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Matt Stroup

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Green Machine

Friday, November 21, 2014


Some weeks this column has a cohesive theme holding it together, other weeks it is a bunch of random (but hopefully useful) bullet points thrown onto the page. This week, as you may have already guessed, it’s the latter. So without further ado, let’s start hurling around some observations:

It took a while – six-plus years, specifically – but Jeff Green, fantasy dynamo, has finally arrived. The potential (and pretty good production) has been there for Green for a long time – including a standout 15.1 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.3 spg, 0.9 bpg and 1.3 3s in 2009-10, and 16.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 0.7 spg, 0.6 bpg and 1.6 3s last season – but he still hasn’t quite put together a stat line to match his obvious upside. Until now. Even in the midst of a shooting slump (2-of-19 on 3s in his last four games), Green is averaging a career-high 19.0 ppg, along with 5.2 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.1 spg, 0.8 bpg and a career-best 1.7 3s, unleashing all sorts of nasty highlights in the process. As I said, Green has always had the ability and the versatility to be contributing across the board consistently, so I don’t consider it a fluke that he’s finally doing it at age 28, and I expect him to continue offering up a nice combo of points, steals, blocks and 3s all season long.

Meanwhile, this looks like a solid time to buy low on Victor Oladipo. Sometimes the best opportunity to acquire an injured player isn’t right before he comes back – when optimism is at its highest – but instead, directly after, when he’s still rusty and hasn’t yet taken off. That’s certainly the case for Oladipo, who looks every bit as explosive as he did last season, but has started slowly as he comes back from a fractured face (12.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 4.0 apg, 0.5 spg, 0.5 3s, 34.8 percent from the field). With Oladipo coming off an ugly 7-4-4 line Wednesday (on 3-of-13 shooting), now is the time to see if the fantasy owner who drafted him is getting a little bit impatient.

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Also high on the buy-low list: Andre Drummond. I had Drummond as a must-draft player heading into the season, but apparently I underestimated the impact of Stan Van Gundy arriving in Detroit. The Van Gundy regime briefly appeared to wreck, then suddenly rejuvenated Brandon Jennings (4.0 ppg his first two games, 19.1 ppg since), and so far the adjustment has been a slow one for Drummond, who closed last season with 18.4 ppg, 17.4 rpg, 1.4 spg and 1.1 bpg in his final eight games, but has put up 8.3 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 0.4 spg and 1.6 bpg on 39.4 percent shooting so far this year.

However, that last stat, in my opinion, is actually the best news here. Despite four fewer minutes per game this season (32 -> 28), along with some foul trouble, Drummond is getting almost the exact same number of shots he got last year (9.5 -> 9.1). Once many more of those shots start to fall (Drummond shot 62.3 percent last season), his scoring should get back to where it was, and I would imagine his rebounds and steals won’t be far behind. Yes, Drummond has been a disappointment, but as disappointments go he’s not useless, and is still the same athletic freak we saw posting monster numbers last year. I expect him to get it going, and eventually go on a big run, and with that in mind, the time to win a trade with an antsy fantasy owner is right now.

It’s been an odd but encouraging start for Giannis Antetokounmpo. If you had told me before the season that in late November, Antetokounmpo’s numbers would look like this…

12.3 ppg, 6.1 rpg, ,0.5 spg, 0.6 spg, 0.2 3s

I would have told you to revise that prediction. After all, if there was one thing I was worried about with Antetokounmpo coming into the season, it was his scoring – definitely not his defense. So to see him having nearly doubled his 6.8 ppg from last season, including 15.5 ppg his last six games, is hugely encouraging. Meanwhile, the fact that he has posted just 0.5 spg and 0.6 bpg (down from 0.8 spg, 0.8 bpg last season) is a little bit disappointing. But along those lines, Antetokounmpo has already picked things up in the steals department (1.5 spg his last four games), and given his size and the defensive ability he’s already shown (0.8 bpg last season, 1.3 bpg in the preseason), it seems inevitable that blocks will soon follow. Bottom line: His stat line isn’t what I would guess many of us expected, but it should level off into something we can all be happy with pretty soon.

Lastly, I hope you gave Trey Burke a second (or third, or fourth) chance. After driving us all berserk with some ugly early-season lines (9.1 ppg, 4.4 apg, 30.2 percent from the field, way too many bricked wide-open 3s over his first eight games), Burke has turned things around in his last four: 13.3 ppg, 8.3 apg, 1.0 spg, 1.8 3s. His field goal shooting still stinks – and will likely continue to stink, because he’s not that good around the rim – so beware of the potential damage he’s doing there, especially in a Roto league, where every miss has a season-long impact. But with his previously broken 3-point stroke coming around (6-of-13 the last three games), Burke is once again looking pretty useful if you can stomach the poor shooting.

Other Random Thoughts: We discussed Oladipo and Drummond as possible buy-low considerations, and along those lines, I’d check in on Nicolas Batum as well. In addition to being injured recently, he’s been an early-season disappointment in terms of scoring (9.0 ppg, 36.7 percent from the field). But despite all that, his supporting numbers still look excellent (7.7 rpg, 5.7 apg, 1.0 spg, 0.9 bpg and 1.4 3s), so it’s worth floating an offer. … Tony Wroten has remained pretty productive since Michael Carter-Williams returned (14.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 5.0 apg, 0.8 spg, 1.3 3s in four games), but he’s also quietly been brutal on the percentages (42.0 percent from the field, 62.0 percent from the line – on 7.2 FT attempts). If you drafted Carter-Williams and paired him with Wroten as insurance, you may have no choice but to make a trade. Throwing one percentage is one thing, but throwing both is hard to come back from. … Speaking of bad percentages, I’m at a point where I barely think Chris Copeland’s points (13.5) and 3s (2.3) are worth it. When you add in rotten shooting (37.1 from the field, 65.4 from the line), and weak defensive stats (0.3 spg, 0.3 bpg), this is a tough player to have on a roster. I’m not saying you drop him outright, because that’s still a lot of 3s, but I’d actively be trying to include his high-volume 3-point shooting as part of a larger trade that helps your squad.

Throwback Box Score of the Week

Right around this time of year 14 years ago (Dec. 2, 2000), Tracy McGrady unloaded his first career 40-point game against the Nets (40 points, 10 boards, five assists, three steals, three blocks and sorry – no 3s). In the same game, noted fantasy wild card Bo Outlaw had five points, 11 boards, three assists, two steals and three blocks for the Magic. That was T-Mac’s first season with Orlando, and he went on to average 26.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 4.6 apg, 1.5 spg, 1.5 bpg and 0.8 3s, the start of a seven-year run that would see him average 26.9 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 5.9 apg, 1.5 spg, 0.9 bpg and 1.7 3s. Related: He was good.

In Closing…

Plays like this make me think Jeff Teague should probably not shoot quite so many floaters.



Matt Stroup has covered basketball for Rotoworld since 2008. You can find him on Twitter here .
Email :Matt Stroup



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