The Clippers curse struck again this week, with Chauncey Billups going down for the season with a torn ACL. Billups vows his career is not over, but he won't be back in 2011-12.
It's a good thing the Clippers were the deepest team in the league at that point. Mo Williams, a former all-star and Randy Foye, finally finding his game this season after a disappointing start to his career, can play at either guard spot and will each see time either alongside or in place of Chris Paul.
L.A. also has a secret weapon at the point. Young Eric Bledsoe. The sophomore showed a lot last season, but has missed all but one game so far this year. Bledsoe averaged 8.9 points, 5.9 assists and 1.2 steals in 25 starts as a rookie and will be thrown into the mix for the Clippers.
Either he or Williams could be strong additions, but we are wary about Foye, who has many faults as a fantasy player.
The New York Knicks are a complete mess. Carmelo Anthony will miss a week or two and was under-performing when he was in the lineup due to assorted ailments.
Baron Davis still hasn't been healthy enough to debut for the club and Amare Stoudemire has had personal and injury issues. Jeremy Lin has taken advantage of an opportunity and notched 25 and 28 points in two appearances, along with 15 assists. Lin will come back to earth and the nine turnovers are a concern, but he could be worth riding for a while.
Former North Carolina Tar Heel Danny Green has been a pleasant surprise for the Spurs, along with rookie Kawhi Leonard.
Green has averaged 7.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 0.9 blocks.
Don't expect that to continue, however, as Manu Ginobili is a week away from rejoining the Spurs, according to head coach Gregg Popovich. Green, Leonard and Gary Neal will lose minutes when Manu returns.
Charlotte has decided to run with raw rookie Bismack Biyombo and expects to get Corey Maggette back soon. That means less playing time for the likes of Boris Diaw, Byron Mullens, Derrick Brown and D.J White. It will be interesting to see what Charlotte does when Gerald Henderson and Maggette are healthy, along with Reggie Williams.
Keep an eye on the Wolves, who have become a good team for fantasy players thanks to the looks Ricky Rubio creates. Playing at his natural spot due to
Kevin Love's suspension, No. 2 overall selection Derrick Williams has shown what he can do. Williams is not a SF and the team might have to move him at some point since he really should be starting elsewhere, but his numbers should jump with increased time at power forward. Meanwhile, Nikola Pekovic has been a revelation in the middle.
Rajon Rondo is back in Boston and he's returned with a flourish. Though he still isn't scoring much, Rondo is setting up his teammates and has 35 assists in three games, along with just 10 turnovers. On Tuesday against Charlotte, Rondo notched 14 assists and 0 turnovers.
Congratulations go out to Michael Redd and those who patiently waited for the former all-star to get healthy. It took several years, but Redd looks to be the latest athlete rejuvenated by the miracle workers in Phoenix. Redd went for 17, 10 and 14 points in three recent appearances, nailing five threes. Redd's not going to turn into Grant Hill 2.0 -- nobody saw Hill's revival with the Suns coming -- but he looks like a serviceable pickup.
HOT AND NOT
Surprises and disappointments (over the last two weeks)
Paul George, G/F, IND
8 GP, 15.8 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 2.0 SPG, 0.9 BPG, .512 FG%
Anthony Morrow, G, NJ
6 GP, 22.2 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 3.5 3PM, 3.7 FTM
Anderson Varejao, F/C, CLE
7 GP, 13.1 PPG, 13.9 RPG, 1.1 SPG, .548 FG%
Marcus Camby, C, POR
7 GP, 4.0 PPG, 12.4 RPG, 2.6 BPG, 3.0 APG, 1.3 SPG
Josh Smith, F, ATL
7 GP, 11.9 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 2.4 BPG, .378 FG%
Lamar Odom, F, LAL
6 GP, 8.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 0.7 3PM, .327 FG%
Chuck Hayes, F/C, SAC
6 GP, 1.2 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 0.7 APG, .188 FG%
LIVING AT THE LINE
No points come easier than those earned at the free throw line. Here are the
12 players who get to the stripe at least five times a game:
Kevin Love (7.3 attempts); LeBron James (7.3); Kobe Bryant (6.5)
Carmelo Anthony (6.1); Dwight Howard (5.8); Kevin Durant (5.8)
Dwyane Wade (5.6); James Harden (5.6); Andrea Bargnani (5.4)
Danilo Gallinari (5.2); John Wall (5.0); Derrick Rose (5.0).
TRAINER'S ROOM TICKER/INJURY UPDATES
Luol Deng made a quick return to Chicago's lineup, which is great news for Deng owners, but Derrick Rose is a little banged up and is being rested at times ... Cleveland should get a boost with the returns of Tristan Thompson,
Anthony Parker and Daniel Gibson this week ... Denver lost potential all-star Danillo Galinari long-term which is a major blow, but should get Arron Afflalo and Nene back as early as Wednesday night ... Wolves C Darko
Milicic should return this week, but his value is non-existent now that
Nikola Pekovic has emerged as the man in the middle ... With Jarrett Jack banged up, Greivis Vasquez has received more playing time and produced ...
Knicks star Carmelo Anthony will miss a couple of weeks ... Baron Davis has taken longer than expected to debut for New York, but should be ready shortly ... Toronto F/C Andrea Bargnani is still a ways off from making a return ... Philadelphia should get Elton Brand back any day now, but Spencer Hawes is back on the shelf.
With fantasy rating out of 5
The awful Bobcats are letting the rookie play, throwing him into the fire before he is ready. But Biyombo has shown flashes of a future as a great shot blocker and rebounder. He has two four block games and one five block effort this season and has averaged seven points, seven rebounds and a block in his past two appearances -- both starts.
Pekovic has taken Darko Milic's job and it doesn't look like he will be giving it back. The big man has gone off as a starter, averaging 13.8 points, 9.0 rebounds and 0.8 blocks and steals in five starts..
Grab him now before he gets back. The sophomore has been injured for all but a minute this season, but contributed in the assist, steal and points categories last year. He will get playing time now that Chauncey Billups is lost for the season.
If you need threes, Cook is your guy. The Thunder sniper hit five-of-six on Tuesday and has fired in 11 over his past three games. He doesn't do much else, but he'll get you two treys a night.
Maggette is set to return shortly from a strained hamstring and Charlotte needs his scoring. Few get to the line as often, so if that is a category in your league, Maggette will give you a sizable boost.