essentially playing point guard. This lineup would likely continue until a Marbury return, unless Isaiah Thomas pulls off another trade and brings in a point guard – according to an unnamed Knicks player, "He's constantly working the phone," and "Something's definitely going to happen."

BARGAIN BIN: Top players available in 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues

  • Danny Granger (F, Indiana)
    Granger isn't starting for the Pacers, but should see plenty of playing time with Jermaine O'Neal out for at least the majority of the remainder of the regular season. His averages over the past five games – 14.2 points, 1.4 threes, 10.4 boards, and 0.8 blocks – have been good enough for a spot in any fantasy lineup.

MARKET MOVERS: Charting player values

Steve Francis (G, Orlando) – The loss of Jameer Nelson has been a boon for Francis – in his past seven games, he has averaged 21.9 points on 51 percent shooting, 7.6 assists, and 5.7 boards.

Ben Gordon (G, Chicago) – Gordon has taken a liking to his current stint as a starter – he scored a career-high 39 points and made 9 threes on Saturday, and over his past five games he's averaged 23.6 points, 3.8 threes, 5.4 rebounds, and 3.2 assists.

Sam Cassell (PG, LA Clippers) – The Clippers have won eight of nine, and Cassell has been a major contributor – during the run he's put up 22.0 points on 50 percent shooting, 1.9 threes, and 6.6 assists.

Antawn Jamison (F, Washington) – Jamison is on quite a roll – he scored 20 or more points in 10 of 11 games and averaged 23.4 points on 48 percent shooting, 2.6 threes, and 11.0 rebounds during that time.

Pau Gasol (FC, Memphis) – Gasol has posted four straight double-doubles and over his past six games he's averaged 24.5 points and 10.7 boards, and has made 54 of 63 free throws (86 percent).

Robert Swift (C, Seattle) – Swift appears to have the starting job locked down – since taking over for Johan Petro eight games ago, Swift has averaged 9.8 points on 58 percent shooting, 8.6 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks in just over 30 minutes of playing time.

Channing Frye (FC, New York) – Frye has been struggling of late – in his past seven games he's averaged 9.4 points on 37 percent shooting and 4.1 boards.

Marko Jaric (PG, Minnesota) – Jaric's minutes and numbers have made a sharp decline since the Wally Szczerbiak trade netted the team Marcus Banks – in his past four games he's averaged 3.0 points and 1.8 assists.

Qyntel Woods (GF, New York) – Woods had a nice run over the past few weeks, but the trade for Rose effectively ends his chances to continue having any fantasy relevance.

Number of the Week
357 – The number of days since Carlos Boozer last played in a game for the Jazz, which came on February 14, 2005. Boozer has missed 79 of 130 games since joining the team.

Yahoo! Friends and Family League Update
Y! – Buser is just ahead of TMR and Y! – Funston in the standings as of Monday. Jalen Rose, Bonzi Wells, Corey Maggette, and Charlie Villanueva were among the players involved in the week's transactions.

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