Aaron Bruski

Basketball Daily Dose

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Dose: Saint D.J. Augustin

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


Last night was a tough night for hoops, though the Jazz took it to the Blazers before finally giving way late.  Beyond that the games weren’t compelling and featured a lot of teams with significant problems that make them hard to watch. 

 

But you guys know what that means.  We’ll probably be in for one of those mind-blowing Big Wednesdays, longing for the calm sanctity of a Tepid Tuesday. 

 

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Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $600,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Wednesday's NBA games. It's $25 to join and first prize is $50,000. Starts at 7pm ET on Wednesday. Here's the FanDuel link.

 

 

THE BIG NUMBERS



NAMEP3RASBTOFG%NOTES
DJ Augustin 25 2 4 13 1 0 0 57.1% 2nd to 3rd round value over last two weeks.
DeMarcus Cousins 26 0 11 4 3 4 3 47.6% Mt. Cousins to erupt dealing with dumpster fire?
Hollis Thompson 23 4 3 3 1 2 1 66.7% It was Christmas in Hollis last night.
Avery Bradley 26 3 1 4 1 0 1 78.6% One of the more unexpected lines of the night.
Ben McLemore 18 4 2 2 3 0 1 66.7% Kings Big 3 not getting him the ball enough.
Stephen Curry 23 2 5 9 3 0 2 40.0% Quietest 23 and nine you'll see all year.
Chris Bosh 34 3 3 2 1 0 2 60.9% Owners should worry about MIA's lost season.
Wesley Matthews 21 3 3 2 3 0 3 60.0% A solid top 40-50 play on most nights.
Gordon Hayward 27 3 5 5 1 1 1 62.5% Red-hot again. A top 10-20 play this past month.
Leandro Barbosa 12 2 3 5 3 0 0 44.4% It was definitely Barbage Time last night vs. SAC
Wilson Chandler 19 5 6 2 1 0 0 46.7% Speaking of dumpster fires, Denver is in flames.
Damian Lillard 25 0 4 6 2 0 1 58.8% We talk All Star snubs here, Dame dunking here.

 

 

 

BUSTED



NAMEP3RASBTOFG%NOTES
Arron Afflalo 14 2 2 1 1 0 4 33.3% No room for inefficiencies like these.
Mario Chalmers 1 0 2 5 0 0 0 0.0% Wario showed up, I'm still holding on.
Kenneth Faried 0 0 5 0 1 0 1 0.0% Shaw, players are openly fighting via the press.
Evan Turner 5 0 8 5 0 0 5 20.0% These are the nights that kill Turner.

 

 

INJURIES

 

Kevin Durant’s toe injury is coming at the worst time for the Thunder, as they need to keep their coach off the hot seat before the playoffs start so the flames aren’t engulfing the building during the first round – if they make it there of course.  I still think they'll make it but I wouldn't bet my dog on it until I see a plan for the future emerge.  They need to trade Reggie Jackson and Dion Waiters needs to prove he can be somewhat consistent.  Durant is doubtful for tonight’s game against the Pelicans, robbing us of an-all freak show battle of KD vs. Anthony Davis

 

As for Brow, he recovered from his groin injury and played well on Monday.  I talked with Bourbon Street Shots writer Mike Pellissier about Davis and the Pelicans, and he has all sorts of good insights on getting Davis the ball, the play of Eric Gordon and whether Monty Williams should be their coach of the future. 

 

Jordan Hill was diagnosed with a Grade 1 hip flexor strain and he’s expected to be sidelined for two weeks.  The question in the back of most folks’ minds has been whether or not he could handle all of the minutes that Byron Scott was giving him, and this could be an indication that he’s about to revert to prior form.  Unfortunately there aren’t any blue chip pickups here. 

 

Ed Davis would be fantasy owners’ choice if they could pick the beneficiaries, but Scott is getting more stubborn with each passing day and he hasn’t been high on Davis at all this year.  Tarik Black is more of a Scott guy and he’ll step into some minutes here, and Robert Sacre will mop up the rest at center.  From there it’ll be the usual split of Davis and Carlos Boozer on any given night, with plenty of fantasy carnage to go around.  If Scott wasn’t a former Lakers star, I don’t think there is any way that he gets away with the coach-by-narrative stuff he has been pulling.  But he is a Lakers star, so it could be a long year for owners trying to keep up with a devolving situation. 

 

Michael Carter-Williams made it through 34 minutes of action last night, playing through shin and ankle injuries that he said were limiting his explosion and lift.  His numbers were inefficient but great with 15 points (4-of-12 FGs, 6-of-10 FTs), eight rebounds, 12 assists, two steals, one block and one three, making this an interesting sell-high moment if the shin and ankle stories go away.  He’s proving to be a little bit brittle at this early stage of his career, and despite the lack of point guard depth in Philly they’re still not about to push him through any noteworthy injury this year.  And because Tony Wroten is out for the year, owners will want to watch and see how Larry Drew does as their only backup at the point. 

 

Kyle Lowry downplayed his hamstring injury and he’s trending toward probable for tonight’s game against the Nets.

 

J.J. Redick is out with a back injury and his recent history with mid-body injuries is worrisome here.  He lost much of last year to ‘noodle leg’ and the bottom line is that Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes will be maxed out in their respective roles.  The Clippers desperately need to acquire a wing. 

 

For more injury news check out our injury page.

 

WELCOME BACK

 

Robin Lopez – agitator of mascots, master of karate and friendship – got back on the floor after a month and a half off due to his broken right hand.  He logged 25 minutes and went for 11 and six with two blocks in a standard statistical outing for the big man.  He should be owned in all formats and it seems like he’s ready to hit the ground running.  The rest of the rag-tag crew of Chris Kaman (zero points, five boards, one block) and the other bigs can be cut loose in 12-team formats and beyond.

 

Luol Deng returned to action after a three-game absence due to a calf injury, scoring a pedestrian 10 points with five rebounds and three assists in 30 minutes.  He’ll be better than this on most nights and is a decent bet to hold late mid-round value, but I’m extremely worried about the Heat calling their season a wash early.  Setting aside Dwyane Wade’s current week-to-week timetable, it seems like the Heat are one more injury to a key guy away from everything tilting the wrong direction.  Owners of Deng, Wade and Chris Bosh should be working the phones, and in the case of Bosh remember the Heat have the GDP of a small nation tied up in him – they’re not going to push it. 

 

PICKUPS

 

Marcus Smart got a start last night and put up 13 points, two threes, four rebounds, three assists and two steals in 37 minutes.  It’s not clear if this is the passing of the baton, but it’s coming sooner rather later.  He was producing enough to be owned prior to last night’s move into the starting lineup, but he is unowned in a lot of standard leagues and that simply shouldn’t be the case. 

 

If Jusuf Nurkic was dropped in your league stop what you’re doing and grab him.  He had another low-minute night, finishing with seven points, three rebounds, one steal and one block in just 13 minutes of action.  Brian Shaw is at war with his team and something is going to give.  Though ownership has stated publicly that they’re going to roll with Shaw, this has gone past typical coach-player fighting.  Shaw basically accused them of losing on purpose the other day and it’s been a mess since he got there. 

 

Unless the Nuggets let this play out all year, which seems unlikely, a guy like Nurkic has early round upside that can be tapped into relatively easily once the drama subsides.  Even in this slump he has been in the ballpark of late-round value, so don’t consider a drop. 

 

THE MIDDLE

 

I can’t say with certainty that Joe Ingles is going to pan out, but I was able to add him in a deeper 12-team league over the weekend and I’m having fun with it.  It doesn’t really matter how poorly he shoots since he has only attempted six shots per game over the last eight contests, and he’s otherwise a versatile producer returning top 80-100 value over the past two weeks. 

 

Ingles had a really quiet night with five points, three rebounds, two assists, one steal and one 3-pointer in his 36 minutes last night, and partly because he doesn't have a history of versatile production in his overseas career there is plenty of risk.  The good news is that all of those non-scoring stats are his one and only focus while on the floor.  I’m certainly holding throughout the next week to see how this goes as Utah seems to love what he brings. 

 

Jodie Meeks (19 minutes, 10 points, 3-of-11 FGs, three rebounds, two assists, one steal, zero threes) is struggling to put it nicely.  I thought last week would be his breakout week and that wasn’t right, and I went with my gut in lineups this week thinking he would have to turn it around this week.  But this is now past a garden-variety slump and into some major confidence issues. 

 

Meeks could snap out of it at any time, but Detroit has doubled-down on Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (18 points, 8-of-19 FGs, four rebounds, three steals, one three) and D.J. Augustin (25 & 13) has been on fire for the most part.  If KCP continues to get the 32 mpg he has gotten over the past two weeks, things could be pretty lean for Meeks and remove a lot of upside.  But one has to think that the Pistons would like to actually use their big free agent acquisition and once he starts making shots he’ll get north of 25 mpg.  He’ll have until the end of this week in my deeper, 12-team formats before I consider a cut. 

 

I’ve been seeking out folks in Miami to figure out what is up with Mario Chalmers (one point, five assists), and the overwhelming opinion is that he’s just not being aggressive on these nights like last night where he disappears.  The Heat like to run everything through Luol Deng and Chris Bosh, leaving Chalmers with the scraps, but that still doesn’t explain the lack of aggression to its fullest. 

 

The opportunity is there for big numbers and that’s why I’m not going to drop him, but he needs to flick the switch on and from there we know he’s capable of solid production because we’ve seen flashes of it all year. 

 

Danilo Gallinari got loose with 22 points on 5-of-11 shooting, 10-of-11 FTs, two treys, four rebounds, one assist and one steal in 26 minutes against the Sixers.  The Nuggets were getting run out of the gym and the Sixers have major issues, but I’m not tremendously surprised by the outing.  Gallo has looked good when on the floor and it’s possible the Nuggets handled his rehab the right way, hitting the brakes when things weren’t good rather than pushing him blindly through the knee injury. 

 

The rotation is a bit crowded and Gallo still has question marks, but I can see a scenario in which the Nuggets trade Arron Afflalo or Wilson Chandler and rely on their big money forward as he gets healthier.  If he keeps showing good per-minute production, owners might want to take a flier on a guy that used to be a solid mid-round value. 

 

Hollis Thompson scored a career-high 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting with four treys, three boards, three assists, one steal and two blocks against the Nuggets.  I’ve certainly taken a flier on him numerous times because of the potential for money counting stats within the Sixers’ sloppy game play, but it has always ended with Thompson fading into the background.  With Tony Wroten out for the year it’s possible he’ll be called upon to shoot more, and I’d consider him a low-level flier in 12-team leagues after his big night. 

 

The Knicks are basically in limbo until Carmelo Anthony decides to call it quits this season.  Vets like Lou Amundson (six points, six boards, one steal, one block) and Jason Smith (12 points, seven boards, five assists, zero steals or blocks) are low-end plays until that happens or they get hurt, and the stable of young guys will be unleashed sometime after the All Star break. 

 

There is some risk that stubborn and Oklahoma City-tainted Derek Fisher will throw a monkey wrench into things, but this looks like it’ll be a lineup of Langston Galloway, Tim Hardaway Jr., Cleanthony Early, Lance Thomas and whatever big man can stay healthy.  There’s simply not a lot of guys that can steal touches away from them, so they’re all worth a look as stashes to varying degrees with the exception of Galloway, who is a must-own guy despite his slow four-point, five-rebound, five-assist night. 

 

DROPS

 

Evan Turner (five points, eight boards, five assists, five turnovers, 1-of-5 FGs, zero 3PMs/STLs/BLKs) was in the starting lineup last night even with Marcus Smart joining the ‘ones.’  His recent run of productivity has come to an end and he needs to be humming to offset his various fantasy deficiencies.  Feel free to move on even with the Celtics a little bit shallow and somewhat in need of his ballhandling.  He’ll slowly give his touches to Smart and his margin for error is only going to get worse. 

 

Dante Exum (zero points, one assist, two steals, 20 minutes) should have been dropped already, but he had yet another terrible game as starter and Trey Burke’s solid run off the bench is the only reason this arrangement hasn’t been changed up.  Exum isn’t built for fantasy at this stage of his career anyway, so feel free to make the move without looking back. 



Aaron Bruski has covered hoops for Rotoworld since 2008 and has competed in national fantasy sports competitions for nearly two decades. In 2015 he was named FSWA Basketball Writer of the Year. You can also find his work over at ProBasketballTalk, where he received critical acclaim for his in-depth reporting of the Kings' relocation saga. Hit him on Twitter at Aaronbruski.
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