All of the Jeremy Lin-sanity has caused many people to lose sight of the fact that there are 29 other NBA teams besides the New York Knicks and hundreds of other players besides Lin to keep a fantasy eye on.
Many players are starring at the moment, just nobody quite as impressively as Lin. As well, a couple of usually strong performers are poised to make returns in the near future.
* Toronto PG Jose Calderon, New Orleans C Chris Kaman, Warriors rookie G Klay Thompson and Minnesota C Nikola Pekovic belong in the surprising stalwart category. Calderon is finally taking advantage of his scoring talents and filling it up for the Raptors, while still piling up assists.
Kaman sat out for a while, as the Hornets tried to trade him, but he’s back with a bang, putting up a 27-point, 13-rebound performance his past two games.
Pekovic has taken over in the middle for Darko Milicic in Minnesota and played great, while Thompson is emerging as an all-rookie first team contender. Thompson has hit nine three pointers over his past three contests, is routinely hitting double figures in scoring and also chips in on the boards and in the steals department.
* Kaman’s re-emergence has been a bit of a surprise, but nothing about the Hornets should probably be too shocking at this point. Injuries to Emeka Okafor and Carl Landry allowed Kaman to reclaim his minutes. Gustavo Ayon is also taking advantage of the injuries up front.
Now Eric Gordon is out for at least another six weeks so Marco Belinelli will be allowed to continue to fire away. With Jarrett Jack also hobbling, former Bob Cousy award winner Greivis Vasquez has stepped up. Jack should return in a week or so, Landry is probably out until March and Okafor’s status is up in the air. Another productive Hornet, F Jason Smith, is recovering from a concussion.
* In Cleveland, Anderson Varejao’s injury has opened the door for Tristan Thompson, Samardo Samuels and Semih Erdin to fight for extended playing time. With Kyrie Irving returning, Ramon Sessions’ numbers should slip.
* From Yahoo!: DeAndre Jordan’s numbers before Kenyon Martin joined the Clippers: 32 MPG, 9.1 PPG, 66% FG, 10.3 RPG, 2.7 BPG.
Since: Only 22 MPG, 5.3 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.5 BPG. As Yahoo! points out, L.A. is just 6-6 when Jordan plays under 30 minutes, but 11-3 when he plays more than that. Sometimes Vinny Del Negro makes some interesting decisions. He needs to free Jordan. Either way, this is bad news for our friend Reggie Evans as with Blake Griffin around, there are only so many minutes to go around up front.
* Weird stat from @NBAfantasy: Before Wednesday’s game, Boston’s Rajon Rondo was averaging just 6.2 PPG, 3.8 RPG and shooting 35.1% in his previous five games against Detroit. Who knew Rodney Stuckey was that effective defensively?
* J.R. Smith should be returning to the NBA soon, and a couple of players are returning from injuries imminently and should have an impact on the fantasy scene. They are:
Brook Lopez, who has been going all out at practice and could be back next week. Sophomore rebounding issues aside, Lopez is a difference-making centre and there aren’t too many of those guys around. He’s going to provide some lucky owners a big boost. On the flipside, Kris Humphries (along with guys like Johan Petro and Shelden Williams) are going to drop in production due to the re-emergence of Lopez in the middle.
In Charlotte, PG D.J. Augustin has made it back faster than expected and was aiming to try to play on Wednesday. The Bobcats look awful so an Augustin-Kemba Walker backcourt can’t make them any worse and it would make watching them less unpleasant. There are still some logjams there with Reggie Williams, Walker, Corey Maggette, Gerald Henderson (when he’s healthy) and Derrick Brown fighting for minutes. Plus Tyrus Thomas, Boris Diaw, D.J. White, Bismack Biyombo and Byron Mullens are trying to get court time up front.
* Have to think Manu Ginobili will find his game soon. Don’t be alarmed by the poor numbers since his return. Also think Kawhi Leonard will replace Danny Green in the starting lineup ... Have you noticed what Michael Redd is doing? Back after what seems like a three-year injury absence, he’s now starting in Phoenix and put up 20 points and six rebounds minus Steve Nash the other day. That’s a nice story ... Quietly, Metta World Peace is looking half-decent again for the Lakers.
TRAINER’S ROOM TICKER/INJURY UPDATES
Hornets star guard Eric Gordon will miss at least another six weeks after further knee surgery ... The news is better for Cavs PG Kyrie Irving, who returned after missing three games on Wednesday night ... Blazers F/C LaMarcus Aldridge is day-to-day after spraining his ankle ... Celtics F Kevin Garnett and G/F Mickael Pietrus were expected to play against Pistons on Wednesday. Jermaine O’Neal was probable as well ... Bobcats PG D.J. Augustin is back with the team after a long absence and was probable to make his return on Wednesday against Minnesota ... Fellow Cat G Gerald Henderson will be back either this week or next ... Chicago should get its starting backcourt of Derrick Rose and Rip Hamilton back soon, though both will likely be rested a lot as the season progresses to keep them healthy for the playoffs ... Raptors G Jerryd Bayless remains day-to-day with ankle troubles which have bothered him repeatedly over the years. Andrea Bargnani remains week-to-week ... Nets C Brook Lopez will be able to make his season debut soon ... The Knicks expect Carmelo Anthony back on Friday, or the weekend at the latest.
(With fantasy rating out of 5)
Has really stepped up with Andrea Bargnani out. In 7 games this month, Kleiza has averaged 16.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2 threes per game. Bargnani won’t be back anytime soon, so grab Kleiza if you can.
The Bulls will be careful with Derrick Rose all season, so Watson is going to get a lot of playing time and many starts. Though he’s struggling from the field of late, Watson will still get you points, assists, threes and steals.
With Anderson Varejao out for weeks, the Canadian, along with Samardo Samuels and Semih Erden, will get more playing time. Has 21 boards and 5 blocks over his past two games, but hurts you in other categories (free throw percentage, field goal percentage).
Smith says he’ll back in the States soon, the Lakers are chasing him. He’s inconsistent, but a scoring and three-point making machine. You might have to wait a week or two on him, but he’ll help you later.
John Salmons is stinking it up, but continues to start due to his defence. However, Greene has been far better offensively and should take many of his minutes going forward.
This wasn’t the greatest rookie class ever, but several freshmen have been solid fantasy performers so far:
Kyrie Irving, Cle – 18 PPG, 5.1 APG, 1.1 3PM; MarShon Brooks, NJ – 14 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 2.4 3PM
Iman Shumpert, NY – 10.6 PPG, 2.2 SPG, 3.4 APG; Kawhi Leonard, SAN – 7 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 1.2 SPG
Klay Thompson, GS – 7.6 PPG, 1.5 3PM, 1.3 APG; Markieff Morris, PHO – 7.9 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 0.9 3PM
HOT AND NOT
(Surprises and disappointments over the last two weeks)
Stephen Curry, G, GS
6 GP, 19.2 PPG, 8 APG, 4.7 RPG, 2.7 3PM
Nic Batum, G/F, POR
6 GP, 18.3 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 2.2 SPG, 2.7 3PM
Tim Duncan, F/C, SA
7 GP, 17.6 PPG, 11.7 RPG, 2.3 BPG, 1.4 SPG
Jason Richardson, G/F, ORL
7 GP, 18.1 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 3.7 3PM, 1.3 SPG
Kevin Martin, G, HOU
8 GP, 11.1 PPG, 2.5 APG, 0.5 SPG, .373 FG%
Chris Bosh, F, MIA
9 GP, 13.2 PPG, 9 RPG, 0.7 BPG, .406 FG%
Tyrus Thomas, F, CHA
6 GP, 5 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 0.5 SPG, 1.2 BPG, .308